Best Polymeric Emulsifiers for Pleasant Sensory and Slip for O/W Emulsions?

1. What are the best polymeric emulsifiers for imparting pleasant skin feel and smooth slip to O/W emulsions containing approximately 30% oil phase?

2. What film former (if necessary to add) works best with this polymeric emulsifier for imparting pleasant sensory effects?

3. What thickener (if necessary to add) works best with this polymeric emulsifier for imparting pleasant sensory effects?

In summary, what is your favorite polymeric emulsifier for pleasant sensory and smooth slip?

Any suggestions, comments or discussion about any one or all of the questions above are greatly appreciated.  Thanks!


  • Just one would be challenging for such a high oil phase. I would say you need to mix it with conventional emulsifiers to ensure stability. From the top of my head, Sepinov EMT 10 by seppic should hold around 30% of oils but I wouldn’t rely on one emulsifier for job. You can combine it with Sepimax Zen or Pemulen EZ 4U (very nice aesthetic together). Simulgel EG (also Seppic) is claimed to hold up to 40% of oils and is very easy to work with. Nice aesthetic as well  but I personally prefer Sepinov EMT 10. Regarding thickeners, they all can be mixed with carbomers if you want. Would you consider combining say Arlacel 165 with a polymeric emulsifier? It can be formulated the way it still feels like a gel but it’s safer.
  • EVchemEVchem Member
    edited August 2019
    You can try sepiplus 400 (Polyacrylate-13 (and) Polyisobutene (and) Polysorbate 20), I'm not the biggest fan but it should cover a lot  of the points you are asking about- I've emulsified about 24% oil with 3% of sepiplus
  • I agree, Sepiplus 400 is an option as well. It has a drawback though (actually as well as the ones I listed, but slightly more I believe), it is balling..
  • By the way, Lubrizol states that EZ 4U can emulsify up to 50% of oils:

    It's not a bad emulsifier, but the texture reminds orange marmalade to me, so I never use it alone.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited August 2019
    in all honesty I normally use conventional emulsifiers combined with a hydrocolloid in the water phase to control the texture, and I only use polymeric emulsifiers for the most difficult/temperamental formulas
    but if you want a rheology modifier than can stabilise emulsions, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose is an excellent all-rounder
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • What are your impressions of SOLAGUM TARA, also by SEPPIC (INCI: Ceasalpina spinosa gum), as a synergistic thickener and texturizer to combine with SEPINOV EMT 10 or other polymeric emulsifiers for a soft skin feel that is less stringy than xanthan gum?
  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited August 2019
    It’s not an emulsifier. You will need 2.5% of Sepinov EMT to stabilize 30% of oils. A gum wound not contribute much to viscosity in a product where 2.5% of Sepinov is already used. I would rather add another emulsifier 
  • @nagarayeva001
    If you added 2.5% of SEPINOV EMT 10 to an O/W emulsion with a 30% oil phase; approximately what percentage of SEPIMAX ZEN (INCI: Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6) would you add to the same emulsion as a co-emulsifier to achieve a pleasing skin feel and velvety slip?

    Would this combination of emulsifiers (SEPINOV EMT + SEPIMAX ZEN) match well with Carbopol as a thickener and texturizer to achieve an elegant skin feel and smooth slip?

    I would imagine that you would have to get the proportions right of a combination of two polymeric emulsifiers plus Carbopol in the same formula in order to avoid balling and other undesirable effects.

    Thanks again @nagarayeva001, your contributions are always incredibly valuable and enlightening!

  • It's really hard to tell like this and you need to experiment, but I would guess (based on my experience with these emulsifiers) 2% to 2.5% of Sepinov EMT10 plus 0.5% of Sepimax Zen. I am not really sure you need Carbopol at all, because these are gel makers. The reason why I suggest Sepimax Zen and Spinov EMY 10, is that they both can emulsify relatively high amount of oil and have very different textures. Sepinov is more similar so sodium polyacrylate based emulsifiers and Sepimax is more like a marmalade (similar to Ez 4U actually) with a very good slip. I think they compliment each other. Don't go for more than 0.5% os Sepimax because it will be "wobbly" like fruit jelly. Lubrizol's Ez 4U will do the same trick, but Sepimax Zen is also electrolyte resistant, which is a benefit. Try it and see whether it's stable and emulsifies properly. To be honest, I don't go for such a high oil phase in O/W emulsions. Will you consider a combination of conventional emulsifier and a polymeric one? You still can make it in a gel format. 
  • Do you want to try this?

    Arlacel™ 165 - Croda Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate 5.00%
    Cetyl Alcohol Cetyl Alcohol 1.50%
    SEPINOV EMT 10 - SEPPIC Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer 1.00%
    SEPIMAX™ ZEN - SEPPIC Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 0.50%

    It obviously makes it hot process but should be more stable like that.
  • @nagarayeva001
    Which of these emulsifier combinations do you think would work best to produce a stable, opaque white, O/W body cream with an approximate 25%-30% oil phase that has pleasant skin feel with a velvety smooth slip?

