Natural Gels - from ugly Betty to glamorous

I am trying to formulate a gel mask using natural thickeners like Sclerotium gum, Solagum AX, Siligel (Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Sclerotium Gum, Pullulan).
I also have Amaze XT (Dehydroxanthan Gum), though it's  more for haircare.

I would LOVE to use a synthetic polymeric thickener because the skin-feel is soo much nicer...but they are not natural..

Using Sapogel (INCI: Glycerin, Aqua, Quillaja Saponaria Wood Extract, Saponaria Officinalis (Soapwort) Leaf/Root Extract) and the like is out of the question also because of the insanity of sitting there pipetting away for hours...

My question is: What natural ingredients might help take a natural gel from ugly Betty to more glamourous?

Thank you


  • FekherFekher Member, Professional Chemist
    @Anca_Formulator I guess looking for natural ingredients is fake problem the most important thing that ingredients are safe then functional.
  • @fekher I agree that safety and functionality are critical, but looking for natural materials is not a fake problem if you are a natural formulator and your market is the natural market...
  • FekherFekher Member, Professional Chemist
    @Anca_Formulator in that case you have right just I told that in general case because a lot insist for natural ingredients however it is not always obligation or best choice. 
  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    @Anca_Formulator, even though I am a dyed-in-the-wool carbomer/acrylics guy - there are no substitutes in my opinion -  I cannot be silent here: have you tried cellulosics or just plain modified cellulose? 

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    I'm trying to formulate only with 'naturals' (in a broad and biased sense) but honestly, I struggle with natural gelling agents... xanthan is my basis but those acrylics make life so much easier. I can live without PEGs and even silicones (though there is no real replacement for silicone oils) but gelling agents if used in gel products and not just as emulsion stabilisers is hard. Naturals just don't feel as nice as the synthetics. My focus ain't on them so I'm absolutely no help which blend might do the trick for you, sorry.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist

    There are some categories where you simply will not find a natural alternative that will give you acceptable performance or skin sensorial.  This is one of them.  For this type of product, Ugly Betty is about as pretty as natural gets.  If you are open to it, try Sepinov WEO, Sepimax Zen or a combination of the two.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details
  • edited July 22
    @Fekher @chemicalmatt @MarkBroussard @Pharma Thank you, I hear you! 

    You said it @MarkBroussard: Ugly Betty is as pretty as natural gets.

    Here's something I've been considering more and more: as close to 100% naturally derived my formulations strive to be, I don't want to be so very rigid. I want my consumer to fully delight in the product.
    It's funny how habitual and blind my insistence has been on naturals only, but when I did deeper I start running into, "so what if it's not 100% natural?" What's the tragedy?

    My guess is that if a consumer was given a choice between 100% natural Ugly Betty and 95% natural but glamorous, most would chose the latter...Yes, I might lose a few, but so what?

    I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of  % for that. I'm already a sell-out when it comes to preservatives...

    So I will give polymerics a shot after all! Once again, thank you for helping me relax a bit!

    @Fekher sorry for getting a bit gruffy when you challenged me on naturals only
  • FarahFarah Member
    @Anca_Formulator honestly, consumers are not as purist about natural as we think. Sure, there are a few. But I think if you explain your ingredient philosophy honestly and provide products that produce results and that they can delight in, they’ll be game. Good synthetic trumps bad natural. Also I don’t think synthetic preservatives are selling out. They facilitate the 95%+ being natural. Without them, that simply won’t be possible! 
  • @Farah Well put.  I love it, "Good synthetic trumps bad natural"
  • FekherFekher Member, Professional Chemist
    edited July 22
    @Anca_Formulator fine you have the right to defend yourself there is no problem. 
  • Have you tried alginates?  There is a product called ESP A+  which is a combination of alginate and Aloe vera.  It doesn't have the clarity of Carbomers but does have a better gel structure than nearly all other 100% natural thickeners.  I don't remember who makes it, I got my sample from Kreglinger in UK.
    Sharon Martiny, Formulating personal care products and more since 1995
  • IlsmeIlsme Member
    We've tried so many natural alternatives and nothing comes close. One Benecel form Ashland gave very nice gel structure and skin feel but was not stable over the time. I still want to try it again.

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