Sunday, October 14, 2012

Experiments in the workshop: Making an eye cream (part 1)

For about a year now, I've been messing around with eye creams. I made one last year that I really liked, but my mom felt it was a bit heavy for her tastes. I made an anhydrous version with the cera bellina, which I quite liked as well, but I wanted to use some water soluble ingredients, so I need to make an emulsified eye cream with water and oil. I based it upon this recipe - Emulsifiers: Hand lotions with Ritamulse SCG - because I've been using this lotion as my eye cream for the past few months and I love it! 

What's the goal of an eye cream? I want something that will moisturize my under eye area without feeling too greasy or heavy. I would like something that will reduce inflammation and reduce dark circles. 

If I'm basing this product on the hand cream (link above), then I want about a 28% oil phase. 20% oils and 8% Ritamulse. (I ended up measuring weird and have 8% Ritamulse SCG and 19% oils!) 

To get something less greasy, we'll want to use lighter and less greasy oils for our product. We will want to use an emulsifier that offers a more powdery feeling - Incroquat BTMS-50 or Ritamulse SCG - and a thickener that isn't too heavy or greasy. Cetearyl alcohol can feel quite waxy and stearic acid is way too draggy, so those two ingredients are out. This means I'll want to use cetyl alcohol or behenyl alcohol. Or I could leave the thickener out entirely. I like the oil free moisturizing offered by the fatty alcohols, so I'm leaving them in, but you could choose to not use them and add more oils. I'll be using about 3% behenyl or cetyl alcohol in this recipe. (I have 16% oils left in the oil phase.) 

For the oils, our choices for less greasy oils are...
  • avocado - easily absorbed by our skin, but it's kinda heavy feeling; 
  • grapeseed - very dry feeling, but a really short shelf life (3 months); 
  • hazelnut - light and dry feeling with high levels of Vitamin E, long shelf life (up to 12 months); 
  • macadamia nut - light and dry feeling with palmitoleic acid (good for cuts & scrapes), high levels of phytosterols that can reduce inflammation, and a long shelf life (up to 12 months). 
You can choose some of the more exotic oils - borage, evening primrose, camellia seed, and so on - as they are generally drier feeling than our carrier oils, but I thought I'd go with something less expensive for a first time try of a recipe. You can also use something like fractionated coconut oil or one of our esters - cetearyl ethylhexanoate would feel great and IPM (isopropyl myristate) would feel quite dry - but these won't offer the awesome phytosterols, polyphenols, and fatty acids we find in our vegetable and seed oils. 

Remember - always check to see if your emulsifier works with the ingredients you want to use! Sucragel AOF advises it works well with vegetable and seed oils and doesn't work well with esters or silicones. Ritamulse SCG doesn't work well with more acidic ingredients or cationic ingredients, while Incroquat BTMS-50 likes silicones a lot! I know this seems like a really basic concept, but you'd be surprised how often you start formulating a recipe only to find it something won't work with something else and you have to start all over again instead of playing in the workshop! 

I like the long shelf life and Vitamin E levels of hazelnut oil, but I don't have any in the house, so macadamia nut oil is my new best friend! I'm using about 11% macadamia nut oil in this recipe. It is a light and less greasy feeling oil with lots of phytosterols and that wonderful palmitoleic acid. As well, it contains a lot of oleic acid, which offers softening and moisturizing to my skin. And it contains squalene - about 185 mg per kilogram of the oil - which can benefit chapped and cracked skin, help with cell regeneration, and may have some anti-bacterial properties.

Sometimes this is how we make decisions about the oils we use. I might aspire to use evening primrose and pomegranate oils, but the best oils are the ones you have on hand right now. It's better to use an oil you have than miss a day in the workshop because you need to go to the store! 

I'm planning on including arnica oil in this product as well because it's supposed to be good for inflammation and swelling, and that's one of my issues with my under eye area. Arnica contains caffeic acid - a great anti-inflammatory - and kaempferol (a phytosterol), a strong anti-oxidant and strong anti-inflammatory found in witch hazel, strawberry extract, chamomile extract, and green tea. 

Check what you have as arnica will be found mixed with another oil. The version I have is 1 part arnica to 5 parts sweet almond oil, meaning I have 20% arnica in my arnica oil. The safe usage rate for 1:5 is 15%, which means I'm getting a maximum of 3% arnica in the product. Please visit this link to learn more about it. 

Side note...I know it's tempting to try to cram as many oils as you can into a product, but we really are better learning about our oils and choosing the right one for the job. I have 18% oils in this product, and I'm planning on using 3% behenyl alcohol, 11% macadamia nut, and 5% arnica in the product. I really suggest doing this kind of thing - choosing one or two oils that you really like rather than 2% this and 2% that and 3% of the other because you're not really getting the benefits of any of them. When you're starting out, choose one oil and one butter for your product and see how you like them. 

So here's what my oil phase looks like right now....

8% Ritamulse SCG
3% behenyl alcohol
11% macadamia nut oil
5% arnica oil

Join me tomorrow for part two of making an eye cream - choosing the water phase ingredients! 

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Anonymous said...

oooo...I can't wait..I have been needing eye cream

Ruth said...

i thought I left my name on the above post..

Lise M Andersen said...

Look forward to it!

Anonymous said...

how about for puffy, baggy eye does it work too?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I've been wondering for a while how you determine where to subtract ingredients when you add new ones. I see (I think :) that you adjust oils when you are adding/subtracting the Ritamulse? For example, I typically don't use silicone so when I try to adjust your recipes I'm not sure where to make the adjustment.

Can you help clarify?

Thank you so much Susan!

Marlena Marina said...

you mentioned macadamia nut oil is a dry oil. What you mean by it is a dry oil?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Marlene! Check out the emollients section of the blog to learn more!