Please Help - Severe Cloudiness In Polymer Phase of Styling Gel Prototype

Hi All:


Having a serious “cloudiness” issue in the polymer phase (B) of a normal hold styling gel prototype I’ve been working on.


My carbomer phase (A - 72% water, 0.5% carbomer, 0.2% Disodium EDTA, 0.02% Benzopbenone-4 and 0.1% DMDM Hydantoin preservative) is completely clean and clear.


There’s no debate that an inferior chemist is involved here (me), but I’m wondering if perhaps an inferior styling polymer product could be causing the excessive cloudiness?


I’m Basically using a 5% polymer solution with 3% / 2% of PVP / DMAPA & PVP K 90 respectively.


After 30 minutes of continuous mixing of (20% water and both styling polymers) in phase B, the solution looks like a semi-frothy milkshake. 


I’m then separately mixing 4:1 polysorbate-20 with a fragrance until crystal clear.


Next I’m adding to Phase B 0.5% TEA, a drop of FD&Caramel color along with a hint of clear flaxseed / soybean oil. Finally, I add the clear polysorbate / fragrance solution to phase B and mix for another 5 minutes.


When I combine phases A and B together and mix (for another 30 minutes), the perfectly clear carbomer solution turns into a milky, creamy gel (thanks to problematic phase B) losing all of its clarity.


When I run my finger thru the mixture I can literally feel some GRIT, which is a red flag, and I’m suspecting it’s either the PVP K90 or the PVP / DMAPA. Both are from “Making Cosmetics” (“PVP” and “Acrylates Copolymer” products).


I’m hoping the solution to the problem is obvious to the more seasoned chemists in the group, but right now I’m very confused, as there is literally a full hour of mixing taking place on this prototype, and still not obtaining anywhere close to the clear finished gel as I would hope.


Any help you can provide would be so appreciated!  Thank you so much!


Best,

Steve

Comments

  • I’m thinking I MAY have used an incorrect product.  The “Acrylate Copolymer” from Making Cosmetics is an Acrylates Octylacrylamide copolymer, which I do not think is the same as DMAPA.  I just purchased “GelMaker” from them and will try that in its place.  Hopefully that fixes my problem!
    Best,

    Steve
  • Could be two things: 1) disodium edta 2) acrylates copolymer. You need Tetrasodium EDTA for clear product not disodium. I believe that actylates Copolymer that makingcosmetics have is for surfactants. Makingcosmetics rename everything and it’s impossible to find out brand name in most cases, which isn’t helpful. I suspect that gelmaker powder that they sell is actually ultrez 20 but I cannot know for sure. Which gelmaker did you order?
  • I have one well working prototype made from makingcosmetics products. It’s crystal clear (has some bubbles but it’s the process) extra strong hold gel. I will find the formula later today.
  • INCI %
    Aqua 89.7%
    Tetrasodium EDTA 0.2%
    PVP 3.0%
    Carbomer 980 0.5%
    VP/VA Copolymer 4.0%
    TEA 0.1%
    PEG-8 Dimethicone 1.5%
    Preservative 1.0%

    All ingredients are from makingcosmetics (except for Tetrasodium EDTA but they should have it). It's a quite process dependent formula. PVP, VP/VA Copolymer and Carbomer 980 should be hydrated in separate beakers. VP/VA needs heating (50-60C). Minimum stirring. I think that GelMaker Powder should do the job as well but I suspect that it will lead to lower viscosity of the final product (it's less "fluffy" than carbomer 980).
    I hope it's helpful.
  • @ngarayeva001- thank you so much!  Yes as soon as the GelMaker powder arrives I will let you know how it turns out!  I also ordered some tetrasodium EDTA to replace the disodium.  Thanks again! 👍
    Best,

    Steve
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Try adding the the fixative after neutralization and see how it comes out. If still unclear and gritty, then there is an issue with your fixative. Or as @ngarayeva001 pointed out about ETDA. 
  • @Chemist77 - will do!  Appreciate the tip! 🙏
    Best,

    Steve
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    Remember, certain grades of Carbomer are better suited for clarity. Lubrizol covers clarity in their knowledge bases. As far as Disodium EDTA, I have never had an issue with carbomers and I have used quite a few.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • @Microformulation - thanks for the feedback! 🙏 

    yes I happen to have Carbomer 940 (is that less clear / pure than 980?), but I am still able to achieve a near flawless and clear carbomer phase.  It’s only when I mix in the styling polymer phase that I lose the clarity.

    im almost positive the culprit here is the “Acrylate Copolymer” from Making Cosmetics.  The product is probably fine - it’s just the wrong one to use for hair gel, as @ngarayeva001 pointed out.  I’m now reading up on it, and it mentions “heating the oil phase to 80°C before adding it,” so I know it can’t be used in gel, as normally a styling gel process does not require any heating.  The fact that I didn’t heat it probably also explains the grittiness of the mixture.  It must be more for shampoos and conditioners, so I just need to get my products straight.

    Ahh the trials and tribulations of being a novice cosmetic chemist! Good learning experience tho, and looking forward to finally nailing down this prototype!

    Thanks all for your assistance as it is greatly appreciated.
    Best,

    Steve
  • Be really careful with makingcosmetics. They rename everything and INCI name isn't always an answer because different products might have the same INCI.
    I figured what they call GelMaker PH is actually Sepimax Zen by Seppic and GelMaker RHEO is ViscOptima by Croda.
  • Thank you @ngarayeva001 !!!  It is the GelMaker Powder that I purchased  - THK-ACAC-02.

    yes I am not a fan either, but I’m just starting out, and wanted to try with just small batch quantities in the beginning.

    I’m not sure if this is a fair, non proprietary question, but may I ask where you purchase your PVP / DMAPA?

    the PVP K 90 is easy to buy in large quantities (at VERY affordable rates) from China, however the Chinese market does not trade in DMAPA currently, and I’m looking to save by purchasing a 25 kg drum.

    any ideas?

    Thank You.
    Best,

    Steve
  • I used this in my formula:
    https://www.makingcosmetics.com/HairFix-Powder_p_1128.html
    Sorry I don't know much about large suppliers.
  • Awesome - I will check it out!  Thank you so much again...
    Best,

    Steve
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