Friday, April 30, 2010

Surfactants: Formulating facial cleansers

Let's make a lovely facial cleanser specific to your skin type. What are the general goals of a facial cleanser? We want to remove the excess oils and dirt that accumulate over the day without feeling overly dry and irritated. Ideally, we'd have something that leaves our skin feeling moisturized and conditioned, and we don't want something really foamy and bubbly that makes it hard to rinse off (remembering that the amount of surfactant left on your skin is directly related to how tight your skin feels after washing! This is why a nice toner is a good idea - it will help remove any excess surfactant!)

For each skin type, we can add various ingredients to make the cleanser milder, more moisturizing, or less irritating. By altering a few tiny things, we make the cleanser more suitable for your skin type! (Click here for the post on increasing mildness.) 

The concepts for formulating a facial cleanser for your skin type is very similar to formulating a body wash, but you want to reduce the surfactant concentration and increase the extracts and other goodies specific to your needs.

Which type of facial cleanser should you make? You can make a regular facial cleanser with surfactants and water based ingredients, a moisturizing facial cleanser with water soluble oils, an exfoliating cleanser with or without moisturizers, a foamy facial cleanser in a foamy bottle, a creamy facial cleanser with oils, and so on. What kind you make depends upon your skin type! (And we'll be covering all of these in the next week or so!) 

If you have dry skin, you'll want something that removes dirt, oil, and other messy things with a mild surfactant, then re-fatten the skin to make it feel moisturized and clean. You can also use a nice, light exfoliant to desquamate your skin.

If you have oily skin, you'll want something that removes dirt and oil without stripping the sebum completely off your skin. You'll want a gentle to mild cleanser with some great non-oil moisturizing ingredients like cationic polymers, film formers like aloe vera or hydrolyzed proteins, and astringent extracts like cucumber, green tea, or rosemary extract.

If you have sensitive skin, you'll want something that removes dirt and oil very gently, so it won't irritate your skin, so you can choose surfactants that are gentle to mild and/or add anti-irritants.

For acne prone skin, you want to make sure your ingredients are non-comedogenic and you want to add something like salicylic acid or white willow bark, along with anti-inflammatory ingredients like honeysuckle or rosemary.

If you have rosacea prone skin, you'll want to include some great anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant ingredients, and increase the mildness with gentle to mild surfactants and/or anti-irritants.

If you have pigmented skin, you'll want to include anti-oxidant ingredients as long with gentle exfoliants.

If you have wrinkled skin, you'll want to include anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, and smoothing ingredients, like quaternary compounds, proteins, and silicones. You can also add some AHA (like Phytofruit or Multifruit BSC) to your cleanser. You can also benefit from exfoliation.

If you simply can't wait to formulate, here are a few formulations for facial cleansers. I consider these suitable for normal to oily skin, because that's what I have, but you can modify them based on what you know about surfactants, extracts, and more! (I haven't written a post on making regular facial cleansers for oily skin because I have already written a number of them in the posts below...)

Foamer bottle facial cleanser (part 1) - suitable for quite oily skin.
Foamer bottle facial cleanser (part 2) - suitable for normal to oily skin.
White willow bark facial cleanser - suitable for oily, acne or rosacea prone skin.

Join me tomorrow to formulate a lovely cleanser for dry to normal skin!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Surfactants: Body wash with SCI

I do love SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate). It's creamy, it's foamy, and it makes my skin and hair feel lovely when I've used it in a syndet bar or shampoo. It's a great addition to any surfactant mix...but it's hard to melt and it wants to be solid again. When we add it to to our surfactant based product, it will help to thicken our products and make it feel more conditioned. You don't need to add extra thickeners - but you do have to make sure you choose your fragrance oils well.

I've taken my favourite body wash recipe and I've added 5% SCI (without stearic) to see how it would thicken. It's gorgeous! It took five days to go from the opaque bottle you see in the picture to being clear (see below)! You can go as high as 10% SCI (without stearic) if you want more thickening - just remove 5% from the LSB, not the cocamidopropyl betaine. (If you're using SCI with stearic, 5% will thicken a lot more than the stuff without, so start there!) 

37.5% water
5% SCI
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
20% LSB (or other anionic surfactant of choice)
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
3% condition-eze 7
2% hydrolyzed protein

2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% liquid Crothix (may not be necessary!)
0.5% to 1% preservative
colour, if desired

1. Weigh the SCI and cocamidopropyl betaine into a container and put into a double boiler. Stir occasionally until it is melted.

2. Weigh the rest of the heated phase into a container and put into a double boiler. Stir occasionally until it is the same temperature as the SCI and cocamidopropyl betaine.

3. Combine the two containers and mix very well until it is a homogenous solution. Don't stir too vigorously or you might end up with tons of bubbles that take some time to get to the top of the bottle!

4. When the mixture reaches 45˚C, add the cool down phase. Again, don't mix it too vigorously!

Let this sit until it comes to room temperature before bottling. This way you can tell if you need more thickening.

Please follow these directions carefully. I decided to add the entire heated phase together and after 30 minutes, the SCI was still solid. I know better than this, but I wanted to make a few other things in the double boiler so I cut some corners! Bad Susan!

The reason to heat the rest of the heated phase separately is that adding a cool or cold ingredient to your cocamidopropyl betaine-SCI mixture will cause the SCI to solidify very quickly, leaving you with little solid pieces in your otherwise creamy mixture!

I chose a fragrance I knew would thin this mixture - Lemon Curd - and found the viscosity perfect (at first). If you think it is too thin, add 0.5% liquid Crothix and mix well. If it is still too thin, add another 0.5% Crothix to a maximum of 2% Crothix. Or you can start with 10% SCI for those fragrances that will thin out (usually citrus or vanilla based fragrance oils) so you don't have to use the Crothix!

This is the body wash about 3 weeks later. Notice it eventually went clear at 5% SCI! Interestingly enough, I didn't include any colours in here and the Lemon Curd fragrance oil made it go orange! Perfect! With this fragrance, I'll use 10% SCI when I make it again because it is just a tad thinner than I would normally like. I still love it and use it all the time, but I'm sure I'm using more than I should because it's not viscous enough! 

This feels really lovely and creamy, and is suitable for all skin types. The SCI without stearic is great for oily to normal-oily skin and the SCI with stearic works well for those with normal to dry skin.

If you want to modify another surfactant recipe - facial cleanser, shampoo, bubble bath - just remember to include one of the surfactants that will help SCI melt well! And for the love of all that is good and wonderful in the world, remember to melt it in that solubilizing surfactant alone before adding it to the rest of the stuff!

Join me tomorrow for fun with the basics of formulating facial cleansers!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Replicating Dove's moisturizing body washes

A lot of people want to replicate the Dove moisturizing body washes - so let's take a look at what makes this product moisturizing!

These are the ingredients for the Dove Moisturizing Body Wash "Deep Moisture".

Water: Okay, that's a given

Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower): This is an interesting addition. It makes sense because the linoleic acid in the sunflower oil is great for helping with damaged skin barriers.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate: This is a mild anionic surfactant great for most skin types. You could use ammonium laureth sulfate for even milder cleanser and a bit of substantivity.

Sodium Lauroamphoacetate: This is a mild amphoteric surfactant.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine: This will make any surfactant mixture less irritating on our skin.

