Emulsifying Wax NF

What is it? Emulsifying Wax NF is a complete vegetable-derived emulsifying wax used to create oil-in-water emulsions.
INCI Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Polysorbate 60
Appearance Small white beads/pastilles.
Usage rate 2–25%, though 25% would be unnecessary in almost everything.
Scent Nothing much.
Approximate Melting Point 50°C (122°F)
Charge Non-ionic
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in formulations? In lotions and creams it functions as an all-in-one emulsifier as well as contributing some thickening.

In cleansing oils and balms it creates products that self-emulsify on contact with water. It also brings the “cleansing” element as Emulsifying Wax NF is made up of molecules that have an oil-loving and a water-loving end; the oil-loving end grabs the oil on your skin, and the water-loving end grabs the water you are washing with to rinse away easily.

Do you need it? I’d highly recommend having either Emulsifying Wax NF or Polawax (or both!) on hand.
Strengths It is a very simple to use, pretty much foolproof complete emulsifying wax. It works reliably at 20–25% of your oil phase.
Weaknesses Some people object to Emulsifying Wax NF as it is not considered “natural“, though it is perfectly safe to use.
Alternatives & Substitutions Polawax NF is a very easy alternative and you’re unlikely to notice substantial differences in the end product.

Emulsimulse/Ritamulse, Olivem 1000, and BTMS-50 will typically work as well, but there will be consistency changes with the first two, and BTMS-50 is cationic, so that will impact the skin feel and may interact with other ingredients in the formula.

You cannot use a solubilizer, like Polysorbate 80, in place of Emulsifying Wax NF.

You cannot use a true wax, like beeswax, in place of Emulsifying Wax NF.

How to Work with It Melt it into your heated oil phase; it needs to be heated to incorporate.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Emulsifying Wax NF should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks The term “Emulsifying Wax” is quite a broad one, encompassing many products. The “NF” in “Emulsifying Wax NF” stands for “National Formulary”, meaning it adheres to an established monograph and you can be confident in its performance.

Be sure to check the INCI of a non-“NF” emulsifying wax so you know what you are purchasing; without the “NF” you cannot be sure it will perform the same wax as Emulsifying Wax NF. Check the description & reviews to ensure what you are purchasing is a complete emulsifier, as not all products with the title “emulsifying wax” will emulsify.

Recommended starter amount 50–100g (2–3oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Some Formulations that Use Emulsifying Wax NF


Posted on

November 24, 2018

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