HLB Values in Emulsifiers

Hydrophile-Lipophile Balance (HLB) in Emulsifiers

 

EMULSIFIERHLB Value ± 1Water-In-Oil (W/O)Oil-In-Water (O/W)Non-ionic/Anionic...Notes
Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate (CSL)5.1Yes-Anionic(Almost) all natural (see sodium stearoyl lactylate) but may or may not be considered vegan; derived from stearic and lactic acids; used to create a smooth, oily feeling to cosmetics
Ceteareth-2015.2-YesNon-ionicCeteareth is a natural fatty acid derived from coconut oil. The number (20) refers to ethylene oxide, which is industrially produced by oxidizing ethylene, a natural plant hormone
Cetearyl Glucoside11-YesNon-ionicCetearyl is formed from the condensation of cetearyl alcohol. Glucosides (a sugar) are common in plants and can be hydrolysed chemically or naturally through enzymes or fermentation.
Cetearyl Alcohol15.5-YesNon-ionicA mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols that come from either vegetable or synthetic sources.
Ceteth-1012.9-YesNon-ionicSynthetic polymer, the number corresponds to the amount of ethylene oxide
Ceteth-25.3-YesNon-ionicSynthetic polymer, the number corresponds to the amount of ethylene oxide
Ceteth-2015.7-YesNon-ionicSynthetic polymer, the number corresponds to the amount of ethylene oxide
Cocamide MEA13.5-YesNon-ionicDerived from the fatty acids in coconut oil and monoethanolamine (MEA), an organic chemical compound with an unhealthy reputation
Glyceryl Laurate5.2Yes-Non-ionicAll natural, derived from glycerin (animal or palm kernel/soy/vegetable fat) and lauric acid (often found in coconuts)
Glyceryl Stearate3.8YesYesNon-ionicAll natural, derived from glycerin (animal or palm kernel/soy/vegetable fat) and stearate (a salt derived from either animal or vegetable fat)
Glyceryl Stearate SE5.8Yes-Non-ionicAll natural, the 'SE' refers to "self-emulsifying" (contain both o/w and w/o emulsifiers), which is the 3-6% of potassium stearate (potassium salt of stearic acid)
Glycol Distearate1-5Yes-CovalentChemical compound that combines stearic acid (derived from animal or vegetable fat) with ethylene glycol (organic compound, toxic if ingested, used to keep product from melting in high temperatures); produces pearlescent effects like bath gel, foaming
Glycol Stearate2.9YesYesCovalentOrganic compound that is the ester of stearic acid (derived from animal or vegetable fat) and ethylene glycol (organic compound, toxic if ingested, used to keep product from melting in high temperatures) . An ester is an organic compound that reacts with water to produce alcohols and acids.
Isoceteth-2015.7-YesNon-ionicSynthetic polymer
Isosteareth-2015-YesNon-ionicSynthetic polymer
Lauramide DEA15-YesNon-ionicFoaming agent. A mixture of ethanolamides (not a healthy solution) of lauric acid (European commission prohibits DEA in cosmetics due to toxic effects on brain and body)
Laureth-2316.9-YesNon-ionicSynthetic polymer
Laureth-49.7-YesNon-ionicSynthetic polymer
Lecithin4Yes-AnionicAll natural fatty tissue found in plants and animals. Most commonly available at nutrition store from sunflowers or soya. Absorbs deeply into skin and takes other compounds with it. Good to use with natural products, not so great with unhealthy ingredients (bec the bad ingredients will soak deeply into skin). Lecithin also reduces viscosity (thickness).
Lecithin9.7-YesAnionicAll natural fatty tissue found in plants and animals.
Linoleamide DEA10-YesNon-ionicA mixture of ethanolamides (not a healthy solution) of linoleic acid. (European commission prohibits DEA in cosmetics due to toxic effects on brain and body)
Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate6.6Yes-Non-ionicMixture of methyl glucoside (a sugar derived from glucose in a lab) and stearic acid (natural fatty acid found in plants and animals). Stearic acid is used as a thickener/hardener in cosmetics.
Oleth-1012.4-YesSynthetic polymer
Oleth-10 / Polyoxyl 10 Oleyl Ether NF12.4-YesSynthetic polymer
