Replace Plastic with Excellent Natural Exfoliating Options from Koster Keunen

Personal care products have utilized materials that exfoliate the skin, leaving skin refreshed and glowing. Since the 1970s the most popular exfoliating materials were microbeads made of plastici. And while they were a cost-effective ingredient, plastic microbeads are no longer the best option for formulators who offer products in the US, the EU, and an increasingly long list of nations.

Persistent, Transient, and Now a ‘No-Go’

Plastic microbeads do not biodegrade, and can be washed through water systems, ending up in oceans and freshwater alike. Their persistence is what initially brought them to the attention of world governments, as they were a health concern for fish and other aquatic creaturesii. New studies are finding that microplastics are present throughout the food chain, and even in humans’ bloodstreamsiii. The number of countries banning microplastics has increased since the Netherlands first took action in 2014iv. But the news for formulation of cosmetic products is far from bad. Replacement options abound.

Historic Natural Abrasives

Nut hulls, seeds, salt, sugar, and clay are all exfoliants that have been used over the long history of cosmetics. These remain common and effective ingredients that are also cost effective. Each of them has its own formulation challenges and benefits, with top priority being placed on formulating systems to properly support the desired exfoliant effect.

Koster Keunen’s own The Bee’s Knees Sugar Balm provides an example of a current product that utilizes an effective exfoliant system. Formulated for stability, sustainability, and a viscosity that keeps the sugar in place to do the good work of creating radiant skin, Bee’s Knee’s Sugar Balm shows off a thoroughly modern incarnation of a natural exfoliant.

Formula #8/17-421/154-7B

Ingredient Name INCI Name %
Phase A
White Beeswax Beeswax 7.0
Kester Wax K-82P C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate 5.0
High Oleic Sunflower Oil Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil 29.0
Dermol IPP Isopropyl Palmitate 7.0
Polyaldo 10-1-O Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate 5.0
Polyaldo 3-1-S Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate 4.0
Tiger Nut Oil Cyperus Esculentus Root Oil 1.0
Vitamin E Acetate Tocopheryl Acetate 1.5
Floviva Geranium Rose Oil Pelargonium Graveolens Oil 0.5
Sugar Sucrose 40.0

Hard Waxes Offer Strong Microbead Options

When the specifics of a formulation require a one-to-one replacement for microbeads, or you are looking for a new exfoliation experience for your products, hard wax beads can fill the bill. Available in a variety of natural colors, from white to a rich gold, wax beads can contribute to the visual appeal of your product line. Beyond looks, wax beads add glow-enhancing benefits to your products without resorting to plastics. For a direct replacement, Koster Keunen’s Kester Wax K-72 beads are a natural non-palm derived, white wax bead with a clean look that does not distract from your formula’s signature appearance.

The sunflower wax beads in Koster Keunen’s Sunflower Jelly Scrub are an excellent example of how you can provide a unique exfoliating experience using natural materials in innovative ways. The jelly formula spreads smoothly and keeps the beads in suspension, even at elevated temperatures. As a bonus feature, the sunflower wax beads are offered in multiple sizes.

Formula#: 9/14-258/154-7

Ingredient Name INCI Name %
Phase A
Sunflower Wax Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax 12.5
Kester Wax K-82P C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate 12.5
Jojoba Oil Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil 25.0
Castor Oil Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil 5.0
PEG-40 Hydrognated Castor Oil PEG-40 Hydrognated Castor Oil 9.8
Vitamin E Acetate Tocopheryl Acetate 0.2
HDK H20 Pyrogenic Silica Silica Dimethyl Silylate 1.0
PMMA-S Polymethyl Methacrylate 4.5
Permethyl 99A Isododecane 22.3
Organic Geranium Rose Oil6 Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil 0.2
Phase B
Sunflower Wax Beads Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax 7.0

Microbeads Customized to Your Exact Specifications

As every application that uses wax beads is so carefully formulated and the beads themselves must be sized to formula standards, we offer a few types of wax beads with three different, un-colored size options standard. To learn more about the types of wax used, or if you are looking for something outside of these standards, please contact us to discuss your formulation, dimension, and exfoliation goals.

About Koster Keunen

Koster Keunen has been working with wax since 1852 and has used our extensive experience and knowledge base to continuously develop new chemistries. Whether you are developing a new product, or need help with a reformulation or replacement, contact us to learn more about how we source, refine or develop waxes so you can create the perfect formula.