Creams and lotions are a mixture of oil and water. Of course it is not quite as simple as that. Left to themselves oil and water will separate so you have to add  emulsifiers to turn what is basically salad dressing into lovely thick cream.  An emulsifier binds oil and water together

Natural Emulsifiers

There are a few completely natural emulsifiers. They include bees wax, lecithin and egg yolk. However they  do not give consistant results and sometimes give no results at all. So most commercially used emulsifiers are manufactured.

Maunfactured Emulsifiers

Most emulsifiers are derived from coconut oil and palm oil. More recently, rapeseed has been used.

But some are produced from pig fats. The declaration regulations don’t require manufacturers to declare the source of the emulsifiers, just their chemical names. You cannot always tell from these if they are derived from animal fat from or not.

There are only a few officially qualified organic emulsifiers in the market.

Here are some manufactured emulsifiers.

  • Palm Stearic -vegetable based Stearic Acid
  • Cetearyl Alcohol- vegetable based emulsifying wax
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Sorbitan Monostearate
  • Glyceryl Stearate (also known as VE Emulsifier) Vegetable-based Emulsifier
  • Glycorol Mono Stearate from fresholi – also ve emulsifier?
  • Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (also known as MF Emulsifier) from palm oil

VE Emulsifier, MF Emulsifier and Cetearyl Alcohol

I have used some of them with varying and often disappointing results. However a combination of VE Emulsifier, MF Emulsifier and Cetearyl Alcohol works every time.

VE Emulsifier or Glyceryl Stearate is

  • a vegetable-based emulsifier
  • A naturally derived fatty acid

Cetearyl Alcohol is

  • a vegetable based emulsifying wax
  • a white, waxy, oil soluble, solid
  • comes in the form of flakes or little beads.
  • is a mixture of fatty alcohols.

MF Emulsifier or Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

Sodium stearoyl lactate (and the similar calcium stearoyl lactate) is made by combining lactic acid and stearic acid, and then reacting the result with sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide to make the sodium or calcium salt.

It is used as an emulsifier in processed foods.

Although it can be fermented from lactose (milk sugar), most commercially used lactic acid is derived by using bacteria such as Bacillus acidilacti, Lactobacillus delbueckii or Lactobacillus bulgaricus to ferment carbohydrates from nondairy sources such as cornstarch, potatoes and molasses. Thus, although it is commonly known as “milk acid”, products claiming to be vegan do sometimes feature lactic acid as an ingredient.

VE Emulsifier, MF Emulsifier and Cetearyl Alcohol & Palm Oil

Please note that VE Emulsifier & MF Emulsifiers do include palm oil but in tiny amounts, Be sure to buy from a good practice supplier. For example there should be something this note on Aromantics VE emulsifier “The Palm oil that is used in both in MF/VE emulsifiers comes from suppliers that are either members of the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil or a subsidiary company or who are members of FEDIOL which supports sustainability. FEDIOL is a European industry federation based in Brussels”.

Palm Oil Free Emulsifiers

I have not used this palm oil free emulsifier from Aromantics but I like the look of it. If you have please let me know how it worked for you….

“BioGreen Emulsifier (Palm Free) is an exceptionally green, oil in water (O/W) emulsifier made from glucose extracted from wheat combined with fatty acids taken from castor beans. This means it is 100% vegetable origin. It has excellent eco credentials being one of the new palm free emulsifiers and is 100% biodegradable.


Hydroxystearyl Alcohol & Hydroxystearyl Glucoside”


Why you want to cut your palm oil

How to make creams & lotions


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