Sustainability is a priority for modern consumers – and they are becoming increasingly discerning. Instead of merely looking for products with natural or organic claims, they want to know every ingredient is sustainably synthesized or sourced. This is reflected in data; now, 41% of French consumers agree that an ethical beauty brand is worth paying more for (Lightspeed/Mintel, 2019). From binding agents to texturizers, it has to be sustainable, which is why tara gum is causing such a stir in the industry.
Previously, a common agent used to enhance the texture and obtain the desired viscosity of a product was petroleum film. However, when it comes to sustainability, ‘petroleum’ sets off alarm bells for companies and consumers alike. In contrast, tara gum is a compelling and effective alternative. We zoom in on its benefits and properties below.
What constitutes a natural gum?
You may be surprised to find out that natural gums are present in almost every processed or packaged food. In cosmetics, they are used to improve the texture, viscosity, and stability of liquid or paste products. A good example is exfoliating scrubs; often, a natural gum will be used to suspend the scrub grains and enhance spreadability.
The intriguing thing about these substances is that they are derived from seeds, tubers, or plant sources and prepared via fermentation. In the case of tara gum, the agent is derived from the seed endosperm of the tara tree (Caesalpinia spinosa), which is found in the Peruvian Andes. The substance can be extracted via purely mechanical means without the use of any solvents. After heating, the substance hydrates, resulting in at least a 30% increase in viscosity.
What are the benefits of tara gum?
The resulting substance is rich in vitamins C, B, and complex sugars. Subsequently, tara gum is reputed for its hydrating and protective qualities, which makes it more than just a thickening agent – it can, in fact, enhance a product’s efficacy. Like synthetic petroleum films, tara gum creates a protective barrier. This film reduces transepidermal water loss and desquamation, enhancing the skin’s appearance to deliver an anti-aging effect. However, unlike petroleum-based agents, tara gum is all-natural and fully biodegradable.
Another benefit is its remarkable biocompatibility. For instance, the synergy of tara gum with xanthan gum is useful to create particular products, such as jellies, without the need to use large concentrations of the two thickeners. This versatility makes it a useful agent in many cosmetic applications – not to mention the comparatively low cost that makes it a compelling natural alternative to petroleum-based ingredients.
How does it compare to other natural gums?
There has been increasing interest in natural gums due to their versatility and sustainability. But how does it compare with other natural gums on the market? According to recently published research, compared with guar gum, tara gum has a higher elastic modulus and greater tensile strength that creates a strong, flexible film.
Equally, tara gum was shown to have a higher density of polymer chains, as well as a smoother and more compact morphology that enhances its mechanical properties. Although the study showed that tara gum stood out from the crowd, the most important finding was this: all the natural gums studied demonstrated clear potential as effective alternatives to synthetic petroleum films (Fei Liu et al., 2019).
All-natural, always effective
Tara gum presents an enormous opportunity for the beauty and personal care industry. With natural thickening and viscosity agents like these, the industry can meet consumer demand for natural ingredients, without compromising on results. With remarkable versatility and biodegradable qualities, beauty and personal care can take important steps to make ingredient lists all-natural with tara gum.
This is why Provital is supporting the industry to seize this opportunity. Combining tara gum and our 3D matrix technology, HYDROMANIL™ is a novel moisturizing active compound that, because of its structure, acts both as a filmogenic protective barrier and as a sequential delivery system of small hydrating molecules. This results in an optimal level of moisture and a natural bacterial balance. Discover more here.