Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Adding thickeners in an emulsified cream

  • Adding thickeners in an emulsified cream

    Posted by Learntounlearn on December 20, 2021 at 11:22 am

    Hi, 
    I am in the process of making a light weight sodium lactate cream. Below is my formula

    Water.                                  75. 2
    Grapeseed oil.                       7
    Caprylic triglycerides.           3 
    Sodium lactate                       5
    Propylene glycol                     4
    Arlacel                                       1.5
    cetyl alcohol.                             1
    sclerotium gum.                       1.5
    Sepimax Zen                              0.5 
    Hydroxy ethyl cellulose.               0.3
    Citric acid/lactic acid to adjust pH
    Phenoxyethanol + EHG(Euxyl PE 9010).     1

    My question is how do I add the thickeners - sclerotium gum, sepimax zen and HEC. 

    In my first trial, after emulsification I made a slurry of 1.5% sclerotium gum and then added to the emulsified formula while blending with stick blender.
     
    But I prefer more viscosity and little different texture so I added 0.5% sepimax zen. From what I read about zen, blending will disrupt the gel. So I just added it to the cream, after leaving it for overnight, hand stirred it.

    I want the final product to be more firm, so I added 0.3% HEC slurry, left it for few hours.
    On hand stirring the following, I could see gel globules here and there.
    So now I used my blender for few minutes to get an uniform product. However, I do see few very small gel globules here and there. 
    P. S I did love the skin feel and I wish to repeat it. 

    Can anyone please simplify this entire thickeners adding process. Do I add all three in heated oil phase and melt it and then blend after adding Water phase to oil.? Can same shear be used for all three thickeners? Or is there any other way to do then please let me know. 
    Thanks. 

    Paprik replied 2 weeks, 3 days ago 8 Members · 20 Replies
  • 20 Replies
  • ketchito

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    @Learntounlearn I don’t think yoo need all three thickeners and at those levels. Usually one gum at 0.2-0.5% will suffice. The thing is that you need to add it in the water phase, at the start of the process, so it becomes part of the emulsion.

  • Learntounlearn

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    ketchito said:

    @Learntounlearn I don’t think yoo need all three thickeners and at those levels. Usually one gum at 0.2-0.5% will suffice. The thing is that you need to add it in the water phase, at the start of the process, so it becomes part of the emulsion.

    Thank you
    I want it to be of cream consistency suitable for cream jars, as well as of light texture.

    You mean to say add the thickeners to water phase and blend them in and then proceed with the heating of phases and mixing? 

  • ggpetrov

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    You can’t use synthetic polymers together with electrolytes (sepimax Zen). The sodium lactate will broke the polymeric net of Zen. In this case, you should use only natural gums.

  • Sincityfire

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    ggpetrov said:

    You can’t use synthetic polymers together with electrolytes (sepimax Zen). The sodium lactate will broke the polymeric net of Zen. In this case, you should use only natural gums.

    I think you might be talking about another polymer like Sepigel, Sepimax Zen is very electrolyte resistant.

  • Learntounlearn

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    ggpetrov said:

    You can’t use synthetic polymers together with electrolytes (sepimax Zen). The sodium lactate will broke the polymeric net of Zen. In this case, you should use only natural gums.

    Zen is electrolyte resistant. I would have solely added zen but to be on safer side, I included gums and HEC

  • Paprik

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    You should not use 3 rheology modifiers. They will only “ball” on the skin and feel terrible. You can stick to Sepimax Zen, this one is electrolyte resistant. However, it does take time to properly hydrate. So method is crucial - You would add that to a water with preservative and stir properly. It will look clumpy. Leave it overnight (or several hours) to properly swell. The next day you can mix it and start you process. Low shear only.
    (Other gums are ok with high shear)

    You are also missing antioxidant. Grapeseed oil does easily oxidise, so your cream would not last long time. 

    Hope that helps :) 

    • busola

      Member
      June 27, 2024 at 12:57 pm

      Please can we add betaine anhydrous to the water before adding sepimax zen or should we add it after. Thank you very much in advance

      • Paprik

        Member
        June 30, 2024 at 2:24 pm

        I would say you could add with other humectants before Zen. Don’t forget preservative so it is protected during hydration.

