Need help with o/w emulsion. Water based Styling Clay

I keep getting this frothy consistency after making my styling clay pomade formula.  Doesn't seem properly emulsified. What am I doing wrong?  Not enough emulsifiers?  Not mixing properly?  Heating?  

Water Phase

Water:  55%

Propylene Glycol:  1%

PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate:  4%


Oil Phase

Ceteareth 20:  8%

PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil:  5%

BTMS-50 {Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetyl Alcohol (and) Butylene Glycol}

PEG 8 Beeswax:  4%

Stearic Acid:  2%

Avocado Oil:  2%


After mixing both water/oil phase, I mix the clays in at about 170 degrees F

Kaolin Clay:  12%

Dead Sea Clay:  3%

Preservative:  .5% Liquid Germall Plus - INCI:  Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate


I mixed the water and oil phase when they both reach about 170 – 180 degrees using a stick blender.  Then added the clays once it reached back to about 180 degrees. Kept mixing and added the preservative and fragrance at about 150 degrees.  Poured into container at 110 degrees.  More like scooped into the container.  It started hardening a bit.  

 It does emulsify when you rub it between your hands.  


  • Off topic, it seems to me that your palm skin is dehydrated. You should take care of it :) 
  • LOL...I'll try. 
  • What advice are you looking for exactly? Regarding the soaping effect on the hands, or regarding the consistancy of the product in the jar etc.?
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    A little of dimethicone could be of big help here, try @0.5% to start. 
  • @Dirtnap1I don't like the consistency.  I want it to be creamy, smooth.  But it starts to harden when it reaches about 120/130 degrees F.  Then I can't really mix properly.

    I think I am getting too much air when I mix.  I use a $40 stick blender and I was moving it up and down putting too much air in the beaker.  Since my stick blender has that base at the bottom, it restricts the blade from getting all the way to the bottom of my mixture.  Wish I could afford an overhead mixer, but I am thinking about taking my stick blender apart and connecting the shaft to my drill.  LOL!!  I know it sounds funny, but need to improvise.  
  • @KingRoland78, I broke my stick blender this way. It won’t work. Get a cheap chineese overhead stirrer on ebay. Just make sure it’s powerful enough for your viscosity. I got one for $80 (3500 rpm 100W). Works awesome for viscous o/w lotions. But you might need something a little more powerful. Stick blender isn’t a way to go unfortunately. 
  • Ceteareth 20 and beeswax will both thicken and start to solidify under 130. Try pouring around 140-150.
    A paint stirrer on a drill may work. Stick blender works to incorperate in the initial mixing, but as you noted, you do get air trapped. So paint stirrer once everything has melted/blended.

    Try increasing Propylene Glycol a little. 

    Permulgin D (Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20) may work to help emulsify a bit better than straight Ceteareth 20.
  • @ngarayeva001 You're right.  My stick blender is use-less after I add the clay.  Once I add the clay, it gets very thick and my stick blender just spins and does nothing.  I actually used a mud mixer I got from Home Depot (, but I'm still getting the same clumpy results.  I think I need a dispersion blade or something that will mix thick viscosity.  @Dirtnap1yes I will try to pour at 140 degrees.  Should I leave it uncapped and place in fridge for 20min? Or what would be the ideal way to let a clay pomade set?  I tend to get a firm top layer when i let it cool at room temp.  
  • @KingRoland78, I don't work with high viscosities but buying an overhead stirrer was a game changer for me. I guess you would have to invest more than $80 in your stirrer though (it has to be powefull). Check Chineese stirrers on ebay, those are much cheaper yet do the job.
  • @ngarayeva001Can you provide a link for the overhead stirrer?  I am at that point where I need to make this perfect! Can't stop thinking about lol
  • @KingRoland78 I feel like I'm in the same boat. My trials keep ending up almost like cool whip..
  • @KingRoland78, I am using this one 

    it is more than sufficient for viscous o/w creams. It can mix polymers, silica and other ingredients that don’t work well with a stickblender. And no issues with air bubbles. But I don’t think it’s powerful enough for your product. Try to figure out technical characteristics that you need and search that in ebay.
  • I been making my trials in 5.8 oz volume with using a stick blender and keep getting bubbles. I would think the stick blender could handle such a small volume?
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