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The Role of Nonionic Surfactants in Cosmetics

Introduction of Nonionic Surfactants

Nonionic surfactants mainly play a role in cleaning, wetting, emulsifying, and foaming in cosmetics; cationic surfactants work as softeners, antistatic agents, waterproofers, and fixatives; amphoteric surfactants have good detergent properties, low toxicity, and irritation, and they serve as softeners, antistatic agents, and emulsifiers/disinfectants in cosmetics; nonionic surfactants have the advantages of safety, mildness, and non-irritation, and thus they have the widest range of applications in cosmetics.

3 functions of Different Types of Nonionic Surfactants in Cosmetics

Polyethylene oxide surfactants are obtained by ethoxylation reaction of hydrophobic raw materials with active hydrogen atoms such as -OH, -COOH, -NH2, and -CONH2 using ethylene oxide (EO). Ethoxylation is the most important technology for producing surfactants, especially nonionic surfactants. Such surfactants have multiple functions such as dispersing, penetrating, emulsifying, solubilizing, wetting, foaming and disinfecting, and they are widely used in cosmetics.

Polyethylene oxide anionic surfactants are the most widely used surfactants. Polyethylene oxide cationic surfactants are mainly used as disinfectants and antibacterial agents in cosmetics. They can be used in hair care products, including hair conditioners and hair styling gels, as effective antistatic agents that make hair soft. It usually does not have the ability to remove dirt and cannot be used in combination with anionic surfactants.

Polyethylene oxide nonionic surfactants have wetting, penetrating, emulsifying, and solubilizing properties. They are the largest category of nonionic surfactants in terms of production volume and the most widely used surfactants in cosmetics. Cosmetics are products applied to the human body (skin, hair, nails, lips, etc.) by spraying or other similar methods to achieve cleaning, maintenance, beauty, modification, and change of appearance, or to correct body odor and maintain good conditions. The properties of surfactants used in cosmetics are not limited to their individual properties, but rather utilize their multiple properties. Therefore, surfactants are essential raw materials in cosmetics production and are widely used in cosmetics.

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