Thursday, May 6, 2010

Formulating a creamy foamer facial cleanser

I love foamer bottles and I love lime green, so you know this bottle is a winning combination! And I love SCI - but can you use it in a foamer bottle? Yes! (I know! I was shocked, too!)

I set out to create a foaming face wash filled with all kinds of interesting and decadent extracts for my best friend. What are her requirements? She's a normal skinned girl who is interested in keeping her face well moisturized and clear from break-outs. She is worried about aging (I keep telling her she's fabulous, but will she listen?) so I want to include some great anti-oxidants and AHA ingredients. She likes the feel of SCI, so I want to include that also, but I need to include the type without the stearic acid (the granules) because she finds her skin gets oilier quicker with this fatty acid (and because the stearic acid type won't come out of a foamy bottle!). I know her skin isn't a fan of silk proteins, so I am including Cromoist for her.

As usual, I want to include the cocamidopropyl betaine to adequately melt the SCI (and increase mildness), and I'm using Plantaren 2000 (decyl glucoside) because it is a very mild non-ionic cleanser and because it boosts the cationic conditioner - honeyquat - and makes it more substantive (and because I don't use it often so I thought I'd try something new).

Notice I've created this recipe to be extra mild by including amphoteric and non-ionic surfactants. To read more about making your surfactant mixes milder, click here.

I've included a few interesting extracts. I like green tea extract for its great anti-oxidant power, chrysanthemum for the anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging abilities, chamomile hydrosol because it's a fantastic anti-inflammatory that can reduce irritation and stinging and reduce the look of UV damaged skin, aloe vera because it offers soothing and cell proliferation, and Multifruit BSC because it is a great way to include AHA in a product without worrying about using too much!

So this is a mild, moisturizing cleanser good for dry to normal skin types who are worried about lines and wrinkles and want to include some anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant features.

30.5% water
10% SCI (Jordapon prilled, no stearic acid)
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% Plantapon 2000
3% glycerin
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
3% honeyquat (or polyquat 7)
2% cromoist (or other hydrolyzed protein)

5% liquid green tea extract (note below)
2% panthenol
0.5% preservative (liquid Germall Plus)
0.5% chrysanthemum extract
3% Multifruit BSC

Note about liquid green tea extract: If you have powdered extract, use it at 0.5% and add 4.5% to the water phase. I'm using the liquid stuff because I bought it and I wanted to play with it!

1. Weigh the SCI and cocamipropyl betaine into a container and put into a double boiler. Stir occasionally until it is melted.

2. Weigh the rest of the heated phase into a container and put into a double boiler. Stir occasionally until it is the same temperature as the SCI and cocamipropyl betaine.

3. Combine the two containers and mix very well until it is a homogenous solution. Don't stir too vigorously or you might end up with tons of bubbles that take some time to get to the top of the bottle!

4. When the mixture reaches 45˚C, add the cool down phase. Again, don't mix it too vigorously!

5. Let this sit until it comes to room temperature before bottling.

So how the heck did I manage to get SCI into a foamer bottle when we know it thickens our mixtures? SCI mostly thickens because of the stearic acid. By using a version that doesn't contain it, I didn't include the thickening feature. If you want to put this in a pump or squeeze type bottle instead of a foamer either use the SCI with stearic acid (the noodles and sometimes the flakes) or add up to 2% Crothix or other thickener at the appropriate level.

How do we adapt this for dry skin? Use the SCI with stearic acid and don't put it in a foamer bottle! That's it. The stearic acid is a good moisturizer for dry skin, and just that one little change is enough!

Oh, and what about the pH of this mixture? Decyl glucoside has a higher pH level (7 to 9.5) but Multifruit BSC has a pH of 4.0, and in the end they balance out. If you need to adjust the pH of this mixture, you can add a little citric acid to the mix.

Join me tomorrow for formulating facial moisturizers for your skin type! 


Nedeia said...

how can I tell that my SCI does contain stearic in it? is it in the INCI ? on mine it says Sodium cocoyl isethionate, and it comes in prills:

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

If you have the prills, odds are pretty good you have something without added stearic acid.

You can read this post to see the differences between the SCI with added stearic and that without.

Nedeia said...

Oh, great, thanks!! Will look into it :) Looking forward to use it in my foamer, I just bought like 10 foamer bottles :D)

Nedeia said...

so nice!!!

I have made this recipe for myself and I LOVE the creaminess!!! The foam is thick and lovely :). I have used only teas (green, white, honeybush) extract and aloe juice instead of chamomile hydrosol. The colour is .. well... unappealing , due to the tea extract, but it feels great!

thank you thank you !!! :)

p.s. is there a post anywhere about the pH of the skin and how can we correct or help it with our facial products? I have a friend with a very high face skin pH (8 or something like this) - with dehydrated skin as well, and I am trying to formulate something for her... could a facial cleanser like this one help? It has glycerin, all good extracts, panthenol - I would use 3% id possible .... what else should I add?

anyway, if you could write a post about the skin's pH and what should the pH pf specific products be, it would be awesome :D. And, if it is already in the blog... please please let me know :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Nedeia! I wrote a post on this topic a long time ago - click here for more information. I hate to say it, but your friend's skin can't be that alkaline or she would be having serious medical issues! I don't mean getting pimples, I mean something really bad happening that would require hospitalization. There is this weird idea that our skin can be really alkaline or something in our body could be really out of whack - it's not possible. It would be a serious medical condition like acidosis. I think I'm going to go write a post on this topic!

