Driving demand for sustainability in hair care: SEPPIC

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Driving demand for sustainability in hair care: SEPPIC
We caught up with Elodie Brun, Cosmetic Market Manager at SEPPIC, to hear her thoughts on where the hair care segment can move forward with sustainability.

Brun will be presenting on the topic at next week’s in-cosmetics Global event, Amsterdam, 17 - 19 April.

SEPPIC is a specialty chemicals company based in France, with global operations.

What would you say is driving demand for sustainability in hair care?

Three major themes: ecology, egology and company image.

Biodegradability is becoming a ‘must have’ in cosmetics, especially in hair care, as products go directly into wasted waters.

The “silicone-free” claim is getting popular, as these oils, very commonly used in hair care, are not biodegradable.

For example, the quantity of D4/D5 will be limited at 0,1% in rinse-off products from 2020 because of their persistent and bioaccumulative nature.  

Providing biodegradable products is one of SEPPIC’s major concerns. For example: EDTA as been removed from our surfactant PROTEOL APF, what became PROTEOL APF EF (EDTA FREE).

EDTA is a substance which complexes heavy metals and which, complexed, can be fixed in an organism and is hardly biodegradable.

Sustainability is also pushed by the wish of companies to meet consumers values. Consumers are sensitive to company ethic: in the US 59% of iGens and Millennials stop buying products from a brand/retailer if they believe they are unethical (Mintel).

Can you give an overview of where the hair care sector has reached in terms of sustainability?

SEPPIC has been a member of the RSPO since 2010 and supports the transformation of the palm oil industry into a sustainable one.

In 2014, SEPPIC initiated an action plan for its own use of palm oil derivatives, with the aim of obtaining 100% of its ingredients certified by 2020 and 100% physically certified by 2025, in line with the commitment it made to the RSPO​ in 2013.

We managed to produce a 100% plant-based surfactant. SEPPIC developed SEPICLEAR G7, a solubilizer that is 100% plant-based and produced by green chemistry.

This product received the “Pierre Potier” prize which highlights the initiatives of the chemical industry in favor of sustainable development and promotes the development of eco-friendly approaches in the sector.

In hair treatment, the trend is at low viscous formulas such as hair spray or serums. SEPPIC launches at In Cosmetics Global its new emulsifier, FLUIDIFEEL EASY, which allows low viscous formulations and to not heat up ingredients during the process for time and energy savings.

As it is technically difficult to stabilize low viscous formula, SEPPIC offers a wide range of liquid polymers which stabilize formulas at low concentration, have sensorial benefits and allow cold process.

Two years ago, SEPPIC introduced at in-cosmetics a texture bar on the Ecodesign thematic. A concentrated foaming formula was presented.

In aim of helping customers to make a decision in ingrédient choice, SEPPIC set up its ECO-SCORECARD: is is a quoting system that consider resources renewability, environmental footprint, labelling and energy savings.

What are the major challenges and opportunities in this area?

The main challenge is, in our opinion, is to switch to more sustainable formulas while keeping a very nice sensory and a real consumer experience.

Consumers expectations in hair care are especially high, they won’t accept to lose in sensoriality or in combability for sustainable reasons.

Currently more than 45% of hair care products launches are without silicones, a third of them  claim it. (Study made on 9 countries, worldwide, on shampoo, hair treatments and conditioners - Mintel).

It means that a majority of hair care products still contain silicones, probably because of the sensorial properties.

SEPPIC recently launched EMOGREEN product line. These emollients are true alternatives to silicones oils in hair care as they are nonpolar and affordable.

They combine performance, sensoriality, naturality and biodegradability. They are tested in leave-on and rinse-off conditions.

Where do you think we will see innovation in this area moving forward?

First of all, we think silicone-free products sensoriality will be highly improved thanks to new plant-based alternatives to silicones like EMOGREEN.

Sensoriality won’t be an issue anymore in the development of silicone-free textures. More generally, we can expect an improvement of products biodegradability in the future.

We can notice that skin care claims are more and more used in hair care. Hair care is a market asking for product customization and segmentation.

We can expect a wider variety of claims in hair care in the future.

SEPPIC, with its new brand WESOURCE, will continue to develop bio-inspired actives to answer to these specific market demands. WESOURCE’s last product launched, XYLISHINE, fits with this trend as it acts as a hair moisturizer.

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