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Sustainable and bio-sourced shampoo and body care ingredients

Consumer demand for healthier and more eco-friendly personal care products is on the rise. To meet this trend, Solvay has developed a series of bio-sourced polymers that offer hair & personal care product manufacturers a full range of conditioning and texturizing features. Time to meet Jaguar®, a smoothing agent derived from (and owing its name to) a plant called guar.

A key Ingredient for sustainable beauty

In case you’ve never heard this oddly named plant, know that guar, or Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, is mostly cultivated in the semi arid areas of Northern India. Its seeds or fruit are a legume (like lentils, beans or chickpeas) from which can be extracted a high molecular weight polysaccharide – or in plainer terms, a sugar molecule. This is therefore an abundant and renewable resource.

Guar gum has a viscosifying effect in water: it’s a natural thickener that is used for many applications, from improving the texture of cheese to enhancing the consumer experience when eating ice cream. In the case of personal care, it possesses smoothing properties that make it a useful ingredient in hair and skin conditioning products, after it’s been chemically modified into a cationic derivative that interacts with the negatively charged surfaces of hair and skin, and also resists wash-out when you rinse it.

Solvay’s Jaguar® ingredients actually comprise a full range of guar-derived polymers that can help personal care product manufacturers improve their formulations in many ways. In shampoo, they for example help with combing and detangling, give hair a smoother feel and enhance the sensory attributes of foam. In body cleansing products, these polymers reduce the skin tightening caused by surfactants (cleansing agents), reduce irritations and give a silky after-feel by better controlling the delivery of oils and moisturizers contained in the formulation.

Learn about Jaguar®



Helping the development of conscious care

To improve the sourcing of its guar and maximize the positive environmental and social impact of its cultivation, Solvay has a long-standing involvement in the Sustainable Guar Initiative, a project created with local and international partners to ensure the optimal traceability of guar, teach the farmers who grow it how to implement environmentally sound agricultural practices, and to empower women. 

As a stakeholder in the Sustainable Guar Initiative, Solvay is able to provide its customers with guar-based ingredients that are not only natural, but sustainably sourced. One of these customers is Henkel, a consumer goods company active in laundry, home and beauty care that developed Nature Box, a range of nature-conscious products that also aim to promote social responsibility. Comprising shampoos and body gels featuring a high degree of naturalness, Nature Box was launched in August 2018 in Germany and Eastern Europe. Naturally, Jaguar® products became key ingredients in this line.

More broadly, Solvay’s environmentally conscious collaboration with Henkel, along with its involvement in the Sustainable Guar Initiative, fit perfectly within the Group’s strong commitment to developing a wide range of eco-friendly products and solutions that provide environmental benefits to many different economic sectors, from the food industry to cleaning products to agriculture, among others. 

Solvay offered us the possibility to use a high performing personal care ingredient while having a great social responsibility impact.

Dr. Elisabeth Poppe, Corporate Director, Henkel Beauty Care and R&D Hair Care.

The added value of social responsibility 

The fact that this particular guar comes with environmental and social added benefits was a crucial aspect of this collaboration. “Solvay offered us the possibility to use a high performing personal care ingredient while having a great social responsibility impact,” sums up Dr. Elisabeth Poppe, Henkel's Corporate Director for Hair Care Research & Development. “The Sustainable Guar Initiative is a best-in-class collaboration showing that Solvay and Henkel form an excellent contribution to the challenges of today’s world. At Henkel, we want to improve people’s quality of life through sustainable innovations such as Nature Box, and we need to work closely with our suppliers to optimize the development of more sustainable products.”

Resorting to guar is also a way of offering consumers more natural shampoo ingredients and thus answering the above-mentioned market trend. “We have been working closely with Henkel to replace the synthetic polymers in hair and body wash formulations and have been able to replace a substantial part with natural guar by now,” explains Niclas Wallén, Global Key Account Manager at Solvay. “And thanks to the Sustainable Guar Initiative, we also have a great business opportunity here.” When environmental sustainability, social responsibility and business development coincide, everyone – from farmers to consumers to the planet – wins.