Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General Polawax Alternative

  • Polawax Alternative

    Posted by VictoriaBee on July 9, 2024 at 1:14 pm

    I am still struggling with the Polawax emulsifier I’ve been using in my “perfect” lotion formula that I’ve been making for 20 years. The past 5 years it seems something changed in it and it’s thicker, heavier and more waxy. Has anyone else encountered this? I put it aside out of frustration but I’m working on it again.

    From what I understand this is the old Polawax formula:

    Cetearyl Alcohol (and) PEG-150 Stearate (and) Polysorbate 60 (and) Steareth-20.

    This is what I see now:

    Composition Breakdown: Cetearyl alcohol 70-90% Mixture, 1-octadecanol with 1-hexadecanol 70-90% Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate 10-30%

    Five years ago when I brought this issue up on this forum I was given this response:

    Polawax comprises Cetearyl Alcohol ~ 65 - 70% and Polysorbate 60 (“Tween 60”) ~ 30 - 35%. Add a little Ceteareth-20 for good measure.

    I’ve now ordered the Cetearyl and Polysorbate to begin testing. Is the peg-150 necessary to begin trying to recreate what I used before?

    Thank you for any help I might receive

    Cafe33 replied 5 days ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • VictoriaBee

    July 10, 2024 at 6:22 pm

    Also - I’m having trouble finding Peg-150 Stearate. Is the Peg-150 Distearate the same thing? Thank you.

  • chemicalmatt

    July 12, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    @VictoriaBee The original Polawax fabricated by Croda was and still is cetearyl alcohol @ 65% / polysorbate 60 @ 35% (aka “polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate”.) Some specialty chemical suppliers offer an offset to Promulgen D, another early emulsifier blend from the now defunct Amerchol in which ceteareth-20 is substituted for polysorbate 60. Both are often referred to as Emulsifying Wax NF, even though Polawax is the monographed material. The substance you were buying was a hybrid of the two, erroneously labeled “Polawax”. All you need is to obtain cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20 and polysorbate 60 then blend to your own needs, ceteareth-20 being more flexible in o/w emulsions. PEG-150 Stearate is nice to have around also, but unnecessary most of the time.

  • Cafe33

    July 12, 2024 at 9:17 pm

    I have gone through a similar obstacle about a year ago. I ran a few tests and settled on 60% Cetearyl Alcohol/ 30 % PS-60 / 10% Ceteareth 20

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