this post on xanthan gum, Anonymous writes: Hi Susan! Just wanted to make sure I understood right, is it ok to use xanthan gum up to 2%, even for mild facial cleansers? Some say xanthan gum lowers the shelf life of products. Is that true? Lastly, I really like using polyquat 7 because it makes using the soap a lot more pleasurable, what would be a good substitute for this if I cannot use pq7? Thanks!
It's okay to use xanthan gum at up to 2%, but 0.1% to 0.3% is the suggested usage rate. As you saw in the post on xanthan gum, I used it at much higher levels and things were just fine, but it's not something I suggest. (The reason: Because it can feel gummy and sticky and slough off in little balls when you rub the product into your skin!)
It depends on what you mean by lowering the shelf life. If you use an ingredient with a shorter shelf life than something else - for instance, adding hempseed oil to shea butter - your expiry date becomes that of the shorter shelf life ingredient. Shea butter has a shelf life of about two years. Hempseed oil can be as short as three months. Therefore, the product should expire in three months. So the only way that xanthan gum will reduce the shelf life of the product is if its shelf life is lower than the rest of the product.
What is the shelf life of xanthan gum? According to Answers.com - 1 year. This is the best reference I could find!
polyquat 7, polyquat 10, polyquat 44, honeyquat, cationic guar gum, BTMS-50, BTMS-25, Incroquat CR, cetrimonium bromide, cetrimonium chloride, and so on. I suggest using something to increase the slip and glide of your product, like a water soluble ester - I like water soluble shea butter in a body wash and water soluble olive oil in a facial cleanser - or add some Crothix to the mix. (I know Crothix thickens and your point is to thicken your product, but it is a great emollient, too!) You can add some oils to the product by solublizing them in some polysorbate 80 or something like Cromollient SCE to give it more slip and glide, but if you have really oily skin, this isn't a good option. There really isn't a great alternative for the polyquat 7 that isn't a cationic polymer, but I hope I've offered a few options.
Personally, if I had to choose between my cationic polymer and xanthan gum, I'd choose the cationic polymer any day. Besides, Crothix is great for increasing mildness and emolliency of a facial cleanser. Or put it in a foamer bottle and don't worry about thickening at all!
No. Once you've made a lotion, you can't add anything to it. You could compromise the preservative system or you could mess up with the chemistry - for instance, if you have a cationic ingredient in there that could mess with the xanthan gum. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you really do want to add the xanthan gum in the heated phase. (I have used it in the cool down phase, and it didn't go really well...it was okay, but not the superior product I expect my lotions to be!)
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