Cold Processing of Emulsions

Aug 1, 2013 | Contact Author | By: Russell Cox, PhD, Stephenson Group Ltd.,
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Title: Cold Processing of Emulsions
cold processx emulsionsx personal carex formulationx
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Keywords: cold process | emulsions | personal care | formulation

Abstract: The use and application of emulsions and emulsion science are widespread through the personal care industry. Conventional methods for processing emulsions require significant quantities of energy and time, thus cold process emulsion technologies have gained popularity. These provide the means to reduce both the energy demand and timescale of manufacturing processes, as will be described here.

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R Cox, Cold Processing of Emulsions, Cosm & Toil 128(8) 574 (2013)

Market Data

  • Global demand for organic personal care was more than $7.6 billion in 2012, and is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018.
  • The global organic market has grown due to increasing consumer concerns regarding personal health and hygiene.
  • Widening distribution channels and new product development have contributed to growth.
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Editor’s note: Emulsion science is widespread throughout the personal care industry, providing the means to formulate creams or lotions that contain both oil-miscible and water-soluble components. However, conventional methods for processing such emulsions require significant quantities of energy and time; it has been estimated that heating and cooling alone accounts for over 90% of the total energy cost for the production of an emulsion.1 With the current market focus on eco-friendly materials and processes, cold process emulsion technologies have gained popularity, reducing both the energy demand and manufacturing time required. In this article, traditional emulsions and emulsion processing are reviewed and compared with cold-processed emulsions.

Emulsion Structure

What is an emulsion? As most readers know, an emulsion can be considered a dispersion of one material inside of another, non-miscible phase. Generally, in cosmetics and personal care, the two phases in an emulsion are oil and water/aqueous phases. Emulsion science provides the personal care industry with the means to formulate a cream or lotion that contains both oil-miscible and water-soluble components. For example, emollient components tend to be lipophilic in nature, whereas moisturizers demonstrate mostly hydrophilic characteristics. Other components such as natural extracts, active ingredients, essential oils, fragrances, preservatives, colors and tints all exhibit a preference to either the oil or water phase. Theoretically, oil and water phases are completely immiscible, but there is always a statistical possibility that some oil may dissolve in the water phase and vice versa. The same probability can be applied to other ingredients, so there may be some dissolution, to a minor extent, into the less-favored phase.

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This is an excerpt of an article from GCI Magazine. The full version can be found here.

 

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Figure 1. An emulsion separating into its oil and water phases

Figure 1. An  emulsion separating into its oil and water phases

Figure 1 shows an emulsion separating into its oil and water phases.

Figure 3. Water-thin emulsion formulation after four weeks at 40°C

Figure 3. Water-thin emulsion formulation after four weeks at 40°C

Figures 2 and 3 are microscopy images comparing samples on the day of preparation with a sample stored for four weeks in an oven at 40°C, respectively.

Figure 5. Comparison of a water-thin emulsion a) on the day of manufacture and b) four weeks later

Figure 5. Comparison of a water-thin emulsion a) on the day of manufacture and b) four weeks later

Additionally, little or no difference in physical appearance between the two samples was observed, as shown in Figure 5.

Footnotes (CT1308 Cox)

a Jeesperse CPW2 (INCI: Polyethylene (and) Sodium Polyacrylate) and the Jeesperse range of cold process waxes are manufactured by Jeen, www.jeen.com.
b Durosoft PK (INCI: Palm Kernel Oil Polyglyceryl-4 Esters) and the Durosoft range are manufactured by the Stephenson Group, www.stephensongroup.com.

Formula 1. Water-thin cold process emulsion

Formula 1. Water-thin cold process emulsion

However, using emulsifiers, water, oil, preservative and a small amount of viscosity modifier, a water-thin emulsion was developed that demonstrates long-term stability (see Formula 1).

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