Oleth-24.9-YesSynthetic polymer
Oleth-2015.3-YesSynthetic polymer
Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate5-6Yes-Non-ionicAll natural. A polyglycerol (comes from castor oil) with 3 glycerol units (animal fat or vegetable oil) and 2 units of isostearic acid (a fatty acid from animal or vegetable that comes from a reaction of oleic acid with a mineral catalyst)
Polysorbate 2016.7-YesNon-ionicPolysorbate is a sugar alcohol (derived mostly from corn syrup or fruits), that is then "ethoxylated". The number refers to # parts of ethylene oxide, which can be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane - a toxic substance that may occur during ethoxylation.
Polysorbate 6014.9-YesNon-ionicPolysorbate is a sugar alcohol (derived mostly from corn syrup or fruits), that is then "ethoxylated". The number refers to # parts of ethylene oxide, which can be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane - a toxic substance that may occur during ethoxylation.
Polysorbate 8015-YesNon-ionicPolysorbate is a sugar alcohol (derived mostly from corn syrup or fruits), that is then "ethoxylated". The number refers to # parts of ethylene oxide, which can be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane - a toxic substance that may occur during ethoxylation.
Polysorbate 8511-YesNon-ionicPolysorbate is a sugar alcohol (derived mostly from corn syrup or fruits), that is then "ethoxylated". The number refers to # parts of ethylene oxide, which can be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane - a toxic substance that may occur during ethoxylation.
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (SSL)8.3-YesAnionic(Almost) all natural. Similar to Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate - combines lactic acid & stearic acid (all natural), then reacts with sodium or calcium hydroxide (a manufactured substance also known as lye) to make a sodium or calcium salt.
Sorbitan Isostearate4.7Yes-Non-ionicSynthetic surfactant composed of sorbitol (a sugar alcohol) and isostearic acid (fatty acid produced by reaction of oleic acid with natural mineral)
Sorbitan Laurate8.6Yes-Non-ionicA sugar alcohol that is found naturally in fruits and berries, or can be produced synthetically from cornstarch.
Sorbitan Oleate4.3Yes-Non-ionicA sugar alcohol that is found naturally in fruits and berries, or can be produced synthetically from cornstarch.
Sorbitan Palmitate6.7Yes-Non-ionicA sugar alcohol that is found naturally in fruits and berries, or can be produced synthetically from cornstarch.
Sorbitan Sesquioleate3.7Yes-Non-ionicA synthetic surfactant and emulsifier based on sorbitol and modified oleic acid
Sorbitan Stearate4.7Yes-Non-ionicCan be all natural or produced synthetically. Composed of sorbitol (a sugar alcohol obtained from glucose) and stearic acid (animal or vegetable fatty acid), has thickening properties
Sorbitan Stearate (and) Sucrose Cocoate6-YesNon-ionicimproves water resistance (good for sun screen)
Sorbitan Trioleate1.8Yes-Non-ionicThree ester groups of oleic acid and sorbitol, soft skin feel (can be animal or vegetable source)
Sorbitan Tristearate (STS)2.1Yes-Non-ionicThree ester groups of stearic acid and sorbitol (can be animal or vegetable source)
Stearamide MEA11YesA mixture of ethanolamides (organic chemical compound) of stearic acid, foam booster, used to increase thickness. May cause eye, skin and/or lung irritation. Can be vegetable, animal or synthetic
Steareth-24.9-YesNon-ionicsynthetic surfactant
Steareth-1012.4-YesNon-ionicsynthetic surfactant
Steareth-2015.3-YesNon-ionicsynthetic surfactant
Steareth-2115.5-YesNon-ionicsynthetic surfactant
Stearic Acid15-Yes-Natural fatty acid found in plants and animals (found in animal fat, cocoa butter and vegetable fats such as palms). Waxy solid used as a thickener/hardener in cosmetics.

Note: This chart is a guide not an authority. Contact BAAST.ca to contribute edits.