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Cosmetics Ingredients
The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients

Elevate Product Performance with Eco-friendly Elastomer Gels and Powders

Atchara Thompson & Cassie Zhao & Taewoo Kim – Oct 20, 2021

TAGS:  Skin Care      Hair Care      Sustainability / Natural Cosmetics   

Overcome Challenges in Formulating Natural & Green Products with Silicone Elastomers Today’s consumers desire healthy, glowing and youthful skin - they want products that offer more than just basic benefits. Additionally, they want products that are natural and “green” for their health and wellness and have a positive impact on climate change and sustainability.

Beauty care brands have made great progress in recycling, lowering carbon emission, water and energy consumption and minimizing waste. However, challenges remain with meeting consumers’ needs of higher efficacy with natural products. Formulators are especially challenged with choosing natural ingredients: limited choices, inconsistency in quality, difficulty to formulate with, lack of high beauty-enhancing efficacy, and affordability, just to name a few.

Derived from sand, silicones are mineral-based polymers, used synergistically with natural ingredients in beauty products for several decades. According to the Mintel GNPD database, close to half of the beauty care products contain at least one silicone.

Silicones are known to be inert, resisting natural aging, maintaining their physical properties and stability under a wide range of hot and cold temperatures, biocompatible, and suited for personal care applications. They are versatile in form and function due to their flexibility in molecular architectures: fluids, gums, elastomer gels, powders, and resins.

Silicones inherently have low surface tension, low friction coefficient, are soft and flexible, which translate to a myriad of consumer benefits such as detangling hair, restoring the damaged hair to its original hydrophobic state, imparting silky soft feel to the skin, or wetting and dispersing pigments to render a uniform make-up

Advanced silicone technologies offer:

  • Soft-focus to mask imperfection
  • Transfer resistance to makeup
  • SPF-boosting to sunscreen actives to increase sun protection efficacy, and many more.

Elkem recently introduced elastomer gels and powders under the PURESIL™ brand to help formulators overcome the challenges in creating high-performing natural and green products.

  • PURESIL™ ORG series feature an eco-friendly elastomer gel with high natural index and beauty enhancing efficacies.
  • PURESIL™ EP series feature the ability to create versatile end-product forms, such as creams, lotions, powders, powder compact, mascara, etc., and their main benefits including sebum absorption with hydration.

Both series have age-defying (line-blurring and soft, velvety skin) efficacies and are easy to formulate with common cosmetics ingredients.

ORG series INCI
PURESIL™ ORG 01 C13-15 Alkane (and) Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer
PURESIL™ ORG 02 C13-15 Alkane (and) Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (and) Silica
EP series INCI
PURESIL™ EP 02 Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (and) Silica
PURESIL™ EP 04 Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer

Let's explore the potential attributes and benefits of these silicone gels and powders upon application.

Award-winning, Eco-friendly and Beauty-enhancing PURESIL™ ORG Series

PURESIL™ ORG series, ORG 01 and ORG 02 are silicone elastomer gels (10-20%) in a naturally derived and biodegradable C13-15 alkane.

Different from other C13-15 Alkanes on the market, this alkane was chosen for its sustainable eco-design. This C13-15 Alkane is derived from renewable sugarcane. Sugarcane as a natural feedstock was chosen for its fast regeneration and minimum irrigation. The conversion was through fermentation and hydrogenation where the bagasse was used for energy cogeneration to further lower the carbon footprint1. A schematic depicting the process is shown in the figure below.

The process of deriving C13-15 alkane from sugarcane
The process of deriving C13-15 Alkane from Sugarcane

With natural indices of 0.8+ according to ISO 16128, the PURESIL™ ORG series is non-volatile. The C13-15 Alkane has a similar sensory profile to cyclopentasiloxane due to its lightness and quick absorption. Here are some of their feature and benefits:

  • Natural positioning, eco-friendly
  • Sensory aesthetics: soft, silky, velvety feel
  • Minimizing imperfection: line-blurring, matte finish
  • SPF boosting
  • Sebum control

Sensory & Line-blurring Effects

Upon application, PURESIL™ ORG 01 and ORG 02 impart both sensory and line-blurring effects, transform dry and rough skin into a velvety, elastic, smoother, younger-looking skin with a natural healthy glow. The figure below shows the line-blurring effect of eye creams with 20% silicone elastomer gels compared with bare skin. The PURESIL™ BSG-5040 in the comparison is a silicone elastomer gel delivered in cyclopentasiloxane (D5), a well-known benchmark in the silicone elastomers category.

line-blurring with PURESIL™ ORG series
Line-blurring with PURESIL™ ORG series

Sebum Absorption & SPF Boosting

In addition to the sensorial and visual benefits, sebum absorption and in-vitro SPF boosting were observed as well. With their high natural index, choice of sustainable carrier fluid and consumer-relevant performance features, PURESIL™ ORG 01 and ORG 02 received Ringier Technology Innovation Awards in 2020 and 2021, respectively. For details about the features and benefits of the ORG series, click here to request the technical bulletin.

