So many of you want to make natural or organic creams and lotions and for that there is one essential ingredient needed: a natural and organic emulsifier for cosmetics.

We’ve put together this quick guide to three of our favourite natural and organic emulsifiers to help you create your own beautiful natural skincare products.

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What are emulsifiers and why are they used in cosmetics?

A cream or lotion contains an oil phase and a water phase. As oil and water do not naturally mix together, in order to make a cream or lotion an emulsifier is needed.

Emulsifiers contain a hydrophilic element (water loving) and lipophilic element (oil loving). This means they are attracted to both oil and water which allows them to bind the two together to form a stable mixture. Note that beeswax is not a emulsifier, it will not create stable emulsions.

3  Natural and Organic Emulsifiers for Cosmetics

Here we feature 3 modern, natural emulsifiers made to ecological principles with no petrochemicals or solvents. These are all-in-one emulsifiers that do not require additional or ‘co’ emulsifiers. Their INCI name is used along with the trade name under which it is sold.

When searching for these ingredients online use the INCI name as they may be sold under a few different trade names.

1) Xyliance

INCI Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glucosides (and) Cetearyl Alcohol

Accepted by Ecocert

Sold by The Herbarie (USA) and in Europe from Huiles et Sens 

This emulsifier is made of 100% plant origin where the sugar (xylose) is derived from wheat straw (hence the name) and the fatty alcohols are derived from rapeseed and palm.

This is the ideal emulsifier for beginners because it’s easy to use and creates very stable emulsions.

Perfect for rich cream textures which are non greasy. Very suitable for anti-aging or very hydrating creams.

To be used in the oil phase (70 degrees C) .

Dosage:

4-5% for a lotion or serum

8% for a cream

2) ECOMulse / NatraMulse

INCI: Glyceryl Stearate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

Also sold separately as VE Emulsifier,  MF emulsifier and Cetearyl Alcohol

Accepted by Ecocert and most organic certifiers

Derived from Vegetable (coconut, palm and palm kernel) and mineral (potassium).

Another easy to use emulsifier which creates smooth and creamy emulsions. Very versatile, as it helps create a wide range of textures – from milks to heavy creams depending on dosage used.

Imparts an elegant, smooth and cool feeling to formulation making it ideal for oilier/combination skin types, eye contour care, body milks and non greasy creams for the hands and body.

Works in an ideal pH range of 5-7.5 as outside of this pH range can de-stabilize the emulsion resulting in splitting or separation.

To be used in the oil phase (70 degrees C) .

Dosage:

3% for a milk with added 0.3% xanthan gum to ensure stability

4% for a serum

5% for a lotion

8% for a cream

Important note: ECOMulse is anionic therefore it is recommended that is should not be used with ingredients that do not mix well with anionic ingredients

In the UK, where this emulsifier isn’t available as an all in one product, the alternative is to use Glyceryl Stearate (also sold as VE Emulsifier) with Sodium Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (also sold as  MF emulsifier) and Cetearyl Alcohol.

3) Olivem 1000

INCI: Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate

Accepted by Ecocert and most organic certifiers

This emulsifier is derived from natural olive chemistry. It is an emulsifier and thickener in one which is compatible with a wide variety of cosmetic and active ingredients over a wide pH range (3 to 12).

Safe and clinically tested to be hypoallergenic, it provides creams with an excellent moisturising effect and spreadability with a creamy, non oily, cool touch.

Ideal for wrinkle care for both eye contour and face, due to being very emollient and moisturizing.

To be used in the oil phase (70-75 degrees C)

Dosage:

5% for a serum

6% for a lotion or lighter cream

8% for a cream

If you have problems with the stability of this emulsifier some suppliers recommend using 5-7% Olivem 1000 with 0.5%-1% Glyceryl Stearate, 1%-4% Cetearyl Alcohol, and 0.2% Xanthan gum to form a stable emulsion.

Suppliers of these ingredients will be able to provide you with further details of how best to use them.

We hope this is useful!  Enjoy creating your gorgeous natural creams and lotions!

Want to know more about natural emulsifiers and preservatives?

Discover the most natural emulsifiers and preservatives for your skincare products by downloading your free fact sheet below.

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