Sunday, January 9, 2011

Iron Chemist: LSB

Welcome to Workshop Stadium. This week the Chairman, Raymond (my lovely husband), has chosen the third Iron Chemist ingredient - LSB (surfactant from Stepan). I'm grateful he chose this one; I accidentally bought two bottles of it, forgetting I had already purchased the first, so I have tons with which I can play!

Here are the rules. Every week I will ask my husband to roll a 10 sided die, each number representing a box of supplies in my workshop. He will choose an item randomly from that box and I must make 2 - possibly 3 - products that include that ingredient. I will post the ingredient on Sunday and the products I've made out of said ingredient Saturday (January 15th) along with the recipes. (If you wish to play along, you aren't limited to the same time frame and you don't need to make 2 or 3 products.) The only exception will be preservatives - I use them in everything anyway, and it won't end up being a very interesting product! Unlike Iron Chef, you don't have to make the featured ingredient the main ingredient because we don't want to use our ingredients at unsafe levels.

So what the heck is LSB? It's a surfactant from Croda containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (DLS mild). It's about 25% active ingredients to 75% water, and it has a pH of 6.0 at 10% active. It can cause mild skin and eye irritation at 10% active (which is about 40% usage), and it's biodegradable. This product will thicken up with salts (DLS mild won't thicken with salts, but the SLSa makes it possible). It works well as a primary or secondary surfactant, and because it's a blend, you can use it with a secondary surfactant like cocamidopropyl betaine or disodium cocoamphodiacetate without adding a third surfactant (it's two great things in one!).

Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa) is generally found as a powder, but here we find it as a liquid. SLSa is an excellent foamer, latherer, and bubbler, and it offers mild but great cleansing properties.

Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS mild) is considered a very mild surfactant with good foaming and good cleansing properties. It's a poor solubilizer, which means it won't incorporate a ton of oils without some help from our polysorbates or other solubilizers. It's recommended for oily skin and hair because it removes sebum gently, but all skin and hair types can use it.

When we combine them, we get a mild cleanser with amazingly great foaming, lathering, and bubbling properties that will thicken with salts and will solubilize small amounts of oils. It's very stable in hard water, and it's a great inclusion in just about any surfactant based product.

Here's the data sheet on LSB for those of you who are interested! And as a note, when you buy the product, it won't look this creamy and white. This is because it's in my very very cold workshop. This has to do with the titer point of the surfactant - when it becomes a solid - and I've reached that temperature with this product. In surfactants, they call it the cloud point, which is around 12˚C or 53˚F for LSB. I will have to heat it up to make sure all the solids are well incorporated back into the mix before using it! (I did mention the workshop is very cold, right?) I'll take some pictures after it's heated as a comparison!

Join me next Saturday to see the results!


Simone said...

Hi Susan,
Thank you for your great blog.
My question is relating to LSB which I do not have, but I do have in stock SLSa & DLS Mild. I checked out the data sheet for LSB but I couldn't find any ratios. Can you give me any suggestions on how I replicated the LSB ie. what proportions of the other 2 products to use.

Simone said...

Hi again Susan,
My apologies, I have just found a similar question and your answer April 16, 2010.