Guide To Thickeners for Cosmetic Formulations

For the best sensorial textures

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As consumers will tell you, textures form a large part when it comes to whether they would purchase a cosmetic product. From rich to lightweight, sticky to powdery—the texture and sensorial feel can make or break a product.

At Sensient Beauty, there are a wide range of thickeners that can enhance the stability and overall performance of the product, all while giving it a uniform consistency and smoothness during application.

Covacryl range

The Covacryl range are synthetic thickeners designed for transparent and opaque formulations. There are five variations in this range—Covacryl AC, Covacryl PA, Covacryl RH, Covacryl SP and Covacryl MV60.

Covacryl AC

This linear sodium polyacrylate is perfect for formulating clear water-based gels. It has a high compatibility with alcohol and produces a lightweight stringy texture. When used on paper sheet masks, the formula enhances adhesion to the skin and prevent dripping. It gives a smooth and lubricating texture, leaving skin feeling moisturised and plump. This thickener is idea for use with essences, serums and tissue sheet masks.

Covacryl PA
Cosmetics Thickeners - Covacryl

Covacryl PA produces a stringy and non0sticky texture for high viscosity hydrogel formula. It has a high compatability with alcohol and provides a smooth and lubricating feel on the skin with a thin film. The after-feel is lightweight and doesn’t leave a sticky feeling. Covacryl PA has a wide variety of applications— it can be added to covalent ion compounds to create a hydrogel, which can then be made into face masks or under-eye patches.

The stringy texture also proves beneficial for night creams as sleeping masks as the thin film it leaves behind envelops the skin to help it feel hydrated. It can also be used on cleansing and body products due to its longer play time.

Lastly, Covacryl PA can also be applied on makeup. Complexion makeup benefit from its lightweight texture. Mascaras, when combined with lengthening fibers, give an excellent elongating effect for the lashes.

Covacryl RH

Covacryl RH is a crosslinked sodium polyacrylate which can be used to formulate clear, non-sticky and non-stringy water-based gels. However, this thickener is not ideal for use with acids (maximum pH of 8 to 9) and salts. It gives a rich and luxurious texture that leaves a thin film.

It can be used in creams and sunscreens, as well as oily water-based gels. It has a wide variety of use cases for complexion and eye makeup, as well as body care products.

Covacryl SP

This acrylic based thickener gives a light and fresh feeling on the skin, bursting with hydration. It disperses well in water under stirring, and is compatible with alcohol (more than 50%). When used in formulations, it’s ideal for lightweight serums that quenches skin to give a soothing and cooling feeling upon application.

Covacryl MV60

Covacryl MV60 gives a silicone-like feel to the product, leaving a velvety feel after application. Skin feels powdery to the touch, with a matte finish. When used in skincare, it can produce a refreshing and cooling texture.

Serums with a tacky feel can be combined with Covacryl MV60 to improve the texture. It can also be used on a variety of formulations to produce unique textures like frosted gel, fluffy mousse and tofu-like creams. When used in makeup formulations, it can improve spreadability and leaves a powdery matte texture, ideal for those who are concerned with shine.

Natural Thickeners


Derived from potato, Covagel is a natural texturing agent gives products a powdery and velvety finish that cools the skin. When added to water, produces a mousse-like, bouncy texture, while when added to waxes and oils produces a soft cream that’s easy to rinse. It’s a natural alternative to Covacryl MV60.

Covagel gives a frosted gel appearance to the formula and enhances the fresh sensory feel of the product. It can also be added to an oil cream like the Cleansing Mask Stick (SCT 6333 SCF) that cleanses, purifies and hydrates at once. When added to Covacryl MV60, Covagel produces a fresh gel that will enhance the application of hydrating and soothing products like the Fresh Frosted After-Sun Gel (SCT2302).

Fructan Gum
K-beauty Covascreen

Derived from the Chicory root, this 100% natural thickener offers excellent pigment, pearl and powder dispersion. It’s non-ionic, making it compatible with salts and gives an opaque appearance to the formula. When applied, the product melts onto skin, leaving a thin film on skin that doesn’t feel oily. It can be used on a range of cosmetic products, including cleansers, creams, emulsions and makeup.

Natpure Cellgum Plus


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This natural thickener is derived from tree fibers that are processed with cellulose gum for easy dispersion in water. It is able to stabilize an emulsion of pigment, pearls and powders and makes for a good spray/mist formulations. The thickener gives a light texture that doesn’t feel sticky after application. Natpure Cellgum Plus has a variety of uses, including cream gel, mist, sheet masks, wet wipes, serums and creams.

When used in skincare like serums, baby lotions, and spray-on milk, it’s able to provide lightweight hydration. It can also be included in mascara formulas like the Color & Care Mascara SCT6156 SMM which is an intense black mascara that offers lash care benefits.

Contact us to find out in-depth how the use of our thickeners can help formulate the ideal product for your brand. Reach out to us to learn more about our portfolio of natural and synthetic thickeners.

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