Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating o/w Emulsifier for Low viscosity emulsions?

  • o/w Emulsifier for Low viscosity emulsions?

    Posted by indo_skinimalist on April 25, 2024 at 1:11 am

    I have formulated a rather thick and nourishing “lotion” that is pretty much a nudge away from a cream, using Olivem 1000 and I honestly love the texture. But a lot of people who are used to conventional lotions don’t seem to be very comfortable with this thick a lotion, even though they do find it amazingly moisturizing without being greasy. I have been wanting to modify my formulation, but playing around with the butters and/or oils leaves me with a not-so-nourishing formula which is just not sufficient for the insanely low humidity levels where I live (around 15-20% RH).

    I am on the lookout for a “natural” emulsifier (such as Sucrose Stearate) that can create low viscosity emulsions. I haven’t tried Sucrose Stearate but it sounds brilliant and just what I’d like to try, but unfortunately, where I live, it seems to be impossible to get my hands on.

    Request any suggestions for an emulsifier that would let me retain the percentage of butters/oils in my formula (more or less) and make the lotion thinner.

    Thanks!

    indo_skinimalist replied 2 weeks, 5 days ago 6 Members · 31 Replies
  • 31 Replies
  • indo_skinimalist

    Member
    April 25, 2024 at 1:33 am

    Thought I’ll leave my formulation in here as well. I have tried reducing the amount of Olivem 1000 to thin out the emulsion, but that leads to failed emulsions after a few days/weeks.

    59.87% Distilled Water (up to a 100%)


    0.20% Xanthan gum

    3.00% Glycerin

    12.00% Shea Butter

    10.00% Fractionated Coconut Oil

    2.00% Olive Squalane

    3.00% Sweet Almond Oil

    7.00% Olivem 1000

    1.00% Vit E

    1.00% Geogard ECT

    0.93% Assorted Essential Oils

    • Graillotion

      Member
      April 25, 2024 at 5:06 am

      You have more than one concern here!

      As far as SS….you are correct…it will build very little viscosity. It is however, not a robust emulsifier. Needs a good co-emulsifier.

      For your ethos….you can look at GSC (not the same as GMS). SSG…I think that would fit your ethos. Even glyceryl oleate might work in conjunction with a fatty alcohol…and is quite the refatting agent…albeit you already have too much fat.

      You need more builders than just gum. Where are your fatty alcohols?… You need to consider cetyl, cetearyl, or behenyl.

      You are also missing very basic beginner aspects like …. a chelate. With your ultra sub par preservative…you need to be helping it…not challenging it. GLDA should fit your ethos.

      You have selected a partial preservative that is going to hardly function above a pH of 5.5, and yet you have not listed an acid???

      Even with proper pH and chelate…you still gonna miss your gram negatives. Consider dropping the whole GeoGard brand. This looks like a formula botanica / Bumble Bee type mess.

      Cut the vit E by 80%….it is likely doing more harm than good to your oils at that level.

      For bonus points….consider dropping your oils to 10% overall, especially cutting the shea! Apply your oils to your skin….just by themselves….what ever absorbs well…focus on that. In oils….less is more….is KING. Also consider in the oil reduction…removing all the squalane…. hydrocarbons (in my opinion) bring far more grief than value.

      And of course….adding an ester….will help considerably.

      Good luck.

      • indo_skinimalist

        Member
        April 25, 2024 at 10:11 am

        Thank you for taking the time to give me your inputs! Yes, I am definitely a beginner and am still finding my way around formulating. Please pardon my ignorance and help me understand some things.

        I haven’t been successful in getting my hands on Sucrose Stearate so far in my country in any case, so I suppose I can’t talk about that much, but what co-emulsifier would you recommend with it?

        GSC - Glyceryl Stearate Citrate - Again, can’t find it in my country 🙁

        SSG - Sodium Starch Glycolate - Might be able to get this. Can see a few possible sources. Never heard about it though. Can you point me towards any info on how to formulate with it?

        Glyceryl Oleate - This I can definitely get. Again, no idea how to formulate with this. I will look for more info, but would really appreciate any videos or reading material about formulating with it!

