Monday, April 25, 2011

Duplicating products: Aubrey's Organic

In the duplicating products post, Pam asked if we could duplicate this product, Aubrey's Vegecol with Aloe Moisturizing Cream

Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base, Organic Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel (natural herbal extract) , Horsetail Extract, Calendula Oil, St. John's Wort Oil, Coltsfoot Extract, Coneflower Extract, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Linoleic Acid (Vitamin F), Carrot Oil, Organic Lemon Peel Oil, Aubrey¹s Preservative (Citrus Seed Extract, Vitamins A, C and E).

We can't. (More about this in a moment...)
And zaczarowany suggested this product as a possible duplicate, Aubrey Organics White Camellia Ultra-Smoothing Conditioner.

Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base, Organic Aloe Vera, White Camellia Oil, Wheat Germ Oil; Extracts of Fennel, Hops, Balm Mint, Mistletoe, Camomile and Yarrow; Organic Germanium Oil, Organic Rosemary Oil, Organic Sage Oil, Carrot Oil, Aubrey's Preservative (Citrus Seed Extract, Vitamins A, C, and E)

And again, we can't.

Aubrey's products all seem to start the same way, with "Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base". There's no specific information on what's in this base and I don't understand how it can be the main ingredient in a lotion and a conditioner, unless it's a cationic base and they're using it the way we'd use Incroquat BTMS-50 as an emulsifier in their lotions as well.

Here's what Aubrey says on their site about their base (click to see a list of all the products in which it cane be found):
Absorption base containing essential fatty acids, coconut fatty alcohols from palm kernels, aloe vera and vitamins A, C and E. Rich in linoleic and linolenic acids (vitamin F), excellent nutrients and skin conditioners. In hair care products, it is often combined with the important amino acids cysteine and methionine, which are high in sulfur and excellent for the hair and scalp.

What the heck does this mean? I'm not sure, but it could mean anything. For instance, what is "coconut fatty alcohol from palm kernels"?

A coconut - or indeed, any fruit, vegetable, or animal that can produce an oil - produces fatty acids, which can be turned into fatty alcohols through the process of transesterification. You can use any triglyceride for this process. Normally it's palm or coconut oil, but it could be from shea butter, a whale, beeswax, or even animal fat. When the process is finished, there's no difference between myristic alcohol from a coconut or a palm kernel and no difference between lauryl alcohol from a palm kernel, coconut, butter, or a whale. To talk about "derived from coconuts" when it comes to an ingredient that has to be played with in a lab to produce something that could come from a variety of sources is disingenuous at best.

Point of interest: Cetyl alcohol gets its name from whale oil (spermacetti) that used to be used as a thickener for cosmetics. The Latin name for whale is "cetus". It isn't produced from whales any more, but the name stuck. This is why you'll see ingredients like cetyl esters or cetearyl alcohol listed as being a good substitute for spermacetti. We don't use it any more, but for some reason the manufacturers love to compare their fatty alcohols and esters to whale oil! 

There has to be an emulsifier in that "coconut fatty acid cream base" otherwise they'd have bottles of separated products on the shelves. If they wanted to continue with the idea of using coconut fatty acids, you could access a ton of different emulsifiers! Anything with "laur" would work - laureth-4, laureth-23, and PEG-8 laurate come to mind or even glyceryl laurate - but it's hidden in that catch all phrase!

I'm sorry we can't replicate these products. I wish we could, but without knowing what exactly is in that base, we can't even make a start on it.

And don't get me started on their Aubrey's Preservative (Citrus Seed Extract, Vitamins A, C, and E) because we know grapefruit seed extract is not a preservative, and Vitamins A, C, and E are anti-oxidants, not preservatives. If these products do last on the shelves, it's likely because of something they've put into the base and aren't disclosing. 

Okay, I've had my rant for the day. Let's get back to fun with the HLB system!


zaczarowany pierniczek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zaczarowany pierniczek said...

I've found an online shop with Aubrey's products with INCI ingredients list, but I have no idea where these INCI lists come from.

Anonymous said...

The Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base is water, cetyl alcohol, and denatured ethanol.

zaczarowany pierniczek said...

