Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Lotion failure, sigh

  • Lotion failure, sigh

    Posted by Margaret2 on May 19, 2015 at 2:46 am

    The lotion I made today failed.  I have already  reviewed the various ways lotions can fail, and I do not know which is the culprit here :(

    There is only 1% cetyl alcohol in here because I use a pump bottle for my lotions. 

    Is it possible my hand mixer didn’t achieve a high enough speed to achieve mechanical emulsification? 
    I have read in the past on this forum that one does NOT want to introduce too much air into a lotion, so I only had my mixer on the lowest speed, to avoid that. 

    I mixed for a total of 29 minutes with 1 minute pauses after each approx. 4 minute session of mixing to allow the mixer to cool a little & so I could write notes. 
    I heated the 2 phases for around 22 minutes. The 2 phases actually got to 82 C, much higher than I like to get it. I took them out of the pan while watching the temperature to make sure it would not get below 75C. I think my electric pan is acting up.  From what I’ve read, the emulsifier I used today, Polawax by Croda is O.K. to heat & hold from 70C to 80C.  The phases were at 70C when I poured the oils into the large mixing bowl, THEN I poured the water phase into the bowl & began mixing with the hand mixer.
    Here’s the formula:
     0.2 % EDTA
    0.5 % allantoin
    2% sodium lactate
    4 % aloe vera 200x concentrated powder diluted in glycerin 
    71% filtered  & boiled water (it is from snow melt, no mineral issues with our water)
    3% sweet almond oil
    2% castor bean oil
    7% rice bran oil
    1% vitamin E (50/50 mixed tocopherols)
    1% cetyl alcohol
    5% Polawax (this amount is more than the recommended  25% of the 13 grams of oils in the oil phase)
    2% Dry Flo (modified tapioca starch) added at around 50C
    0.5 % Germall plus preservative, added after the Dry Flo was mixed in a little

    My hubby thinks I have nothing to lose at this point & I should try mixing this again tomorrow with my stick blender (sterilized, of course). What do we think of THAT idea? Worth a try or is this a permanent failure since it has already cooled off? 
    Thank you ahead of time for any suggestions & pearls of wisdom. 
    Margaret2 replied 9 years ago 3 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Ruben

    May 19, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Did you use a hand mixer or a stick blender?

  • Margaret2

    May 20, 2015 at 4:50 am

    I used a hand mixer.  I used the slowest speed setting on it to avoid introducing too much air. 

  • Bobzchemist

    May 20, 2015 at 2:37 pm
    Sometimes, a failed batch can be a gift. Why? It’s already failed, so you have nothing to lose by playing/experimenting with it. This gives you the freedom to try formulating concepts that you’re not sure of, ones that you wouldn’t have wasted time/energy/money on to make a regular batch. The failed batch can become a screening tool to evaluate new concepts or ingredients.

    So - definitely reheat the batch to emulsification temperature and use your stick mixer to re-emulsify it. 

    Split the re-emulsified batch into 2 or 3 parts - leave one part as-is, and try adding co-emulsifiers to the other portions. Remember, Polawax is a self-emulsifying wax, NOT an emulsifier - it has just enough emulsifier added to it to make an emulsion by itself - there’s not really enough emulsifier to carry additional oils into the emulsion and remain stable.

    Croda recomends adding INCROQUAT BEHENYL TMS (Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and)
     Cetearyl Alcohol) at about 1/2 of the amount of the Polawax for a stable formula.

    Personally, I’d try a little bit of a low HLB emulsifier like Glyceryl Oleate (http://www.makingcosmetics.com/Glyceryl-Oleate_p_1013.html) since you seem to be determined to go the more natural route. (Otherwise, I’d suggest using one of the Pemulens)

    Another option would be to use 2% of Structure XL instead of or in addition to the Dry Flo.
  • Bobzchemist

    May 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Also, It’s much better to mix an emulsion with enough energy and worry about getting the air out later than it is to mix too slowly and have to worry about emulsion stability.

  • Ruben

    May 20, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    @Bobzchemist. What is Polawax used for in cosmetic emulsions? Skin feel? texture? What about  emulsifying wax NF?

  • Ruben

    May 20, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I tried to edit, but it was too late. What I meant about emulsifying wax NF was other brands of e-wax

  • Bobzchemist

    May 20, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    There’s plenty of info on the web. Croda makes Polawax. 

    Most cosmetic chemists prefer to use single ingredients rather than mixtures, but the self-emulsifying wax mixtures do get used occasionally.
  • Ruben

    May 21, 2015 at 1:40 am

    The reason I asked is because all the information on the web indicates that emulsifying wax NF, including Polawax, is an emulsifier. All the sites that sell small quantities of ingredients list E-wax as an emulsifier and most homecrafters use E-wax as the only emulsifier.

    That being said, I have to admit that I assumed E-wax was an emulsifier that could “emulsify” other things besides itself. However, judging by its composition, Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Polysorbate 60, I always had my doubts about the  emulsifying power of Ewax NF because it  basically contains just one emulsifier: polysorbate 60 (HLB 14.9). A search in Prospector doesn’t suggest the use of E-wax as an only emulsifier either,

    So Bob’s comment that “Polawax is a self-emulsifying wax, NOT an emulsifier” sheds some light on a question I had for a long time: is E-wax really an emulsifier? It also explains why few emulsions I did with E-wax as the only “emulsifier” were not very stable; and why these emulsions improved their stability after adding Glyceryl Stearate (HLB 3.8).

  • Margaret2

    May 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    I will try adding BTMS (Croda’s Incroquat) and see what happens.

    I had figured that once you did the ‘heat & hold’ with the ingredients, that was it, no more 2nd trying if you messed up the first time.  We shall see :)
       I have not had problems with the formula using E-wax (NF) previously BUT I had used my stick blender AND  THIS time I used Polawax, but at 2% OVER the recommended guideline.
    Thanks for the tips. There is so much to learn about making lotions/creams, much more than it looks on the surface. 
  • Margaret2

    June 2, 2015 at 2:30 am

    I heated my failed mixture for 25 minutes at around 75 Celsius & mixed it with a stick blender (versus a regular mixer as I did initially) and the mixture is a success!! It is holding together nicely.

     Unfortunately, it does not pump out of a pump because it’s too fluffy :(, but that’s an issue for me to figure out on my own.   I am guessing the speed was too much with the stick blender and there’s too much air incorporated now. 

    The point is, that re-heating & holding & re-mixing the failed lotion worked. 
    I am going to assume that the preservative (liquid Germall plus) is ruined with the high temperature  it was exposed to during the re-heating, but at least I know that if one mixes at too low a speed, the lotion/cream will not stay emulsified nicely. 
    Thank you Bobzchemist & everyone else who responded to my plight!

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