Monday, September 23, 2013

Ingredient: Solubilizers - a comparison

I spent last week testing PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, and I thought I'd share my initial thoughts and compare it to some of the other solubilizers you might use.

If you want to see what I'm referring to, click on one of these posts...
Ingredient: PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil
My method for testing
Part 1: Black Amber Lavender and Clementine Cupcake fragrance oils
Part 2: Yuzu fragrance oil and peppermint essential oil

Out of all the solubilizers I've used - polysorbate 20, polysorbate 80caprylyl/capyl glucosideCaprol Micro ExpressCromollient SCE (INCI: Di-PPG-2 myeth-10 adipate) - I think PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is my favourite. Why? It's easy to use. It solubilized the four representative fragrance and essential oils I used very easily. It created clear solutions. It's easy to find at our suppliers and it's relatively inexpensive. And there are tons of recipes from our suppliers, the manufacturers, and homecrafters out there using this ingredient.

Your supplier's prices will vary. This is what I paid for each of my ingredients.

They all get the job done, but I've found caprylyl/capryl glucoside the most difficult, as demonstrated by its inability to completely solubilize my favourite fragrance, Clementine Cupcake. It doesn't seem to like working with vanilla. The rest do a good job. I find I do have a shake up with polysorbate 20 from time to time with specific fragrances, and I have found polysorbate 80 isn't great with fragrance oils at times. Keep that one for using with carrier oils!

I've found the polysorbates and caprylyl/capryl glucoside don't tend to be clear all the time, whereas with the others I've had no problems with clarity of product.

Caprylyl/capryl glucoside is the only one of the ones I've used that has this designation.

The polysorbates are easy to find and inexpensive - the most inexpensive of all solubilizers I've used - but they are bit inconsistent, especially with fragrance oils with vanilla. We all know how I feel about caprylyl/capryl glucoside - I found it very sticky and it didn't solubilize my favourite fragrance, Clementine cupcake, at all!

I liked Cromollient SCE because it offered some emolliency, but it isn't easy for me to get - have to order by mail - and costs quite a bit. I really like Caprol Micro Express because it offers some nice emolliency, but again, I have to order by mail, which is a pain (no matter how much I love Lotioncrafter, but I'm an impatient woman!).

In the end, if I could choose only one solubilizer, it would be the PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil as it seems to offer just about everything I want in a solubilizer. I really like the emolliency of the others, but I can get other things to perform that function, like myristamine oxide, water soluble oils, or regular oils and esters.

What do you think? What's your favourite? Why is it your favourite?


Lise M Andersen said...

Great comparison test Susan! I've worked quite a bit with polysorbate 20 but only in certain products. I'm loving being able to follow your testing and feedback on these. So, I'm afraid I can't answer which is my fave - I have as yet to try some of these! :)

Robert said...

I have been using PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil as my solubilizer of choice for some time now. I would never go back to using polysorbate 20 or 80. I find PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil works well and is much less sticky than the polysorbates.

Miss Amy said...

Thanks for the info! So instead of Poly 20 in my fragrance spray, I could sub with the PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil? thanks, amy

Anonymous said...

i still dont get the difference between a solubilizer and a emulsifier, if i mix propylene glycol (in substitution of the surfactant), cetyl alcohol or stearic acid n water will i b getting a lotion??
thanks in advance :)