Oil separating from anhydrous cleaning balm

Dear everyone,

I wonder if I could get some advice on a cleansing balm I made using the following recipe:

6% Emulsifying Was BP (which is a mix of Cetearyl alcohol and SLS); 4% polysorbate 80; 16% castor oil; 62% almond oil; 11% cetearyl alcohol; 0.5% vit E; 0.5% EO

Initially the texture seemed to work fine but after a couple of weeks I thought it was looking too ‘melty’ and on using the product it felt a bit too 'oily'. To remedy this (and to experiment) I split the batch in half so that in one batch the % of emul wax would be 10% and to the other one I simply recalculated the recipe so that it had 2% stearic acid. I calculated the percentages so that they are part of the original recipe.

I thought both of these might thicken the product a little and will give a less greasy and more cleansing power. I simply added the melted the ingredients into balm after heating the balm in a water bath and stirred whilst they cooling until they thickened.

The emu wax batch seems to have thickened fine. But the oil is separating out of the stearic acid batch and I do not understand why this is happening. Since they are all fats/oil I do not see why any separation is happening at all.

I do this as a hobby and I am not a chemist (although do have a science background); I have tried to find out about this online but I really cannot find an answer. I am sorry if I am missing something really obvious. Any ideas to understand why this is happening would be great.

Thank you very much.


  • Rather than separating, it’s possible that it’s just melting. The stearic acid batch probably has a lower melting than the 10% emulsifying wax (you added around 4% more higher melting point waxy product vs 2% in your stearic acid). Try upping the stearic acid to 3-5%, or add some Myristic Acid for some extra cleansing and foaming and to increase the melting point further.

    Pour some of the liquid in a small container and put it in the fridge for a minute to confirm it is melted and not separated.

  • FarrukhFarrukh Member
    Add 6% GMS
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