Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why did I buy that again? Cera bellina - making oily gels

I've been dying to make an oily gel since I heard I could do it with Sucragel AOF - which was an epic fail - so I was excited to see that I could use cera bellina in that capacity. I read that 10% should make a thicker oily gel, so I thought I'd start there.

10% cera bellina
44% soy bean oil
45% macadamia nut oil
1% fragrance or essential oil

Put all the ingredients, except the essential or fragrance oil, into a Pyrex jug and heat and hold in a double boiler until the ingredients are melted. Let sit - it's recommended to let it cool slowly - until the product reaches room temperature. Add your fragrance or essential oil when the product is below 45˚C.

This created a thickish oily gel with a medium level of greasiness. (I chose the macadamia nut oil because it would feel less greasy than an all soy bean oil product. I think I'd go with all dry feeling oils next time.) I could see this being used as a balm - something for sore muscles might be nice or a cuticle balm - but I really think it needs to be thicker. It's in a state that's between a liquid and a solid, and I'd like to see it thicker or thinner, but not in the state it's in now. (I think it would be good as a bath oil - it poured very well.)

If you like your products less greasy, I recommend using some IPM (up to 5%) or another ester (I think cetearyl ethylhexanoate would be really nice, or perhaps C12-15 alkyl benzoate), or less greasy feeling oils like hazelnut, macadamia nut, avocado, grapeseed, borage, or evening primrose oil. And if you want it to be more like a whipped butter consistency, I'd suggest using 15% cera bellina in the recipe. (I'll be posting more of my experiments in the next week or so!)

Click here for the emollients section of the blog to find other oils you might like to use! 

I tried a bit of under my eyes and I quite liked the feeling, but I wanted to throw in a few fancy oils. I decided to mix 42 grams of the gel with 4 grams of green tea extract (oil based) and 4 grams of calendula oil (oil based). This was okay, but I think I'd like it thicker. My next experiment will be for an oil based eye gel with some neat oil soluble extracts. This would be nice for moisturizing, but I do like to have a few cosmeceuticals or extracts in things for my face.

Looking at this recipe, I realize that I have too much green tea extract in this experiment - I wanted about 5% and I ended up with 8! Which goes to show you that when you adapt things on the fly, you need to write things down and do the math! It does end up being 50 grams, which is an easy amount to work with if I wanted to turn this into a 100% recipe - 84% oily gel, 8% green tea extract, and 8% calendula oil. 

I thought it would be fun to turn this into an oil based scrub with cranberry seeds. I took out 50 grams of this mixture and combined it with 10 grams of cranberry seeds. What a horrible product! To paraphrase Marge Simpson, "No one will buy it or accept it as a gift!" It wouldn't rinse off, and I finally resorted to using my degreasing hand cleanser three times to make sure all the oil was gone. I didn't feel well moisturized - I felt greasy and slimy! Yuck!

Now that I've made an oily gel, I'm not really sure why I wanted to make one. I think the idea of using it as a scrub sounded nice, but I realize that I'm an emulsified scrub girl, so I'd need to include an emulsifier. Perhaps 5% Ritamulse SCG, Polawax, e-wax, BTMS-50, or BTMS-225 so it will rinse off clean? BTMS-50, BTMS-225, or BTMS-25 would be good options as they will make the product feel more powdery. Maybe I'll try it. (To be honest, I have a few scrubs I really love, so I'm not sure if I want to bother with another one!)

As a note, this is only my opinion about this one product I've made. I'd love to hear from you, my wonderful readers, about your experiences with cera bellina. And I'll be writing much more in the next week or so as I experiment further with it! 

I recommend that you visit this page, which is a translation from Aroma Zone in France, for more ideas.  I will be trying a few of them in the near future, and I'll let you know what I think!


Sciarretta Farms said...

I love Cera Bellina and use it in my shea butter and my lip balm to get rid of graininess and up the melting point.

Lise M Andersen said...

Your original mixture sounds like it might work well from a serum dispenser as a hand serum. Add a titch of lanolin and use as a winter protection serum maybe?

I love Sciaretta Farms idea of using with shea :)

Julie said...

Woah, that looks like fun! An oily gel. I love it!

What would you use it for though?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sciaretta Famrs! I tried with shea butter, but I haven't made a lip balm yet. What percentages work for you?

Hi Lise. A hand serum. Interesting! I like the idea to make my cuticle balm with lanolin and lecithin and cera bellina. I have a plan for next weekend!

Hi Julie. I'm not really sure what I would use an oily gel for at this point. I thought I'd like it as a scrub, but I didn't. I am using one as an eye gel - look for that recipe tomorrow - and I think I might like the shea butter one I made up as a less greasy shea product. But I'm still figuring it all out!

Robert said...

Nice post. Interesting ingredient.

Perhaps an oily gel could be used for a sexual enhancement or erotic oil type product. Is cera bellina edible? How does it taste?

Anonymous said...

I used cera bellina in my oil cleanser formula to thicken it up and make it easier to use, I also used it with castor oil to make a replacement for petroleum jelly- worked really well.

Sciarretta Farms said...

I use it at 3% in my whipped shea and 5% in my lip balm. And even when it melts and resolidifies again it does NOT get grainy! I live in New Mexico and with the insane temp variations we have here in a day, that is huge!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Robert. I believe it's edible as it's suggested for use in lip balms. Although having said that, I don't think either of these products are something I'd pursue. I think there are just too many things that can go wrong with those kinds of products. (Wouldn't you want ingredients with long play times, like esters? Just a thought...) And we're going for G rated around here, so those things might not fit into that classification!

Just curious - would edible items - ones that are actually consumed - be under something other than cosmetics? Would it be considered a food item?

Hi Sciaretta Farms! Thanks for the information. I have a project for this weekend!

Hissy Fit said...

I've only been playing with Cera Bellina a few weeks and I love it!

I, too, wanted to make a gelled oil and had no idea why. Just to see if I could, I suppose. Anyway, I gelled some Castor oil with Cera Bellina @ 7%, stared at it, and decided to use it in my hair. It will actually work as a styling gel, although it feels kinda weird. Still, it feels far better as an oil treatment than sitting around with plastic wrap on your head. Plus, you can be seen in public and have an oil treatment at the same time. Pretty cool!

I've used it in a honey hand cream. I used it in addition to the beeswax already in the cream formulation. Surprisingly, not a big difference in the thickness of the cream, but a real difference in the feel of the cream. Feedback so far is it's a winning addition.

Please keep up the incredible, informative work you do. You are so very appreciated. Thank you!

introvertitude said...

I ended up combining this idea with a standard cleansing oil to create a slightly thicker cleansing oil gel without butters. (The goal was to keep my cleansing oil from running right through my fingers into the sink as I tried to apply it.) It took some trial and error to get the right proportions; I started with 10% cera bellina and had an unusably hard gel. I ended up at 2.5%, which is enough to thicken my cleansing oil but does not make it a true gel.

2.5% cera bellina
83.5% hemp oil
1% rosemary oleoresin extract
1% vit E
12% Cromollient SCE

I pop this in the fridge for a couple of minutes at the end but it does not seem to require cold in order to gel.

- I use both rosemary and vit E since the hemp oil's shelf life is so short; not sure if using both does anything
- I will likely decrease the Cromollient SCE back toward 10% for the drier winter months

So, the oily gel powers of cera bellina are indeed useful! I'm delighted with my cleansing gel.

Erica Echternach said...

I'm always so late to respond with comments. LOL I like 4-5% Cera Bellina, 2-15% o/s goodies and the rest oils. Makes a perfect texture for serums.