Article by: Dandizette Beaute

I am health. I am wealth. I am stealth. Ok, maybe not stealth, but it rhymed so well… I am ORGANIC. At least this is where my mind goes when I think of Organic. You make think it odd, that I did not mention soil conditions, synthetic pesticides and such, but really, when it comes down to it, “organic” speaks to those that live a healthy lifestyle, have the money to maintain that lifestyle and have the time, energy and savviness to continually educate themselves and develop somewhat of a personal conviction, for organic to really matter.

In all actuality, Organic refers to specific agricultural conditions that are void of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Certified Organic standards for the cosmetics industry usually falls under a 70% organic formulation excluding water and/or NOP Organic with is 95% Organic and the remaining 5% natural. So, what does this mean for us as chemists…time, money, and a customer.

Cutting formulation time

Regardless of what the Rolling Stones say, time is not on our side, during the day to day grind of research, testing, formulating and benching. I love it when marketing says, “Oh just change the actives to something that works with your current base,” because it saves so much time! Unfortunately, we have limited availability and activity in our Certified Organic ingredient options. I have found emulsifiers the most difficult to source. Hopefully I can save time by sharing my five finds for organic emulsifiers:

  • Hydredsia O — (Botaneco) Oleosome cold-process, mild emulsifier derived from Safflowers
  • Andean Quillaja Organic — (Desert King) Surfactant/Emulsifier derived from the Andean Quilliaja Tree
  • Berry Saponin Concentrate — (Ecological Surfactants) Surfactant/emulsifier derived from Nepal Soap Berries
  • Prodhycreme CE and Prodhybase GLN — (Laboratoires Prod’Hgy) A self-emulsifying base multiple vegetal sources
  • Organic Emulsifying Wax — (Koster Keunen) Blend of organic waxes and lecithin multiple organic sources

I have found Hydresia O, the most innovative and interesting of the Certified Organic emulsifier options due to cold process formulations and multi-functional benefits of encapsulating oil soluble actives and essential oils with a delayed release effect on the skin. The oleosomes have also shown an incredible SPF boosting effect. For more info visit the Botaneco website.

Importance of packaging

A good emulsifier helps stabilize a formula, but packaging aids in protecting often unstable oils and extracts. For example, while strolling along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, I came across an Organic Skin Care store that claims to meet SOIL Association Certification (one of the most stringent organic certifications). I popped in, looked at the labels and experienced the oxidized formulations first hand. Needless to say, I felt sorry for the customers that succumbed to the organic hype only to purchase high end oxidized formulations, in glam packaging (that did not protect their product), leaving them somewhat ineffective.

Make sure Marketing and Product Development know the special packaging needs of your formula, since the emulsions and plant extracts tend to be more sensitive to degrade than traditional synthetic systems…very important!

Cost of natural formulating

Hopefully, I have saved some of you a little time in your natural formulation efforts. Unfortunately, I am not sure I can save you money as well. Let’s face it. Organic products cost at least two times that of none Organic. Marketing, Purchasing and the customer should have this knowledge, if not then go ahead and educate them. The time and money the farmers and manufactures spend to certify Organic costs extra money that is so generously passed on to us and our consumer.

Certified organic formulations

Lastly, I am not sure how many of you will have the opportunity to formulate a Certified Organic Product. Even though the market has seen tremendous growth in the past 5-10 year, the overall demand pales in comparison to affordable and highly scientific/non-organic effective options. Customers want results and Organic simply does not possess the ingredient repertoire that non-organic and synthetic categories do. So, until new technology comes forward touting innovative technology and Organic standards, the market has limited growth, to fit the pocket book of most consumers.

Overall, the organic trend has become a movement to build awareness for an optimum lifestyle of health. Health takes time and money. Hopefully, I saved you a bit of time trying to serve your organic customer’s needs. My next article will cover Natural formulations and some interesting ingredients I have found useful.

~Beakers up!

Dandizette Beaute
Dandizette Beaute is a cosmetic formulator dedicated to creating natural and organic formulations that make sense and work. She’s also the latest author on Chemsits Corner.

16 comments

  1. Mark

    Hi there,
    Wonderful article.
    Where can we read the natural formulation article?

    Thank you.

  2. Justin Thomas

    In organic formulating, do we need to use preservatives?
    Could you please mention a few organic preservatives to be used with plant essential oils in a water based solution?

  3. Liz

    Thank you for your enlightening article. I have noticed companies selling true organic skin products by mixing various oils together depending on the skin needs and from my own experience the oils work very well especially for the body. For the face a cream would be preferable but as you point out, finding a true natural alternative to emulsifying wax is very difficult and at this point I am still gathering information in the hope to find a solution one day as the oils around the eyes are too heavy.
    I would like to find out more about how to package/store fragile facial skin products. As you point out not all containers are suitable.
    Have a healthy day!

  4. Gary

    What a great analysis of the certified organic skin care arena – well done Dandizette!

  5. sheralyn

    Hi. I’ve tried the botaneco product Perry mentioned. I was never able to get a stable emulsification, so probably didn’t have my process steps quite right. The organic cold emulsifier from Aromantic in the UK works very well, but you need at least 6% and it’s very sticky. I believe they now use AOF sucragel. I’m not sure that product works as well as the original formulation, even though the ingredients seem to be the same. Sucrose Laurate is one of the main emulisifiers…not sure how natural that is or isn’t.

    1. sheralyn

      One other point about the sucragel — kinetik is the u.s. distributor for it and only sells in 25 kg quantities. if anyone is interested in smaller quantities, we could co-op it….that is buy the large amount and split it amongst several people.

  6. Raefe Murray

    Hi.
    Botaneco have discontinued Hydresia O. Have you found a suitable substitute for it in your cosmetic applications? Thanks.

    1. Perry

      No, I’m not familiar with it. Whether it is truly natural or not depends on what you consider natural. Technically, there really are no natural emulsifiers that are used in industry. Everything is a result of some chemical reaction produced in a lab.

    2. Sophie

      I am currently using sucragel in my organic formulations and find it very useful that no heating is needed to use it. When using this product you need to bear in mind as it is cold-process you will need to be patient when blending, otherwise the oils and waters will separate within days. It is best used at 6-8% in your products. Experiment with it to see what works best for you and the other ingredients you have chosen. Hope this helps!

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  8. cherry

    Organic is an attitude. If you choose organic you chose much more than justan organic product. You protect the environment because farmers don’t destruct the soil with pesticides and chemical fertilizers like conventional farmers do only to be able to produce those masses of cheap products the consumers want. You help people get fair wages for their work (even though you have to make sure your organic products were manufactured in an ethical way. You avoid products from all over the world in order to save the climate. All those organics products you buy should meet those standards so take a close look.
    Organic skincare may not achieve the same results as synthetical skin care products do (but do they really always?) but, as I said, it is not only about which product makes your wrinkles look finer, you have to see it in a much wider sense.
    And: do we really need all these synthetically produced actives? I don’t think so. No matter how much of this stuff you put on your face or in your formulation it won’t make you younger. It is all a merely temporary effect.

  9. Roza

    nice :)~thanks for sharing u’r experiences! I’m sure u’ve saved many times of that people’s faces that u saw back there (not good packaging).

    1. Dandizette Beaute

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading 🙂

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