I have a face balm in stick format that is exhibiting blooming after about 6 weeks or so (maybe sooner but just noticed today when evaluating the sticks).  Per our customers request, it needs to be 100% natural and preferably 100% organic but we can give up the organic claim if needed to prevent blooming. Any recommendations on what can be added, replaced, or tweaked to help this issue?  Product is intended for chapped, irritated skin.

Organic Colorless Jojoba Oil11.000%
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil22.500%
Organic Sunflower Oil - low oleic 24.500%
Organic Shea Butter19.000%
Organic White Beeswax Wax #10025P22.000%
Organic Chamomile Extract in SFO1.000%


  • Hi @mhart123,
    I suspect it is your beeswax that is blooming (if you mean what I think- a dusty coating). Beeswax candles, wax fruit, beeswax sheet... will all bloom with time.

    To remove the bloom from candles you can gently wipe it away- you really can't do that! 

    To prevent the beeswax bloom you can add microcrystalline wax. Perhaps you can add an organic wax and achieve the same result?

    @Dr_Sara ;

  • @Dr_Sara This is what it looks like, it was hard to get a clear picture, but I will test out some other waxes to see if it improves, thank you!
  • Ah, that is not what I thought! Not beeswax blooming.

    That looks like "figging" from stearic acid. Does it look like small, branched threads?
  • This is likely the shea butter which has stearic acid 20–50% (I had to look up the % of stearic acid). Cocoa butter which has stearic acid approximately 37% leads to figging in soaps and lip balms.

  • mhart123mhart123 Member
    edited August 2020
    Looks more like crystals than branched threads, its so hard to tell though I feel like I'm going cross-eyed trying to look at it. I don't love the formula, although it feels decent on the skin, but being all organic there's not to many options to be creative..
  • this is a piece of soap with figging. you are right, they are crystals. They always seem just out of focus! Maybe decrease shea butter and increase beeswax and a liquid oil?

  • Lecithin could work. You might need to tweak the formula to get the right texture/hardness.
  • Thanks @Vnnil

    @mhart123 I found an article

    J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Jul; 52(7): 3925–3946.
    Published online 2014 Oct 11. doi: 10.1007/s13197-014-1587-0
    PMCID: PMC4486597
    PMID: 26139862

    Crystallization modifiers in lipid systems

  • Hi! I've seen that problem in some sticks I made in the past. Butters actually seem to drive this blooming effect. A quick fix is to pre-heat all your butters sepparately before the manufacture. Bring them to 60-65C, and hold that temperature for 15-20 min. Then you can incorporate them into the mix of ingredients (they should be already at the working temperature for your process, to avoid recrystallization).
  • it is necessary to add anti-allergenic agents since many of my friends experience allergic symptoms from certain cosmetics
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Quick cool down also helps.
  • I have had mixed results with rapid cooling.

    From experience you can decrease the appearance of crystals by putting soap bars in a cold place but they crystals reform. This is the opposite of what I would expect??? 🤔

  • Thanks @Dr_Sara for the article, a lot of good information in there!

    @ketchito I had a feeling it was probably the shea butter, I will make a new batch with your recommendations today and see if that will help prevent the crystallization in the future.

    @Pharma I've done a quick cool down with the balm I made in a jar but never really thought about it for the stick since it cools down pretty quick on its own.  I will test this out as well.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    If your stick is solid enough, quick cooling will not result in needles growing out of your product but, like @Dr_Sara pointed out, blooming (like ice flowers on a window during cold winter nights) might still occur (and these can actually be felt when using the stick).
    Learn how to make good chocolate and you'll get a master in avoiding such crystals ;) . Much of what cosmetics knows in this regard has actually been studied in detail by food industries (not just for chocolate but also butters/margarine, ice cream and many other food products).

  • Chocolate, culture or cosmetic?
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
  • What! There is a like button???? 

    Note the ruby chocolate!  :)
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Looks like cultures of Serratia marcescens. Bon appetit!
  • Maybe we should add a preservative? 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I wish  I could figure out how to add a "like" button on this forum.
  • I really thought I had missed something when @Pharma said there was a "like" button. It would be a great addition, @Perry!
  • Perry said:
    I wish  I could figure out how to add a "like" button on this forum.
    @Perry What about ?
  • This happened with a balm I made. U may not want to but I minimised the Shea to 0.5-1 percent so I could keep ingredient on label. The problem disappeared. I think it has to do with different butters and waxes having different melting points, although the blooming only popped up over time.
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