September 25, 2022


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Xanthan Gum

2 min read
xanthan gum -

INCI: Xanthan Gum

Xanthan Gum is a known thickener (rheology modifier) used quite often in a number of commercial and handmade products.   It stabilizes your emulsions (lotions, creams, conditioners, etc) and creates gels.  

For example, its used to turn honey water + glycerin into a soft curl enhancing hair gel.  Its not only used in cosmetics but also food products.  You can find it in everything from bread to ice cream.  Its often used in making gluten free food.

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It can help thicken lotions, creams, and even shampoos. However, you shouldn’t use it if you’re using “cationic” ingredients.  Cationic ingredients have a positive charge.

DO NOT use Xanthan Gum if you’re using BTMS, Honeyquat, Polyquat 7, or the preservative called Tinosan.   Something about these ingredients and Xanthan have been known to conflict with each other causing your oils and waters to separate.

swiftcrafymonkey TIP: Always use AT LEAST 0.1% Xanthan Gum in your mixes. Anything less can cause emulsion “flocculation” (lotion/cream failure).

One way to incorporate Xanthan Gum is to use the ‘solvent trick’.  What I mean is that you add your Xanthan gum to glycerin, NatureSilk, or Caprylic Capric Triglyceride.  Then add that mix into water and stir vigorously or use a stick blender to ensure incorporation.

Add Xanthan gum (or xanthan gum + solvent) to room temperature water. Give it time to mix/dissolve/hydrate.  The typical usage rate is about 1%, but you MAY NOT NEED that much. So start off with about 0.3% and see if you like that.

I’ve used Xanthan gum to make a hair gel with Agave nectar and Flaxseed.  It really helps to turn your Flaxseed gel mix into more of a thick clingy gel instead of a regular okra like serum.

I’ve used a fair amount on my hair and I haven’t noticed any flakiness, like what could sometimes occur with Guar gum (for some reason).

Where to Buy:

Food grade (can also be used in cosmetics)
# Your local grocery store (Look for Bob’s Red Mill or another brand)


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