Saturday, June 17, 2017

A point of interest: Solubilizers aren't emulsifiers...

At least once a week I have someone stop by the blog to ask why the product they're trying to make with polysorbate 80 is separating. Upon further investigation, it turns out they are trying to use a solubilizer - mostly polysorbate 80 - as an emulsifier.

Polysorbate 20 and 80, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, Caprol Micro Express, Cromollient SCE, and caprylyl/capryl glucoside are intended to solubilize small amounts of oils - essential oils, fragrance oils, tiny amounts of carrier oils - into water based products. They aren't intended to be an emulsifier for a 20% oil serum or a 50% oil moisturizer. They are solubilizers that allow you to add a bit of something that wouldn't normally mix with water into water. They aren't full blown emulsifiers that allow you to make a quick lotion or moisturizer.

Having said this, you can combine solubilizers with other things by using the HLB system to create emulsifiers, but you need to have that combination to make it work. On its own, polysorbate 80 isn't an emulsifier, it's a solubilizer. 

There are emulsifiers that you can use cold to create quick lotions, like Aristoflex AVC, Emulthix/RM-2051, Sucragel AOF, and Sepiplus 400, and more, if you don't want to heat and hold or spend loads of time in the workshop. I encourage you to take a look at those as you might find what you're looking for there!

I have a bunch of cold emulsifiers I'll be sharing with you soon as I've been having great fun with them! 


Pranav Mehta said...

Where I live, Polysorbate is not available, but generic versions as Polyethylene Glycol 6000 or 4000 are available. I have several questions and I hope you can answer them (I swear I googled a lot to find answers but could not get any clear answers)

1. Are PEG 6000/4000 essentially the same as Polysorbate?
2. Can it be used as a solubilizer (I'm trying to create an Aloe Vera based after shave gel using Carbomer 940 and TEA and need a solubilizer for the essential oils)?
3. What is the difference between the 6000 and the 4000 versions? Which is is a better choice for my use case?
4. Do I mix it with the oils first and then mix the combined solution to the Aloe Vera?
5. What quantity if PEG do I need to mix with the essential oil?

Please excuse me if some of my understanding is wrong which would make my questions "invalid"

Thanks a lot for teaching the rest of us!

Clara said...

I have a question on this topic, Since I couldn't find Peg-7 olivate I tried to use instead a combination of an oil and polysorbate 80. It would separate anyways. This is my formula:
Destilled water 68,70%
Hydrosol Sage 20%
Alantoin 0,50%
Propilenglicol 2%
Sorbitol 2%
EDTA disodico 0,20%
Hidrolyzed protein- silk 2%
Buriti 1%
Polisorbate 80 1%
Pantenol 2%
Cosgard 0,60%
I thought with this little amount of oil it would blend well. The product is meant to be a little more than a tonic. We have a very hot weather now and creams or lotions are simple repelled by the sweat.
Thank you!

Louis said...

I have no luck with Emulthix, the 3 times I have used it, no matter how I alter and simplify my recipe, the product always separate, sometimes a few weeks on and sometimes almost immediately and I have to shake it hard before use. I wonder if it is because I am using a battery operated mixer for small batches and it's not strong enough to emulsify?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Louis. Without a formula in percentages with exactly what you used along with your process, I can't offer any assistance as i'd just be guessing.

Louis said...

Susan my formula is 2% niacinamide, 4% glucosamine, 0.5% Allantoin, 4% emulthix, 10% coconut oil and the rest H20. I eliminated all other ingredients till I got this and it still wouldn't emulsify. But if I use just H20 and oil and emulthix alone then it emulsifies. So the problem lies with the niacinamide, glucosamine and allantoin. But I can't do without these 3 ingredients. Also the formula tends to turn brown after some time. I have no experience with other emulsifiers reacting with the 3 ingredients this way, it seems only emulthix has a problem.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Louis! I'm not sure what to tell you as I've been using these ingredients with Emulthix for quite some time, and I've been teaching a formula with 4% niacinamide and 2% NAG for quite some time without reports of a fail. These ingredients won't turn your products brown, so I'm at a loss to tell you what you might be experiencing.

For instance, what preservative are you using? What kind of water are you using? What's the final pH? What happens if you use another oil?

Louis said...

No I'm pretty sure the problem does not lie with the oil because I have successfully made an emulsion using just emulthix and water alone then tried adding in a solution of dissolved Niacinamide and NAG and allantoin, then watch the emulsion come apart and turn watery. I have complained to Jen that she must have sent me a bad batch but she kept insisting the fault is mine alone and that I keep experimenting with other ingredients. I tried everything she suggested, different oil, no oil, making an emulsion first before adding actives, shaking the bottle thoroughly, using the most simple ingredients. Since I have Niacinamide and NAG in almost every formula even basic ones and I could not get emulthix to work at all with them I kind of tossed it aside. I use Phenonip, but the emulsion failed before I added preservative. Distilled water. I never adjusted the pH nor tested it so it should be around 6 or 7 the pH of distilled water since the formula is fairly simple. The last time I used emulthix was for a simple lotion of coconut oil, Adyfline peptide, Phenonip... that was 3 weeks ago, the formula remained stable to this day, no discoloration.