Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating HLB or not?

  • HLB or not?

    Posted by Nemy on February 26, 2021 at 9:35 am

    This post just wants to satisfy a curiosity that I have for some time
    do you really use every time the HLB / HLBr system to start formulating ?
    or maybe you follow directly the technical sheets / other formulations and do some tests yourself?

    MarkBroussard replied 3 years, 4 months ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • OldPerry

    February 26, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    It depends on the formula. Usually cosmetic chemists are starting with an existing formula and trying to modify it to make it better/different. So in these cases, no.  But making a completely new formula…it can be helpful, depending on the emulsion system you are using.

  • Pharma

    February 26, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    Only if I have to use mostly PEG-based emulsifiers. Else, the HLB system simply doesn’t add up (or at least isn’t better than an educated guess).

  • MarkBroussard

    February 26, 2021 at 8:20 pm


    Generally, No.  The HLB system is really a qualitative (or semi-quantitative) system developed in the 1940’s … in other words, the HLB numbers assigned to particular emulsifiers calculated based on assumption and observation.  It is not a number that is measured.

    I could make a sample using my knowledge of emulsifiers just as quickly as it would take me to calculate the requisite amount of oil and emulsifiers using the HLB system and it would really not make any difference in the outcome.

    That said, it is a useful exercise to learn the HLB system and put it into practice whenever you think it might be helpful.

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