Glucomannan; tips for using glucomannan powder in cosmetics

Some of you may be already familiar with glucomannan. I wrote an article about it and konjac sponge some time ago. However, I wanted to write a separate article about glucomannan. At first, I thought of linking recipes to this article. However, there is so much to talk about glucomannan that I will make a separate post about recipes later.

Glucomannan is obtained from the konjac plant, (Amorphophallus rivieri). The plant in the picture is sedated (Amorphophallus Titanum). It looks a bit like the konjac plant.
Photo gkgegk Pixabay

Glucomannan is a particularly versatile raw material for cosmetics. However, its use in homemade cosmetics is limited. I myself have actually favoured glucomannan in my own cosmetics for many years. I found it by chance in a sports nutrition store. Glucomannan is a versatile, easy and very stable raw material to boot inexpensive. I’ve tested many different glucomannan cosmetics formulas. Now I will share everything I have learned here with you. You really should utilize such a good and safe raw material.

Glucomannan is a pure natural product

Glucomannan is a fibre obtained, for example, from the konjac plant. It is the same plant that is the raw material for konjac sponges- Visit my article on konjac sponges and glucomannan. Pure glucomannan fibre is used both in foodstuff and as a dietary supplement.

In addition to the roots of the konjac plant, glucomannan is also obtained from the roots of other plant like orchids.

Glucomannan is a cosmetic excipient

In this article, I will focus on glucomannan as a cosmetic adjuvant. Glucomannan is a thickener. It forms a gel from any aqueous liquid. If you use oils in the formula, you should also include an emulsifier. Glucomannan does not act as an emulsifier and the oil does not mix with water. Glucomannan cannot and should not be used for anhydrous products.

Glucomannan is a very stable substance. You can use it both in acidic and neutral as well as basic formulas.  You can also safely heat the gel containing glucomannan at 80 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes to ensure the shelf life of the product.

Glucomannan mixes well with water and other liquids. It does not clump easily like so many other natural thickeners. However, you should stir the glucomannan mixture from time to time during the preparation process. This will ensure that the gelation is even.

Glucomannan is a skin moisturizing ingredient

Glucomannan is a polysaccharide that combines mannose and glucose. Polysaccharides are especially good for moisturizing dry skin. I have written previously about polysaccharides such as seaweed polysaccharides, from oat beta glucan and pectin.

Glucomannan is a prebiotic

Healthy skin always has a rich and well-being microbiome, the natural bacterial strain. Glucomannan is a polysaccharide and at the same time a good breeding ground for the skin’s natural microbes. Bacteria use polysaccharides as food. In Japan, the konjac plant has been used for hundreds of years to make shirataki noodles. According to Japanese studies, glucomannan in shirataki noodles treats the intestinal flora.

Glucomannan also works in hair care

Glucomannan gives hair volume. By adding a little glucomannan to the hair rinse, you will get a nice texture and volume to your hair. The result is not sticky at all. I have made hair styling products and hair rinses from glucomannan. You can also make a thick and firm hair gel from glucomannan. In hair gel, glucomannan acts like linseed mucus. However, glucomannan gel is easier to prepare from the powder.

How do I use glucomannan in cosmetics?

Glucomannan is suitable as a thickener in liquid products. The properties of glucomannan also include a moisturizing effect on the skin. The use of polysaccharides in cosmetics is precisely based on the moisturizing effect. Glucomannan effectively treats the skin microbiome. Therefore, it is well suited for prebiotic and probiotic cosmetics.

Glucomannan is commonly sold as a dietary supplement. Previously I used to order it as a clean, loose powder. Only glucomannan capsules are now available. The capsules proved to be quite convenient in use. Open the capsule and use only the powder.

Each capsule contains 0.5 grams of pure glucomannan powder. So, you don’t have to measure ultra-small amounts. Half a gram sounds like a very small dose. However, very little glucomannan is needed. With one content of glucomannan capsule, you can make up to 500 ml of toner or hair rinse. Of course, more is needed for thicker gels.

Glucomannan as a thickener

You can thicken toners and lotions with glucomannan powder. Glucomannan gives the toner a pleasant gel-like structure. In creams, glucomannan acts as an emulsifier support. Glucomannan gives the emulsion a gel-like structure and increases the moisturizing effect. Glucomannan significantly improves the structure of the emulsion. Especially in very thin creams a thickener is quite a must.

Glucomannan works well with acids, bases and even salts. Hydrolats and essential oils are also compatible with the same product as glucomannan. So, you can use glucomannan without worries in all your products.

Glucomannan acts slowly

Please note that glucomannan swells slowly in the liquid. You can notice that the product has thickened in as little as 30 minutes. The final situation will not be clear until 12 hours later. Therefore, it is very important to use glucomannan powder very sparingly. I have tested some cosmetic formulas. For these guidelines, see how little glucomannan powder is actually needed.

Examples of dosing of glucomannan powder

Dosage of glucomannan in toner; 1 gram of glucomannan powder is mixed with a litre of liquid. This type of toner is pleasant to the skin. I’ve done a toner of 500 millilitres (1/2 litre) of water. I then used 0.5 grams of glucomannan (content of one capsule).

Dosage of glucomannan in creams; the dosage depends very much on how thin or thick cream you want. Glucomannan should not be used plentiful. If used excessively, the cream can easily become sticky and lumpy. Too much glucomannan easily deposits on the skin. The cream is also no longer applied properly. Usually, I use 500 ml of liquid 0.5 grams (one capsule contents) of glucomannan powder. In case I don’t need all the liquid for the cream, I use the rest as a hair rinse or toner.

Dosage of glucomannan powder to face masks; you will need 0.5 grams of glucomannan powder and 50 ml of liquid. After just 30 minutes, the mask is ready to be applied on the skin. If I let the face mask swell overnight only the half of the glucomannan powder is needed.

Caution in the making products containing glucomannan

Myprotein sells 100% glucomannan capsules.

Glucomannan is an easy and safe ingredient. Nevertheless, it also has its weaknesses. If you have dosed too much glucomannan, the product will easily become a solid clump. The clump cannot be restored. That is why I recommend that you first dose glucomannan powder very carefully.

Dose glucomannan moderately. If the composition appears thin, do not immediately add glucomannan. Wait overnight and check again. Probably the product now has the desired composition. You can easily add glucomannan to the finished product as well.

How do you thicken your cosmetic formula?

6 answers

  1. Love the information on Konjac. Do you have an example for the percentage of Konjac you used to make a hold gel?

    1. Hi
      Thank you for the message!
      Konjac powder is only used in very small amounts, 0.2% to 0.5%. By experimenting, you will find a suitable dosage.
      Regards Outi

  2. Thank you very much for the information.
    I will try using it in my body lotion formulation.

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