5c stability issue

Hi All,

This has happened a couple of times in the past and wanted to understand why would an oil in water emulsion get extremely thick and change from a smooth uniform to a chunky texture after exposing it to low temperatures?
I have a formula with 2% cetearyl alcohol, 2% cutina PES, 1% glyceryl stearate , 3% polysorbate 20, 2% carbopol and 2% CCT. After 2 weeks in 5c, the formula has changed completely in viscosity and appearance.


  • @naturalchemist I haven't used so much Carbopol in an emulsion. Is it a powdery Carbopol, or a suspension? The rest of ingredients seem fine, maybe you can try one sample without Carbopol.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It's only a guess but what I imagine is happening is that the particles of your emulsion are coalescing when the mixture is cooled and that results in the chunky texture.

    You've listed your formula but you haven't listed your manufacturing procedure. Unless you are initially making very tiny particles, your emulsion will be prone to this kind of destabilization.  Additionally, I don't know what all your acronyms are but I don't see a neutralizing agent in your formula. So, if you don't neutralize the carbomer, you won't get the suspending effect from it.
  • @naturalchemist you can add propylene glycol to help with freeze thaw stability.  I was having this issue with a conditioner I was working on awhile back.  Your water could be freezing and causing the polymer to agglomerate, so adding the propylene glycol will help suppress the water from freezing
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