Not necessarily, it depends on a product. I case of some conditioner it seems to be Water, Cetyl Alcohol,Glyceryl Linoleate, Glyceryl Linolenate, Glycerin (and Witch hazel!!!??? if so, in what form? As an extract or a hydrosol?). I case of requested Aloe moisturizing cream, it's Water, Myristyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Linoleate, Glyceryl Linolenate, Glycerin and it seems that also Glycine Soja na again Witch hazel?? They called their alcohol denat. "natural grain alcohol" lol. Please, correct me where I'm wrong

Christine E. said...

It's a shame Aubrey Organics has these shady labelling practices, as some of their products are my absolute favourites. Their lip balm is the best on my chapped lips, and their moisturisers are the only thing my dry elbows like. So why BS your customers? The products are good enough to stand on their own. In fact, I hate GSE and try to avoid it (I'm worried the product will be either poorly preserved or contaminated with that toxic preservative that study found, not to mention we have no idea if GSE itself is safe), but I buy Aubrey stuff anyway because they work so well for me.

By the way, I am very suspicious that Aubrey sneaks another preservative into their products. I found a 2 year old moisturiser and there was no sign of spoilage, not even a slightly rancid oil smell. When I've formulated with GSE, I get 6 months tops before there is visible growth.

Oh, and I have Aubrey's beauty recipe book and he recommends formulating with silken tofu in place of the coconut fatty acid base - LOL.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Zacarowany. I can't offer any more information on Aubrey Organics. I don't like their products and have no desire to replicate them, and I really don't have the time to spend trying to figure out an ingredient list that is intentionally misleading. I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but I really don't get the appeal of this company's stuff.

I'm just wondering what in this list is natural - which I define as the opposite of synthetic, which the USDA defines as..."a substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process of by a process that chemically changes a substance exctracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources." Glyceryl linoleate, cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol - none of these are found in the wild, they are all synthetically produced. If this company claims to be natural or organic and they are using these ingredients and hiding them under the coconut fatty acid base label, that's just wrong.

Hi Christine. I agree with you - why don't they print their entire ingredient list? Because they can't. They aren't using all organic ingredients or even what I would consider natural ingredients (see above for short rant). If they have such a great natural preservative, they need to market it to all the other companies and homecrafters and make a bundle! If

I do take issue with your comment about "toxic" preservatives as there's no reputable evidence the preservatives found in GSE are toxic (defined as harmful or lethal to people). I tried to do a search this morning for the source of the idea that the Swiss government has banned benzethonium chloride as a class 2 poison and I can't come up with anything reputable (although the pages I found claim it is a poison at 8% and we use it at 0.1% to 0.2%, which just goes to show that the dose makes the poison!). If you have other information, please share to save my sanity!

Christine E. said...

Hi Susan, I know this is an old post now, but I didn't see your reply to me. My apologies for getting my information wrong. I thought I had read that one of the preservatives found in GSE - benzalkonium chloride, I believe - was no longer in use due to safety concerns. I did not mean to sound like I consider approved preservatives 'toxic' - I don't like that sort of thing either. I see there are concerns about it, and it has been replaced in some products, but it is still considered mostly safe and still widely used: .

As a side note, I have read that some of these preservatives are not approved as food additives and if this is true, I find it concerning that GSE is added to food, or recommended alone as a supplement. Overall, I just find it highly unethical that GSE represents itself as a natural extract when it simply isn't, and that additionally it may contain things that people don't know they are using/consuming, and therefore don't get to make an informed choice about.

Btw, that Aubrey lotion I love now has its ingredients listed properly, and alcohol is high on the list. I wonder if it is part of how the formula stays preserved.

Anonymous said...

Hi you can bash Aubrey if you want but I found their face products when I was 13 or 14 a long time ago. Now I am 45 and I have no wrinkles and I do have dry skin. I combine with vit e at night and then lanolin . Whatever, it's worked all these yrs and I have a bad case of insomnia as well. Coria.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Coriander. Use what you want on your skin. I'm nut happy with their ingredient list, but that doesn't mean Im bashing it. Although I wonder if it is working if you're suffering from dry skin? And I'm not really sure what insomnia has to do with skin care, but I'm sorry you're suffering! It's awful when you can't get to sleep!

Anonymous said...

Aubrey organics is now employee-owned and nothing like the original, they substituted good ingredients with cheap ones so that they could all become millionaires off the legit reputation but they won't change back they are bad medicine now. I want the original formulas back! they've changed many times over to get "competitive" since he died. they used to be all incredible. big loss.