If you make your own skincare products, like me, you’ve probably come across emulsifying wax in a recipe before. Also, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably avoided using this strange-sounding ingredient in your recipes.
I’ve decided to confront my ‘I don’t understand it, so I shouldn’t use it’ fears and finally conduct some proper research on this subject. And now I’m going to tell you about my surprising discoveries.
- 1 What is Emulsifying wax?
- 2 Is emulsifying wax natural?
- 3 Why Choose Natural Emulsifiers When Making DIY Beauty Products
- 4 What is e-wax used for?
- 5 Is Emulsifying wax safe?
- 6 Can I use another wax instead of e-wax?
- 7 what are the best natural emulsifiers?
- 8 Is Beeswax a Natural Emulsifier?
- 9 How to Make Products with Natural Emulsifiers
- 10 HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ORGANIC & NATURAL EMULSIFIER
- 11 WHICH ORGANIC & NATURAL EMULSIFIERS SHOULD YOU USE?
- 12 WORKING WITH ORGANIC & NATURAL EMULSIFIERS
- 13 TESTING ORGANIC & NATURAL EMULSIFIERS
- 14 Frequently Asked Questions
What is Emulsifying wax?
Emulsifying wax, also known as e-wax, is frequently used in lotions in place of other types of waxes. Because lotions are made from a combination of wax, oil, and water, the e-wax in the recipe ensures that the ingredients combine well and stay combined.
E-wax is also known as Polawax, BTMS-50, Olivem 1000, and Emulsimulse (don’t you just love that word?). These are trademarks. The ingredients will differ depending on the brand/supplier and type of emulsifying wax you purchase.
Some e-waxes still require the addition of another emulsifier to your formula, in addition to the e-wax. Check to see if this is the case before making a purchase. Of course, it’s much easier to use a complete e-wax that does the job all by itself.
Is emulsifying wax natural?
The naturalness of e-wax is determined by the ingredients used to make it. It also depends on your personal definition of the term “natural.”
When it comes to natural ingredients, emulsifying wax isn’t what comes to mind when you think of a paleo or ‘back to basics’ approach.
The fatty acids used as a main ingredient can be obtained from plant sources. So everything is fine here. However, the ingredients must be processed before they can be sold to you by your supplier.
By adding borax to beeswax, for example, you can transform it into an emulsifying wax. Check ahead of time to see how your e-wax was made and if you are comfortable with the process.
Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides and Cetearyl Alcohol are listed as ingredients in the brand I purchased.
According to a quick Google search, this type of emulsifying wax is commonly known as Xyliance (Mine is from a different brand).
The ingredients are derived entirely from natural sources, as stated on the packaging (wheat straw for one). Xyliance is also considered vegan because all of the ingredients are plant-based.
Why Choose Natural Emulsifiers When Making DIY Beauty Products
Some emulsifiers can cause skin irritation and redness, so if you want to make a truly natural or organic beauty product, you’ll need to use a natural emulsifier.
Polysorbate is manufactured using a chemical process that is not considered natural. Any beauty product that contains polysorbate emulsifiers (including the popular Polawax) is not natural, and they cannot be sold with an organic or natural label.
What is e-wax used for?
Emulsifying wax is commonly found in body care products such as lotions and hair conditioners.
Check the packaging for the recommended uses for your specific e-wax. Are they, for example, recommended for lip and eye products? What is their suggested dosage or ratio for the product you’re making?
Is Emulsifying wax safe?
Each manufacturer creates their own emulsifying wax using their own ingredients. That is why it is critical to read the ingredients list. The INCI names of the ingredients should be included.
The ingredients indicate whether the e-wax is vegan, derived from natural sources, and/or suitable for cosmetic use.
Can I use another wax instead of e-wax?
Despite the fact that Emulsifying wax looks (and sounds) like wax, it behaves very differently in cosmetic formulas.
If you use e-wax instead of beeswax or a plant-based wax like carnauba or candellila wax, the finished product will be completely different. To begin with, e-wax does not have the same ‘coating’ effect or wax feel as most other types of waxes.
In some cases, such as when blending oils and water in a lotion, substituting emulsifying wax for another wax is pointless. It will appear to be working at first, but after a while (a few hours or days), the oil and water will begin to separate.
what are the best natural emulsifiers?
Wax is most commonly used as a natural emulsifier, and it is an excellent choice when creating a homemade skin care product.
Wax emulsifiers include beeswax, candelilla wax, carnauba wax, and rice bran wax. When looking for a natural option, use a non-GMO wax that is vegetable-derived and made from natural ingredients.
Because it keeps the skin hydrated, beeswax is extremely beneficial to the body. It will form a protective barrier on the skin, allowing moisture to be trapped. Beeswax can also be used to exfoliate the skin gently.
I enjoy incorporating beeswax into my homemade face creams and lip balms. It not only creates the perfect texture, but it also has additional skin benefits.
