Emulsions in cosmetics - the popular water and oil mixture

Posted by Elisa Ansar on

What are emulsions?

Below you will learn about the chemistry of emulsions, types of emulsions and their advantages. The most popular and best-known emulsions in cosmetics include creams, lotions, fluids and body milk.


The mixture of water and oil

Emulsions are a system (or a mixture) consisting of two different liquids (phases), one of which diffuses in the form of small droplets by the other, as in the mixture of water and oil.

Emulsifiers are substances or agents that connect these two liquids that otherwise would not mix. Everyone knows it, oil floats on water and even if you are stirring and shake the mixture, the oil lays back on the water surface after a short time. Emulsifiers connect the oil to the water phase and create a milky consistency, which is rather liquid or creamy depending on the oil or water content.

Emulsions are often used in the cosmetics industry as they are an excellent way to donate the skin moisture and protection. Whether natural cosmetics, biocosmetics or homemade cosmetics, emulsions can be found everywhere.

Continue reading to learn more about the different types of emulsions and their benefits.

Emulsion Hand


Types of emulsions in cosmetics

A simple emulsions consists of an aqueous phase, an oil phase and an emulsifier.

Depending on the chemical nature of the emulsion, oil-in-water (O / W), water-in-oil (W / O), water- in silicone (w / s) or silicone-in-water (si / w) emulsions.

Oil-in-water emulsions (O / W)

Oil-in-water emulsions are systems in which oil droplets are dispersed in the water.

They are most commonly used in cosmetics as they are suitable for making creams and lotions for all skin types. In addition, they are lighter in their haptics, are somewhat liquid and quickly absorbed into the skin.

Water-in-oil emulsions (w / o)

Water-in-oil emulsions are systems where water droplets are dispersed in oil.

They give thicker and denser creams that are ideal for dry skin. Mostly they are not absorbed as fast and leave a rather greasy feeling on the skin.

Water-in-silicone emulsions (w / s)

Water-in-silicone emulsions are systems where water droplets are dispersed in silicone.

Silicone-in-water emulsions (si / w)

Silicone-in-water emulsions consist of insoluble silicone droplets, which are uniformly dispersed in water.

Multiple emulsions

Multiple emulsions are more complex and consist of more than two phases, e.g. water-in-oil-in-water (W / O / W) or oil-in-water-in-oil (O / W / O), and can be formed with more than one emulsifying agent.


Microemulsions consist of micro-droplets of uniform size inserted into larger droplets of the preceding phases.

Advantages of emulsions


  • Emulsions are a great way to combine two active benefits from two repulsive components.
  • They are ideal as a moisturizer and depending on the type of emulsion, get absorbed faster or slower into the skin and leave a rather silky, dry or rich finish.
  • Emulsions can serve as a basis for active ingredients.


    Emulsifiers and stabilizers - the secret of long-lasting emulsions

    Emulsifiers are defined as water-soluble polysaccharides and are obtained from plants, algae or microorganisms. Polysaccharides are a type of carbohydrate molecule consisting of long chains of single sugars.

    Their purpose in cosmetic formulations is to maintain or improve the stability, texture and natural appearance of products and ensure that their cosmetic properties last long periods of time.

    The most important function of an emulsifier is to facilitate the dissolution and viscosity of the ingredients in an emulsion and thus to obtain their homogeneity and to avoid the formation of possible crystals that affect the products texture.

    In addition, stabilizers are able to change the mobility of the water, whereby the structural properties of an emulsion can be adjusted, e.g. the rheology, the homogeneity of the appearance, functionality and physical stability during manufacture, distribution and end consumption.

    Another function of these additives is the formation and stabilization of the foam generated in a variety of cosmetic products.

    Emulsion vs. emulsifiers

    While emulsions are a mixture of two different liquids, an emulsifier is a substance that supports the mixture of the emulsion.


    A co-emulsifier is a substance with low emulsifying properties, which can supplement another substance with a slightly higher emulsifying character. It's a substance that alone can not stabilize emulsion, but in combination with another substance makes an emulsion stable.

    Microbial susceptibility of emulsions

    This microbial contamination of products must be urgently prevented, otherwise unpleasant side effects can occur after application. In particular, when water and oil are mixed to an emulsion, the susceptibility to a proliferation of the product is even higher than in pure water-based products. This is because the oils act as food for the microbial organisms that develop from the water content.

    Emulsions must therefore always be preserved and usually very effective preservatives should be used here.

    To maintain skin care without declarative preservatives, the Lipid Glory products of Craft & Care can be a good choice.

    The oil-based product line with balms and oil serums from controlled organic cultivation must contain no preservation systems because they simply contain no water.

    The water-based Lipid Glory products are formulated with multifunctional ingredients. These work against microbes in the product as well as on the skin. Furthermore these ingredients do not only preserve the product but also offer multiple benefits for the skin. They have moisturizing, calming and anti-inflammatory properties.

    Mix your individual emulsion

    The Lipid Glory oil serums form a spontaneous emulsion as soon as they’re mixed with the Hydrating Serum in the palm of your hand.

    Emulsions can be practical in some beauty routines as they are absorbed faster and leave another finish compared to the usage of a hydrating serum first and an oil afterwards. Try it out and see how you like to combine the amounts of water based and oil based care depending on your individual needs that can differ from day to day.

    With the Lipid Glory oils in combination with the hydrating serum, you can decide for yourself how easy or how rich your fluid, your lotion or cream should be. Get yourself a fresh emulsion, completely without emulsifiers, additional preservatives, thickeners or stabilizers.

    A small amount of the serum is mixed with a few drops of oil, in the palm with fast and circular fingers. Create an emulsion and subsequently massage it onto your skin.

    Previously the skin can be prepared with the moisturizing and regulating Lipid Glory Balancing Toner as an extra hydration booster.

creme emulsion fluid individuelle hautpflege lotion

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