There are many good all natural thickeners (EU) to choose from. The ideal choice depends on the desired formulation properties such as charge compatibility (anionic, cationic, or nonionic), PH, clarity, electrolyte tolerance, and skin feel. All natural aqueous-based thickeners can be divided into soluble and swellable types with either a chitin/chitosan (EU: chitin | chitosan), cellulosic, starch (EU), or polysaccharide backbone.
Some naturally based materials also contain both soluble and swellable fractions. You should also consider evaluating combinations of different types of natural-based thickeners, especially soluble and swellable types since viscosity synergies often occur.
Due to the insolubility of cellulose or starch, chemical modifications are normally required for solubility so they wouldn’t be considered all natural. Polysaccharide-based (EU) thickeners are normally extracted from seaweed (EU), seeds, bark, or made by fermentation.
- Keltrol Advanced Performance Xanthan Gum from CP Kelco (EU) is an anionic, soluble polysaccharide and the most commonly used natural personal care thickener. Keltrol Advanced Performance is much easier to hydrate in the presence of a solvent or salt and is better for suspending solids in thin dispersions than regular grades of xanthan. A 1% solution has a viscosity of 13K cps and is salt and PH tolerant.
- Kelset (Sodium Alginate) from FMC BioPolymer is a seaweed-derived thickener. It has good gelling properties and skin feel (1% gel- 27K cps). Gels are not salt stable.
- Actigum CS11 (Scleroglucan) from Cargill is a nonionic, soluble polysaccharide that has good salt and PH tolerance. A 1% solution has a viscosity of 2-5K cps, 2% 61k cps.
- Imulsifi-A30 (Orange Fiber) from Fiberstar is a swellable citrus fiber that has a hot processed viscosity at 5% of 10K cps and 30K cold. It can tolerate a maximum salt load of 3%.
- Kelcogel CG-HA (High acyl Gellan gum) from CP Kelco (EU) is the most efficient polysaccharide based thickener I have evaluated in water only. A .5% gel has a viscosity of 54K cps. It is not salt stable.
- Grinsted Succinoglycan J (Succinoglycan) from Danisco is a anionic, soluble polysaccharide produced by fermentation and one of the most efficient soluble natural based thickeners on the market. It is stable to electrolyte, and high/low PH. A 1% gel has a viscosity of 23K cps with 3% salt.
- Genuvisco TPC-1 (Carrageenan) from CP Kelco (EU) is an Iota form of carrageenan designed for cold processing that is stable over a PH of 3.5. The processed viscosity is low until electrolyte is added. A 1% gel has a viscosity of 18K with 3% salt added.
- Gelcarin GP 379 (Carrageenan) from FMC BioPolymer is an Iota form of carrageenan that rapidly hydrates at RT. A 1% gel in water has a viscosity of 32K cps without salt and a 2% gel 27k with 3% salt.
The views, opinions and technical analyses presented here are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of UL, ULProspector.com or Knowledge.ULProspector.com. While the editors of this site make every effort to verify the accuracy of its content, we assume no responsibility for errors made by the author, editorial staff or any other contributor. All content is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior authorization from Prospector.