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Formula Anatomy Deciphered: Temporary Hair Depilation
By: Eric S. Abrutyn, TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc.
Posted: December 29, 2010, from the January 2011 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
- Figure 1. The breakage of the disulfide bridges of keratin allows for the formation of new disulfide bonds.
- Figure 2. Thioglycolic acid
- Figure 3. X-Epil Extra Sensitive Depilation Cream
- Figure 4. Veet Hair Removal Mousse
- Figure 5. Yves Rocher Aloe Vera Essentiel Cold Wax Strips:
- Figure 6. Auchan Depil Mousse Piels Sensibles (Hair Removing Mousse for Sensitive Skin)
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X-Epil Extra Sensitive Depilation Cream: This cream, shown in Figure 3, is formulated with aloe vera to moisturize sensitive skin. The dermatological-tested product claims to gently yet thoroughly remove unwanted hair from the face, legs, underarms and bikini zone. This is an emulsion utilizing cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, ceteareth-11, glyceryl stearate and glyceryl oleate as the emulsifier package. Key actives include the hydroxide bases and thioglycolic acid/salts for cleavage of the disulfide bond, as well as urea to help facilitate rapid penetration into the hair. Approximate ingredient concentrations for the formula are shown in Table 1 on Page 24.
Veet Hair Removal Mousse: This mousse, pictured in Figure 4, is formulated with a moisturizing complex of shea butter and lily. The product is said to make depilation easier and remove hair in three minutes without shaving. The mousse is produced with a butane propane propellant along with acrylates copolymer, ceteareth-20 and PPG-15 stearyl ether as suspending agents. Approximate amounts of each ingredient are given in Table 2. Key active ingredients are the hydroxide bases and the thioglycolic acid/salts for cleavage of the disulfide bond and, again, urea to help facilitate rapid penetration into the hair.
Yves Rocher Aloe Vera Essentiel Cold Wax Strips: These strips, shown in Figure 5, offer gentle depilation with soothing and softening aloe vera. The wax strips remove hair with a long-lasting result that reportedly lasts up to four weeks. The formula ingredients as well as their function and approximate concentration are listed in Table 3. The key ingredients in the strips are glyceryl rosinate and polyethylene, to develop the wax structure, and Paraffinum liquidum to soften the wax system.
Auchan Depil Mousse Piels Sensibles (Hair Removing Mousse for Sensitive Skin): The depilatory mousse shown in Figure 6 contains almond oil, shea butter and vitamins A, C, and E to reportedly leave skin soft, smooth and moisturized. Table 4 lists the ingredients in the product, along with their function and approximate concentrations. Key actives are thioglycolic acid, neutralized with potassium/sodium hydroxide, along with an isobutene/propane propellant system and carbomer/ceteareth-20 emulsifier system Formulator Beware Prior to the evolution of thioglycolate actives for chemical depilation, other actives were used with varying success. Sulfides, particularly barium polysulfide, have been around for more than 100 years. While these materials are capable of rapid depilation, they also can produce drastic depilation due to the high levels of irritation and erythema they cause. An alternative to barium polysulfide is strontium sulfide, which is milder but requires higher concentrations and produces a less desirable hydrogen sulfide odor. Due to the disadvantages of sulfides, the majority of depilatory agents today are based on substituted mercaptans (thioglycolates).
Genetic replication and genomics may soon enable other products to be launched that minimize hair growth or improve hair removal in a more natural manner.