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Bio-based lipids enhance cosmetic ingredients


*Corresponding author
SEPPIC, La Garenne Colombes Cedex, France


Bio-based Lipids are included in broad ingredient categories such as emollients, surfactants, rheology modifiers and active ingredients. Coming from diverse plant sources and obtained by simple to complex chemical transformations, the great molecular diversity of lipids offers a large reservoir for sustainable innovation. Selection of lipid structure drives both ingredient functionality and performance. In surfactants, varying fatty acid chain length while keeping the same hydrophilic moiety can determine solubilising, wetting, foaming and emulsifying properties. The lipid structure also directs the ingredients’ handling process. New ready-and easy-to-use ingredients can force us to rethink our manufacturing practices with more sustainable and time-saving cold processes. Optimal lipid selection can enhance ingredient performance and provide additional consumer benefits. 

A practical illustration showcases the key role of plant-based lipids in the design of innovative sustainable specialty ingredients with augmented performance.


Oil-based ingredients are involved in many types of industrial applications in foods and pharmaceuticals. Plant-based lipids are also essential components in the design of sustainable specialty ingredients for health and beauty products. Starting from the plant world (palm, coconut, olive, castor oil, rape seed, etc.), oleochemistry provides a wide variety of hydrocarbon chain structures with between 7 and 22 carbon atoms (examples in Figure 1), such as triglycerides, fatty acids, fatty alcohols, and plant waxes (1). Lipids are also obtained in diverse ways: from simple mechanical expression processes from plants to more complex chemical transformations. Depending on their nature, lipids can be used throughout the processing chain, either directly as ingredients in final cosmetic compositions or as raw materials for the production of advanced cosmetic ingredients (simplified lipid processing chain in Figure 2). For example, plant oils and butters have been recognised for centuries as efficient emollients. Plant waxes, fatty acids and alcohols are widely used as texturising agents in emulsions. Since the 1970s, f ...

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