Lyocell has been the darling of sustainable fashion for nearly a decade, but it’s only now starting to make a name for itself in the beauty world. But what is Lyocell, exactly, and why should you look for it on certain product labels — especially if you’re trying to make eco-conscious choices in all parts of your life? Read on and find out.
Lyocell: a brief overview
Lyocell is a type of fiber developed in 1972 and derived from wood pulp. (It can be any type of tree, but it’s primarily made from eucalyptus, bamboo, birch, or oak.) The end result is a cellulose material that’s fully biodegradable, as well as compostable (as long as it’s not mixed with anything else). This raw cellulose is spun and filtered and eventually turned into fibers that can be woven into fabric, while still remaining fully biodegradable (it typically takes a month or two for the fabric to decompose completely).
Because of its processing, Lyocell is considered semi-synthetic. However, unlike a natural fiber such as cotton, Lyocell’s “closed loop” production process means it’s much more eco-friendly. That’s because “closed loop” production ensures none of the chemicals used during the manufacturing of Lyocell get released into the environment. Plus, producing Lyocell is often more energy efficient than it is to make something out of cotton or another natural fiber. (That said, Lyocell’s production process is much more expensive than cotton’s, which is pretty low cost. Such are the tradeoffs for environmentally conscious options right now.)
What are the benefits of Lyocell?
Used in skincare as a sheet mask material, Lyocell fibers have the ability both to fully absorb the serum ingredient in the sheet mask and evenly disperse that magic liquid throughout the area the mask is covering. This keeps you from ending up with extra serum in certain places like above or below your eye socket, for example. A mask woven from Lyocell also forms an occlusive barrier on skin that prevents anything underneath or inside the mask (like the moisture in your skin or the serum in the mask) from evaporating into thin air. That also means that the treatment ingredients in the serum have nowhere to go but down deep into your skin, infusing the tissue with their benefits like stimulating collagen production (if your Lyocell mask contains L-ascorbic acid or niacinamide, for example).
Where can you find Lyocell?
Aside from clothing woven from Lyocell, certain medical dressings are also made with Lyocell. But now this wonder material has been integrated into everyday skincare products. Our new Dr Dennis Gross DermInfusions Lift + Repair Eye Mask is crafted from 100 percent Lyocell fibers and saturated with niacinamide (as known as vitamin B3) to help minimize hyperpigmentation, maximize collagen production, and increase moisture levels in skin; vitamin C (in the form of L-ascorbic acid) to neutralize free radicals, help build collagen, and help decrease discoloration; and green tea (another antioxidant), which also soothes stressed and irritated skin. Taken together, the trio helps revive the eye area right away and over time, making it appear more refreshed and radiant in as little as five minutes!
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