VP/eicosene copolymer is a synthetic polymer of a hydrocarbon eicosene and vinylpyrrolidone. In cosmetics and personal care products, VP/eicosene copolymer functions as a binder, film former, suspending agent, and viscosity increasing agent. As the name implies, a binder is an ingredient that binds together other ingredients. Therefore, as a binder, VP/eicosene copolymer functions to prevent other ingredients used in a cosmetic formulation from coming apart. For example, binders are often used in pressed powders to keep them together in the container.
VP/eicosene copolymer is used as a film forming agent most often in water-resistant sunscreen products. It helps the sunscreen adhere better to skin, therefore resisting breaking down in water. One drawback of this ingredient is that it does not last very long, which is why water-resistant sunscreen products must be reapplied at regular intervals. VP/eicosene copolymer can also be used in color cosmetics as a pigment dispersing and suspending agent. Lastly, VP/eicosene copolymer can be used to increase the viscosity of a formulation. It thickens formulations in order to make a product less runny and easier to spread.