SUSPEND SIMPLY AND SUSTAINABLY with structured surfactant systems

Sustainability, Simplicity, and Self-Care in hair care and cleansing products

Consumers are increasingly searching for hair care and cleansing products that fulfill three basic requirements: sustainability, simplicity, and support of self-care needs. For formulators and brands alike, achieving these requirements is not easy, but smart formulation techniques can help. Use of structured surfactant systems formulated with Evonik solutions to suspend active ingredients provides a way to address these consumer needs while delivering the performance they expect.

Trends in View: Sustainability, Simplicity, and Self-Care

Consumers are seeking increased sustainability, simplification, and self-care from their beauty products. These trends were present prior to the COVID-19 pandemic but have been accelerated and magnified as a result of it. Sustainability has emerged as a key trend from the pandemic as consumers have learned to contend with greater climate uncertainty and shortage in a range of consumer goods. In hair care and cleansing, brands have responded by increasing the number of products they have launched making ethical/sustainable claims.

Simplicity and minimalism were also trends prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic has enabled consumers to re-evaluate the complexity of pre-pandemic life with many opting for a focus on streamlining their beauty routines as well as on products which use fewer, better ingredients. Self-care is perhaps the most predominant trend resulting from the pandemic, with consumers seeking solutions for stress-relief and health-enhancement. In the hair care and cleansing category, self-care manifests itself both through a performance dimension, where products need to do more than traditional solutions, and through an aesthetic dimension, where the feel or look of the product can play an important role.

Structured Surfactant Systems

Achieving simplicity, sustainability, and self-care in hair care and cleansing systems is not easy, but sometimes these goals can be aided through smart formulation choices. One approach is to leverage proven formulating techniques using with newer ingredient technologies. An apt example is the use of structured surfactant systems to suspend active ingredients or particles in rinse-off systems. 

Structured surfactant system design is a formulation technique which combines anionic, amphoteric, and nonionic surfactants at specific ratios to form liquid crystal lamellar structures that can be used to suspend insoluble particles, including active ingredients, exfoliants, or other substances, within formulations. Traditionally, this task has been achieved through polymeric substances such as acrylates copolymers, but sustainability considerations are sometimes making this less desirable. With a structured surfactants systems approach, it can be possible to design formulation chassis that avoid these structurants, thereby leading to formula simplification. At the same time, selection of environmentally-responsible surfactants in this design can engender a more sustainable formulation system. Lastly, the inclusion of suspended actives or other particles can contribute to the self-care ethos of cleansing products by delivering added product performance claims or improved aesthetics.

Suspend Simply & Sustainably with Evonik Solutions

To bring these ideas together, Evonik has marshalled its deep formulation expertise with surfactants technology to provide formulators with starting point guidelines for structured surfactant systems through its Marketing Insight: Suspend Simply & Sustainably. Details are accessible on intoBeauty through this link. One can also listen to our experts presenting this Market Insight.

Evonik’s 50% Suspended Oil Cleansing system uses ANTIL® Soft SC MB to suspend a 50% oil fraction formulation. The Flexible Oil Droplet Suspension system leverages TEGO® Sulfosuccinate DO 75 to show how to suspend oil comprising 15% to 50% of a formulation. The Exfoliant Suspension uses RHEANCE® One and ANTIL® Soft SC MB to suspend particles like exfoliants in a surfactant system. Lastly, Evonik discusses a proprietary blend which provides robust particle suspension properties.

Through these starting points, brands and their formulators can explore ways to enable active ingredients and other self-care-promoting particles to defy gravity by suspending them in more simplistic formulation systems using more sustainable ingredient solutions. And, as an expert in this field, the Evonik team is here to help! Contact Evonik to learn how to leverage our products to formulate structured surfactant systems.