Glycerin: This is a great humectant and increases bubbling and lather.

Petrolatum: There's the moisturizer. Probably mineral oil of some sort.

Lauric Acid: This is a fatty acid, like stearic acid, used to moisturize. Lauric acid is a short chain fatty acid (C12) found in coconuts. The shorter the chain, the less likely to interfere with foam.

Cocamide MEA: This is a lot like cocamide DEA as it re-fattens our skin and thickens the surfactant mixture.

Fragrance: To make things smell nice.

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: This is a cationic polymer like condition-eze 7 or honeyquat. It is substantive to our skin and makes our skin feel conditioned.

Lanolin Alcohol: A water insoluble emollient. This might be part of the moisturizing as well.

Citric Acid: pH adjuster.

DMDM Hydantoin: Preservative

Tetrasodium EDTA: Chelating ingredient.

Etidronic Acid: From wikipedia - "...used for suppressing radical formation, emulsion stabiliser and viscosity control." It also prevents the effects of hard water - it's a bisphosphonate.

Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891): I'm guessing this is to make the product whiter.

PEG 30 Dipolyhydroxystearate (may contain): This is an emulsifier (HLB 5.5) and surfactant.

So what do we see in this product? Mild anionic and amphoteric surfactants, humectants, conditioning polymers, oils, moisturizers, and re-fatteners, along with emulsifiers, preservatives, and fragrance.

I think the chelating and hard water modifying ingredients are an important part of this body wash because it means that regardless of water type, it's going to feel nice on your skin! Since I don't have the first clue about where to get these ingredients (other than EDTA), we'll need to choose surfactants that aren't affected by hard water.

Could we make a product like this? I think we already have! Just add tons of moisturizing and hygroscopic ingredients that will draw water to our skin from the atmosphere while not suppressing the foam.

How would I go about replicating this? I'd use about 30% surfactants with 10% water soluble oils. I want to use 10% SCI instead of sodium lauroamphoacetate because I don't have the latter and I know 10% SCI will be thickened and feel creamy on my skin (you can use SLSa at up to 5% to get a sulfoacetate into the mix, but it will thicken the mixture quite a bit! Oh, and if you're using SCI with stearic acid - for instance, the noodles - take it down to 5% and increase your water amount!). I could add some glycol distearate as another moisturizer - but I won't, because it will thicken too much - but I'll add little cocamide DEA to make it thicker and moisturizing or PEG-7 cocoate for the same reasons, use some cationic polymers and humectants, and add a little EDTA for chelating.

51.4% water
10% water soluble sunflower oil or other water soluble oil
10% SLeS or ALeS
10% SCI
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
3% cocamide DEA or PEG-7 cocoate
2% cationic polymer
0.5% preservative
0.1% EDTA
Fragrance or essential oils if you want at 1% 

Interestingly enough, if you take a look at this version of the body wash, Dove Ultra Moisturizing Body Wash, there are a ton of humectants including urea, sorbitol, sodium lactate, and glycerin. And we see allantoin in this, as well as SCI! So really the key is increasing your humectants, using mild anionic and amphoteric surfactants, and including a cationic polymer. (Hmm, where have we seen that before? This recipe uses a carbomer to make a gel, and you can do that, too!) If you want to replicate this, I'd take 10% out of the water amount and add 0.5% allantoin (heated phase), some hydrovance (2%), about 5% glycerin (heated phase) and 2% sodium lactate (although this is kind of pointless as it'll wash off when you rinse) - use the same recipe as above but add these things. 

I hope I've shown you how we can duplicate the products we normally buy. Get the ingredient list and break it down for each ingredient. Figure out what each brings to the mix and see what you have in your workshop to fulfill those goals. We might not have every ingredient in the commercial product, but when we know our ingredients and their purpose, it's not hard to substitute what you have!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Surfactants: Body wash for dry skin

If we want to modify a body wash for dry skin, we have to remember the goals for this skin type - gentle cleansing that doesn't strip our skin and moisturizing. We can do that in a number of ways...

You can modify the surfactants to increase the number of very mild or gentle surfactants. You could substitute the sulfonate (Bioterge AS-40) - which is better for normal to oily skin - for something a little milder like a taurate (SMC or SMO Taurate at the Herbarie) or an alkyl ether sulfate (like ammonium laureth sulfate). The BSB is intended to be a good-for-babies kind of cleanser, so you can substitute that for any surfactant blend intended for gentle cleansing. SCI is a lovely surfactant for dry skin, but I'm saving that for tomorrow's post!

We can increase the cationic polymers to 5% if we want, and increase the glycerin 5% (or including other humectants like hydrovance or propylene glycol, remembering that sodium lactate rinses off). We can increase the aloe vera to 10% or higher, and increase the hydrolyzed proteins as high as 5%. We can increase the panthenol if you have a damaged skin barrier (meaning you have sensitive skin) as high as 5%.

We can add water soluble oils at up to 4%. Or we could add dimethicone at up to 3% in this body wash! It will create a light, occlusive barrier on your skin to trap in the water and keep the world out! It will emulsify properly because our surfactants can emulsify a bit of oil! Let's take a look at that!

27.5% water
15% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
15% SMC or SMO Taurate or ALeS
15% BSB (or other gentle surfactant)
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
5% cationic polymer (like condition-eze 7 or honeyquat)
4% water soluble oil like PEG 7-olivate or a silicone like dimethicone
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% Crothix (as necessary)

We can add something like cocamide DEA to re-fatten our skin at a ratio of 1 part cocamide DEA to 4 parts surfactant mixture. We could add some PEG-7 cocoate at 2% to 20% to re-fatten our skin or to solubilize some non-water soluble oils. (It also helps to thicken the mixture, so it's a triple bonus ingredient!) We could also include something like myristamine oxide at 5% to 20% (scroll down).

In this recipe, we'd use about 10% cocamide DEA. Honestly, that's way too much. I'd suggest a maximum of 4% to 5% as it can feel a bit slimy on your skin if you use too much.

27.5% water
15% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
15% SMC or SMO Taurate or ALeS
15% BSB (or other gentle surfactant)
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
5% cationic polymer (like condition-eze 7 or honeyquat)
4% cocamide DEA or 4% PEG-7 cocoate or 5% myristamine oxide
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% Crothix (as necessary)

If you're using more or less of an ingredient, take it out of the water phase.

If you want to add some oils, you can add something like polysorbate 80 (equal parts poly 80 to oil) or Plantasol CCG (use at 1% to 10%). I wouldn't go over 5% oils because it will depress the foam dramatically. You can also use something like EZ Pearl (glycol distearate) to add moisturizing to your body wash!

Click here for a body wash with polysorbate 80 and oils. Just substitute the surfactants good for dry skin with the surfactants I've used in this recipe.

Click here for a body wash including glycol distearate. Again, substitute your preferred surfactants for the ones I've used.

Join me tomorrow for a break down of the Dove body washes that everyone seems to like (and a duplicate recipe).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Surfactants: Formulating a body wash for different skin types

I absolutely love using a body wash in the shower. If I formulate it correctly, it leaves behind a lovely moisturized feeling that lasts all day. The goal for a body wash is to offer cleansing without giving my skin that dry, tight feeling. So we want to create a body wash using a combination of mild cleansers that rinse off well at good concentrations and some humectants, emollients, film formers, and polymers that will offer us a nice conditioned feel with lots of fluffy foam and lather. (For more information on mildness, click here.)

