Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ingredient Investigation: PVP (Polyvinyl Pyrolidone)

Hey, beautiful people!  Lately, I have been using Krystal Eco Styler Gel, instead of my favorite Pink Eco Styler Gel, to see if it gives me a better hold.  The Krystal has a 10 hold rating on the jar, while the Pink has an 8.  The Krystal does have a little better hold, but I have also noticed that I sometimes get white or light brown flakes, or it leaves white residue in my hair.  This did not happen with the Pink.  In looking at the ingredients in the Pink vs. Krystal, the difference is that the Krystal has PVP, and the Pink does not.  It made me curious enough to go hunting to find out more about PVP.

According to Truth In Aging, PVP is used in cosmetics and beauty products as a thickening agent, binder, film former, emulsion stabilizer, suspending agent and hair fixative.  In other words, it is great at holding things together.  For hair, it creates a thin film that bonds to the hair and holds it in place. 

According to Wikipedia, when dry, PVP is a light, flaky hydroscopic (water-absorbing) powder. It can absorb 40% of its weight in water from the atmosphere. Perhaps the dry form is why I sometimes have visible flakes.

It also seems safe to use.  The Environmental Working Group has rated it as a 1 on its health hazard rating scale, which is the lowest ranking. While it has been linked to cancer in some studies, it is not likely to be a human carcinogen. Indeed, the FDA has approved its use in pharmaceutical tablets because of its ability to pass through the body when ingested or absorbed.  Citrus fruits are also sometimes coated with PVP.  As another random fact, it was initially used as a blood plasma substitute.

In other words, don’t freak out if you see PVP in your products, but beware that it might cause flakes, depending on what it is paired with and the weather.
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