Sunday, June 28, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Esters - thickeners (part 2, Crothix)

Yes, Crothix is an ester - in fact, it's a complex ester! The INCI is PEG-150 pentaerythrityl tetrastearate (and) PEG-6 caprylic/capric trigylcerides (and) water. It's derived from and composed mostly of stearic acid. It's non-ionic and it will create clear thickened surfactant systems, as opposed to the pearlized systems created with the EZ Pearl (yesterday's post). Crothix is tolerant to electrolytes and cationic salts, so you can use as much aloe vera and salt as you wish!

A side note...Crothix is very like PEG-150 distearate used to thicken as well, but it is a complex ester, whereas PEG-150 distearate is not a complex ester. It's not a big difference, and I understand you can substitute one for the other. I've never used PEG-150 distearate, so I can't confirm this, but they do appear to be interchangeable. So feel free to experiment using PEg-150 distearate in place of Crothix and let me know what happens!

As a bonus, liquid Crothix contains PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides (coconut based), which offer superfatting and emollient properties.

So to sum it up - Crothix is a thickener, irritant mitigator, foam stabilizer, and emollient for surfactant systems. (Feel free to insert your own jokes about irritation mitigation here...I have a ton of them referring to my neighbours.)

How to use it...I generally use Crothix at 1 to 2% surfactant mixture. You can use it up to 8%, but this will result in goo, so I don't suggest it. (Although you can always make a jar of bubble slime in green for your kids! They love it!) Always add Crothix when your mixture has been fragranced, preserved, and everything else and when it has completely cooled. I mean really cool. I mean the next day kind of cool. You will never know how thick it is going to be until it is completely cooled (I think I've made the point).

Let's say I want to make a body wash with Jewelled Citrus in it. (And I've apparently illustrated this little story with a green body wash in Pearberry scent!) I know Jewelled Citrus will thicken the mixture at first but will eventually thin out to be only slightly thicker than water. I make the body wash with all the ingredients - EXCEPT CROTHIX - then let it sit overnight in a well covered Pyrex jug. Do not bottle it yet! The next morning I check the viscosity, then add 1% Crothix. Check. Is it okay? Usually it is, but sometimes I might have to add up to 0.5% more and perhaps another 0.5% more, but never ever more than 2% (my personal preference).

For more information on the effects of fragrances on viscosity of surfactant systems, please check out the post on fragrances and viscosity from March 7th and fragrances and clarity from March 6th.

Yes, you can get Crothix pastilles that are a tiny bit cheaper than the liquid, but this is just a bad idea. I can make exactly the same body wash recipe five times in a row with the same fragrance oil and 2% Crothix might result in a thin liquid or body wash Jell-O! Using the pastilles means you have to add them at the beginning and heat your surfactant mixture then wait for it to cool completely before finding out if it is thick enough. And you can't really go back and heat it up without compromising the preservative system. And it doesn't contain the PEG-6, so you're lacking an emollient there. So I always suggest you pay the extra $1 or so for the liquid!

Please visit these posts for recipes including Crothix!
Join me tomorrow for esters - water soluble oils!

24 comments:

madpiano said...

would this work in KOH based liquid soaps as well ? Or does it only work with surfactants ?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi madpiano! I don't make CP soap of any sort, so I'm not totally sure, but I think Crothix only works with anionic surfactant systems. If liquid soaps are anionic, then give it a try!

Sorry I can't be more helpful, but I know nothing about soap making!

Naomi said...

If I don't have Crothix, could I substitute stearic acid?

Naomi said...

or Cetyl Alcohol? or another thickener - like Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Naomi. No, you can't use stearic or cetyl alcohol with this - it will eventually settle out and leave an icky white mess. Methylcellulose will work to thicken it. I purchased some and found it was a pain to work with, so I prefer liquid Crothix. Your supplier should have some information on how to use it - I will likely do a post on it in the near future, but that might be quite some time away! (And if you want to share what you learn, I'm all ears!)

Naomi said...

So, you add in Crothix for thickening purposes? What do you suggest as possible substitutes?

BTW - I love the way you explain the WHYs behind it all. My mind likes to know why certain ingredients are used. Thanks for sharing!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Naomi. Thanks for your lovely comments! I'm a "why" person, so I need to find out every single detail until I've pretty much annoyed everyone around me!

The Crothix is added as a thickener to surfactant systems - shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, and so on - because often times these products can be a little watery, and we don't want it to come pouring out of the bottle! It's so wasteful.

I've just created a post on this topic - you can find it here. Thanks for the great question!

Actually, this is too long to put a comment - can I create a post about it?

Aesthete said...

Hi Susan. Was wondering if you have ever worked with Hydroxypropyl starch phosphate? can it be used to replaced crothix in surfactant systems?

Fluffy said...

Hi Susan,
I'm wondering- could Crothix be used in place of something like Amaze XT to make a gel-cream moisturizer? I really like the idea of the lightness of a gel and the texture- and frankly I'm just curious :)
I made a gel-cream with amaze XT last night, it works, but you can definitely see the texture of the Amaze XT. It's pretty distinctive. I wonder if Crothix would give it a gel consistency that is smoother... Hmmm! I must try this hahah :)
Adele

Anonymous said...

