Creating stable, squeezable anhydrous systems comes with a unique set of formulating challenges. The key to tackling these challenges is leveraging ingredients that increase performance with a range of other ingredients. Kester Wax K-82P is that “team captain” plasticizer. In combination with structurant waxes and emollient oils, Kester Wax K-82P provides system stability, while promoting the right gel formation to keep formulas including lip glosses and gels flowing from the tube smoothly.

Steer Clear of Bad Shear

Squeezable anhydrous systems must exit the tube at a rate that makes it a pleasure to squeeze—and they must have a break that matches the product’s intended use. And while that is easy to say, getting the formula right requires a precise combination of ingredients at the right ratios.

To hit the “sweet spot” for squeezability, the right structure is crucial (and different depending on the packaging). Structure can be measured using a penetrometer. Different measurements correspond to different formula structures and types. The chart below shows optimum values for squeezables:

Cone penetration range (dmm) Structure description Formula examples
>150 Flowable Facial oils, serums
70-150 Soft gels, easy to scoop / squeeze Ointments, jellies
40-70 Soft/medium gels, require some “digging” Pot lip balms, harder body balms, pot make-up
30-40 Stick with ability to propel/repel, with high payout Deodorants, mineral sunscreens, softer stick make-up
15-30 Stick with ability to propel/repel, with medium payout Classic lip balms and lip sticks, pencils, organic sunscreen sticks
<15 Hard sticks or bars with low payout, need to be warmed or rubbed Hair and body bars

The gel chart below presents the opportunity to predict how much wax is needed to create a system with a specific hardness / penetration. The chart is specific to Synthetic Wax (a very efficient structurant), Beeswax and Rice Bran Wax (849) (two moderate structurants), and Kester Wax K-82P (a plasticizer), in caprylic triglyceride (CCT) as the oil medium.

Structuring Waxes vs Plasticizing Waxes

One key takeaway from this chart is that structurants and plasticizers work synergistically. Too little structuring wax (2-5%) causes instability and textural problems, too much plascticizing wax (30-35%) may be cost prohibitive and may create sensory issues as well.

The best option is to use a combination of structuring waxes (5-10%) to strengthen the gel network but counter the hardness with Kester Wax K-82P at the recommended level of 5-25% for a stable squeezable product. The percentages will vary depending on the other waxes in the system and the overall structure and texture your product range requires.

Example Formulations to Take a Shine to

When you are looking for fun and function, squeezable lip balms and lip glosses are the go-to products. The playful texture gives the lip a glow up that is thoroughly on trend.

Squeezable Lip Balm with K-82P

Formula #: 5/23-858/154-4

This sample formula offers a squeezable, anhydrous system that uses traditional ingredients. It is a vegan formulation, protecting lips with a soothing texture that spreads easily and doesn’t feel greasy. With the added advantage of a substantial percentage of natural ingredients, labeling remains on-trend.

Ingredient Trade Name INCI Name %
Phase A
Kester Wax K-82P C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate 10.0
Synkos 2050 Synthetic Wax 10.0
Olive Oil Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil 27.0
Coconut Oil Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil 27.0
Jojoba Oil Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil 25.8
Phytrox LT10-IP MB CO Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lecithin 0.2

Squeezable Lip Gloss with K-82P

Formula #: 5/22-421/849/154-19

Lip gloss always puts the “fun” in functional. And the Kester Wax K-82P means it stays that way. This formulation incorporates natural waxes and oils to give just the right texture, gloss, and spreadability. The combination gives lips sleek color in a spreadable gloss that leaves them soft and feeling pleasantly non-greasy.

Ingredient Trade Name INCI Name %
Phase A
Beeswax Beeswax 3.0
Rice Bran Wax (849) Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax 3.0
Kester Wax K-82P C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate 25.0
Castor Oil Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil 29.0
Jojoba Oil Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil 6.2
Jeechem CTG Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride 23.0
Vitamin E Acetate Tocopherol Acetate 0.8
Sumicos Iridescent Pink Mica (and) Titanium dioxide 7.0
Prestige Soft Fire Red Mica (and) Iron oxides 3.0

Give Your Systems Structure and Staying Power

The benefits of using the right plasticizer in anhydrous formulations are demonstrated in gel structure and stability over use and time. Kester Wax K-82P is uniquely formulated to regulate formula texture, and is particularly effective in making gels, jellies, and squeezables. If you would like more information about creating or improving anhydrous systems, please contact us to make Koster Keunen part of your formulation team.

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About Koster Keunen

Koster Keunen has been working with wax since 1852 and has used our extensive experience and knowledge base to continuously develop new chemistries. Whether you are developing a new product, or need help with a reformulation or replacement, contact us to learn more about how we source, refine or develop waxes so you can create the perfect formula.