  • Learntounlearn

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    Paprik said:

    You should not use 3 rheology modifiers. They will only “ball” on the skin and feel terrible. You can stick to Sepimax Zen, this one is electrolyte resistant. However, it does take time to properly hydrate. So method is crucial - You would add that to a water with preservative and stir properly. It will look clumpy. Leave it overnight (or several hours) to properly swell. The next day you can mix it and start you process. Low shear only.
    (Other gums are ok with high shear)

    You are also missing antioxidant. Grapeseed oil does easily oxidise, so your cream would not last long time. 

    Hope that helps :) 

    Thank you so much!
    I was just searching forum for help on preventing pilling /balling  your reply is a savior.

  • Graillotion

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    Well….here is how I would do it….
    Zen is not electrolyte resistant…just more tolerant than the others.  With that much sodium lactate….I think you need to stick with the gums…. Try Solagum AX, as I think this one is a little less likely to have the ‘pilling’ effect.  I am not a gum fan….so I typically don’t ever add gums above .25%.
    I think Aristoflex AVC give the best haptics…but is one of the most sensitive to the electrolytes, but I have done numerous experiments, and found I can do a blended humectant program with 1.5% sodium lactate, and a mix of others with no ill effect on the gelling.  So also consider lowering the Sodium lactate, and doing a polymeric/gum blend.
    I always add my polymerics to the oil phase, before heating.  They just hang out there….doing nothing until the phases are combined.  I do not enjoy working with super thick water phases.  The .25% gum…will already make my water phase as thick as I want to deal with.
    Texture and viscosity need to come from multiple angles…or you will get a very monolithic end product…. So you don’t want a huge amount of gelling agents if you want a cream gell.  Just enough to make the cream have something special.  I like to use cetyl esters blended with behenyl alcohol…this is where I feel I get the best creams.  Straight up cetyl for me…gives too unctuous a feel for a face cream…..ok for body and hand.
    165 does not give as much viscosity as some of the others…consider adding 1% of Montanov 202 or (God forgive me) OliveM 1000 (M 68 can be subbed for OM 1000)….these will also increase the viscosity.  The latter will make it much heavier….and the former…much lighter.

    Aloha. 

    IMHO…HEC is just gross…and only used when it is about the only choice (cationics)….just my opinion.

    Your Zen level…is also on the ‘about to be gross’ level.  At .5% and above…it gets a nasty jiggle to it.  But maybe the Sodium lactate broke your zen…so you did not notice.  Aristo and EMT 10 will not jiggle like jello at those levels.

  • Graillotion

    Member
    December 20, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    BTW….here is a quick example of how to test your polymerics and electrolytes:

    Just mix the water, the Sodium Lactate, and the polymeric….shear it together, (at the levels you will formulate at) and observe for 24 hours.

    Mystery solved.  My genius mentor says… if there is an incompatibility…it will manifest itself very quickly.

  • ngarayeva001

    Member
    December 21, 2021 at 1:40 am

    Zen can deal with 1-1.5% of sodium lactate. But that’s about it. And it’s the most electrolyte resistant  polymer I have tried. I test them in water as @Graillotion suggested.

    When manufacturers say ‘electrolytes resistant’ they mostly mean acid but not salts.
  • Learntounlearn

    Member
    December 21, 2021 at 6:22 am

    BTW….here is a quick example of how to test your polymerics and electrolytes:

    Just mix the water, the Sodium Lactate, and the polymeric….shear it together, (at the levels you will formulate at) and observe for 24 hours.

    Mystery solved.  My genius mentor says… if there is an incompatibility…it will manifest itself very quickly.

    Thank you for Your detailed insight. 
    One more qtn pls.. If I use emulsifiers that add viscosity and then include additional fatty alcohols, do I still add any thickener for better stability of end product? If the total oil phase is at 10%

  • Learntounlearn

    Member
    December 21, 2021 at 6:40 am

    Zen can deal with 1-1.5% of sodium lactate. But that’s about it. And it’s the most electrolyte resistant  polymer I have tried. I test them in water as @Graillotion suggested.

