Converting a Lotion into a Cream?

If you were converting a lotion into a cream using the same ingredients, very approximately, by how much would you expect the proportions (as a percentage of the overall weight of the formula) of the water, emollient oils, emollient esters, emulsifying agents, thickening agents and humectants to change (if at all)?

In short, how do you convert a lotion into a cream using the exact same ingredients (or almost all of the same ingredients)?


  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited October 2018
    Increase the amount of cetearyl alcohol/stearic acid/cetyl alcohol/polysorbate 60/carbomer. There is no such rule as "3% of cetyl alcohol makes a lotion and 6% makes a cream" It depends on other ingredients. Make 5-6 small batches with different proportions of different thickeners, and see which one you like. Or post your formula here and I will be able to comment on what to increase.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Yeah, just increase the fatty alcohols or the thickening agent. No need to change anything else.
  • So there would be no need to increase the percentage by weight of vegetable/carrier oils?
  • No, oils are responsible for emolliency not the body of the product.
  • ngarayeva001  depend of the oil content... at a certain point viscosity increase quite a lot (i guess from 40% oil, but that will depend also of the droplet size) and if you superate 74% internal phase ratio, you will have no flow anymore
  • Doesn't it also depend on the emulsifier? Like with certain emulsifiers the viscosity will increase as you add more oil.
  • @jeremien, thank you. I will research it. I am experienced with o/w emulsions with an oil phase of max 25%. I guess that majority of lotions and creams are within this range. 
    Regarding increasing of the viscosity, I just prefer good old polymers. It's three in one: an emulsifyer a thickener and a texture enhancer.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    The only difference between a lotion (flows) and a cream is viscosity.  As previously mentioned, you can, using the exact same ingredients, increase the viscosity by increasing the emulsifiers, fatty acids, gums or other thickening agents and leaving all other ingredients at the same percentage as was used in the lotion.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

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