Design of sustainable personal care products using plant oil-based polymers


*Corresponding author
1. Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, USA
2. Amyris Inc., Emeryville, USA
3. Arxada AG, Basel, Switzerland
4. Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials, North Dakota State University, Fargo, USA


Synthesis of biobased materials for personal care applications has been appealing in the design of safe and greener cosmetic alternatives. In our study, we converted plant oil-based acrylic monomers into a range of homopolymers and copolymers that were targeted to be incorporated into various personal care products (cosmetics, hair styling aids, etc.). The inclusion of designed plant oil-based materials into personal care products provides several advantages including enhanced performance, renewability, and safety to the customers. The incorporation of plant oil-based polymers into hair styling formulations results in improving long-term hair fixation and providing robust bonding between hair fibers. Plant oil-based hair styling formulations show advanced performance in several testing categories over conventional petroleum-based hair pomades. The addition of biobased alternatives into cosmetic formulations introduces a skin-conditioning effect to the formulation, provides water-repellency, and shows the good film-forming ability that is directly attributed to its enhanced wear stability.

The industry of personal care products is massive and has tremendous potential for growth, therefore, attracting huge business opportunities. Due to the increased concerns for human health and well-being, coupled with consumer awareness about the toxicity and side effects of some petroleum-based personal care ingredients, the increased demand for biobased personal care products has been continuously growing. Nowadays, various biomaterials (including proteins, vegetable oils, and carbohydrates) have been used widely in personal care applications and cosmetics. One of the biobased key ingredients commonly found in personal care products is plant oil which is commonly found in the form of triglyceride or a mixture of fatty acids, terpenes, etc. (1) The main function of plant oils in personal care formulations is to provide nourishing and moisturizing effects and serve as a conditioner to protect skin or hair from drying by forming a barrier on the surface. (2) Therefore, a range of widely available plant oils like olive, and castor oils is being added to the formulation to provide the desired properties to the specified product. Besides barrier ...