Monday, July 11, 2011

Question: How can I increase the lather and foam in a facial cleanser?

In this post, The Fawn writes: I currently have coco glucoside on hand and would like to make a facial cleanser for myself. But I find that with coco glucoside at 30% as the single surfactant, there's very little bubble/lather and no foam at all. I am one of those people who wants LOTS of foam and lather if possible! :D I am looking at cocamidopropyl betaine, but not sure if it will give me enough foam and lather.
Could you advice me which surfactant I should add to the coco glucoside if I would like a cleanser that's gentle enough for sensitive but acne prone skin?

I'm not really sure why one would want a lot of foam and lather in a facial cleanser - don't you find it gets into your eyes and is hard to rinse off? - but we like a challenge around here. The easiest way is to put your product in a foamer bottle! Done! Lather and foam with even a small amount of surfactant! But I don't think that's the answer you wanted, so let's expand this further.

You'll want to use very mild and gentle surfactants for sensitive skin (click here for the posts on various skin types). Decyl glucoside is a mild surfactant and good foamer. Cocamidopropyl betaine is a great inclusion in any surfactant based products as it will increase the mildness and slightly thicken your product. If you have very oily skin, consider using C14-16 olefin sulfonate (maybe 5% to 10% in your product) and if you want creamy feeling lather, consider using SCI, which offers a moisturized after feel.

Here are a few ideas for facial cleansers...
Ideas for formulating facial cleansers
Creamy facial cleanser with SCI
Foamy facial cleanser
Some more ideas for a facial cleanser

If you're using coco glucoside on its own, you will need to make sure you alter the pH as it can be very high - between 7 to 11.5, check with your supplier to get the exact number - and we want our products to be between 5.5 and 6.5.

I really recommend spending some time getting to know your surfactants because our facial skin can get very grumpy at times. If you want to know more about surfactants, click here!

Let us know how it turns out!

1 comment:

Robert said...

Might as well mention here that Rite Aid sells a pump type shaving foam that's basically a mixture of potassium coconut soap and (presumably sodium) C14-16 AOS. As a dispensing shaving foam it's a flop, because you have to "inflate" the lather additionally so much on wet hands that it hardly pays to be in a foam dispenser, but for high foam face washing, that might be just the right idea.