Lotion Emulsifier Guidelines with Active Ingredients?

Hi there,

I was wondering whether anyone could share thier insights into whether there are any rules for determining incompatibilities between emulsifiers like Polawax, Ritamulse SCG, BTMS-50, BTMS-22 and active ingredients like plant extracts?

I am currently thinking of using BTMS-50 as my emulsifier and wanted to be sure that it won't inactivate any actives in my lotion like essential oils or green tea extracts. I know BTMS-50 contains behentrimonium methosulfate, a cationic quaternary compound.

Is there general rule about combining cationic ingredients and actives? I know that they can inactivate some preservatives.

Picture by Minette Layne. License: CC-BY-NC 2.0. Available here 


  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    Here's the thing - 99% of "active" ingredients, like essential oils or plant extracts, do absolutely nothing. This is actually a good thing, because if they did really effect the body, it would be illegal to use them in cosmetics in the US.

    Make a good emulsion, get it stable, and don't worry about the "active" ingredients.
    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."
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    What Bob said ^^^
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