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Unleash the power of “Better Together” ingredient combinations to create sunscreens that shine.

Published On: 08/21/23

Peanut butter and jelly

Peanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Sand and sun. Some things are just "better together" than they are apart. That’s why BASF expert formulators have tested countless combinations of UV filters, chassis ingredients, and cosmetic actives to find the best balance between effective protection and a pleasant sensorial experience.

Developing SPF products that offer high levels of protection and have consumers excited to wear them daily is no easy task, which is why BASF has a broad offering of ingredients that work well in sunscreen formulas. Ingredients that work “Better Together” enable unique and effective sunscreen product development.

Interested in a quick guide to which ingredients work “Better Together” in sunscreen formulas? Request the brochures below.

Organic sunscreen solutions brochure BASF

Organic Sunscreen Solutions

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Mineral sunscreen solutions brochure BASF

Mineral Sunscreen Solutions

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First and Foremost

Before diving into formulation development of sunscreens, it’s important to consider which type of UV filters to use, as that impacts other chassis and cosmetic active ingredients added to the formula. Organic filters tend to have great aesthetics and the ability to make clear formulations, which is a benefit for consumers. Mineral UV filters such as Zinc Oxide have a positive reputation among consumers for safety and sustainability, making them an excellent choice for consumers whose priorities are effective, yet safe and environmentally friendly products.

BASF’s Zinc Oxide portfolio, Z-COTE®, is extensive and provides formulators with options to match their desired claims and aesthetics. The portfolio includes coated and uncoated powders in a variety of particle sizes for the most flexibility and dispersions for ease of processing and optimal performance. Z-COTE® HP1 X delivers broad-spectrum UV protection and excellent photo-stability. The non-greasy mineral UV filter can be used for beachwear as well as daily wear SPF formulas. Z-COTE HP1 X is less dense than Z-COTE HP1, leading to smoother, more pleasant aesthetics.

For formulators looking to create a highly transparent formula using naturally derived ingredients, Z-COTE® Sheer is a great fit. The naturally derived liquid dispersion of Zinc Oxide is highly effective, has excellent photostability, and allows for the creation of lightweight formulas that protect the skin. With its ease of use and high compatibility, Z-COTE® Sheer offers excellent flexibility for formulators and works in harmony with other natural ingredients.

The Building Blocks

When building any formulation, there are key functional ingredients that must be considered. Emulsifiers and rheology modifiers are critical in creating stable, well structured, aesthetically pleasing emulsions. Luckily, BASF has a large portfolio of these ingredients for all types of sunscreen formulas, whether W/O or O/W and regardless of UV filter selection.

Dehymuls® PGPH is a naturally derived emulsifier that works well in the preparation of low viscosity, water-in-oil emulsions, and is flexible for use with a wide variety of emollients. For O/W applications, try Emulgade® Verde 10MS, a versatile, naturally derived, non-ethoxylated emulsifier, that creates lamellar structures. It performs very well compared to EO-based emulsifiers and enables easy distribution on the skin as well as pleasant sensory in formulations.

The Verdessence™ portfolio of biopolymers provides chemists with effective, natural rheology modifiers to thicken and stabilize emulsions. Verdessence™ Xanthan is an easy-to-process, vegan xanthan gum with suspending and stabilization properties ideal for sunscreen formulations. It can stabilize low viscosity emulsions and create clear, aqueous-based formulations. This is accompanied by Verdessence™ Alginate, an algae-based, natural rheology modifier that provides an enhanced feel on the skin. Additionally, Verdessence™ Tara can be used to create smooth and shapely textures, acting as an effective thickener and texture enhancer. All of the products in the Verdessence portfolio offer sustainability benefits as they are made from 100% renewable feedstocks and are readily biodegradable.

Consistent Efficacy

Another key aspect of creating effective sunscreens is proper film formation, which ensures even distribution of the product on the skin surface, optimizes efficiency of the UV filters, and enhances water/wear resistance of the product. Films can be disrupted by water or sweat, which we often encounter while wearing sunscreen on the beach, at the pool, or in the course of daily outdoor activities. Check out BASF’s solutions to create even films and support water resistance claims.

Multifunctional ingredients are great additions to sunscreen developments. Cosmedia® DC, can not only provide water resistance in sun care formulations, but also enables a unique sensorial profile with an initial moisture boost. Additionally, Cosmedia® Gel CC can act as an emulsion stabilizer and suspending agent, while providing a nice sensorial effect and improving spreadability.

We’ve Got a Feeling

It’s no secret that consumers are searching for (and are much more likely to use) sunscreen products featuring a great texture or pleasant skin-feel. This can include characteristics such as being lightweight, non-sticky, non-greasy, and transparent. It can be difficult to achieve this when using mineral UV filters, which can be more whitening and are generally not as pleasant to apply. That’s why formulation development is critical; it requires quite a bit of skill to find the perfect combination of ingredients and to create products that consumers will find exciting and fun to wear. BASF has a robust portfolio of emollients and sensory modifiers, which can help to improve the skin feel of sunscreen formulations and add pizzazz that will excite consumers.

Cegesoft® SH is a waxy emollient with a melting point near skin temperature, giving it the ability to leave skin feeling silky and velvety smooth. Additionally, Myritol® 331 N, a medium spreading emollient derived from coconut oil, has excellent moisturization properties and superior pigment dispersing capabilities. Our fast-spreading emollients, Cetiol® C5 and Cetiol® Ultimate are best-in-class for fast absorption and leaving a smooth, dry feeling on the skin. They also act as great alternatives to volatile silicones.

Sensory modifiers are also critical here, which is why BASF recently launched Verdessence™ RiceTouch, a 100% plant-based, sensory powder with small particle size providing a powdery, light, and smooth skin-feel. It is ideal for matte-type cosmetics, skin care formulas, and sunscreens. It is also suited for natural and organic cosmetics, boasting the same sustainability benefits as the rest of the Verdessence portfolio.

Extra, Extra!

The skinification of sunscreens trend continues to grow in the market, leading to more daily-wear products, and sunscreens which include additional ingredients to promote healthy skin. This presents opportunities for brands to differentiate themselves by creating unique, multifunctional SPF products. Cosmetic active ingredients are a great place to start when building sunscreen products with skin care benefits.

BASF has a unique portfolio of cosmetic active ingredients that can support skin care claims such as moisturization and support of the skin’s barrier. Two of our star ingredients are Hydagen® Aquaporin and Hydrasensyl® Glucan Green. Hydagen® Aquaporin is made of highly concentrated glyceryl glucoside. Clinical studies show that it has superior moisturizing benefits compared to glycerin and can moisturize instantly and long-term for 24-hour hydration. Hydrasensyl® Glucan Green merges the beneficial properties of hyaluronic acid and collagen. The 3D structure makes it highly stable and compatible with harsh formulation conditions. Besides its clinically demonstrated skin smoothing and hydrating properties, it helps to reduce the appearance of redness.

Ingredients such as Bisabolol rac., D-Panthenol 75-W, and Vitamin E Acetate Care can further support sunscreen performance, offering benefits such as helping to protect the skin barrier and improving the appearance of skin, including skin elasticity and smoothness.

Collaborate on Development

Request the brochures below to get a comprehensive list of ingredients that work “Better Together” in sunscreen formulas.

Organic sunscreen solutions brochure BASF

Organic Sunscreen Solutions

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Mineral sunscreen solutions brochure BASF

Mineral Sunscreen Solutions

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