Why do Natural Products Separate?


Why do Natural Products Separate?


Informative | Natural Skincare

By: Joanna Jones   16th May, 2022

For those of us that are accustomed to using all natural products, we are used to the separation that usually occurs and know to always shake the bottle/container before use. However, for those that are just making the transition over from the typical synthetic, chemically laden skin and hair care products, the natural separation may be a bit off putting. The newly transitioned individuals may feel as though there is something wrong with their products or that it is subpar. Trust me, this is NOT the case. All natural products generally do not use the chemical binding agents or toxic emulsifiers that their synthetic counter parts do. Most of these types of ingredients are not healthy for our dermal layers nor our internal systems. They are readily absorbed by our largest organ, the skin. So, what we are left with, when moving over to more natural ingredients, is that they do eventually separate. Think of oil and water, they don’t always like to remain friends without a bit of help. And a gentle shake would generally suffice.


Let’s talk binding agents. Binding agents are substances that hold or draws other materials together mechanically, chemically or as an adhesive, to form a cohesive whole. There are many synthetic ingredients, such as glyceryl stearate, polysorbates, stearic acid, butylene glycol, PEG, triethanolamine, and more, that are used in most commercial skin and hair care products. These ingredients leave much to be desired by way of how they interact with our internal systems.   


Emulsifiers are substances that stabilize emulsions and prevent products from separating. An emulsion is a smooth blend of oil and water. Think of creams and lotions.  This issue with emulsifiers is they can impair your trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) and lipid (oil) dryness.  If you have ever experienced tight and/dry skin after cleansing, or if you felt like you needed to reapply your moisturizer twice a day; you may be experiencing the “wash-out” effect of emulsifiers (they do NOT lose their emulsifying abilities in the skin, esp when your skin comes in contact with water). There are a few other issues with emulsifiers such as: altering and lowering the ability of our skin barrier to defend itself against external elements, can be very irritating to the skin (even more so than fragrances or preservatives).