|What is it||Montanov™ 202 is an all-natural, palm free, liquid crystal oil-in-water emulsifier made by SEPPIC. It’s very versatile, and can be used to create everything from very thin, fluid emulsions to thick, rich emulsions. Montanov™ 202 does not thicken formulations the way emulsifying waxes like Olivem 1000, Ritamulse SCG (Emulsimulse, ECOMulse), and Emulsifying Wax NF do; it works more like Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate. Because Montanov™ 202 doesn’t thicken—it just emulsifies—it gives us the flexibility to thicken our emulsions the way we want to. I highly recommend reading up on Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate to learn more about the formulation possibilities this creates!|
|INCI||Arachidyl Alcohol (and) Behenyl Alcohol (and) Arachidyl Glucoside|
|Appearance||Small off-white pellets|
|Usage rate||3–5%, works around 10% of the oil phase|
|Absorbency Speed||Creates ultra-light emulsions|
|Approximate Melting Point||
|Solubility||Oil soluble, dispersible in hot water.|
|Why do we use it in formulations?||Montanov™ 202 is an oil-in-water emulsifier; we use it to bring oil and water together to create everything from body milks to lotions to creams. It has a very light skin feel and can be described as being “invisible” in emulsions.
As Montanov™ 202 is palm free, it’s a great choice of emulsifier if you’re looking to avoid palm-derived ingredients in your formulations.
Montanov™ 202 also helps boost the moisturizing properties of our emulsions, reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
|Do you need it?||No, but I would highly recommend it if you are interested in natural formulation.|
|Refined or unrefined?||Montanov™ 202 only exists as a refined product.|
|Strengths||Montanov™ 202 is very versatile, allowing you to independently adjust the viscosity and oil phase size of your formulations. It creates stable emulsions at low usage rates and works over a wide variety of oil phase sizes. It’s lightweight, reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and generally creates lovely-feeling emulsions.|
|Weaknesses||It’s one the more expensive emulsifiers I use.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||You’ll need another complete emulsifying wax. Ideally you want something that doesn’t contribute viscosity; Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate is a good alternative, though it isn’t natural.
A thickening emulsifying wax like Emulsifying Wax NF or Olivem 1000 can work in some situations, though you will need roughly twice as much. Because these emulsifying waxes contribute fatty thickening to finished products, formulations designed to work with Montanov™ 202 will be significantly more viscous if you use a thickening emulsifying wax in its place. Depending on the formulation you may be able to adequately compensate by removing any additional fatty thickeners, but this will take some experimenting to get right.
|How to Work with It||Include Montanov™ 202 in your heated oil phase; it’s solid, so it needs to be melted before it’ll do anything.
Combine the heated oil and water phases with high-shear mixing while the phases are still hot. Switch to hand stirring and cool slowly; do not accelerate cooling with an ice bath or use high-shear mixing once the emulsion has cooled.
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Montanov™ 202 should last 5 years from the date of manufacture.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||Learn more about Montanov™ 202 with this blog post from Formula Botanica.
“Glucolipide (trade name Montanov™ 202, SEPPIC, Puteaux, France) is an emulsifier of vegetal origin, synthesized from rapeseed fatty alcohols and wheat glucose. Arachidyl glucoside is produced during the manufacturing process … Despite its ominous name, it is not derived from peanuts (Arachis hypogaea).” (Source; pages 10–11)
|Recommended starter amount||100g (3.5oz)|
|Where to Buy it||Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. In Canada you can get it from Mini Chemist and Les Ames Fleurs. In the USA, you can get it from Formulator Sample Shop (save 20% with code HUMBLEBEE). In Germany, Alexmo Cosmetics has it. You can also get it in New Zealand and Australia.|
|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).|
Some Formulations that Use PolyAquol™-2W
|What is it?||Polyglyceryl-4 oleate is a natural water-in-oil (low HLB) emulsifier made from sunflower seed oil and vegetable glycerin.|
|Appearance||Cloudy viscous liquid.|
|Solubility||Oil-soluble, dispersible in water.|
|Why do we use it in formulations?||Polyglyceryl-4 oleate is an emulsifier; it brings oil and water together. It can be used to emulsify water-in-oil creams and lotions (here’s a sample formulation from Making Cosmetics) and can be included in anhydrous formulations to create products that will self-emulsify when mixed with water.|
|Do you need it?||No, but it is a very useful ingredient to have if you prefer to formulate with natural ingredients and/or if you’re interested in making water-in-oil emulsions.|
|Refined or unrefined?||Polyglyceryl-4 oleate only exists as a refined product.|
|Strengths||Polyglyceryl-4 oleate is a versatile natural ingredient and a good option for making natural and mild balm-to-milk products.|
|Weaknesses||I find that oil-based cleansing formulations with Polyglyceryl-4 oleate don’t rinse off as cleanly/thoroughly as ones made with ingredients like Polysorbate 80, Cromollient SCE, and PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil. This is because Polyglyceryl-4 oleate creates water-in-oil emulsions, which resist rinse-off with water (you can find more discussion on this here). This means anhydrous cleansing formulations using Polyglyceryl-4 oleate are typically very mild, so it’s not necessarily a weakness, just a thing to be aware of.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||If you’re making a cleansing oil or cleansing balm, Polysorbate 80, Cromollient SCE, and PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil will all work. As they create oil-in-water emulsions I find they provide stronger rinse-off than Polyglyceryl-4 oleate, so you’ll want to use less. I would start with 1/3 the amount and adjust from there. You could also try Polyglyceryl-3 oleate, though it has a lower usage rate (1–4%). This document from Formulator Sample Shop includes a sample formulation for an oil-to-milk cleanser that uses Polyglyceryl-3 oleate at 2.5%.
If you’re using Polyglyceryl-4 oleate to emulsify a cream or lotion, you’ll need a different water-in-oil (W/O) emulsifier at a bare minimum; W/O emulsions have a very different feel than O/W emulsions. Polyglyceryl-4 oleate is still a new ingredient to me so I don’t have a ton of suggestions; it looks like Polyglyceryl-3 oleate may work though some re-formulating would likely be required. Skin Chakra’s “Neocare P3R” also looks promising.
|How to Work with It||Include Polyglyceryl-4 oleate in your oil phase; it can be hot or cold processed.|
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Polyglyceryl-4 oleate should last 18 months.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||Water-in-oil emulsifiers are relatively rare in the world of ingredients available to handcrafters, and this is one we can get that’s somewhat widely available!|
|Recommended starter amount||250mL (8fl oz) or less|
|Where to Buy it||Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. I’ve found it at Skin Chakra (EU), Les Âmes Fleurs (Canada), Soapmakers Store (UK), and Making Cosmetics (USA).|
Some Formulations that Use Polyglyceryl-4 oleate
|What is it?||Glycol distearate is “the diester of ethylene glycol and stearic acid.” It can function as an emulsifier and emulsion stabilizer but tends to be primarily used as an opacifier/pearlizer for surfactant products. Glycol distearate lends a really lovely creamy, pearlescent appearance to surfactant products without thickening them or negatively impacting lather (as added fats do).
Glycol distearate is often sold with some variation on the word “pearl” in the name, so make sure you’re searching by INCI when looking for this ingredient.
|Appearance||Medium-sized flat white flakes|
|Texture||Brittle, snappable flakes|
|Approximate Melting Point||60–63°C (140–145°F)|
|Solubility||Oil-soluble, self-emulsifies in water|
|Why do we use it in formulations?||Glycol distearate gives opacity and some pearlescence to our surfactant formulations without diminishing lather.|
|Do you need it?||If you want to make an opaque, creamy-looking body wash/face wash/shampoo that still has rich, plentiful lather, you’ll want some glycol distearate.|
|Refined or unrefined?||Glycol distearate only exists as a refined product.|
|Strengths||Glycol distearate is a very effective way to opacify surfactant products without negatively impacting lather.|
|Weaknesses||It can be harder to find, depending on where you live.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||Glycol distearate is unlikely to be a lynchpin ingredient in a surfactant formulation, so you can likely just replace it with more distilled water if you don’t have it. This will mean the end product is not opaque, but the function of the product should not be massively impacted.
I’ve had good results using Glyceryl Stearate SE instead of glycol distearate with two main modifications. The first is that you’ll need to reduce the thickener in the formulation as Glyceryl Stearate SE contributes much more thickening than glycol distearate does—a one-for-one swap without any other adjustments will make for a noticeably more viscous end product. And, for better pearlescent-ness, I’d include a small amount (perhaps 0.25–0.5%) of a shimmery mica of your choice.
