Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Will this anhydrous product be a solid or a liquid?

  • Will this anhydrous product be a solid or a liquid?

    Posted by emma1985 on July 24, 2020 at 2:32 pm


    50% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (liquid, oil soluble Vitamin C derivative)
    19.5% Squalane


    5% Emulsifying Wax NF
    10% Cetyl Alcohol
    10% Mango Butter
    5% Beeswax

    I’m driving myself crazy with this one.

    I’m trying to create a solid but soft balm/salve consistency.

    I can’t tell if I have enough thickeners to solidify the 69.5% liquid oil phase.

    Thank you so much for any feedback.

    pharma replied 3 years, 7 months ago 2 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • pharma

    July 24, 2020 at 7:24 pm
    Because oil gelling doesn’t equal calculated average melting point and depends on several factors such as crystal networks, it is impossible to predict whether this will be solid, soft, liquid, or even “two phases” (macroscopic suspension of fat in oil). Even the way you prepare it (mostly cooling and mixing speed) will influence the outcome.
    If I ignore tetrahexadecyl ascorbate and squalane for what they are and treat them like ‘normal’ oils, this formulation will likely be quite hard. Why do you use emulsifying wax NF? If you want an oil binder, wouldn’t a low HLB emulsifier such as sorbitan stearate and/or glycerol stearate be more suitable? Unless you’re planning on having something easier to rinse off or does the ascorbate ester require an emulsifier?
    The ‘problem’ with my reasoning is that the two oils are unique and don’t always follow the norm i.e. may greatly reduce viscosity or inhibit oil gelling (crystal formation).
    As an example, 2-3% candelilla wax or 4% carnauba wax can already gel oil to a vaseline like consistency and may turn it hard at >10%, 2-6% sunflower wax and some Tween and water turn olive oil into ‘margarine’, or 2% cetyl alcohol may result in a noticeable increase in viscosity of certain oils (and you have nearly 15% of fatty alcohols). Also, beeswax at ~10% gives the consistency you’re looking for whereas your 5% are in the high viscosity liquid range.
    Mixing different oil gelling agents doesn’t always follow an additive rule, some even inhibit each other whereas other combos such as Tween 80/Span 80 or gamma-oryzanol plus beta-sitosterol or lecithin act synergistic.
    In your case, the high amount of fatty alcohols, branched chains of the ascorbic ester, and highly branched squalane might in fact ‘kill’ the oil gelling of beeswax and push the mixture to something which follows rather the average melting point mentioned in the beginning.
    You’ll have to try!
  • emma1985

    July 24, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    Okay what about 10% Cetyl Alcohol, 50% THD, 39.5% Squalane and 0.1% Vitamin E?

    After some discussions on Facebook this is what I’ve simplified to..

    Is 10% Cetyl Alcohol enough to add some solidity?

    It doesn’t have to be rock hard. Soft Vaseline is what I’m trying to achieve. 

  • emma1985

    July 24, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you so much for your help!!

  • pharma

    July 24, 2020 at 8:25 pm
    THIS is good reading and might help (though not for your question regarding cetyl alcohol which works better in water containing formulations).
    Me, I’d add some cetyl alcohol for the smoothness and use carnauba wax, candelilla wax and/or hydrogenated oil for the oil gelling (tried gamma-oryzanol/lecithin too but that’s getting expensive). Simply add a bit, if it’s too soft, add a bit more and repeat. Drawback is the time it takes to fully solidify which might be up to 2 days. If you quick-cool in the fridge/freezer, stop adding more a bit before you have the wanted consistency.
    Because I don’t know how the two oils will affect the product, I can’t further help you and you’ll have to try. Trying is fun, often more than simply reproducing some established formulation of somebody else!

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