Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Eliminate xanthan gum “snot”?

  • Eliminate xanthan gum “snot”?

    Posted by BigDreams on October 10, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    I have a body wash formula (and dish soap, for what it’s worth) that did not meet my viscosity expectations so I added some xanthan gum to the formulas as a quick fix in order to get to the desired viscosities. 

    Both formulas are now constantly getting clogged at the tip of the dispenser pump, from what I can only assume is the xanthan gum drying out and forming the stringy “snot” that I’ve only now heard about. 

    Does everyone agree that the xanthan gum is actually the culprit, or could it be a different ingredient? I’ve heard that non-ionics can get ‘sticky’ sometimes - has anyone had issues with alkyl polyglucosides forming this crust when exposed to air?

    I still have plenty of bulk product yet to be bottled, so I’m wondering if there is anything I can add to the batch that is already produced in order to eliminate the residue from forming once it’s in the bottle?

    General ingredients for each formula:
    Body wash - pH 5.5
    Sulfonate/Sultaine (was hoping this would provide appropriate viscosity)
    Decyl Glucoside
    Lauryl Lactate
    Citric Acid
    Sodium Benzoate
    Potassium Sorbate
    Xanthan Gum

    Dish Soap - pH 7.5
    Caprylyl/Myristyl Glucoside
    Lauramine Oxide
    Xanthan Gum

    Thanks everyone!

    Cst4Ms4Tmps4 replied 3 years, 1 month ago 6 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • belassi

    October 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    MIT!!! Dermatitis guaranteed.

  • BigDreams

    October 10, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you for the input @Belassi. I understand MIT has its drawbacks as a preservative, which is why I used it in the dish soap but not the body wash. It made the most sense for me at the time, and I’m exploring other (“friendlier”) options for the next round of production.

    I’d love to hear any alternative preservative solutions you recommend for a product like dish soap, as well as any thoughts you have about my ‘snot’ issue. 🙂

  • Agate

    October 10, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Which xanthan gum did you use? Cosphaderm X34 shouldn’t create a snotty texture. Glucosides do get gummy when they dry out. As for your current batch, no idea what to do with that.

  • ketchito

    October 11, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    @BigDreams Just a quick question, did you do those batches and when you saw they had low viscosity, decided to add Xanthan gum to fix them? If that’s the case, then chances are Xanthan gum didn’t have enough room and energy to properly mix and hydrate, and that’s why you’re seeing snots on top (making a premix in some glycol would made it better, but still it’d have been hard to properly incorporate the gum at this stage). To save those batches, maybe you could try adding a bit of glycols (like Glycerin), but you need to check how much viscosity gets affected.

    If on the contrary, you properly mix the Xanthan gum in the water prior to the addition of the rest of ingredients, then I’d add glucosides to the equation.

  • BigDreams

    October 12, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks @Agate. I’d have to check with my manufacturer to see what trade name they used for the xanthan gum. Are there certain brands/types that you know of that are more prone to these issues? Or particular differences in manufacturing that I should look for next time so I know which one to go with?

  • BigDreams

    October 12, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks @ketchito ! The lab samples without xanthan did not meet the viscosity targets, so xanthan was added to the formula prior to the batch production. I can only assume (hopefully!) that my manufacturer added/hydrated it properly during production. Maybe they didn’t though and that’s why I’m seeing this (or potentially it’s the glucosides). 

    I thought about a glycerin fix as well - made up sample batches with .5%, 1%, and 2% glycerine to test out on the body wash and it didn’t seem to make a difference with the residue formation. Bummer!

  • Cst4Ms4Tmps4

    October 22, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Strange. I wonder why the big guns are not answering this.


    No, Xanthan Gum is not responsible for the clog.

    Many shampoo/wash are without Xanthan Gum or any other fancy thickeners. They all still clog big time, and stalactite and stalagmite can clearly be seen! LMAO!

    You could add Glycerol/Glycerine to mitigate that effect. However, you will lose foam. I do not know about this part of the chemistry but it will kill foam.

    As for snot, Xanthan Gum is inherently stringy or snotty.

    You may try Xanthan Gum mesh 200.
    Mesh 200 is approximately 75 micrometres.
    This refers to particle size of Xanthan Gum.
    Common one is mesh 80; approx. 180 micrometres.

    I am using Jungbunzlauer mesh 200 Xanthan Gum. I do not see snot. Result is oh-so smooth! But, I cannot say it is the same for you because I do not use much of it. Having said this, mesh 80 one definitely is snot-like at the same %.

    0.5% mesh 80 = Snot. Mysterious miniature blobs (Result of my laziness and no suitable equipment). Nightmare.

    0.5% mesh 200 = Smooth as f*ck. Not much elbow grease needed. I can skip the retard/slow down hydration step. No special equipment required. I can be lazy and sleep well.

  • BigDreams

    October 22, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks @Cst4Ms4Tmps4! Great info about different mesh sizes. I’ll definitely keep it in mind when testing in the future.

  • suswang8

    October 23, 2020 at 5:29 am

    Relatedly, does anyone have familiarity with these varieties of Xanthan Gum?  I would prefer to buy the cheaper one only because I only need a very small quantity and only plan to use it in a concentration of 0.2% or 0.3%.  Thank you.



  • Cst4Ms4Tmps4

    October 25, 2020 at 3:39 pm


    Their descriptions are exactly as described.

    The expensive one is less stringy or less snotty then go for the ‘soft’ one. But it has less suspending property. You may need to use more than 0.2% or 0.3%.

    The cheap one is normal Xanthan Gum with all things Xanthan Gum. It is stringy/snotty and has very high suspending quality. The only differences is this one is made transparent (further purified).

    Depends on the result or effect that you need.

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