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What’s in your formula? Part II: Functional Ingredients. - 4.5.6 Skin

What’s in your formula? Part II: Functional Ingredients.

On our mission to get better acquainted with our skincare, we're continuing our 'What's in your formula?' series. This week we're investigating…

  • Functional Ingredients

  • As the very backbone for any formulation, the functional ingredients make up the texture, consistency, and overall finish to their respective products. Depending on the specific blend of these inactive ingredients, formulators can alter the physical form of the final product, and control how well active performance ingredients respond upon application. When looking out for functional ingredients, there are several subcategories you need to know about.

    Let’s break them down.

    There are four key subcategories when it comes to functional ingredients:

    • Solvents are a large group of liquids that directly dissolve or disperse active ingredients such as powders, gases, oils, or liquids in order to integrate them evenly within the formulation. This also ensures that their beneficial nutrients and properties can access the epidermis more effectively, delivering better and faster results.

    How you can spot them in your formula:

    It wouldn’t be 4.5.6 Skin if we didn’t select only the best ingredients to serve your skin, which is why our solvents are not only natural, but also highly beneficial. Commonly used solvents (also found in our skincare) are Glycerin, Sorbitol, natural oils, natural biopolymers, and natural lipids.

    • Emulsifiers harmonise the entire formula by preventing phases separation when two non-miscible ingredients deflect one another, such as oil and water. These two will never combine, no matter how much stirring or shaking occurs! That’s why emulsifiers are so beneficial to a successful formulation structure.

    How you can spot them in your formula:

    Depending on the formulation there are emulsifiers for water-to-oil emulsions such as Rice Wax, Glyceryl Oleate, and ones that are ideal for oil-to-water emulsion, just like Polyglyceryl Polyricinoleate and Sorbitan Stearate Citrate. These can also be found within our formulations!.

    • Thickeners, as the name suggests, thicken formulations until they reach the formulator's desired consistency; whether that be to achieve a lightweight gel or a rich cream. These thickening agents can range from waxy lipid thickeners that impart their size into the formulation, or naturally derived polymers, which increase in size after the absorption of water.

    How you can spot them in your formula:

    Safe examples include Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose, and Wheat Straw Glucoside; also be found within our skincare!

    • Texture Agents provide the luxurious, sensory quality expected from state-of-the-art skincare, allowing for optimal smoothness, silkiness, and incomparable ingredient incorporation. They also add textural stability to a formulation, which are the two key components of a successful skincare product in terms of user experience.

    How you can spot them in your formula:

    With new-found awareness of the environmental impact and human health risks caused by using plastic texturing agents (carbomers, polyethylene and acrylates copolymer), we’ve opted to use only naturally-derived texture agents. We guarantee they offer not only sublime textures, but they’re environmentally conscious and human health responsible to boot!

    What’s the deal with silicones?

    There’s a high chance that you’ve heard the term ‘silicone’ thrown around in a negative light within beauty circles, and they’d be somewhat right. As a synthetic polymer, and emollient, silicones are frequently added into skincare products to create a protective film to lock in moisture, but some silicones do more harm than good. According to the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), some silicones such as Cyclomethicone have been classified as a reprotoxic substance and endocrine disrupter.

    As melanin-rich skin has a higher desquamation and dehydration rate, this can disrupt the microbial harmony, resulting in acne and inflammation. Aside from the epidermis side effects, silicones are considered bioaccumulative, which means that they can accumulate in our oceans and waterways, risking the health of aquatic organisms. These silicones will be most commonly listed as Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, and Cetearyl Methicone.

    Here’s our bottom line:

    Our mission is simple; bring out the best in your melanin-rich skin. And to do so, we’ve ensured that even our functional ingredients are derived naturally, sustainably, and with the pure intention of promoting skin health and wellness for darker skinned women. Skincare can often be bogged down by too many single-purpose ingredients, that it opens the skin up to potential irritations or hyper-sensitivity.

    Through our own melanin-driven research and development, we’ve infused some of our skincare formulations with multi-purpose ingredients such as Niacinamide found within our ‘To Be Clear’ Exfoliant Mask, ‘Sevenly Delight’ Brightening Serum, and ‘Day Hack’ Matte Moisturiser. This strengthens the protective function of the skin and moisturises, minimises the appearance of large pores, reduces skin impurities, mattifies oiliness, as well as counteracting discolouration. Cellulose; a thickener, detoxifier, and mattifying agent, is a great ingredient derived from trees and found in our ‘To Be Clear’ Exfoliant Mask, ‘Sevenly Delight’ Brightening Serum, ‘Green Bae’ Cleansing Gel and ‘Day Hack’ Matte Moisturiser.

    Needless to say, we’re seeing a shift in the approach to functional ingredients within the cosmetic industry, and we plan to be right at the forefront of those discoveries with our melanin-accustomed skincare.

    Just letting you know that these ‘nasties’ aren’t in our products!

    To achieve a well-balanced complexion, it’s crucial to exclude any ingredient that could jeopardise that integrity. That’s why, after rigorous research and development, we’ve made the decision to deliberately leave a whole host of common ingredients out of our carefully curated formulations. We’ve also found that what’s bad for our skin, is also bad for the planet. Silicones, mineral oils, toxic chemicals and bleaching agents are all firmly kept at bay due to their hazardous effects, even if they are still administered by other skincare companies.

    Once a formulation is free from any ‘nasties,’ it can then work to uplift and enrich the skin through carefully selected beneficial ingredients, which in our case, are targeted exclusively for women with higher levels of melanin production. Through this, the skin has the best possible chance to thrive, and be well-equipped to tackle outside forces such as environmental aggressors or hormonal disruption. Whatever the case, skincare is intended to support your skin, not damage it.

    Here’s our ‘no nasties’ list:

    • High percentage acids
    • Any and all sulfates
    • Mineral oils
    • Denatured alcohols
    • Toxic chemicals (e.g., triclosan and MIT)
    • Toxic bleaching agents (e.g., hydroquinone, mercury, and corticosteroids)
    • Phenoxyethanol
    • Silicones
    • Plastic derivatives (e.g., carbomers, acrylates, polyethylene)

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