Friday, August 13, 2010

Esters: Cetearyl ethylhexanoate

Cetearyl ethylhexanoate (also known as cetearyl octanoate, and found under the trade name Tegosoft Liquid, Luvitor EHO, Schercemol CO ester, and Crodamol CAP) is a light, colourless liquid that does have a faint odour. It has a shelf life of 24 months and can be used at up to 25% in our creations.

Its viscosity is 11 mPas and the surface tension is 30 mN, which means it's on par with C12-15 alkyl benzoate as a spreading ester - it's high spreading compared to our natural oils and butters, but isn't considered a great spreader in the ester world. Personally, I've found it spreads incredibly well and I'd say on a subjective level, it feels nicer than C12-15 alkyl benzoate when you're rubbing it into your skin. (C12-15 feels heavier, but when you consider that they both feel lighter than something like fractionated coconut oil, it really is a minor difference!)

Cetearyl ethylhexanoate has a high degree of water repellency, and it's about a "medium" polarity, meaning it won't act as an emulsifier or solubilizer and isn't water soluble, but it is freely miscible in other oils and fats - meaning it mixes well with our oils, butters, silicones, or other esters. It's considered to be a low occlusive ester, on par with something like sunflower oil or fractionated coconut oil.

An interesting study from Germany found that using cetearyl ethylhexanoate can help hydrate skin and prevent wounds from drying out, which prevents trans-epidermal water loss in broken skin. Normally we'd need an occlusive ingredient like cocoa butter, dimethicone, or allantoin for this purpose, but we can use something light and non-greasy feeling in that role! (So combining cetearyl ethylhexanoate with a high linoleic acid oil like sunflower or sesame or a high GLA oil like borage or evening primrose might help in retaining moisture in our skin and increasing the repair of our skin barrier! Does anyone see a potential facial moisturizer or serum recipe here?)

As with many esters, cetearyl ethylhexanoate is considered "oil free" so you can use it in products for people who might not like oils on their skin, for instance, in a facial moisturizer or serum. And it can be used in mineral make-up products to add some oils without adding oiliness. It really is a very light, very dry feeling ester with a silky kind of feeling on your skin - it's dry, but not annoyingly dry.

Why oh why isn't there some kind of shortened name for this product like cetex or cetearethex or something similar? It's not a fun name to type out every few sentences!

How to use it? You can substitute any oil in any product with cetearyl ethylhexanoate - I did that in this lotion recipe, substituting the wheat germ oil with the cetearyl ethylhexanoate to make it feel even more light and airy. And I did it in this complicated balm that feels light and less greasy than a balm that might contain an oil in its place and in this lotion bar that, again, feels lighter and less greasy than if I'd used another oil. You can add at up to 25% in any concoction to get a lighter feeling, less greasy, more easily spreadable product!

A note on this ingredient: I've found that when I use a vanilla based fragrance oil with cetearyl ethylhexanoate it gets a kind of off-putting synthetic smell to it, a high chemically note that isn't horrible but is kind of annoying. I've tried it with fragrance oils like Cream Cheese Frosting (Brambleberry) and Cake (Suds & Scents) and it just smells weird. I wouldn't suggest using a vanilla based fragrance oil with this ester, although it is worth trying it just to get an idea of the final result.

An update on this ingredient with vanilla: I've done a ton of testing of cetearyl ethylhexanoate with various fragrance oils containing vanilla, and after 2 months none of the fragrances have morphed. So I've concluded that it's safe to use vanilla based fragrances without that horrible synthetic smell. I'm blaming the cetyl esters for the morphing!

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with cetearyl ethylhexanoate in facial products!


Lissa said...

Do I need to try Cetearyl ethylhexanoate? Something new to put on my wish list.

Maxine said...

Is there something I could use in place of this?

I can't seem to find it anywhere! (although, I could also be looking at the wrong thing. It really is a complicated name!)

Sarah Goblot said...

Where do you buy Cetearyl ethylhexanoate (Canadian)?

