Looking for green alternatives? Looking for green alternatives?
Written by Team Personal Care

Looking for green alternatives?

Contact person

Looking for green alternatives?

Tim Lepski

Senior Sales & Product Manager Personal Care

IMPAG Import GmbH

+49 69 85 000 8-0E-mail LinkedIn

Are you looking for green alternatives for texture and sensoriality? Here are the latest natural alternatives for texture, skin feel and rheology.

New challenges for product developpers

The world is changing, and the cosmetics industry with it. Everyone is looking for global and local solutions to the urgent questions arising from the climate crisis. One of the implications for cosmetics is that controversial or discredited ingredients with bad reputations will need to be replaced.

At the same time, customers still have high standards when it comes to efficacy and familiarity in how products feel. Thex expect the same customary performance to come with high naturalness and good value for money.

Product developers face these challenges every day, and need  green alternatives for adjusting texture, touch, and rheology.

The IMPAG portfolio offers suitable alternative raw materials with equivalent performance. Below, we focus on three important product categories.

Alternatives to silicone oils and silicone elastomers

Silicones were a staple of the beauty industry for many decades, but have since become highly controversial. Liquid silicones are already partially forbidden. For example, no products containing more than 0.1% of the cyclic silicone compounds D4 and D5 have been brought out for the rinse-off segment since 31 January 2020. Moreover, environmentally conscious consumers are increasingly pushing for the conversion to silicone-free products. In Europe, for example, more than 3000 new products with the INCI “Cyclopentasiloxane” were still released in 2019, but this dropped to only around 1600 by 2022 (source: Mintel GNPD 2023).

Modern fatty acids already provide excellent opportunities for alternatives with all kinds of polarities and spreading performance. They impart a comparably silky–dry feel to the skin. We are witnessing change in the field of elastomer gels. Water-free, natural silicone elastomer alternatives create an immediate soft-focus effect and lend a very luxurious, silky feel to the skin – which is especially popular in decorative cosmetics.


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Alternatives to acrylate-based thickeners, scrub particles, and film formers

A distinction can be made between microplastic particles that are purposely manufactured, to be used as tiny particles in a cosmetic product for example, and microplastic particles that escape from larger plastic waste as it breaks down in the environment. Microplastic refers mainly to solid particles smaller than 5 mm. Wastewater treatment plants cannot fully retain all microplastic. As a result, it ends up in the oceans. A ban on purposely added microplastics is already foreseeable in the European Union. Poorly degradable plastics that persist in the water as dissolved gels are also likely to be gradually replaced.

Requirements for hydrogel thickeners such as electrolyte tolerance, homogeneous flow, low tackiness, suspension stability, and clarity can already be met superbly by a large number of natural thickeners. The advantage of many alternatives over carbomers or acrylates, for example, is that there is no need to adjust the pH to achieve the desired viscosity.

For scrub particles and beads, there is a great variety of new plant-based options – the right product can be selected for the desired colour, abrasiveness, and particle size.


Alternatives to mineral oils and their derivatives

They have served us for decades, but they are finite: we’re talking about crude-oil–derived raw materials such as mineral oils, Vaseline, and microcrystalline waxes. They are stable, colourless and odourless, inexpensive, and cause no allergies. Yet, they are preceded by their bad reputation of being comedogenic and occlusive. Sustainable alternatives include squalane, castor oil derivatives, and esters from oleochemistry, many of which are even natural cosmetics compliant.