Biotech company Lygos breaks into personal care market with biodegradable polymer

Biotech company Lygos breaks into personal care market with biodegradable polymer

The polymer, branded Soltellus, ​is said to offer a more sustainable alternative to other currently available polymers for personal care product formulations. 

According to the company’s press release, “Soltellus offers a unique combination of biodegradability, mildness, and multifunctionality,” and is a biodegradable polymer with chelating and film-forming properties, suitable for hair care and skin care applications. Additionally, the ingredient is included in the EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List and has an EWG rating of 1.

Strategic entry into the personal care market

The increasing consumer demand for clean beauty products has driven Lygos’ strategic entry into the personal care market. Soltellus’ recent debut at NYSCC Suppliers’ Day highlighted the company’s commitment to addressing this demand. “Consumers are increasingly seeking sustainable options,” John Chase, Director of Personal Care at Lygos, told CosmeticsDesign, “and we believe our solutions empower product developers to create the high-performing, eco-friendly cosmetics that today’s market craves.

“Lygos’ initial efforts are targeted toward permanent hair dye and skin care, where the unique combination of mildness, film-forming, and chelating properties of Soltellus can have a significant impact” to “empower formulators to create better products for a more responsible supply chain,” he said.

R&D, applications & formulations

The formulation process behind Soltellus involved significant research and development. Throughout the process, Lygos “focused on understanding consumer needs so we could produce a product that meets both performance and sustainability needs,” stated Chase.
A primary challenge was optimizing the commercial-scale production process while remaining aligned with the company’s sustainability goals.

“The beauty industry is craving sustainable, high-performance ingredients,” he explained, which is “why we’re pioneering bio-inspired solutions like Soltellus.”  

Soltellus has shown promising results in hair care applications. Its chelating properties remove mineral buildup that dulls hair and hinders color absorption in permanent hair dye applications.

Additionally, its film-forming abilities enhance hair shine by improving the surface regularity of hair strands. “Soltellus can tackle two major concerns in permanent hair dye applications: hair damage and color vibrancy,” Chase noted.

In skin care, Soltellus can form a breathable film on the skin, offering protection and improved texture without clogging pores. As mentioned in the press release, “The polymer’s film-forming properties can enhance the texture and appearance of skin care products, providing a smoother and more luxurious feel.”

Lygos researchers have also continued to focus on innovating the ingredient’s formulation. “Currently Soltellus is biodegradable,” Chase explained, “and we are making strides towards becoming bio-based as well.”

Future plans and developments

Lygos has plans for future developments of Soltellus and other products in its personal care portfolio. “We’re actively exploring exciting new derivatives to unlock even more performance benefits for personal care products,” Chase said. For example, the company is expanding into rheology modifiers for innovative texture solutions, and “the future of Soltellus is bright,” he added, as Lygos continues to “bridge the gap between cutting-edge materials and real-world applications,” Chase concluded.

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