Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mmmm... Polybutene

Molly forwarded me a newsletter from Teens for Safe Cosmetics last week and it made me take a look at the this super shiny Victoria's Secret lip gloss I've been using (I got it free with a purchase a while back). First ingredient? Polybutene. Normally I read the ingredients list of anything that lists them-- bodywash, shampoo, toothpaste, and of course, food. So I was a little surprised to find an ingredient I've never seen before. I did a little Googling and found this from

(organic chemistry) A polymer of isobutene, (CH3)2CCH2; made in varying chain lengths to give a wide range of properties from oily to solid; used as a lube-oil additive, in adhesives, and in rubber products.
...and apparently VS lip gloss. I'm not saying it's dangerous or poisonous in any way, and I'll probably keep using my lip gloss. As I understand it, polybutene refers to a large class of chemicals covering a wide range of uses (Google search indicates it is in adhesives and home plumbing also). But I did come across this page from the Pesticide Action Network's Pesticides Database listing one use of one type of polybutene as a rodenticide.


Chris said...

maybe its to stop rodents from gnawing on your lips as you sleep?

Matthew said...

I think it's a derivative of (or found in) petroleum, and is used as a gelling agent for lipgloss, chapstick and all that sort of stuff.

Michelle said...

As it smells like strawberries, it would at best lure the rats to my mouth, where they will gnaw at my lips, hopefully ingest some lipgloss, and THEN die...if they have enough of it.

There's also about 5,000 ingredients after the polybutene that make it pink, scented, and sparkly.