Creating Pickering emulsions for cosmetics and personal care formulations just got a whole lot simpler

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Creating Pickering emulsions for cosmetics and personal care formulations just got a whole lot simpler
Late last month, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago published findings in the peer-reviewed America Chemical Society’s journal Applied Materials & Interfaces. Their work promises to greatly simplify how stable, surfactant-free nanoemulsions are formed.

The article titled, Synthesizing Pickering Nanoemulsions by Vapor Condensation summarizes research and findings of Dong Jin Kang, Hassan Bararnia, and Sushant Anand. And according to the abstract, the team shows “that Pickering nanoemulsions can be obtained in a single step even at very low nanoparticle loadings (0.2 wt %) by condensing water vapor on a nanoparticle-infused subcooled oil that spreads on water.”

How now

The team’s vapor condensation technique requires cooling oil (with an adequate concentration of nanoparticles) below the dew point so water will condense on it and self-disperse allowing the nanoparticles to put themselves together around the water, therefore keeping the water droplets separate and resulting in a stable emulsion.

“What makes the whole thing exciting is that to make those emulsions in a traditional way, they had to undergo multiple steps. And they require a very high particle concentration to make small nanoemulsions,” ​explains assistant professor Anand in an item by David Staudacher of University of Illinois Chicago​ posted on

“But we are able to make the emulsions in a couple of minutes and make them very small – 10 times less concentration than what previous people have tried to do,” ​boasts Anand.

And, he believes the “technique is very scalable and can potentially be used on an industrial level. We have shown that it is highly energy efficient when compared to current techniques of making emulsions, and we were also able to provide a framework on the different factors that control the size of emulsions,” ​Anand tells Staudacher.

How else

This research project looks very similar to one Anand conducted with scientists from MIT. That team’s findings were published in Nature Communications.

But as Cosmetics Design reported​ that vapor condensation technique required a surfactant and entails “oil and surfactant [being] warmed up and then placed in a humid chamber. As the oil cools, the water vapor in the chamber condenses on the oil and disperse within it.”

The new research in Applied Materials & Interfaces can be accessed here​. And the earlier article in Nature Communications is here​.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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