How the Best-Performing Natural Silicone Replacement Stacks Up

[A version of this article was published earlier on Amyris, our joint venture partner.]

For decades, the personal care industry had relied on silicone simply because a better option didn’t exist. Silicones are not biodegradable — they persist in waterways, oceans, and even wildlife. The EU has restricted the use of cyclomethicone and classified it as a “Substance of Very High Concern.” Consequently, many beauty brands and retailers have banned it entirely.

To improve environmental health, we bio-designed Neossance™ Hemisqualane — the best-performing natural silicone replacement. Hemisqualane is already used by some of the world’s top personal care brands and is also the hero ingredient in the clean haircare brand, JVN Hair, launched in partnership with Jonathan Van Ness.

In this article, you will learn more how silicone alternatives like Neossance Hemisqualane can provide the same benefits consumers expect from silicones.

Changing Consumer Perspectives on Silicones

Today, consumers do not view silicones as the magic solution for beauty performance. While silicones can offer certain aesthetic improvements, they don’t come risk-free to consumers. Many silicones create an occlusive barrier that traps oil and dead skin if not washed off properly. In hair products, silicones are create buildup on the hair that may result in dry, dull, and lifeless hair. In both applications, consumers demand optimal sensorial experiences. But what if there was a way to get the silicone feel without the side-effects of silicones?

Bio-Fermentation Transforming the Beauty Industry

Aprinnova uses its proprietary bio-fermentation technology to bio-design sustainable and effective ingredients, like Neossance Hemisqualane, at commercial scale. This fermentation-based approach to manufacturing is significantly more sustainable, traceable, and renewable than silicones derived from petrochemicals. Even other plant-based silicone alternatives, like palm oil, have been cited as major contributors to deforestation in some of the world’s most precious and endangered forests.

Neossance Hemisqualane Stacks up Against Silicones


Our Hemisqualane is sourced from Bonsucro-certified sugarcane, which ensures the sustainable and responsible production, processing, and trade of Brazilian sugarcane. Its manufacturing process also reduces CO2 emissions compared to legacy processes. In an effort to make the process more sustainable, the facility uses bagasse (the leftover sugarcane fibers) to supply energy to its bio-fermentation plant.

We bio-designed Hemisqualane to be safe for the environment as well. It is non-toxic and biodegradable, meaning it won’t persist in the environment when washed down the drain, where many other compounds endanger waterways and aquatic life.

Sensory Experience:

Cyclomethicone D5 continues to be used extensively in color cosmetics and sunscreen products for even coverage and spreadability, despite its restriction in the EU. Our Hemisqualane enables the same coverage and smooth application, without the environmental risk.

Silicones are also frequently used in cleansers, foundations, lipsticks, and sunscreens to improve a product’s texture and sensory feel. Our Hemisqualane has proven to achieve equivalent sensorial properties with added benefits, such as better playtime and longer wear, both viewed as important attributes by consumers.

Smoothness and Strengthening:

Silicones are one of the most popular haircare ingredients to reduce frizz and improve hair texture. However, it builds up over time, leading to a straw-like feel and dull appearance to the hair. In contrast, Hemisqualane offers these same benefits without the hair health consequences. Byrdie applauds Hemisqualane as an ingredient that “works great alone or as part of the formula for hair serums and oils.”

Hemisqualane is revolutionizing haircare by not only improving the smooth quality of the hair but also nourishing it from within the hair shaft. Hemisqualane is able to penetrate the hair shaft to provide weightless nourishment that improves manageability, reduces frizz, and preserves color. Neossance Hemisqualane works instantly and over time to add softness, slip, shine, and bounce.

Choose Sustainable Emollients for Every Application

Aprinnova is transforming the beauty industry with bio-fermentation. Going silicone-free increases consumer satisfaction and extends the longevity of our planet. Brands like yours can finally get the well-known benefits of silicone without the negatives associated with it. Our sustainable bio-fermentation manufacturing creates an ethical and sustainable supply chain for Neossance Hemisqualane. Through bio-fermentation, you can finally have high performance — no compromise.


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