What is it? LUMOROL K 5229 is a water-free surfactant blend that mixes clearly and easily with high-oil, water-free formulations. It allows us to create products like foaming bath oils and butters; products that contain lots of fat, and no water, but still bubble beautifully! These formulations will also turn all milky when mixed with water. You might’ve seen products like this from L’Occitane and Glossier. This is really unique as most foaming surfactants like Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Coco Glucoside are water soluble and do not lather well (if at all) in formulations that contain lots of oil.

LUMOROL K 5229 is made of a blend of Laureth-4, MIPA-Laureth Sulfate, and Propylene Glycol. According to this data sheet from Windy Point it is 25-50% each Laureth-4 and MIPA-Laureth Sulfate; both are surfactants. The lather comes from the MIPA-Laureth Sulfate, while the Laureth-4 ensures clear mixtures with all kinds of oils.

The data sheet from Zschimmer & Schwarz states that LUMOROL K 5229 is 93% active, with 43% anionic surfactant matter; the MIPA-Laureth Sulfate is the anionic surfactant matter, so I believe we can assume that’s used at 43%, with the remaining 50% to total 93% active matter coming from the non-ionic Laureth-4.

INCI Laureth-4 (and) MIPA-Laureth Sulfate (and) Propylene Glycol
Appearance Semi-viscous clear golden liquid
Usage rate The manufacturer doesn’t provide a usage range, and I haven’t found any regulatory limits. 10–60% tends to get the job done; do some experiments to figure out what works for your formulation! I’ve been surprised at how little you need to get excellent rinse-off and good lather (≤ 40%).
Texture Oil-like
Scent Very faint; slightly chemically.
Active surfactant matter 93% active, with 43% being active anionic matter.
Approximate Melting Point LUMOROL K 5229 is liquid at room temperature.
pH 7 in a 10% solution
Charge Anionic
Solubility LUMOROL K 5229 is oil soluble, but the polarity of the oils you mix it with play a large role in the stability of the formulation. When mixed only with higher polarity oils like sunflower oil you’ll need more LUMOROL K 5229, but if you include lower polarity oils like medium chain triglycerides or non-polar mineral oil you can use substantially less LUMOROL K 5229.

LUMOROL K 5229  will self-emulsify and turn white when combined with water.

Why do we use it in formulations? LUMOROL K 5229 allows us to make anhydrous, high-oil-content formulations that lather beautifully! Think shower oils, bath oils, bath butters, and more 😍 Very exciting!
Do you need it? If you want to make foaming bath/shower oils, it is essential!
Refined or unrefined? LUMOROL K 5229 only exists as a refined product.
Strengths LUMOROL K 5229 makes it delightfully easy to create anhydrous, high oil content products like shower oils, butters, and bars that lather beautifully!
Weaknesses Not natural, and not super widely available as of 2023.
Alternatives & Substitutions You’ll need another MIPA or TIPA sulfate product that’s combined with an emulsifier like Laureth-4. There are plenty of these products on ULProspector (Plantapon SF by BASF looks like it would work well, for example), but so far none of them are available to smaller makers.

You cannot use a water-containing surfactant or a water-soluble surfactant instead of LUMOROL K 5229. This means most surfactants you likely already have (Sodium Cocoyl IsethionateCoco Glucoside, Decyl GlucosideSodium Lauryl SulfoacetateCocamidopropyl Betaine, etc.) won’t work.

I also do not recommend non-ionic anhydrous solubilizers like PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil or Polysorbate 80 as a substitution. While these ingredients will give your formulation rinse-off, they won’t lather.

How to Work with It Treat LUMOROL K 5229 like you’d treat a liquid oil. It can be hot or cold processed, and mixes easily with other oils.

To get started working with LUMOROL K 5229, try swapping 20–40% of the liquid oil in an anhydrous formulation for it.

If your formulation is fluid (like a foaming shower oil), I’ve learned you’ll want to include some medium chain triglycerides in your oil blend if you’re using less than ~58% LUMOROL K 5229 in the formulation in order to prevent splitting. I haven’t done the tests to determine exactly when the MCT becomes necessary, but it’s somewhere between 40–58%. ~30% MCT has worked in the experiments I’ve done, but I haven’t tested for the lower limit. Click here to learn more.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, LUMOROL K 5229 should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks There are at least 8 different products in the LUMOROL line; make sure you’re getting LUMOROL K 5229!

LUMOROL K 5229 is free of diethanolamine.

Recommended starter amount At least 100g (3.5oz).
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. In the UK, Aromantic sells it. In the US, Dauphine Organics sells it. In Canada you can get it from Yellow Bee and Windy Point.

My Skin Recipes sells a product they call “Oil Soap™” that is a near enough INCI match that I suspect it is probably LUMOROL K 5229. My Skin Recipes ships out of Thailand, but I encourage you to consider ordering from them if you can’t purchase LUMOROL K 5229 in your country. As of May 2024 I’ve placed one order with them; the shipping cost was very reasonable, and my order reached me in western Canada in less than a week.

Some Formulations that Use LUMOROL K 5229


Posted on

July 31, 2023