Emulsifiers and Preservatives

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Jan 3, 2016
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I am starting to look into learning about lotion making. The thing I know straight off is that I'll have issues figuring out which emulsifiers and preservatives will work for me (and ultimately how I'll be choosing one).

Right now my question is what preservatives and emulsifiers do you use and why? Can I just use beeswax to emulsify? Is there a saturation point for the amount of water/oil beeswax will emulsify?

(I do have germaben and beeswax on hand but I still need to research before I even think about trying anything)
I just started reading swiftycraftymonkey today but I still have my questions. I like the look of tinosan sdc but the photosensitivity (and price) concerns me. I have the germaben because it was reccomended for diluting lab colors but I'm not sure if I'd like it as a leave on product.

I think figuring out what ingredients I'd like to use has gotten a lot harder since I started researching to make my own formulas. When I first started I'd read SoapQueen (or whatever random blog google sent me to) and jump into a finished product. I pulled out my current favorite lotion and am analyzing the ingredients... there's sodium hydroxide 6th from the last ingredient. Because I read this forum I know there are many ways to effectively neutralize an ingredient for cosmetic use but I am more confused than before. (Though I probably should jump in and do a thing to get it out of the way before I freak out more)
I've got a variety of different emulsifiers and preservatives so I'll try to explain what each is used for.

1) Ewax NF - I get mine from Soapers Choice so it's a combo of cetearyl alcohol/polysorbate 60. This works well for basic lotion making.
2) Conditioning Emulsifier - MMS Sage version which is a combo of BTMS & cetearyl alcohol. The BTMS gives more of a powdery feel to your lotions. For this reason I chose to use it in my Pit Stop deodorant lotion.
3) BTMS 50 - Brambleberry version which contains Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol & Butylene Glycol. This emulsifier will also emulsify silicones so it's useful when making hair products like shampoo & conditioner bars.

1) Optiphen/Optiphen Plus - These work in water soluble products and are paraben free. I mainly use these in lotions/creams or emulsified scrubs containing water.
2) Phenonip - This is what I use for oil-only (anhydrous) scrubs and shampoo bars (although it does work in water soluble products too). It can be deactivated by certain additives and also contains parabens but it's the only one I can find that works in products that don't contain any water (but will be exposed to water).
3) Liquid Germall Plus - Works in water soluble products (except aerosols) so I mainly use it in diluted liquid soap (especially in foamer bottles).

I like to keep Swift's preservative chart handing when making stuff just to double check that I'm adding the preservatives in the correct amount and at the correct temps. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1020026/preservativechart1.pdf
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My favorite emulsifier is Creamaker CA-20 from making cosmetics. It is a mixture of Ceteareth 20 and Cetearyl Alcohol. It is a good emulsifier for complex, or simple formulas.

I don't think (may be wrong here-) that beeswax is a true emulsifier. It may thicken things, but will not hold oil and water together-it will break eventually.

You might try just a simply formula using 70% water (Deionized water), and 30 % oils and other stuff. Try 5% emulsifier, 20% oil(s) (Almond), and 5% butters or waxes (3% shea, 2% beeswax). That gives you the 100% of the total formula. Then just tweak your percent of things until you get the moisturizing you like.

This is just to get a starting point for you. Gotta jump in and get the feet wet!!
Thanks everyone.

I have a feeling liquid germall plus and btms-50 will never up my go tos. I still don't quite understand emulsions vs suspensions (but think I have enough of an idea for a hobbiest). Two part emulsifiers are over my head but, for learning right now, I think that's ok.
I either use BTMS-50 or Ewax-NF. My go to preservative is optiphen plus. I only make lotions.

Simple explanation - an emulsion stays together. A suspension separates into oil and water.

I believe I read on Susan's blog that all emulsifying systems are 2 part. I'll see if I can find that.

Edit to add: This is what I was thinking of. Maybe I do not understand what you meant by 2 part, but if not this is still a really good explanation.

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I didn't see that post but I read her other ones on the HLB systems and those confused me. I understand getting the one product where the work is done (BTMS or E-Wax) it's the breaking it down to see how it works (using polysorbate and something else) that I get confused.
yeah HBL system is pain in the neck at least for me, This is why I use complete emulsifying system two emulsifiers cover it all for me BMTS-50, and Lotion pro 165 and my hand cream emulsimulse, it is three oops :)
I didn't see that post but I read her other ones on the HLB systems and those confused me. I understand getting the one product where the work is done (BTMS or E-Wax) it's the breaking it down to see how it works (using polysorbate and something else) that I get confused.

Yeah I read the HLB post too, this one just seamed simpler.

Basically the low HLB is more soluble in oil. The high HLB is more soluble in water. The 2 in one products have all the math already done and you can look up how much you need depending on the amounts of your oil and water phases.

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