Thick topical cream

I have several plant extracts that are water and glycerin based. I want to make a topical cream and what I want to know is, can I use an emulsifier without using an oil in the formula? 

Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Sure, you can but why would you want to? 

    The whole point of using an emulsifier in a formula is to combine oil and water. Without oil, there isn't much point.
  • If you want to use an emulsifier because you expect it to make the formula "thick" then you are looking in the wrong place. You need a rheology modifier, and sometimes rheology modifiers are emulsifiers at the same time. I think the answer you are looking for is Sepimax Zen.
  • Even if you don't have any oils, you still need an emulsifier to emulsify the water insoluble fatty alcohols or fatty acids (often needed to thicken the formula).
  • ngarayeva001, I ordered some of the Sepimax Zen and got it a couple of days ago and I will try it this weekend. Are you psychic lol! 
  • Gunther said:
    Even if you don't have any oils, you still need an emulsifier to emulsify the water insoluble fatty alcohols or fatty acids (often needed to thicken the formula).
    That's what I was thinking too. I want to create a topical ointment but I have no desire to use an oil but I will if I need to. I was going to do two batches, one with Ecomulse and the other with Sepimax Zen, what would be your advice? 
  • @ToddZiegler69 Why not try some light esters instead of oils?
    Cosmetic Product Development
    Sussex Research Laboratories Inc.
    www.sussex-research.com
  • @ToddZiegler69 , the reason why I said Sepimax Zen, is that it's very easy to work with, and you said "plant extracts". Having limited information I thought some of them might be high in electrolytes and in that case Zen would be the best (and safest) choice. Also, even if this particular product won't go well, you will find other applications for this ingredient, so your money won't be wasted. If you use it for emulsion, add it to the oil phase. If you use it as a gel maker for a waterbased product, you might need to leave it to hydrate overnight. It's very slippery and I prefer mixing it with sodium carbomer (for water-based gels), but it's a matter of preference.
  • @ToddZiegler69 , the reason why I said Sepimax Zen, is that it's very easy to work with, and you said "plant extracts". Having limited information I thought some of them might be high in electrolytes and in that case Zen would be the best (and safest) choice. Also, even if this particular product won't go well, you will find other applications for this ingredient, so your money won't be wasted. If you use it for emulsion, add it to the oil phase. If you use it as a gel maker for a waterbased product, you might need to leave it to hydrate overnight. It's very slippery and I prefer mixing it with sodium carbomer (for water-based gels), but it's a matter of preference.
    That's exactly what I thought when purchasing the Sepimax. 
  • JonahRay said:
    @ToddZiegler69 Why not try some light esters instead of oils?
    Esters is exactly what I was looking at today, so I think I am on the right track. However everyone else's conformation makes me feel better about the investment in new ingredients and ways to go. I believe that I may be better off with the esters in other formulas. 
  • Thanks for all of your help. I have been reading and studying for almost 2 years now and it is really paying off. Even though I still have a few questions every now and then. 
  • @ToddZiegler69 , the reason why I said Sepimax Zen, is that it's very easy to work with, and you said "plant extracts". Having limited information I thought some of them might be high in electrolytes and in that case Zen would be the best (and safest) choice. Also, even if this particular product won't go well, you will find other applications for this ingredient, so your money won't be wasted. If you use it for emulsion, add it to the oil phase. If you use it as a gel maker for a waterbased product, you might need to leave it to hydrate overnight. It's very slippery and I prefer mixing it with sodium carbomer (for water-based gels), but it's a matter of preference.
    That's exactly what I thought when purchasing the Sepimax. 
    The extracts all come from the same supplier and all of the ingredients on their website say water, glycerin, and which ever plant that it is. I have asked the supplier to provide me with more information on their extraction process. 
  • What is the purpose of your "topical cream"? If you are trying to penetrate the skin with a transdermal product, then oils would actually help you do that. 
  • bil7bil7 Member
    Isopropyl myristate also works in thicken formulation and smooth oil feel touch also try liponates 
  • pccochran said:
    What is the purpose of your "topical cream"? If you are trying to penetrate the skin with a transdermal product, then oils would actually help you do that. 
    It is for helping with itchy dry skin and I think you are right. After thinking about it for a few days. I think I am going to use an oil. However I have not decided which oil or combination of oils I am going to try. I have 30 different oils and now I am doing a more in depth look at a few of my oils. Finding good scientific research vs. Hearsay is difficult. 
  • bil7 said:
    Isopropyl myristate also works in thicken formulation and smooth oil feel touch also try liponates 
    Liponates is something that I have been looking at too. I am not in a hurry and I want to absorb as much information as possible before I do my first experimental batch. I have gotten some great advice so far. 
  • @ToddZiegler69 , the reason why I said Sepimax Zen, is that it's very easy to work with, and you said "plant extracts". Having limited information I thought some of them might be high in electrolytes and in that case Zen would be the best (and safest) choice. Also, even if this particular product won't go well, you will find other applications for this ingredient, so your money won't be wasted. If you use it for emulsion, add it to the oil phase. If you use it as a gel maker for a waterbased product, you might need to leave it to hydrate overnight. It's very slippery and I prefer mixing it with sodium carbomer (for water-based gels), but it's a matter of preference.
    Have you tried this product Sepinov EMT 10 or know anything about it? I purchased this along with the Sepimax Zen. From the description the two seem to be similar to each other. What are your thoughts? 
  • @ToddZiegler69, yes, I tried Sepinov EMT 10 and I like it very much. I use it as a rheology modifier and stabiliser in most of my o/w emulsions. Actually they work amazingly together with Zen (you can use them alone or together).
    The difference is basically Zen is more tolerant to electrolytes, so if you use aloe, extracts high in electrolytes, sodium PCA (not much) go for Zen because Sepinov will lose viscosity. They have very different textures, Sepinov is more soft and plastic, Zen is more slippery and fluffy. You can form water gels with both or use them as emulsifiers. You can use both as stabilisers. Both can be used in hot and cold process. To understand these materials, make a simple gel (say 10% of any oil, 2% of Zen/Sepinov and water qs) with each of them and see how they look, apply, feel on the skin. It will give you an idea of how to use them to achieve the texture you want. If you are buying from lotioncrafter, they also have Aristoflex AVC which is worth trying. 
  • Here they are used as stabilisers and rheology modifiyers:
    Name of ingridient Percentage to be used
    Aqua 74.50%
    Glycerin 2.00%
    Butylene Glycol 3.00%
    Disodium EDTA 0.10%
    Dimethicone 1000 2.00%
    Petrolatum 3.00%
    Theobroma Cacao 5.00%
    Coco caprylate 2.00%
    Buterospermum parkii butter 1.00%
    Tocopherol 0.10%
    Cetearyl Alcohol 2.00%
    Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 0.30%
    Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer 0.50%
    Glyceryl Stearate/PEG-100 Stearate 3.75%
    Paraben DU 0.75%
    Citric acid/NaOH qs to 6
  • Here they are used as the only gel makers (no other emulsifiers)

