Why isn’t my gel thickening up?
You need to ensure oil is added very slowly, especially at the beginning. If you are making a typical lab batch of around 200g, the oil should take around 5 minutes to add in to the Sucragel. If you are making larger batches, it will take much longer, sometimes up to 3 hours for very large batches.
Why do I need to use Sucrablend SP V2?
You can form a gel without Sucrablend SP V2, but it will not be stable at temperatures above 40°C and the viscosity will gradually drop. Use a level of circa 0.5% in a gel.
How is Sucragel® XL different from other grades?
The stabilising Sucrablend component is built in, meaning you don’t have to think about it! It can also be used in a cold process, and is much quicker in production as there is no initial melting step.
How do I reduce the viscosity of my gel?
You can either add glycerin which retains transparency, or a small amount of water, which makes it opaque.
Why is my gel not transparent?
Ensure you are using the correct grade of Sucragel® for your oil phase. Some oil phases need a small amount of water added in at the end to make them transparent. If this does not work, add a small amount of glycerin, but be aware some oil phases cannot be made transparent.
Can the product be rescued if oil is added too quickly?
Yes, this is a straightforward process. Just leave the mixture to separate for at least an hour and then take off the top (oil) layer and put it back in the oil. Switch the mixer back on to mix the residue in, then add oil back in slowly to form the gel.
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.
Our production team are worried about scaling up, as it seems different to our other products?
We have lots of experience scaling up Sucragel, watch this video which explains how we do it. It can be made on any equipment used to make emulsions in your factory but if you have any concerns get in touch and we can talk you through the process.
How do I use Sucragel® as an emulsifier?
Sucragel® gel self emulsify in water therefore the best way to make emulsions with Sucragel is to form a gel with your oil phase. Then dilute to the required concentration with water or stabilised water.
Can I use Sucragel® as a general emulsifier in the oil or water phase?
You can, although you get a finer texture and more stable emulsion if you make the product via the gel intermediate.
What can I use to stabilise my sprayable emulsion?
Any type of suspending thickener is suitable, Sucrathix VX is ideal for this.
Do I need to use heat to make an emulsion?
If you are using purely liquid and cold water dispersible ingredients you do not need to heat the mix.
It is not necessary to add Sucrablend® SP V2 to your product unless you are storing the gel.
Can I make thicker emulsions with Sucragel®?
You can use emulsion stabilisers / coemulsifiers such as Cetearyl Alcohol and Glyceryl Stearate which will add body to your formulation. You can also add a higher level of thickener.
Why are Sucragel® based formulations particularly popular in suncare?
Sucragel® forms a very small droplet size, which helps give a better dispersion of sun filters on the skin, leading to a higher SPF for the same amount of filter. The sensorial characteristics of the product are also excellent, giving fine sprays with no clogging, and low whitening on skin.
Q: Can other glycols be used instead of glycerine with HIPEgel®?
A: We only tried pentylene glycol (natural origin), and the creams formed were not stable.
Q: What is the pH range for HIPEgel® products?
A: A pH between 4 and 9 should allow for stable formulations. High pH will lead to hydrolysis of the ester bond while low pH will lead to hydrolysis of the glycosidic bond.
Q: Could more than 1.5% water be added to HIPEgel Oleo?
A: As a rule, the internal phase must be above 74% to make it a HIPE. In reality it's best if it is greater than 80%. Water (including water based actives) and glycerine can be added at a level so that the total amount of HIPEgel® Oleo + water + glycerine < 25%. This does allow for quite a lot of water, however, and stability may be compromised if the amount of external phase is too high as the structure is lost and the viscosity will drop.
If HIPEgel® Oleo is used at 6% and glycerine at 5%, then this allows an extra 13% water. Despite this, we would not recommend going above 5%.
Q: Can surfactants be added to a HIPEgel® Oleo system?
A: As with Sucragel®, we don't recommend using extra surfactants with this system. These are really designed to be gentle, mild, low-surfactant systems and adding extra, possibly harsh surfactants, goes against this philosophy! HIPEgel® Oleo is a very low surfactant system that is not really for hard cleansing.
Q: How to scale-up formulations with HIPEgel® Oleo ?
A: For HIPEgel® Oleo, you can use exactly the same method as Sucragel® for scale up. Be aware of the much smaller initial phase, however, and make sure it is adequately agitated in the mixer. The oil phase needs to be added slowly, at the same rate as with Sucragel®.
Q: Is it possible to use 10% or more solids with HIPEgel® Oleo?
A: Powders such as starch, ZnO and TIO2 are good for stabilising HIPEgel® formulations. Using HIPEgel® Oleo with clays, plant powders etc. should yield good results. Remember to avoid using anything acidic as with Sucragel®.
Q: Which oils are compatible with Sapogel® Q?
A: Sapogel® Q is ideal for gelling polar oils. High levels of non-polar oils in a gel made with Sapogel® Q can result in poor pick up and instability.