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

37.5% water
15% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
15% Bioterge AS-40 (C14-16 olefin sulfonate) or SLeS
15% BSB or LSB
5% aloe vera
3% glycerin
3% Condition-eze 7
2% cromoist or other hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% liquid Crothix
0.5% preservative
Colouring, if wanted

What does each ingredient bring to the party?

Water: Well, that's obvious. We don't want a 100% surfactant body wash!

Cocamidopropyl betaine (Amphosol CG): Offers excellent foam as well as foam stabilization. It's a gentle cleanser that also offers some moisturizing through being a humectant. It thickens our other surfactants as well, which is a great feature!

Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate (Bioterge AS-40): It offers a great flash foam with good lather and good bubbles. It's a mild cleanser, and it is good for normal to oily skin. It's also a good emulsifier if you wanted to add some oils.

Ether carboxylate (found in the BSB): These offer good foam stability, and impart mildness, creaminess, and a conditioned feeling thanks to the substantivity to our skin. They are compatible with cationic ingredients, so we can add some cationic polymers to increase the conditioning.

Aloe vera: Offers some film forming on our skin as well as some great phytosterols to help with inflammation. It also contains a ton of salts, which we know is great for thickening our surfactant mixes. I really should be using this at 10% to get the full benefits.

Glycerin: A great humectant that will stay on our skin after rinsing, as well as a great thickening agent that helps create lovely stable lather and bubbles on our skin. It also helps to moisturize skin without oils, and that's never a bad thing!

Cationic polymer (condition-eze 7 or polyquat 7): These adsorb to your skin to make it feel more conditioned and moisturized by increasing our skin's moisture uptake ability. Feel free to use another cationic polymer - like honeyquat - in its place.

Hydrolyzed protein (I use Cromoist): Proteins offer moisturizing, and will feel silky and soft in your creations. In surfactant blends, they will increase foam stability, add slipperiness, and offer creaminess and density. They can also reduce skin irritation caused by anionic surfactants, so they are good for combatting skin dryness. We love these!

Panthenol: It penetrates deep into the epidermis to bring water into the stratum corneum, and can retain water in the skin without a sticky feeling. Studies have shown that not only is it moisturizing, but it can actually heal inflammation, sunburns, and wounds at 5% in a lotion by up to 30% quicker than a lotion without panthenol.

Fragrance oil: Well, that's an obvious inclusion because we all like a nice fragrance in the shower! You can use an essential oil here at the same rate. As a note, you won't need to include a solubilizer like polysorbate 20 here because the surfactants we are using are good emulsifiers.

Preservative: Use the preservative of your choice at the recommended amount.

Crothix: This will thicken your body wash, increase the moisturization, and reduce the irritation of our surfactants.

Now we have some ideas of why we're using the ingredients we're using, so we can modify it for specific skin types. This is a good body wash for normal to oily skin as it contains gentle to mild cleansers, some humectants and cationics, ingredients to thicken, and ingredients to mitigate irritation.

If you wanted to exchange some of the surfactants in this recipe, I'd recommend leaving in the cocamidopropyl betaine and the C14-16 olefin sulfonate (great for oily skin) and switching the BSB something containing disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (like DLS mild or Bioterge 804). A taurate might be good for normal or slightly oily skin as it is very gentle and doesn't remove a lot of oil.

If you have acne or rosacea prone oily skin, you can increase the anti-inflammatory ingredients in this recipe (like the aloe vera), add some anti-inflammatory ingredients, like salicylic acid or white willow bark (click here for a body wash with this ingredient) or one of our lovely anti-inflammatory extracts or hydrosols.

And if you want to add more moisturizing, add a little more cationic polymer (say up to 5%) and add some more hydrolyzed protein (up to 5%). You can also add more aloe vera to increase the film forming, and possibly more glycerin to act as a humectant. We could add sodium lactate in this recipe, but it will just wash off, so glycerin is your best choice.

Okay, let's modify this recipe for the oily skin type with a few more anti-inflammatory ingredients.

27.5% water
15% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
15% Bioterge AS-40 (c14-16 olefine sulfonate)
15% BSB or DLS mild or Bioterge 804 or a taurate
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
5% Condition-eze 7 or honeyquat (or other cationic polymer)
2% cromoist or other hydrolyzed protein

2% panthenol
1% white willow bark or salicylic acid, or 0.5% chamomile or 0.5% rosemary
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% liquid Crothix
0.5% preservative
Colouring, if wanted

Join me tomorrow as we modify this recipe for dry skin types!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Surfactants: Building viscosity - creating gels

This is the last in the very long series of posts on surfactants before we get to some super fun formulating! We've covered the idea of increasing the micelle size and increasing the concentration of the surfactants, so let's take a look at creating gels.

There are a few ways to create a gel that will thicken our surfactant mix. We can use polysaccharides, carbomers, or something like Amaze XT.

Polysaccharides like agar, carageenan, guar gum, gum arabic, locust bean gum, pectin, xanthan gum (anionic), carboxymethocellulose and variations on the methocellulose (non-ionic), and modified starches are great options for forming gels. (Since I'm still experimenting with carageenan, I won't comment on it just yet!) Because these are botanical in nature, make sure you preserve these well with the maximum preservative allowable!

Xanthan gum is made from saccharide monomer units d-glucose, d-mannose, and d-glucoronic acid. It dissolves in most acidic solutions (less than pH 7) and shows great stability in presence of most organic acids (like vinegar, lactic acid, AHA, and so on). It also shows good compatibility with many basic compounds, but something that is very alkaline like lye (pH around 12), you might see some precipitation of xanthan gum and salts. It is also unusually good with salts, but solubility is an issue. There is an incompatibility of xanthan gum and metal ions in solution with high pH, so addition of EDTA is a good idea if you're using some high pH ingredients like lye (although I can't see a good reason to make a really high pH product...)

Xanthan gum shows good compatibility with non-ionic surfactants in high concentrations, but low concentrations of anionic and amphoteric surfactants. It's not compatible with quaternary compounds, or you want to avoid using something like BTMS, honeyquat or polyquat 7, or Tinosan as your preservative.

You can use xanthan gum in your lotions in the oil phase of the lotions and in your surfactant mixes in the heated water and surfactant phase to create a rich creamy lather. But remember, if you're making a shampoo, leave the honeyquat and polyquat 7 out!

Make sure you're using 0.1% to 0.3% because at lower levels in a lotion, it can actually enhance flocculation and creaming (otherwise known as an epic lotion fail)! EEEK!

You can use a polymer like Carbomer or ETD 2020 to create a lovely gel that will thicken our mixture and suspend things like jojoba beads or pumice for a scrub. (Click on the link as I've already covered this...)

You can use a product like Amaze XT (INCI: Dehydroxanthan gum), which is a modified form of xanthan gum. Use it at 1% to 2% to create a gel without neutralization (unlike the carbomers) in the heated water part of the product. It is soluble in water and alcohol for creating gels. You can't use paraben based preservatives with Amaze XT based gels, which means Phenonip and Germaben II are right out. You can use liquid Germall Plus, Optiphen ND, and Tinosan SDC without problems.

