Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Facial cleansers: Creating a low surfactant facial cleanser

I've had a few people comment that I use a high concentation of surfactants in my products, so I set out to create a foaming facial cleanser that had low levels of extremely mild surfactants I could use after my Viking workout when I've recently washed my face. I also thought it would be a neat challenge to use ingredients I haven't used before or don't use often.

The reason I use high levels of surfactants is that I like my products concentrated. I like to use a titch of body wash on a poufy thing or a little bit of shampoo in the shower. It makes it easier to make the products a nice viscosity, and I find I use a lot less than I do if I'm using low concentration products. 

For my surfactants, I thought I'd include was foaming silk surfactant (INCI:  Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Silk Protein from Lotioncrafter). It is considered gentle and substantive, which is a bonus as I'm not planning on using anything like a toner or moisturizer on my skin after cleansing. I added it in the heated water phase of my product at 5%. The usage is suggested at 1% to 10%, although it is safe to 100%.

Substantivity is defined as "an adsorption phenomenon by which materials that have opposing charges or like composition are more readily adsorbed onto or attracted to its surface and, once there, resistant to subsequent rinse-off." In other words, a material that is positively charged - like our cationic ingredients - will be attracted to the surface of our hair or skin, both of which are negatively charged. This results in what we consider to be conditioned hair or skin.  

 I added some decyl glucoside as I wanted gentle cleansing and wasn't worried about the final pH level. And I finished up with some cocamidopropyl betaine to increase mildness and add a titch of viscosity.

In the water phase, I decided to replace some of the water with apple fruit essence (from Lotioncrafter) as I thought it could offer a little fragrance and astringency. I added some witch hazel and chamomile hydrosol to help with my really red face post-exercise. (I used the hydrosol as I wanted this product to be uncoloured. Using the powder would have made it a bit yellow and cloudy.)

I decided to use an ingredient the Formulator Sample Shop sent me for free - Honey Matte. I thought it would work well for my oily skin. (Click on the link to see the entire write up about this ingredient.) I added it to my foaming facial cleanser at 5% in the cool down phase. And I thought I'd try ginger root extract (from Lotioncrafter), which is supposed to offer anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing properties to a product, and it might help with maintaining protein levels in our skin. It has a suggested usage of 0.1% to 2%. I used it at 1% in the cool down phase. Finally, I chose calendula extract as it is good for inflammation. (I am really red after my 91 minute Viking work out!) 

5% foaming silk surfactant
5% decyl glucoside
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% apple extract (liquid)
10% witch hazel
10% chamomile hydrosol
49% water

1% ginger root extract
5% honey matte
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
5% water soluble liquid calendula extract

The pH was 6.05, which is awesome!

I'm really enjoying this product. It isn't cleansing enough for me to use first thing in the morning, but it's a great product for after exercising or as a second cleansing of the day. (I normally can't wash my face twice a day because it's quite sensitive!) I can feel a slight powderiness to the product from the honey matte - it's an interesting sensation, on par with using a really light lotion with Incroquat BTMS-50. It would be great for any skin type, although really oily skin probably wouldn't like it.

I made this comment because I figured someone with really oily skin won't like a feeling of powderiness, but it seems like this is what someone with really oily skin is looking for - a matte feeling! So I'll leave this sentence in the post with the disclaimer that I think I was wrong here....

I haven't included some of my favourite ingredients, like hydrolyzed protein or panthenol, but that's okay. I will include a humectant in the next batch, maybe glycerin at 3%? I haven't decided yet.

If you wanted to make a product like this - a low concentration, foaming cleanser - you can substitute any surfactants you like and use only water and something that will cleanse your skin.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not affiliated with any supplier or manufacturer. I do not take money or advertising from anyone so you know my opinions are my own. I do get free ingredients from time to time, but I buy most of them with my own wages. If I obtained the ingredients in a way other than paying for it from my own wages, I will make that very clear. In this case, the Formulator Sample Shop sent me a free 80 ml sample of honey matte for me to try in my products. I made it very clear to this company that I would offer my honest and unbiased opinion about the ingredient. I spent my own money to buy the other ingredients. 

For those of you who might be curious, my Viking workout is something I call my extra long work out, which consists of me listening to very fast songs with Viking references and thinking about Vikings. I generally read A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) on the elliptical and think Viking-like thoughts when I'm doing my weights or floor exercise. My goal is to be very strong and I associate Vikings with strength. Plus, you have to admit that Vikings are hot! Please do not construe my interest in Vikings as encouraging looting, pillaging, or raping. That is not the part of being a Viking I like. I like the long hair and living in cold climates part of being a Viking! 


Lise M Andersen said...

I applaud your Vikingness! (not that my being a Dane has anything to with it or anything). Sally forth and bring Viking strength, love and fairness to all the world!

Mychelle said...

