Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Advanced Questions Need professional advice on this one.

  • Need professional advice on this one.

    Posted by Chela on October 16, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Hi there! new to formulating, not a pro and would definitely love some advice and help with this (personal) scalp treatment formulation I’m currently working on to help my hair. It’s really busting my brain at this point!! Can someone help me identify what the problem is here and how I can fix this? (Attaching picture below). Ingredients are: Rosemary water, flax seed gel, Cetearyl alcohol and Cetearyl Glucoside (emulsifiers) (added to hot water phase/same temperature) and consistently stirring with overhead mixer until it cools… essential oils and Aloe Vera (added at cool down phase) - for preservatives: Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate (also added at cool down phase).

    What am I missing here to avoid it from breaking in almost “three” parts after a few days? What should I replace/remove? Would love some professional advice from my fellow chemists in this forum.

    Thanks in advance!

    chemicalmatt replied 4 months, 1 week ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Perry44

    October 17, 2023 at 8:07 am

    There are a number of things that could be happening. Without knowing the amounts of ingredients it’s hard to give specific, helpful advice.

    But in general…

    1. Your preservative system has salts in it which can destabilize emulsions. You don’t have a stabilizer like Xanthan Gum so the micelles might be separating more quickly.

    2. You didn’t mention what oils you’re using but the emulsion system you have might not be good enough. Try including also some Glyceryl Stearate maybe? Like I said, it’s hard to know without knowing the oils you’re using.

    If it were me, I’d get rid of the preservative system you’re using and use parabens instead. They are much less likely to cause stability problems.

  • camel

    October 17, 2023 at 2:25 pm

    I’m not a professional, but like @Perry44 said, you will need to provide the full formula and percentages to receive the best assistance.

    From the current list of ingredients, there doesn’t appear to be an oil phase, which means the cetearyl alcohol (and) cetearyl glucoside may not be necessary. Essential oils are used at such a small amount that they don’t usually require a robust emulsification system on their own. A solubilizer like Polysorbate-20/Polysorbate-80 or PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil may be more appropriate here, coupled with Perry’s suggestion of a stabilizer like Xanthan Gum.

    Are you using a homemade flax seed gel or is it a cosmetic grade raw material from a supplier? What form of aloe vera are you using? Is it a store-bought juice? Those often have stabilizers and preservatives in them that could cause interference.

    It’s also worth noting that homemade flax seed gel and aloe vera will likely be difficult to preserve, especially without a more robust preservative system.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  Camel.
  • chemicalmatt

    October 18, 2023 at 8:18 am

    I’ll advise obtaining a degree in chemistry, paying close attention during the three mandatory courses for B.S. degree covering Physical Chemistry, then taking Perry’s Cosmetic Chemistry for Beginners pod course. You will have better results then.

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