Amaze XT is anionic, and it is compatible with silicones, propylene glycol, hydrolyzed proteins, EDTA, sodium phosphate, and low levels of Flexan II, a polymer used in hair styling products (3:1 ratio of Amaze to Flexan II). In emulsions, you can use carbopol, Structure XL starch, xanthan gum, and hydroxyethyl cellulose as well.

The ideal pH for products containing Amaze XT is between 4.5 and 6, which is right where we want our skin care products. Below 4.5, you'll see a decrease in clarity, so you can add a little salt at 0.1% to make it a little more viscous.

I have been playing with Amaze XT - these recipes from Voyageur - and I just love it. It's great for a suspending type of cleanser and really nice in a very light lotion. The moisturizing sorbet I've linked to would be fabulous for a light lotion for the summer time for oily skinned people (low oils, high humectants).

All right! Let's get making some surfactant based creations for our various skin types!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Defining your product by what's NOT in it!

This is not my dog walking around the house with a conditioner bar in her mouth! 

I have a little thing I call my Trifecta of ARGH! When I'm on a webpage and it mentions that their products are "chemical free" or natural or they make an outrageous promise, I shut it down because I know it'll make me really annoyed. (I should clarify - when I say natural, I mean "all natural" as in no preservatives in water based products, which we know is dangerous!)

To enjoy your own screaming moment, I encourage you to click here to see the Kosmea Eighth Natural Wonder serum. It's not so much the serum that bothers me - although at $70 for 120 ml, it better make me look like I'm 12 again! - but the copy at the bottom of the page.

Here are their claims...
  • Kosmea Organic Body Care uses NO mineral oils
  • Kosmea Organic Body Care uses NO artificial colours
  • Kosmea Organic Body Care uses NO petrochemicals
  • Kosmea Organic Body Care uses NO artificial fragrances
  • Kosmea Organic Body Care  uses NO sodium lauryl sulphate
  • Kosmea Organic Body Care uses NO animal derived ingredients
There's no ingredient list so I can't tell you what they actually include for your $70. I know they don't use synthetic paraben preservatives - they use all natural GSE as a preservative, which we know only preserves thanks to the preservatives in the GSE. And apparently they don't use mineral oil or sodium lauryl sulphate (although why you'd use SLS in a leave on product I don't know!). And they don't use animal derived proteins - why would you bother when there are so many lovely vegetable derived proteins (oat, wheat, soy, corn, and so on)? Why are they telling us so much about what they don't use and very little about what they do? (The ingredient list on their home page comes up as a "line error" so I can only see it for a few seconds, but it looks like a very thin lotion filled with all kinds of extracts. It could be very nice...I'm more worried about the advertising than the product. Blame the podcasts for "Age of Persuasion" for this post!)

They're using every buzz word possible to define themselves as green or natural or whatever else is popular or scary this week. In this case, they're using those buzz words to tell you what they're not!

In the spirit of Kosmea Organic Body care, Swiftcraftymonkey's Awesome Natural, Organic, and Green Products promises you that we...

don't allow child molesters to mix or package our lotions or creams
don't allow our dog to lick every conditioner bar before we package it for you
don't bake day old bread into croutons and use those as exfoliants in our emulsified scrubs
don't use cyanide as a allantoin substitute
do use locally sourced, biodegradable, renewable resources, like our lovely baby seal pelt towels
do bless each product as it is poured or packaged by singing "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" accompanied by some bawdy hand gestures
don't test on animals, unless you count that time Blondie ate that shea butter lotion bar (she was fine)

This reminds me of the Mr. Show grocery store wars sketch (one of my favourites)! "Our stores aren't constantly on fire!" Now that's a slogan you can trust!

Surfactants: Building viscosity - increasing micelle size

The second way to increase the viscosity of our surfactant-y creations is to increase the size of the micelles. (Please click here for a refresher on micelles!) We learned in the post about increasing mildness that increasing micelle size can reduce irritation, so you're not only building viscosity, you're decreasing irritation! (I love two-for-one processes!)

We can do this by using salt, by adding surfactants like the betaines, or by adding fatty materials, like Crothix, PEG-150 distearate, EZ Pearl (glycol distearate), or other thickening esters. Because surfactants have those hydrophilic heads and lipophilic tails, the fatty materials will become trapped in the middle of the micelles, causing them to swell. This creates viscosity in our products.

If you are using these fatty materials, be warned that some will pearlize or cloud your product. Crothix will create a clear system, but EZ Pearl is definitely something that will make it very opaque, which can be very pretty! (This was thickened with EZ Pearl - you can't see the pearly look, but it is lovely.)

These products thicken very well, but may not play well with your fragrances. Keep a list of those fragrances that thin or thicken your mixture so you can compensate for that change. (For instance, I find the black amber lavender and cream cheese icing fragrance oils from Brambleberry thicken my products like silly - I love it - whereas the jewelled citrus thins it like crazy!) I like to use liquid Crothix to thicken so I have more control over the product - I make something like a bubble bath, add everything but the Crothix, and wait until the next morning when it becomes clear. I can add the Crothix then - 0.5% at a time - to see how it thickens up.

Join me tomorrow for fun increasing our viscosity by making gels!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Surfactants: Building viscosity - increasing surfactant concentration

We're getting ready to do some formulating, but we need to take a few moments to look at how to thicken our surfactant based creations.

There are three ways to thicken a surfactant based creation - increase the concentration of the surfactants, make the micelles larger, or create a gel. (There's a brief summary about this topic in this post...)

You can increase the surfactant very easily by adding more surfactants and removing the water. But, when you increase the surfactant concentrations above the suggested usage rates, you are asking for irritation, plus you're wasting supplies. 

The other way to increase the surfactant concentration is to use the salt curve.

The salt curve is the concept of adding salt - an electrolyte - to a surfactant mix to make it thicker. It does this in two ways. The first - the electrolyte increases the size of the micelles in the surfactants, so the viscosity increases. The second - the electrolytes compete with the surfactants for water, so as we add more salt, we fool the product into thinking we've increased the concentration of the surfactants, which will increase viscosity.

When we add salt to the mixture, there is a distinct curve (pictured to the left). As we gradually increase the salt, it will thicken nicely and stay that way. But if we add too much salt, we eventually start to thin it out back to the watery state. This is one of the reasons we add it slowly - as you can see, the difference between 3% and 3.5% is huge! This is due to the imbalance of charges between the various ingredients in your creation.

When we see a surfactant can help thicken another - like cocamidopropyl betaine or SMC taurate - this is thanks to the increase of electrolytes in the mix. When we see something like cocamide DEA increase viscosity, we have fooled the system into thinking we've increased the concentration of the surfactants, and it thickens. 

Ideally you'll use between 1% and 3% salt in your creation - remember to add it slowly so you don't end up on the wrong side of that curve! The down side of using salt is that it can make your creations cloudy, so you'll want to bottle those in a non-clear container (like I should have done with this bottle of cocamide DEA thickened bubble bath!) or just accept it!

Join me tomorrow for more fun with thickeners - increasing the micelle size!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Surfactant related downloads (PDF)

Since I'll be formulating a lot of surfactant based things in the next few weeks, I thought it wise to summarize surfactant links in one place - click here for the permanent page on surfactants!

In addition, here are a few downloads on surfactants in PDF form!

