Water soluble pomade

edited March 2016 in Formulating
Iwould like to make a crystal clear water soluble pomade. I have difficulties to get a strong hold and a crystal clear formula ! 
I understand that I just have to add water with C-25 but it is not enough hold. I would like to improve that, so I want to add PVP but my formula became opaque and I have the impression that when I work it in my fingers it emulsifies (become white) ... 
I don't have refractometer to get transparancy with plasticizers...

Have you got some ideas ?? 

My simple formula is : 

Phase A (85°C)
PVP K 30 powder

Phase B (85°C)
Ceteareth 25 (solids)

Phase A into phase B 

If I want to package my formula, I can add maximum 23% of C-25. 

I am waiting for your answer. Thank you !! 


  • Hi! You might want to try adding some Glycerox HE by Croda to improve clarity.
  • I already tried but it was not worked ... But do you think i can add Glycerox HE at the end of my formula and adjust the level by drop ? 
  • this is a problem I've come across myself not too long ago

    having done many days of experimentation, I don't think it is possible to have a formula which is both crystal clear and contains a resin; any resin in the formula (and I tried more than 20 of them) seems to interact with the ceteareth-(N) micelles and cause the formula to go cloudy
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • But in the market we can find some product Layrite pomade or Suavecito pomade where there are PVP and Ceteareth 25 and it is clear crystal formula !! 

    My formula become opaque when it is packageg and cooled down 
  • And an another thing, my formula is white when i worked it in my hand ... like a soap ... Maybe too much Ceteareth 25 and it is emulated ? 

    What do you think about it ? 
  • one of the first things I learned when working with these type of products is to disregard the written ingredient list completely and formulate by comparison with a known standard (if possible); or failing that, start again from first principles

    this is simply because so many of them, particularly the ones made in China, have ingredient lists are incomplete or just plain wrong - and this problem affects branders both big and small!

    yes, I agree the whiteness is likely due to the ceteareth-25
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Yes you are right ! 

    I started with just water and ceteareth 25 but it is not enough a strong hold and not hard enought in the package.

    So I tried :

    - To increase the level of ceteareth 25 (25 to 30 %) but it is not possible to package it. So I have added PEG and glycerin to lower the solidification point. But It is became white when i worked it in my hands.

    - To add PVP K 90 but my formula became opaque and white when I worked it in my hands.

    Do you have some ideas ? 
  • Ceteareth 25 does not offer holding features like Carbomer. Ceteareth 25 is a "Colloid stabilizing emulsifier". That means it will "gel" net your ingredients, into a soft or a very firm form, depending on the percentage used in the formula.

    You can turn your process into a one pot. Do not cool-down formula to where it becomes opaque, before it reaches that stage, hot pour in jar to cool-down and set.

    And Glycerin or any other humectants must be used to small amounts to not override the holding effect of PVP or similar. PEG helps improve emulsion stability for hot pour.
  • edited January 2016
    I worked on a similar project for 6 months, believe me you should never think you can add pvp and the product remains transparent (impossible), then the largest council a problem you will discover it is the color transformation of the cream that turns yellow or Crystal orange because of the perfume, so you have to do with your perfume to properly formulate a fragrance that is heat resistant, because such products must be packed in pots has a temperature above 60 °.
  • @charmer : thank you for your advice. In fact, I tried different % of PVP, and always opaque ...
    But with a low % of PVP, it is okay. I have to find the good ratio between hold (% PVP) and opacity.

    @tonyh : It is difficult because, I want a hard formula (difficult to take it with fingers) so I add Ceteareth 25 to maximum (30 %) but it is not possible to package my formula (the solidification point is too high). So I add some humectants to lower this point, but it is not enough strong hold ... I have to find the good compromise between the hardness, the strong hold, the low opacity and the possibility of packaging... IMPOSSIBLE !

    I have a question : what is the difference between PEG and glycerin and propylene glycol ? Because I don't know which is the best to use in my case to lower the solidification point without changing others parameters.

    Do you have others suggestions to help me ?
  • edited January 2016
    @celine13009 the best way to change the solidification point is to replace some of your ceteareth-25 (i.e. the material that forms the gel) with another ethoxylated alcohol that has a lower degree of ethoxylation - steareth-2 for instance, or oleth-5

    the catch is that you'll lose some of the transparency!

    @charmer just out of interest, how did you mix the ceteareth-25 and the water phase together? I found it almost impossible unless the ceteareth-25 was blended with another materials; otherwise it would just form a solid lump that took a very long time to disperse and filled the product with air, no matter how hot the water phase was
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • try to use ceteareth-30 about 18-20% with peg-7 glyceryl cocoate 8-10%
  • Hey guys - great discussion. Thanks celine13009 @charmer @tonyh I'm learning a lot!

    This is my formula: INGREDIENTS: Water, Ceteareth-25, Propylene Glycol, PVP, Vegetable Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance

    1. My product is fine once settled I have to remove about 1/2 in layer of foam from the top of each 4oz jar. Why is my product foaming? Is there a way to get rid of the top foam layer?

