Emulsifiers are essential in cosmetic products. Simply stated, emulsifiers keep ingredients from separating. The cosmetics industry is full of substances that don’t naturally blend, so emulsifiers are used to achieve a smooth and creamy result in Skin care, Makeup and Hair care products. As consumers continue to seek more natural alternatives in skincare products, we’ll explore some of the benefits and applications of the most common natural emulsifiers in cosmetics.
One of the key properties of emulsifiers is that they possess hydrophilic (water-loving) and lipophilic (oil-loving) components in their molecular structure. They can be used either as oil-in-water (which disperses oil droplets into an aqueous base) or water-in-oil, which disperses water droplets into the oily base ingredients. Oil-in-water emulsifiers give products a light touch, whereas water-in-oil products are perceived as being greasier to the touch. Emulsifiers also contribute to the stability of a product, preventing the separation of ingredients and maintaining a uniform distribution throughout the product.
The cosmetics industry already utilizes a variety of natural emulsifiers, and the specific choice of emulsifier can vary depending on the formulation and desired product characteristics. Here are six commonly used natural emulsifiers in the cosmetics industry:
- Lecithin: Derived from sources such as soybeans or egg yolks, it is widely used as a natural emulsifier in cosmetics. It has excellent emulsifying properties and is compatible with a range of formulations. Lecithin can stabilize oil-in-water and water-in-oil emulsions and is commonly found in creams, lotions and other skincare products.
- Xanthan Gum: A polysaccharide derived from the fermentation of sugar, it acts as an emulsion stabilizer and texture enhancer. It is frequently used in natural skincare products such as creams, gels and serums to improve texture and stability.
- Cetearyl Olivate/Sorbitan Olivate: Derived from olive oil, these are often used as a natural emulsifying system. They create stable oil-in-water emulsions and are utilized in moisturizers, facial creams and sunscreens to provide a smooth texture and improve stability.
- Acacia Gum: Acacia gum is extracted from the sap of the Acacia tree. It is a natural gum with emulsifying properties used in various cosmetic formulations, including creams, lotions and hair care products to stabilize emulsions and enhance texture.
- Glyceryl Stearate: Derived from vegetable oils, glyceryl stearate is a popular natural emulsifier in cosmetic formulations. It is effective in creating stable oil-in-water emulsions and is commonly found in creams, lotions and body butters.
- Beeswax: Beeswax is known for its emulsifying and thickening properties. It is commonly used in lip balms, creams and ointments to create stable oil-in-water emulsions and provide a protective barrier on the skin.
Today’s consumers are savvier than ever – they read and research ingredients and are looking for personal care products that are eco-friendly and sustainable, prompting more companies to seek natural alternatives to synthetic ingredients to meet that growing demand. Natural emulsifiers help create products that feel good when applied to the skin without harming the environment.
There is more to come from Lubrizol on natural solutions. Stay tuned.