Cellulose esters are polymers used by the nail care industry as film formers. Films formed from cellulose esters have fast solvent release, clarity, gloss, and flow and leveling properties. Compared to nitrocellulose, cellulose esters create films that are nonyellowing and UV resistant and have excellent clarity, flexibility, and stability. They are nontoxic and easily pigmented. Cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) and cellulose acetate propionate (CAP) resins are available in a range of viscosities and solubilities to meet formulators' needs.
Eastman supplies cellulose esters as dry, free-flowing powders, and they should be handled accordingly, since static electricity can be generated by any free-falling powder. There is no evidence that the chemical nature of cellulose esters contributes to or increases the dangers in handling powders, with those dangers being attributed only to their physical form. Storage and handling details are available in
"Handling precautions for the use of cellulose esters in formulated products". Nitrocellulose, on the other hand, is considered a difficult material to handle and store. It is a considerable fire hazard because it ignites easily and burns fiercely, emitting large quantities of heat and fumes. Improper storage of nitrocellulose increases the risk of explosion.
Formulating with CAB 381-0.5 enables fast dry-to-touch topcoats. CAB 381-20 can be added to adjust viscosity. CAB 551-0.01 in UV/LED-cure systems aids in removal by reducing solvent soak time.
For more information about the use of cellulose esters in personal care applications, visit the
Personal Care market.