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Founded in Japan in 1931, Iwase Cosfa has more than 90 years of experience in the distribution of cosmetic ingredients. Their ingredients are unique with high added value and will contribute to the creation of innovative formulas. Iwase Cosfa is committed to provide personalized monitoring and advice to all their customers. Before we dive deeper into their innovative formulations using different emulsion techniques, let's quickly go back to the basic: what is emulsion, and what are some of the challenges that come with it?

What is emulsion?

If we look emulsion up in the dictionary, it is defined as "a fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible." Think of trying to mix water and oil: you can shake it as hard as you like, but eventually the two will separate. This is where emulsifiers step in: emulsifiers are ingredients that stabilize the emulsion and influence the consistency of the formulations, making it possible to get a stable mixture of immiscible liquids.

In cosmetics and personal care, emulsifiers allow formulators to create products that contain both an oil and a water phase. There are three types of emulsions: water-in-oil (W/O); oil-in-water (O/W); and complex emulsions such as water-in-oil-in-water (W/O/W) or oil-in-water-in-oil (O/W/O), also known as multiple emulsions.

Challenges when it comes to emulsion

As mentioned above, if you're a formulator you are probably well aware of the challenges that arise when it comes to emulsions. When an emulsion is unstable, for example, this can lead to floating of droplets to the surface, cohesion between droplets, and finally creaming and separation of the formula. This can make the product unattractive for the end consumer to use.

The speed at which this separation occurs depends on the composition of the emulsion, and the type and concentration of the emulsifier used.

Iwase Cosfa's Emulsion Theory

This year at in-cosmetics Global 2023 Barcelona, Iwase Cosfa will be presenting their new concept "The Emulsion Theory".

With this concept, they are highlighting the know-how of how their formulators in their Japanese lab have formulated four formulas with very distinctive properties, all possible thanks to their knowledge of the emulsification mechanisms.

Text continues below imageNEW DESIGN 1 - PACK EMULSION THEORY

Comfort body cream

The first formula is called "Comfort Body Cream" and is realized with the alpha-gel technology. This unique emulsification process allows the creation of thick and rich oil-in-water emulsions. The alpha-gel technology relies on a very precise control of melting point of higher alcohols and their crystallization temperature once the emulsion cools down, and the HLB (hydrophilic-lipophilic balance) of the system. The emulsifier forms a liquid crystal in the aqueous phase and while the temperature of the system drops, this structure turns into an alpha-gel (a more solid structure that encloses an oil droplet). This conformation adds texture and viscosity, without greasy and oily residue. The stability and water-retaining ability of the emulsion are also greatly increased.

"Real" shower oil

The second formula presented by Iwase Cosfa is a "real" shower oil — real, because it is mainly made up of oily materials, without any foaming and irritating surfactants. Its cleaning power lies in the amphiphilic character of its natural emulsifiers (Polyglyceryl Fatty Acid Esters). The control of the total HLB of the system is the key to this formula. Once in contact with water, the emulsification begins, and the oil turns into a milky substance. By adjusting the HLB, the speed of transformation can be controlled to fit, for example, different qualities of water (from hard to soft water), or different product applications.

Hydro sunscreen

Another one of Iwase Cosfa's innovative formulations is called "Hydro Sunscreen" — an O/W emulsion with a very light texture for daily sun protection. The challenge here was to incorporate mineral filters within an O/W emulsion, while keeping a decent SPF of 15. Its quick break effect provides immediate comfort and a fresh feeling.

Face cleansing oil

Lastly, Iwase Cosfa's partner Sakamoto Yakuhin Kogyo developed a face cleansing oil with just three ingredients. The mechanism of emulsification is the key for effective makeup and impurity removal. Once in contact with water, this oil doesn't emulsify right away, but forms big micelles while keeping an oily appearance, to bind with the undesirable substances. Then, once in contact with a larger amount of water like a shower flow, it emulsifies completely and turns into a milk for easy removal without oil residues on the face. This process is hard to master, but also greatly appreciated by Japanese customers, who are enthusiastic consumers of bath rituals.


Iwase Cosfa's formulations stand out as unique and innovative solutions to the emulsion challenges faced in the cosmetic industry. Visit Iwase Cosfa at the sensory bar at in-cosmetics Global this year to witness firsthand how their formulations are transforming beauty as we know it. We encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to learn how they can help your beauty business succeed in the competitive cosmetic market. 

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