Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aqua, Sucrose Laurate, Sucrose Stearate

Sucragel® XL is a liquid which acts as a natural oil thickening agent. It allows for completely cold-process formulations. Designed with a built-in heat stabiliser it cuts processing time by eliminating the need to add any additional stabilising agents. A usage level as low as 15% results in high viscosity oily gels.

Above: How to use Sucragel® XL
Above: Sucragel® Scale Up

Sucragel® XL FAQS

Q: Can Sucragel® be used to disperse fragrances?

A: Sucragel® can be used to disperse up to 5% essential oils or fragrance. Slowly stir the fragrance into the Sucragel® using a propeller stirrer. The mixture should thicken into a gel/paste which will easily disperse into your aqueous base. For a clearer product, Sucragel® AP V2 can be used at about 2.5% for every 0.1% fragrance to produce a clear or almost clear solution with water (different fragrances give different clarities). This works best with systems that do not contain terpenes.

Q: Can Sucragel be used to make wet wipes?

A: Yes. To make a lotion to be sprayed onto a wipe, simply dilute the Sucragel with water, add a small amount of a stabiliser and preserve. Alternatively, if you want additional oils in your solution, stir these into the Sucragel and then dilute with water. It has the added benefit of allowing the lotion to be shipped as a ‘concentrate’ to be used when it’s needed.

Q: I’ve made a cream with Sucragel® and it very quickly split. What went wrong?

A: It is likely that the pH dropped below 4.5 or in extreme cases above pH 8. Gels, creams and lotions made with Sucragel® should be kept above pH 4.5 and below pH 8. Dropping below or above that boundary for even a short time, for example when buffering, will cause the emulsion to split. Also, note that Sucragel® only emulsifies the system, it will not add viscosity or stability to the water phase. Therefore it is important to add a rheology modifier to ensure the water phase is stabilised.

Q: Why do I need Sucragel®? Why can’t I make the D-Phase system myself?

A: In short, you can make it yourself but experience has shown that even the very biggest companies do not like making these systems for a number of good reasons:

  • The sucrose laurate requires high temperatures for up to 6 hours to dissolve
  • A lot of foam and air bubbles are generated (best manufactured under vacuum)
  • Stirring can be a problem (design of vessel)
  • Mixing requires care over a long time (operator judgement). Post manufacture adjustment is sometimes necessary

Q: I am making an oily gel with Sucragel® and Sucrablend which I have to heat for the Sucrablend to dissolve. Do I also need to heat the oil phase?

A: Unless you have any solid ingredients in the oil phase, this phase can remain cold even if the Sucragel® phase is heated.

Q: How do I reduce the viscosity of the oily gel?

A: Sucragel® is unusual as the less there is in the formulation, the thicker the product.

  • So by increasing the amount of Sucragel® or decreasing the amount of oil, you will reduce the viscosity of the gel.
  • A second option is to replace some of the oil phase with glycerine, but this is a balancing act as more glycerine may affect the feel of the finished product. Alternatively, by adding water the viscosity will instantly drop but the gel will go cloudy.

Q: The oil isn’t mixing into the gel and as I add more the mixture thins and splits? What should I do?

A: This is almost always a symptom of the way the process is being managed, and can be solved by:

  • Ensuring that a propeller stirrer is used, or one which stirs in a circular motion
  • Ensuring the stirrer is immersed in the Sucragel and is on at a fast speed
  • Initially, adding the oil very slowly in portions
  • As the viscosity increases, increasing the stirrer speed and height. Remember, the gel cannot be over stirred

Q: My manufacturing team and I have concerns about scale up as the process in the laboratory is very labour intensive. Do you have any advice for scale up?

A: Yes. We have a scale up guide to assist your manufacturing team. Scaling up is actually simpler and less labour intensive than the lab trials as more oil can be added at once as the stirring speed and size are much faster and bigger than a propeller stirrer in the lab.

Q: Can the product be rescued if too much oil is added?

A: Yes. Wait until the gel and the oil have separated. Remove the oil from the top and then begin stirring again and slowly re-introduce the oil.

Q: I’ve made an oily gel but it is not transparent. What has happened and what can I do?

A: Clarity is achieved when the refractive indexes of each of the raw materials add up. If your gel is not transparent is likely that some water has been lost during manufacture. Add small amounts of water (drop by drop) until clarity is restored.

BUT ... it is essential not to add too much water as the water/glycerine balance is vital in creating a system that does not need preserving. Also there is the chance that the product will turn into an emulsion.

Q: I notice many formulations contain Sucrablend. Is this important?

A: Sucrablend has been shown to enhance the stability of the formulations especially at high temperatures. It is not in the formulation to help gel the oils, it is just there to ensure high temperature stability and it needs to be used between 0.5-1% to provide the stability required.

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