    When manufacturers say ‘electrolytes resistant’ they mostly mean acid but not salts.

    I am confused about this- To neutralize acids, base is added then salts form. Then does zen work for Aha based serums or creams

  • ketchito

    Member
    December 21, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    BTW….here is a quick example of how to test your polymerics and electrolytes:

    Just mix the water, the Sodium Lactate, and the polymeric….shear it together, (at the levels you will formulate at) and observe for 24 hours.

    Mystery solved.  My genius mentor says… if there is an incompatibility…it will manifest itself very quickly.

    Thank you for Your detailed insight. 
    One more qtn pls.. If I use emulsifiers that add viscosity and then include additional fatty alcohols, do I still add any thickener for better stability of end product? If the total oil phase is at 10%

    The water dispersible thickener is used to thicken the water phase, so there’s not a big difference in viscosity between them; this would aid in the final stability of your formula.

  • Graillotion

    Member
    December 22, 2021 at 1:19 am

     If I use emulsifiers that add viscosity and then include additional fatty alcohols, do I still add any thickener for better stability of end product? If the total oil phase is at 10%

    I am not sure I fully understand the question.  What thickeners are you referring to?  To me…water phase thickeners are gums and polymerics….oily phase thickeners are typically fatty alcohols and the likes.  So both groups will add stability.  Therefore I try and keep both in play….using just enough of each to reach desired viscosity, and inherently gaining stability.  Hope I hit what you were asking.

  • Paprik

    Member
    December 22, 2021 at 2:37 am

    Perfectly said @Graillotion

    To put it also in another way, imagine those things
    Gum, polymer = net
    Emulsifier = trap

    So emulsifier traps all the oil droplets and prevents them from clumping back together. Where the gum net prevents those emulsified droplets from moving. So they stay put -> harder for them to clump again. This means you get the best stability. Some rheology modifiers (gum, polymers) are better, some worse. Some can stabilize bigger particles, some won’t stabilize those at all. 

    So your formula should look similar to this for O/W emulsion:
    Water
    Humectant - preferably
    Water compatible rheology modifier
    Lipid
    High HLB non-ionic emulsifier (preferable blend for better packing)
    (Also good to have a little bit of anionic emulsifier, but if you’re using salt, no point)
    Antioxidant (if required)
    Chelating agent - preferably
    Preservative
    + added extras, such as extracts, fragrance, actives etc … 

    • busola

      Member
      June 27, 2024 at 12:59 pm

      Should the chelating agent be dissolved in water first or added straight to the product? Thanks 🙏

      • Paprik

        Member
        June 30, 2024 at 2:22 pm

        I like to add chelating agent at the beginning, but saw a lot of companies/people adding it in cooldown phase. As long as they are heat tolerant it is up to you 🙂

  • Graillotion

    Member
    December 22, 2021 at 2:44 am

    Paprik said:

    Perfectly said @Graillotion

    To put it also in another way, imagine those things
    Gum, polymer = net
    Emulsifier = trap

    So emulsifier traps all the oil droplets and prevents them from clumping back together. Where the gum net prevents those emulsified droplets from moving. So they stay put -> harder for them to clump again. This means you get the best stability. Some rheology modifiers (gum, polymers) are better, some worse. Some can stabilize bigger particles, some won’t stabilize those at all. 

    So your formula should look similar to this for O/W emulsion:
    Water
    Humectant - preferably
    Water compatible rheology modifier
    Lipid
    High HLB non-ionic emulsifier (preferable blend for better packing)
    (Also good to have a little bit of anionic emulsifier, but if you’re using salt, no point)
    Antioxidant (if required)
    Chelating agent - preferably
    Preservative
    + added extras, such as extracts, fragrance, actives etc … 

    Even better said, @Paprik , but I might toss in a ‘barrier function’ to my list of pieces. :) 

    Aloha.

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