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Functional lignin-based ingredients as sustainable alternatives for applications in care products and cosmetics

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Partner keyword: 
Care, Hygiene, Beauty
Biobased materials
Biobased high-performance materials
Biochemistry / Biophysics
Speciality/performance materials: producers and fabricators


A Northern-German spin-off company offers customized lignin-based sustainable ingredients with unique functionalities for care products and cosmetics. Commercial agreements with technical assistance or technical cooperation agreements are offered to producers of care products such as creams, cleansing products, face masks, sun blockers, shower gels, scrubs and peelings.



Lignin is what holds all woody plants together, a complex phenolic network in the lignocellulosic cell wall that gives trees and cereals their toughness. The biopolymer lignin can be considered a natural high performance additive with unique features as mechanical reinforcement, UV protection, antioxidation properties, temperature resistance and flame retardant. As a biobased and biodegradable polymer from non-food sources, lignin is an ideal and affordable solution to replace fossil sources and thus a natural alternative to non-sustainable ingredients still used in industries such as cosmetics, food, composites or bio fabrics.

A spin-off of a Northern German University uses the unique and diverse lignin features as well as experts know-how gained in years of university research. The company uses proprietary technology to tailor lignin particles of specific particle size and porosity to create diverse valuable materials and intermediary products.

The company offers functional lignin-based ingredients for applications in care products and cosmetics. Thanks to lignin’s multifunctionality, it could even replace multiple ingredients in product formulations.

Two intermediary products for applications in care products have already been developed:

1. 100% lignin-microparticles tailor-made to fulfill diverse functionalities in care products formulations:
Emulsifier, UV Blocker, sebum adsorbent, filler, antioxidant
Particle size: <30 μm, <10 μm
Porosity: > 80 m²/g, 200 m²/g possible in formulation
Composition: 100% lignin
Creams, serums and lotions
Cleansing products
Sebum removal facial sheets and masks
Sun blockers

2. Gentle spherical biobased microbeads composed of lignin and a natural copolymer. It provides the functionality of environmental harmful PE (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) materials, offering a sustainable and economically feasible alternative to traditional microbeads as a cosmetic ingredient.
Functionalities: Smooth peeling, mechanical cleansing, dead skin removal, active ingredient carrier (vitamins, aromas or antioxidants)
Particle size: 200 to 2000 μm
Porosity: controllable
Composition: lignin and a natural copolymer (different biobased matrices are possible)
Shower gels
Face and body scrubs
Soft peelings

The lignin microparticles and microbeads are field tested and available for demonstration. The company will start in-house production of customized lignin intermediary products for care applications in 2021.
The company offers commercial agreements with technical assistance on sourcing and delivery of tailored lignin powders and intermediaries for specific customer demands from the cosmetic sector. Further, the company offers technical cooperation agreements on assistance in lignin-conform product development in the framework of customized application services for Life and Material Sciences.

Advantages & innovations

Cooperation plus value: 
- Lignin is an affordable solution to replace fossil sources - Biobased and compostable polymer from non-food sources - Multifunctional (antioxidant, UV-protection…) - Performance additive - Cost saving potential

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Available for demonstration

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
Producers of care and cosmetic products looking for tailored, biobased, non-food, sustainable and functional ingredients.

Type and size

Cooperation task: 
SME 11-50,SME <10,>500 MNE,251-500,SME 51-250,>500


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