Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Emulsifiers: Adapting your recipe to use another emulsifier

We've met a few new emulsifiers this month - Sucragel AOF and Ritamulse SCG - but how do you convert your favourite recipe to use these new emulsifiers? Let's take a sample recipe and see how we might use it with different emulsifiers!

60.75% water
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin

20% oils, butters, or esters
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM
6.25% Polawax

3% Honeyquat
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance or essential oil

As you can see, we figured out the oil phase - 25% - then figured out how much Polawax we might use by multiplying that oil phase of 25% by 0.25 to get 6.25%. (We use Polawax at 25% of the oil phase. Click here for more information!)

If we want to use emulsifying wax instead of Polawax, some suppliers recommend adding 1% more emulsifier to the product. So we'd have 7.25% emulsifying wax, and reduce the water amount from 60.75% to 59.75%.

Why am I reducing my water phase when I increase my oil phase? Because we need to have a total of 100% ingredients in our product. If we increase the e-wax by 1%, we now have 101%. So we reduce our water amount by the amount over 100% to ensure we have a balanced lotion. Click here for more information

If we want to use Incroquat BTMS-50 instead of Polawax, we don't really have a rule of thumb. You can use an amount equal to the Polawax amount - meaning we'd use 6.25% Incroquat BTMS-50 - but you can reduce it slightly, usually by a percentage or two. I wouldn't go with 4.25% in this recipe, but I would happily try 5.25% or higher. I find if I use the same amount of BTMS-50 as I do Polawax, it is a lot thicker than the original. But perhaps you like that? If you use 6.25% BTMS-50, leave the water the same. If you use 5.25% BTMS-50, add 1% water to the water phase. If you use 4.25% BTMS-50, add 2% water to the water phase. And so on...

If you have Incroquat BTMS-25, you aren't going to be able to emulsify a ton of oils using a similar amount of this emulsifier as you would BTMS-50. I don't recommend it for use in lotions. Some people have had great success with it; I haven't, and I've heard from enough people about their epic lotion fails with BTMS-25 to say that I don't recommend it as an emulsifier. If it works for you, that's fantastic!

If we want to use the HLB system to create a lotion, you can start with 4% emulsifier (figure out the exact amounts of the two emulsifiers) in place of the Polawax. Increase the water amount by 2.25%.

If we want to use Sucragel AOF, we'd have to heat the oil phase to ensure the cetyl alcohol works well
(Click here to see a similar recipe in action!) And substitute another oil for the IPM as this emulsifier doesn't play well with esters. If you want a drier feeling lotion - which is what the IPM brings to the party - then add something like hazelnut oil. If you want the lighter feeling of the ester, then use something like fractionated coconut oil. Also, reduce the emulsifier to 5% and increase the water phase by 1.25%.

If we want to use Ritamulse SCG, we have to take out the Honeyquat as this emulsifier doesn't play well with cationics, and replace that 3% with another humectant or just some water. We have to increase our emulsifier to 8%, so take out 1.75% of the water amount for a total of 59% water.

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with our new emulsifiers!

Related posts:
Emulsifiers - check what you've got! 
Emulsifying systems: Polawax, e-wax, and Incroquat BTMS-50
An aside...Beeswax is NOT an emulsifier


melian1 said...

would you consider adding oliveoil glutamate to your series on emulsifiers?

Dawn said...

After reading the different emulsifiers, I'm thinking I'll stick with the ones you first introduced me to: emulsifying wax, BTMS, and Polawax. It's fascinating to learn about the others but quite honestly there are too many rules for me to remember with each one. Others might not have this problem. I just know I'd be sitting at your blog looking things up all over again and reformulating if I used any of the others I'm not as familiar with. Thanks for the info. At least I know where to find it, and that it is well researched here if I need it. I never miss a post!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi melian! As I've mentioned in the past, I have to buy all the ingredients with my own wages, and I can't really order from the Herbarie right now. (They want a $100 minimum from Canada, plus really high shipping costs, plus a fee to write up the tiny customs label. My last order cost almost as much in fees as it did in supplies! It's simply too much money to spend right now.) If you can find it somewhere else - I generally shop at Lotioncrafter and the Personal Formulator in the States - please let me know. I really can't afford what they charge at the Herbarie these days! I don't know if I will formulate with it - I've done so much experimenting lately that I've run out of my own things like shampoo bars and scrubs - but I will consider it in the future.

Hi Dawn. That's how I feel. I want to just go into the workshop and play. I know what I can do with Polawax and BTMS-50, but the idea that I can't use a cationic ingredient with Ritamulse is simply annoying. I'm using it in a few more things - I'm trying it in my scrub this weekend - but I don't think it will ever replace my Polawax. It's just such a tried and true emulsifier with a lengthy history of success!