    2. Currently can only get my product up to 80C. Using a double boiler and have limited lab (kitchen) equipment. Do you think this is hot enough?

  • edited March 2016
    1.  You are probably using the wrong mixer to make your product.  What kind of mixer are you using?  You should use a center stir mixer.

    2.  80C should be high enough. You should get a hot plate and use a water bath to make the batch though. 
  • Why do you like to have a Crystal Clear Water Soluble Pomade?

    If you try Natural Waxes and Natural Oils, the formula may not be clear, but, it could be sold better because it will be "Natural"
  • edited March 2016
    @Clark at 80°C, do all the solid materials melt and stay liquid, and can they easily be mixed to uniformity at that temperature (i.e. so you don't get any solid bits)?

    if so, then yes, it is hot enough
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • @Bill_Toge Thanks for the feedback. Really means a lot to get your opinion man!
    celine13009 did you have this problem? The bubbles? How did you fix it?

    Thinking about switching to carbomer instead of cet-25. What would be the downside of this?

    I'm also thinking "the bubble layer" may be due to the fact i'm brewing in 100g test batches... from what I saw in this video:  where they make gel style pomades they brew in probably 10,000g batches then pull from the bottom. Thoughts?

    It's really just this foam thing driving me crazy. I love the look / feel of my product.
  • Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • I was able to hit the jackpot with the first try, I didn't even use 25 ethoxylate as I had 20 ethoxylate sample and it came out absolute delight to my surprise. I have IKA overhead mixer with impeller and I could control the speed nicely once the ethoxylate was added to water phase. Processing temperature was around 80C and I poured it at almost 55-60C, set nicely almost like the benchmark I was given. But that leaves with a big question here, when do I add my preservative as the pouring temperature itself is too high. 
  • @Clark and @celine13009 ; how did your formulations work out?  I am working on a similar pomade/gel system.  It has been interesting.
  • I made this into a one pot formulation mixing at medium speed (80°C) . I got a thick gel on top and a sticky flowing gel on the bottom. I am using C-20. Any ideas?
  • @chemist5000 what is your formula?, mix in two phases 
  • I was trying a one pot formula since both were at 80°C.

  • heat the c-25 in a pot at 80°C and in another pot the rest of the materials at same temperature, after,  add c-25 in the other pot slowly 
  • I am using C-20.  I have C-30 also on hand.  How is your mixing? I keep experiencing separation? You didn't experience the same? or should I do w/o
  • why do you use both? 
  • its a very small percentage of the c-30. just to help out. I was thinking about removing it.  Have you experienced separation with the C-25 or C-20 on the bottom?
  • No, I only use c-25 as a gelling agent
    I think you could use polysorbate 20 maybe or peg40 to help emulsify these ceteareth
  • i actually have both of those.  about 2%?
  • no it didn't experienced separation. not sure what to do.

  • @Chemist5000 & @Rebelgreaser66 I posted complete formula about 3-4 months back in one of the posts. Please look for it, I again suggest to go Ceteareth-20 way @30%. Use a combination of glycerol and propylene glycol @7% & 8% respectively. Heat ceteareth-20 separately and process st 85-90C. Add Polysorbate 20 @2% and avoid any resin if you want a clear product. Add fragrance and preservative just before pouring into containers. I have already commercialized the product and it is stable @ 45C for 2 months plus. 
    Hope this helps and you get the desired product.
  • I am still having a little issue with separation with I stop mixing at 70°C. I am starting this at 90°C I am using Cetereath-20 at @20% so it would be so hard to scoop.  I noticed that I am getting 2 layers a larger white layer and then a Yellowish layer that may be a little lump (PVP k-90). I am not using Poly-20  but Peg-7 glyeryl Cocate and Peg 40-HCO.  I am thinking about change the PVP K-90 to styleze cc-10.  What do you think?

  • I have got it right every time I do the trial. Just follow what I suggested, get the base right first before you add the additives.
  • "Please look for it, I again suggest to go Ceteareth-20 way @30%. Use a combination of glycerol and propylene glycol @7% & 8% respectively. Heat ceteareth-20 separately and process st 85-90C. Add Polysorbate 20 @2%"

    I am assuming you are speaking of this statement made earlier.  I will do it today.  One thing I do also is stop the mixing around 70C so the bubbles will dissapate .  Could this be causing the separation?  
  • I have to add a fixative for hold to this ...
  • Add PVP  but remember it will disturb the clarity. Process at 85C since below that it is quite difficult to get a uniform product. I have used PVP K90 at upto 3% but compromised on clarity. IMO the hold of wax itself is perfect, I added PVP since customer was insisting. Should be slow mixing and you will have no issues.
    Good luck. 
  • clarity is not a big issue with me right now.  I just want a working formulation.  thanks!
  • That must work as I just gave you the commercial formula.
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