Vegetable Emulsifying Wax is an emulsifier used in many cosmetic and skincare company products, to keep oil and water from separating. In the cosmetic industry, this is one of the most difficult challenges for companies who strive to use only natural ingredients in formulating creams and lotions. During production, the initial dispersion of water and oil will emulsify and life is great, but then the inevitable occurs. The emulsion breaks and you are left standing over a pot of separated water and oil that looks like drowned yogurt. What is one to do? Well, there are a few options.
ONE--live with it. If this is your choice, don't expect much in the way of sales, but sleep comfortably knowing you aren't adding chemicals to your skin.
TWO--Use a vegetable emulsifying wax and call it natural. After all, the original ingredient, prior to the chemical derivative, was natural.
THREE--find an alternative such as beeswax, candelilla wax, soy lecithin, xanthan gum, or a variety of other natural emulsifiers.
As mentioned earlier, vegetable emulsifying wax is a commonly used and controversial ingredient due to the inconsistency of the "naturalness" of the ingredient. Although it is loved by many in the skincare industry for its inexpensiveness and ability to emulsify without much effort, it is not considered to be a natural ingredient (even by those who sell it). It is derived from natural vegetable fatty alcohols; however to create the emulsifying effect, thickening properties are added, such as cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol, both of which may be produced from sperm whale oil or petroleum. Although vegetable emulsifying wax has been deemed "safe" by the cosmetic industry standards, these standards are not regulated by the government and should be researched by each individual who is concerned about using absorbable chemical ingredients on their skin.
Be aware of misguided labeling when making decisions about which products are truly natural and which are not. Anything that goes onto the skin has a strong likelihood of penetrating into the skin. Would anyone you know drink or eat petroleum products? Probably not.