    INCI %
    Aqua 82.65%
    Disodium EDTA 0.20%
    Niacinamide 4.00%
    Glycerine 1.00%
    Butylene Glycol 3.00%
    Germal Powder 0.20%
    Cetearyl Isonononoate 5.00%
    Coco Caprylate 0.70%
    Dimethicone 10 1.00%
    Tocopherol 0.10%
    BHT 0.05%
    Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 0.40%
    Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer 1.50%
    Bisabolol 0.20%

    The first product is rich cream for dry skin, the second one is a light and fresh gel-cream for normal skin. This can give you a good idea of how to use them.

  • Wow! Thank you very much for the reply. You must be a mind reader because I just ordered the aristoflex. I think they are going to work perfectly for what I need. I am going to try some sample batches this weekend. I got a pound of all 3 so I have enough for sampling. They are the three most expensive ingredients I have bought but I think they will pay for themselves. 
  • Yes, they all are worth it. I think Aristoflex is my favorite because it creates a fantastic luxurious texture (check list of ingredients of all Chanel moisturizers, they use it for a reason). The problem with Aristoflex is that it doesn’t tolerate any electrolytes and can only emulsify 5% of oil, so if Sepinov can be considered a standalone emulsifier Aristoflex is more of a texture enhancer. You can mix Aristoflex with Zen, carbomers, or any other stabilisers.
  • I have countless number of emulsifiers but these three are the ones I always have and repurchase when running out. Plus sodium carbomer because I am too lazy to neutralize regular carbomers.
  • I have sodium carbomer too. I am going to try some samples this weekend I hope. I have been pretty busy with my regular job. 
  • Try the following combination: oil phase around 15%, GMS/PEG-100 stearate as a main emulsifier, cetearyl/cetyl alcohol at 3%, 0.5% of Aristoflex AVC, 0.2% of Sodium Carbomer. It’s what creates one of the most expensive chanel’s moisturizers. Took me several months to reverse engineer it.
    Aristoflex and Sodium Carbomer works good together. 
     I understand, I also only have a chance to formulate on weekends recently.
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