Formulating Water Based Pomade

Happy Hump Day everyone! I hope you all are safe and doing well. I've been trying to make my own version of a water based pomade that my stylist used on my hair and I have questions regarding formulating my own.

Ingredients of the product that i am trying to copy:
Aqua, Ceteareth-25, Oleth-20, Glycerol, Butylene Glycol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Propylene Glycol, PEG-7 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance.

I've noticed that products similar to this use DMDM Hydantoin as its sole preserverative. However, isn't DMDM Hydantoin bactericidal? If so, how is it being protected against yeast and mold? Also, is there a alternative preservative that I can use as I am not really a fan of f-donors (don't judge me please  :) )

In my formula, I used ceteareth-20 as I do not have access to Oleth-20. I am assuming it was used to lower the solidification point of the ceteareth-25? The hold is very minimal and the pH is around 6.5. Thank you so much for your help!

Phase A:
Water- 59%
Glycerin- 4%

Phase B:
Ceteareth-25- 20%
Ceteareth-20- 10%
Propylene Glycol- 4%
Peg-7- 1%
Peg-40- 0.8%

Phase C:
Fragrance- 0.2%
Euxyl PE 9010- 1%


  • DavidWDavidW Member, PCF student
    I don't have an answer but if you search pomade you will find prior discussions that may help.  I remember seeing them.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    oleth-X has very different physical properties to ceteth- / steareth- / ceteareth-X - it's a wedge-shaped molecule rather than a linear one, so it takes up much more space at the water/oil interface, and therefore they can't be used interchangeably
    with DMDM hydantoin, the major concern is temperature; these products have to be mixed and filled at high temperatures (60+ °C), and DMDMH will not survive an extended filling run that hot
    UK based cosmetic chemist with 13 years' experience at the bench. I've worked with pretty much everything apart from pressed powders, soap, solid lipstick and aerosols.
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