Sunday, September 4, 2011

Preservatives: Advanced Aloe Leuicdal (Ecocert)

In this post, Katie posed this question: I also read that you do not consider there to be any natural preservative. Your post was from a little while ago, so maybe you have changed your thoughts on this? 

I should clarify that sentence - there are "natural"* preservatives, but I have yet to find one comparable to something like liquid Germall Plus. Each one I've looked at - and I admit that I've only been looking at those from Lotioncrafter or the Herbarie - have down sides or restrictions that make it impossible to use the preservative with more than a few products I make. Don't use in a product over pH 6, don't expose to light, don't use with cationic ingredients, don't freeze, and so on. On top of this, they all cost far more than the conventional preservatives like liquid Germall Plus, Germaben II, Phenonip, and so on.

Although having written this I realize that everything will have some kind of restriction. I guess I'm just hindered more by the three preservatives I write about below than I would be with liquid Germall Plus.

May I rant for a moment? One of the things I find with the natural movement is an unwillingness to follow good manufacturing practices like heating and holding our products (I'm not saying everyone does it, but when I see suppliers who recommend heating our lotion phases in a microwave, I start to get worried!) I'm really confused as to why this might be because it's a great way to ensure the products will last over time and not subject ourselves, our loved ones, and possibly our customers to unsafe products. If you follow good manufacturing processes, you'll make a very good lotion that will not need the maximum levels of preserving to avoid contamination!

*Footnote: As you well know, my wonderful readers, I have no idea how to define natural any more, so for the purposes for this discussion, I'm going with ingredients that are Ecocert.

Advanced Aloe Leucidal or Aloe Advanced Leucidal or Leucidal Advanced Aloe
INCI Water (and) Leuconostoc/Aloe barbadensis Leaf/ Sorbus Aucuparia Fruit Ferment Filtrate - click here for link at Lotioncrafter.

Water soluble, so not for use with oil only products like sugar scrubs or lotion bars. Recommended usage at 2% to 4% in the cool down phase (4% for really hard to preserve products) with a shelf life of 12 months. It has a pH range of 3 to 8 but works best with ingredients that have a pH of 6 or less.

This preservative is compatible with most non-ionic emulsifiers (like Polawax), cationic emulsifiers (like BTMS-50), and anionic and amphoteric surfactants, but isn't compatible with strongly anionic surfactants or emulsifiers or xanthan gum. It may or may not be compatible with Ritamulse SCG (known as Ecomulse at Lotioncrafter and Natramulse at the Herbarie), and isn't compatible with Plantamulse liquid (INCI Sorbitan Laurate (and) Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate (and) Dilauryl Citrate), Plantamulse pastilles (INCI Polyglyceryl-3 Methyglucose Distearate), or Sugarmulse (INCI Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Cetearyl Glucoside), according to the Herbarie's listing for this ingredient. Lotioncrafter notes there can be some instability over time with Ritamulse SCG/Ecomulse/Natramulse, but doesn't note it is incompatible.

My experience? (Remember, anecdotes don't make data, but I thought I'd share my opinion.)
This really doesn't work well with lotions if the product isn't ultra mega super cooled when you add it. I tried it a few times at 50˚C, and the lotion seized within a 30 seconds, whereas waiting until it reached 40˚C resulted in a non-failed lotion. The product claims to be heat stable, but I really didn't find that to be the case.

I did try this in a body wash with my normal surfactants (cocamidopropyl betaine, DLS mild, C14-16 olefin sulfonate) and in a body wash with polyglucose/lactylate blend and decyl glucoside and so far it's holding up (it's been since early June, so 3 months and no visible contamination in either bottle). Because I used a lot of aloe vera, lavender hydrosol, and chamomile extracts, I used the preservative at 3% to ensure good preservation.

If I were to use this ingredient as one of my main preservatives, I would use it in lotions with Polawax or other e-wax or BTMS-50 as the emulsifiers. I wouldn't use it with Ritamulse/Ecomulse/Natramulse because of the possibility of epic lotion failure. To be honest, I really wouldn't use this for lotions. I would keep this for surfactant based products - shampoos, body washes, bubble bath, facial cleansers - with a pH of 6 or under

With the body wash I made above with the polyglucose/lactylate blend, I started with a pH of 8 and had to bring it down slowly by adding citric acid at 0.2% at a time. If you were to use a recipe like this one, 6.51 isn't low enough, so you'd want to add another 0.1% or so citric acid to ensure you had a pH below 6.

Click here for a data sheet from the company on Leucidal Advanced - Aloe.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with Ecocert preservatives as we take a look at Leucidal Liquid.


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