Waxes and Consistency Enhancers

Even if many emulsifiers are sufficient as sole emulsifiers to produce an emulsion with a creamy texture, it may be recommended for some emulsifiers to add a coemulsifier or an additional consistency enhancer for a higher viscosity (viscosity) of the product. Especially if a thicker consistency is desired, the addition of consistency enhancers is recommended.

 

The term coemulsifier is not clearly defined. Depending on the literature, the terms emulsifier, co-emulsifier and consitency enhancer/provider are used, with fluid transitions. In general, coemulsifiers are weak W/O emulsifiers which support and stabilize the emulsifier film. Coemulsifiers and waxes are usually solid substances that increase the viscosity of emulsions, allowing the production of more viscous and spreadable products.

 


Berry Wax

 

 

  • INCI: Rhus Verniciflua (Peel) Cera
  • Function: Consistency enhancer, coemulsifier
  • Melting point: 50-55 °C
  • Use: Lip and care sticks, O/W and W/O emulsions, decorative cosmetics.

 

Berry wax is a pure vegetable wax and is extracted from the Japanese varnish tree (Rhus verniciflua). Its non-adhesive properties allow a wide range of applications. In hair care its moisturizing and refatting effects are convincing. As an ingredient for creams, berry wax is increasingly appreciated because it almost melts on contact with the skin, does not form a waxy film and has a positive effect on the absorption propertires of creams. After application on the skin or lips, berry wax does not leave as strong a film as beeswax. Nevertheless it has a strong refatting effect and thus cares for the skin. The melting point of berry wax is around 52 degrees Celsius, which is slightly lower than that of beeswax (60 to 65 degrees Celsius), which has to be considered when exchanging the two waxes.

 


Beeswax

 

 

  • INCI: Cera Flava (Beeswax), Cera Alba (Beeswax)
  • Function: Consistency enhancer, coemulsifier
  • Melting point: 62-65°C
  • Use: Emulsions, lip and care sticks, decorative cosmetics, hair care.

 

Beeswax is a metabolic product of the honey bee. The white, purified wax is available in the form of small chips. It is generally well tolerated and has skin caring properties which is why it is mainly used in creams, lip sticks and eyeliner pencils. It provides a light protective film which is especially helpful for dry, brittle and irritated skin. Beeswax serves as a consistency enhancer and light coemulsifier for emulsions, lipsticks and body lotions. However, application concentrations that are too high may lead to an unpleasant feeling of tightness on the skin. In combination with the emulsifier lecithin the waxy character of the emulsion which many people find rather unpleasant is taken away. In low concentrations beeswax can also be used in hair care products as a protective, shining giving ingredient.

 


Cetearyl Alkohol

 

 

  • INCI: Cetearyl Alcohol
  • HLB-value: 15
  • Function: Consistency enhancer, coemulsifier
  • Melting point: 48-53°C
  • Dosage: 0,5-2 %, in hair treatments up to 4%
  • Use: Emulsions, hair care.

 

Cetearyl alcohol comes in the form of small white pastilles and is purely vegetable based. It consists of half cetyl alcohol and half stearyl alcohol. Cetearyl alcohol gives consistency to preparations as well as stability and a wonderfully refatting and moisturizing texture.

 


Cetyl Alcohol

 

 

  • INCI: Cetyl Alcohol
  • HLB-value: 15
  • Function: Consistency enhancer, coemulsifier
  • Melting point: 50 °C
  • Dosage: 0,5-2 %, in hair treatments up to 4%
  • Use: Emulsions, hair care.

 

Cetyl alcohol is available in the form of small, white, waxy chips and is a vegetable based co-emulsifier or consistency enhancer for O/W emulsions. Cetyl alcohol makes emulsions firmer but still allows them to spread very well on the skin. People who are allergic to beeswax can use cetyl alcohol as an alternative. Cetyl alcohol is generally well tolerated and is mainly used in emulsions and in hair care products.

 


Cetyl Palmitate

 

 

  • INCI: Cetyl Palmitate
  • HLB-value 10
  • Function: Consistency enhancer, coemulsifier
  • Melting point: 54 °C
  • Dosage: 0,5–2 %
  • Use: Emulsions, hair care.

 

Cetyl Palmitate is a refatting consistency enhancer which supports and stabilizes the emulsion formation. Emulsions produced with Cetyl Palmitate become very compact and leave a pleasant skin feeling. It increases the viscosity as well as the moisture binding properties of emulsions. For all those who are allergic to beeswax, Cetyl Palmitate is a good alternative.

 


Japan Wachs

 

 

  • INCI: Rhus Seccedanea Cera
  • Function: Consistency enhancer, coemulsifier
  • Melting point: 52-54 °C
  • Dosage: 1-5 %
  • Use: Lip and care sticks, emulsions, hair care, decorative cosmetics.

 

Japan wax is a pure vegetable wax which plays an important role in the production of lip care products, since it produces excellent, smooth and non-adhesive fat masses. Due to its refatting component it is also very suitable for creams and lotions. In emulsions this wax shows a very pleasant feel and forms a less strong film than beeswax.

 

Sources
Sources: Elsässer, S. (2008). Körperpflegekunde und Kosmetik: Ein Lehrbuch für die PTA-Ausbildung und die Beratung in der Apothekenpraxis (1. Aufl.). Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.