Boron Nitride - The Sensation of Softness

Boron Nitride (BN) is one of the most commonly used compounds of Boron. By structure, it is a binary chemical compound that is comprised with equal number of Boron and Nitrogen atoms. It exists in various polymorphic forms, such as those that are analogous to diamond and graphite. Its diamond polymorph is one of the hardest known materials while the graphite-polymorph is commonly used as a lubricant.

Boron Nitride Cubes (image from ChinaMet Co.):

The compound is often called “white graphite” because of its lubricious property in its carbon graphite form. In elemental form, BN is amorphous and unreactive. It does not form crystal unless subjected to certain manufacturing processes. Boron, the base element of the compound, usually exhibit high thermal conductivity, low thermal expansion, Good thermal shock resistance, high electrical resistance, chemically inert and is non-toxic. Usually, the pure BN material (Grade XP) contains no binders making it ideal for highly thermal applications.

Little amounts of Boron are essential for animal growth. That is why it is usually used in various agricultural applications. Similarly, it is also an essential mineral that promotes optimum plant growth. These comprise the organic applications of the compound. In its inorganic form, it takes the form of a fluffy powder that is naturally found in the earth’s crust. BN is actually the mineral salt form of the element Boron. Since Boron is a teifester, is can be synthetically produced. The compound can also be derived from non-animal materials and natural minerals such as borax and melamine.

Boron is an element that is not found free in nature. It is usually found in certain volcanic spring waters, derived from kernite and borate, an oxygen compound. Healing stone that contains boron are dumortierite and green tourmaline. Traces were also found present in rocks, soil, water and food. The element was also found abundant in the ores found in Mojave Desert. An extensive deposit of Boron was also found in Turkey. In its natural form, it is 19.78% 10B isotope and 80.22% 11B isotope. The anthropogenic sources of Boron Nitride include agricultural products and burning fuel wood.

Aside from the manufacture of semiconductors, Boron Nitride is also known as one of the inorganic ingredients of mineral-based cosmetics such as mineral makeup. It is usually incorporated in the cosmetic products that are used in masking the appearance of fine lines. Certain properties of the compound exhibit the capacity to improve the lubricity, slip and adherence on makeup, giving them a sensation of softness. It also contributes to the long wear features of eye shadows, foundations and other colored palette. The compound is also found to be gentle on sensitive skin. The anti-bacterial properties of BN-containing mineral makeup make them ideal for use on sensitive skin types.

Cosmetics sitting on Boron Nitride: (image from www.bnsaint-gobain.com)

Different mineral makeup products and mineral makeup formulations make use of different grades of BN fillers. This is to improve the spreadability, adhesion and lipid interaction properties of the end product. On powders and foundations, Boron Nitride takes the form of an inorganic powder that constitutes oil-absorbing properties. For color cosmetic applications, the compound is used to achieve a tactile feel on the end product, making the end product easily slid onto the skin. When it comes to makeup, spreadability is an important feature because it enhances the product’s skin feel, wrinkle filling and hiding power. This characteristic also helps shorten the makeup’s drying time when applied. Generally, BN is used to improve the tactile coverage, skin smoothening and anti-wrinkle properties of all mineral makeup lines.

Today’s makeup users and consumers have multiple expectations on cosmetic products, particularly in mineral makeup. The inclusion of Boron Nitride has given this type of cosmetic product a great advantage over its competitions. As an inorganic ingredient, the compound hastened the application of mineral makeup. It also gave mineral makeup their longer lasting features. Also, the addition on Boron Nitride on cosmetic products such as mineral makeup has given the manufacturers a better emulsion stabilizing ingredient. As a result, consumers have enjoyed good spreadability and velvety skin feel in applying mineral makeup. More importantly, its hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial and whitening properties made the makeup ideal for use on problematic or sensitive skin types. Hence, the unique combination and properties of cosmetic Boron Nitride grades have brought significant improvements to the haptics of the formulations of all the popular color cosmetics such as mineral eye shadows, liquid foundations, foundations, loose powder, concealers, brushes, pencils and lipsticks.

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