Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Emulsification problem with Olivem 1000 & Mg ascorbyl phosphate

  • Emulsification problem with Olivem 1000 & Mg ascorbyl phosphate

    Posted by Unknown Member on March 22, 2023 at 6:43 pm

    Does Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate affect emulsification using Olivem 1000?

    I’m making a light Vitamin C serum/lotion but the emulsification is not working like it normally would. I’m heating the water phase to 80 degC and the oil phase to 75 degC. Using a hand held shear mixer (total quantity is only 100g) to blend. When I mix the two phases it separates just as soon as I stop blending. This happens several times… it just won’t mix. Then if I leave it a few minutes (maybe it needs to cool?) and try again, it can suddenly ‘catch’ and homogenise. I don’t know why it won’t emulsify straight away like it normally would with a cream, and I’m also worried the emulsion will not be stable given it’s not behaving like it normally would…

    Water phase contains:

    Water 78%

    Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate 4.0%

    Guar gum 0.1%

    Hyaluronic acid HMW 0.2%

    Hyaluronic acid LMW 0.2%

    Oil phase contains:

    Carrot oil 2.0%

    Coco caprylate 4.0%

    Olivem 1000 2.5% (yes I know this is low, but I want a thin lotion)

    Cetyl alcohol 1.0%

    Any advice as to what might be going wrong would be very much appreciated.

    JayeT replied 1 year, 1 month ago 9 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • Squinny

    March 22, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    From where I buy my Magnesium Ascorbyl Phospahte it says that

    Mixing method: Mix in the water By avoiding heat exceeding 60 ° C The formula should have a pH between 7-9.

    Rate of use: 0.5-10% (3% recommended), use in concentrations above 8% may cause solubility problems.

    Also maybe try another emulsifier like <b style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(-bb-body-text-color);”>Glyceryl Stearate & PEG100 Stearate if you want a thin emulsion?

    There may be some chemists that have a better explanation for you. (sorry this is bolded text but dont know how to make it normal text again!)

    • Unknown Member

      March 23, 2023 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks Squinny

      My supplier says to add the Mg Ascorbyl phosphate into the water phase, but clearly from all replies it is heat sensitive, so will add to cool down in future.

  • Abdullah

    March 23, 2023 at 2:23 am

    Increase your guar gum or use xanthan gum

    • Unknown Member

      March 26, 2023 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks Abdullah - will keep playing around with it.

  • MarkBroussard

    March 23, 2023 at 6:05 am


    Olivem 1000 behaves that way sometimes depending on the co-emulsifier and other ingredients. Basically, the emulsion keeps separating until your cool down reaches 50C at which time the emulsion becomes stable.

    Also, you’re adding HMW Hyaluronic Acid in Phase A … this will prevent the emulsion from forming. You’re fine with SLMW HA pre-emulsification, but you’ll have to pre-hydrate higher MW HA and add it with stirring when your cool down hits 40C.

    Your bigger problem is that Mg AscorbylPhosphate at 4% is going to leave a white powdery film on your skin when applied. Switch to Na AscorbylPhosphate and you will eliminated that problem. Also, you should add the AscorbylPhosphates at 40C or less since they are heat sensitive.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  MarkBroussard.
    • Unknown Member

      March 23, 2023 at 5:42 pm

      Much appreciated advice.

      I also hadn’t known re adding HMW HA at cool down phase. I’ve never been clear on the tolerance limits of Olivem 1000 for just what quantity of aqueous/non aqueous elements can be added at cool down before the stability of the emulsion starts to be negatively affected.

      I’ve been working to an upper limit of 10.0% (mostly botanical extracts) as a general rule of thumb… is that about right? Will have to make room in cool down now for the Sodium ascorbyl phosphate and the HMW HA.

    • Unknown Member

      March 23, 2023 at 11:15 pm

      … and regarding pre-hydrating HMW HA and adding in cool down, what ratio of water:HMW HA powder would I need to premix? My powder has a molecular weight of 0.8M-1.5M. From what I can see online, a 2% solution would be extremely thick (almost unworkable?), and I’d need to use 10g of that premixed solution to get 0.2g of HA in the formulation. This amount, along with other things added in the cool down, seems to really ramp up the load on the emulsified cream. Would be very interested in your thoughts on strength of HA solution.

  • ketchito

    March 23, 2023 at 6:23 am

    Some formulas can’t hold high amounts of electrolytes. Try one sample without the Mg ascorbyl phosphate. If that works, the add it in the cool phase, but I’d suggest to add less.

    • ketchito

      March 23, 2023 at 6:25 am

      Just out of curiosity, what’s your preservative system?

      • Unknown Member

        March 23, 2023 at 5:22 pm

        Hi Ketchito

        Preservative system is:

        Geogard 221 1.0% as broad spectrum preservative

        Potassium sorbate 0.2% as preservative booster

        Sodium phytate 0.1% as a chelator

        • Graillotion

          March 23, 2023 at 6:36 pm

          @PhilGeis …wouldn’t that system be a little weak on Gram - and Y/M/F?

          • JayeT

            April 23, 2023 at 11:21 am

            May I ask which preservative system works most effectively/broad-spectrum in your experiences pls? I have been using Dermosoft 1388 (3%)combined with Glyceryl Caprylate and pentylene glycol(as a solubiliser), what’s your opinions on this combination please? much appreciated.

  • PhilGeis

    March 24, 2023 at 6:01 am


    Good point. I don’t see anything that would discourage any relevant bug.

    • Graillotion

      March 24, 2023 at 2:00 pm

      I am always so tickled…when someone puts the ‘broad spectrum’ label on something that is anything but…. ‘broad spectrum’. The companies that market these fantastical dreams…really should be prosecuted.

      • Unknown Member

        March 26, 2023 at 4:05 pm

        Well in my defence I had already been thinking I would need to revisit that… this formulation is still in its infancy, so it’s good to have the discussion. I do recognise the necessity of robust preservation.

        Am interested though as to what you would suggest… needs to be COSMOS and/or ECOCERT approved.

  • ggpetrov

    March 27, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    I cannot give you a proper answer of your question, but I use Olivem 1000 in some of my products, and can give you some directions.

    * At that level (2-2.5%) you need a proper gelling agent to stabilize the water phase. Me personally prefer to use 0.2% cosmetic grade xanthan + 0.3% Sodium carbomer.

    * If you want to get a cream gel texture (without gelling agents) you need to increase the amount of Olivem 1000. The lowest point is 5% the maximum 10%.

    * Olivem 1000 is very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. All of the ingredients during the emulsification should have similar temperatures. If not, the emulsion could break. If you need to add something that is not with the same temperature, do it below the 40 degrees.

    * If you need to pair Olivem 1000, you can use Oliwax LC or Olivem 900 + Cetyl palmitate. They don’t give the same thickening as Cetyl / Cetearyl alcohol, but the haptical properties of the emulsions are amazing. I am talking about fast absorbing, extremely softening the skin, and no waxiness, no heavy feeling on the skin, compared to Cetyl / Cetearyl.

    Hope this could helps 🙂

    • Unknown Member

      March 27, 2023 at 5:48 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise ggpetrov - it’s much appreciated. Will do a few experiments incorporating your suggestions. ????

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