A Green
Jack-of-
all-Trades

Symrise has been selling the cosmetic ingredient Hydrolite® 5 for more than 25 years. Hydrolite® 5, pentylene glycol, is used in numerous applications to moisturize the skin, enhance the efficacy of ingredients and improve the appearance, consistency and protection of the product itself. Now, the company has developed Hydrolite® 5 green, which can do all the same things, but the ingredient is natural-based and sustainable. It is made from a by-product generated in produc­ing sugar from sugar cane.

The ingredient Hydrolite® 5 green is made from a by-product ­generated in producing sugar from sugar cane.

Natural ingredients for cosmetic products are trending. More and more cosmetics producers are responding to the wishes of their customers by using raw materials and ingredients that come from nature and can be sustainably cultivated and harvested. “According to ‘Persistence Market Research,’ the global market value for natural and organic personal care is expected to reach 22 billion USD by 2024,” says Yohanna Sander in estimating the gigantic market, which is also very important for Symrise. For Sander, Global Senior Product Manager Micro Protection in the Cosmetic Ingredients Division and leading the Hydrolite®-5-Projekt, one way to meet this demand is through research into new ingredients from nature.

An example is Hydrolite® 5 green, which was introduced on the personal care market in September 2018. The ingredient is an alternative for the successful product that Symrise has been selling for 25 years. “Our Hydrolite® 5 is a versatile ingredient for the cosmetic industry,” explains Yohanna Sander, who has been working for Symrise since 2017. Cosmetics companies use pentylene glycol, for skin to hair care. This multifunctional, transparent ingredient moisturizes, improves the sensory profile of formulations and the efficacy of active ingredients, and enhances the product protection system of cosmetic formulations.

The ‘green’ successor performs as good as the classical version but with a natural and renewable source, which makes all the difference. Symrise researchers worked together with the LeibnizInstitute for Catalysis at the University of Rostock on the development of the molecule: a pure, odorless, colorless, natural-based pentylene glycol with multifunctional properties . “In reality, this process is very complex. It is significantly more difficult to replace a chemical molecule with a natural molecule than the other way around, especially when this must work on an industrial scale,” says Yohanna Sander in explaining the challenge that the research team faced, as they carried out the planning, laboratory work, pilot production and manufacturing.

Among many raw material candidates, sugar cane – which generates a by-product called bagasse when it is processed to produce sugar – stood out. Bagasse mainly consists of cellulose and sugars. It is often immediately burned in sugar factories in order to produce energy, used in the paper industry or employed – after additional processing – as animal feed. “Through a multi-step process, we finally developed the right product,” says Yohanna Sander. This also included a COSMOS certification, which is issued for natural and organic cosmetics on the basis of strict criteria. Sander is sure that Hydrolite® 5 green will replace the older ingredient sooner or later. “The trend will continue – and we will drive it forward by developing as many molecules as possible with natural raw materials and processes.”

»Our Hydrolite® 5 is a versatile ingredient for the cosmetic industry.«

Yohanna Sander
Global Senior Product Manager Micro Protection