|What is Polawax?||Polawax™ NF is a complete vegetable-derived emulsifying wax used to create oil-in-water emulsions. It is manufactured by Croda and is a brand name product. Croda calls it Polawax™ NF, but I find most places shorten that to “Polawax”.|
|INCI||The full INCI is not available as Polawax™ NF is a proprietary product. The INCI is listed on supplier websites as “Emulsifying Wax NF”.|
|Appearance||Small white beads/pastilles.|
|Approximate Melting Point||50°C (122°F)|
|Why do we use Polawax in formulations?||In lotions and creams, Polawax 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 Polawax 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 Polawax or Emulsifying Wax NF (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||It is a bit more expensive than Emulsifying Wax NF.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||Emulsifying Wax 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 Polawax.
You cannot use a true wax, like beeswax, in place of Polawax.
|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, Polawax should last at least two years.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||As long as Polawax is 20–25% of your oil phase you can choose your own oil phase size, making formula design pretty simple!|
|Recommended starter amount||50–100g (2–3oz)|
|Where to Buy it||Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. I find Amazon tends to have products that are labelled as multiple emulsifying waxes, including Polawax, so I wouldn’t trust that it is Polawax.|
Some Formulations that Use Polawax
- Watermelon Mint Whipped Sugar Scrub
- Lavender Aloe Cream Facial Cleanser
- Lavender Aloe Lotion
- Little E’s Lemon Shea Hand Lotion
- White Chocolate Peppermint Foot Cream
- White Chocolate Peppermint Cleansing Balm
- Cranberry Orange Whipped Sugar Scrub
- Rich Shealoe Butter Cream
- Rosé Moisturizing Body Cream
- Sweetgrass Hand Lotion
- Pemberley Whipped Sugar Scrub
- Mango Mango Whipped Sugar Scrub
- Soothing Cleansing Balm
- Rose Aloe Body Cream
- Soothing Facial Lotion
- Christmas Tree Hand & Body Lotion
- Clementine Facial Cleansing Milk
- Sea Buckthorn and Charcoal Cleansing Balm
- Soothing Aloe Aftershave Cream
- Makeup Eraser Sticks