Cosmetics_Personal Care


More recently, Hydrocolloids have found a fit in the personal care industry, where they often replace synthetic chemicals with similar properties. Driven by consumers’ thirst for “all-natural” products, many manufacturers are trying to leverage the long history of hydrocolloids in the food industry for personal care applications.

Hydrocolloids already appear in the ingredients lists of many:

  • Lotions, 
  • Creams, 
  • Haircare products, 
  • Shower gels, 
  • Sunscreens, 
  • Toothpaste, 
  • Antiperspirants/deodorants,
  • Hand sanitizer, 
  • Body lotion,  
  • Seaweed gel mask.

P&G launched the Pantene® Nature Fusion hair care collection. Key to the line’s marketing approach is that Nature Fusion products contain a chemically modified version of cassia gum, a hydrocolloid from the seeds of a legume native to India. Pantene scientists found that adding hydroxypropyltrimonium cations to the cassia polysaccharide enhanced its hair-conditioning properties.




Used in

Cellulose gum

Wood pulp or cotton

Thickening, forming films

Lotions, shower gels, toothpaste


Red seaweed

Thickening, stabilizing, forming gels and films

Lotions, shampoos, shave gels, toothpaste

Gellan gum

Sphingomonas elodea bacteria, found on water lily

Suspending, stabilizing, forming gels and films

Sprayable sunscreens, body washes, toothpaste


Citrus peel, sugar beets

Thickening, skin feel, pH buffering

Lotions, aftershave creams and gels

Xanthan gum

Xanthomonas campestris bacteria, found on cabbage plants

Thickening, suspending, stabilizing

Lotions, sunscreens, mascara, body washes, toothpastes

  • Hydrocolloids help the sunscreen emulsion recover its structure after application, allowing uniform and long-lasting protection from the sun.
  • Hydrocolloids also make formulations more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Hydrocolloids can help suspend millimeter-sized particulates in exfoliating cleansers or enhance a cleanser’s foaming action.
  • They also contribute to the “skin feel” of a cream or lotion.
  • Using hydrocolloids is a great way to provide the lubrication that helps keep hair protected from breakage during washing and wet combing

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