VEEGUM® e VAN GEL® are natural smectic clays, washed with water to maximize their purity and performance. Smectic clays are appreciated for their capacity to swell up in water, and for passing on their interesting rheologic properties to watery preparations. VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® are a rewarding choice for formulators, excellent additives to stabilize suspensions, perfect emulsions and optimize sliding properties.

VEEGUM® e VAN GEL® are produced by R. T. Vanderbilt, a landmark company founded in New York City in 1916. R.T. Vanderbilt is absolute leader in natural mineral products: magnesium aluminum silicate, xanthan gum, kaolin, pyrophylite, and wollastonite.

VEEGUM® products are especially suitable for pharmaceutical and cosmetic use, but they are widely used in other applications such as cleaning products and industrial products. VAN GEL® products are mainly designed for industrial applicazioni. All VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® products undergo the same washing process in water and respect purity requirements. Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic grade VEEGUM® are also checked for heavy metals content such as arsenic, lead, quicksilver and bacterial count. Through a thorough selection of smectite, many kinds of VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® have been produced, each one with typical rheology, chemical and colloidal properties.

Behavior of VEEGUM® and VAN GEL®

VEEGUM® or VAN GEL®’s stabilizing and rheology properties, highly pure smectites, is related to its colloidal structure in the water. Each particle of smectite is composed of thousands of submicroscopic flakes “sandwiched” together, with a layer of water in between. The sides of these flakes are negatively charged, while the corners are positively charged.

The negative charge is prevalently balanced by sodium ions, even though other inorganic cations might be present in lower quantities. These charge-balancing ions are then paired with the sided of the flakes, and they are known as “interchangeable”, so they can be easily substituted by other cations.

Smectite: hydration

When smectite is mixed with water, the latter goes between flakes, pushing them apart. As soon as this happens, the “interchangeable” ions start separating from the sides of the flakes. More and more water keeps penetrating the flakes due to the osmotic process, until they’ve been completely pushed apart; usually high speed stirring and/or the use of hot water speed up the process of hydration. Should there be any substances dissolved in the water, this will slow down the hydration process as it will inhibit the osmotic swelling crucial to the separation of the flakes.


VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® are employed by formulators due to their ability to:

Stabilize Emulsions

VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® carry many useful features, one of the foremost is the capacity to stabilize low concentration O/W emulsions. Smectite’s colloidal structure successfully keeps the dispersed phase’s drops suspended and separated, thus smectite’s viscosity is not affected by the heat.VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® reduce emulsions tendency to dilute or break at high temperatures. Small quantities of the product (1%) stabilize emulsions containing anionic and non-ionic surfactants with a wide range of oils, fats and waxes. VEEGUM® is also very effective in stabilizing W/O emulsions, as it increases the dispersed phase’s viscosity, inhibiting coalescence. VEEGUM® has been used in formulations for fluid W/O emulsions, which are difficult to stabilize otherwise.

Stabilize Suspensions

Thanks to its emulsion stabilizing property, VEEGUM® and VAN GEL®’s colloidal structure fosters excellent fine particle suspension in water systems. The high pour point helps successfully prepare suspensions made of minerals, salts and high density organic products. VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® have many advantages as suspending agents:

  • They prevent hardening of the suspended material.
  • They regulate phenomenons such as bleeding. Suspensions with a tendency to sediment are easily re-dispersed.
  • They ensure uniformity in dosage, for example in pharmaceutical suspensions and condensed pesticides.
  • They foster maximum suspension without losing fluidity.
  • They won’t produce irreversible gelatinous gels, like many organic rubbers do.
  • Their suspension efficiency is higher than that of organic rubbers with equal viscosity: especially convenient with low viscosity.

Rheology Modifier

Thixotropy regulation can foster the formulation of cream products. Thick cremes can be spread easily. Spray products are easy to dispense, and they coat and adhere evenly to vertical surfaces. Suspensions are easy to handle and pour without compromising stability.

Touch Enhancer

VEEGUM® contributes to improving spreadability and confers elegance to topical make up. It is also used to formulate topical non sticky products, thanks to the insoluble hybrid nature of the water suspensions. Moreover, it reduces or eliminates stickiness, rubbery or fibre texture for rubbers and organic polymers.

Organic Thickener Modifier

In addition to improved touch features, VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® are often used together with organic thickeners to improve their properties. Smectite contributes to enhance viscosity and pour point, while rubber and polymers’ protective colloidal action improves clay stability when combined with electrolytes, surfactants and other water soluble substances.

Advice of use for VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® with organic thickeners are detailed in following section titled Vanzan—Xanthan Gum.

