Formulating with Functional Natural Ingredients



Chemistry has afforded the world of beauty care a wealth of engineered ingredients that formulators have at their disposal to create products that enhance the lives of consumers. This sophisticated science has allowed for the creation of beauty products that both deliver on their efficacy promises in addition to providing aesthetic appeal. The market for beauty care is now faced with a new challenge from a growing segment: the natural-seekers. These consumers read labels, specifically looking for fewer and simpler ingredients because they believe that something they consider to be natural will be healthier, either for themselves, the environment or both; however, this interest in natural beauty products does not diminish consumers’ desire for performance. As a result, formulators may find themselves searching for functional ingredient options when developing natural products.

Croda has endeavored to offer formulators an expanding toolbox of natural ingredients with proven functionality and efficacy, ensuring that the aspirational and actual needs of the natural-seeking consumer can be met.

Emulsions represent the basis of many personal care products, as a stable combination of oil and water provides the physical structure to disperse and deliver skin-softening emollients and efficacious actives. As emulsifiers play such an important role in personal care chassis, access to high performance natural emulsifier options is paramount for the formulator. Croda provides a wide variety of naturally-derived emulsifiers that offer unique functional and consumer benefits by influencing formulation stability and structure.

Stability through Electrolyte Tolerance

A primary job of an oil-in-water emulsifier is to suspend droplets of oil within the water phase of a formulation. In the presence of electrolytes, the oil droplets tend to coalesce and can ultimately cause destabilization of the emulsion. The 100% naturally-derived NatraGem™ emulsifiers from Croda possess excellent electrolyte tolerance and function effectively in the presence of electrolytes and other destabilizing actives while delivering a wide variety of viscosities

The tolerance is explained by the architecture of the hydrophilic head group of the polyglyceryl oligoester in the emulsifiers. This unique chemical structure gives the NatraGem emulsifers an effective increased length of hydrophile compared to those found in other high HLB emulsifiers. This allows the NatraGem emulsifiers to stretch out into the water phase, maximizing protection of the interface and leaving it considerably less vulnerable to the effects of electrolytes and raised temperatures. To illustrate this, a comparison can be seen between the NatraGem E Series and polyglyceryl-6 monoester in Figure 1.


NatraGem emulsifiers can offer formulators the ability to create silky lotions and thick, luxurious creams that are both extremely stable and appeal to consumers seeking natural ingredients. Example formula SC-606.

Structure Through Liquid Crystals

Forming a unique, liquid crystalline structure, Croda’s ArlacelTM LC emulsifier creates aesthetically-pleasing sensorial qualities including an exceptionally light skin feel and easy skin spreading. The liquid crystal structure consists of hydrosomes, fully stabilized liquid crystal networks with droplets that feature a multi-layer structure of lipids, lipid emulsifier and water (very similar to our own skin), see Figure 2.

“Hydrosomes”—the formation of liquid crystal lamellar phases in the external water phase of o/w emulsions are made visible with polarized light microscopy. The stabilization mechanism of formulations derived from ARLACEL LC is based on the formation of hydrosomes; a lamellar gel network, built up in a continuous water phase. The multilayers around the oil droplet form a rheological barrier to coalescence, and lead to lower Van der Waals attraction forces. The lamellar gel network shows highly viscoelastic behavior and slows the movement of the oils droplets, prolonging emulsion stability.


Arlacel LC can be used to create natural formulations with unique and appealing sensorial properties, including light, quick-breaking emulsions that spread easily on the skin. Example formula SC-433.

A Natural Wealth of Benefits

Natural ingredients options provide formulators with a multitude of benefits for functional and aesthetic applications. Croda supplies label-friendly, sustainable, vegetable-based, Ecocert certified and natural ingredients with proven efficacy that offer benefits ranging from emulsification and solubilization to skin firming in anti-aging applications and boosting of SPF in sunscreens.


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