Saturday, September 24, 2011
Creating products: Questions about Polawax versus other emulsifying waxes
Which version of Polawax do you use? There is only one, and that's Polawax by Croda. Your supplier might call it something else, but it is NOT the same as e-wax or emulsifying wax. Yes, the INCI name might be Emulsifying Wax NF and it is an emulsifying wax in the generic sense, but it is a proprietary blend of ingredients and we don't know exactly what is in it! If a supplier is carrying Polawax, they will let you know by calling it Polawax. (They'd be crazy not to as they can charge more for it than emulsifying wax NF).
So Polawax is an emulsifying wax and its INCI is emulsifying wax NF, but it is not the same as emulsifying wax as suppliers don't tend to use the generic term to refer to Polawax.
What is the emulsifying wax we see in our suppliers' shops? It can be many things, but it's almost always a mix of at least one low HLB emulsfier and one high HLB emulsifier. What you see at one supplier as emulsifying wax isn't necessarily what you'll find at another supplier.
self-emulsifying wax (INCI: Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate), Ingredients to Die For's emulsifying wax is actually Lipowax PA (INCI: Emulsifying wax NF), the Personal Formulator's emulsifying wax has an INCI of Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Polysorbate 60 (click here for the MSDS), and Gracefruit's emulsifying wax is Polawax. These are all very different products. One might be a flake, while another is a pastille, and still another is a pellet. (Polawax comes in those little white pastilles or flatter pellet - look left.) Odds are that none of these are the same product and the results you get with one might not be replicated with another. But they would all be considered emulsifying wax.
If you're using something other than Polawax, you might have to adapt your recipe slightly. Voyageur Soap & Candle suggests using 1% more e-wax than Polawax, so you'd want to figure out your recipes using the 25% rule (figure out how much oil you have, then use 25% of that amount in Polawax as the emulsifier - and that rule ONLY applies to Polawax), then add another 1% to ensure stability.
Please note that every emulsifier is different. What works for one emulsifying wax - the 25% rule, for instance - doesn't work for another. BTMS-50 emulsifies at much lower levels than Polawax and I've found that using 8% Ritamulse SCG seems to be the lowest I want to go, even with a 20% oil phase. If you want to use something called emulsifying wax NF that isn't Polawax, consult with your supplier and find out what she suggests as the usage rate, or ask them for the data bulletin and suggested usage rates from the company.
I can't stress enough how important it is to learn your INCI names so you know what you're buying from your suppliers. Click here to learn more about INCI names.
Join me tomorrow for more questions about creating products!