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Our hope is that, through this research, we can update our definition of “clean beauty” to include a fair and balanced depiction of silicones. Until then, you can be sure you’ll never see any silicones in Eighteen B products.
At Eighteen B, we want to be confident about every ingredient that goes into our formulations. That’s why we decided not to use silicones in our products. Lindsay, our Chief Science Officer, tells us why she stands by this decision.
When we launched Eighteen B, we made the decision not to include silicone polymers in our formulations. The choice was a challenging one. Silicones impart a lovely texture to skincare formulations. They play nicely with makeup and have been shown to act as skin protectants. They have a slippery glide that makes them feel hydrating and easy to apply.
And yet, after extensive research, we came to the conclusion that there is not enough data on the safety and environmental impact of silicones to feel comfortable using them.
Using silicones in personal care applications is a complex issue. It’s so complex, in fact, that all of the nuances won’t be captured here. Silicone is an amazing material that plays a critical role in many aspects of our lives. Silicones are polymers derived from sand and methyl chloride. These polymers are processed further to create flexible and elastomeric materials. Thanks to their rubbery texture and heat resistance, silicones are frequently used in consumer products like electronics, kitchen supplies, medical devices, automobiles, and, yes, hair- and skincare products.
At Eighteen B, we believe that certain use cases of silicone make a lot of sense, particularly when the product can be reused time and time again. Skincare formulations, on the other hand, are wiped off or rinsed off down the drain and it’s not clear what happens next. As my mother is a scientist who spent years working to clean up contaminated groundwater in California, this is particularly concerning to me.
As for their impacts on human health, silicone polymers are considered to be low-risk, but there are some interesting nuances to this. Cyclic silicones (these are small molecule silicone, not silicone polymers) have recently come under scrutiny. Some data indicates that these chemicals – referred to as D4, D5, and D6 – may have reproductive, developmental toxicity, and/or endocrine disruption concerns. While silicone polymers and cyclic silicones are different molecules, in certain instances the cyclics can be found in trace amounts in silicone polymers.
There is A LOT of debate about this. The silicones D4, D5, and D6 have been listed as Substances of Very High Concern in the European Union. As we speak, the EU is deciding whether to place additional restrictions on the use of cyclic silicones in personal care products. It’s a hot button topic that will unfold over the next couple of years.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to take matters into our own hands. We are working with a group of toxicologist experts to better understand the impact of silicones and other polymers on the environment. Our hope is that, through this research, we can update our definition of “clean beauty” to include a fair and balanced depiction of silicones.
Until then, you can be sure you’ll never see any silicones in Eighteen B products. We’ve been able to recreate the slick, hydrating texture in our products without using silicones. The texture is so nice, in fact, that we think you’ll never miss them.
Do you have questions? Comments? Topics you want us to cover? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.