Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) gives products an extra fixative power: it forms a thin coating over the hair that helps to maintain it in the position you wish. PVP promotes the dispersion of pigments, making it a very effective ingredient for creating well spread out makeup products. It is also a binder, helping to control the viscosity of a formula.
Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) was first synthesized by the German chemist Walter Reppe and a patent was filed in 1939. It eventually had applications in medicine, pharmacy, cosmetics and industrial production and continues to be used very widely today.
PVP is a hydrocarbon based polymer - and because there are no official definitions of some types of plastics, a convincing argument can be made one way or the other as to whether PVP should be defined as a plastic or not. However, when people say "plastic" they mostly mean lunchbox, rigid plastics. And when people say microplastics they mean small particles of rigid plastic that do not biodegrade and can move through water systems and out into oceans.
Today any material that may be traced back to the term 'plastic' is, very correctly, under scrutiny. Which means that dissolved polymer ingredients like PVP, whilst they are not solid plastics and are not of instant concern like micro plastics, are being researched because their impact in marine or freshwater environments has not been sufficiently described yet. This could be good news or bad news. Some research has shown that PVP can biodegrade in certain environments but the rate of degradation is very low and needs specific environmental conditions. That’s why, in the long run, Lush is trying to find an alternative to this material.