A structuring agent is an oil soluble ingredient we add to emulsions to give them more thickening, more body, more structure. This term includes ingredients like…
- fatty alcohols – cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, and other alcohols;
- fatty acids – like stearic acid, myristic acid, or lauric acid; and
- solid esters – like cetyl esters, cetyl palmitate, cetyl ricinoleate, myristyl myristate, behenyl behenate, lauryl laurate, and so on.
We use these ingredients to thicken our formulas to create body butters, creams, and thicker lotions by adding them to the heated oil phase when creating an emulsion. Generally, the more we use, the thicker our products will be.
We also use them to create lamellar gel networks with liquid crystal emulsifiers, creating lighter and more moisturizing emulsions with the potential to trap in more water and deliver actives better on the skin.