Monday, March 1, 2010

Strawberry extract

Strawberries are outstanding! We have local strawberries every year, and I can't help but buy a basket at the farm drive-throughs to be eaten the moment I get home! And I love strawberry extract (INCI: Fragaria vesca (strawberry) fruit extract), which we can find in a powdered and liquid form (the liquid generally contains water or a humectant and the powder).

This extract is recommended for oily skin to help with sebum production and large pores. It is an astringent powder, thanks to the hydroxybenzoic acid gallic acid, a great wound and burn healer as well as an astringent. Chlorogenic acid is recommended for acne prone skin as it offers anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidizing properties.

The phytosterol kaempferol offers amazing anti-oxidizing and free radical scavenging properties, as well as anti-inflammatory help for reddened skin, an increase in skin's barrier protection abilities, a reduction in transepidermal water loss (TEWL), a reduction in itching and dry skin, and help improving the quality of weather damaged skin.

Strawberry extract contains Vitamin C, a great anti-oxidizing and chelating ingredient.

One of the main features of strawberry extract is the ellagic acid, which you might remember from pomegranate and borage oil and mango butter. It is being used as a post-sun exposure ingredient to prevent freckling and spots that might arise after UV exposure. It appears ellagic acid is a tyrosine inhibitor (tyrosine plays a role in melanin synthesis or melanogenesis). It can also reduce the destruction of collagen and act as an anti-inflammatory. One bonus is ellagic acid can help regenerate skin cells, which may lead to thickened skin, which can help reduce the look of aging.

Strawberries contain anthocyanidins and anthocyanins (not to be confused with proanthocyanidins and procyanadins from green tea extract), which are water soluble flavonoids that give colour and protection to plants. (They are anthocyanins when they contain a glucose molecule, anthocyanidins when they don't.) They are very good anti-oxidants, scavenging those free radicals that lead to rancidity and spoilage. The colour is dependent upon pH - when the solution is below ph 3 (very acidic), the colour is red. At neutral pH (7), they show violet, and above pH 11 (very basic) they show blue. (They can be used to determine pH level at home!) Strawberries contain between 15 to 20 mg of anthocyanidins and anthocyanins in 100 grams of fruit.

So what does this all mean for us when we use strawberry extract? We can use it at up to 0.5% in water containing creations when we dissolve it in warm water and add it to the cool down phase for some great anti-oxidant, astringent, and anti-bacterial features. A huge down side for strawberry extract - it is really hard to preserve.

POINT OF INTEREST! I'm a good preserver: I have had the odd batch of product go off after a long period of time, but strawberry extract is a mould magnet! I can make a toner with strawberry extract today and two weeks from now it will start to grow ick (and you know there's ick in there long before I can see it!), so I suggest that you use strawberry extract only in products you can refrigerate or use in a really short period of time. You can try using two preservatives together to keep it nicer longer (for instance 1% Germaben II and 0.5% Germall Plus) but it is an extract that doesn't play well with water. And don't even think about using it in a clay mask - clay is a great breeding ground for ick, and combined with strawberry extract it will go bad very very quickly no matter how well you preserve it.

Is it worth it given all these problems? I say, yes! Strawberry extract not only has great label appeal - everyone loves strawberries! - but it is a great inclusion in facial cleansers or toners meant for oily, large pored, or acne prone skin. It's probably not the best ingredient for newbies who are unsure about their ability to preserve, but if you're a confident formulator, you can work with strawberry powder in your products. I personally wouldn't use it in a lotion as there are too many things that can go wrong. Stick to toners, sprays, cleansers, and surfactant mixtures with strawberry extract. Or consider using it in a gel toner just for a change from the liquid stuff!

Are you working with strawberry extract? What do you find works for you? Share your thoughts!

Join me tomorrow for more extracty fun with papaya extract!


Topcat said...

Just found this post now....I have been pureeing fresh strawberries and adding them at the rate of 1T ppo to one of my Cold Process soap recipes. This soap also includes mango butter. I have had many reports from customers that this soap is excellent at calming and reducing redness associated with acne I have an idea of why, thanks to your information :)

Virginia Miska said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia Miska said...

I'm new to making my own cosmetics and have been trying to create a few fragrance-free cosmetics for my family and your blog continues to come up in my search results. Thank you for all the information you have gathered and shared! This post about strawberries caught my attention because I'm attempting to make a strawberry Salicylic Acid toner. It is 1% SA, 3% strawberry juice, and 96% distilled water. I plan to make small batches and keep it in the refrigerator. Still, how will I know that is has spoiled and can you suggest a preservative? I was wondering if the addition of sugar would act as a preservative. Thank you!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Virginia. Welcome to the wonderful world of making your own products. It's an addictive hobby, and we're always pleased to have new people here!

