Boron Nitride: The New Ingredient In Cosmetics

Jul 19, 2022 | BENEFITS, Human Health

Boron Nitride

Boron nitride is a relatively new ingredient in the world of cosmetics. It’s a white, powdery inorganic substance that has a similar appearance to talc. However, unlike talc, boron nitride is non-toxic and non-irritating, making it an ideal ingredient for use in various cosmetics.

Boron Nitride

Boron Nitride

A Cosmetic and Cosmetics

Under the Industrial Chemical Act 1989, a cosmetic is described as any material designed for contact with an exterior part of the human body. They are used to cleanse, perfume, protect, and alter the appearance or odor of the body. Therapeutics, on the other hand, are materials that modify a bodily process or prevent, diagnose, cure, or alleviate any disease.

As a result of this distinction, shampoos and deodorants are classified as cosmetics, whereas medications and first aid supplies are classified as therapeutics.

However, when it comes to the ingredients in our cosmetics, it’s safe to say that we don’t always know what we’re putting on our skin. With thousands of different products on the market, all containing varying combinations of ingredients, it can be challenging to track what’s in each one.

In the United States alone, there are approximately 12,500 unique chemical ingredients approved to be used to manufacture personal care products. A typical product will contain anywhere from 15 to 50 of these ingredients. Considering the average woman uses between 9 and 15 personal care products per day, it is predicted that women introduce themselves to nearly 515 chemicals regularly through their cosmetic use.

So what exactly are these chemicals that we are putting onto our skin? And more importantly, are they safe?

Ingredients in Cosmetics

Water, emulsifier, emollient, color, preservative, thickener, pH stabilizers, and fragrance are all common ingredients in cosmetics. While each product’s formula varies slightly, these are the crucial attributes that work together to create the final product.

Water, for example, is often used as a solvent to solubilize other ingredients and help in their mixing. Emulsifiers help oil-based and water-based ingredients mix and stay together, while preservatives help prevent bacteria and mold growth. Thickening agents contribute to the desired consistency of products, whereas emollients soften and smooth the skin by avoiding water loss. Colors can be added for aesthetic purposes, whereas fragrances are used to give products a pleasant odor. pH stabilizers aid in keeping a product’s acidity or alkalinity at the desired level.

Boron Nitride in Cosmetics

Boron nitride is found in a wide range of cosmetics, including foundation, liquid make-up, eyeshadow, blush, kajal, lipsticks, and lip liner, as well as anti-aging products, sunscreens, and other skincare products. It acts as a slip modifier, improving the product’s texture and making it easier to apply. 

In a 2015 paper “Safety Assessment of Boron Nitride as Used in Cosmetics” authored by Monice M. Fiume, Senior Director at the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, and first published in the International Journal of Toxicology on November 1, 2015, data from the FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program reports that boron nitride is found in 483 cosmetic formulations.

The author states that “products containing boron nitride may be applied to the eye area (less than or equal to 25% in eye product formulations), could possibly be ingested (2% in lipstick formulations), or may possibly be inhaled (less than or equal to 16% in powders and at up to 0.9% in fragrance preparations).”

Cosmetics with Boron Nitride

Various products contain boron nitride, out of which very few are listed below:

Eye ProductsFace PowderFoundation
Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Eye ConcentrateSASC Flawless Miracle Powdere.l.f. Camo Powder Foundation
Beaute basics Lavish Foiled EyeshadowWet n Wild Photo Focus Pressed PowderSisley Phyto-Teint Éclat Compact Compact Foundation
Darphin Wrinkle Corrective Eye Contour CreamSkinfood Peach Cotton Multi Finish Powderjane iredale Purepressed Base SPF 20 Mineral Foundation
Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye SerumGirlactik Luminous Face PowderBoots No7 Stay Perfect Foundation
Clarins Double Serum EyeKIKO Milano Matte Fusion Pressed PowderCYO Long Lasting Foundation Lifeproof
Clarins Re-Fresh Energising Eye RollerLooke Holy Smooth & Blur Loose Powder - FreyaSoap & Glory Kick Ass All Day Wear Foundation
KKW Beauty Classic Eyeshadow PalettePhysicians Formula Super CC Powder SPF30Essence Stay All Day 16H Foundation
SkinMedica Tns Illuminating Eye CreamThe Body Shop Loose Face PowderFocallure Air Fluid Foudation
e.l.f. Everyday Smoky Eyeshadow PaletteToo Faced Born This Way Setting PowderFocallure Stay Max Long Wear High Coverage Foudation
elf Bite-size Eyeshadowinnisfree No-Sebum Moisture PowderIlia True Skin Serum Foundation

Source: Incidecoder

Properties of Boron Nitride in Cosmetics

Boron nitride has a wide range of applications in the chemical industry as a common multi-functional additive. Furthermore, its unique properties (smooth texture, good adhesion, bright white gloss, and ease of use) make it an ideal ingredient for various cosmetic formulations.

Boron nitride can be used as a thickener, filler, or suspending agent. It can also help improve product heat stability and shelf life. Furthermore, boron nitride can act as an absorbent, aiding in the control of oil and shine in foundations and powders.

Boron Nitride in Color Cosmetics

Boron Nitride has the following benefits and uses in cosmetics: Using translucent BN particles enhances color effects. Opaque BN has a high degree of covering capacity. And has skin-lightening properties giving the skin a velvety feel. BN affords excellent dispersion and skin adhesion with a long-term impact for stabilized emulsions

Boron Nitride in Skin Care

In Skin Care, Boron Nitride offers high oil absorption capacity, regulating moisture and protecting skin from drying out. The sensation of a cooling effect is created by a high degree of thermal conductivity. BN enhances skin suppleness, reduces the appearance of wrinkles visually, smoothes rough skin, and provides a high coverage capacity.

There are currently a variety of specifications for special requirements like slippage, adhesion, brightness, and oil absorption coefficient.

CosmeticsComposition Ratio
Lip and Eye Pencils1-5%
Face and Body Powder5-30%
Eye Shadow/Blushes5-40%
Skin Care Lotions3-10%

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