Emulsifying wax

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Emulsifying wax is a cosmetic emulsifying ingredient. The ingredient name is often followed by the initials NF, indicating that it conforms to the specifications of the National Formulary.

Emulsifying wax is created when a wax material (either a vegetable wax of some kind or a petroleum-based wax) is treated with a detergent (typically sodium dodecyl sulfate or polysorbates) to cause it to make oil and water bind together into a smooth emulsion. It is a white waxy solid with a low fatty alcohol odor.

The ingredients for Emulsifying Wax NF are: Cetearyl Alcohol, and a polyoxyethylene derivative of a fatty acid ester of sorbitan (a polysorbate).[1]

In a cosmetic product, if the emulsifying wax used meets the standards for the National Formulary, it may be listed in the ingredient declaration by the term "emulsifying wax NF".[2] Otherwise, the emulsifier is considered a blended ingredient and the individual components must be listed individually in the ingredient declaration, placed appropriately in descending order of predominance in the whole.[3]


  1. ^ [1] Emulsifying Wax (US Pharmacopeia)
  2. ^ [2] 21 CFR 701.3(c)(2)(iii)
  3. ^ [3] Cosmetic Labeling Manual - Order of Declaration (FDA)