Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Emulsifiers: Aristoflex AVC

I was recently sent a large bag of Aristoflex AVC (INCI Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer), a polymer that can create gels as well as emulsify up to 5% oils or silicones. Because it doesn't work well with electrolytes, it's not suitable for thickening things like shampoo or body wash. Don't use things like aloe vera, sodium PCA, sodium lactate, some extracts, or some proteins, and don't use hyaluronic acid at 0.1% or higher. (It looks like we can use niacinamide, so yay!)

It can potentially make clear gels. It's suggested that you use up to 5% glycerin to help make it clearer. I have not tried a clear gel, so I can't speak from experience. 

You can use it with up to 50% ethanol to make hydro-alcoholic gels. (This could be good for use with salicylic acid.) In this case, add the water and alcohol mix to the Aristoflex. If you have dissolved an active ingredient in alcohol like bisabolol or salicylic acid, make the gel with the Aristoflex and water, then add the alcohol mix to the gel slowly while mixing. 

This is how you use this ingredient on its own: Measure distilled or de-ionized water into a container. Then add your other water soluble ingredients. Add your active ingredients, then the oil, then the Aristoflex AVC and your preservative. Mix well. Bottle it and rejoice! 

Did you notice something in those instructions? Yep, there's no heating and holding with this emulsifier. You can if you want, but it isn't necessary to make a light lotion with 5% oils or silicones. 

If you want to use it in a lotion to give it a more cushiony feel, add 0.3% to 0.8% Aristoflex AVC in your oil phase in place of other thickeners, like cetyl alcohol or stearic acid. Check your lotion recipe for things you shouldn't have in there, like electrolytes, and you'll find your lotion feels lighter than the regular recipe without it. 

What do I think? I love this stuff! It is so easy to make a lotion - maybe 10 minutes at the most, and that includes getting the ingredients, bottle, and mixing container ready, plugging in my stick blender, and getting it into bottles. It doesn't take much oil - 5% for oils and silicones, including oil soluble ingredients - so it's not going to make you a body butter, but it's amazing for body milks, facial moisturizers, gels, and light lotions. The lotion itself is quite soft and easy to use. I've made quite a few versions, as you'll see over the next few days, and they all feel quite silky and less greasy than I expected. 

In North America, we have one choice for this emulsifier: Windy Point Soap (Canadian). It'll be $10 for 50 grams, $17 for 100 grams, $37 for 250 grams. 

I know this might seem like a lot, but compare this to Polawax at $17 for 454 grams (1 pound) or $19.75 for 227 grams for Incroquat BTMS-50 and it seems more expensive. But if you consider how much you're using -  compare 1% Aristoflex AVC to 4% or more Polawax or Incroquat BTMS for a light lotion - and it's around the same price range. (35 cents for BTMS, 15 cents for Polawax versus 20 cents for Aristoflex AVC.) 

If you know of another supplier anywhere in the world, please email me at and let me know so I can update the post! 

Quick summary: 
Aristoflex AVC (INCI Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer
A white powder
Works in pH 4 to 9. (Higher than pH 9 will release ammonia! Not good!)
Suggested usage 0.5% to 1.2% to emulsify up to 5% oils. 
Can be used warm or cold. 
Can be used to thicken lotions or on its own. Add to the heated oil phase in a lotion at 0.3% to 0.8%. 
Doesn't like electrolytes. 

A huge thank you to Jane Barber of Making Skincare for all the information she has provided about this emulsifier. And a huge thank you to Esther for sending the product out to me and for the starter recipe she shared! 

Join me tomorrow to see one of a few recipes I've made with this ingredient! 


KMY said...

This is just what I have been looking for to create mostly water gels/lotions. However I just went to the company's website and did not find this product at all. Any idea why or how I can get it (I live in the US -- New York State). Thanks so much!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

As I mention in the post, Windy Point will have it soon!

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

It's been a while since I've cooked yachting in the cosmetics lab :)
Aristoflex is awesome indeed - personally I do heat and hold my water phase while I measure the rest, and then let it cool to room temperature .

it's a lovely synthetic ingredient - I love it the same way I love carbopol ultrez 21 :)

Krogers said...

I was able to purchase this emulsifier back in December. I love it! Definitely perfect for facial moisturizers. I live in the U.S. so I am very happy to hear that there will be a Canadian supplier that will be selling this emulsifier when I need to purchase more.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I'm so excited Michele will be carrying it at Windy Point Soaps. It's a really awesome ingredient, and I have more things I've been making lately with it. I love that I can go into the workshop and make a lotion in a few minutes. I have so little crafting time, so this makes things pretty awesome for me. I'm experimenting with thickeners and higher oil ratios to see what happens next.

For Americans, my suggestion is to contact Jen at Lotioncrafter. I know Jane Barber had been talking to her about it. But then again, your dollar is so strong. Just buy from Michele and marvel at her amazingly fast shipping times! :-)

Maggie said...

Hi Susan

We will look into supplying this.
Looks like a great product!

Maggie Ghanem

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Maggie! This is an amazing emulsifier. I'll be making video shortly to share the awesomeness that is making a cold emulsification because it's simply unbelievable! I'm so glad we'll be able to get this and make awesome creations!