Natural Without Compromise


Despite growing consumer interest in silicone-free natural cosmetics, water-in-silicone formulations remain undisputed leaders in makeup and sun care applications.

There is indeed a lack of high performance natural water-in-oil (W/O) emulsifiers able to make low-viscosity formulations with long-lasting properties and enhanced water-resistance. Among the few options that are currently available, stability and compatibility issues are frequent.

Gattefossé has applied its strong knowledge in lipid chemistry to the development of Emulium® Illustro. Using a patented technology based upon polyglycerol esters, this W/O emulsifier perfectly meets consumer expectations in terms of naturality and formulators’ requirements for performance and flexibility.


Six years of research and development have been necessary to conceive this ingredient. Guided by color formulation experts, pigments were placed at the heart of the research from day one. The emulsions were constructed around pigments, taking into consideration different types of coating and uncoated materials.

Three carefully selected raw materials were reacted together by esterification to obtain Emulium® Illustro. Polyglycerol-6 has been chosen for its large polar headgroup and its low amount of free glycerol which bring stabilization to emulsions. 12-hydroxystearic acid has been selected for its well-known dispersing properties when it is in a polymerized form. Finally, ricinoleic acid has been chosen because it possesses an unsaturation, which brings fluidity to the formulas.

Figure 1: main chemical structure of Emulium® Illustro (analyzed by NMR)Figure 1: main chemical structure of Emulium® Illustro (analyzed by NMR)


Emulium® Illustro demonstrates superior performance and stability compared to other W/O emulsifiers on the market.

Compatibility with cosmetic ingredients – emollients, film formers, polymers, pearlescent agents, powders, stabilizers—is excellent. Flexible, easy to use, cold processing compatible, it enables to obtain from ultra-fluid to thick textures without any co-emulsifier.

Of particular interest in pigmented color and sunscreen formulations, Emulium® Illustro can also be used to formulate innovative textures for skin care.


The sensory imprint of Emulium® Illustro is unique. It is characterized by a light and soft afterfeel, providing foundations and mineral sunscreens with a “skin care” touch. The skin appears naturally glowy—but not shiny—and both looks and feels hydrated.

Figure 2: sensory analysis of three cosmetic products containing Emulium® IllustroFigure 2: sensory analysis of three cosmetic products containing Emulium® Illustro

To learn more about Emulium® Illustro, please visit our website.


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