        You are right, I’m missing a chelator and I have been trying to find a “natural” chelator that would work for me. Have zeroed in on Sodium Gluconate for now and my next version has that included at a 0.2%. Do you think that should do the trick? Can’t find GLDA in my country 🙁

        I do have Cetyl Alcohol also ready to be included in my next version. Waiting to see what emulsifier I am going with to see what percentage I need to include of that. Also, I was concerned that it might thicken my lotion more than what it already is.

        My formula is already acidic at a ph of 4.3 currently, which I’m trying to bump up to 5.3 at least with a very basic sodium bicarb. So I definitely don’t need an acid.

        Again, very difficult to get my hands on cosmos-certified preservatives here in my country and Geogard ECT has been the easiest to get my hands on. Can you give me other suggestions that I can look for?

        I had initially started formulating the lotion at a 15% oil phase, then a 20% oil phase and then finally had to keep bumping it up to the current 27% to make it moisturizing enough. Even at 15% I had a very very weak lotion that literally evaporated in a matter of hours and left my skin super dry. Like I said, relative humidity’s downright awful around here.

        I had no idea Vitamin E could impact a formulation negatively! Can you please enlighten me on this?

        Again, thanks for all the inputs! 🙂


        • Graillotion

          Member
          April 25, 2024 at 2:29 pm

          SSG = Sodium stearoyl glutamate

          At low rates, MT-E is an antioxidant. As the rate increases, it become the opposite… pro-oxidant.

          Never let those with an agenda and a low IQ dictate your formula. Make safe material…or find another hobby.

          • indo_skinimalist

            Member
            April 26, 2024 at 11:11 am

            I cannot find Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate in my country either! Any other suggestions?

            I had no idea about the Tocopheryl Acetate. Thanks so much, that was an eye-opener. Reading up about it now. Will reduce that.

            About Glyceryl Oleate - any starting point for me on how much to try using? Do I need a co-emulsifier with it and if yes, what and how much do you suggest? I can’t seem to find much reading material on usage rates and ratio to oil phase etc.

            Thank you! 🙂

            • indo_skinimalist

              Member
              April 26, 2024 at 11:28 am

              Should I start with 3% Glyceryl Oleate and maybe replace 2% oils with 2% cetyl alcohol, to start off? Or is that too low for my 27% oil phase?

            • Graillotion

              Member
              April 26, 2024 at 1:23 pm

              Oh NO!!!!!!! E acetate is NOT an oil antioxidant, only the MT-E version will work in that regard. In chemistry the fine details are important. So good news is…you have not been damaging your oils. Bad news is…. neither have you been protecting them. 🙂 If you can’t find the proper form, ROE is a nice drop-in replacement.

              Not sure of what your source of information has been in the past…but consider an upgrade.

              Neither I, nor anyone can comment on co-emulsifier inclusion rates, when you have not even selected your primary emulsifier yet.

              I’m not sure GO is an ideal choice for an already over-fatted formula. And yes…. GO needs to be paired with something.

              • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  Graillotion.
              • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  Graillotion.
            • Graillotion

              Member
              April 26, 2024 at 7:30 pm

              I have never worked with a formula with this much fat….so even with the details, I would have to preclude myself from commenting….as this would be way out of the spectrum of what I have worked with. At that point it would be entirely theoretical for me.

            • indo_skinimalist

              Member
              April 28, 2024 at 5:39 am

              Understood! Wouldn’t mind some theory at this point honestly 😉 I can try it out practically and see how it goes!

            • indo_skinimalist

              Member
              April 28, 2024 at 5:58 am

              Do you mean the MT-50 version of Vitamin E? If so, I do not have access to that. Will try the Rosemary Oleoresin Extract then. Thank you! 🙂

  • Abdullah

    Member
    April 25, 2024 at 3:02 am

    What is your pH and what is your target viscosity?

    Poly glyceryl 4 laurate creates very low viscosity emulsions.

