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Carbomers

Carbomers are the most commonly used thickener for cosmetics.  They consist of a high molecular weight polymer with acrylic acid as a phase stabilizer.  Carbomer is also commonly referred to as polyacrylic acid (PAA).  The major differences among Carbomer products are the viscosity, and the solvents and crosslinking agents used in manufacturing.  Carbomer codes (e.g., 940, 941, 980, 981, etc.) are an indication of molecular weight and the specific components of the polymer.

Carbomers will absorb and retain fluid.  They are used as a thickening, mixing and emulsion stabilizers in a variety of products such as gels, creams, lotions, shampoos and cleansers.  Their role in cosmetics is to suspend solid in liquids, prevent emulsions from separating and control the consistency in flow.

In aqueous solution at neutral pH, Carbomers are anionic polymers, i.e. many of the side chains of polyacrylic acid will lose their protons and acquire a negative charge. This makes Carbomers polyelectrolytes, with the ability to absorb and retain water and swell to many times their original volume.

Carbomers are neutralized in an alkaline solution and yield a clear gel.

In dry form, Carbomers are white, fluffy powders.

Silver Fern Chemical, Inc., offers a line of Carbomers that economically and effectively substitute in for a range of Lubrizol Carbopol® Brand Carbomers.

 

Silver Fern Carbomer Product CodeCAS #Lubrizol Carbopol Brand EquivalentAppearanceViscosity, cP (0.5wt% at pH 7.5FeaturesApplications
 SF-CB-940  9003-01-4 Carbopol 940  Powder  40,000-60,000   High viscosity, High clarity, Short flow properties, High suspending ability  Clear hydroalcoholic gels, Hair styling gels, Moisturizing gels, Lotions, Creams, Shampoos, Body washes, Bath gels
 SF-CB-941  9003-01-4 Carbopol 941 Powder  4,000-11,000   High viscosity, High clarity, Long flow properties, High suspending ability  Lotions, Creams, Clear gels, Hydroalcoholic gels, Moderately ionic systems
 SF-CB-980 9003-01-4  Carbopol 980  Powder  40,000-60,000   High viscosity, High clarity, Short flow properties, High suspending ability  Clear hydroalcoholic gels, Moisturizing gels, Lotions, Creams, Suncreen lotions, Hair styling gels, Shampoos, Body washes
 SF-CB-981 9003-01-4  Carbopol 981  Powder  4,000-11,000   High viscosity, High clarity, Long flow properties, High suspending ability  Lotions, Creams, Clear gels, Hydroalcoholic gels, Moderately ionic systems
 SF-CB-1342  9007-20-9  Carbopol 1342 Powder  7,500-15,200  High clarity, Rich creamy feel, High compatibility with anionic surfactants, Suspending ability Hydroalcoholic gels, Shampoos, Cleaning products, Clear gels
 SF-CB-1382 9007-20-9  Carbopol 1382  Powder  25,000-45,000 (1.0 wt%)   High clarity, Rich creamy feel, High compatibility with anionic surfactants, Suspending ability  Lotions, Creams, Gels, Body wash, Facial care, Cleansers, Shampoo, Hair Styling products, Sun care
 SF-CB-SW 10 195739-91-4  Carbopol Ultrez 10  Powder  45,000-65,000   Rapid self-wetting and dispersion, High viscosity, Light feel on skin, Short flow characteristics, Suspending agent  Bath gels, Hydroalcoholic gels, Lotions, Creams, Sunscreen
 SF-CB-GD-2020 176429-87-1  Carbopol ETD-2020  Powder  47,000-77,000 (1.0 wt%)   Easy to disperse version of HK-1342, High clarity, Rich creamy feel, High compatibility with anionic surfactants, Suspending ability  Hydroalcoholic gels, Clear gles, Shampoos, Cleaning products
 SF-CB-990 9003-01-4  Carbopol 990  Powder  45,000-65,000   Suspending agent, Highly efficient thickening, suspending & stabilizing, High viscosity, High clarity, Short flow property Hydroalcoholic gels, Hair styling gels, Shampoos, Body wash, Alcohol fuel gels
 SF-CB-676 210823-49-7  Carbopol 676  Powder  45,000-80,000   High viscosity, Suspending ability  Dish care, Surface care, Fabric Care, Gelled fuels