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  • Queries about emulsifiers

    Posted by HYB_88 on April 12, 2024 at 4:21 am

    Dear all,

    I am curious, how high in terms of % total amounts can you go with emulsifiers in a face cream formulation? Is there some kind of general guideline for this?

    Please help to advise further. Thank you!

    HYB_88 replied 1 month ago 4 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Graillotion

    April 12, 2024 at 4:39 am

    At least for me, it is a little hard to understand what you are asking.

    Emulsifiers are necessary evils….so you use them at the inclusion rate that gets the job done. Increasing them beyond the needed amount generally detracts from the product. Generally, one looks at the size of the oil phase, and determines how much to use to emulsify it. Not all emulsifiers are created equal….some are quite potent in small amounts….others need a pretty reasonable amount, to do the same job.

    I guess what I’m saying….impossible to answer the vague question without more information.

    Good Luck.

    • HYB_88

      April 14, 2024 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks so much for replying! I have about 19% total oil load in my face cream, and currently using a total of 6% total emulsifier (a blend of two emulsifiers, which totals up to 6%). and I have also added in carbomer, and this is going into stability testing (freeze thaw, AT and RT). If this combo fails, I am wondering if it’s worthwhile to increase total emulsifier amounts to 7% and beyond and whether there is some kind of cap about how much total emulsifiers can be added to a face cream. At what point, do I stop increasing emulsifier amounts and decide that the issue is the kind of emulsifier used instead? (just an aside note, I am also on the side testing different kinds of emulsifiers, but would like to understand better to help me streamline this process more). Hopefully this helps to clarify my query. Sincerest thanks again for helping me!

      • Graillotion

        April 15, 2024 at 4:12 am

        You understand with the lack of information you have given…it is like asking us to guess what color your shirt is.

        Only formula bones can help.

        You are already at 31% emulsifier to oil phase….typically this should be beyond enough….however…you did not let us know what emulsifier/s…. So, I guess I’ll guess? Nope. 😂

        If you are using legitimate and compatible emulsifiers….and are having stability issue…. I think your problems are elsewhere.

        Always remember…. process can be as important as ingredients.

        • HYB_88

          April 18, 2024 at 8:00 pm

          aww ya, I can see where you’re coming from. It’s a commercial sample, and I’m not sure how much of the formula I can put out here in a public domain, hence my hesitation. However, I am very grateful for your guidance and reply and thank you for this. The key thing that I realised from here is that it’s multifactorial. When you say formula bones, how much details should be included here? To make it helpful for seeking troubleshooting help. I’d like to get an idea for future.

      • Trytryagain

        April 16, 2024 at 5:35 pm

        There is not necessarily a set point at which you cannot increase an emulsifier percentage to in an emulsion, and every emulsifier is going to have different usage rates. But most of the time I have noticed that increasing the emulsifier percentage too much may at the very least result in reduced sensory appeal in one way or another (increased soaping or microfoam issues, or greasiness, tackiness, pilling etc) . The goal of an emulsion I think, is to find the lowest possible percentage of emulsifier that can be used without jeopardizing stability.

        Before I decide to increase an emulsifier percentage, I look at other components in the formula that could be adjusted to improve stability (reduced oil phase, consider adjusting co emulsifiers, rheology modifiers etc). This probably goes without saying (but in case you are new I will say it anyway) you can minimize your chances of stability issues with extremely thorough research on the emulsifiers before you begin experimenting, check manufacturer suggested usage rates, see how manufacturers are using the emulsifier if they are providing sample formulas on UL Prospector or their own website. Making sure you have no compatibility issues, ie not using cationics with anionics, are your emulsifiers sensitive to pH, what is the electrolyte load of the formula vs the electrolyte tolerance of the emulsifiers etc.

        Happy formulating.

        • HYB_88

          April 18, 2024 at 8:08 pm

          Thank you so much! This was most insightful and gives me the direction I need to move forward. Yes, I was wondering if there were certain principles behind that formulators generally follow and that I might be unaware of, particularly with increasing emulsifier amounts because I see each emulsifier has different ranges of use and some of them reach up to 10%. Yet, I hear some people tell me that I shouldn’t exceed 6% in my formulation but never detailed the thoughts behind the statement. My actual background is elsewhere and I am learning everything from scratch, and while I read a lot there are nuances here and there that I suppose only comes with experience. Thanks again, much appreciated.

  • jemolian

    April 12, 2024 at 4:51 am

    It can also depend on the co-stability ingredients like polymers / gelling agents, etc.

    If you are using a self bodying / thickening emulsifier blend, it depends on how much viscosity you need and if it’s able to stabilize the formula.

    • HYB_88

      April 18, 2024 at 8:51 pm

      ok, I need to look into this too. Thank you so much!

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