Saturday, May 1, 2010

Formulating for dry skin: Facial cleansers

Cleansing our skin is vital, and using surfactants can irritate the heck out of any skin type, but dry skin is particularly susceptible to stripping of oils when using detergent based cleansers. You can even get away without using surfactants if you have very dry skin (my mom hasn't used anything except water on her face for years), so you might consider using a toner or other cleansing method (like a cream cleanser or oil based cleaning method).

What are the goals for dry skin types when it comes to surfactant based cleansers? We want to remove oils and other debris from our skin, but in the case of the dry skin type, we need to replace those oils to reduce dryness and leave behind a feeling of clean and freshly washed skin.

Let's take a look at our surfactants first. We know we need cocamidopropyl betaine (Amphosol CG). As an amphoteric surfactant, it increases mildness and viscosity, and it is always a great addition to any surfactant mix. So what else can we use?

SCI is lovely and creamy feeling, but it will thicken the mixture, so we want to stay at 10% or lower or use it at higher levels in a cream based cleanser.

SMC or SMO taurate is a great cleanser for dry skin as it helps to thicken other surfactants and offers gentle oil removal. It has a great skin feel. The down side is that it is a high foamer and latherer, so we don't want to use this as the bulk of our cleanser or we'll have a face full of bubbles that is hard to rinse off.

If we are looking at using blends, something like BSB or Plantapon LGC Sorb contain ester carboxylates that are substantive to our skin and hair, so it feels conditioned.

And consider using one of the non-ionic surfactants like cocamide DEA (ethanolamides) or PEG-7 cocoate (alkyl glucosides, monoglyceride) to thicken and re-fatten your product. Or Crothix, which is a great anti-irritant ingredient.

Because we want to increase the moisturizing and re-fattening of our skin, we want to include some great humectants, some moisturizing and conditioning ingredients, and possibly some water soluble oils to make our skin feel less dry when we're finished.

I've increased the glycerin to 5% in this recipe. Yes, I know this will make it more bubbly, but glycerin is the humectant of choice for dry skin!

Okay, so let's take a look at a basic facial cleanser recipe...

44% water
10% aloe vera or other hydrosol
20% anionic surfactant (SCI at 10% and another surfactant, or a baby type blend)
10% cocamidopropyl betaine (amphoteric surfactant)
3% re-fattening ingredient like cocamide DEA, PEG-7 cocoate, glycol distearate, or a water soluble oil at up to 4% (remove 1% from water phase)
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice
2% panthenol
5% glycerin
0.5% extract
0.5% another extract
0.5% - 1.0% preservative of choice
up to 2% Crothix

If you have wrinkled skin, consider using an AHA product in this body wash - for instance, 3% Multifruit BSC or Phytofruit and removing 3% of the water amount. If you have really dry skin, you can increase the moisturizing ingredients higher still - say 10% for a water soluble oil - but if you are applying moisturizer afterwards, there's kinda no point!

If you want to use this in a foamer bottle, I suggest taking out all the thickeners and increasing the water so it makes up about 65% (it's at 44% now). I know it won't add up to 100%, but if you just increase the water to 65% and add the rest of the ingredients, it will work well.

Yes, I have a thing for foamer bottles! They're so cute!

Join me tomorrow for some ideas on creating a creamy facial cleanser for dry to normal skin!


TheSoapGallery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheSoapGallery said...

That's interesting about your mom. I am the same way, for the same reasons. Maybe I'll use a cleanser 1x/week, otherwise my face feels so tight it's hard to even smile.

Kat said...

Sorry to bring up an old post, but I was wondering if you could clear up the percentages in this recipe (it adds up to just under 90%). I would love to try this but I'm afraid that there's a typo in here somewhere and I'm not knowledgeable enough about formulating to know. I know recipes don't have to add up to 100%, but this seems far off. Thanks so much for all you do!!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kat! Never ever worry about bringing up an old post - they're all relevant (I hope) and I like keeping information organized with comments in relevant posts! I messed up there - I did mention in the notes that it's 44%, but for some reason I typed 34%. Thanks for the error catch - I've updated it with that information.

Nedeia said...

Hey, Susan!

Wouldn't it be better to keep the AHA for a toner/lotion, just to avoid it getting into the eyes, as it can be quite irritant?

pnewelljr said...

If I want to add essential oils to this recipe do I need to add any other ingredients to help them mix in? (i.e. solubilizer)? Or will they just mix in fine with this recipe how it is?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

The essential oils will mix in without help as surfactants are also emulsifiers. But so you really want to have a smell on your face all day?

pnewelljr said...

Isn't it normal to have scents in face wash? Anyways, the face wash I am working to replicate has a few essential oils in it. It also includes Polysorbate 20. If surfactants can do the job, why did they include this in the first place?

pnewelljr said...

I'm also looking for PEG-60 Almond Glycerides for the same recipe, and am having the hardest time finding them for sale to consumers. Do you know of anywhere they can be purchased? If not, would you know of a good alternative? Thanks for answering all my questions!

pnewelljr said...

Also, what would be the difference between using Sodium laureth sulfate and decyle glucoside in this recipe for the "other" 10%?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Do you mean using SLeS and decyl glucoside as the other 10% or 10% of each? Have you looked up what each surfactant brings to the product in the surfactants section of the blog? I think if you look there or at the comparison chart, you'll see what each brings and what might be different in the product.

As for PEG-60 almond glycerides, what do those brings to the product? Is there something else that could take its place?

As for the polysorbate 20, I don't know why companies put that in when we can emulsify with the surfactants we have. Perhaps they are using such low levels of surfactants in the product that they worry about not having emulsification? I'm not sure without seeing the ingredient list.

Anonymous said...

Could I add a little bit of honey to a cleanser like this? I'd like to incorporate either raw honey or Manuka honey into a product, it's supposed to be so good for the skin. I imagine I wouldn't want to use more than about 3% due to the stickiness factor. That I understand. I'm just afraid of things growing in it. Aren't things like clays, honey, botanicals, anything fresh like fruit or fruit juices, colloidal oatmeal, etc. notoriously difficult to preserve? I would be using a good broad spectrum preservative(Germall Plus at 0.5%) so maybe I would be ok? Do you think you could do a post about using honey in products? Or is it so hard to preserve it isn't recommended we use it at all?


Anonymous said...

Oops I see you have already covered using honey in products. My bad. Don't know how I missed that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

When I travel, I really like to bring my own version of cleansing balm.
Here's the recipe :

73% shea butter
10% ecomulse

5% cromollient sce
5% shea butter ws
2% NataPres
5% raw honey