Thursday, May 6, 2010

Replicating Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser for all skin types

This is such an interesting product - you'll see what I mean when you look at the list of ingredients...

Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.

We have very low levels of surfactants, and one that is considered the most irritating of what we have available to us. But these are tempered by the inclusion of the fatty alcohols - and the fact that there's probably only 5% or less SLS in the product. (I'm basing this on the level of humectant and its position on the list.) Let's take a look at the ingredient list...

Water: Obviously.

Cetyl alcohol: This is an emollient that will offer oil free moisturizing. Low comedogenic potential.

Propylene glycol: A humectant. Could be substituted with glycerin, sodium lactate (which will rinse off, so it's kinda pointless), honeyquat, or panthenol.

Sodium lauryl sulfate: An alkyl sulfate surfactant, considered to be the most irritating in the ones I profiled earlier this month. If we wanted to duplicate this, we'd could use any surfactant we wished - any of them will be less irritating, but some

Stearyl alcohol: Another fatty acid and emollient with low comedogenic potential.

Methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben: Our preservatives.

So how could we duplicate this? First off, I'd want to choose a different surfactant: SLS is never my first choice. We could use SCI - that would be very creamy and nice with or without stearic acid - or we could use something like C14-16 olefin sulfonate for oily skin, SMC taurate for dry skin, and anything else for normal skin. Since our goal is not to be foamy and the foam will be dampened down by the inclusion of all these fatty alcohols, I think I'll go with SCI without stearic acid for normal to oily skin and SCI with stearic acid for dry skin.

I don't have stearyl alcohol and I'm not really sure where to get it, so I'm just using cetyl alcohol. So let's take a look at a possible duplication here.

A Croda recipe I've seen suggests 1.5% surfactant with 1.5% cetyl alcohol and 1.5% stearyl and ceteareth-20 with other emollients like water soluble oils and stearic acid. So if I start with 5% cetyl alcohol, I should be able to get all that emolliency out of the cetyl alcohol.

84% to 84.5% water
5% cetyl alcohol
5% SCI (with or without stearic acid)
5% humectant of choice (honeyquat, propylene glycol, glycerin)

0.5% to 1% preservative of choice

Note: If you're using SCI without stearic acid, you might need to include a little Crothix to thicken this up. Let it come to room temperature, then add liquid Crothix at 0.5% and mix well. If you want to add more, add it at 0.5% per time until thickened properly.

That's pretty much it. I admit I'm having trouble not throwing in my film formers and extracts and proteins and panthenol and everything else, but duplication is duplication!


ukihunter said...

Loving the "replicating" series of blogs. Cetaphil is a staple in my bathroom, great to know that I can make something like it now. Thanks Susan!

Milla said...

Thank you for the post! I look forward to reading your blog every day.

I grabbed my supplies and made a batch today. I added 5% stearic acid, used glycerin for my humectant and phenonip for the preservative. I used it once and so far so good.

I had lots of fun trying to melt the SCI, but in the end, got it done!


!♥ m i m i said...

I read somewhere that propylene glycol was irritating to the skin? Is that wrong? And is there a difference between propylene and butylene glycol at all?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Here's my post on propylene glycol, and my post on dipropylene glycol and butylene glycol. You can see they are different. The basic difference is that propylene glycol has three carbons while butylene glycol has four. Yes, propylene glycol can be irritating to skin, but no more than a lot of our ingredients! I would consider it to be a low irritating ingredient. As for butylene glycol, it's actually milder than propylene glycol.

Now get back to studying for that test! (Oh no, I've just become my mom!) Make the geeky girls proud!

Sara Fjellheim said...

This is an old post, but I just wanted to add that if you're using an alcaline surfactant you might want to add some acid to make the cleanser more skin friendly.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sara. Are you referring to the alkyl surfactant in the post? If so, it's not an alkaline surfactant. If you're referring to something like decyl glucoside, there isn't enough in here to make a big pH difference. But it's a good reminder for those times we are using an alkaline surfactant or soap!

Bonnie in SJ said...

Quick tip: blend at high speed, for a long time.

I had tried making this numerous times, and each time it would fail, fail, fail. The cetyl alcohol would separate dramatically, leaving a waxy top layer, after only a few minutes of cooling. I was using SLS instead of SCI, because that's all I have on hand, but everything else was the same. The original uses SLS, so I was all, "Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?"

I finally figured out that the batteries in my mini hand mixer were low. With other creations that had a stronger emulsion system, I guess, the speed maybe wasn't as important. But this recipe seems to really need you to blend the heck out of it at high speed, for 60-90 seconds (for a 200 gram batch).

Finally, after a successful batch, I feel my lotion mojo has returned. The repeated fails were really getting me down!

Bonnie in SJ said...

Oh, I should also add that I used propylene glycol in the successful batch. Previous failures had used glycerin or honeyquat. Now I'm not sure if it was the humectant or the low speed blending that caused the failure.

But one data point, in case anyone is having trouble: propylene glycol and high speed mixing did give a positive result.

Anonymous said...

I had a lot of fun making this recipe last night. I didn't bother thickening it any more as I quite like the thin texture and I have no idea what the original one is like. I did get super confused as to what to do once the SCI, emulsifier, and alchohol (I used cetyl stearyl alcohol) were melted. They were just so thick and globby by themselves. So, I dumped them in the water for the heat and hold and then mixed them together once they were off the heat. It seems to have worked although I was a little over enthusiastic with the mixing - 100g grams doesn't need much (I used a milk frother) but the froth is slowly departing.


Deborah Kallevig said...

I am way late posting about my efforts to make this cleanser. It is, hands down, my favorite cream cleanser. It is fantastic! Easy, effortless, limited ingredient and quick to make! My intended user is my son, who has sensory issues, and he loves it.

I now regularly make the following:

84.5% water
5% cetyl alcohol
5% SCI (with stearic acid)
5% honequat (humectant)
0.5% to 1% preservative

I have also found that using it for the body with a sugar or salt scrub, by combining on-the-spot, makes for an amazing after rinsing skin feel. I put some scrub in a little bowl, add the cream cleanser, mix a bit, and BAM! It's fantastic!

I absolutely recommend making this.