Oil Polarity

Oil Polarity

What is Polarity?

Polarity refers to a compound or molecule’s tendency to be either attracted to or repelled by another.

A polar molecule is always seeking to bond with another polar molecule in order to become more balanced. A non-polar molecule, however, is already balanced.

Water is polar because of its shape. The hydrogen ends of the molecule are positive and the oxygen end is negative. This causes water molecules to attract each other and other polar molecules.






Polarity of Oils

Oils can be either polar or non-polar. Whereas, some polar oils have a higher oil polarity index than others. The polar ity of an oil depends on whether or not different charges in the molecule are present locally.

This can make a significant difference in the development process, as cosmetic oils’ polarity may affect their stability and solubility.

In general, the higher the oil polarity index, the more challenging it is to emul sify or properly mix the ingredients.

Polarity of oils and Emulsifiers

Most emulsifiers work with both polar and not-polar oils but each emulsifier has its own specific preferences. This means that some emulsions work better with more polar oils and some prefer less polar oils.

Changing the polarity of the oils used in an emulsion can have a significant impact on the viscosity (and the stability), so experimentation may be necessary to achieve the best results.


As a result, polarity changes can make or break your formulation...


RAHN-Good-to-Know: Oil Polarity

PDF, 5 Pages, 1.3 MB

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Sandra Gut

Sandra Gut

Portfolio & Application Laboratory Manager Cosmetics

RAHN (UK) Ltd.