Revolutionary beauty tech transforms moisturisers into paper-like discs – The National

A flat disc of the beauty product can be reconstituted with a small amount of water. Photo: University of East Anglia
Scientists from the University of East Anglia have developed a technology that removes oil and water from beauty products, creating flat discs that can be rehydrated with water.
The invention could dramatically reduce the carbon footprint and packaging waste of the beauty industry.
Using an electrospinning technique, lead researcher Prof Sheng Qi, from UEA’s School of Pharmacy, and her team of scientists have successfully removed up to 98 per cent of water from beauty products.
The technique is a process that uses an electric field to draw very fine fibres from a liquid solution. In this case, researchers from the university used electrospinning to “jet” oil and water out of beauty products such as creams, shampoos, and conditioners, creating flat discs of confetti-like substance that can be reconstituted with a small amount of water.
Prof Qi said: “Most cosmetics and toiletries contain up to 95 per cent water, leading to heavy units by volume and bulky packaging.
“Our sheet or discs of moisturisers weigh only a few milligrams … really reducing the weight significantly. So, there’s a significant saving in terms of transportation costs.”
The flat disc of confetti-like substance can be reconstituted with a small amount of water. Photo: University of East Anglia
Because there is no water in the discs, Prof Qi said these products do not need preservatives to improve their shelf life.
She said each sheet or disc will be a single-dose product that will “reduce the risk of bacterial growth”.
As part of the next steps, Prof Qi and her team plan to conduct a full life-cycle analysis of the entire production process ― from sourcing raw materials to transport and distribution.
“We will be able to understand the cost-effectiveness as well as the carbon footprint of using this new process to manufacture beauty and personal care products.”
Each sheet or disc will serve as a one-time-use product, which can help minimise the possibility of bacterial contamination.
Prof Qi said: “We originally developed this technology for the pharmaceutical industry, but it quickly became clear that it could really help reduce the carbon footprint of the beauty and skincare industries.
“We hope it will help the beauty industry achieve net-zero carbon targets and sustainability goals, without compromising product quality and performance.”
The researchers have partnered with technology company PBL to commercialise their patent-pending formulations.


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