Thanks! :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Maxine. You can use any oil in place of this ester. To get a similar skin feel, fractionated coconut oil is the best choice or another very light weight oil.

Hi Sarah. I've only found it at the Personal Formulator in the States. Click here for the link! I don't know where you're located, but I have found their shipping south west BC to be really reasonable by the postal service!

seventh77 said...

Hi Susan,

Is it as dry, drier, or less dry than BTMS-50? I find BTMS-50 to be far too drying for my skin. I like the powdery feel, but it leaves my skin feeling dry and not moisturized. I don't like greasy or oily feeling creams, but if cetearyl ethylhexanoate is similar to BTMS-50, then it probably won't work for me.

Thanks :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi seventh77! I've addressed your comment in this upcoming Thursday's Wonderings. The short answer - no, it feels more like a dry feeling oil or cyclomethicone than that powdery feeling. (I dislike the powdery feeling, too!)

crystal stuart said...

Hello I am very new to formulating! I am trying to make an all day wear airbrush makeup base for eyeshadow, foundations, etc. I found recipes calling for fixing solutions which are alcohol based and others calling for silicon. Can you tell me a natural silicon replacement that will mix well with water, glycerin and food grade colorants. Also something to consider I need to keep the pH balanced because some natural colorants will shift if the mixture is too acidic.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Crystal! Did you take a look at the links on the right hand side for silicone replacements? What emulsifier will you be using to mix an oil soluble silicone substitute into your water soluble ingredients? May I suggest checking out the mineral makeup section of her blog to start you on your way? If you're new, you'll want to start with the basics before you start altering recipes or formulating from scratch.

Katei said...

Is it a chemical? And can anyone list a good website to go to for lists of chemicals used in cosmetics and skin care?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Katei. Welcome to the blog! Everything on earth is a chemical because the word chemical means a thing composed of elements. So yes, this is a chemical.

And have you taken a look around the blog? I'm just a little surprised you would ask a question like that when you're on a site with list after list of ingredients for bath and body products. Look to your right to see those lists.

Katei said...

Hi sorry I didn't look around. Thanks for your feedback. I'm not very smart this is why I asked.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Katei! Don't say you aren't smart!

Katei said...

Thanks :)

Andy Lee said...

I find that Personal Formulatof no longer carries cetearyl ethylhexanoate. MakingCosmetics does, but their minimum package size is over $400. Do you have any other supplier suggestion?

Thanks for all your help (your site is remarkable).

Andy Lee

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Andy. According to their side, Making Cosmetics has no minimum? Either way, I'm sorry but I don't know anywhere else you could buy this ingredient.

Andy Lee said...

Thanks Susan for your answer. I should have writter that the only package size available on that particular material is a 35 lb pail priced at $465. It's true they have no minimum order. but I don't think they'll sell smaller amounts. But I'll give them a call on the off chance they might.

Incidentally, I bought your second Lotions book. It is remarkable. I printed myself a spiral bound hard copy at a copy center. Cost me an additional $40 and worth every penny. Can I buy your new book in progress? I don't care if it's not finished. I want it. It sounds fantastic.

Andy Lee said...

Well, I just found out on another of your more recent posts that the new book is ready and can be obtained with a $28 donation. That's so wonderful. I will make that donation this coming Saturday and spend the weekend studying.

A link to that page should go here, but I don't have it handy.

Leanne R said...

Hi Susan,

Thank you for posting your experience with cetyl esters and vanilla! I just discovered cetyl esters, and love how they cut the greasy feel in lotion. I made a batch with a Tahitian vanilla fragrance oil that smelled lovely in the bottle, but smelled horrific on skin. Regardless of who I tested it on, we smelled odd chemicals. I am happy to learn that the esters are the likely culprit. I love vanilla EO and vanilla-containing FOs, but haven't wanted to risk wasting time and materials on any more lotion batches. Can't wait to try a batch without the esters, but with BMTS as the emulsifier. Your blog is the only place I found this bit of information...completely by accident.
As always, thanks for sharing!