Candelilla wax is a natural emulsifier that can be used in homemade creams, lotions, and balms. Because it is plant-based, this wax is an excellent vegan substitute for beeswax.
Candelilla wax is high in nutrients and easily absorbs into the skin. It is well-known for its ability to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and stretch marks.
Carnauba wax works well as a natural emulsifier. Because of its high melting point, it is ideal for thickening homemade balms, deodorants, and body butters.
Because carnauba wax is hypoallergenic, it is an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin.
rice bran wax
Rice bran wax is an excellent natural emulsifier. This type of wax, however, may not be suitable for all of your recipes. It can combine oils, creams, and butters but not water. It will aid in the thickening, binding, and gelling processes. It is frequently found in skin and hair care products.
Is Beeswax a Natural Emulsifier?
Contrary to popular belief, beeswax is NOT an emulsifier on its own.
Because beeswax has oil-like properties, you must either emulsify it or alter it before using it in beauty products.
How? Typically, borax is used.
Borax converts beeswax into soap, which then acts as a natural emulsifier.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Borax is a mineral that occurs naturally. It has to be safe…
Unfortunately, borax is carcinogenic and has been banned from some uses in the EU, so if you’re trying to detox your beauty products, you shouldn’t use it.
You can, however, use beeswax on its own if you intend to use your product within a few days (because it will not be shelf-stable without an emulsifier).
How to Make Products with Natural Emulsifiers
Simply do it.
That may sound overly simplistic, but when it comes to beauty products, the basic principle is to simply create the solution.
Many people recommend a “heat and hold” method in which you heat the ingredients to 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius), but this is unnecessary. All you have to do is heat your ingredients until the solution liquifies. If they’re already liquid, all you have to do is combine them.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ORGANIC & NATURAL EMULSIFIER
A fine droplet of oil is dispersed through an aqueous base by an oil-in-water (O/W) emulsifier. These O/W emulsions are usually more liquid, like milk or a skin cleansing lotion. A water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion distributes ultra-fine water droplets throughout the fatty base ingredients. These emulsions are typically thick and greasy. Many of our Formula Botanica students prefer O/W emulsions, possibly because they are so similar to traditional lotions and creams.
WHICH ORGANIC & NATURAL EMULSIFIERS SHOULD YOU USE?
We’ve done some of the legwork for you by testing a variety of natural emulsifiers. We will add more natural emulsifiers to this list as we test them.
Discover how to make an emulsion with:
- Montanov 68 / Vegetal (Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Glucoside)
- Xyliance (Cetearyl wheat straw glycosides and Cetearyl alcohol)
- 900 Olivem (Sorbitan Olivate)
- Cetearyl Olivate (and) Sorbitan Olivate (Olivem 1000)
Alternatively, learn how to make:
- Formulation of a Rich Face Cream with Xyliance
- Sucrose Stearate Organic Sprayable Body Lotion
- PolyAquol 2W Natural Cream Cleanser
WORKING WITH ORGANIC & NATURAL EMULSIFIERS
The hydrophilic-lipophilic balance of a surfactant expresses the balance of an amphiphilic molecule’s hydrophilic (water-loving) and lipophilic (oil-loving) parts (a molecule that has both lipophilic and hydrophilic parts).
Anyone who encourages you to calculate the HLB of your emulsifiers is likely to be used to working with synthetic emulsifiers and will not be familiar with the nuances of organic cosmetic formulating.
TESTING ORGANIC & NATURAL EMULSIFIERS
In theory, knowing your emulsifier’s Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance (HLB) should help you determine whether you’ve made a water-in-oil (W/O) or an oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion. We’re here to tell you that science isn’t always that straightforward. Depending on the emulsifier you use, you may obtain unexpected results and discover that your cosmetic emulsion is not what you thought it was.
One of the most difficult challenges for emulsion formulators is ensuring that the emulsions remain stable.
If your emulsion isn’t stable, the water and oil may start to separate again over time. This is known as ‘phase separation,’ and it means that your lovely lotion is now a complete shambles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are natural emulsifying agents?
Natural emulsifying agents are substances derived from either vegetable or animal sources, such as acacia, tragacanth, alginates, Chondrus, xanthan, and pectin, or gelatin, egg yolk, casein, wool fat, cholesterol, wax, and lecithin.
Is emulsifying wax healthy?
Emulsifying Wax NF is a common, low-cost ingredient used in lotions and creams to give them a smooth texture and keep them from separating. The process of adding detergent to oil to form wax is known as ethoxylation, and it may emit 1,4-dioxane, a toxic carcinogen.
What can I use as an emulsifier?
Egg yolks (the protein lecithin is the emulsifier), butter (the protein casein is the emulsifier), cheese, mustard, honey, tomato paste, catsup, miso, and garlic paste are all examples of emulsifiers.