Liquid Crystals in Emulsions
April 15, 2022
By definition, an emulsion is a stable dispersion of two or more liquids that are normally not miscible (think oil and water!)
Emulsions are formed when a third component that loves both oil and water is added: a surfactant (and a little agitation too!).
According to final arrangement of water and oil phases you can create different types of emulsions (depending on your emulsifier, your phases, your process etc…):
In O/W emulsions, the interface between the oil droplet and the water phase can be stabilized by different types of ingredients:
Some emulsifiers can create lamellar phase emulsions, by structuring the aqueous phase, and arranging themselves in bilayered sheets around the oil droplets. They can form a liquid crystalline phase, or a gel phase.
This lamellar phases formation can be seen:
Due to their organization, lamellar phase emulsions have multiple benefits in beauty formulations :
Read more (opens new window) on the biomimetic emulsifier MONTANOV™ 202 and its benefits
The Montanov™ range is natural, non-ionic emulsifiers, made of optimized associations of sugars and fatty alcohols, linked with a stable bond.
They have the ability to create lamellar phase emulsions, with an exceptional stability, skin feel and skin benefits.
They can be used across a wide range of pH levels, are compatible with a wide range of oils, active ingredients, mineral charge and pigments,...
Which MONTANOV™ to use?
For a Rich skin feel: MONTANOV™ 68 MB (opens new window) (Cream to butter textures) or MONTANOV™ 82 (opens new window)(Spray to thick textures)
For a Light skin feel: MONTANOV™ 202 (opens new window) (Spray to thick textures) or MONTANOV™ L (opens new window) (Spray to butter textures)
Combine them for a diversity of textures and skin feels and optimum stability!
MONTANOV™ can be added in the heated oily phase (or can be added to the water phase if the oil % is low). Add the oil phase to the heated water phase, and emulsify with a homogenizer (rotor stator). Cold gradually and gently to 50C, to allow the formation of liquid crystals. Finish the cooling with gentle to moderate stirring and add stressful ingredients at the end of the process.
View example video with MONTANOV™ L!
 Terescenco, D et al. “Influence of the emollient on emulsions containing lamellar liquid crystals: from molecular organization towards applicative properties.” International journal of cosmetic science vol. 40,6 (2018): 565-574. doi:10.1111/ics.12498. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303546/ - available upon request