Fatty Acid Esters

Hi,

I see a lot of praise from ingredients suppliers towards fatty acid esters - ethylhexyl palmitate/olivate, claiming that they are a good natural alternative to silicones, improve spreading and provide film-forming properties. However, I am struggling to find any additional information on how do they impact the skin: is it easier to breakdown by the skin's enzymes? Does it have the same benefits that the actual fatty acids provide? 
Basically, I am trying to understand when would it make sense to substitute a natural oil (or a portion of it) with an ester. I have tried adding a 10% of the ester to the regular oil and couldn't feel any sensory difference. It is cheaper than certain oils, but is it the only advantage?

Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • Esters are a whole new world. There are many of them and they have different properties. Benefits: they are not prone to oxidation, they don’t vary in properties as much as vegetable oils (c12-15 alkyl benzoate will be the same while, say, rosehip oil from different suppliers can have different color and viscosity), and they have MUCH better spreadability. I don’t think you can replace silicones by anything else. What they mean by alternative is probably that some esters are volatile like some silicones and you can use a volatile ester in place of a volatile silicone. I am not aware of the existence of volatile veg oil. 
  • Also, don’t want to disappoint you but veg oils don’t provide any real benefits. So esters, synthetic oils and petrolatum is a way to go. You can add a tiny amount of veg oil as a claim ingredient. Check what luxury skincare brands do: esters, petrolatum and butirospermum parkii butter somewhere near 1% line (shiseido, guerlain, SK-II, etc)
  • Thank you! I haven't seen any claims regarding volatility, just the spreadability and film-forming properties. I agree stability against oxidation is a huge benefit too. However, these are my issues from a formulator's perspective. In order to justify an ingredient (that often looks unfamiliar) to the end user from their perspective, I was hoping there is anything else that stands out and can explain why do we use this ingredient. I have seen it in the suggested formulations for a body oil being added up to 60%!
  • I was under the impression that fatty acids do matter for the healthy sebum composition. Luxury brands just add palmitic acid and linoleic acid directly in their creams, omitting vegetable oils as their source. I am not there yet to be able to purchase directly from Sigma-Aldrich, unfortunately :-/
    However, my question was more in the context of the facial or body oils where (I assumed) customers look for vegetable oils on the label in the first place. After your comment, I went to check out what does Shiseido offer. Apparently, they do use the mentioned ester as one of the top ingredients along with the mineral oil, just like you said:

    INGREDIENTS: DIMETHICONE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE, PEG/POLY(1,2-BUTANEDIOL)-52/32 DIMETHYL ETHER, ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE, MINERAL OIL(PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM/HUILE MINERALE), DIETHYLHEXYL SUCCINATE, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, DIPHENYLSILOXY PHENYL TRIMETHICONE, PEG-20 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM), WATER(AQUA/EAU), ISOSTEARIC ACID, BIS-ETHYLHEXYLOXYPHENOL METHOXYPHENYL TRIAZINE, DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL, LINALOOL, LIMONENE, BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL, BHT, TOCOPHEROL, ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE, CITRONELLOL, GERANIOL, BENZYL BENZOATE, ARGANIA SPINOSA KERNEL OIL, CARTHAMUS TINCTORIUS (SAFFLOWER) SEED OIL, OENOTHERA BIENNIS (EVENING PRIMROSE) OIL, MACADAMIA TERNIFOLIA SEED OIL, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, SODIUM ACETYLATED HYALURONATE, ALCOHOL, RED 17 (CI 26100), SACCHAROMYCES FERMENT LYSATE FILTRATE, BETA-CAROTENE (CI 75130), PIPERIDINEPROPIONIC ACID, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, PHENOXYETHANOL
  • What product is it? Doesn’t look like a moisturizer. You will find esters in the most of luxury moisturizers in the market. The application changes drastically. I can see isopropyl mirystate in the LOI you posted. It’s as thin as water and has a fantastic spreadability. Coco caprylate should be volatile. If you want to see the difference: isopropyl myristate, coco caprylate, propanediol dicaprylate, caprylic/capric triglycerides. You can still add oils for claims. 
  • It is their face oil, where marketing page says:

    KEY INGREDIENTS

    Formulated with a blend of six ultra rich, luxurious oils: Evening Primrose Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Argan Oil, Safflower Oil and Japanese Yuzu Oil for a delicate fragrance.Exclusive Skingenecell 1P to helps provide age defending benefits.

    But you can see from the list that vegetable oils are added way below 1%. I have seen a similar approach before in La Mer Facial Oil, but at least there was an actual oil as a first ingredient. Shiseido went even farther :smile:

    Here's La Mer:
    Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Water, Trisiloxane, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Polydecene, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Algae (Seaweed) Extract, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Oxycoccus Palustris (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal, Sodium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Tocopheryl Succinate, Niacin, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Powder, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Hydrolyzed Algin, Sea Salt/Maris Sal/Sel Marin, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul'S Wort) Extract, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract, Yeast Extract/Faex/Extrait De Levure, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Commiphora Mukul Resin Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Peel Extract, Molasses Extract/Saccharum Officinarum/Extrait De Melasse, Sucrose, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Acetyl Glucosamine, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Alcohol Denat., Fragrance, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Amyl Cinnamal, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate, Coumarin, Citronellol, Bht, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 5 (Ci 19140), Yellow 6 (Ci 15985)

    I did try a blend with 18% of esters (+triglycerides) today and finally figured what the sensory difference is. Now I wouldn't be able to go back to pure oils even if I wanted to :))
  • I like a combination of coco caprylate, isopropyl myristate and ethylhexyl palmitate.
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