  • fareloz

    Member
    April 25, 2024 at 3:25 am

    I suspect your problem is not about thickness of the product, but maybe the soapiness of the emulsifier. Olivem 1000 is known to give the “soaping” effect (when you rub it, it gives you white cast for quite some time and you can’t rub it in for a while), especially in a combination with gums. If so, you can try switching to other self-thickening emulsifier

    • indo_skinimalist

      Member
      April 25, 2024 at 9:50 am

      There is definitely soaping, but I don’t really mind it. The thickness is way too much though. It can’t make it out of regular lotion pump bottles and needs a special thick tube for the lotion to be able to go through!

  • indo_skinimalist

    Member
    April 25, 2024 at 9:47 am

    @abdullah

    Currently my ph is about 4.3. I have made a revised formulation now to bump it up to at least a 5-5.2. Viscosity - well, I want it to be easily pumped out of a lotion pump bottle and right now it’s just about happening with 1-2 pump options that are big enough to handle this.

    Thank you for the suggestion, but Polyglyceryl-4-laurate also seems to not be available in my country 🙁

    • Abdullah

      Member
      April 25, 2024 at 8:15 pm

      pH 4.3 is better than 5.

      Why are you not using some petrolatum and glycerin instead of those butters?

      Make a batch with 10% petrolatum and 10% glycerin and see how it works for very dry skin.

      • indo_skinimalist

        Member
        April 26, 2024 at 9:15 am

        I have read so much about how pH of 5.5 is good for lotions etc. I didn’t know 4.3 is actually better! Are you saying I don’t need to raise it at all?

        And I cannot use petrolatum unfortunately, due to some core issues surrounding “natural” formulations 🙁

        • Abdullah

          Member
          April 26, 2024 at 10:53 am

          Yes

  • indo_skinimalist

    Member
    April 25, 2024 at 11:46 am

    Also, will GMS produce the same viscosity in this emulsion or could it perhaps help to thin it?

    I also have Montanov 68 and BTMS 50 on hand btw, but from whatever formulations I’ve made with these so far, I highly doubt they’ll create a thin emulsion.

    • jemolian

      Member
      April 25, 2024 at 7:41 pm

      You can consider substituting some of the olivem 1000 with another emulsifier. You can make a test with montanov 68 or those that graillotion mentioned to see which blend and at what percentage you prefer.

      • indo_skinimalist

        Member
        April 26, 2024 at 11:20 am

        Will try that out, yes. Since I had prior experience with all the 3 emulsifiers I currently have, I was fairly certain I won’t be able to get a thin enough emulsion. Let me try only Glyceryl Oleate, and if that doesn’t work, then maybe Glyceryl Oleate + another emulsifier I already have.

  • Abdullah

    Member
    April 26, 2024 at 8:30 pm

    Let us help you.

    What other emulsifiers and surfactants do you have?

    Yes, surfactants that we use in shampoo.

    • indo_skinimalist

      Member
      April 28, 2024 at 5:26 am

      Thank you so much, abdullah, for offering to help! Very kind of you 🙂

      I currently have Olivem 1000, BTMS 50 and Montanov 68, other than stock of Olivem 900 for w/o.

      In surfactants, I have Coco, Decyl and Caprylyl/Capryl Glucosides, and Coco Betaine.

      • Abdullah

        Member
        April 28, 2024 at 9:04 pm

        Ok

        Reduce 1% Olivem and add 1% Caprylyl/Capryl Glucosides and see if the viscosity has dropped enough.

        • indo_skinimalist

          Member
          April 29, 2024 at 4:01 am

          I’m sorry, I’ve never used a surfactant in a lotion before, so could you please let me know how to go about incorporating this? Should I first heat the water and then add the Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside to this hot water? Or can I add it to the water and heat everything together?

          And also, do you advise I keep the olivem 1000 in the oil phase? Or do you recommend I add it to the water phase before heating the water?

          • Abdullah

            Member
            April 30, 2024 at 2:32 am

            It is cold and hot water soluble. Add 1% active surfactant in water phase. Some of them have high pH so adjust pH.<div>

            You can add olivem in oil or water phase and see which one do you like most.

            </div>

        • indo_skinimalist

          Member
          May 13, 2024 at 4:02 am

          Hi Abdullah,

          update - tried what you suggested - reduced olivem 1000 by 1% and added 1% Caprylyl/capryl glucoside. It seemed like great consistency, just what i wanted. Emulsion separated 24 hours later.. 🙁 Back to square 1.