Here's a handy dandy chart on surfactants so you can play along!

Here's a PDF of the posts I've written lately on the various surfactants to download!

And here's a PDF of the basics of surfactant chemistry to download as well!

Let's get formulating! 

Surfactants: What causes skin tightness after washing?

We all know the feeling - our skin feels tight and smooth after cleansing - but this isn't a good thing. Skin tightness is associated with a marked decrease in the water content of our stratum corneum, and can be the first sign that repeated use of this product could lead to scaling, flaking, and possible redness, which is to say irritation. So what causes this?

It was previously thought that removing lipids from our skin caused this feeling, but it's been shown that although removing too much oil is associated with and can enhance the feeling of tightness, it's not an essential component.

What has been shown to be an essential component of skin tightness is the amount of surfactant left on your skin after washing. Some surfactants don't rinse off well and leave a film on your skin. The worst culprits for this are the alkyl sulfates (like sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS) and the alkyl benzene sulfonates (also known as the alkyl aryl sulfonates like linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, which are mostly used in household cleaning products).

What can we do to reduce this feeling? We can make sure we use surfactants that rinse off well - and all but the two mentioned above do this - and we can add cationic and non-ionic ingredients to mitigate the feeling. In essence, we can incorporate mildness into our products (which was the topic for yesterday's post).

You can also use a toner on your face after cleansing to remove more surfactant (and you know I have a ton of recipes for that particular product!) or you can use fewer surfactants or only a titch of cleanser when you're washing your face! That's one of the reason I like the foamer bottle. One squirt is more than enough for some serious cleansing. If you package your facial cleanser in a pump, it makes it easy to get just the right amount for that day's face washing! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Surfactants: Incorporating mildness into your creations - overview

Surfactants, by their very nature, are irritating to our skin. The goal when creating surfactant based products is to reduce the irritation to our skin by using milder cleansers, creating blends that enhance mildness, and adding ingredients like cationic polymers, proteins, or emollients.

When a surfactant comes into contact with our skin, it can bind to the surface and denature our skin's proteins. It can interact with the lipids on our skin and disrupt the organization of the stratum corneum lipids, which can lead to increased dryness and increased trans-epidermal water loss. Surfactants can remove the natural moisturizing factor in our skin, leading to a reduction in the ability of our skin to attract moisture from our environment. If they annoy our skin enough, the anti-inflammatory response can kick in leading to itching, drying, and redness. (This is one of the reasons you don't want to leave an anionic surfactant on your skin as a leave-on type of product!)

Okay, now that I've scared you into never wanting to use surfactants ever again, let's take a look at how easy it is to increase the mildness of our surfactant mixes so we won't have these horrible side effects for simply washing our faces!

We can increase mildness by...
  • using only very mild surfactants;
  • reducing the concentration of surfactants in our creations;
  • modify the behaviour of the surfactants; and
  • protect the skin's surface by including various ingredients.
Using only mild surfactants will create a mild creation. You can create some very mild cleansing products using decyl glucoside (non-ionic) with cocamidopropyl betaine (amphoteric), which we see in baby products. We can create very mild blends with anionic surfactants (see below), then combine them with the non-ionics and amphoterics to creating something even milder!

If you want to try making something without anionic surfactants, you could make a really mild blend using decyl glucoside, cocamidopropyl betaine, and PEG-7 cocoate that will re-fatten the skin, thicken quite well, and offer mild cleansing with not-so-great foam. This would work well as a very mild facial cleanser or make-up remover, but for something like a body wash, we really do need our lovely anionics.

I like using a combination of SCI, cocamidopropyl betaine, and DLS mild for very mild cleansing. Combine this with some of the ingredients I'll mention in the next sections, and you have yourself a very mild cleanser with great foam and fantastic skin feel.

Reducing the concentration of the surfactants in our creations is really simple. Just use less. I know, this sounds really glib, but it's true. If you are making a facial cleanser, but find that it's a little too much for you, you can take that mixture, add about 33% more water and turn it into a foaming cleanser - if you don't want to thicken it - or add some more Crothix or salt and thicken it up!

Combining surfactants is a great way to modify the behaviour of the surfactants in our products and it's a really simple way to increase mildness. Adding cocamidopropyl betaine (amphoteric) or non-ionic surfactants like decyl glucoside or even polysorbate 20 will reduce the potential irritancy of an anionic surfactant dramatically, and you can combine surfactants to increase mildness. There are two theories about why this works.

Theory one: Surfactants tend to form micelles when they are added in proper concentration. Some surfactants aren't that keen on joining the group and they float around in the water as monomers (polymer means many, monomer means one - they're loners). These monomers are what bother your skin and cause irritation as they interact directly with your skin's proteins. When we add a few surfactants together, they form larger and more stable micelles, which reduces the number of monomers, which reduces the irritation.

Theory two: Surfactants compete for binding sites on your skin. When you add a milder, secondary surfactant it occupies the spot to which the first, less mild surfactant could have bound. So the less mild surfactant has no where to attach to your skin and is washed away.

A little more chemistry...when the polymers interact with the micelles, the micelles become more hydrophobic. Increased hydrophobicity means less adherence of the surfactants to your skin. We know that adherence of surfactants to your skin is a key element in that feeling of tightness after washing, so less adherence equals less irritation.

We can add polymers, proteins, and emollients like dimethicone to our products to increase the mildness and help protect our skin. When we add a polymer - like polyquat 7, honeyquat, or dimethicone - they incorporate into the micelles and reduce the relative amount of monomers in the solution. As the monomers are the culprits in causing irritation, this will reduce irritation. As well, they compete for those binding sites so the less mild components of our cleanser will wash away.

When we add proteins, we want to add the higher molecular weight proteins like oat or wheat to form a film on our skin. Silk is lovely for dry skin types, but if it penetrates your skin, it kinda defeats the purpose of forming the film. Proteins are great additions to surfactants mixes - they increase foam stability and density and increase the feeling of creaminess and slipperiness.

Note: If you can't get proteins, then cocamidopropyl betaine is a great alternative!

Emollient ingredients - Crothix, glycol distearate, water soluble oils, fatty alcohols (like cetyl alcohol), and silicones - will help reduce the disruption of the stratum corneum lipids, which can lead to an impaired barrier function. You can use a lotion after bathing, or you can incorporate some of these ingredients into your surfactant mixes. (I'll be going over the specifics of Crothix and glycol distearate in the upcoming posts on increasing viscosity in our products. For now, click on the links for more information).

This is what we're seeing a lot of in the moisturizing body washes. Generally they'll use mineral oil with an emulsifier as the emollient, but you can use a variety of different ingredients to get that same effect. I like using water soluble oils - I have sunflower, jojoba, and olive oil - at about 4% for adding moisturizing.

And don't forget your humectants! One of the big problems with incorporating humectants into your surfactant creation is this - they wash off. Sodium lactate is pointless in a surfactant mixture because it'll wash off and fail to offer any form of humectancy! Glycerin and urea (in urea form or Hydrovance) are your best choices for humectants, as well as one of the glycols like propylene or butylene glycol. Glycerin not only increases your bubbles and lather - bonus! - but can help with barrier repair, improved stratum corneum hydration, and reduces trans-epidermal water loss. I add it at 3%, but you can go even higher to 5% - 8% in a body wash if you have really dry skin. Most of this will wash off, but if you get even 1% to stay on, that's a good thing!