Sherry said...

Hi Susan, my face was breaking out really really badly after my favorite product became unavailable. I made my first facial cleanser using your blog maybe a week or so ago. It was the creamy exfoliating cleanser for acne-prone and rosacea-prone skin (I removed the jojoba beads) and it turned out really well. It does have a ton of bubbles in it and has the consistency of goopy melty cheese (my fault for a few reasons I think), but my skin is already beginning to clear up so that's all that matters to me!! I'm SO HAPPY! I would LOVE to do more experimentation though, and a creamy foaming cleanser seems super lovely. Do you have any recommendations for what ingredients to swap out if I wanted to adjust this one for acne-prone or rosacea-prone skin oily skin, or is that possible?

I'm already looking up ingredients for creating products for my little brother who has normal to slightly dry skin. I'll be making this recipe with a few tiny adjustments for him. I'm so excited and I have a feeling I'll be addicted to making products from here on out! :D

Sherry said...

Nevermind, I think I will experiment and research a few ingredients rather than bugging you about this. I figure I might learn better this way, anyway, especially if I only make a few small tweaks at a time. Your blog tends to have much of the information I need if I just work with your blog's search function! I'll let you know how it goes!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sherry. I'm happy to see you want to experiment! Just out of curiosity...have you looked at the skin chemistry portion of the blog? And two, are you aware of my skin type? I'm oily with acne prone skin with rosacea, so most of my oily skin products are designed for my skin type! I wonder if we would benefit from similar ingredients?

Sherry said...

I have looked through the posts you have on skin types, how they "work", what ingredients to look out for, etc. That's why I feel even as a beginner you've given me a pretty good grasp on how to start experimenting. I did notice you have a skin type similar to mine, which I thought was pretty nifty. :D Didn't realize all of your oily skin formulations were also for rosacea skin though, so I will definitely be looking through them all again. I think I have many of your oily skin recipes bookmarked!

Ann said...

I made the foaming facial cleanser with the following changes: rose water instead of chamomile hydrosol, hydrolysed oats instead of cromoist, sea buckthorn extract instead of chrysanthemum extract and instead of the multifruit BSC I used half AHA extract and half chamomile extract. I added a drop of red colouring and some rose fragrance oil. My sister, daughter and I all tried it and really liked it. You only needed a small amount to get a creamy lather. It left our skin feeling clean but moisturised and with a nice glow. My daughter says she prefers it to the commercially bought cleanser she is currently using and has been happy with up until now. This recipe is a winner thanks Swift.

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

So, this is my first review , I hope other people will learn from my experience!

40.5% water
10% SCI (from Aroma Zone, France)
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% decyl glucoside
3% glycerin
10% aloe vera juice
0% chamomile hydrosol (I have removed the hydrosol as I had none at that point in time)
3% honeyquat
2% hydrolized oats protein

5% liquid green tea extract
2% panthenol
0.5% preservative (liquid Germall Plus)
0% chrysanthemum extract - i have removed it and added more water
0% Multifruit BSC - I have removed it and added more water


1. add the surfactants in a beaker and let them sit in the double boiler; gently and slowly mix until everything becomes a paste (somewhat translucent). this takes at least 10-15 minutes
2. add the water + glycerin in a second beaker and heat in a double boiler.
3. slowly pour the water over the surfactants and stir until clear solution.
4. when the mix reaches room temp (below 40C), add the rest of the ingredients, check the pH and adjust with lactic acid if needed.



1. awesome creamy foamer! didn't dry my skin, but I chose to up the panthenol % in the next trials. I have also played with the surfactants % (keeping at least a 1:1 CAPB:SCI ratio) in order to achieve an optimum creaminess / cleansing for my skin. I have not established which is the best option. However, I added 2-5% sodium olefin sulfonate and I loved the foaming boost! (I removed 2-5% decyl glyucoside)

2. SCI is a pain to solublize! In a few days I start to see sedimentation (I have to shake my cleanser before dispensing), and the sediments also tend to clog my foaming bottle. So In a few days, the nice thick rich foam turns into a thin foam with a few large bubbles.

3. No breakouts, excellent make up removal, no dry skin. My skin is oily and acne/blackheads prone, so I have to pay attention to my facial care.

4. As I get bored to use the foamer or whenever the pump is too clogged, I remove the product and thicken it up. Which is not an easy task, but then this turns out like an excellent shampoo for my fine hair, greasy roots and dry ends(due to previous hair chemical processing)

5. In the later versions I removed the aloe juice and added water, sorbitol, xylitol and other proteins (silk, wheat). Basically, I played around with various humectants, the kind which are film formers and / or stick longer to the skin

6. NExt time I will try a glycerin free cleanser, as I keep reading that glycerin is a foam & viscosity killer!

This is an awesome recipe, Susan, so thanks a lot for giving me the chance to try it first and then tweaking it more and more.