Carbomer: Overview, Advantages, and Tips to Use

In the 21st-century beauty industry, many products contain carbomer as an ingredient. The white, fluffy powder works as a ph-sensitive gelling thickener in cosmetics and personal care products to control their viscosity. 

A series of crosslinked polymers made from acrylic acid, carbomers have properties to distribute or suspend a solid material into liquid. In skincare, carbomer acts as an emulsifier that stabilizes a solution or thickens it. The ingredient is used in creams, lotions, and gels for a smooth texture. In personal care products, it comes with a number such as 910, 934, 934P, 940, and 941. These numbers represent the molecular weight and specific polymer components. 

Carbopol 940 is a commonly used ph-sensitive gelling thickener that helps formulate clear gels or stabilize emulsions. It is a versatile and safe ingredient that features properties, such as high clarity, high viscosity, and short flow properties. It can be transferred into carbomer gel to produce skin and hair care products. 

Although carbomer is a natural substance, it is safe to use. It doesn’t pose any kind of threat during or after the usage. By choosing the right usage level, it can help create a stable free-flowing product to gels. 

Advantages of Carbomer

Carbomer is a useful ingredient that the personal care industry uses to create various kinds of products. It doesn’t have any side effects. 

  • Less than 1% polymer can effectively thicken the water.
  • Carbomer suspends solids and turns them into gels.
  • The polymer can be used to make emulsifier-free oil.
  • Carbomer can effectively stabilize water in oil. 

Uses of Carbomer

Carbomer can be used in a range of skin and hair care products. Some of the common products with the ingredient are hair styling gels, lotions, moisturizing gels, bath gels, and creams. Generally, it is used between 0.1% and 0.5% in a formulation. Its usage depends on a formulation where it is being used and the desired product. 

In personal care products, the polymer is used as a thickening agent to manage viscosity and flow of formulations. In addition to suspending solids into liquids, it helps prevent oil and solution from separating. When mixed in water, it can help formulate gel-like liquid. 

The polymer is designated as a safe ingredient that comes with low potential for skin irritation and phototoxicity. 

Tips to Use Carbomer

Carbomers are generally used to control the consistency and flow of a solution. For the desired results, it is necessary to use the ingredient in the right amount.

  • The polymers can be added to emulsions by putting them in oil before emulsification.
  • Powdered carbomers can be added directly to water to achieve the desired thickness.
  • In the case of gelling up to 90% ethanol, it is essential to neutralize carbomer with dow chemical. 
  • During the manufacturing process, granulated grades can be used to reduce dusting issues. 
  • The polymer is UV sensitive. It is necessary to incorporate a UV absorber into formulations during the time of packing. 


Carbomer is an ingredient that needs to be mixed with other formulations to make personal care products. It is not intended to be taken for internal use. During the time of mixing it with other formulations, it is essential to use the ingredient in a controlled manner. 

Final Words

Carbomer makes an incredible thickening agent to stabilize emulsions and make crystal clear gels. It comes with a range of features and benefits for the beauty care industry. By understanding its properties and applications, people can make useful personal care products. It is necessary to learn the right usage to ensure that high viscosity can be achieved in a product.