Finally, we can include some anti-inflammatory ingredients - like aloe vera, witch hazel, white willow bark, or salicylic acid - but it's better to reduce irritation than to treat it after the fact!

If you take a look at my basic body wash recipe (which we'll be modifying like silly over the next week or so), you'll see I have tried to include every single feature listed here.

37.5% water
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
15% Amphosol AS-90 or SLeS - mild anionic surfactants
15% BSB or LSB - gentle anionic surfactants
5% aloe vera - film former
3% glycerin - humectant
3% Condition-eze 7 - cationic polymer
2% cromoist or other hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol - great humectant, skin barrier repair
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% liquid Crothix - re-fattening our skin
0.5% preservative
Colouring, if wanted

Join me tomorrow for more fun with surfactants! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Which surfactants should you buy?

People ask me all the time which surfactants they should buy, and this is a more complicated question than they think! If I could afford it, I'd have every single surfactant available on my shelves, but I know this isn't realistic. So how do you decide which ones get a permanent place in your formulating and which ones you dream about when you get a bonus at work?

As usual, we come to the goals of your products. If you're a bubble bath kind of person, then you want to choose surfactants that produce good flash foam and good bubbles. If body washes are your thing, choose gentle to mild cleansers with lots of lather and good skin feel. If you love shampoos, then choose gentle to mild cleansers suitable for your hair type with good lather and foam, and resistance in the presence of sebum. If you're like me and you love playing with surfactants...well, you might end up with a lot less in your bank account!

In my workshop I have these surfactants...
  • Amphosol CG (cocamidopropyl betaine): This is an essential surfactant for any formulator as it adds mildness, increases viscosity, and behaves as a mild cleanser.
  • Amphosol AS-40 (liquid) (C14-16 olefin sulfonate): A mild cleanser suitable for oily skin and hair. Great flash foam, good lather, good bubbles - it's a good all around inclusion in all the different things I might make with surfactants. I have the powdered AS-90 as well, but I don't tend to use that often.
  • Steol CS-230 (sodium laureth sulfate): A mild cleanser good for all skin and hair types. I like this for hand washes and body cleansers.
  • Steol CA-230 (ammonium laureth sulfate): A mild cleanser good for all skin and hair types. I like to use this where I might use SLeS, but I've only just bought this, so I'm not sure where it fits into my formulating yet.
  • SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate): A staple for my shampoo bars, this offers great foam, good lather, good bubbles, and a lovely skin feel. I have flakes, noodles, and prills! (Yep, I really love this stuff!)
  • SLSa (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate): A staple for my shampoo bars, this offers excellent foam, lather, and bubbles with mild cleansing.
  • DLS mild (disodium laureth sulfosuccinate): This is a great for oily skin or hair with good foam, good detergency, and mild cleansing.
  • SMC taurate (sodium methyl cocoyl taurate): A gentle surfactant good for dry to normal skin that offers good skin feel.
  • Castille liquid soap: I've been using this a lot lately in household cleansers! It's great!
  • PEG-7 cocoate (non-ionic): A foam stabilizer that will thicken other surfactants as well as re-fattening skin. Again, this is new to me and I want to use it in body washes to increase the moisturizating nature.
  • Decyl glucoside (Plantapon, non-ionic): A good foamer that enhances cationic conditioniong and anti-irritant. This one is great for very mild formulations like facial cleansers or dry hair shampoos.
  • Cocamide DEA (non-ionic): It improves the density and stability of foams, and adds some serious thickening and moisturizing to surfactant mixes.
I also have these blends...
  • BSB (PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, PEG-150 Distearate, Sodium Laureth-13 Carboxylate, Quaternium-15): A gentle to mild cleansing blend great for all applications. I find it especially awesome in bubble baths to increase viscosity and making skin feel nice afterwards.
  • LSB (Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate): Because Voyageur is no longer carrying Bioterge 804, I've started to use this product to get sulfosuccinate into my surfactant mixes. It has excellent foam, excellent lather, and excellent bubbles, so it's an all around surfactant for many different uses.
  • Bioterge 804 (Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauramide DEA): As I mentioned, this is no longer carried at Voyageur, but it was great for oily hair products with good cleansing and fluffy lather.
So which ones should you pick up for your formulating fun? Consider your skin and hair type and what you want to make! If you have oily skin or hair, the sulfosuccinates and sulfonates are good choices, whereas if you have dry skin or hair, the milder cleansers like decyl glucoside or SMC or SMO Taurate might be your staple surfactants. The alkyl ether sulfates like ALeS and SLeS are good all around surfactants that you can use in just about every type of product you'll make! 

Also consider availability. Although I love the DLS Mild and SMC Taurate, I don't make those the main surfactants in my products because the shipping costs make it far too expensive to order from the Herbarie regularly. I can drive to Voyageur in 45 minutes, so I tend to formulate with the Amphosol CG, Amphosol AS-40, and SLeS or BSB/LSB the most. (Having said this, Creations from Eden in Edmonton is carrying some of the Herbarie's products, including DLS mild and the polyglucose/lactylate blend! Yay!)

I think every workshop should have cocamidopropyl betaine because of its ability to thicken and increase mildness. I like to have SLeS around because it's a great all around surfactant for creating cleansing products, and I like to have C14-16 olefin sulfonate because it's a great cleanser but also a good inclusion in bubble baths.

As for powders, I think SCI is just fantastic stuff - your skin does feel more moisturized afterwards and it's great for shampoo bars and thickening other surfactant mixes. If you want to make mild cleansers, shampoo bars, bubble baths, or things like bubble bars, SCI is a great addition to your surfactant shelf, but choose either the one with stearic acid (flakes, noodles) or without (prills) depending upon your skin and hair type. Or get both! SLSa is very useful, but mostly for the bubbleage as in solid products as it can really thicken your bubble baths far too much (I used 10% and it was like concrete!) 

What about blends? I remember LabRat mentioning that we shouldn't get too reliant on a blend of surfactants just in case our supplier stopped carrying it. That happened with the Bioterge 804 - out of the blue, Voyageur has stopped stocking it, so I've had to work around it by making my own versions. (The reason? Because people are scared of sulfates, so they're replacing sulfates with other things. I understand Voyageur's rationale, but that's so annoying!)

But if you're formulating for yourself or just starting out, sometimes a blend means you don't have to spend a fortune on ten different bottles of stuff to make a great shampoo or body wash. Both Voyageur and the Herbarie carry some great surfactant blends like BSB, LSB, and Baby blend concentrate, all of which are great inclusions in your products!

