In the creation of beauty care products, various ingredients can be used to enhance the texture or extend the shelf life. Hydroxyethylcellulose is one such ingredient, found in a variety of skincare products. But what exactly is it? What is its purpose? In which products is it used? Here are the important details to know about Hydroxyethylcellulose.
What is "Hydroxyethylcellulose" and what is its utility?
Hydroxyethylcellulose: What is it?
Hydroxyethylcellulose is the INCI name for Hydroxyethylcellulose, abbreviated as HEC. This ingredient is categorised among semi-synthetic gelling agents. This non-ionic synthetic polymer is obtained through the action of ethylene oxide on cellulose. Hydroxyethylcellulose presents itself as a light, granular, odourless white powder. This ingredient is soluble in water, allowing for the creation of a clear, viscous solution. Hydroxyethylcellulose is particularly used in the formulation of cleaning solutions. It is also a common component in cosmetology. Hydroxyethylcellulose is found in various skin care products, shampoos, shower gels, shaving creams and gels, as well as make-up.
What is the utility of Hydroxyethylcellulose?
Hydroxyethylcellulose serves as a thickening and texturing agent. When mixed with water, it swells to retain the liquid. This property allows it to influence the viscosity of a skincare product. Hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) also acts as an emulsion stabiliser. This ingredient facilitates the emulsification process of two phases. Furthermore, Hydroxyethylcellulose is a film-forming agent. Thanks to this property, it forms a protective barrier on the surface of the skin, nails or hair, allowing the beneficial active ingredients to be maintained for an extended period on the application area of the skincare product. This stabilising agent also helps to stabilise the composition of skincare products, thereby increasing their shelf life.