Cyclomethicone - what is it? What does it look like? How do I use it? When do I use it? And why are you getting all poetic about this molecule?
As you can see from the picture to the left, it is a cyclical, rather than linear, molecule. (Hence the name - "cyclo"methicone). I think it's very pretty and would make a really great necklace design. (Dimethicone is linear...)
Cyclomethicone is non-cooling - it will evaporate, but it won't make your skin feel the cooler the way water or alcohol might - and it is colourless, odourless, and non-staining (which makes it perfect for really personal care products, which I'm not going into here as the children might be reading!). It has the consistency of water, so be careful when you're adding it to your creations - it's easy to add too much!
It offers your body care products good spreading, detackification, water sheeting, and transient emollient properties. It is a great way to deliver fragrance as it will deposit it, then evaporate. And for deodorants or anti-perspirants, it will deliver the active salts you want to keep away stenches and bacteria.
Use it at 0.1% to 85% in your creations (I like it about 2%). It is oil soluble, so you can't use it in a toner or other water based creation without some kind of emulsifier. It is great in lotion bars and other anhydrous products to help with spreading and fragrance delivery. It is non-polar, which means it can be used for fragrance sprays with non-polar fragrance or essential oils. (For more information on polar vs. non-polar, please visit my post on the topic.)
Include cyclomethicone in your make up removers or cleansers as it's a great solvent for organic based oils, leaving behind a dry, smooth, non-greasy feeling. It is mild and non-irritating to skin, two things we really want in a cleansing additive!
How does it work in our products? Cyclomethicone is deposited at the surface of the hair or skin and spreads uniformly over the surface, coating the hair shaft or skin. It's going to bring the other ingredients along for the ride, which means your products will glide nicely and coat the desired area with a thin film. It works well in hair care products for this purpose - you'll see it in a lot of styling products because it helps the thicker ingredients used to make hair stiff spread on your hair instead of being seriously tacky!
Detackification (yes, it's a thing) means it will make ingredients like glycerin and honey and all those other gooey humectants feel less tacky, helping them glide over your skin!
The spreading ability is a key feature of cyclomethicone, which is why you see it in so many colour pigmented cosmetics, like lipstick and liquid foundations.
And the evaporation is a key feature. In hair care products, it will help your hair dry faster, which is a good thing for those of us with really frizzy hair. This is why you see it in the anti-frizz sprays: The cyclomethicone helps with the spreading abilities (not that dimethicone really needs the help), helps with wet combing, delivers the active ingredients to your hair, then evaporates, which decreases your drying time (which is a good thing for us frizzy haired girls!).
In fragrance sprays, couple cyclomethicone with another light oil and fragrance...the cyclomethicone will spread the fragrance nicely, then evaporate.
I think the two key features of cyclomethicone is the spreading ability and the evaporation. It shows up to the party, helps all the ingredients you love and adore spread evenly and smoothly, then it vapourizes into the night leaving behind a silky feeling of emolliency.
As I have to stop writing these in depth posts today as there are far too many things to do for the wedding, as well as cleaning up the workshop, tidying away my craft group stuff, packing for the road trip, and more...here are a few recipes in which I use cyclomethicone. Try it in your favourite hair care products, lotions, lotion bars, and other creations at around 2% and see how you like it!
Body care products...
Hair care products
Have fun formulating!
Note: I will be posting while I'm away - I've pre-written a few things and I'll be posting pictures and stories of our adventures on the road - but I won't be continuing this series "Better Crafting Through Chemistry" until I get home on June 7th or 8th.