What do you think of when you hear of emulsifiers? These are some very important ingredients that even DIY-ers have to use to make their products safe. Find some of them in this part of cosmetic basics.
This post is part of the Cosmetic basics series that will consist of multiple posts:
Part 3: Other ingredients for skincare products (you are here)
Part 4: Preservatives and antioxidants (here)
Part 5: Moisturizing & foaming ingredients
Part 6: Vitamins, clays, minerals
+ two more posts that will soon be revealed. 🙂
Part 3: Emulsifiers & thickening agents
INCI: Cetearyl alcohol
Cetearyl alcohol is made of palm and coconut oil and is used for improving product’s texture. It creates a thin layer on skin and prevents moisture loss due to evaporation. Cetearyl alcohol is a mix of fatty alcohols (cetyl and stearyl) and is ECO cert approved. It acts as a lubricant (prevents water and oil from separating) and doesn’t irritate skin.
Suggested use: 1-20%
- Creams and lotions (oil-in-water): 1-15%
- Balms and emulsions water-in-oil: 1-20%
Melting: in oil (not soluble in water).
Warning: wear protective clothes!
INCI: Cetyl Alcohol
Cetyl acohol has a similar texture as wax and doesn’t have any scent. It’s derived from vegetable oils and is used for thickening and stabilization of products. It can be used on its own or as a coemulgator (more than 5% of total weight). Cetyl alcohol helps soften the skin and attracts water. It also improves viscosity. You can use it in lotions, creams, body butters, shampoos, conditioners and other products.
Suggested use: 0,5-6%
Melting point: 54°C
INCI: Cetearyl alcohol & Polysorbate 60
Emulsifying wax is easy to use and can improve your body creams, lotions and scrubs (salt & sugar). You can change product’s density with more or less emulsifying wax.
Suggested use: 2-20%
- lotions: 2-5%
- creams: 5-7%
- body butters: 10-15%
INCI: Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba
Guar gum is derived from guar bean that originates in India. It’s used as an emulsifier, thickening agent and stabilizer. It can be used in creams, lotions, shower gels and shampoos. You can combine it with xanthan gum.
Suggested use: 0,5-2%
Add guar gum slowly, as it can create a gelatine-like structure.
Warning: do not use it with products that contain borax or calcium.
Melting: in water
INCI: Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum has been lately popular in food industry for DIY ice cream, but it’s also useful for cosmetic products. It adds smoothness to creams and lotions and it also stabilizes the forumal. It’s a strong emulsifier and prevents ingredients from separating.
Melting: in hot or cold water
Lanolin is derived from the wool of sheeps and it’s wax from sebacous glands. It protects sheep from weather conditions (rain, low temperatures) and in skin care products, it acts similar. It’s structure is similar to sebum that our skin produces and this means it’s easily absorbed by our skin. Lanolin creates a layer that prevents evaporation of water. It’s often used for preventing and reducing stretch marks and other skin conditions. Lanolin can be used in balms, lotions, soaps and creams.
Soy lecithin can be found in human and animal cells because it’s important for memory and overall brain health. It’s also used for treating skin illnesses, for example hair loss, slow nail growth and other (eczema, psoriasis). For those products, it’s combined with unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3), vitamin E and beta-carotene.
Soy lecithin softens and moisturizes and that’s the reason why it’s often found in products for dry skin.
Suggested use: 3-20%
INCI: Stearic acid
Stearic acid is a fatty acid derived from vegetable oils. It gently coats our skin with a thin layer that prevents moisture loss. It’s also used for improving the texture of cosmetic products.
Stearic acid can be used in soap bars for increased foam. Even 2% of stearic acid improves soap’s stability and foaming properties.
Suggested use: 2-10%
Do you use or will you use any of these ingredients? Comment below!