Suitable for high and low pH

VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® are commonly used in products with pH range of 2 to 13. For example, emulsions with alpha hydroxi acids, antiperspirants, analgesic suspensions for internal use, abrasive hypochlorite solutions and alkaline detergents for ovens. Some types are very effective with extreme pH, where stability is prolonged by the protective action of colloids, such as xanthan gum.

Works with most Additives

VEEGUM® and VAN GEL®, as anionic clays, are compatible with most anionic and non-ionic products, while on the other hand they’re incompatible with most cationic products. The dispersion can be combined with water soluble solvents: up to 20% in alcohol, 50% in glycerin and 30% in propylene glycol and PEG.

Degradation Resistant

VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® are derived from minerals, as such they can’t be decomposed by bacteria, heat or excess mechanical stirring. They’re insoluble in solvents and water and can be used with pH levels typical of almost all industrial and home detergents.

Binding and Separating agents

VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® are used as nonmigrating binders in tablets, sticks and pressed products. During the drying process they don’t migrate to the surface, fostering homogeneity and the desired levels of hardness, brittleness and even color. Good separating action in pharmaceutical and industrial tablets, especially in compact tablets where the active ingredient makes up most of the weight.


Cosmetic applications

Nine subtypes of VEEGUM® are available for Pharmaceuticals and Make up industries. Four of these – VEEGUM®, VEEGUM® F, VEEGUM® HV and VEEGUM® K, are USP/NF monograph compliant for Magnesium Aluminum Silicate. VEEGUM® HS is USP/NF monograph compliant for Purified Bentonite. Product monograph contains parameters for viscosity of the dispersion and ratio of magnesium/aluminum content. They are also complaint with requirements for arsenic, lead, humidity, acid consumption, microbiologic parameters, color and x-ray identification. These five subtypes, as well as the following four, are used in home detergents, agriculture and industrial products, with similar benefits.

Aluminum Magnesium Silicate monographs in British Pharmacopoeia, European Pharmacopoeia and Japanese Pharmaceutical Excipients are usually applicable to VEEGUM®. These monographs are sometimes slightly differing from USP/NF monographs, and are also less detailed.

VEEGUM® (R)225-600 cps – Dispersion 5%VEEGUM® is the most commonly used subtype and the cheaper version for a range of applications: pharmaceutical, cosmetic, personal care, veterinary, agriculture, home and industrial products.Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 3.0%*. USP/NF M.A.S.** Type IA. INCI Name: M.A.S
VEEGUM® F150-400 cPs Dispersion 5%VEEGUM® F, micronized powder recommended for instances where dry product is needed. Mainly used in pressed powders and in direct compression. Typical levels of use between 1% and 5%*. USP/NF M.A.S. Type IB. INCI Name: M.A.S.
VEEGUM® HV800-2200 cps Dispersion 5%VEEGUM® HV is recommended for high viscosity and low solids content scenarios. On low levels, it confers excellent stability to suspensions. It is mainly used in cosmetic products (pigment suspension in rimmel and eyeshadow creams). Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 3%*. USP/NF M.A.S. Type IC. INCI Name: M.A.S.
VEEGUM® HS40-200 cps Dispersion 5%VEEGUM® HS has been developed to foster high stability combined with electrolytes and a minimum consumption of acid. In cosmetic preparations, it is the preferred product for hair and face. Typical levels of use between 1% and 3%*. USP/NF Purified Bentonite. INCI Name: M.A.S.
VEEGUM® K100-300 cps Dispersion 5%VEEGUM® K is used in suspensions with acid pH and in formulations designed for hair with conditioning ingredients. Low acid consumption and high compatibility with acids and electrolytes. Used to achieve good suspensive properties in low viscosity ambients. Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 3%*. USP/NF M.A.S. Type IIA. INCI Name: M.A.S
VEEGUM® PRO300-550 cPs Dispersion 1.5%VEEGUM® PRO has been chemically modified and it is the most effective thickener for cosmetics. It is widely used in emulsions for sun screen, anti-dandruff shampoo, skin detergents and liquid soaps with added abrasive agents. Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 2%*. INCI Name: Tromethamine Magnesium Aluminum Silicate.
VEEGUM® D100-300 cps Dispersion 5%VEEGUM® D has been designed for rapid hydration in water, even at high concentration. It is used in gel and toothpaste and it’s usually adequate for stabilizing emulsions and suspensions. Typical levels of use between 1% and 3%*. INCI Name: M.A.S.
VEEGUM® Ultra225-425 cps Dispersion 5%VEEGUM® Ultra is a unique acid smectic clay. It can produce dispersions in a pH range of 4.2 - 5.2, making it especially suitable for topical products. Very easy to hydrate, in most cases it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes. Whiter and brighter than other clays, this characteristics carry over in the finished product. Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 2%*. INCI Name: M.A.S.
VEEGUM® Plus400-900 cPs Dispersion 5%VEEGUM® Plus it is a mix of smectic clay and CMC. Easy to hydrate, superior thickening effectiveness, suspending power and whiteness. Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 3%*. INCI Name: M.A.S.(and) Cellulose Gum.

