In the shift towards sustainability and eco-friendliness, consumers are seeking cosmetics products that enhance not only their beauty but also their health and the environment. Natural biopolymers, such as vegan chitosan, have emerged as a revolutionary ingredient in personal care formulations. Derived from renewable resources, these biopolymers offer a sustainable alternative to traditional synthetic ingredients.
Biopolymers in cosmetics and personal care products
In the personal care industry, natural biopolymers sourced from plants, algae, and microorganisms are gaining prominence due to their biodegradability, low environmental impact, and diverse functionality.
Some examples of biopolymers include:
- Hydrocolloids such as xanthan gum and guar gum extracted from plants
- Alginate derived from brown seaweeds, for skincare products.
- Chitosan, derived from chitin found in crustacean shells, is gaining traction in hair care formulations. Vegan chitosan can be derived from fungal sources.
Several more biopolymers such as cellulose and pectin are being adopted in the industry.
What makes vegan chitosan unique in the beauty industry?
Chitosan is a unique and special biopolymer for several reasons, making it a valuable ingredient in various personal care products. Traditional chitosan is derived from chitin, a natural polysaccharide found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans like shrimp and crabs.
Plant-based chitosan, which we’ll be talking about in the upcoming sections, is derived typically from fungal sources such as mushrooms. These fungi produce chitosan-like compounds without the need for crustacean shells.
Here are some characteristics that make chitosan special:
- Biodegradability: Chitosan is biodegradable and environmentally friendly, aligning with the growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
- Biocompatibility: Chitosan exhibits excellent biocompatibility with human tissues. This property makes it suitable for use in biomedical and personal care applications without causing irritation or adverse reactions on the skin. Vegan chitosan, especially, is suitable for consumers who are vegan or looking to adopt sustainable vegan products in their lifestyles.
- Positive charge and film-forming capabilities: Vegan chitosan retains the positive charge and film-forming properties inherent to chitosan. This makes it valuable in personal care formulations, contributing to improved adhesion, conditioning, and film-forming capabilities in products like hair conditioners and skincare items.
- Inherent Antimicrobial Activity: Vegan chitosan possesses inherent antimicrobial properties, a quality attributed to the positively charged amino groups in the chitosan molecule, which can interact with negatively charged microbial cell membranes. It has demonstrated effectiveness against a broad spectrum of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, making it suitable for extending shelf life.
- Reduced Allergenic Concerns: An additional advantage of vegan chitosan is its reduced likelihood of causing allergic reactions, making it a preferred choice for individuals with shellfish allergies. This addresses a common concern associated with chitosan derived from crustacean sources.
- Preservative Properties: In skincare formulations and cosmetic products, vegan chitosan can serve as a natural preservative. By inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi, it helps maintain the integrity of the product over time, reducing the need for synthetic preservatives that may raise concerns among consumers.
- Improved Hair Condition: In hair care products, chitosan’s positive charge allows it to adhere to the hair surface, leading to enhanced conditioning effects. It can improve the texture and manageability of hair, making it a valuable component in conditioners and styling products.
- Applications in Personal Care: Vegan chitosan’s antimicrobial properties are particularly beneficial in personal care products like creams, lotions, and serums. It contributes to product preservation, ensuring that these formulations remain free from microbial contamination and safe for consumer use.
- Sustainable Sourcing: Vegan chitosan offers a more ethical and sustainable sourcing option compared to animal-derived chitosan. Avoiding crustacean shells reduces the environmental impact associated with the seafood industry and aligns with cruelty-free practices.
The potential of biopolymers
Natural biopolymers have found it difficult to gain wide acceptance in the beauty industry due to their limiting inherent properties. While they are the most natural and sustainable alternative to synthetic polymers, natural biopolymers, in their primary form, cannot match the performance, efficacy, and physical properties that synthetic polymers exhibit.
Greenitio, a company producing high-performance, cost-effective biopolymer derivatives as eco-friendly alternatives to petrochemical ingredients, has been able to unlock the potential of vegan chitosan to bring to consumers at large the benefits of biopolymer derivatives.
Unlocking the potential of vegan chitosan
Unlocking the potential of vegan chitosan represents a pioneering venture in the realm of sustainable and cruelty-free skincare.
Greenitio, using computer simulations and green chemistry has designed and synthesized vegan chitosan-based biopolymer derivatives that have unlocked its potential, putting it on par with relative synthetic ingredients.
The three facets of Greenitio’s sustainable products
- Bio-based and biodegradable: Using vegan chitosan derived from mushrooms, Greenitio’s biopolymer derivatives are bio-based, bio-active, and bio-degradable.
- Green chemistry and bio-like process: By replacing chemical processes with bio-like processes, Greenitio’s process also uses fewer resources and wastes less energy. Free from toxic chemicals, the products are also non-GMO.
- Additional multi-functional properties: Greenitio has unlocked the power and potential of vegan chitosan by using its inherent properties and unlocking additional multi-functional properties such as anti-aging and sunscreen-boosting properties.
Plant-based chitosan derivatives are extremely tough to produce, but offer multiple benefits for brands in the cosmetics and personal care space:
- Reduced supply chain burden: When just one ingredient can impart several properties to a product, there are fewer ingredients to be used, effectively reducing the complexity of brands’ supply chain
- Readily biodegradable: The complete biodegradability of biopolymers, especially vegan chitosan, makes products safe from an environmental and health perspective.
- Enhanced transparency and sustainability: Biopolymers offer a more ethical and sustainable sourcing option, even more so when they are plant-based. Add to that its biodegradability and biocompatibility features to contribute to a circular economy.
- Unlocking additional properties is the bonus that brands and consumers have been waiting for – this helps products have multiple properties in one, reducing the layers that go on the skin and embracing a “less is more” approach that is favoured by consumers. Anti-aging effects and sunscreen-boosting capabilities in one product mark a promising avenue in the development of next-generation skincare solutions.
- Greener production process: Greenitio’s bio-like processes replace chemical synthesis and production processes.
Introducing Chitobela and Chitobe
From Greenitio’s efforts to change the world one ingredient at a time, have come two products: chitobela and chitobe.
Chitobela is a vegan chitosan-derived biopolymer developed for skincare and haircare products.
Its bioactive properties fight off microbes, aging, and acne, giving skin and hair a rejuvenated look and feel. Its use cases include applications such as moisturising, emulsifiers, and thickeners.
It also provides enhanced bioactivity with anti-microbial, anti-aging, and anti-acne properties.
Chitobe is a vegan chitosan-derived versatile biopolymer developed for skincare, haircare, and sunscreen product applications. It is complemented by its nourishing effects and film-forming capabilities and ensures comprehensive care with UV protection boosting.
It has use cases in film forming and conditioning applications and provides enhanced bioactivity with anti-microbial, anti-acne, and antioxidant properties.
With restrictions being placed on the ingredients that can be used in cosmetics and personal care products, ingredients such as chitobela and chitobe offer excellent alternatives, being:
Advancing sustainable beauty with chitobela and chitobe
As the demand for eco-friendly and cruelty-free cosmetics continues to rise, Greenitio has successfully unlocked the potential of vegan chitosan biopolymer derivatives with enhanced multi-functional properties. These derivatives not only offer effective benefits such as moisturization, anti-aging, and acne-fighting properties but also serve as natural preservatives and sunscreen boosters.
With products like Chitobela and Chitobe, biopolymer derivatives are poised to revolutionize the cosmetics industry, providing consumers with sustainable, ethical, and high-performance alternatives for their skincare needs.