Viscosity Modifiers for W/O

ZivBAZivBA Member
edited August 19 in Formulating
Hello all,

I'm currently working on a sunscreen formulation that will be W/O.
In terms of emulsifier I'm using- Dehymuls PGPH- 3.0%, I have no problem with stability, but the product is relatively thin and doesn't get rich creamy texture.
I'm currently trying to raise the viscosity with:
1. Beeswax 2.0%/
2. Beeswax 2.0% + Cetyl Palmitate-2.0%
3. Fumed Silica- 2.0%
4. GMS NSE- 4.0%
Without much success  :(

I would be happy for your help on the subject:
How do I increase the viscosity of W/O Emulsion?


Chief Chemist/ R&D Manager at SASA Cosmetics


  • Increasing the percentage of the beewax to about 10% will help increase the viscosity of your formulation. try it out
  • 10% of beeswax? That’s an interesting approach to deal with w/o viscosity:)
  • @ZivBA, please post all ingredients and the process. The process is key for w/o viscosity. Are you pairing emulsifiers? Are you applying high shear after temperature drops below 40c?
  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    I agree with @ngarayeva001: state more of the problem because it seems like there are four separate formulas going on there. I do not see an electrolyte in there - critical for w/o emulsions.  I also agree with the homogenizing idea. Plan B is to increase the disperse phase (water + salt + glycol + whatever) until thick, then homogenize to be even thicker. 

  • ZivBAZivBA Member
    ngarayeva001 and chemicalmatt thank you very much!

    The Formulation:
    Pahse A:
    Water- 55%
    NaCl- 0.1%
    Xanthan Gum- 0.05%

    Phase B:
    Homosalate- 8%
    Octocrylene- 8%
    Octisalate- 5%
    BMDM- 5%
    Abil 9801- 1%
    Abil 9800- 1%
    Dehymuls PGPH- 3%
    Dibutyl Adipate-6%

    Heat both to 80, Add A to B under high shear homogenization, cool to 40 and homogenize again.

    I was able to achive a desired viscosity with 4% GMS NSE,
    but I would like to know if you have any more ideas about this topic, is there anything I lack in the fotmulation in terms of understanding, in you opinion?

    Chief Chemist/ R&D Manager at SASA Cosmetics
  • You don’t need waterphase stabilisers in w/o (unless it’s some sort of unusual technique like Seppic’s geltrap) so remove xanthan. Not enough salt, up to 1%. Also try processing it differently, heat to the melting point of your ingredients (plus 10c just in case), put it under overhead stirrer and add water by droplets, making sure they aren’t floating on the top of oil phase. After all water is added cool it down below 50c and only then emulsify. I would also add additional emulsifier. It should thicken as you emulsify.
  • zeteinzetein Member
    Why are there waterphase stabilisers in SkinCeuticals' A.G.E. Interrupter and Pond's Cold Cream, the example of modern and traditional w/o cream respectively?
    water, propylene glycol, dimethicone, hydroxypropyl tetrahydropyrantriol, cyclohexasiloxane, isohexadecane, glycerin, synthetic wax, dimethicone/peg-10/15 crosspolymer, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, ci 77163 / bismuth oxychloride, phenoxyethanol, magnesium sulfate, ethylhexyl hydroxystearate, salicyloyl phytosphingosine, acrylates copolymer, methylparaben, ethylparaben, disodium edta, vaccinium myrtillus extract / vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract, parfum / fragrance, butylphenyl methylpropional, coumarin.
    mineral oil, water, ceresin, beeswax, triethanolamine, behenic acid, phenoxyethanol, cetyl alcohol, ceteth-20, fragrance, carbomer, disodium EDTA, methylparaben, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate
  • @zetein, alluminium starch is near colorants, it’s probably at a negligible amount as part of some blend.

    regarding cold cream, it’s not w/o. Don’t be deceived by mineral oil as first ingredient. It’s very difficult to create stable w/o with significant oil phase. When you need to pack 40-50% oil in a product o/w is your best bet.

  • Pond’s cold cream is used as a makeup remover. W/o wouldn’t make a decent makeup remover, you can’t rinse off the residue after removing make up with a cotton pad easily.
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