Gleams & Notions

In the Thick of It

By Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant | May 3, 2011

Need a new thickener for your personal care formula? Noveon Consumer Specialties, a product line of Lubrizol Advanced Materials Inc. in Cleveland, OH, is promoting a new efficient rheology modifier for hard-to-thicken surfactant systems. Novethix L-10 polymer (INCI name: Acrylates/beheneth-25 meth-acrylate copolymer) is a milky white liquid with 30% solids and a pH of 3.0. Its benefits are as follows:

• Easy to use liquid form;

• Cold process—no heat needed with a short mixing time;

• Thickens low level surfactant formulations;

• Synergistic thickening with salt;

• Provides a smooth, honey-like flow;

• Good clarity in low surfactant systems;

• Cost effective replacement for nonionic thickeners; i.e., PEG-150 distearate;

• Replaces amides in cleansing formulations;

• Stabilizes insoluble ingredients such as oils, and enhances pearlescent appearance; and

• Gives reproducible viscosity results and provides high temperature stability.

Novethix L-10 is compatible with a wide range of surfactants and efficiently provides excellent rheology and aesthetics insurfactant systems.

This hydro-phobically modified polyelectrolyte thickening ability depends on the surfactant composition, the polymer concentration and the formulation pH. A low surfactant formula containing 8% sodium lauryl ether sulfate and 2% cocamidopropyl betaine will thicken considerably when used with 1% polymer and raising the pH to 7.0 with aminomethyl propanol.

The following heat-free formula provides a smooth, creamy feel and foams well.


Body Wash

Ingredients: %WT.

Part A

Water q.s. to 100

Tetrasodium EDTA 0.05

Ammonium lauryl sulfate 15.00

(30% active)

Ammonium laureth sulfate 25.00

(27% active)

Sunflower seed oil 18.00

Novethix L-10 polymer 10.00

Part B

Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium 0.30


Glycerin 5.00

Sodium hydroxide (18%) 1.50
Green tea herbal extract 1.00

Cucumis sativus (cucumber) 1.00

fruit extract (and) propylene glycol

DMDM hydantoin 0.50

Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate 0.10

Dyes and fragrance q.s.

Citric acid 0.25

Cocamidopropyl betaine (35%) 5.00


With constant stirring, add part A ingredients to main tank in indicated order. Mix part B in separate container and add to batch tank. Add other ingredients in indicated order with good mixing between additions. This product is a creamy pink lotion with a pH of 5.4-5.8. The total solids of Novethix L-10 polymer is 3%.


The formula below contains no sulfate, amide or salt.

Sulfate Free Shampoo

Ingredients: %WT.

Part A

Water 50.00

Ammonium cocyl isethionate (31%) 6.67

Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, 2.50

sodium cocyl isethionate (and)

cocamidopropyl betaine (32%)

Part B

Water 9.24

Novethix L-10 polymer 2.50

Phenoxyethanol, methylparaben 0.50

(and) ethylparaben

Lauryl hydroxysultaine (50%) 4.01

Oleyl betaine (and) sodium lauroyl 5.56


Disodium cocoamphodiacetate 2.78

Sodium hydroxide (18%) 0.78


With constant stirring, warm water in batch tank to 30-40°C and add first ingredient, then second item. In separate container, mix Part B and add to Part A. Add rest of ingredients in indicated order and mix gently. The formula will become clear and viscous as sodium hydroxide is added to raise the pH to the desired level.

This product is clear to translucent with a pH of 6.3-6.7. It foams well and passed a three month stability test at 45°C and six weeks at 50°C. It also was stable through a five-cycle freeze/thaw test.


Harvey Fishman has a consulting firm located at 34 Chicasaw Drive, Oakland, NJ 07436,, specializing in cosmetic formulations and new product ideas, offering tested finished products. He has more than 30 years of experience and has been director of research at Bonat, Nestlé LeMur and Turner Hall. He welcomes descriptive literature from suppliers and bench chemists and others in the field.