Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Cleanser using 3.5% glycol distearate not showing pearlizing effect

  • Cleanser using 3.5% glycol distearate not showing pearlizing effect

    Posted by PassionFruit95 on July 28, 2022 at 4:19 am

    Hi, need some help on my cleanser. Below are the rough formulation.
    SLES                                               6%
    Glycol Distearate                           3.5%
    Glycerin                                        4.2%
    Acrylates Copolymer                      5%
    Hydroxyethylcellulose                   0.5%
    Cocamidopropyl Betaine                1.5%
    Phenoxyethanol                              1%
    Sodium Cocoyl N-methyl Taurate  1.1%
    TEOA                                              0.2%

    My shampoo isn’t showing any pearlized effect but milky white. Is it because there’s not enough surfactants? I’m using solid type of Glycol distearate. I’ve heat it to 80C before adding into the bulk. The viscosity is quite thick. I think it should be no problem with the suspending power.

    I need the pearlizing effect something like this:

    And another problem, the cleanser become watery after adding NaCl, I thought supposedly NaCl can thicken up the formulation?

    Paprik replied 1 year, 8 months ago 8 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Abdullah

    July 28, 2022 at 8:07 am

    Use Glycol stearate instead of distearate.

  • evchem2

    July 28, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    You don’t have a lot of surfactant, so even though salt can help thicken it may not be enough to build viscosity like you’re hoping for. Did you make a salt curve for your formula? You also already have acrylates and HEC thickening, so why add salt on top?

    I second Abdullah that Glycol stearate should have a better pearlescent look. You can also try heating your base and cooling slowly, this should help the glycol stearate form some larger crystals that create the effect you’re hoping for. If you don’t want to heat the whole base, you can buy a premade pearl blend for cold-process use, or try to create your own premix.


  • ketchito

    July 28, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    @PassionFruit95 As @evchem2 mentioned, the process is fundamental to get flat crystals that can properly reflect light. Also, you probably added too much Glycol distearate (try just with 1%), and have too little surfactant. Also, you could remove HEC since you already have Acrylates copolymer and Salt.

  • PassionFruit95

    July 29, 2022 at 1:46 am

    @Abdullah & @evchem2 thanks for the advice. I’m just using whatever that have in my inventory. Will give a try on glycol stearate. I want to thicken the cleanser a little bit more so I try to add some salt into it, but it turned out become watery. I’m adding salt because it’s cheaper as I have budget concern too. As I was benchmarking sample, I should follow the thickness of the sample.

    @ketchito I’ve tried 1% and 2% glycol distearate before this, but the pearlizing effect is not that obvious so I increased it to 3.5%. I’ve also tried to increase my SLES to 6% and Betaine to 4%, but the result is the same too. Maybe I should add more surfactants though. 

  • Abdullah

    July 29, 2022 at 7:34 am

    Is that actual surfactant or active surfactant percentage? 

    How much salt is this come salt? 
    You can add less salt.

  • OldPerry

    July 29, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    Glycol monosterate is a more reliable pearling agent

  • Bill_Toge

    July 29, 2022 at 6:46 pm
    your acrylates copolymer thickener is very likely to have been knackered by rhe salt, and your product has lost viscosity as a result
    as for the pearl effect, if you’re not using a premixed pearliser, you need a lot more SLES, or a lot less glycol stearate, to see the effect
  • PassionFruit95

    August 2, 2022 at 3:46 am

    @Abdullah it’s the actual surfactant. I’m only adding 0.2% of salt.

    @Bill_Toge Is that mean that if less SLES need lesser glycol stearate to show the pearlizing effect?

  • lesmith1018

    November 1, 2022 at 2:15 am

    I’m having the same problem. I’m using glycol distearate at 1.5% and am just getting milk. No pearlizing effect. Is there a trick to it?

  • Paprik

    November 1, 2022 at 7:03 am

    I have already given up trying to get Glycol Distearate to work as a pearliser … I have tried (I believe) everything. And fail every time :D 

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