So you dont have to warm the liquid crothix. Jus add all ingredients minus soap and then add crothix for your desired consistency? Add soap after crothix? If im making a shaving cream with all natural products jus water oil soap and fragrance

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Michael. Please put your name on your comments!

You don't want products to be warm with Crothix because warm products will be thinner than room temperature products.

Crothix won't work with alkaline cold process soap. And whenever you use water in a product, you need to add a preservative. Find one that works with alkaline products.

Synara Usama said...

Hi Susan first of all your blog is extremely informative so thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiments.These days I'm researching on creating my own liquid shampoo.which thickener do you think works best HEC or HPMC or crothix liquid

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Synara. It depends upon the surfactants you're using and whether they'll thicken with your chosen thickener. I find Crothix works the best with just about everything I use.

Joanne Lynn Stevenson said...

Love this blog. It has helped me so much with my recipes. I have successfully used liquid crothix in liquid Castile soap I made myself. It turned out very well at 1.5%. The soap feels less drying and goes much further.

Hempirical Herbs said...

Using Crothix for the first time and I'm having no luck. My shampoo is still thin as water with a foam that sits on top. I have 2 cups of shampoo and used 5 ml of Crothix so far. The base contains a water decoction of amla, shikakai and soap nuts with 1 tbsp liquid castille and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. The pH is on the low end between 5.5 and 6. Any ideas?
Thanks for any assistance

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Hempirical Herbs! I've answered your question in today's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer is that I don't know if this product can be thickened with Crothix. For the long answer, click!

Andrew H. said...

Hi Susan, thanks so much for sharing all of this information with us! It is greatly apprecaited.

I have a question about using Crothix. I've only tried it once in a small batch (250 g) of facial cleanser, but I seemed to have some trouble with it dissolving in to the batch after everything had been added. You could see little clear 'clumps' of it swirling around the beaker after I'd tried stirring calmly and aggressively. Is there any trick to getting it to fully incorporate or have you never run into that problem? Wondering if a small amount of the water needs to be heated up to slurry the Crothix and then added to the bulk? Thanks!

Andrew H. said...

Well, I answered my own question here. Since the soap was still thin after the first addition, i decided to add another 1%, and it clumped again. My basement sits around 58 degrees this time of year, so I decided to put some hot water in a larger beaker to help warm the smaller beaker while I stirred it. This helped a little, but the real help was when I ran the bottle of Crothix under hot water for a minute or so and then added it to the beaker sitting in hot water, it solubilized almost immediately upon stirring in that setting.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Andrew! Yep, Crothix is very sensitive to temperature, which is why I always suggest using it at proper room temperature - 18˚C to 20˚C - because it will do weird things at higher or lower!

Joyce Bonner said...

Hi Susan,
In which phase would you add PEG-150 Distearate and how much would you recommend, I know you said you have never used it but what do you recommend

Kirsten Thomas. said...

Hi Susan, I know this is an old post, and you are super busy with your family right now, so I don't know if you will see it. I made a lovely face wash, which I attempted to thicken with Crothix. The mixture did not thicken at all. I tried it a second time, and made sure that I warmed the crothix slightly before mixing...still no. I have tried to find out what Crothix might be incompatible with, and am having no luck on line, and no response from the person who sold it to me...so, does anyone out there know what is does NOT work with? I dearly appreciate any input or advice.Thanks! Kirsten

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

If you are writing to me for help on a recipe, please include your exact recipe in percentages and creation process. If you don't share this information, I can't provide help. I don't have time to do the back-and-forth thing asking you for information I need to help you, so include everything and be as specific as necessary.

Have you looked at the surfactants section of the blog to see which ones are thickened by Crothix?

Also...

Toya said...

Good Afternoon Susan,

I love your blog, I have a question regarding Jojoba esters I can't find a lot of information about it. Can you please do a blog posting about it. If not can you tell me if it works like the other esters mentioned in your blogs. I'm sure my question is a bit confusing but I've purchased Jojoba esters 70 and Jojoba esters 20 wanting to add it to my lotion recipe I'm interested in substituting it for dimethicone in my recipes for my "all things natural" customers.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tonya! I have worked with one of these - I think it was the 20 - and I used them how I would use a fatty alcohol or acid in my lotions. You could use them in place of cetyl alcohol or stearic acid for a thinner product.

Here are a few posts I found in a Google search:
https://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/product.asp?product_id=OTHJOJOEST70US87
http://www.ingredientstodiefor.com/item/Jojoba_Esters_70/878
http://www.naturalbeautyworkshop.com/my_weblog/2008/02/jojoba-esters.html
https://www.naturalsourcing.com/product.asp?product_id=OTHJOJOEST44US87&cat=JojobaProducts
https://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/product.asp?product_id=OTHJOJOEST44US87

And this data sheet:
https://www.ulprospector.com/documents/1406553.pdf?bs=28037&b=601501&st=20

Hope this helps!