Pomade congealing too quickly

ajw000ajw000 Member
edited June 2020 in Formulating
Hi all, 

Looking for some help with a Pomade that is cooling too quickly. 

43% Water
2% Propylene Glycol 
5% Glycerin

4% Candelilla 
28% Ceteareth-20
4.5% PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate
2.5% Dimethicone
1% Polysorbate 20
2.25% PEG-40 Castor

7.75% preservatives, fragrance, and pvp

When oil and water phases reach 185-190f I mix. While the container and heating elements are at 190f+ the product begins to quickly thicken and solidify while mixing. When I use a thermal gun the product temperature has dropped down to 150f.

This has me perplexed, how did the product lose 30+ degrees in temp in less than 3 minutes when it is in a double boiler that is at 190+? 



  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Could you describe your set-up more?

    Are you mixing the phases while you are heating them?  If not, it's possible that the oil phase is not equally heated throughout. 

    What type of mixers are you using?

    Also, the thermal gun is not as accurate as a temperature probe you put into the system. It may not have dropped that much. 

    Finally, PVP should be added to your water phase.
  • ajw000ajw000 Member

    Oil and Water phase are heated separately. 

    Water phase is pre-mixed then brought to temp. 

    Oil phase is mixed with an overhead stirrer while heating until it reaches 190 and all the Candelilla wax has melted. 

    Water is then mixed with the Oil phase using the overhead stirrer. 

    The thermal gun reads Oil and Water separately at 190, then when I mix after 2 min it reads at 150. If it read properly prior, it doesn't make sense that it wouldn't read properly after mixed. 

    What else would be causing it to thicken so quickly and lose temperature? The strangest part is I continued to heat the product for 15 min, even covering with saran wrap to try to heat it more, and the product would never reach high temp again. All while the glass container is sitting in 190f water.  (only a 100g batch so 15min should've been plenty of time.)

    PVP is in water phase  :)
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I'm stumped. There is no reason I can think that it would cool down so fast. You've doubled the volume so maybe your heating set-up is not suitable to accommodate the increased volume? But it shouldn't cool down that quickly either.  Maybe @chemicalmatt might have an idea.

  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    Omit the candelilla and this would have a longer thermocline for thickening. Also, candelilla has tendency to "kernel out" (crystalize) when cooling unless it has supporting esters along with it. Any good reason to have it in there?
  • ajw000ajw000 Member

    The product does not have enough hold. I know PVP will offer a specific type of hold, but I am wanting a firmer support element to compliment the PVP. The higher melt point helps the product perform on hot days. 

    I use Carnauba and Beeswax in other formulas and have never had this problem, so I am hesitant to say the wax is causing the rapid solidification. 

    I found a thread (link below) I found from 2016 where @Bill_Toge and others seemed to indicate that the Ceteareth-25 was causing the thickening. I have experienced the same thickening and bubble problem he mentioned. @Chemist77 said his formula worked perfectly, but when I increased the ceteareth to almost 30% it just thickens faster. 


  • I generally find that heating the Ceteareth in the water phase with gentle agitation works better than heating them separately - wouldn't be able to tell you why this is though! Not sure if this will work with Candelilla included, but maybe worth a try?
Sign In or Register to comment.