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Cosmetic preservation

sustainably boosting the safety of your body cream

There’s hardly a more pleasing after-shower experience than indulging yourself with a nice rich body lotion or cream, your skin still soft from the warm flow of water and eagerly soaking up the nourishing ingredients. Just as eager to soak them up, however, are germs like bacteria and fungi. Transmitted by the air or your own touch, they thrive especially well in products with a lot of nutrients and water – potentially spoiling your after-shower care fest in a very real sense.

What prevents this are preservatives, which are added to cosmetics to keep them unspoiled and safe. Yet as some of them can cause adverse effects, such as skin irritations and allergies, there’s a general tendency to restrict and reduce them, especially in natural products. This tendency can make safe preservation quite difficult – creating for consumers the paradoxical situation that the lower use they ask for could actually raise risks, particularly in nutrient-rich and highly aqueous products.

As a way out of this dilemma, Clariant’s personal care experts have developed Velsan® Flex. It is a preservative booster that, while not being one itself, has the power to greatly increase the effectiveness of preservatives and thus reduce them by up to 50%. Also being fully water soluble, extremely flexible in use and highly renewable, it is ideal for making nourishing, natural and clear cosmetics that are both low in preservatives and reliably safe.

Imagine a magic wand whose wave is enough to wondrously open doors and walls, and you have pretty good idea of how Velsan® Flex works. Many germs have double-layered membranes that protect them from outside attack. The molecules of the preservative booster (which even look a little like magic wands) force these barriers apart. This helps preservatives to slip through and destroy the germs from inside.

Clariant Image Blog Industrial & Consumer Specialties Personal Care Preservation Booster Body Cream Velsan Flex

Velsan® Flex works with many widely used preservatives that comply with the international COSMOS standard for natural cosmetics, such as benzoic acid and benzyl alcohol, as well as with other common choices like phenoxyethanol. In our tests, it successfully boosted and reduced preservatives in products whose composition normally makes them a true feast for germs, such as nourishing shower gels, micellar gels and facial tonics. It even closed crucial gaps in germ protection and minimized other flaws, such as unwanted chemical smells.

While traditionally magic wands are made from wood, this one is mainly derived from corn and natural oil. Due to these raw materials, the booster has a renewable carbon index (RCI) of 93%, meaning it is highly climate-neutral and complies with the ISO 16128 standard for materials of natural origin. It is also biodegradable, completely free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and rated non-toxic to the environment under the global labeling system GHS.

This wealth of sustainable and eco-friendly properties has earned Velsan® Flex both COSMOS approval as a raw material and Clariant’s own sustainability label EcoTain®. It boosts preservatives allowed in natural formats while simultaneously adding to natural content. In our tests, the ingredient helped to safely preserve both a COSMOS-compliant rose body lotion and a natural sheet mask. Without effective protection, these kinds of products would make not just your skin but all kinds of microbes glow with pleasure. You can imagine the effect on shelf life this would cause (not to mention the ick factor and potential real danger to your health if you get too many of them into your eyes or unhealed wounds).

Other benefits of Velsan® Flex are of a more technical nature yet still of interest to consumers, because they make manufacturers more likely to use this highly sustainable ingredient. Among these are the booster’s 100% water solubility and its ability to act as a solubilizer for other ingredients. It is this flexible applicability in reducing preservatives that gives our product its name – and together with its near-magical boosting abilities makes it the natural choice for better preservation.

In October 2020, this has earned Clariant the bronze award for Velsan® Flex in the category “best functional ingredient”. Being recognized with this prestigious stamp of approval for our preservation booster by a world leading personal care event like in-cosmetics Global adds another magical spark too.