Anonymous said...

dear Susan,
After learning so much about emulsifier and how important it is to create a lotion, i am trying to duplicate a hair lotion that works wonderful on my hair, but the task is there is no emulsifier listed on the label. Here is the ingredients listed Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Paraffin liquidum, paraffin, citric acid, fragrance, preservative and water. My question is can a lotion be created without emulsifier or is it hidden under one of the ingredients.

Mychelle said...

I hear this said about BTMS (25) vs. BTMS-50 occasionally but I don't understand it. BTMS is said to be able to emulsify up to 50% silicone and it has been around longer than the 50 version. Why would a product that can handle that level of silicone at a low percentage not be able to emulsify a moderate oil phase? Going back through supplier sites and supplier posts on the Dish I see no mention of the regular BTMS being less able to emulsify. I know it's anecdotal, but I rarely use anything but regular BTMS, as I don't like the 50 much (more difficult to work with, doesn't agree with my skin and hair). I have worked with BTMS (25) from Croda and Rita, and found the products to be slightly different but absolutely stable. I have had some instability with the 50 version. I appreciate your knowledge and everything you do Susan! I just don't understand the BTMS is unstable thing.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rosi! The emulsifier is cetrimonium chloride, which can behave as a light emulsifier for some ingredients. So you could use something like 5% cetrimonium chloride, 1% each of cetearyl alcohol, paraffin (wax), and paraffin liquidum (mineral oil), up to 3% glycerin, 0.5% liquid Germall plus or another preservative, 1% fragrance oil, and water to reach 100% and you've got yourself a product. If you don't have mineral oil, then choose something light like fractionated coconut oil. And leave out the wax - it's not going to offer much to this product.

Hi Mychelle! (For those of you unfamiliar with BTMS-25, it has 25% of the active ingredient and emulsifier (behentrimonium methosulfate) and BTMS-50 has 50%.) It makes no sense to me, to be honest, as BTMS-25 is still a good emulsifier. But I find when people have trouble with my recipes, it's almost always because they're using BTMS-25 instead of BTMS-50, especially with the cationic, no oil moisturizers. It should make sense that if you add more BTMS-25, it will have more emulsifying power, but what I've heard is that this isn't the case, and I generally suggest moving to Polawax or BTMS-50 instead.

And this is anecdotal for me, too. If it works for you, keep on using it! It just seems like there are so many fails using BTMS-25 that I don't like to recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Susan for the answer and i would never guess that cetac would act like an emulsifier. As i see there is nothing really special on this hair lotion is it? But it works on my hair.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rosi! Cetrimonium chloride is awesome for detangling our hair, and it has enough conditioning power for fine or unprocessed hair (providing it isn't coarse, like mine!) The cetearyl alcohol works with the cetrimonium chloride to boost the conditioning power and behave as a moisturizer. The mineral oil will do the same. So there are things in there that would be good for our hair!

Anonymous said...

Well i don't know how to categorize my hair, but i am biracial my mom is black so i have almost a very coarse, frizzy, tangled hair and i do relax it to soften the kinky in it, though i need i very thick and oily lotion due to my hair being dry. The thick lotion to keep it down and the oil to make it shine. I also added dimethicone and the lotion i made worked well, i am pretty happy with it.
Thanks for you dedication to take time to give us info.

Storm Crow said...

Hi Susan

After reading your blogs concerning emulsifiers, I think I've confused myself even more than before (if that's possible).

I can only get plain ol' BTMS in Australia (as far as BTMS, BTMS-25 and BTMS-50 go) and so I've no idea how to use it in recipes that call for Incroquat BTMS-50.

It seems that the more I read, the more confused I become...sorry.

Are you able to give me the 'for dummies' version of how I use plain old Aussie-available BTMS please?

Emilene Qasem said...

Hi there ive really enjoyed reading up on all your work . Im new to formulating cosmetics , i small hobby which got out of control you could say. I've successfully made lotions and balms but i want to make a facial cleanser it calls for sucrgel but im unable to get it
What would you suggest for me to use in place of the sucragel which would be better ? The recipe calls for 10gr of sucragel , 5gr of glycerine 5gr honey 50gr Rose water 15 gr apricot kernel oil 1gr preservative

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Emilene! My hobby's out of control as well, so I sympathize with you! I'm sorry to say that there isn't really a substitute for the sucragel as it is a liquid emulsifier, and it looks like this is the cleanser in this product. Do you have any surfactants? You could use one of those in its place, but it won't be nearly the same product in the end.