Sell me on the elegance of stearic acid…
My path to formulating was the classic mommy blogger path. Literally started with E-wax, too many lipids, X-gum, stearic acid and Optiphen. You know the rest….no pH meter, little or no humectants, minimal if any barrier function and proud as heck of the awful products I made…. because they were MINE! And hey…they smelled good….and to this day…I have some sitting in the garage…and they are still white, and held together.
Fortunately, I moved through that phase at lightning speed, and chased haptics, performance and minimizing claim ingredients. However, in shedding the vestiges of the past…E-wax and stearic acid…I have often pondered if I might have left something along the side of the path that I need to pick up from time to time (not the e-wax).
Let me preface the conversation by limiting my side of the conversation to non-neutralized stearic acid, with it serving only as a thickener and haptic manipulator.
Somehow over time, I developed the idea that stearic acid was draggy and nasty, and only used as a lower cost alternative to fatty alcohols, and waxy esters. However, with my voracious appetite for reading, I have come across way too many formulators using stearic in formulas above beginner levels. I know it has some wonderful niches in things like shaving creams and other specialty products…. but what I am curious about, is where it fits in the arena of elegant creams? Eye creams, face creams, and the likes.
My formulation process has a personality… I am not a minimalist. I do not like using too much of any ingredient, as I feel it lends too much of its personality to the final product, without giving depth of dimension. So, if I am looking at needing to add say 2% of cetyl palmitate…I will naturally add 1% cetyl palmitate, and 1% Myristyl myristate. I always find for me…this gives a slightly better feel than using either one, at 2%. (** It might also be helpful to nope… I am currently only using behenyl alcohol in the arena of fatty alcohols. I have a general disdain for oily, greasy, haptics.)
So when and where….do I add stearic acid to a cream…to ENHANCE elegance and texture? My natural bent…would be to add it at 1%. Is this wishful thinking, to think it can contribute at that inclusion rate…. or can it add some richness to a formula that already has a pretty good build? Is the emulsifier going to have a lot of bearing on how stearic fits? Typically, I am starting with a 165 type….and pairing or building it up with a polymeric, a kiss of Anionic, and often Mont L or 202.
Would love to hear how you have used stearic acid in an ELEGANT manor…where it took a product from ‘good’ to OMG! ::smile: