Demand for natural cosmetics drives innovation in surfactants

Published: 19-Dec-2018

Prevailing trends are for mild and natural surfactants, emulsifiers and solubilisers - however criteria including exceptional sensory, ease-of-use and versatility are likewise in-demand

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This feature is focused on mild surfactants used in personal cleansing formulations and on those recently introduced as emulsifiers and solubilisers.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a surfactant as “a substance which tends to reduce the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved” and an emulsifier as “a substance that stabilises an emulsion”. An emulsion is defined as “a fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible”.

If oil droplets are dispersed in water, it is an oil-in-water emulsion (o/w). If water droplets are dispersed in oil it is a water-in-oil emulsion (w/o).

The author gave a presentation on basic emulsification and trends in modern emulsifiers at SCS Formulate in 2013[1].

Surfactants in action

Ideally, surfactants for personal cleansing should be natural and mild, should foam where it is a product requirement and should be compatible with other ingredients.

They should be cost effective and it should also be possible to readily adjust the product viscosity, which can present a serious problem.

One answer could be the

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