Where can I get surfactants? Here's a short list...feel free to add to it in the comments section (with links, if possible!) A lot of times, the surfactants are listed under raw materials or miscellaneous or speciality ingredients, so you might have to do a bit of extra looking around on the site of your usual supplier.
  • Link to Voyageur Soap & Candle (Canada) - all the surfactants I use, including SLSa, and the LSB and BSB blends. 
  • Link to Aquarius Aroma & Soap (Canada) - the only place I know in Canada for SCI (Jordapon prilled). Also carry SLSa, cocamide DEA, and SLeS. 
  • Link to Creations from Eden (Canada) - carrying DLS mild and polyglucose/lactylate blend.  
  • Link to the Herbarie (America) - too many to list. 
  • Link to the Personal Formulator (America). They carry the glutamates under natural surfactants, as well as tons of others! 
What surfactants are must-haves for your workshop? Do you have any suggestions for where to buy them? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Surfactants: Ethanolamines or alkanolamides

Cocamide DEA (or cocamide diethanolamine) is a non-ionic surfactant derived from coconut fatty acids (hence the coca- part) that behaves as an emulsifier, slip enhancer, and re-fattener when included in surfactant mixes. Cocamide DEA can improve the density, body, and stability of foams, so it is a great addition to a bubble bath, but it does not boost foams, and isn't a foaming or lathering surfactant. It is difficult to create a clear product using cocamide DEA, so keep this in mind if you really want a clear product.

With a pH of 9.5 to 11, it is very alkaline and we have to get the pH down by the inclusion of citric acid. The suggested us it 1% to 10%, depending upon the surfactant mix. You want to use this at a 4:1 ratio with 4 parts surfactant mix to 1 part cocamide DEA. It doesn't react to salts, so you can't thicken it that way, but you probably won't want to when you see the thickening power of this surfactant!

I use this in my bubble baths all the time - I find the 4:1 ratio a little high. Anything over about 5% will feel a bit sticky and too greasy and will make your bubble bath thicken too much. I like to use in body washes around 2% to offer a "greasy, slippery feel" to the foam and a moisturized after feel. If you use it at low levels like these, you don't really need to worry about the pH as the other surfactants and ingredients will ensure it stays at a nice level, like 6.0. 

You may also find diethanolamines derived from lauric acid (lauramide DEA) and oleic acid (oleamide DEA).

Cocamide DEA is mild on our skin, but can cause skin irritation at 10% in a leave on product for some people. As with any ingredient, try it and see what your body thinks!

If you want to try this ingredient, I suggest using it in a bubble bath or body wash and replacing the Crothix with cocamide DEA.

If you do a search for cocamide DEA, you might come to think it is the devil itself. I've seen sites stating it can cause cancer, but I haven't seen reputable studies to back up this concern. The CIR expert panel determined it is safe at 10% or lower in rinse off products and safe in rinse off products (click here for more information). A 2 year study on rats showed there was no increase in rats who were given DEA, although there was some irritation of the skin (but remember they are using really high levels of this stuff - not 4% in a bubble bath!). As with any ingredient, make your choice to use or not use it based on facts and not myths.

I know there will be posts telling me I'm wrong - I can accept that, but only if you can back it up with information from reputable sites or studies.

Join me tomorrow for ideas on incorporating mildness into your surfactant creations. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Surfactants: Alkyl polyglucosides or glycosides

Some non-ionic surfactants are not only emulsifiers or solubilizers but foamy detergents. The alkyl polyglucosides are new surfactants derived from reacting corn starch with a fatty alcohol to produce a highly biodegradable that is highly tolerant to electrolytes like salt (which means it can't be thickened well with salt).

You can find low ethoxylated monoglycerides - like PEG-7 cocoate - and alkyl polyglucosides - like Plantaren (decyl glucoside), Plantapon LGC Sorb (sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate), and Plantasol CCG (caprylyl capryl glucoside). Some are foamy surfactants - like the Plantaren and Plantapon LGC Sorb - and some are means as solubilizers, like the Plantasol CCG or PEG-7 cocoate. (Although the LGC Sorb is anionic because of the carboxylate ion that makes it negative.)

The polyglucosides are good emulsifiers, good foamers, and good wetters. They have good chemical stability in neutral and alkaline pH. These are great co-surfactants as they can reduce the irritation potential of other surfactants, thicken mixtures, and improve foam volume in the presence of hard water or sebum. Some, however, aren't very foamy at all; instead, they are used to improve the qualities of other surfactants.

PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate is a non-ionic, low ethoxylated monoglyceride that can behave as an emulsifier, emollient, foamer, and skin conditioner in our products. It is a thickening polymer, meaning it will thicken your surfactant mix when used with anionic surfactants. It is emollient, which means it will reduce skin irritation from other surfactants, and will re-fatten your skin when you are bathing or shampooing. It can make the foam feel slippery, which is a nice thing in a body wash. It's not really a detergent type surfactant - you'd never use it as the primary or even co-surfactant because it's meant to boost the qualities of your surfactant mix. Use it at 2% to 10% in cleansers and shampoos.

Plantaren 2000N (decyl glucoside) is a very mild non-ionic cleanser that works well as both a primary or secondary surfactant as it is a good foamer. It has an alkaline pH - 7 to 9.5 - so you'll have to bring your pH down with citric acid or another acidic ingredient to ensure it reaches the right pH for skin and hair. (Another data sheet states the pH is 11.5! EEK!) It is about 48% to 52% active ingredients in the surfactant, and the suggested use is 4% to 40%. This is a great ingredient for a conditioning shampoo or body wash as it improves the cationic conditioning in your products, as well as offer foam stabilization.

Plantapon LGC Sorb (sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate) is not considered a polyglucoside, but I include it here anyway because it's part of the Plant- family of surfactants. It has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5, which is perfect for our hair and body care products. It shows excellent foaming, and works well with disodium cocoamphidiacetate. It's about 28.5% to 34% active in the bottle.

Plantasol CCG (caprylyl capryl glucoside) is a non-ionic solubilizer, much like polysorbate 20, and it can be used in surfactant systems to help emulsify oils or in a lotion as a high HLB emulsifier. It is not a foaming surfactant, but a surfactant enhancer. It is very compatible with surfactant systems, which means if you want some oils in your shampoo, this is the product you can use. The Herbarie recommends it for make up removers and facial cleansers because it is such a mild cleanser. The suggested use is 1% to 10%.

These surfactants are excellent for all skin types as they will moisturize skin without oils and offer gentle to mild cleansing. The down side is the pH in the Plantaren 2000 must be altered or it will not work well with our skin.

In this make-up remover recipe, try substituting one of these polyglucosides for the BSB in the recipe to enjoy a lovely mild, slightly foamy, slightly cleansing make-up remover!

Join me tomorrow for fun with non-ionic alkanolamides!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Surfactants: Betaines

If you read anything about cocamidopropyl betaine, it is usually listed as an amphoteric, meaning it has a positive functional group - the quaternized nitrogen - and a negative functional group - a carboxylate, phosphate, or a sulfate functional group able to carry a negative charge in neutral or alkaline conditions. Believe it or not, there is some dispute about this with some considering it a cationic surfactant. I'm going with the perspective that it is amphoteric, meaning it has a different charge depending upon pH.

Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) may behave as a zwitterion, which is a "chemical compound that carries a total net charge of 0 and is thus electrically neutral, but carries formal charges on different atoms." It has different behaviours depending on the pH. In alkaline solution (over pH 8) it behaves as an anionic surfactant with good foaming and detergency properties. In acidic solution (under pH 6), it behaves as a cationic surfactant that is substantive to our hair and skin that can increase mildness.

CAPB is never used alone in a formulation; you'll always use it as a secondary surfactant. It offers great foam stabilizing and a reduction in the irritant level of the anionic surfactants. It offers a great flash foam and some humectant properties. Because it behaves as a cationic in our products - because our pH should be below 7 - we find an increase in moisturization of our hair or skin and some anti-static properties. CAPB is a great thickener for alkyl sulfates (like SLS) or alkyl ether sulfates (like SLeS and ALeS).

