Saturday, January 15, 2011

Iron Chemist results: LSB

Well, this was an interesting week and I didn't think I'd meet the challenge*, but I managed to pull it off by Saturday! This week's challenge was all about LSB, a surfactant blend of SLSa and DLS mild from Stepan (click here for more information and the rules of the challenge).

*I've been messing around with the shower jelly challenge I didn't complete last year, and the carageenan is driving me nuts. I spent so much time trying to powder it, sieve it, and so on that I didn't actually get to formulate anything that worked! But these mistakes have taught me that I need powdered carageenan - anyone know where to get that in small quantities? (I don't need a 225 kg drum, for instance! Perhaps 8 ounces max?)

So here's what I made this week - bubble bath bars and face wash!

I've become slightly obsessed with figuring out to make these hard enough to store but soft enough to melt in the bathtub, and I think I've sussed it! (As I mentioned last week, I tried to make it with SCI as the main ingredient, but they were too hard. They bubbled really well and store very very well, but they don't completely melt without our intervention in the tub!)

A little history...A few years ago, I couldn't get SCI in Canada, so I turned to another powdered surfactant, Bioterge AS-90, a powdered form of C14-16 olefin sulfonate for my shampoo bars. It was a good idea because C14-16 olefin sulfonate is great for my very oily hair, but it made the bars far too soft. Combined with SLSa they foamed and cleaned very well, but they didn't stay hard after usage, so I ended up with shampoo bar goo in my shower!

Although this meltiness didn't work for a shampoo bar, it will work in my favour for a bubble bath because I want it to dissolve well and I don't care about using it for a second time! And I figured the SLSa was in the LSB I used, so I could use the powdered C14-16 olefin sulfonate as the binder for this product. Of course, I needed the SCI for the creaminess and bubbles, and I added some cocamide DEA as a foam booster and bubble stabilizer.

46% Bioterge AS-90
24% LSB
10% cocamide DEA
20% SCI without stearic acid

Weigh all the ingredients in a heatproof container and heat in a double boiler until all the ingredients have melted. Add fragrance at up 2% (if desired) and colour and mix well. Pop into moulds and put into the freezer. After about 30 minutes, remove from the fridge or freezer and pop out of the mould. Leave to set. Use and rejoice.

As a note, I made mine in 10 gram batches and they bubbled amazingly well in the kitchen sink, holding their bubbles for quite some time. I haven't had time to see how they cure over time as I only made them yesterday and we haven't tried them in the bath yet (haven't had time to soak!), so I'll update the information when we receive it!

I know there are tons of bubble bar recipes out there, but I wanted to try my own version from scratch. I know a lot of bars use glycerin or propylene glycol for the plasticity those ingredients offer, but as humectants, I find they draw water from the atmosphere over time to the bars and make them gooey. So I'm trying different things to get the hardness we want before we bathe and the softness we want during the bath! It's quite interesting.

Note on this: It's a very soft bar...too soft, I think! I'm going to re-work this one with more SCI or bar hardener (sodium lactate, for instance). The way it is now, it's holding its shape, but it's very very soft. I wouldn't consider this a "bar" so much as something that's holding its shape until you poke it!

LSB is a natural inclusion in a facial wash for my skin type - oily - because the disodium laureth sulfosuccinate is great for removing sebum but not leaving that stripped feeling on your skin. So I thought I'd play around with another type of face wash using Amaze XT as my thickener! (I've been playing around with thickeners for future blog posts, so this is my thing of the week as well!)

I started with LSB as my starting point - that's the challenge after all - and added cocamidopropyl betaine to increase the mildness and thickening. I wanted a humectant in there, so I chose glycerin because it won't wash off, and I added aloe vera for the thickening and soothing properties and rosemary hydrosol because I wanted something good for oily skin. I included Phytokeratin, a blend of proteins, because I just bought it and like it (you can substitute any protein you like) and I added panthenol as a humectant and possible wound healer. Finally, I included polyquat 7 to act as a skin conditioner.

I decided to add a few powdered extracts to this because I was feeling in an extract-y mood, so I chose to add green tea extract for the anti-oxiding properties and chamomile extract for the soothing properties. I also chose to add grapeseed extract because I purchased it again recently and haven't really used it much. Grapeseed extract contains tons of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories, and it's an astringent ingredient, which is always a bonus for oily skin.

If you want to make this recipe and don't have the Amaze XT, you can use Crothix to thicken it up at the end - I think 2% will work well. If you don't have the extracts or hydrosols or can't use aloe vera, don't stress - just leave them out or substitute ones you like. But please make the recipe in proper order (that's tomorrow's post - why we do what we do!) because the Amaze XT is really picky about when it's added!

As a note, this facial wash has a pH of about 5.16, which is a good range for skin. If you wanted to increase the pH, you could add 10% decyl glucoside in place of 10% of the water and increase it to 5.6 or so. Or you could use decyl glucoside instead of the LSB and make a milder product and have a higher pH.

33% water
3% glycerin
10% aloe vera
20% rosemary hydrosols

2% Phytokeratin
2% polyquat 7 or other cationic polymer

2% Amaze XT

15% LSB
10% cocamidopropyl betaine

0.5% grapeseed extract
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% chamomile extract
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative

Weigh the heated water phase in a heatproof container and heat and hold at 60˚C for 20 minutes. (Hold back about 10 grams of water to dissolve your extracts.) When the mixture is at 60˚C/140˚F, add the Amaze XT and mix incredibly well with a mixer. Remove from the heat when you see it has become a gel, then add your surfactants and mix by hand until it is well incorporated. Please mix by hand because otherwise the surfactants will get too bubbly and it will take days for said bubbles to die down so you can bottle it!

