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Can beauty products turn into ‘paper’?

Credit: University of East Anglia

Professional Beauty UK reports that a new technology developed by university researchers can turn moisturiser into small discs of paper-like material.

This breakthrough from the University of East Anglia (UEA) means that 98% of the water in beauty products like moisturiser, sun cream, shampoo and conditioner can be removed. Users simply need to add a drop of water to the paper-like disc to rehydrate it instantly.

The researchers believe this technology could potentially revolutionise the beauty industry by dramatically reducing both its carbon footprint and packaging waste. And, it also removes the need for preservatives in these products and improves their shelf life.

Lead researcher Professor Sheng Qi, from UEA’s School of Pharmacy, said: “Most cosmetics and toiletries contain up to 95 per cent water, leading to heavy units by volume and bulky packaging.

“Every year, 120 billion units of cosmetics and toiletries are packaged and shipped globally, so the industry has a huge carbon footprint.

“The technology that we have developed uses a no-heat process to transform a range of water and oil-based based beauty and skincare products into paper-like discs.”

The innovative process allows up to 98% of water to be removed, while preserving the stability of delicate active ingredients.

Just add a single drop of water, and the dry sheets rapidly reconstitute to a cream or lotion, which can be applied in the same way as conventional products.

Professor Qi added: “We originally developed this technology for the pharmaceutical industry, but it quickly became clear that it could really help reduce the carbon footprint of the beauty industry.

“Removing the water and oil from toiletries like moisturiser, sun cream, and other hair and beauty products means that we can not only improve their shelf life but hugely reduce product and packaging weight, transportation costs, plastic waste and the need for preservatives.

“Above all, it dramatically reduces their carbon footprint, which is better for the environment. We hope it will help the beauty industry achieve Net Zero carbon targets and sustainability goals, without compromising product quality and performance.”

UEA has partnered with PBL Technology, which is leading on the commercialisation of the patent-pending DRIES technology. For commercial enquiries contact info@pbltechnology.com

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