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Methods & Processes
Comparatively Speaking: Ten Cosmetic Formula Types
By: Anthony J. O'Lenick, Jr., Siltech LLC
Posted: September 15, 2009
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Suspensions are another product form for delivering incompatible ingredients. Unlike creams, typically they are clear products with visible particles, like gelatin beads or inorganic minerals (e.g., titanium dioxide) suspended throughout the formula. They are used for sunscreens, hand washes or shampoos. Their creation involves a polymer or clay to give the formula some internal suspending structure. Here, ingredients like carbomer or bentonite clay are useful.
Color cosmetics are often formulated into a tablet. Tablets are physically blended solids that are held together by pressing them into shape. Special equipment is necessary to create these products. They are also generally more expensive.
One of the most common types of product forms for color cosmetics is powders. Powders are also used for baby powder and foot powder. They are mixtures of solid raw materials blended together into a fine powder. Typical ingredients include talc, silicates and starch. Special equipment is needed when making these products, as the fine powder can be dangerous.
Another common form of cosmetic products is gels. These typically are thick, clear products that have a property known as shear thinning. This means they stay thick until a force is applied that makes them thin and flowable. Gels are used for hair products, body washes, shaving products and in toothpaste. They are made by using a gelling agent such as an acrylic polymer, a natural gum or a cellulosic thickener.
Sometimes a formulator must create products the consumer does not touch, such as lipstick or underarm deodorant. In these cases, a stick form is used. Sticks are solid delivery forms that deliver active ingredients through a rubbing action. They are created by using materials that typically are solid at RT. The ingredients are heated until they melt, mixed and poured into either a mold or the final container. When they cool, they take the shape of their packaging.