Friday, July 30, 2010

Question: Can we use oils from the grocery store in our creations?

Madeaj asks in this postI have a question about oils. I see oils in the supermarket. My local has sesame (not toasted;-), macadamia nut, sunflower (storebrand for frying), walnut, grapeseed, coconut oil and of course olive oil. Are these the same oil used in cosmetic products or is there a difference? I usually cook with olive oil and I only use one source extra virgin olive oil because I prefer the taste to blended. Should I use light olive oil because it has a lighter smell? Is the sunflower oil (ingredient lists only pure sunflower oil) in the big bottle for frying the same as the kind used for cosmetics?

Thanks Susan. Because of you, I am trying a lot of new things and my internal product junky is going crazy with all the things I WANT to buy. :-)

Sorry about the enabling! It's not that I want you to become addicted, it's just nice to have company in my little obsessions!

There are different grades of oil - food grade and cosmetic grade being two of them. The ones in the grocery store are food grade quality, which should be higher than cosmetic grade. And a lot of the cosmetic grade oils are standardized to be a specific SAP value or meet a specific fatty acid profile and so on, whereas food grade doesn't necessarily do that.

I've found that carrier oils tend to be less expensive at my local suppliers, but that isn't always the case, especially with something like olive oil that tends to go on sale regularly or coconut oil if you have some great Indian markets nearby. Oils at the health food store are more expensive still - check out the prices on cocoa butter if you want a shock! - but if you're impatient and can't wait for the mail or make a trip to a local supplier, it's a great option.

As for choosing an olive oil, it's up to you what kind you want to use. I use pomace because it doesn't smell very strong and it's inexpensive, but there's no reason to not use extra virgin if you like it. As much as I love toasted sesame oil, that would be an interesting but not something you want to try fragrance! (I'll stick to putting it in my instant noodles and hot & sour soup!)

I started off using grapeseed, sunflower, and olive oils from my local mega-mart, and I was pleased with them (well, not the grapeseed as it has a really short shelf life and my stuff went rancid quickly, but that wasn't because it was a grocery store oil). The oils should be of higher quality when it comes to cooking, but they might not have the same fatty acid profile as some of the cosmetic grade oils.


Meaue said...

Great post! I didn't know there was a difference (as far as the fatty acid profile). My soybean oil is from the local Asian market and many of my oils are from the store. Yikes - that could mess up the SAP values when I make CP soap?!

Meaue said...

One more thing I just found out regarding soapmaking - I was told (from a reputable soaping site) that you could use reverse osmosis water in your soaps and lotions (instead of distilled)... do you take any exception to this?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I don't know much about reverse osmosis water but I did find this information on it...(from this site...which I realize is a commercial site, but there's some good information on it.)

Even though reverse osmosis is effective in removing bacteria and viruses, it is not recommended that you rely upon reverse osmosis solely if your water is contaminated with bacteria or viruses. Ultraviolet (UV) purification is also recommended.

It will get rid of metal ions - which is a good thing - but there is a chance of some contamination not being removed. Having said this, I get water bottles of reverse osmosis water for my home cooler and I'm fairly comfortable with the idea of using it in my products when I'm out of distilled water (yep, that was a confession there). So although I won't say yea or nay on this question, personally I'm comfortable using it.

Beau said...

I have a home RO system (got it at Costco) that I use for my water. It really improves the taste, and it seems to work well for my products.

I work in a chemistry lab so I decided to check out how "good" it is by testing the conductivity (an indicator of the ionic content). Softened tap water had a conductivity of about 600 units, while the RO water had a conductivity of about 14 units. (My RO membrane is about 3 years old, and it's probably time to change it.)

For reference, bottled distilled water probably has a conductivity about 1 unit (depending on the source and how long it's been on the shelf) , and pharmaceutical-grade water has a conductivity of <0.1 units. You can even send your water to the manufacturer and they will test it for you!

Bottom line- I think a good RO system should be perfectly fine for making your products!

catherine said...

What about canola oil? I think it might be an unsung hero. It has a Canadian heritage. :) 'Can' for Canadian, 'la' for low acid. Its profile (per wikipedia is 61% oleic and 21% linoleic. I wanted the benefits of linoleic and decent shelf life so I tried the canola. I've used it in 2 facial moisturizers and have been very pleased w both.

I like the price and it's always in my fridge. Mine happens to be expeller pressed (not extracted w hexane). I guess I feel better about that although I admit I haven't done the research.

So...any reason not to use canola in lotions? My research shows it's not really used in lotions. Maybe there's a good reason?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Catherine. I'm not seeing a reason not to use canola oil, unless you're someone who doesn't like greasy feeling oils. It's on par with sunflower or soybean oil for greasiness. As someone who likes greasy products, I'd happily use it!

Tell me more about your experiences!

catherine said...

Hi! I use it in your light body lotion and light facial moisturizer recipes. I just use canola instead.

My new fave is a toner w/ something like:

79.5% water
10% water soluble canola (about half canola half poly80)
2% niacinamide

1% each of:
Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
Soy protein
Evening primrose extract
Licorice extract
Mulberry extract
Pomegranate extract

0.5% ferulic acid

This is great in the summer under sunscreen.

I have a couple of oil soluble extracts (green tea and mallow). Maybe I can include if combine them first w canola-poly80 mixture?