Developing a successful formulation in today’s competitive personal care industry presents many challenges. The formulation must fulfill the expectations of consumers with respect to performance as well as esthetics. It must meet a number of physical stability criteria including the ability to withstand various aging conditions such as high temperature, freeze-thaw cycling and vibration. Often, formulations must be developed under a tight schedule that can include adjustments driven by consumer testing of prototypes developed in the initial stages of the project. Given these factors, it is no surprise that so many commercialized products are variations of formulations that were developed years ago. This is especially true of products based on emulsions because formulators work against the laws of thermodynamics, which dictate that emulsions are fundamentally unstable systems.
This article describes the use of a novel process technology to prepare high internal phase (HIP) emulsions, which can provide solutions to a number of formulating issues. HIP emulsions have been used as a basis for pre-emulsified concentrates of emollients, moisturizers and sunscreens. The small particle size and size-distribution control provided by the new technology allow formulators to create skin care products with distinctive aesthetics. The emulsion concentrates allow simple cold mixing and, because of their excellent stability, formulators can easily adjust emollient levels to obtain the desired skin feel. The result can be greater speed in formulation and scale-up of new skin care products.