Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating help adding menthol at 10% to a prexisting muscle gel

  • help adding menthol at 10% to a prexisting muscle gel

    Posted by mattd9159 on November 15, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    I have a muscle gel that i need to add 10% menthol to. currently the gel contains 5% and is stable.
    ingredients are as followed:


    Isopropyl Alcohol






    Ilex paraguariensis 

    Melaleuca alternifolia Essential Oil( tea tree oil)

    Tocopheryl acetate

    Organic Aloe vera

    Organic Arnica


    findings are that when we heat the menthol and add to the gel it will not mix.

    do we need to add additional carbomer to thicken the solution, or add something like a polysorbate 20 to help the additional menthol emulsify with the gel? 
    any help would be much appreciated. want to use this product for personal use but the 5% menthol is not strong enough and like how the 15% feels!

    mhart123 replied 4 years, 4 months ago 4 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Victor

    November 18, 2019 at 6:45 am

    In my opinion, increasing surfactants (polysorbate 20) or solvents (Isopropyl Alcohol/Alcohol) seems rather feasible.

    Add additional carbomer might not be avoided precipitation. Unless you want to develop an emulsion, but still need enough solvent/surfactant/oil to avoid menthol crystallization.

  • Microformulation

    November 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    I took on an almost identical project several years ago. It is possible to “alter” the base, but in the end, it will be superior and less expensive in the long run to start from scratch. (In bulk it is less expensive to produce the base yourself, you can also ensure and validate that the other raw materials are diluted, etc.)

  • mattd9159

    November 19, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    It seems when the polysorbate 20 is added the menthol emulsifies well, but then makes the gel too thin. How should we go about thickening the gel once the menthol is emulsified?

  • Microformulation

    November 19, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    In this Product, Polysorbate 20 is used for Tea Tree Oil. The Menthol was solubilized in the Alcohol. This would reflect in the grade of Carbomer and the fact that they use Triethanolamine as the neutralizer. 4% Menthol was achieved with the alcohol, but I don’t think this is an option with 15% net Menthol. This looks a lot like a Private Label product I have reverse-engineered from a specific retail supplier.

  • Microformulation

    November 19, 2019 at 9:05 pm
  • Microformulation

    November 19, 2019 at 9:06 pm

  • mattd9159

    November 20, 2019 at 2:50 am

    Great thoughts and thanks for the comments. Would it still be feasible to solubilize the additional 10% menthol with the polysorbate? Or should it remain consistent with the solubilizer from the base product? 

  • mhart123

    February 6, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Not sure if you still needed help on this but cutting down on water and add a lot of propylene glycol/glycerin will give you a nice clear gel.  I use 20% propylene and 30% ipa for a 6% menthol gel

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