Waxes and Polymers: The Secret Engine of Cosmetics

Blog - 27 Settembre 2023

Waxes are the secret agent of cosmetics. They stabilise cosmetic products. They act without being seen by the human eye and make it possible to obtain a stable and functional end product. 

They are consistently present in the majority of beauty products sold, such as in lip glosses, foundations or eyeliners. Many cosmetics contain waxes, which is why it is essential that they are thoroughly researched.

However, we must not forget polymers, which improve the chemical profile of the product by making it more resistant to elements such as gravity or by stabilising the emulsion. The choice of polymers depends on a number of factors, such as the nature of the phase in which they are added or the type of formulation. 

But what really influences the choice of a particular wax or polymer? The choices made are conditioned by the type of formulation one chooses to use. For example, all lipsticks contain beeswax. The reason? Because it is a safe ingredient even if it were to be swallowed, as well as being an excellent stabiliser that creates a thin protective layer for the lips.

The choice of polymers, on the other hand, is influenced by their division into two categories: water-repellent polymers and oil thickeners. Water-repellent polymers can be further divided into two subcategories: inorganic polymers and organic polymers. The former, e.g. aluminium magnesium silicate, are used in compounds that can be evenly distributed and remain stable on the skin for an extended period of time. The latter, on the other hand, are polymers such as natural gums, e.g. xanthan gum, which helps to suspend the emulsion for non-soluble agents. 

We can say that waxes and polymers are one of the key factors in cosmetic production, as they create stable and long-lasting products, improving the window of use.

If you would like to delve further into this topic, you cannot miss the latest article by Miriam Deola - Cosmetic R&D Specialist and Nicola Lionetti - Cosmetic R&D Manager on Cosmetics&Toiletries, entitled How Waxes And Polymers Secretly Power Cosmetics, which focuses precisely on the formulation properties of waxes and polymers in the formulation of cosmetic products.

Further information