Elevate your Formulas with the Versatile PURESIL™ EP Series

PURESIL™ EP series are 100% silicone elastomers in spherical powder forms. PURESIL™ EP 02 is a silicone elastomer with silica, and EP 04 is a silicone elastomer powder. Both are performance enhancers easy to incorporate in a wide variety of common cosmetic components such as natural oils, fatty acids, humectants, and (sunscreen) actives. They are performance ingredients with demonstrated attributes:

  • Sensory enhancers that impart a silky, smooth, and powdery feel
  • Line-blurring that minimize the appearance of skin imperfection
  • Sebum absorption with long-lasting hydration (used with humectants, e.g., glycerin)
  • Easy to formulate with other cosmetics ingredients
  • Many product forms are possible (e.g., creams, lotions, sticks, powders, powder compacts, etc.)

Among many challenges formulators face is the compatibility of ingredients. To achieve the desired form, function and texture, the ingredients need to stay together and work in concert in the final product. Often, it takes a significant amount of trial and error to derive a stable formula. PURESIL™ EP series, due to their flexible crosslinked network, can intake (absorb and adsorb) a wide variety of cosmetic ingredients. The table below shows the percent by weight intake of a wide variety of common cosmetic ingredients by PURESIL™ EP series.

Material Class Ingredient Liquid absorption capacity (% by weight) 
Fatty acid Caprylic/Capric triglyceride 95.76 24.71
Humectant Glycerin 270.61 61.35
Sunscreen Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate 85.38 41.48
Oils Sunflower oil 74.64 19.06
Castor oil 83.60 21.12
Jojoba oil 75.90 28.79
Hydrocarbon Isododecane 264.36 66.27
Silicone Cyclopentasiloxane 379.21 254.44

Liquid intake capacity of PURESIL™ EP series - ASTM D1483-12

The potential benefits brought by PURESIL™ elastomer powders’ ability to intake a wide variety of cosmetic ingredients can be significant in the following aspects:

  • Formulation thickening
  • Improved stability
  • Potential timed-release of ingredients
  • Possibility of a wide variety of product forms: creams, powders, powder-compacts, sticks, etc.

Sebum Absorption with Long-lasting Hydration

In addition to working well with a wide variety of cosmetic ingredients, the PURESIL™ EP series demonstrated the ability to absorb sebum and maintain hydration with the use of humectant, e.g., glycerin. Sebum absorption without drying out the skin is a sought-after benefit for skin (potentially also for scalp care). Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in young adults and some people well into their 30s. While many factors can cause acne, increased sebum production is one of them. Control excess sebum can be the first defense in preventing acne and an oily/greasy skin appearance.

PURESIL™ elastomer powder showed significant sebum absorption. The figure below shows PURESIL™ EP 02 and EP 04 to be on par or better than the competitive benchmarks in sebum control over time. The hydration level was measured by a Corneometer® on the skin treated with a moisturizing cream with 2% elastomer powder.

Sebum absorption of elastomer powders
Sebum absorption of elastomer powders

The figure below shows a sustained and slight increase in skin hydration level over time of sebum control moisturizing cream with PURESIL™ EP 04 compared to the one with the competitive benchmark.

Hydration over time with O/W cream with 2% elastomer powders
Hydration over time with O/W cream with 2% elastomer powders

Versatility in Enabling Many Types of Product Forms

PURESIL™ elastomer powders are found to be versatile in enabling many types of product forms like powders, powder compacts, sticks, creams and lotions. Formulations with these elastomer powders were found to have benefits such as:

  • Moisturizing
  • Sebum control
  • Enhanced sensory experience
  • Matte finish 
  • Line-blurring

A variety of prototype formulas, e.g., Sebum control moisturizing cream, Press-powder compact, Matte lip color, Water/oil resistant mascara, etc., are available upon request.

Get Inspired: Explore all the starting point formulations utilizing Elkem's Silicones


In summary, PURESIL™ ORG series and EP series are high-performance and versatile ingredients that allow formulators to meet the consumers’ desire for high efficacy green products. Additional details on features, benefits and creative prototype formulations of both PURESIL™ ORG series and EP series are available upon request.

Formulate Liquid Foundation with PURESIL™ Ingredients

Watch this 2 min video tutorial to learn to formulate a liquid foundation with PURESIL™ ORG 02 and PURESIL™ EP 04 by Elkem Silicones. These ingredients are oil phase thickeners resulting in formulating a high viscosity creamy foundation. Offers velvety touch, blurring finish, improves soft-focus effect and sebum absorption.

Download the tech papers to gain insight on more functional benefits one can achieve in there cosmetics formulations by using elastomer gel and powders series.

Elkem's PURESIL™ Product Range

View the full range of silicone grades from Elkem under the brand name PURESIL™, analyze technical data of each product, get technical assistance or request samples.

Cleansing Agents / SurfactantsPURESIL™ Elastomer Gel Series by Elkem Silicones – Download Technical Paper

ToiletriesWebinar on PURESIL™ Elastomer Gel Series – Watch Recording


  1. Developing Commercial Production of Semi-Synthetic Artemisinin, and of β-Farnesene, an Isoprenoid Produced by Fermentation of Brazilian Sugar, Kirsten R. Benjamin, etal, J. Braz. Chem. Soc. vol.27 no.8 São Paulo Aug. 2016

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