I generally use Amphosol CG as my cocamidopropyl betaine choice, which is about 30% active CAPB. It has a pH of 5 to 7, and at 10% it has a minimal effect on skin and eye irritation (so you need to use about 35% before you reach this amount).

I use CAPB in every single surfactant creation I make because of all the lovely qualities listed above. In shampoos, it behaves as a humectant and a light conditioner. In body washes, it behaves as a humectant and offers some moisturizing to my skin. In bubble baths, it offers good flash foam and stabilization to the bubbles. If you are planning to make any of these types of products, stock up on CAPB!

In very mild or baby type cleansers, CAPB might be used as the primary surfactant with something like decyl glucoside (non-ionic) for a very very mild cleanser without a lot of foaming, a nice feeling of moisturizing, and some conditioning. If you have ridiculously dry skin, consider making a cleansing product using CAPB and decyl glucoside!

CAPB is suitable for all skin types as it is a mild cleanser that makes the other surfactants even more mild. It offers hygroscopic features - which benefits every skin type - and moisturizing through substantivity. In short, as a secondary surfactant, it's fantastic for everyone!

Shampoo bars (without CAPB, but I'd suggest using 10% in place of one or other or both of the surfactants)

Join me tomorrow for fun with non-ionic surfactants!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Surfactants: Sulfoacetates

We generally find the sulfoacetates as sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa), which is found in powder or flake form. It is created by the esterification of sulfoacetic acid. It is milder than than the ethoxylated alcohol sulfates (like SLeS) and stable in hard water.

The flakes or white powder have about 65% active SLSa with a pH of about 6.3, which is perfect for our skin and hair products. There is moderate skin irritation at 70%, but we don't use levels that high, so consider this a mild cleanser.

SLSa is an excellent foaming, bubbling, and lathering surfactant. It offers great cleaning and detergent properties.

I use this product in foaming bath bombs and in shampoo bars as the white powder, and in a ton of other products like facial cleansers, body wash, and shampoo as LSB (which is SLSa and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate). It's a great inclusion in foaming bath salts as well.

Some people find SLSa makes their hair feel crunchy when used in a shampoo bar. If you're one of these people, consider using extra moisturizers and conditioning agents in a shampoo bar to eliminate this sensation. Or substitute something like Bioterge AS-90 (C14-16 olefin sulfonate, powdered) for SLSa, which offers great foam and cleansing, but the bubbles aren't as great as SLSa.

When you're using this product, make sure you wear a mask. It is composed of fine particles that get into your nose and mouth, which is seriously unpleasant!

Click here for a data sheet on Lanthanol, Stepan's version of this product.

Join me tomorrow for fun with sarcosinates!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why CP soap doesn't make a great shampoo.

I've received quite a few queries asking why can't we use CP soap as a shampoo. I know the perception out there can be CP soap = natural, therefore good and surfactants = processed, therefore bad, and I know I did a post on carboxylates recently, but there are good reasons we don't use even the cutest, most moisturizing cold process soaps as shampoos.

Shampoos are generally around pH 6.0, whereas soaps tend to the alkaline, over 8.0 (some traditional soaps can be pH 10). This means CP soaps are not pH balanced for our hair. After shampooing with products out of the right pH range, the cuticle of our hair doesn't lie down, and this can lead to abrasion between the hairs. This is a serious cause of mechanical hair damage, and once you have damage, it's hard to repair it, even with the most intense conditioners.

CP soaps aren't as soluble in hard water as most surfactants. Soap molecules in hard water are converted by double decomposition to form insoluble non-foaming salts like lime, calcium, or magnesium salts of fatty acids. This isn't a big deal on your skin, but it can lead to build up on your hair, leaving it looking dull and feeling kinda crunchy. They won't foam well if there are metal ions in your water - and most water contains metal ions - and they won't foam well in the presence of sebum. Given these properties, CP soap isn't going to remove all the stuff you've put on your hair and you won't get a feeling of being clean (or, ironically, your hair might feel too squeaky clean, which isn't a good thing).

Superfatting is the idea that you add more fatty acids than are needed (adding extra oils and butters), so you have free fatty acids in the soap after saponification. This enhances the lather profile, eliminates free alkali, and improves skin mildness. So you can superfat CP soap to get the pH down so it will be kinder to hair, but as I am not a soapmaker and only know what I read about it, please consult an expert soapmaker for more information on making a potential shampoo bar.

I know there's a recipe in this Voyageur recipe package for a shampoo bar (scroll almost to the end). I do have a sample of this product and it feels quite nice on my skin. I have seen people say they have used some kind of acidic hair rinse - apple cider vinegar, for example - after using CP soap and they like it.

Look for a series of posts on hair and hair care products in the very near future where I'll go into more detail about the biology and chemistry of our hair, so I'll get into more detail then!

Surfactants: Acyl-amino acids and salts

There are three categories of acyl amino acids and salts, which are anionic surfactants.
  • Acyl glutamates
  • Acyl peptides
  • Acyl sarcosides
Acyl glutamates are created by the acylation of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid. They are poor foamers but very gentle cleansers that are mild to the skin and eyes, and are generally used in shampoos. You can find acyl glutamates in the form of products like sodium lauroyl glutamate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, or disodium cocoyl glutamate. The only place I've found this product is at the Personal Formulator listed as "natural surfactant". The pH is 6.0 to 7.0, so it is very near skin's pH, and should be used at up to 25% in a cleanser, or up to 35% in a shampoo.

Acyl peptides are formed from hydrolyzed proteins (generally animal collagen). Because it is derived from (probably) animal protein, it is a hard surfactant to preserve. The good news is that it is substantive to hair and skin, meaning it offers conditioning benefits in a shampoo or body wash. The pH of this surfactant is generally 7.0 to 9.0, so it is slightly alkaline. The suggested usage is up to 20% in personal care products. The only place I've been able to find this type of surfactant is at an Italian company called Sinerga (click here for the various surfactants in this group). This looks like a very interesting surfactant to use in your products as long as you get the pH down to 6.5 or below and if you preserve it well.

Acyl sarcosides or sarcinosates are created from the condensation of fatty acids and N-methyl glycine. They are very mild cleansers that are substantive to our skin and hair at neutral pH. They will foam in the presence of sebum - not a lot of surfactants to that - and they are often combined with the alkyl sulfates (like SLS) to boost lather. They offer foam on par with soap - which is to say a lot of foam - and they are adsorbed onto the skin to offer substantivity and moisturizing.

Sarcinosates are found in liquid or powdered form. The liquid form has up to 30% active ingredients with a pH of 7.5 to 8.5. The powdered form has up to 94% active with a pH of 7.5 to 8.5.

As I've never been able to find these surfactants, it's hard for me to make suggestions on their use (I am planning to order the "natural surfactant" from the Personal Formulator shortly!), although with their conditioning and substantivity and with their mild to gentle cleansing, it sounds like they would be great for all skin types. The sarcosinates sound like they would be ideal for mild cleansing of oily hair and skin thanks to the whole remaining lathery in sebum.

Join me tomorrow for fun with sulfoacetates.