Oil gel thickening

I thicken a mixture of oils (jojoba, almond, sesame) together with silica.  It thickened nicely but when I put it on my skin it had a slight grainy texture with a little drag.  Can you just use silica to thicken an oil?  Should I use something else to help with the slip.  Do I need an emulsifier?


  • You are likely feeling aggregates of silica particles.  What surface treatment does the silica have, and what is its particle size?
  • I am using Sipernat 500 LS.  Particle size 10.5 µm. I am looking for something to just thicken and not have an exfoliation feature.  Should I add glycerin or maybe thicken in with Xantham gum?
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Did you check Ethocel 100 Premium from Dow?? 
  • @Chemist77 ; No I haven't tried it. Thank you for the suggestion. I am trying to use what I have in house.  I am ordering the ethocel.  would methocel do the trick also? I am also trying to suspend beads.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    No methocel wouldn’t, it’s that grade only that I mentioned.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    try hydroxystearic acid, or hydrogenated castor oil
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Hello @Bill_Toge If I had HCO or Peg-40HCO to an oil mixture it will thicken it. Would it be able to suspend beads from your experience?

  • Hello.. i advice you to try the Vaselline (gelly petrolatum) .. heat it with your oils
  • Try carbomer 940. not oily feel. adjust pH with TEA. also try combination of Carbomer940 with HPMC.
  • @chemist77 ; I have the ethocel (yeah) should I add about 3.5-4% of ethocel to my oil mixture?  What temperature?
  • Try cellulose gum?
    Dr. Catherine Pratt
    (B.Sc with HONS I , Ph.D Analytical/Organic Chem and Microbiology), Cosmetic Chemistry IPCS)
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    I hope they have sent you the product TDS, if not please download from Dow. Com and you will get all the information there. They specifically mention octyldodecanol as the solvent to disperse Ethocel. I have a sample on my desk where it is an oil gel with apricot shell and i don't see any settling of the scrub particles. The start @3-5% I think should do the job for you. 
  • Chemist5000            in my opinion Chemist77  is right,

    first you can try the ETHOCEL if you want it to contain only Oils,

    However it will be very greasy.

    I have formulation for  "Fast Drying SPF30 Gel",

    Using Alcohol as the main ingredient, all the oils you would like, and add Hydroxypropylcelluloce for the gelling affect- try to use Klucel MF.

    Chief Chemist/ R&D Manager at SASA Cosmetics
  • Good Morning to all, 
    @Chemist77- I know the specifically mention octyldodecanol as a solvent. I am using what I have available to me. I got super bold and did 10% of ethocel it dissolved in the oil mixture at 80C nicely.  I added IPM and crodamol CTS. I let is sit over the weekend and I had a seriously solid gel when I came in to work.  I plan to do it over with much less ethocel.  I want to try the HPMC also.  Thanks!
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