How to Choose the Best Natural Emulsifier

Selecting a Natural & Plant-based Emulsifier

What is an Emulsifier?

An emulsifier is a type of surfactant. It is a compound that stabilizes emulsions and keeps water ingredients and oil ingredients mixed together. It creates the perfect blend.

Lotions, creams and hair conditioners contain an emulsifier or an emulsification system, to create a stable emulsion; to hold the water and oil together in a homogenous mixture, a mixture that stays together.

Learn more about the purpose of an emulsifier here>>

How to choose the best Natural Emulsifier

It is important to select the right emulsifier when making natural, green or organic products. Natural emulsifiers are obtained from plant oils, sugar, various nuts, berries and leafs. Most lotions, creams and hair conditioners on the market contain emulsifiers that are usually petroleum/hydrocarbon derivatives and are not animal and cruelty free.

Vegetable Emulsifying Wax is not considered natural as it contains polysorbate 60. Polysorbate 60 goes through the process of ethoxylation. Ethoxylation is not an allowed process for natural products.

Plant-Based & Natural Emulsifiers approved by Joan Morais

Here are some natural emulsifiers that can be used in green, natural and some organic body, hair and skin care products. They are self-emulsifiers, complete emulsifiers and can be sourced in small quantitites. They are animal and cruelty free (vegan), PEG free (non-ethoxylated), biodegradable and sustainable and are used in natural, green, clean beauty products.

listed by their INCI name

  • Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Glucoside
  • Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate
  • Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides and Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Glucoside
Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Glucoside trade names: Montanov 68™, SugarMulse™
The fat is derived from coconut oil and the glucose from cassava.
Suggested Usage: 1%-7%, Lotion: 4%, Cream: 5%, Hair Conditioner: 4%- 5%
Approved: ECOCERT, Natural Products Association, Whole Foods
non-GMO, gluten free

Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate
Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate trade name: Olivem1000
The fat is derived from olive oil.
Suggested Usage: 1%-7%, Lotion: 4%-6%, Cream: 7%-8% and Hair Conditioner: 6%-7%
Approved: ECOCERT, Natural Products Association, Whole Foods
non-GMO, gluten free

Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides and Cetearyl Alcohol
Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides and Cetearyl Alcohol trade name: Xyliance
The fat is derived from palm oil and rapeseed oil and the xylose from the sugar syrup of wheat straw.
Suggested Usage: 1%-5%, Lotion: 4%, Cream: 5%, Hair Conditioner 4%-5%
Approved: ECOCERT, Natural Products Association, Whole Foods
non-GMO, gluten free

Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate trade names: ECOMulse, NatraMulse™, RitaMulse SCG
Naturally derived acyl lactylates, coconut oil and vegetable oils.
Suggested Usage: 2%-10%, Lotion: 5%-6%, Cream: 7%-8%
Approved: ECOCERT, Natural Products Association, Whole Foods
non-GMO, gluten free

Testing your Emulsion

When formulating you want to create stable product. Phase separation is when the oil and water start to separate. To avoid this you want to test your product for stability.

In the Professional Natural Hair Care and Skin Care Product Making Courses it covers how to test your products to ensure your emulsification system is stable and can remain stable though time, temperature changes, and other environmental factors.

If you need any help with your formulations, sign-up for a consultation here.