Friday, November 10, 2017

Question from Patreon: Is there a limit to how much carbomer can be used in a lotion?

In the November Q&A on Patreon, Sawyer asked: Are there limits to how much carbomer can be used in a oil in water face cream? It seems to be a common ingredient in face lotions, and I love the idea of a cushiony lotion, but when I try to emulsify my gelled water phase with my oil phase the result is a separated mess. 

Great question! There really isn't a limit, apart from not using so much that it becomes a big Jell-o-y mess. Having said that, I think that we can use too much, as you'll see in the next few examples.

If you look at this one, Velvet Care Lotion, you'll see that they're using 0.25% Ultrez 20 in the heated water phase, which seems like a tiny amount, but it is enough to give us that cushiony feeling we want.

This one, In-Shower Lotion, has 0.30% in the heated water phase, while this one, Party Time Shimmering Cream, has 0.40% in the heated water phase.

The lotions to which I've linked above suggest that the Ultrez 20 is sprinkled over the surface of the water phase, which is heated to 65˚C to 70˚C. The sodium hydroxide (neutralizer) is added after the two phases are combined, but when it's still hot.

So how much can we use? Here's what the company suggests...

Recommended polymer use level is formulation dependent. For surfactant-cleansing applications with low-to-moderate surfactant actives 0.8% to 1.0% is recommended. For use in emulsions and gels, 0.3 - 0.7% is recommended, depending on electrolyte content. Processing instructions are simple.
  1. Sprinkle polymer on surface of water and allow to self-wet.
  2. Begin gentle agitation.
  3. Keep agitation to a minimum (to avoid air entrapment) while adding remaining ingredients to formulation.
  4. Neutralize: can be pre- or post-neutralized (depending on the needs of the formulation).
What we can see is that we don't need much to get the effects we want, so I'd suggest starting with 0.30% in the heated water phase with 0.69% 18% lye solution or 0.45% triethanolamine and see if you get what you want. Add the Ultrez 20 to the heated water phase, and add the neutralizer in a separate phase after you have added the heated water phase to the heated oil phase as per the examples above.

How did I come up with those numbers for the TEA or lye? For this and much more, please check out this post on Ultrez 20! 

So the short answer is that although there isn't really a limit to how much you can use, there's definitely a suggested usage rate of 0.3% to 0.7% for Ultrez 20.

I've just realized in writing this that I've never shared my formulas in which I've used Ultrez 20 and Sepimax ZEN in a lotion! I'll have to fix that soon! 

If you're interested in learning more about my Patreon feed, please click here and see what it's all about.

1 comment:

Rocio GarcĂ­a said...

Hi Susan:

What about guar gum, how much guar gum can be used in cream or in lotion?

I really appreciate your help!


My best regards