If you can find a liquid pearlizing ingredient that contains Glycol distearate you can likely tweak the formulation to work with that instead. Make sure you are reading through the documentation on that ingredient (specifically the recommended usage rate) to see how much you are generally supposed to use and go from there.
|How to Work with It||Glycol distearate must be melted, so include it in a heated phase. I’ve used it in heated oil and heated water phases; both work, so let your formulation guide you.|
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Glycol distearate should last at least two years.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||It is also possible to purchase products that contain Glycol distearate blended with other ingredients like Laureth-4, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Cocamide MEA. These are usually sold as pearlizing agents for surfactant products. Make sure you are watching the INCI of what you are purchasing, as these ingredients are not necessarily directly interchangeable.|
|Recommended starter amount||30g (1.06oz)|
|Where to Buy it||Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.|
Some Formulations that Use Glycol distearate
|What is it?||Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate is a very versatile non-ionic oil-in-water emulsifier that creates silky smooth, ultra-light emulsions. Most datasheets I’ve seen state the content of each Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-100 Stearate as 48–52%, which averages out to a 50/50 blend, though check the datasheet from your supplier for the particular one you have.
This emulsifier is manufactured by a lot of different companies, so it ends up having a lot of different names, including (but not limited to):
Because there are so many different manufacturers of this blend of ingredients it’s important you get specific information for the ingredient you’re using from your supplier as there may be variations between products.
|INCI||Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate|
|Appearance||I’ve only seen it as brittle white flakes, but some manufacturers sell it as a powder or in pellets.|
|Usage rate||1–25%, depending on the use. SEPPIC lists 5% for a fluid lotion, 10% for lotion, 15% for a thick lotion, 20% for a fluid cream, and 25% for a thick cream.
I typically use Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate at 9–14% of the oil phase.
|Texture||Brittle, hard; weightless in emulsions.|
|Absorbency Speed||Very light|
|Approximate Melting Point||50–60°C (122–140°F)|
|pH||5.5–7 (3 % solution); tolerates a final pH range of approximately 4–9.|
|Why do we use it in formulations?||Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate is a very effective and crazy versatile emulsifier. It can be used to create everything from sprayable milks to ultra-thick emulsified body butters, and everything in between!
Unlike emulsifying waxes like Polawax, Emulsifying Wax NF, Olivem 1000, and Ritamulse SCG, Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate does not substantially thicken emulsions, even in emulsions with very large oil phases. It is also substantially more stable in very thin emulsions.
For example, let’s imagine we have four different emulsions; 2 emulsified with Polawax, and 2 emulsified with Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate. One of each emulsifier has a 15% oil phase, and the other two have a 30% oil phase—the only ingredients in the oil phase are a liquid oil and the emulsifier. There are no added thickeners, like gums or fatty alcohols (cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, etc.)
The Polawax emulsions will have drastically different viscosities. The 15% one will be fairly thin, but still lotion-y. It would work well in a pump-top bottle, or possibly even a bottle with a treatment pump cap. The 30% one will be more like a cream; thick and rich, and much better suited to a jar or tub.
The Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate emulsions will have very similar viscosities. The 15% one will be about the consistency of partly skimmed milk, while the 30% one will be more like cream. The 30% one is more viscous because the inner phase (the oil phase) is larger, but that viscosity difference is pretty small—especially when compared to differing phase sizes in an emulsion made with Polawax. Both Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate emulsions could be packaged in a spray bottle, and are far too thin for any sort of pump bottle or jar.
Because Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate does not thicken emulsions, it gives us the ability to control the viscosity and oil phase size independently. For instance, you can create an emulsion with a 50% oil phase and decide if you want it to be a thinner, pumpable lotion or a thick, solid cream. You can also choose what you want to thicken it with, allowing you significantly more control over the skin feel of the finished product. With an emulsifying wax like Polawax, that product could only be solid, and the skin feel will be harder to adjust given the unavoidable presence of the thickeners in Polawax.
Additionally, because Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate doesn’t add viscosity to our emulsions, it has the ability to create far lighter feeling emulsions—in that way, it’s almost ‘invisible’ in your formulations. If you want to add the fluffy creaminess and weight of cetearyl alcohol, you’ll have to add it yourself—if you used Emulsifying Wax NF instead, that already contains 65–80% cetearyl alcohol, so you can’t avoid it.
Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate also works at lower rates than more common emulsifying waxes. Compared to Emulsifying Wax NF, Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate contains a higher percentage of the emulsifying ingredient. Emulsifying Wax NF contains 20–35% Polysorbate 60, while Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate contains approximately 50% PEG-100 Stearate. I’ve seen (and successfully used) Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate at 9–17% of the oil phase, compared to 20–25% for emulsifying waxes like Polawax, Emulsifying Wax NF, Olivem 1000, and Ritamulse SCG.
|Do you need it?||I highly recommend it if you love making lotions—it gives you far more control over your emulsions than emulsifying waxes like Polawax and Ritamulse SCG.|
|Refined or unrefined?||Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate only exists as a refined product.|
|Strengths||It’s extremely versatile, allowing you to independently adjust the viscosity and oil phase size of your formulations. It easily creates stable emulsions at low usage rates and works brilliantly over a wide variety of oil phase sizes. It’s lightweight, inexpensive, and very effective.|
|Weaknesses||It isn’t considered natural; that doesn’t bother me as it is a perfectly safe ingredient, but I can’t offer a suitable naturally-accepted alternative at this time.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||Generally speaking, you’ll need another complete emulsifying wax. Ideally you want something that doesn’t contribute viscosity; MONTANOV™ 202, Cetearyl Alcohol & Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, and Cyclodextrin & Sorbitol & Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate all look like promising alternatives, though you will likely need to do some re-development work and/or expect a different end feel for the formulation.
A thickening emulsifying wax like Emulsifying Wax NF or Olivem 1000 can work in some situations, though you will need roughly twice as much. Because these emulsifying waxes contribute fatty thickening to finished products, formulations designed to work with Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate will likely be significantly more viscous if you use a thickening emulsifying wax in its place. Depending on the formulation you may be able to adequately compensate by removing any additional fatty thickeners, but this will take some experimenting to get right.
|How to Work with It||Include Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate in your heated oil phase.|
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate should last at least two years.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate is different from Glyceryl Stearate SE, though both are emulsifiers.
The Body Shop uses Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate to emulsify their signature body butters!
|Recommended starter amount||100g (3.5oz)|
|Where to Buy it||Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. In the USA you can purchase it from Making Cosmetics and Lotion Crafter. In Canada, you can purchase it from Windy Point Soap Making Supplies. In the UK and EU, you can purchase it from Mystic Moments. In Australia, N Essentials has it.|
Some Formulations that Use Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate
- Goji & Açaí Superfood Face Cream
- Chocolate Hazelnut Emulsified Body Butter
- Frosted Cranberry Face Cream
- Almond Oat Emulsified Body Butter
- Oat Cardamom Chai Emulsified Body Butter
- Rich Mocha Hand & Body Lotion
- Summer Solstice Body Milk
- Macadamia Vanilla Emulsified Body Butter
- Rich Plum Face Wash
- Cran Cherry Scalp Scrub
- Happy Hemp Hand Cream
- Strawberry Kiwi Body Yogurt
- Shealoe Emulsified Body Butter
- Rich Lavender Shower Cleansing Cream
- Sun Bum Body Cream
- Phryne’s Milk of Roses
- Moisturizing Repair Lotion
- Super Simple Moisturizing Lotion with Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate
- Cocoa Coconut Rich Cream Facial Cleanser
- Ice Palace Body Glow Lotion
|What is it?||Glyceryl Stearate SE is made from vegetable glycerin and stearic acid, with a small amount of sodium stearate or potassium stearate present as the emulsifying element.
Glyceryl Stearate SE is absolutely not the same as Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate and they are not interchangeable.
|INCI||Glyceryl Stearate SE|
|Appearance||Flat white flakes or small white granules|
|Approximate Melting Point||55°C (130°F)|
|Why do we use it in formulations?||Glyceryl Stearate SE is an emulsifier and is used to bring together oil and water.|
|Do you need it?||No|
|Refined or unrefined?||Glyceryl Stearate SE only exists as a refined product.|
|Strengths||Glyceryl Stearate SE has the potential to be palm free, depending on the sources for the glycerin and stearic acid (both can come from palm oil but don’t have to).|
|Weaknesses||I find it needs more stabilizing ingredients than emulsifying waxes like Polawax and Olivem 1000.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||Polawax works well; you could likely use most complete emulsifying waxes as an alternative to Glyceryl Stearate SE.|
|How to Work with It||Include Glyceryl Stearate SE in the heated oil phase of your formulations.|
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry,|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||Glyceryl Stearate SE is not the same thing as Glyceryl Stearate and they should not be used for one another.|
|Recommended starter amount||100g (3.5oz)|
|Where to Buy it||Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.|