          I have made one more version with 3% Montanov 68 and added in 1% cetyl alcohol (and reduced the shea butter by 1%). The mixture is slightly less viscous than my original one. Not sure if its good enough for lotion pumps, but Im also worried about stability. - Do you think this is enough emulsifier for a 27% oil phase?

  • ggpetrov

    Member
    April 27, 2024 at 10:49 am

    There is nothing wrong with the Olivem 1000. It’s a fantastic emulsifier, and it’s standalone as well. That mean you don’t need a co-emulsifier, just because it already contain it. To make a light and low viscosity emulsion with Olivem 1000 you should try to put it in the water phase, and also to reduce the amount of the fats. Olivem acts as emollient as well, so you definitely don’t need so much oils. Try with 5% Olivem in the water phase, reduce the fats to 10% and homogenize well. Good luck 🙂

    • indo_skinimalist

      Member
      April 28, 2024 at 5:36 am

      I haven’t tried putting Olivem 1000 in the water phase, but I HAVE read many on this forum talk about that. Will definitely try that out. But like I said, reducing oil phase to 10% is not an option for me coz I live in a very dry region and my earlier versions of lotions with lesser oil were highly ineffective. I also tried replacing the shea butter partly with oils instead to reduce the viscosity, but this didn’t seem to make much difference. I’m wondering if maybe I homogenize too much or too often and this is somehow contributing to the thickness?

      My procedure is to heat oil and water phases to about 75 deg C each and then mix first with a spatula, then homogenize at a low speed, slowly increasing the speed, for 3 minutes. Then I pop the mixture into the refrigerator for 10 minutes at a time (I live in a hot area and waiting for the mixture to cool by itself or to put it in an ice bath takes way too long) and then homogenize again for 3 minutes, and repeat this process until the mixture cools down enough for me to add the preservatives and essential oils. So overall, I probably homogenize it maybe 5 times in total, for 3 minutes each time.

      Is there some other way I can do this that might result in a lower viscosity lotion?

      • ggpetrov

        Member
        April 28, 2024 at 1:01 pm

        The type of emulsifiers to which Olivem belongs, require a high shear mixing, also this is needed when you use a natural polymers like xanthan gum. I think the forcing of the cool down is wrong, I think you should give the emulsion a time to cool down naturally. Yes it takes time, but there are factors that require this. The haptics of the emulsion as well as the stability are related with the processing method. The initial homogenizing should be continued with a low shear mixing until cool down. That way the emulsion will get a nice and smooth texture, and also this is important when working with a natural emulsifiers.

        Regarding the oil phase, you can keep it off course, but when using butters than the consistency will be thicker. At least with the Olivem. Have you considered to use a mineral oil / petrolatum / more glycerin? Generally speaking you cannot achieve the same result as Lotion Pro with the Olivem. Better try another emulsifier.

        • indo_skinimalist

          Member
          April 29, 2024 at 3:56 am

          “The initial homogenizing should be continued with a low shear mixing until cool down.” - By this, do you mean that I should do a low shear homogenizing until the mixture reaches 40 deg C or even lower?

          Also, if I let it cool down naturally, how often do you recommend I homogenize? Is it time-wise or temperature-wise? (As in, homogenize when the temperature drops by 3-4 degrees each time, perhaps?)

          I work in a space that doesn’t have air conditioning and the indoor temps reach 34-35 deg C easily. So it can take a very long time to achieve even a few degrees of cooling.

          Also, when I use Olivem 1000 in the water phase, do I just add the olivem directly to the water phase and heat together?

          Thanks for your inputs! 🙂

  • ggpetrov

    Member
    April 29, 2024 at 9:37 am

    I mix constantly during the cool down with a kitchen mixer. The time depends of the temperature. 35 degrees is the temperature that the emulsion is done. Me personally prefer to mix again the emulsion after 8 - 12 hours for 5 to 10 minutes.

    You can put Olivem directly in the water phase along with the other ingredients. Just to note, that you have to put the gelling agent after the homogenization.

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