Capillary Electrophoresis: ‘Green’ Method to Quantify Cosmetic Components

Currently, 10,000 components can be used to make cosmetics. In 2009, the European Union approved Regulation 1223/2009, which established a list of components guaranteeing consumer safety as well as certain conditions for using these components, such as maximum concentration and in what types of products they can be used.1

In relation, in his Ph.D. thesis, Josu López, researcher in the Department of Applied Chemistry of the Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea’s (UPV/EHU) Faculty of Chemistry, developed and applied three “green” analytical methods to simultaneously analyze and quantify various components used in cosmetics. The methods studied by López are based on capillary electrophoresis.

"One of the most important advantages of this technique is that it is a ‘green’ technique because little organic solvent is used and little residue is produced in comparison with other analytical techniques," explained López, in a press statement.

In particular, López has worked on methods to analyze musk fragrances, allergens, antimicrobial preservatives, antioxidant preservatives and UV filters.2 He has applied them in the analysis of various perfumes, shampoos, gels, soaps, sun creams and a range of domestic products.

"All the products we analyzed comply with the regulation," added López.

To prepare the samples used in these methods, the product must be diluted, explained López. However, one of the advances of this technique is the simultaneous separation of various components.

"We have developed a function to simplify the optimization of the most significant variables," he added.

The next step will be to try and simultaneously analyze a larger quantity of components, and reduce the minimum concentration for detection purposes in the methods.


1. J. Lopez-Gazpio, R. Garcia-Arrona, E. Millán. "Application of response function methodology for the simultaneous determination of potential fragrance allergens and preservatives in personal care products using micellar electrokinetic chromatography". Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2014, 406(3), 819-829.

2. J. Lopez-Gazpio, R. Garcia-Arrona, E. Millán. "Simultaneous determination of multiclass preservatives including isothiazolinones and benzophenone-type UV-filters in household and personal care products by micellar electrokinetic chromatography". Electrophoresis, 2015, vol. 36, 1064-1072.

More in Method/Process