Is it possible to pearlize body wash without a suspending agent?

GeorgeBensonGeorgeBenson Member
edited May 6 in Formulating
I would like to opacify or pearlize a body wash formula without the use of a suspending agent such as acrylates copolymer. when I have tried in the past to use glycol distearate or something similar there always ends up being separation.

 This LOI of a common shampoo I found seems to be accomplishing the task:

Water, Decyl Glucoside, Glycol Distearate, Glycol Stearate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Propanediol, Glycerin (Vegetable), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*~, Panthenol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium Phytate, Gellidiela Acerosa (Algae) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Juice, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Tocopherol, Coconut Acid, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina (Dog Rose) Fruit/Seed Oil, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Methyltaurate, Sodium Isethionate, Triethyl Citrate, Caprylyl Glycol, Coconut Oil Fatty Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Maltodextrin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance 

Im not seeing anything here that would act as a suspending agent, not even xanthan gum. So how exactly can I do this? because everytime I try it fails.

perhaps there is a specific method needed to add the glycol stearate/glycol distearate?

and what are the differences between these two ingredients and why are both used here?

I should add that I must avoid PEG Ingredients as well as sulfates, so the drop-in pearlizers won’t work for me.



  • ketchitoketchito Member
    @GeorgeBenson If I remmember correctly, the distearate forms more flat crystal sheets, which allows to get more shine, compared to the monostearate. Now, I'd advise you to get a sample of that commercial product and put it in the oven to see if the pearlizer holds still...I've had many dissapointments from commercial products with the same lack of suspending agent, which on the other hand allows you to have a better pearl effect and use less of the pearlizing agent.
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    Maybe that product has high amount of cationic guar and Acacia Senegal Gum and viscosity.

    Or maybe everything after decyl Glucoside is below 1%, glycols are in very small amount and actual opacity of product is caused by combination of other ingredients. 

    I am making a line of shampoo that looks as opaque as 1% egds without any pearlizer.

  • @ketchito good idea I will try to buy this product and test it out myself. 

    @Abdullah it would
    make for a pretty terrible product if the only
    surfactant above 1% is decyl glucoside, but you never know! How are you accomplishing the pearl effect without a pearlizer?
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    edited May 7
    Using sodium stearoyl lactylate+cationic guar+xanthan gum+ Amodimethicone macro emulsion+ 3% NACL in shampoo
  • ketchitoketchito Member
    @Abdullah I'd check for the heat stability of that formula, since creaming of silicone macroemulsions without a suspending a stabilizer can be an issue.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited May 9
    When I worked on the VO5 shampoo line we had a couple SUKs that were pearlized. This was done using 1% EGMS and no suspending agent.  We did not experience any settling on stability test. Maybe the same would work in this system but I don't really know.
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    edited May 9
    @ketchito that is interesting. I never check the stability of my cleansing products because i thought they have nothing in them that is not soluble in water phase. Amodimethicone is already pre emulsified and water soluble. 

    I use 0.1% xanthan gum and around 5000 mpas viscosity. Is that enough as stabilizer?

    And for stability test, should i do 40°c 3 month like we do for emulsion or anything different? 
  • ketchitoketchito Member
    @Abdullah The stability of 3 months at 40°C would be OK to check for creaming of the silicone. Regarding your system, you really need to test it, but usually Xanthan gum is not as good stabilizer as Carbomers, and 5000 mpas might not be enough (start at 7K). Also, the amodimethicone emulsion is not soluble in water, but dispersible, and the silicone droplets are not miscible, so instability might occur. One option to reduce risk of creaming is to use a microemulsion.
  • perhaps there is a specific method needed to add the glycol stearate/glycol distearate?

    When we make pearlized body washes we don't use a suspending agent but I was given one specific instruction. My boss said to keep the batch above 80C for at least 5-10 minutes then cool slowly while slowly mixing. 

    Is that similar to your methods?

    Lab Assistant to a Cosmetic Formulator at a contract manufacturing company. New to the field and willing to learn.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    If you use a pre-mix such as:

    Lubizol's Quickpearl PSBC (Glycol Distearate, Laureth-4, Cocamidopropyl Betaine) it greatly simplified the whole process since it's a liquid, cold-process product.  Just thicken up your product sufficiently and you won't get any fallout.

    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    +1 for a premixed blend: a bonus is that they're cold processable
    just avoid using an excessive amount of salt
    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
  • I bought Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate this past fall and wasn't finding much information on it so I was testing it's solubility and used just Distilled water, CAPB, tetrasodium EDTA, SLI, plant collagen, and gernall plus and it was a nice clear system. I then split the cleanser into to two, one for a foamer bottle and the other I added salt to thicken and ended up with a beautiful pearlized cleanser. That was back in November and it's still looking good. To me it seems that SLI is between SCMI and SCI when it comes to solubility. 

    I haven't gotten around to working with it again, but I when I do I will be including some cationic guar or a carbomer.
  • Hello.

    My experience is, when I tried to incorporate ready premixed blend product of glycol distearate (Glycol Distearate (and) Sodium Laureth Sulfate (and) Cocamide MEA), I noticed stability may be affected from the method used in dissolving the material and also the final viscosity of the product. If you dissolve first the material efficiently in low viscosity mixture and then increase viscosity will do better than vice versa. Viscosity can be increased by certain surfactant products and also increasing total quantity of surfactants, even if not using any extra thickeners such as carbomers and gums. I also did not use cationic guar.
    I first diluted the premixed paste in the SLES solution and then added all the remaining surfactants. Using a high concentration of surfactants which results in high viscosity and using no further suspending agents,  I did not see a separation after 2 years shelf time.
    When I tried this pearlescent mixture in a lower viscosity mixture (similar mixture of surfactants but lower concentration) I saw separation in 1 month. 

    The shampoo you mention must be first of all quite thick.
    Secondly maybe the cationic guar and maltodextrin helps into suspending the glycol destearate, however, there are a lot of ingredients listed I have no experience at all.
    Fore sure the premixed blend of the pearlescent agent with me much easier to incorporate (already includes some surfactants as "suspending agents").

  • @MariaSibon awesome, thanks!
  • ketchitoketchito Member
    @GeorgeBenson I'd still compare the pearl effect of a sample without the suspending agent vs another sample with the suspending agent. You can even add some dye to make the difference more visible.
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