In a separate container, heat or boil some distilled water and add that to the extracts to dissolve. If you can keep the water below 40˚C/104˚F, this is a good idea as these extracts can be heat sensitive. When the mixture reaches about 50˚C/122˚F, add the cool down phase, including the dissolved extracts.

Allow to cool, then bottle. (I wouldn't normally bottle mine immediately, but I wanted to take a picture of it for this post, and you can see the condensation on the sides of the bottle! I have removed the cap to allow it to cool properly.)

This feels nice and creamy on my skin and rinses off well. It's quite bubbly - a little more lather than I'm accustomed to using for a facial product, but it feels very nice after I've used it and it rinses off well, so it's not a massive issue.

I would have loved to include white willow bark in this at 1%, but I'm out, and I could have included salicylic acid at 1% to 2%, but I didn't want the hassles of dissolving it, and I would have had to include more humectant.

As a note, if you have something like Celquat H-100 in your workshop, it will work as double duty to thicken the mixture and offer conditioning. 0.5% will make a good gel, 1% might be too much.

Finally, as a note - LSB smells very soapy. It's the SLSa in it, so if you wanted to add a titch - say 0.5% essential oil that is skin friendly - to overcome the smell, that's not a bad idea.

Join me tomorrow for the interesting things that can happen when you don't make this recipe in the proper order and the new Iron Chemist challenge!


Anonymous said...

Don´t know if this helps you Susan.
Here you can get carrageen powder in small quantities

Personally I love algae products and almost always use it as part of the water phase. I just simmer the carrageen 15 - 20 min. in water and use the gel.

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't a stupid question...
When you weigh your ingredients in your pyrex jugs and put them into the double boiler, are you actually putting the pyrex jug on the top part of the double boiler, or are you adding the ingrediets in the double boiler itself (without the pyrex jug)? I'm a beginner and I guess I'm having trouble understanding. I'm thinking about getting two double boilers to make lotions, creams, etc., but if there is an easier way, I'd love to know.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Gina. Thanks for the information. I might order from England if I can't find it in Canada or the States!

Hi Anonymous. I've written this post to answer your question because I think it's worth sharing with everyone!

p said...

Hi Susan,

You can get carrageen/Irish moss powder here:


Nancy Liedel said...

I wrote out what I do and it's too many paragraphs to leave as a note. The computer the recipe is on is in the other room and being used by my youngest son with autism to design a house and soap shop and man, that kid is a Google Sketch-Up GENIUS! He's 6 and I'd totally build that house. I'm not about to move him. So, I'll get that recipe, Susan and send it to you and try yours. I was not going to ever let anyone see this recipe as long as I live, but I owe you and probably 99% of your readers so many thank you's, that I'll send it your way, you can play and print here, if you wish to. I'll give you the rights to share it, or not. I'm working on V 3.0 this week, so it should all be done and I was going to ask Susan a question anyway.

My recipe comes with the advanced molding and mold removal method as created by my son, Gene. I can't get them as nice as he does, not by a mile. So we do it together. I'd call it a bonding experience, but he laughs at me.

Magia said...

I recently made some bubble bars with sci as the main ingredient. I used glycerine and oils to bind them. They hold together well, but are pretty soft. You said this recipe is soft also? Any idea how to make them harder?!

I would like them to crumble up in my fingers more, when I break some off to put in the bath. At the moment, they kind of smooosh in my fingers! I like the way the Lush ones crumble up nicely.

The double boiler method for bubble bars definately sounds like something to try. I'd also like to find a recipe that creates something more plyable for moulding. Lush have this lovely swirl thing going on with some of theirs (like this
but I can't seem to get a formula I can successfully make into that. (Think I would need to be able to roll it out a bit like pastry, and have it hold together, while I put 2 layers and roll them into a log shape, then leave to set for a while and cut... but how to get a consistency that works!)

I did do some lovely ones that are layered, chocolate on the bottom, then a vanilla layer, then more chocolate, with a cacao bean on top.

Also... I know SLS sometimes isn't so good for sensitive skin. How does LSB compare as a main ingredient, for use with sensitive skin? And what would you recommend for making the bubble bars more suitable?

Thanks, Magia

Andrea said...

Did you ever get around to making another batch of Bubble bars? I am going to make some today with SCI. I have made them with SCS. I learned from trial and error to milt the SCS with glycerin and surfactants. My SCS came in noodle form. At first, I would turn it into a powder in the food processor. I would always wind up with flakes on top of my mound of bubbles when I did that. I add some oils like shea oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil exc to my liquids to help make the bubble bars more conditioning. I do make mine with BS, COT and Arrowroot powder. They do need to be broken up under running water, but, they are fairly pliable if I keep the solid ingredients at a minimum.

KMY said...

Hi Susan- Do you have a final recipe for Bubble Bars? I searched the site but couldn't find anything after this. Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi KMY! No, sorry. My interest in this product waned and I cast it aside. Unfortunately, no one has come forward to share any modifications they may have made with this recipes, so there's nothing more to share. Sorry.