Boron nitride

What is it? Boron nitride is an inorganic compound made of boron and nitrogen, purchased in powder form for use in cosmetics.
INCI Boron nitride
Appearance White powder
Usage rate “Boron nitride is reported to be used at up to 25% in eye product formulations, at 2% in lipstick formulations, up to 16% in powders, and at up to 0.9% in fragrance preparations.” –CIR Report (These numbers were reported by industry as typical usage numbers and are not maximum allowable concentrations)
Texture Soft, fine powder
Scent None
Solubility Insoluble
Why do we use it in recipes? Boron nitride improves both slip and adhesion in cosmetics; I tend to primarily use it in eye makeup formulations as both slip and adhesion are very important there. It also contributes a bit of a soft-focus finish, similar to sericite mica. I’ve mostly worked with boron nitride in formulations you’ll find in my book, Make it Up.
Do you need it? Not necessarily, but I would highly recommend it if you want to make your own eyeshadow.
Strengths Excellent skin feel, slip, and adhesion properties.
Weaknesses Can be harder to find, and it is one of the more expensive cosmetic powders.
Alternatives & Substitutions Boron nitride is tricky to substitute. Sericite mica has similar properties, but does not improve adhesion nearly as well as boron nitride does, so you might consider using a blend of sericite mica and an adhesion booster like magnesium stearate or magnesium myristate as a starting point.
How to Work with It Include it in the ground portion of your cosmetic recipes. It can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, boron nitride should last indefinitely.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks The crystal shape of boron nitride is hexagonal.
Recommended starter amount 30 (1oz) or less. Even 10g (0.35oz) would last you a while if you can find somewhere selling that small of an amount.
Where to Buy it Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. It is sold on Amazon, but much of it isn’t cosmetic grade, so if you do choose to purchase through Amazon please confirm with the seller that what you are purchasing is cosmetic and not industrial grade.

Some Recipes that Use Boron nitride

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