Looking for advice on formula stabilizers that prevent separation in heat

I feel so lucky to be able to have access to this forum!

I really appreciate any advice from you knowledgeable chemists on a formula I am working on. I am making a body butter, but I'd like it to be non-greasy, yet still thick and hydrating. I really love cupuacu butter, so wanted the formula to have a lot of that in it. Here is what I came up with:

distilled water  40%
Theobroma grandiflorum (Cupuacu) Butter 40%
Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil  9.3%
stearic acid 3%
cetyl alcohol  5%
phenoxyethanol  .7%
fragrance  2%

Here are some issues I'm having: 

1. The formula separates (has a pool of oil) when it gets warm (>85 degrees). Is there something else I can use to stabilize this formula and keep it from separating in high temperatures?

2. Is phenoxyethanol an appropriate preservative to use?

3. Is the proportion of water to butter typical for a butter?

Thanks in advance for any help! 


  • I believe your proportions are a bit out. Stearic acid is usually used as a secondary emulsifier. You need a primary emulsifier like Olivem 1000 at around 6.5%, more water to around 65, too much butter & maybe throw in a wax? Phenoxyethanol is good but maybe try Euxyl 9010. Good luck!!
    Dr. Catherine Pratt
    (B.Sc with HONS I , Ph.D Analytical/Organic Chem and Microbiology), Cosmetic Chemistry IPCS)
  • Thank you Dr. Pratt!
  • ozgirlozgirl Member, PCF student
    You have two options with body butters
    1. You can create them as a blend of oils and butters (you could just remove water from your formulation and adjust the proportion of oils/butter). These can often be greasy feeling depending on the combination of oils and butters.
    2.You can create an emulsion in which case you will need an emulsifier. Most DIY suppliers have a version of Emulsifying wax that would probably be suitable but you would need to reduce your oil phase.
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