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Ingredients in Toothpaste and Nail Lacquer Formulations

The Importance of Toothpaste

It is everywhere...Toothpaste is one thing that you will find at each home since it is one of most common products as it is responsible for the oral hygiene routine by removing the teeth decay, and to perform this task efficiently a good toothpaste has to be chosen, the choice of the proper toothpaste differs according to each person's case and preference [4]. What's in the toothpaste? Toothpastes are used mainly to prevent debris and plaque formation and keep the mouth healthy and clean other than these purposes people's choice can vary according to their preferences between whitening, removal of stains, sensitive toothpaste or toothpaste with anti-calculus properties, but have anyone before read the ingredients that differs one type of toothpastes from the other ?

If you did so then it goes without saying that you are familiar with the fundamental ingredients of a toothpaste which are: abrasives to remove materials adhering to the surface of the teeth, humectants to prevent water loss and hardening of the toothpaste, fluoride to prevent caries, preservative to stop the microorganism's growth, binders to prevent the separation of the toothpaste and sweeteners to improve the taste [1]. Did you know that toothpaste contains surfactants? One of the most interesting ingredients in the toothpaste is the surfactant, what can be the role of surfactant in a toothpaste, isn't it in soaps? The surfactant plays a vital role in its presence in the toothpaste but first do you know what the surfactant is?

The word surfactant is derived from Surface active agent term, mainly surfactants are amphiphilic molecules which is a molecule that contains hydrophilic head (water-loving) and hydrophobic tail (water-hating), and it is usually the salt of the long-chain fatty acid. Isn’t it interesting how nail polish is able to adhere well to the nails despite it being liquid in the jar? It is in fact thanks to the film formers contained in the nail polish formulation that helps it to excellently adhere to our natural nails. There’s a whole study of rheology which basically means the study of flow of materials behind the formulation of nail polish or paint. However, in today’s post we will mainly focus on the film formers in nail polish formulation. To make it easier, we will focus on one product which is the widely known O.P.I Nail Lacquer in order to better understand the mechanism.

Ingredients : Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Propyl Acetate, Tosylamide Formaldehyde Resin, Isopropyl Alcohol, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Triphenyl Phosphate, Ethyl Tosylamide, Camphor, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Diacetone Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Benzophenone

What's in Toothpaste?

1. Citric Acid, Dimethicone, CI 77120, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), CI 77499, FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red.

2. According to the ingredients list, there are three film former ingredients present in this formulation which are nitrocellulose, tosylamide formaldehyde resin and also dimethicone. These film formers help nail lacquers to become hard and resilient as well as helps to form smooth, shiny surface when the lacquer is applied on the fingernails. As a matter of fact, all these ingredients are polymers. POLYMER 101 Polymer is a chemical compound made up of long, repeating chains of molecules. 

3. Often times, plastics are described as polymers but in reality, all plastics are polymers but not all polymers are plastics. Plastic falls under a type of polymer called synthetic polymer which is man-made polymer. However, natural polymer also exists. Some of the examples of natural polymers are cellulose and starch in plants as well as proteins in our body.

A. Thus, the harder it becomes to pull it out or to separate it like a bowl of dry, cooked spaghetti. This is the reason why polymers are strong, and hard to break. Polymers are used in a lot of different industries thanks to these properties and especially because they are inexpensive. NITROCELLULOSE Figure 1: Chemical structure of nitrocellulose Credit: Nitrocellulose is one of the most important ingredients in the formulation of nail polish. In fact, a basic clear nail polish can be achieved just by using nitrocellulose with a volatile organic solvent.

B. A good polish would form a film when it is applied on the nail. In this formula, the solvent used are ethyl acetate, butyl acetate and propyl acetate. These solvents help the nail polish to flow well when it is applied on the nails. Once the acetate solvent evaporates, nitrocellulose forms a shiny film. Nitrocellulose is a plant-based compound formed by nitrating cellulose and it appears like a white cotton-like filament. However, use of nitrocellulose alone is not enough as it is brittle and does not adheres well to nails. Therefore, use of resin is necessary.

C.Tosylamide Formaldehyde Resin:Resin is the ingredient who is supposed to make the film adhere to the surface of the nails. In polymer chemistry, resin is defined as a solid or a highly viscous liquid that will harden under certain circumstances. In this formula, tosylamide formaldehyde resin is used which is a polymer derived from the reaction of toluenesulfonamide and formaldehyde. In conjunction with the nitrocellulose, it helps to form tough, durable and long-lasting film. Besides that, it makes the nail polish to appear shinier as it adds gloss.

D. Dimethicone: Chemical structure of silicone Credit:  Dimethicone is a type of silicone. By definition, silicone is a polymer made up of

repeating chains of siloxane which is a chain of alternating silicon atoms and oxygen atoms, often combined with carbon, hydrogen as well as other elements.

E. Silicone is often used in cosmetics and personal care products as it helps to achieve a smooth appearance of the products and improve their spreadability. In the formulation of nail polish, dimethicone is used as a drying agent as it speeds up the drying of nail polish. All of these ingredients are vital polymers necessary in order to perfect the formulation of nail polish. Not to mention the other ingredients such as plasticizers which is used to improve the flexibility of nail polish which makes it able to resist chipping and peeling.

On the other hand, there are two suspending agents in this formula which are stearalkonium bentonite and stearalkonium hectorite. These suspending agents are added to promote particle suspension in the solution. In other words, they are designed to help the colorants to distribute evenly in the formula. Each of the ingredients serves a purpose and play a specific role in nail polish formulation.

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