Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Emulsifiers: Sucragel AOF
Sucrose laurate is considered to be a food grade emulsifier - it's edible, if that's what you're looking for in an emulsifier! - and it is considered to be a skin conditioner and surfactant. It might be good for use in deodorants as "sucrose esters like sucrose myristate and sucrose laurate have antiadhesive properties to various microorganisms including the typical microflora of the underarm skin." (p. 616, Handbook of Cosmetic Science & Technology, 2nd edition).
Sucragel AOF is designed to work with vegetable oils. For esters, mineral oil, and silicones, it is suggested to use Sucragel CF. You can use a titch of an ester - for instance, 2% IPM in the oil phase - but I wouldn't try going over that. It's designed to work in products with pH 4 to 8, so it might not play well with loads of AHAs or other acids. Check your pH if you're going to use a lot of those ingredients. I haven't been able to figure out if we can use cationic ingredients like honeyquat or polyquat 7 or other cationic polymers with this emulsifier.
When using Sucragel AOF, following the proper order of adding ingredients is vital. You want to add your Sucragel, then all the oil phase, then the water phase and mix really well. The suggested usage is 5% Sucragel AOF to 20% to 25% oils and 75% to 90% water. You can make the product cold or you can heat the ingredients to melt things - for instance, cetyl alcohol - then add the water phase. If you are heating ingredients, only include the ingredients to be heated and the Sucragel. Leave the other oils out of the mix until you remove it from the heat.
I found the 5% usage number from the video I've linked to below and from this brochure, but one of the company's brochures suggested a usage rate of 6% to 99%. The recipes I have created used 5% Sucragel AOF and some of them have been in my workshop for a year and show no signs of separation, so I feel comfortable going with this number.
If you had an oil phase that looked like this...
5% Sucragel AOF
3% cetyl alcohol
5% cocoa butter
10% olive oil
7% borage oil
...you'd only include the Sucragel AOF, cetyl alcohol, and cocoa butter in the heated phase of the product. When those ingredients are melted, then you'd add the olive and borage oil and continue on to include your water phase.
Lotions made with Sucragel AOF are much thinner than those made with other emulsifiers, so you'll want to make sure you use some thickeners in the mix, like one of the butters or a fatty alcohol, like cetyl alcohol. I have found that stearic acid doesn't play well with Sucragel AOF, and I don't suggest you use it. Every time I used stearic acid, the product separated. I'm not sure why this might be, but don't bother trying it at home! I included some xanthan gum in a few of the products to thicken it up.
And I've found these lotions are a tad on the sticky side - I guess it's the sucrose laurate and glycerin - so I would suggest not using glycerin as your humectant as it could get a little too sticky with that combination. I like sodium lactate, sodium PCA, or propylene glycol as my humectant of choice.
I think this is a good emulsifier for spray lotions, body milks, and moisturizers. I tried making a body butter with it using 15% butter and 3% cetyl alcohol and it never thickened up enough for me to consider it more than a very liquidy lotion. Even with the xanthan gum, it wasn't as thick as I would have liked. It makes for a great moisturizer as it is very thin but stays on nicely.
If you want to make what are called oily gels, you'll want to use a propeller mixer. I tried with a stick blender and regular mixer, and it ended in failure. The propeller mixer seems like the only way to make this work. I will not be addressing these products in this series of posts as I couldn't get them to work for me properly.
A note: The reason I wasn't able to get these oily gels to work properly is that I didn't have enough Sucragel AOF to cover the bottom of my propeller mixer (I bought it at a paint store and it's the type of mixer that is used to mix paint!).
Quick summary of Sucragel AOF emulsifier
INCI: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (and) Glycerine (and) Aqua (and) Sucrose Laurate
Suggested usage rate: 5% Sucragel to 20% to 25% oils and 75% to 90% water.
Can be used cold or heated up to help melt our ingredients.
Not sure if it can be used with cationic ingredients.
Should be at pH 4 to 8 in finished products.
Special considerations: Always use distilled water with this emulsifier as we aren't heating our water phase up enough to reduce all possible contamination. Use a stick blender or propeller mixer, not a paddle or whisk mixer.
Click here for the data bulletin on this emulsifier.
Click here for the YouTube video on how to use this emulsifier.
Click here for a formulation brochure with loads of recipes!
And another formulation brochure with recipes!
And the official website for this product, including videos and recipes
Where to find it? Aromantic in the UK calls this cold emulsifier (or possibly cold organic emulsifier) and it looks like they have the Sucragel AOF BIO, which is approved by the Soil Association. I haven't been able to find it elsewhere. Please share links in the comments below if you've found it elsewhere!
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at a few formulations using Sucragel AOF.