|What is it?||PolyAquol™-2W is a natural liquid crystal emulsifying wax that creates oil-in-water emulsions.
It really shines in the skin feel department; emulsions made with this emulsifier feel amazing! They’re soft, creamy, rich, and are not prone to soaping.
|INCI||Polyglyceryl-2- Stearate (and) Glyceryl Stearate (and) Stearyl Alcohol|
|Appearance||Brittle white flakes|
|Texture||Creates rich, smooth emulsions.|
|Approximate Melting Point||~70°C (158°F)|
|pH||Compatible with pH 4–9|
|Solubility||Oil and water; it’s an emulsifier.|
|Why do we use it in formulations?||PolyAquol™-2W is an emulsifier; it brings oil and water together to create stable creams and lotions.|
|Do you need it?||No, but it is really lovely! If you are a fan of natural emulsifiers, this one is fabulous.|
|Refined or unrefined?||PolyAquol™-2W only exists as a refined ingredient.|
|Strengths||PolyAquol™-2W creates beautiful, creamy, soft, stable emulsions that don’t soap (a common challenge with many other natural emulsifiers). It thickens and emulsifies, is very versatile, works across a wide pH range (4–9), and “could help stabilizing the integrity of the skin barrier function” (source).|
|Weaknesses||Not terribly widely available.
PolyAquol™-2W emulsions decrease in viscosity when electrolytes are included. 5% sodium lactate is enough to take a formulation from a semi-solid cream to a fluid lotion.
|Alternatives & Substitutions||You’ll need another self-thickening emulsifying wax. This is not a complete list, but all of these will be easy 1-to-1 alternatives.
If you want to keep things natural:
You could also try a cationic emulsifying wax like BTMS-25 or BTMS-50, though this will be introducing a cationic/conditioning element that may or may not be desireable/compatible with the rest of the formulation.
If you want to use a non-thickening emulsifier like Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate you’ll need to use less and add a fatty thickener; please read the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia entry on Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate to learn more.
|How to Work with It||Include PolyAquol™-2W is the heated oil or heated water phase of your formulations. It needs to be melted in order to incorporate/work.
Adding PolyAquol™-2W to the oil phase will result in a thicker emulsion; adding it to the water phase will result in a thinner emulsion.
You can emulsify PolyAquol™-2W directly into water to create a stable gel.
This ingredient “emulsifies oils up to a 1:4 ratio without the need for thickeners” (source). This means for every 4% oil in a formulation, you’ll want to include 1% PolyAquol™-2W. 20% oil would require 5% PolyAquol™-2W to emulsify.
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, PolyAquol™-2W should last at least 2 years.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||Learn tons about PolyAquol™-2W with this helpful PDF from the manufacturer, Innovacos.
Here are some helpful blog posts on formulating with PolyAquol™-2W:
|Recommended starter amount||100g (3.5oz)|
|Where to Buy it||Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. Mine is from Skin Chakra (gifted). You can also purchase it at Formulator Sample Shop (USA), Bay House Ingredients (UK), Alexmo Cosmetics (Germany), and Soapmakers Store (UK).|