Exploring Our Newest Palm Free Emulsifier
posted on Oct 23, 2017
It's fair to say that if you want to make palm oil free moisturisers at the moment your emulsifier options are quite limited. Most of the larger ingredient manufacturers continue to pursue one level of palm oil certification or another and while some of these programs and initiatives are resulting in environmental protection and progress, others are achieving less. Wherever there is a gap in our ability to trust or gain control over a system there is a decision to be made and for some brands that decision has been to evacuate the palm space altogether. If this is you then you might like to try our new olive oil emulsifier.Chemically the new olive oil emulsifier contains the following: Olivoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Oleate, Glyceryl Stearate
The product is produced using Potassium Hydroxide and contains traces of these preservatives to prevent mould growth during storage (as it is a protein derived emulsifier) Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.
The Olivoyl Hydrolyzed wheat protein is an interesting chemical. This is manufactured from wholly vegetable sources and is a combination of the oily fatty acids present in olive oil combined with a hydrolyzed (water soluble) wheat and/or oat protein derived from the gluten - so this would not suit those looking for 'gluten free' claims. So the olive part gives this emulsifier its oil loving characteristics and the wheat part helps it to slip into the water and be comfortable there. To improve the emulsification and thickening powers of this blend the Olivoyl emulsifier is supported by some trusty old friends which, we are assured are also palm oil and palm derivative free. Cetearyl Alcohol is a great addition to any cream as it helps to form a structure between the dispersed oil drops and the continuous water phase thus thickening as it goes. The glyceryl Oleate and Glyceryl Stearate typically have low HLB numbers meaning they are quite happy to sit more in the oil phase so these, paired with the more water loving Olivoyl tend to have a synergistic effect at stabilizing the emulsion.
I wanted to put this ingredient through its paces before talking to you about it so I had a better idea of how it would stack up against our other palm free option - Glyceryl Stearate Citrate and here's my verdict.
Glyceryl Stearate Citrate is great as it is a simple, one-ingredient emulsifier that I've managed to create creams with that have been stable for over 2 years. It is also relatively cost effective and easy to use and store - it comes as a fine granular texture that melts easily. The down side with this emulsifier is that it can't really thicken much and to get a relatively viscous cream you either have to use a lot of emulsifier and run the risk of the cream taking ages to soak into the skin (or being irritating) or have to resort to thickening the water phase with gums which can then be stringy- especially if those gums are natural plant derived rather than something like a carbomer gum.
Once formulated creams with Glyceryl Stearate Citrate feel quite nice and have a slightly powdery texture (in my experience) that is not at all greasy or slippy. This can be quite nice if you want a light lotion to go under make-up or for people who don't want to feel like they are being weighed down by moisturizer! Obviously the texture does change depending on what else you put into the formula base but overall this emulsifier brings something very nice and wearable to the formulation.
I've enjoyed working with the glyceryl stearate citrate over the years and will continue to formulate with it but I feel it is probably best suited to simple lotions or light 'day wear' cream textured products and as such has a limited appeal as a stand-alone emulsifier. By comparison the Olivoyl emulsifier is quite different.
The key strength of the Olivoyl emulsifier is its ability to make thickened textured creams due to its combination of chemistry. Sure you have to use more emulsifier than you perhaps need to achieve thickening that way and yes, it is quite an expensive way to thicken but in light of their being no cetearyl alcohol, palm free to buy on the open market at least this gives you the chance of achieving a pot-thick cream that is palm free if that is important to you! I've also been extremely happy at how well this emulsifier plays with preservatives. I made up a lightweight cream using 4% of the Olivoyl emulsifier and tested out a range of different preservatives in a freeze/ thaw test (-15C, 5 cycles) and found them all to be stable:
These results did surprise me as this is quite a tough test and it is quite common to get some water leaking after the third round of testing, especially in a cream that has a lower viscosity AND contains quite a salty water phase (Aloe Vera is quite a salty active). So the chemistry of this emulsifier looks to be quite robust but what about its sensory appeal?
In terms of skin feel this emulsifier is rather lovely. It leaves a silky feel on the skin that lingers for a while making this a great choice for products that want to deliver a lasting texture and have people feel moisturized and protected. Having said that, I've managed to produce some quite light to more substantive textures with this, all having that beautiful silken after-feel.
When it comes to cream aesthetics both the glyceryl stearate citrate and the Olive Oil emulsifier make creams that look appealing. Creams with glyceryl stearate citrate have more of a creamy milk appearance in my experience while the Olive Oil emulsions are a bit brighter white.
Overall I'd say that this new emulsifier is a great addition to the Palm Free ingredient range at New Directions and one that compliments the glyceryl stearate citrate beautifully as it empowers a different type of emulsion in terms of look and feel. I'd encourage you all to give them both a try whether you are looking for palm-free formulations or not as these emulsifiers both stand up well, not just in the limited palm-free market but in the wider sphere of cosmetic formulating.
Below is a formula for a medium viscosity, rich and substantive cream based on the Olive Oil Emulsifier for you to try - I've included our new Plantaserv U preservative (Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Gluconate) and I've also used the beautiful Honeysuckle Essential oil that came in last month.
Have fun experimenting with these new ingredients and remember to keep your eyes peeled for more!PALM Free Daily Moisturising Cream. This is a medium viscosity moisturiser ideal for a jar.
PALM Free Daily Moisturising Lotion : This is a medium viscosity moisturiser ideal for dispensing via a pump pack. It has been developed to be palm free and could meet Organic Certification standards with a potential organic content oover 80%. Physical and Microbial stability have not yet been tested.