Complete Emulsifiers also known as Self-Emulsifiers
Complete emulsifiers also called self-emulsifiers are so much easier to use in emulsions than single emulsifiers. A complete emulsifier contains several materials that emulsify and thicken an emulsion. An example of this can be compared to a boxed cake mix. In a cake mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, vanilla and sugar is put together in the perfect portions needed to make a cake. All one has to do is add water and oil to it. There is no need to figure out how much of each single ingredient is needed to bake a cake. This is the same with complete emulsifiers. The emulsifier and thickener combination is put together making it easier for use for the formulator.
Complete emulsifiers’ cost more than single emulsifiers but save a lot of time and costly trial and error.
There are several complete emulsifiers available from cosmetic suppliers. Each complete emulsifier will lend a unique consistency, color and feel to the formulation.
Make sure to know the INCI name of the complete emulsifier not just the Trade name.
Natural* Complete Self- Emulsifiers
listed by their INCI name
- Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Glucoside
- Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate
- Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides and Cetearyl Alcohol
- Glyceryl Oleate Citrate and Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
- Glyceryl Stearate and Cetearyl Alcohol and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
- Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Olive Oil (Olea europaea), Olive Oil Unsaponifiables
- Sodium Olivoyl Glutamate and Cetearyl Alcohol and Glyceryl Stearate
*I am using the Natural Products Association (NPA) guidelines on distinguishing natural emulsifiers. Vegetable Emulsifying Wax is not considered natural as it contains polysorbate 60. Polysorbate 60 goes through the process of ethoxylation. Ethoxylation is not an allowed process under the NPA guidelines.
Joan Morais is a natural cosmetic formulator, instructor, author and the owner of Joan Morais Naturals. Joan assists product makers on how to make high quality, stable and effective natural body, hair and skin care products for personal use and a product making business.