Borates and their derivatives have been used, recommended for use, and patented for a variety of personal care products. Many of these products have a regulatory requirement to use our pharmacopeia grades: borax decahydrate NF or borax decahydrate EP, Optibor NF or Optibor EP. In addition to their excellent cleaning functions, borates are used in in these products for the following reasons:
- pH buffering
- Viscosity or rheology control (crosslinking with starch or polymers)
- Emulsification with oils or waxes
- Enzyme stabilization or inhibition
- Foam stabilization
- Moisture retention
- Active oxygen carrier (as in perborates)
Skin care: Borates—primarily borax decahydrate and Optibor are used in conjunction with beeswax, almond oil, spermaceti, oil, petrolatum, sodium carbonate, stearic acid, glycerin, and perfume in the production of numerous personal care products:
- Cold creams (used to remove makeup)
- Baby creams
- Petroleum jelly
- Moisturizing lotions and creams
- Anti-aging creams
- Shaving creams
- Bath salts
- Cleansers (as a buffer)
- Liquid hand soap and bar soaps
Oral hygiene: Borates are used in some specialty toothpaste and mouthwash products. Toothpaste can use a mixture of calcium peroxide and sodium perborate as oxidizing agents to remove stains and plaque from both teeth and composite filling material. But the largest use of borates for oral hygiene is in denture-cleaning products, where they are valued for their cleaning, bleaching, disinfecting, and effervescing properties.
Hair care products: Borates are used in a variety of powdered and liquid shampoos and conditioners. In shampoos, 20 Mule Team Borax is used in conjunction with soda ash, Fuller’s earth, talc, perfume, castor oil, petrolatum, wax, and preservative. In conditioners, borax is used in conjunction with methylparaben, mineral oil, lantrol, lanogel, lanolin, petrolatum, and beeswax. Shampoos consisting of borax decahydrate, colorant, and perfume can provide conditioning and make hair manageable and attractive. Borates are also a vital ingredient in rinse-free shampoos, which have a high water content and an absorbent gel that entraps the dirt without leaving residue. Optibor has been used in hair dye, neutralizing rinses, and both chemical relaxers and permanent wave solutions.
Eye care products:
Eyedrops (artificial tears) are used to moisturize irritated eyes, remove redness, or relieve the itching associated with allergies and colds. Both borax decahydrate NF and Optibor
NF are frequently added in small quantities to these products, to help control pH and retain moisture. Sterile saline solutions for contact lenses are often buffered with small quantities of these 20 Mule Team
Borax products, which are also included in lens rewetting drops that can make the lenses more comfortable to wear. For more information, download Borates in Personal Care Products.