Emulsifiers are commonly used in homemade lotions, body butters, and other water-based recipes. Great for getting those ingredients that don’t mix; to mix!
I am a big DIYer and love to make projects with essential oils and other natural products to help get toxins out of my home.
Quite a few skin care and hair care recipes call for water and oil. Most of these recipes require an emulsifier to integrate the ingredients that would not normally mix.
Without an emulsifier, you may need to shake homemade products before each use.
WHAT ARE EMULSIFIERS?
Emulsifiers are used to mix ingredients that normally wouldn’t mix. Especially helpful when mixing oil and water.
Emulsifiers can break apart an oil or fat into a smaller particle and then disperse those particles throughout the water or other liquid being used in the recipe.
WHAT ARE THE BEST NATURAL EMULSIFIERS?
Wax is probably used most often as a natural emulsifier and it is a great choice when making a homemade skin care product.
Beeswax, candelilla wax, carnauba wax, and rice bran wax can all be used as a wax emulsifier. When looking for a natural option, make sure that you are using a non-GMO wax that is vegetable-derived and made with natural ingredients.
Beeswax is extremely beneficial for the body by the way it keeps the skin hydrated. It will create a protective barrier on the skin, trapping in moisture. Beeswax can also be used to gently exfoliate the skin.
I love adding beeswax to my homemade face creams and lip balms. Not only does it create the perfect texture, but it adds extra benefits for the skin.
Candelilla wax can be used as a natural emulsifier in homemade creams, lotions, and balms. This wax is a great vegan substitute for beeswax as it is plant-based.
Candelilla wax is rich in nutrients and absorbs well into the skin. It is known to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and stretch marks.
Carnauba wax is a great natural emulsifier. It has a high melting point making it perfect for thickening homemade balms, deodorants, and body butters.
Carnauba wax is hypoallergenic, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.
RICE BRAN WAX
Rice bran wax is great as a natural emulsifier. However, this type of wax may not work for all of your recipes. It can mix oils with creams and butters but not with water. It will help to thicken, bind, and gel. It is often used in skin care and hair care products.
Rice bran wax can be used to improve skin tone, reduce wrinkles and fine lines, and promote hydration.
MORE NATURAL EMULSIFIERS TO TRY
Emulsifiers can come from animal or plant tissues. Emulsifier waxes, as I said, are some of the most popular options, but there are a few other substances that you can use.
If a certain emulsifier works in your recipe with 5% oil, it does not necessarily mean it will work in a recipe calling for a higher oil percentage.
Here is a list of other emulsifiers you can try:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Aloe vera
- Castile soap
- Baking soda
WHAT EMULSIFIERS ARE BEST FOR ESSENTIAL OILS?
We all know oil and water do not mix. The same goes for essential oils. Adding an emulsifier will eliminate the need to shake your oil and water-based products every time before each use.
There are several natural options to help your essential oils mix with the water, which is very easy to do.
ESSENTIAL OIL EMULSIFIERS
- Witch hazel
- Baking soda
- Aloe vera gel
- Castile soap
HOW DO EMULSIFIERS WORK WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
Mix the essential oils with the emulsifier of choice and then add them into the water. Some essential oils will need more emulsifiers than others, but as a rule, I always start with a 1:1 ratio.
Not all essential oil recipes will need an emulsifier, just ones that are water-based. Essential oils mix great with fats like cocoa butter, coconut oil, and carrier oils.
ARE EMULSIFIERS SAFE?
Emulsifiers get a bad rep in the food industry as they can cause inflammation and ruin the gut liner. Most processed foods contain emulsifiers.
Emulsifiers found in cosmetics and skin care products can be safe as long as you are using a natural option. Some conventional products can contain emulsifiers that are toxic to the skin; this is why I prefer to make my own.
Common cosmetic emulsifiers include:
- potassium cetyl sulfate.
- Oil and water-based recipes need an emulsifier for the ingredients to mix.
- Wax is a natural emulsifier.
- Essential oil recipes may need emulsifiers.
- Emulsifiers found in conventional cosmetics and processed foods may not be safe to use.