Graphene: A Material With Super Powers

Graphene is being used by the cosmetics industry. (Image: AlexanderAIUS  via  wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)
Graphene is being used by the cosmetics industry. (Image: AlexanderAIUS via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Graphene was supposed to allow us to make much stronger bulletproof vests, a filter that would distill seawater into drinkable water, longer-lasting batteries, flexible brain implants, and so on. While all these products are yet to hit the market, graphene has made its way into a surprising market — cosmetics. From face masks to hair color, graphene-based solutions are poised to revolutionize beauty care industries.

Graphene in cosmetics

iCraft, a South Korean tech company with interests in health and beauty industries, recently revealed that it has incorporated graphene nanoplatelets into its cosmetic face mask sheets. “These sheet masks are face-shaped sheet fabrics that utilize the thermal and electrical conductivity of graphene to help the skin absorb its contents through bio-electric currents… Following intense research and rigorous testing, iCraft manages to report zero harmful substances for graphene-based products and has applied for three related patents,” according to Graphene Info.

The nanoplatelets have been supplied by Haydale, an advanced materials group from South Korea. The company believes that the product marks an important expansion of graphene’s application. CEO Keith Broadbent anticipates an increasing number of graphene-based products in the cosmetic market. iCraft has signed supply contracts with two firms to start delivery of the graphene face mask sheets.

According to a study by scientists at Northwestern University, graphene oxide can offer significant advantages to hair coloring products. They found that such applications not only offer similar performance to existing permanent hair dyes, but also prevent static hair thanks to graphene’s electrical conducting ability. Graphene oxide’s thermal conducting properties make heat absorption during blow-drying a speedy affair due to which damage to hair and skin are avoided. Such products can also protect the hair from UV damage.

Graphene can be used in hair coloring products. (Image: pexels / CC0 1.0)

“The team has been able to demonstrate that blonde hair can be dyed black. The black color of the film is the result of a reduction process of graphene oxide with vitamin C (ascorbic acid)… the results are comparable to commercial black dyes: The coating is uniform on hair. It doesn’t come off easily with shampooing and can last through at least 30 shampoos. Additionally, they’ve demonstrated ombre effects from blonde to dark brown by varying the intensity of the graphene coating,” according to Hair Momentum.

Face mask

LIGC Applications is developing a graphene-based face mask called the “Guardian G-Volt,” which it claims is a “leap forward” in the fight against airborne bacteria and viruses. The mask has a laser-induced graphene filter that prevents microorganisms from accumulating inside. When the mask is connected to a battery or any other power source, a low-level electrical charge is released that repels all stuck particles. A separate sterilizing solution can be used to sterilize the face mask at the end of the day.

The Guardian G-Volt mask. (Image: Indiegogo)

“With its graphene filtration system the Guardian G-Volt is 99 percent effective against particles over 0.3 micrometers, and 80 percent effective against anything smaller, claims LIGC Applications. For comparison, an N95 respirator mask blocks 95 percent of particles over 0.3 micrometers,” according to Dezeen. Most coronaviruses are between 0.1 to 0.2 microns wide. As such, the mask will definitely not be able to provide 100 percent protection.

However, compared to regular masks, the Guardian G-Volt does offer a high level of protection. The masks have been tested at Ben Gurion University in Israel and Rice University. The graphene sheets will be manufactured in Europe. Production is expected to start in April this month and the company expects the item to be shipped by August. 

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