Natural Living

By Irene Fogarty

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e·mul·si·fi·er (-mls-fr)
n. An agent used to make an emulsion of a fixed oil.

Q. What is an emulsifier?
A. Emulsifiers are binding agents that bind water and oil together, they are generally waxed based products.

Q. Why are emulsifiers so important in products?
A. Emulsifiers are important because they maintain a stabilized product so that the product doesn’t separate and allow soils and waters to be mixed.

I believe in water-based products, because they allow all the wonderful nurturing ingredients of a product to be totally absorbed into the skin and not sit on the surface of the water.

Q. What are good and bad emulsifiers?
A. Good emulsifiers: are vegetable waxes such as palms, coconut, also the process of obtaining these emulsifiers is also important.

Bad emulsifiers: Tricetheareth-4 Phosphate or trideceth -3, -6, 10, etc: a compound used as an emulsifier. This is polyethylene glycol ether of tridecyl alcohol which usually combined with paraffin which is petro-chemically derived. Anytime you see paraffin or mineral oil, they are most likely petro-chemically derived.

Q. What emulsifiers do you use in Kimberly Sayer products and why?
A. We only use a water processing method to extract these emulsifiers from their sources, which created a very gentle and on-solvent product. We use a lot of vegetable wax like palm coconut.

Q. What should we be looking out for when we check out ingredients on the back of the jar?
A. Truthfully, it’s really hard for the average consumer to know which products are the emulsifiers. Best thing to do really, is to buy a glossary or book that allows you to be able to look this information up while you’re shopping. So you can see what the product’s emulsifiers are and whether or not they’re good or bad. Again the processing is also important when looking for an organic source. The best advice I can give is to use a good organic product that’s manufacturing processes are pure and clean. Be advised, that some ingredients function as both as an emollient and emulsifier.

Kimberly Sayer
Product collection is available at Whole Foods Markets, and select spas and salons around the world, via the web at Or give her call for one of her incredible anti-aging facial treatments (212) 414-7701.

Originally published February 2006



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One Response to “Emulsifiers 101 – Everything you need to know about emulsifiers according to Kimberly Sayer”

Katha Says:

I am strictly vegetalien,I like to know which emulsfiers are non-vegetalian?
Thank you

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