Monday, September 9, 2013

Emulsifiers: Natragem EW

Bo Penny of Penny Lane Organics very kindly sent me a whole whack of Natragem EW, an all-in-one,  non-ionic Ecocert emulsifier from Croda. The INCI is Glyceryl Stearate (and) Polyglyceryl-6 Palmitate/Succinate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol. The suggested usage rate is 3.0% to 7.5%, and the manufacturer notes tha we can use it exactly as we would use Polawax

The polyglyceryl-6 palmitate/succinate is the high HLB emulsifier that also thickens, while the glyceryl stearate is the low HLB emulsifier, so together they create an all-in-one emulsifier. The cetearyl alcohol thickens the product.

Interestingly, we can put this emulsifier into the heated water or the heated oil phase. The manufacturer notes adding to the oil phase will create higher viscosity product than adding it to the water phase.

If you're formulating using only silicones in your product, the manufacturer recommends you increase the concentration to 7.5% to offer higher viscosity and stability than lower levels.

This product claims to work well with electrolytes and maintains its stability even when salt is added 10%. As we saw the other day, we don't want to add tons of electrolytes to our lotions, but this one managed to remain stable. Interesting...although I really don't suggest adding a ton of salt to a product! What purpose would it serve? (Before you say salt scrub, the salt would dissolve in water!)

If you are interested in this emulsifier, check the compatibility with ingredients because there are some interesting notations about what remained stable after a month. Incroquat BTMS-50 at 5%, cetrimonium chloride at 8%, saliyclic acid at 0.5%, ethanol at 2%, lanolin at 5%, super sterol liquid at 5%, and more. It's not to say you can't use these ingredients at higher levels, just that the compatibility hasn't been tested. It's a good reminder to check compatibility when we're dealing with new ingredients that don't have a long history of usage. Something like Polawax has been around for more than 60 years (possibly 70?) and has been used with probably every ingredient you can imagine. This hasn't, so keep amazingly accurate notes!

As an aside, really think about using alcohol as a preservative or in high levels in your lotions. If you are using alcohol in levels worthy of preservation - I think it's 20% or higher - a lotion with this emulsifier or others might not remain stable.  

Summary of Natragem EW:
INCI Glyceryl Stearate (and) Polyglyceryl-6 Palmitate/Succinate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol
Non-ionic, all-in-one emulsifier composed of a low HLB and high HLB emulsifier with a thickener.
Usage from 3% to 7.5%.
For use in the heated oil or heated water phase.
Appearance: White - yellow flakes
Ecocert, 100% naturally derived.
Preservative free.
Non-whitening on the skin.

Join me tomorrow as I create a product using this emulsifier!

*Please note, I have not been paid for my opinion. Bo Penny contacted me and asked if I wanted to try out this emulsifier and I said, "Yes, please!" so she sent it to me. She has not given me anything other than her time and this product. As usual, my opinions are my own, and if I like it, it's because I like it, not because I've been paid to say something nice. 


Bo Penny said...

Love your blog and the wealth of information you provide. Excellent review of Natragem! I love the feel it gives to our lotions and creams. I find it soft and velvety, smooth and airy at the same time (hope this makes sense) :-) Also we cater to customers that want green and 'chemical-free' products and many questioned our use of Polawax in the past. So we're happy that we found a greener alternative - Natragem is EcoCert certified, and that we can provide this product to our custoemrs (in our lotions and creams) and to all DIY customers interested in providing an alternative to Polawax and other EW's.

BT said...

You asked why would you add so much salt to a formula...the short answer is to thicken the formula. Conventional thickeners could be as much as $10 per pound, salt is $0.15 per pound....therefore if your system can be thickened with salt it is the cheaper way to go, and you get to claim it is thickened with natural minerals.-BT

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi BT! I get that salt is a thickener in surfactant based products for things that thicken with salt, but would 10% salt really thicken a lotion? And if it can, do I want 10% salt in a leave on product? What would that do to my skin? I thought saying it could handle 10% salt was more of a thought exercise showing an extreme. I have never seen a recipe that has even 1% salt in a leave on lotion, let alone 10!

Hi Bo. Natragem EW is still a chemical, so I'm hoping your customers understand that natural and green products contain chemicals.

2011's International Year of Chemistry wanted to stop the association of the word "chemical" with toxic and bring it back to the original meaning of anything made from elements, which is everything in the world. Yeah, I'm probably being pedantic, but I love chemistry and hate the idea of chemical meaning something bad when I know it can mean anything!

It's a lovely emulsifier, and I like the thinner version of the lotion I made with it. Still waiting for my reviews to come in...

Thanks for sending this to me. It's an interesting emulsifier and one I'm going to experiment with further. I want to try comparing it to BTMS-50, Rita BTMS-225, and other emulsifiers I have, so I'll be writing about this a lot more!

Scentual Art said...

Hi Susan,

Do you know the source of Natragem? Could you share an idea for a light lotion recipe with this, or shate yours?

Thanks! Love love live your site & blog!