Silicones are synthetic compounds based on silicon and oxygen. Their combination, through various chemical and synthetic processes, forms polymers with large molecular structures.
Depending on the nature of the organic group and the polymerisation conditions, silicones can be of various structures and textures, ranging from the most fluid (oils) to the most rigid, passing through viscous, resinous, pasty or waxy states. The term “silicone” does not apply to a specific ingredient, but rather to a large family of compounds with specific properties which are very popular in cosmetics. Silicones are therefore very common in a large number of cosmetic applications.
Silicones are the champions of versatility, providing the flexibility, softness and elasticity that characterise them. Silicones bring a hint of undeniable sensoriality to our care, with a very velvety and non-greasy touch. Their degree of volatility determines the sensation of thickness they provide to the touch. Silicones are also very widely used in styling products. They are indeed able to plasticise lacquer resin, coat the hair fibre, set the hairstyle effectively, bring softness, ease disentangling, and bestow silkiness and shine to the hair.
However, silicones have a major constraint of non-biodegradability, some categories being among those that may represent a danger for aquatic environments in particular, which is why more and more formulators are trying to replace them with “greener” materials with similar sensory properties. SOPHIM, manufacturer of natural emollients, offers a natural substitute for silicones, Biophytosebum, of Olive plant origin, which will be particularly suitable for substituting volatile silicones in your face, body and hair care applications.