• Kate Foster

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT: PVP

In the past few decades, we as a beauty community have learned so much about harmful ingredients. We've empowered ourselves to study up on formulas ourselves, so big brands and beauty conglomerates can no longer take advantage of our trust. It's the very reason CLOVE + HALLOW was founded—after a health scare in which toxic ingredients were partially to blame, our founder and CEO, Sarah, dedicated herself to starting a cosmetics brand that was safe, minimalist, and, above all, transparent with its consumers.


Still, so much confusion abounds in clean beauty. Big beauty practices serious greenwashing tactics, while ingredient purists forget that "natural" substances like essential oils can be extremely sensitizing or even dangerous. And some of the safest ingredients out there just sound downright scary. Sodium hyaluronate? That would be hyaluronic acid. L-ascorbic acid? Good to see ya, vitamin C. Then there's polyvinylpyrrolidone, or PVP, an objectively very safe ingredient that, yes, sounds a little terrifying.



That's why we're here to clear the air—because we think PVP is just too effective an ingredient for you to abandon because of a bad first impression. Let's get this out of the way: Yes, it's synthetic. It's a water-soluble polymer that has found much success in the medical industry, as a binder in prescription tablets, syrups, and soft gelatine capsules, and as an essential ingredient in contact lenses and even contact lens solution. When mixed with iodine, it has amazing disinfectant qualities that make it useful in many ointments, solutions, and liquid soaps used by doctors every day.


In cosmetics, it's used in everything from toothpaste and shampoo to makeup setting sprays, like Lock + Rock Hydrating Priming + Setting Makeup Mist. First used in hairspray in the 1950s to replace insect-derived shellac, PVP latches on to skin and hair to create a thin, even, completely invisible film that locks skincare, makeup, and hairstyles into place. It's what sets (pun intended) Lock + Rock apart from all the makeup mists in clean beauty that only seem to lightly hydrate and refresh, but do nothing to keep makeup in place. Yes, Lock + Rock has some great moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5, but once you spritz it on, the PVP goes to work to set makeup for hours, too. It even features gorgeous mica particles to give your complexion a subtle, dewy glow.


PVP's safety has also been proven time and time again. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its safety, but because we're skeptics (like you!), we also looked to other conclusive studies, which found no inflammation, skin sensitization, or skin or ocular irritation associated with the ingredient. Additionally, no signs of toxicity were discovered, even when the PVP was taken orally. So you can rest easy knowing your makeup mist isn't just insanely effective; it's also safe, plain and simple.

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