Technology – The male of the species

Published: 6-Dec-2012

Ingredients that suit men\'s growing grooming needs include those for use in lubricating serums and oils, such as silicones and natural and essential oils, anti-inflammatory actives, those to reduce beard regrowth, exfoliants and actives designed to energise the skin

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Studies show that there are significant differences between men’s and women’s skin. John Woodruff looks at some of the ingredients that are able to meet the grooming needs of men

A review of patent literature over the last decade shows very little activity in products aimed specifically at men except for deodorants and shaving products. However a patent granted in 2010 (USP 7,730,551) describes an absorbent pad to be worn in the armpit to absorb perspiration.

Gillette was granted a patent in 2003 (USP 6,627,185) for a non-aerosol shaving gel free of thickening and gelling agents. The patent proposes the use of a triethanolamine soap completely dissolved in water with a solubilising agent to provide the soap in the hexagonal liquid crystal phase in the composition. When the soap molecules are arranged in this form, the composition becomes a non-flowing gel with a yield viscosity.

USP 6,165,456 describes a self-foaming shaving gel, which includes water, a water soluble soap component and a self-foaming agent plus hydrogenated polyisobutene in combination with a fluorosurfactant. When spread over the skin and beard the composition produces foam generated by the action of a volatile self-foaming agent. A different approach to this type of formulation is described in USP 5,858,343 utilising polyethylene oxide and polyvinylpyrrolidone in an aerosol composition.

The most popular pre-shave products are shaving foam and shaving gel. Shaving foams are an aerosol version of the original shaving creams based on soft soaps such as TEA-palmitate and TEA-myristate and are likely to contain alkoxylated alcohols such as oleth-20 to improve foam. Glycerine may be included to soften hair and condition skin in order to deliver a smooth razor glide and a shave that is close and comfortable.

Other additives to improve razor glide may be esters, vegetable oils or silicone compounds and many will include botanical extracts to conform to modern trends in natural ingredients. Shaving gels are similar in composition but instead of a propellant to foam the product they contain a volatile hydrocarbon, typically isopentane, which foams the gel on application.

A novel effect is possible by incorporating XO-Therm-SP from Chemsil Silicones. It is a medium viscosity, self-warming liquid lubricant that instantly warms upon contact with moisture with temperature increases possible up to 15°C. XO-Therm-SP [INCI: PEG-8, PEG-4, VP] was specially formulated for use in shaving applications where a warming sensation combined with lubricity and emolliency is desired.

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