Bio-based alternatives for silicone
and petrochemical emollients from natural oil metathesis
This article discusses the emollient performance characteristics of bio-based paraffin afforded by the world-scale implementation of Nobel Prize-winning olefin metathesis technology. Spreadability, lubricity, volatility and sustainability are evaluated, allowing performance comparisons to be made with conventional volatile personal care ingredients, including cyclopentasiloxane and synthetic petrochemical hydrocarbons.
Volatile silicones are a preferred ingredient for personal care product formulators owing to the light and smooth aesthetic they confer. They are ubiquitous. In recent years, volatile silicones have been the subject of heightened regulatory scrutiny. In 2009, Canadian and European Union regulatory bodies released high-profile critiques of the environmental impact of silicone ingredients (1, 2). Though the concerns outlined in these reports were significantly addressed by follow-on studies (3), consumer sentiment toward silicones was nevertheless negatively impacted. Ingredients providers and consumer packaged goods companies have therefore mobilized to develop and implement silicone ingredient alternatives (4).
Ingredient manufacturers have presented paraffin and isoparaffin as surrogates for volatile cyclodimethicones, as well as more substantive polydimethylsiloxanes (5). Ironically, the interchangeability of hydrocarbons and silicones on a sensory profile basis has been demonstrated, dating back to silicone manufacturers’ entry into the personal care and cosmetics markets (7). The same petrochemical origins that helped precipita ...