Q: Do Sapogel® Q gels need to be preserved?
A: Gels/Balms made with Sapogel® Q normally have a low water content. Indeed, the maximum water phase we recommend in a balm is 4%. Additionally, Sapoge®l Q contains a high level of glycerine which protects it from contamination with micro-organisms by lowering the water activity. As such they normally don't need preservation, but potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are a compatible combination if a preservative is a requirement.
Q: Is Sapogel® Q suitable for food application?
A: All the constituents of the blends can be ingested. Please contact us for more information.
Q: Is Sapogel® Q compatible with enzymes?
A: Yes. Sapogel® Q is not susceptible to degradation by enzymes.
Q: Are gels made with Sapogel® Q susceptible to vacuum?
A: We would recommend applying any vacuum gradually and not reducing the pressure to below 400mB.
Q: How much wax is it possible to use with Sapogel® Q?
A: Sapogel® Q can be used with up to 60% of low melting point waxes likes butters and up to 5% of high melting point waxes.
Q: Which oils are best for creating an opaque or transparent system?
A: The best transparency is achieved with non-polar oils like Squalane, CCT, IPM and Mineral Oil. Opaque/translucent gels are obtained with waxes and polar oils.
Q: Is Sapogel® Q compatible with surfactants?
A: Sapogel® Q is not compatible with most surfactants.
Q: What powders can be used with the Sapogel® Q?
A: Plant powders and starches are fully compatible with Sapogel® Q.
Q: Can Sapogel® Q be used in Haircare?
A: According to scientific literature, Quillaja saponins have good anti-inflammatory properties and as a milder surfactant are gentle with the scalp and hair. They also have anti-fungal and hair growth stimulating properties, and can be used in shampoos and hair-loss treatments.
Q: Is Sapogel® Q compatible with acids?
A: Yes. Acids can be incorporated into the balms.
Why would you use Micromulse® LB instead of Sucragel, HIPEgel Oleo or Sapogel Q?
Sucragel, HIPEgel Oleo and Sapogel Q are effective oil gelling agents and generally form structured liquid systems (gels) with shear thinning properties. Micromulse® LB has been specially formulated to form liquid systems which are stable and transparent.
Do you have to use Glycerine in the formula?
Yes, it is important to use Glycerine in Micromulse® LB formulations because it helps with stability and transparency. If glycerine is left out or replaced with either water or glycols, there is a risk instability will occur and the product will be cloudy.
How do I lower the viscosity of the Micellar Oil I have made and still maintain clarity?
The choice of oil determines the amount of water that needs to be added to the formulation and in general, the more water in the product the lower the viscosity. If vegetable oils are being used and the viscosity is too high, replace a portion of the vegetable oil with an emollient of lower refractive index such as CCT or an ester.
My product looks very cloudy, how can I fix it?
Firstly, ensure the cloudiness is not due to trapped air, by centrifuging or by smearing on a glass surface to check. Then see if the amount of water in the formula is correct by comparing framework formulations. If too much water has been added this is difficult to correct but if it is lower than recommended, then add small measured portions to the formulation until the product appears transparent.
Can I make a solid gel product with Micromulse® LB?
It may be possible, but it was designed with liquid products in mind.
Can I class my Micellar oil as a microemulsion?
No, we do not consider these systems to be microemulsions. This is because true stable microemulsions are a balance of surfactant, water and oil with a relatively high % of surfactant. The amount of surfactant in Micromulse® LB is lower than you would expect in a thermodynamically stable microemulsion.
Can I use any type of oil in my formulation?
There are a few types of oil that are not compatible with Micromulse® LB – please see our formulating guide for more information.
Can I homogenise the oil in?
Yes, but this might be difficult for thicker formulations with no water. Instead, we recommend adding the oil using an overhead stirrer, then homogenising for a few minutes after all the oil is added. The homogenisation step is only needed for systems with high amounts of water (>2%), an overhead stirrer is sufficient for low/no water systems.
How can I incorporate a high level of butters to my emulsion with Instathix®?
Butters can be melted in the oil phase before Instathix is added. When adding water, ensure the mixture is held at 75°C for several minutes before homogenising.
I want to use more than 20% of oil, how can I do this?
Instathix® on its own will allow approximately 15% of oil to be emulsified, so you will need to add some extra stabilisers. Glyceryl Stearate or Cetyl/Cetearyl Alcohol is ideal for this, at a combined level of about 7% maximum.
Can I use Instathix® on its own in water, without oil?
You can use it on its own but the oil-in-gel system works best when some oil is present. The emulsifier likes to have oil contained within its droplets, and gives a better texture.
Can I use Instathix® as a base for shampoo, facial wash or body wash?
Yes, Instathix® is compatible with some surfactants. Oil can also be incorporated to give a moisturising feel.