Sweet Olive Wax - From Milk to Cream

Some time ago, my go-to emulsifier for creating a thin-but-stable, oil-rich emulsion was beheneth 10. If you had asked me what's in it, I would have regurgitated my then-suppliers description: 'it's plant-based'.

Even though I found this description far too vague, the supplier was 'all about plants' and 'organic' and 'safe', so I continued to use it while I dug around for more information.

Little by little, I drifted away from beheneth 10 (and that supplier) completely.

I discovered later that beheneth 10 was not at all plant based. It was made from mineral oil. It was also a 'possible cause of clogged pores' and 'not recommended for use on the face'. Beheneth 10 has no other cautions that I am aware of.

I'm glad it's years since I've used it, and although I will probably never add it to a formula again, there are no regrets. Plant-based ingredients have always been my preference when it comes to skin and hair care, but I can't deny that the occasional mineral-based ingredient will come along and sweep me off my feet (carbomer comes to mind).

Leaving beheneth 10 behind was not so much my dissatisfaction with the ingredient as circumstances surrounding the supplier.

New Times, New Emulsifier

Meantime, my main replacement ingredient has proved to be an absolute winner. Ever since discovering 'Sweet Olive Wax', I've been a fan.

Cire émulsifiante olive douceur (Olive Emulsifying Wax Sweetness) is the original French name for this complete emulsification system that is composed of

  • hydrolyzed wheat protein olivoyl
  • cetearyl alcohol 
  • glyceryl oleate 
  • glyceryl stearate 
  • potassium hydroxide

Sweet Olive Wax is made up of 99.7% fatty acids from olive, and/or coconut, and/or palm with proteins from wheat and 0,3% preservatives (sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate).

In contrast to beheneth 10, it is recommended for body and face. It is also well tolerated by sensitive skin.

The Possiblities Seem Endless

My fave thing about this emulsifier is that it is equally effective for quite a wide variety of textures - from lotions as light as milk to rich, heavy creams. Here's a quick overview (complete with formula to create each texture) – courtesy of Aroma Zone.

How Far Will it Go?

After having done several different test batches, I have been experimenting to test the limits of its capablities. My latest batch is a milky, lotion-like serum that is runny enough to be packaged in a serum bottle, yet stiff enough to be packaged in a jar (although tipping the jar will cause the product to spill out   e  v   e   r       s   o        s  l  o  w  l  y ). 

This particular type of viscosity has always been a very difficult for me to achieve, but this batch has been behaving like a champ so far, passing every test with flying colors. If it continues to behave, I'll give you a peek at my latest product in an upcoming post.

Older Stuff

Read the old 2010 post on beheneth 10 


Signe said…
Interesting, I haven't heard of sweet olive wax before. And I should check my emulsifiers too, I guess...
LisaLise said…
Signe - I was so pleased to find this emulsifying system - it has gotten me 'back' into developing lotions and thinner serum-y products.
Anonymous said…
Lise.......I have searched for this and can't find it anywhere. Sometimes I wish I could exchange countries with you! 😀 can you tell me where you get it?
LisaLise said…
Hey there JNC, I get this from the French company Aroma Zone. (check the links list along the right side) If you check their INCI list for this, you'll see it's an emulsification system that consists of Potassium hydrolyzed wheat protein olivoyl, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl oleate, glyceryl stearate, and potassium hydroxide.
Maybe you can find a similar emulsifying system on your side of the pond by googling the ingredients list..? just a thought. Best of luck with it!
Unknown said…
Hi! I'd like to make, and sell, my own cosmetics and choose to be palm-free. I'm finding this quite challenging in the cosmetics arena, as apparently palm is in vegetable glycerin, magnesium myristate, magnesium stearate, and emulsifying waxes. Are there plant-based replacements out there that are palm free?
LisaLise said…
Hi Hedy - Going 100% palm free is definitely challenging. There is sustainable palm oil available but when it is a component of an ingredient then it's hard to know exactly what you are dealing with. Both Inolex and Dr Straetmans do offer palm free emulsifiers - you might want to start there. Best of luck with it.