*Actual concentration depends on thickening requirements and stabilization of other ingredients contained in the formula.
**M.A.S. = Magnesium Aluminum Silicate

Home and Industrial Use

Industrial grade VEEGUM® and VAN GEL® enjoy the same purity and evenness than cosmetic and pharmaceutical VEEGUM®. Due to this, they are widely used in home and industriale detergents, condensed pesticides for agriculture, abrasive suspensions, ceramics and varnished objects, paints, varnishes, polishes and industrial specialties.

Industrial grades are used to achieve suspending power, emulsion stability and special rheology characteristics suitable for extreme pH and strong oxidizing agents.

VAN GEL® B300-900 cPs Dispersion 4%VAN GEL® B is recommended for industrial applications ranging from pH 2 to pH 13. It is used in agriculture for condensed pesticides’ suspensions and emulsions, home and industrial detergents, oven and grill detergents and water based paint removers. Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 3%*. Technical name: M.A.S.**
VAN GEL® CVAN GEL® CVAN GEL® C is suitable for use in highly alkaline systems, such as oven detergents. Typical levels of use between 2% and 5%*. Technical name: M.A.S.
VAN GEL® ESVAN GEL® ESVAN GEL® ES is the thickening agent for products with high levels of electrolytes and surfactants. Recommended for acid and base formulations of liquid soaps. Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 4%*. Technical name: M.A.S.
VAN GEL® O70-350 cPs Dispersion 6%VAN GEL® O has been developed for use in highly oxidizing situations and in base detergents with hypochlorite to improve suspension stability, thickening and adhesion to vertical surfaces. Typical levels of use between 2% and 4%*. Technical name: M.A.S.
VEEGUM® T250-800 cPs Dispersion 4%VEEGUM® T – technical grade – offers highly effective thickening and suspending features, especially with highly alkaline products. Typical levels of use between 0.5% and 2%*. Technical name: M.A.S.


VEEGUM® PURE (M.A.S.) and VANATURAL ® (Bentonite) are raw materials certified by ECOCERT.

As with all other grades of  VEEGUM®, VEEGUM® PURE is made up of smectic clays, however its use is allowed in products labeled “organic”. Performance is the same of other grades, and requires a careful phase of water dispersion to reach complete perfect hydration.

VANATURAL® is a natural bentonite, washed in water for optimal performance and purity. Recommended to stabilize suspensions, emulsions and as rheology modifier.

INCI: Bentonite.

Main characteristics:

  • Stabilizing and emulsifying agent, against emulsion separation especially at high temperatures
  • Suspending agent to avoid caking
  • Tack-free feel in topical preparations
  • Synergy with xanthan gum and CMC, reducing their thickening effect
  • Compatible with commonly used anionic and non-ionic ingredients

VANATURAL® is easily dispersible in water and rapidly hydrated


VANZAN® is a polysaccharide with high molecular weight, often used as rheology modifier in water systems. It enhances viscosity, helps stabilize emulsions and prevents solid caking. Its characteristics are further amplified in synergy with VEEGUM® or VANGEL®.

Advantages to use of xanthan gum:

  • High viscosity in low concentration
  • Excellent stabilizing properties
  • Stability at high pH levels
  • Stability at extreme temperatures
  • Stability in freezing/defreezing stages
  • Synergy with other smectic clays

VANZAN Pharmaceutical and Personal Care grades

VANZAN NF is the most popular grade for major pharmaceutical and personal care applications.

VANZAN NF-C is suitable for obtaining a transparent and clear product as in the formulation of syrups and gel.

VANZAN NF-F is a finely ground powder for tablet and dry mix powder formulas.

For technical grades it is recommended:

VANZAN grade is generally recommended for most technical / industrial applications

VANZAN D is surface-treated to make it temporarily insoluble. This facilitates dispersion and prevents the gum from dissolving until the surface treatment is removed by raising the pH of the system to 9 or greater. It is particularly convenient for systems where the final pH is alkaline.


EICO Novachem supports its clients with special technical assistance to formulate new products, designed and customized to fit the client’s specifications. Indeed, we offer technical support and advanced and always updated certifications. EICO Novachem’s customer service is boosted by the assistance of the original producer. We are always available for any technical or commercial need and to help out with the formulation.

Our technologists are consistently researching new formulations, new products to better meet market needs. We also use new technologies in order to protect the environment, focusing on non-solvent-based, low metal content products. We pay close attention to sourcing eco-sustainable raw materials and we evaluate new technologies with an eye to respecting the environment, developing solvent-less and low-metal content products.