You won't be able to make this toner as salicylic acid doesn't dissolve well in water. You'll need to use alcohol or propylene glycol or glycerin or urea - a humectant, generally - or use it in another form like white willow bark.

Secondly, I wouldn't ever use any botanical ingredient in a product without a good preservative. Strawberry extract is notoriously hard to preserve - I think I mention that in the post - so I'd for Germaben II at 1%. I don't believe in not using preservatives. We use them at such low amounts and they are so valuable. Keeping something in the fridge isn't the way to keep a product fresh - every time the product gets above 4˚C, it has a chance to grow beasties!

As for using sugar as a preservative, it might work for food stuffs, but it isn't a preservative in the bath & body world. It's food for beasties, which means your product is more likely to go bad.

Click to learn more aboutpreservatives.

Virginia Miska said...

Surprisingly, the salicylic acid has dissolved beautifully in the strawberry juice, probably because strawberries naturally contain SA. But I will definitely purchase some Germaben II to add to my recipe as a preservative. Thank you for the information!

Lady Serenity said...

Hello, I am a newbie and had thought to use the strawberry extract in my bath bomb recipe. I thought that since there isn't any water in the recipe it may do well...any thoughts

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lady Serenity. Just curious - why would you want to use strawberry extract in a bath bomb? At 0.5%, you wouldn't notice it in a tub of water! Just a thought...

Welcome to this wonderful hobby! It's very addictive and seriously awesome!

Lady Serenity said...

Susan, in response to your curiosity. I suppose I thought that an ice cream scented bomb would be a peeling. I know the recipe I came across mentioned adding a scented oil and I've used bombs with scents so I didn't realize I was missing something. I suppose when I finish looking into developing formulas I won't be asking questions that appear foolish. My bad

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Wow, Lady Serenity, you took my comment completely wrong! I was curious about the reasons you might like to use strawberry extract - I wasn't being sarcastic or mean. I don't know how long you've been reading this blog, but I encourage questions and I don't think any of them are foolish! I strive to make this blog a safe place where we can explore ideas without being called names or made to feel silly.

Have you heard the story about the time I thought about making solid body wash, or the time I wanted to make Vicks' like bath bombs with camphor, eucalytpus, and menthol? Keep reading the blog and you'll see all kinds of strange things that went through my mind!

I think I get what you were thinking...strawberry extract is a powder we use to counter act oily skin. It won't offer any fragrance at all, unfortunately. Ice cream type bath bombs would be absolutely lovely! Beware when you use vanilla or fragrances containing vanilla in bath bombs - it tends to discolour some products to a brown colour. Look for vanilla stabilizer if you don't want a brown product!

Lady Serenity said...

Hi Virginia,

Wanted to respond sooner, but my computer went nutty.

I didn't think you were being harsh at all. I'm just new and realized with a little more investigation I could have asked a better question. With all this reading I've been doing, I'm confusing the difference between and extract an a fragrance oil. No problems, and yes, I have read a number of your blogs but not the ones you referred to...I'll have to find those they sound really interesting (And funny.

Thanks for the tip about the vanilla...I haven't made a formula yet, and it looks like I'm going to start with a scrub so I'm sure I will be back asking questions once I think I have a formula...

Your wisdom is greatly appreciated

Lady Serenity said...

Sorry Virginia...I meant Susan

April Leventhal said...

I was wondering where you ladies purchased your strawberry extract. Oh and I saw a study that said 0.5 mg/ml concentration of strawberry extract for sun protection.

Virginia said...

Thanks for posting that link!

A little update on my salicylic acid toner...I freeze it so I haven't had to use a preservative.

Selina Haley said...

Hi Susan, I recently used a paste of mashed strawberries, milk, and baking soda to reduce some seriously puffy eyes I had and it worked wonderfully- well enough that I want to make it into a face mask. But the thing is that I really enjoy sharing all my different masks and scrubs and whatnot with my friends and sisters, but because of the fresh fruit and milk in this one I know it won't keep. So I was wondering whether or not I would be able to make a mix of strawberry powder and powdered milk and give that to my friends, and they could simply add in some water whenever they're ready to use it. If there's anything you could tell me about whether this will work, any precautions I could take, or any advice at all you could offer, it would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance, Selina

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Selina. You could do that, as long as there are no water based ingredients in it. Would it work the same as the mask you made fresh?

SkinnyB*tch said...

Greetings Susan,

would love your insight into my problem when making a clay mask... i usually include

bentonite clay
activated charcoal
green clay
and a few plant extracts like cucumber, papaya, astragalus
germall plus liquid

after storing in fridge i always seem to find water droplets on the hood of the cover (no mold growing or anything)

any suggestions how i can avoid this? thanks in anvance for any response you may have:-)