water in oil lotions

Hello every body
I am now working on w/o emulsions and I wonder if it is necessary to use distilled & deionized water  as in o/w emulsions ??
and is it important to use xanthan gum or guar gum in the formula ??

Thank you in advance for your suggestions, I hope that you can help.


  • Yes, it is important to use deionised water.
    W/O are very very very (I can't emphasise it enough) different than O/W. They are not stable. They look fine and then separate out of the blue sky in 2-3 months. You shouldn't use hydrocolloids (unless it's some sort of HIPE geltrap) to thicken it because water isn't external phase anymore. Very often they just thicken as a response to high shear. If you want to stabilise W/O, use waxes, such as hydrogenated castor oil (or any hydrogenated oil I guess), don't forget stabilisers such as magnesium or zinc stearate (0.5%). Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax (Cera bellina) isn't bad idea either. I saw some formulas using stearic acid and even beeswax, but I haven't tried it myself.
    Also, don't forget adding 1% of salt for stability (MG sulfate).
    And get patience. You will have a lot of failed products.
  • FekherFekher Member, Professional Chemist
    edited October 2019
    @Yasmine actually  beewax with borax gives very stable w/o emulsion .
  • @Fekher, have you actually tried the beeswax/borax combo yourself? I think I tried it once about 20 years ago and ended up with a hot mess. Never tried it again.
  • FekherFekher Member, Professional Chemist
    edited October 2019
    @tanelise actually i had not borax however i tried  NaOh with beewax and i got very stable emulsion , but i'am sure that it works also with borax .
    The reason i go for borax that it is milder base comparing to Naoh and even the origin lol with with borax i was obliged to try it with NaOh because i did not find borax . Give the Lol and i will check it for giving advice .
  • Yes, that will be stable, but not aesthetically pleasing. When I mentioned that W/O are hard to make I was referring to more modern high internal phase (70%+ of water) W/O or W/Si emulsions.
  • thank you very much all of you , I've tried borax and beeswax before and it ended up a very bad emulsion ( water seeps from the lotion, the lotion it self was oily in touch ). I want to make sun screen lotion and I have only zinc oxide and titanium dioxide , so i need w/o emulsion to have a good feeling lotion .

  • Do you have an access to a lab that will test spf and a good homogenizer? If not don’t even start. Testing of spf will cost you around $10,000 depending on location. You can not predict spf simply betting on amount on zinc oxide. It must be tested properly.

  • FekherFekher Member, Professional Chemist
    edited October 2019
    @Yasmine i'am also trying beewax in emulsion and i got verry acceptable texture ,i guess the problem is from formulation not ingredients so for cream i'am sure to have w/o cream beewax can be good solution may in lotion is not, however in case of sunscreen cream is a good idea.
    Second thing for suspension zinc oxide or titanuim you can do it in oil pomade and you will get verry lovely texture without the need of emulsion so you will be more sure about product's stability .
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