Kosmogel: Biogels as Rheologymodifiers in Kosmetics
Bioinspired additives in cosmetics
It is impossible to imagine everyday life without many products such as creams, shampoos or foods like mayonnaise or mustard. All of these products have in common that they are based on a finely dispersed mixture of droplets or an insoluble solid in a liquid. It is essential that the finely dispersed droplets/solids are evenly distributed in the liquid and that the product properties, such as consistency and feel, are quickly restored after the action of a mechanical force, e.g. when squeezing toothpaste out a tube. This often requires additives such as thickeners, so-called rheology modifiers, which ensure an appealing consistency during application in products such as lotions and creams. Current rheology modifiers form a stable, chemically bonded, 3-dimensional network to provide the desired mechanical and haptic properties. However, this strength becomes a problem when cosmetic products end up in wastewater, e.g. after showering. Such stable rheology modifiers may be degraded only extremely slowly or not at all.
The aim of Kosmogel is to investigate rheology modifiers whose network-like structures can be rapidly degraded after exposure to the environment. Nature provides a simple solution for the formation of networks that are required for this purpose: Instead of linking the network building blocks to each other via permanent and rigid bonds, they are reversibly connected to each other via dynamic interactions. This process of targeted attachment, also known as self-assembly, is observed in nature in the formation of tissue, among other things, and yields stable network structures that are readily biodegradable. The focus of the project is on the investigation of novel biodegradable network building blocks that self-assemble into stable networks following the example of nature. If successful, the project will contribute to sustainable and environmentally compatible cosmetic products.