Experiments with Heliogel



If being green in your manufacturing practice is of the utmost importance then you might want to try a cold process emulsifier.

Cold process emulsifiers are normally liquid, water and oil soluble and can be used –obviously – without any heat.  This cuts processing time energy, both of which will have an impact on man power and the environment.  

I don’t know about you but whenever I think I am going to spend some time in the lab with a liquid cold process emulsifier I always look forward to it. Normally, they are really easy to use and are failsafe, providing of course, you follow the rules.  You do not have to weigh ingredients individually into separate containers and spend time heating.  When I am playing-around-formulating, I love to plan my formula, and then hit the tare on the scales.  Sometimes making a cream can take 5-10 minutes this way!

There are a fair few cold process emulsifiers on the market but many have their downfalls, some , particularly the natural ones, give no, or virtually no, consistency.

Then you have ones that are purported to be all-in-ones like Arisoflex AVC or Lecigel;  both being thickeners, emulsifiers and stabilisers. The downside is that they cannot usually tolerate electrolytes so are not suitable for some of the useful ingredients we know and love or preservatives that contain salts/sodium – something that needs to be considered if you want to go close to natural or claim to be paraben free.

I have wanted to try Heliogel for over a year. I have used Lecigel on many occasion, and also her more natural counterpart Ecogel, but have been holding off on this one until today when I received my sample from Infinity Ingredients.

What is Heliogel?

Heliogels INCI  is :  Sodium acrylates copolymer (and) Hydrogenated polyisobutene (and) Phospholipids (and) Polyglyceryl-10 stearate (and) Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil

Appearance – It’s a Beige/brown cream as you can see from the picture below.   Lucus Meyer describe it as

''… a polymer with the emulsifying properties of sunflower phospholipids to obtain a self-emulsifying system.  With its multifunctional profile, Heliogel™ is an essential formulating partner which can successfully be used in all kinds of face and body care with a 3-in-1 action:

  • It thickens formulas from 0.5% Heliogel™ has an increasing thickening power depending on the percentage of use.

  • It emulsifies all types of oil phases and makes the obtaining of O/W gel-creams easier, without additional emulsifier or HLB calculation. It requires neither pre-dispersion nor neutralization and can be hot or cold processed. It is preferable to add Heliogel™ into the oil phase although it can be mixed directly with the aqueous phase under strong stirring.

  • It stabilizes emulsions from 0.2%. Moreover, sunflower phospholipids, naturally rich in essential fatty acids, restore the cutaneous balance and reduce TEWL thanks to their film-forming properties. They offer emollient and protection to the epidermis keeping the skin moisturized.’’



The manufacturer states that it is  stable over a wide range of pH.  It gels from pH 2 to 12 with an optimal viscosity between pH 4 and 8. It is also compatible with ethanol and with electrolytes.


Many of the ingredients would meet Ecocert standards however we have a problem when it comes to Sodium acrylates copolymer which is the sodium salt of Acrylic acid.  According to Wiki Acrylic acid is produced from propene which is a by product of ethylene and gasoline production.  As we know, gasoline is a mineral that is mined from the earth and then processed so to some it could be considered natural and to others, not so much. 

I would not consider this to be a sustainable product so if using sustainable ingredients or mineral derivatives is a no no for you then this product is probably is not for you.

Below are two formulas that I whipped up (in under 10 minutes I might add!)


Hydra-oxidant Post Shave Gel Cream with Pomegranate and HA

Hydra-oxidant Post Shave Gel Cream
1 Water Aqua QS
2 Laracare 200 Galactoarabinan 1.00
3 HA Sodium hyaluronate 0.1
4 Dermosoft OMP Methylpropanediol,Caprylyl Glycol, phenylpropanol 3.00
5 Heliogel Sodium acrylates copolymer (and) Hydrogenated polyisobutene (and) Phospholipids (and) Polyglyceryl-10 stearate (and) Helianthus nnuus (sunflower) seed oil
6 Pomegranate Extract Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Extract and Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract
7 Rosehip Extract Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract 5.00
8 Essential Oil Blend Lavender, parsley seed, Amarys , Orange EO 0.3

pH:  5.7


  1. Combine phase 1 to 4 in one beaker.

  2. Combine phase 5 to 8 in another beaker.

  3. Add water to oil and stir.

Notes: I added the water to the oil phase as it was just easier to get it out of the pot but you can do it the other way round.

This thickened upon stirring almost instantly.

I was not impressed with the smell - it is hard to describe politely but it is a sweet animistic type of smell.  I managed to mask it with some essential oils.  In hindsight I think this might have been due to the combination of the Heliogel and the natural smell of the Pomegranate seed extract.

Formula 2 (on the right)

Derma-cell Reboot with L-Arginine (FRAGRANCE FREE)

Derma-cell Reboot with L-Arginine (FRAGRANCE FREE)STAGE
1 Water Aqua QS
2 Glycerine Glycerin 5.00
3 Arginine Arginine 0.10
4 Heliogel Sodium acrylates copolymer (and) Hydrogenated polyisobutene (and) Phospholipids (and) Polyglyceryl-10 stearate (and) Helianthus nnuus (sunflower) seed oil
5 Plantasens Olive Olive Squalane 10.00
6 Geogard ECT Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Glycerin, Sorbic Acid 1.00

pH: 4.9


NOTE: This did not have the smell as I expect the preservative masked it. It smelt like the benzyl alcohol – marzipan/almond like so not unpleasant at all. I was a bit worried when I combined the two phases as there was no thickening for about 20 seconds of rapid stirring and then over about a few minutes it thickened up. It then carried on thickening whilst resting so that it was pretty densely packed.


Ease of use - so easy you don't feel like you are formulating!

Skin Feel - It is light and easily absorbed, a joy to use and elegant.  It has a slight stickiness to it which dissipated after a few seconds.

 All in all, it is something that should be kept in any self respecting formulators tool kit for ease of use, functionality and its compatibility with a number of essential ingredients.