Sunday, February 3, 2013
Where's the emulsifier? Play along!
in this post: Speaking of oils and emulsifiers, I have a product that i am wracking my brain to work out what is acting as the emulsifier. Can anyone help me? Ingredients are: Water, sunflower oil, coconut oil, olive oil, wheatgerm oil, castor oil, sugar glycerin, chamomile, essential oils as fragrance, and colour. Any help will be appreciated. :)
Let's start at the very beginning (according to Julie Andrews, it's a very good place to start...) to analyze this product. I could give you an answer, but isn't it much more fun to figure it out?
What do we know about lotions? We know that lotions need at least three ingredients to be called a lotion - oil, water, and emulsifier. We also know that oil and water won't mix without an emulsifier, so that's necessary.
As an aside, I think there are four essential ingredients for a lotion - water, oil, emulsifier, and preservative because without the preservative you have a horrible concoction with a shelf life of maybe three days!
HLB system. (I'm not getting into that here...click that link for way more information.)
Beeswax is only an emulsifier when combined with borax for a water-in-oil product. Every recipe I've seen using beeswax as an emulsifier had something that looked like a co-emulsifier in the mix, like lecithin. (Click here for more information.)
Emulsification: What's that then?
So here are the questions that come to mind for me...
1. What is the emulsifier in this product?
2. What is the preservative in this product?
3. What is the possible shelf life of this product?
1. There isn't one. How can the product work? It doesn't work. If it does, then the person who wrote up the ingredients list left out the emulsifier. There are some people who consider ethoxylated emulsifiers evil and others who don't consider any emulsifiers natural, so if this product creator wanted to appeal to those who might hate emulsifiers, they might leave it out. This is completely dishonest and makes me angry.
Can you go faster than the speed of light if you wish for it hard enough? Can you make 2+3 equal 7 if you really want it to equal 7? Why do we agree you can't violate the laws of physics or math, but wanting it bad enough will violate the laws of chemistry? You cannot make a long lasting emulsion without an effective emulsifier. And you cannot make a product not go mouldy by adding love or wishing on a star. Only an effective broad spectrum preservative or a proper combination of effective and proven preservatives will work.
2. What is the preservative? Again, nothing is listed. If this is the case...
3. The shelf life is somewhere around 3 days without a preservative, if you keep it in the fridge. Even with the best manufacturing processes of heating and holding and using distilled water, you aren't going to get a week out of this. To sell a product like this is dangerous and the person who is doing so is leaving herself open for a world of pain when someone gets an icky infection!
The short answer is there isn't an emulsifier listed in this product.
Shelf life of our products (part 1)
Shelf life of our products (part 2)
Determining the shelf life of our lotions
Emollients - oils, butters, and esters