Gelling agents in emulsions: Add before or after emulsification? Or even after cooldown?

I'm wondering what's the best general practice when using gelling agents such as xanthan gum in typical emulsions (in all cases pre-dispersed in glycerin and added under high shear mixing for around 5 minutes).

1. Before emulsification: Adding the hot thickened water phase gradually to the the hot oil phase.
2. After emulsification: Emulsifying the formula without any gelling agent, and adding it right after having emulsified it (e.g. 5 min after).
3. At the end after cooldown: After having added all cooldown ingredients at the end.

I realize the devil may be in the details here and it could depend on the exact gelling agent and emulsifiers used, in this particular case I'm using Montanov L and Ultrapuregel.

Comments

  • It is usually added to the water phase before emulsification.
  • Agree with @Syl, as long as the subject remains X-Gum.

    Can change with other gelling agents.
  • Belinda from IPCS likes to add them at the end.
    I personally add them into water phase too. :) 
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    edited September 2021
    Agree with Syl and Graillotion.
    Also i mix x gum with phenoxyethanol and add to shampoo and mix with oil phase and add to lotion and they work perfectly fine.
  • I read the instructions for ultrapuregel, and it says that for maximal emulsion stability add it to the water phase pre-emulsion, but for maximal viscosity add it after emulsification after cooldown.

    I guess both ways usually work, but the question is which works best for what goal.
  • just curious, if add after cooldown, won't it break the Montanov L lamella?
    didn't seppic said can shear again with rotor stator if necessary.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    It all depends if you are using UltraPureGel primarily to stabilize the emulsion or to enhance viscosity?  Of course, you can add a bit pre-emulsion and then another dollap post-emulsion if you want to achieve both effects.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • @MarkBroussard - great advice thank you, I will try it next time.
  • Zink said:
    I'm wondering what's the best general practice when using gelling agents such as xanthan gum in typical emulsions (in all cases pre-dispersed in glycerin and added under high shear mixing for around 5 minutes).

    1. Before emulsification: Adding the hot thickened water phase gradually to the the hot oil phase.
    2. After emulsification: Emulsifying the formula without any gelling agent, and adding it right after having emulsified it (e.g. 5 min after).
    3. At the end after cooldown: After having added all cooldown ingredients at the end.

    I realize the devil may be in the details here and it could depend on the exact gelling agent and emulsifiers used, in this particular case I'm using Montanov L and Ultrapuregel.
    As far as I know, it also depends of the emulsification system. For example : Emulsifiers which are added to the hot water phase - Olivem 1000, Cetearyl glucoside or Polyaquol 2w don't like the gums to be added in the same time into the water phase, because they are messing the emulsification process. Me personally add the Xanthan gum after the initial homogenization.

  • The problem of adding a water soluble/dispersible polymer to an emulsion after the emulsification, is that the polymer won't be part of the interphase where emulsifiers/fatty acids already started forming a micelle arrangement. The interphase will become more rigid while cooling, so if you add the polymer at this stage, it will end in the free water of the emulsion. It'll thicken only this free water, and if the case is that this pase has a very different viscosity than the rest of the system, some separation might occur.
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