    I do not want to produce a gel, but rather an opaque O/W body cream.

    I am completely open to the idea of combining a polymeric emulsifier with a conventional emulsifier or even a "natural" bio-based emulsifier, like one from the MONTANOV series of emulsifiers.

    Do you have any suggested emulsifier combinations (polymeric + traditional; and polymeric + "natural" or other combinations of three) that would likely produce an aesthetically pleasing and stable opaque white body cream with elegant and velvety skin feel and silicone-like slip (without the use of silicone)?

    Thanks very much for letting me pick your brain!
  • Oh, if you want a cream with nice and light texture (especially opaque) go for my suggestion above with arlacel 165, Sepinov EMT 10, and Sepimax Zen. Try that and also try up cetyl alcohol to 3% and reduce Sepinov to 0.7% (with other inputs the same) and see which version you like the best.
  • @nagarayeva001
    If you had to eliminate the Arlacel 165 from the formula, how would you adjust the emulsification system containing the SEPINOV EMT 10 and SEPIMAX ZEN in order to achieve a pleasant skin feel and relatively silicone-like slip in this O/W body cream formula?

    What ingredients (not containing silicone) would you add to the SEPINOV EMT 10 and SEPIMAX ZEN?  Would you retain the Cetyl Alcohol?  How might the proportions change?

    I understand that this type of emulsification system missing the Arlacel 165 will possibly or likely fall short of the pleasant sensory effects afforded by one containing Arlacel 165.  Nevertheless, I am curious what else you could add (that does not contain silicone), if anything, that would possibly achieve a similar sensory result in a O/W cream as a cream containing Arlacel 165.

    Thanks so very much!
  • Arlacel is not about aesthetics it's about stability. If you want to get silicone feel, you can go for Sepiplus 400. I personally don't like it as it tends to ball.
    Other than that, as I said Sepinov EMT 10 and Sepimax Zen combination. I don't think you need to add anything, because you will get enough slip. You can add 1-2% of coco caprylate to your oil phase, but it's a matter of taste. I think it's too much of a slip. Try it and see whether you like it. 
  • @nagarayeva001
    Would you adjust the emulsification system by doubling the quantity while keeping their relative proportions the same  in order to make up for the lack of Arlacel 165? 

    In other words, would the adjusted emulsifing formula look something like the following with the objective of fully stabilizing an O/W body cream with approximate oil phase of 25%-30%?

    SEPINOV EMT 10 - 2.00%
    SEPIMAX ZEN - 1.00%

    Thank you so much!
  • I think that 1% of Sepimax zen is going to be wobbly. Try 2.5% Sepinov EMT 10 and 0.5% of Zen.
  • @nagarayeva
    Thanks!  This is immensely helpful.

    If you had the option of choosing any emulsifier system for the goal of producing an O/W body cream containing between 18%-30% oil phase that has exceptional sensory skin feel and slip and excellent stability, would you be more likely achieve this goal using a polymeric or traditional emulsion system?

    Thanks again!
  • @nagarayeva001
    Please refer to my comment and question immediately preceding this message.

    Thanks again so much!
  • @Spadirect, if you analise the most expensive moisturisers in the market you will notice that in most cases it’s combination of polymeric and conventional emulsifiers.
  • Can I use Arlacel™ 165 with cetostryl Alcohol.
    My main emulsifier is Cetostryl Alcohol--7.2 to 8%.
    what percentage you recommend with cetostryl alcohol for smooth  soft cream ?

  • I understand that the Cetyl Alcohol gives smoother fluffier feel than the cetostearyl alcohol. 
  • @amitvedakar, Cetostearyl alcohol is not an emulsifier. It's a fatty alcohol that is used a co-emulsifier and a thickener. You need a real emulsifier and Arlacel 165 is a good option. I agree with @Sven that cetyl alcohol is smoother and less draggy, but you can use cetostearyl alcohol too. 8% sounds high to me, but it's a matter of preference. Amount of emulsifiers and thickeners depends on the oil phase and desired viscosity.
  • at present I use cetostearyl alcohol 8%  & Ceto Macrogol-2% for a base. i want to replace CM 1000.
    so what tentative ratio should be?.
  • List your oil phase please.
  • Normally 5% to 20%. ( Liquid Paraffin, Propylene glycole, White soft parafin, & Glycerin.)
  • About 20% of your oil phase including fatty alcohols within 3-7%. But this is a matter of experimentation.
  • OK
    what should be  starting for 10% oil.?
  • There is no precise answer for this, as it depends on too many factors. You have to run experiments to see.
  • OK thank you. I am waiting for sample (same Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate from local manufacturer) to play.

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