Saturday, August 28, 2010

Esters: PEG-7 olivate (or olive oil PEG-7 esters)

As you can tell by the name, PEG-7 olivate is derived from oleic acid, which, in this case, comes from olive oil. It seems that what you'll find at your supplier is OlivEm 300, a brand name for the product from B&T in Italy. It's a polyethylene glycol ester, which means it's considered a surfactant with a hydrophilic head and lipophilic tail.

PEG-7 olivate is an odourless and clear to pale yellow ingredient with a pH of 5 to 7, an HLB of 11, and a shelf life of three years. It's soluble in water and alcohol and dispersible in oils. It can be used as a light solubilizer for other ingredients like essential or fragrance oils, and it plays well with gels! Although it's a light feeling ester, it isn't a non-greasy one like cetearyl ethylhexanoate or IPP, and won't reduce the feeling of greasiness in your products. (If you use PEG-7 olivate instead of olive oil in your creations, it will feel lighter and less greasy than the same product with olive oil, but it doesn't feel less greasy on its own.)

I am a huge fan of this ester because you can use it in just about everything! It's used as an emollient, lubricant, anti-irritant, solubilizer, and thickener. It won't reduce foaming in your lathery surfactant products, and it will offer slightly creamier feeling suds, emolliency, and "oil free" moisturizing. It also acts as a thickener, although the thickening I've experienced has been very minor and I wouldn't consider it a true thickener like Crothix or glycol distearate. In my experience, it will thicken water based products, like toners or make-up removers slightly. And as an anti-irritant, it will increase the mildness of your foamy surfactants to make for a more gentle facial or body cleanser.

PEG-7 olivate is a fantastic inclusion in hair care products - shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, styling gels - as an "oil free" moisturizer. You can use it in your cleansers as an additional cleansing ingredient - it's safe for your eyes! - and you can use it in toners or water based body sprays to increase the emolliency.

You can use this in a moisturizer as your oil portion to create an "oil free" moisturizer.

You're probably wondering why I keep putting "oil free" in quotation marks. No, it's not "use quotation marks randomly day" - although there really should be a day for that! - it's because it's not really an oil but our bodies react to the esters as if they were oil. People with oily skin and hair generally tolerate esters better than oils and are less likely to feel more greasy as they would with regular, non-esterified oils. Don't you love the word "esterified"?

Is it really water soluble olive oil? No. Unfortunately, we lose all those lovely phytosterols and polyphenols that make olive oil such a great oil, but we do get the benefits of oleic acid in a water soluble form. Oleic acid tends to be very moisturizing, softening, and regenerating to our skin. It offers some anti-inflammatory properties and can mimic our natural sebum. We'll get these features in PEG-7 olivate, which means we can make a toner or body wash more moisturizing!

If you can't wait until tomorrow to start formulating with this ester, check out this recipe from the Herbarie for the Fruit & Flowers Make-up Remover! This is an amazing recipe, and my favourite for make-up removal products. You can leave out the calendula extract - it's nice and soothing, but if you don't have it, it won't ruin the product to exclude it. Try this recipe. You will never buy another make-up remover!

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with PEG-7 olivate in toners and facial products!

14 comments:

melian1 said...

as a water soluble emollient, could this be used in bath bombs or such to give the skin some goodies in the bath (and also not set off the citric acid)?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Melian! Yes, most - if not all - of the esters can be used in bath bombs as an emollient. In fact, Cromollient SCE is recommended for that purpose! (More on this ester on the 9th!)

Anonymous said...

How is this in terms of non-toxic? Are there any concerns about health with this ingredient? I keep hearing some personal care products linked to a 1,4 dioxide carinogen for example.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. Please please please put your name on comments as per my request on the first page of the blog. It fosters a greater sense of community and reduces bullying and mean-ness. (Plus, if I'm giving away e-books, how will I know who you are?)

Here's my answer to your question in tomorrow's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer is the contaminant is called 1,4-dioxane, and no, I haven't seen any reports saying PEG-7 olivate isn't safe.

Megan Xi said...

Can this be considered natural since it's derived from olive oil? Is there any natural emulsifier you have experimented with? I have tried lecithin but it really does not work at all.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Megan. I wouldn't consider anything that is processed as much as this is - for instance, taking something that is oil soluble and making it water soluble - as natural. I don't go by the "derived from..." idea for natural because everything is derived from something natural! (Look up my post on "derived from..." to see my complete opinion.) If you are trying to find something natural, you'll want to stick to oils.

Sara said...

Can it be used to put a water-soluble active (such as Niacinimide or caffeine powder) in an anhydrous or silicone-based product? Thanks Susan!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Appreciate this is an older thread, but still hopeful for an answer. If I wanted to make my rice bran oil cleanser water soluble, would this ingredient alone be efficient? And at what concentration? Many thanks, Nikki :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Anonymous. Probably not, depending upon the amount of rice bran oil you want to use.

Jarek P said...

Hi Susan,
The link you provided above to the details of PEG-7 (March 9, 2013 "Here's my answer to your question in tomorrow's Weekend Wonderings. ") doesn't work - can you fix it?

Many thanks,
Jarek

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Jarek. No, it's not there any more for some reason. The short answer really is the answer - there's nothing unsafe about PEG-7 olivate. If it were actually unsafe, would I use it on the people I love and suggest its usage to you, my wonderful readers?

Dr wendy Dearborne said...

Hi Susan, Can I use Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters at the end of my emulsion or must it be used in the water or heated oil phase?

Thank you so much!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Dr Wendy Dearborne! It's find to use in the heated oil phase of a product as it can stand heat.

Mikhail Sayapin said...

Hi from Shanghai, China :) We're trying the Herbarie recipe at home (double since the minimum orders here are about 100-200ml), with 100ml of Olivem 300, 500ml of rose hydrosol + 100ml calendula hydrosol (seems Herbarie removed calendula from their formulation though), and other ingredients double as listed. The resulting product smells good, looks good, has a nice "makeup remover" texture, but... completely fails to remove any makeup!.. :) How do you use it? We tried using it same as a big-brand remover - put on dry skin, gently massage, add a bit of water, massage a bit more (at which point our Shiseido remover foams a lot, but Herbarie recipe doesn't) and rinse off. What could go wrong with the recipe?.. Thank you so much for the wonderful blog!