I was totally going to ask what a Viking workout is. That is so awesome! Said the Personal Trainer. Can I try this and encourage my clients to channel Vikings? (Though agreed, no rapping and pillaging). We are warm climate people but we can pretend. Very cool, go Susan!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lise! Ha! Scandinavians are awesome! I'm thinking of myself as a good Viking, more Erik the Viking than (insert potentially frightening Viking name here) the Viking. (Although I am a big fan of Erik the non-hostile workplace environment Viking from the Simpsons!)

Hi Mychelle! I knew you were a belly dancer, but I didn't know you were a personal trainer! That's awesome!

I encourage everyone to channel the Vikings! You could be the Vikings that actually stayed in the place they sailed to by accident instead of sailing back home to tell everyone what they found! But none of this listening to wussy music when working out! We need Viking music - fast, heavy, and full of awesome references to Valkryies and sailing and finding Newfoundland before any other country and invading England and Ragnorok and enjoying each other's company when we're not fighting and growing out one's mighty beard and hair so on. (I can provide you with a play list that includes some of these things...well, three of those things...maybe two...)

And aside...I can't believe what some people listen to when working out! The only proper music is the kind of stuff you could drink mead to after a proper day of riding and fighting! (Can you tell I don't think of myself as a lady Viking? They did a lot of work, but they didn't end up in Valhalla! for cleaning pants!) Or lots of Iron Maiden. The galloping bass line is awesome for the elliptical!

On days like I've seen in the last week, I wish I had a battle axe and a licence to wield it...Sigh... ;-)

Heela said...

I was totally curious as to what the Viking workout was, as well as what type of music you were listening to. So hilarious. I hope Led Zep's The Immigrant Song is on there. That's the one and only Viking song I know.

A Song of Ice and Fire always gets me day dreaming as well. I feel as if I am going to die waiting for the next installment.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Heela! I'm not a fan of Zeppelin - I was bombarded by them night and day as a teenager, which put me off them just a bit. Don't get me wrong, I can respect the band and there's the odd song I love - Dancing Days sung about my dog by my husband is great ("Dancing Dogs are here again...") I do have a version of the song done by Demons & Wizards that I love, though. I tend to like music based more on classical music - power metal or symphonic metal - than that based on blues - hard rock.

Right now the list consists of Valhalla, Valkryies, A Voice in the Dark (which is about Game of Thrones, but it works), and Curse my Name (which is more of a drinking song kind of beat, but I like it) by Blind Guardian, Immigrant Song done by Demons & Wizards, Montsegur (about the Crusades) and Alexander the Great by Iron Maiden, and Crimson King by Demons & Wizards (again, not about Vikings, but it feels quite Viking-y). That's enough to get me through the weights and a bit of my floor exercises. Thank goodness for 6 and 9 minute long songs, eh?

I've just started A Song of Ice and Fire again, and it's interesting reading it again when I know what might happen. I was curious to see that the Others talked to each other. That blew my mind just a little. And I'm so happy to see Hodor again! (Click here for my recent Hodor! Hodor! Hodor! post. My iPad mini is named Bran, which I guess makes me Hodor as I carry it around! And here's a link to my GoT bracelet. I'm currently making myself a maester chain. I bought the last bits earlier this week! Did I mention I'm obsessed with it? Only 16 more days to go until seasons 3!

Oh, and check out my mineral make-up eye shadows with GoT names! I love Winterfell, Ice, and Winter is coming so much!

Michele said...

Hi Susan,

I wanted to ask a question regarding the Honey Matte, you said it leaves a sort of powdery sensation that very oily skin might not like. My question is why do you think very oily skin might not like it? I have extremely oily skin and that is exactly the type of feeling I want to have in my moisturiser! Is it mabye because it's too dry/annoyingly dry? I'm sorry to be such a pain but I'm agonising over whether to buy this ingredient or not as I live in Europe and shipping is painful so I would really value your expert opinion on this before I buy! Thank you for being such an inspiration and fountain of knowledge to me and countless others.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Michele! If you like that feeling, then honey matte is probably for you! I just worry that someone who is accustomed to having a slight oiliness on her skin won't like the feeling of powderiness! And you're not a pain - asking questions is how we learn, and I really didn't justify that sentence. I'm going to write something in there right now to make sure my reasoning is obvious!

Michele said...

Hi Susan,

I asked, you answered! Thank you so much, really appreciate it and my honey matte is on its way!


LeKenda said...

Ok Susan- I came to pick your brain! (My husband would be pulling out "If zombies attack" plan if he knew I said that to you (don't ask, lol)

So here is my query- I visited this post again for some insight on a making a foaming hair product that is NOT a cleanser. Something like making a styling mousse except that I am hoping my choice of ingredients do not make it stiff. For foaming purposes only I was thinking a little Cocamidopropyl betaine as the main foamer, enhanced by Glyceryl Caprylate Caprate which is supposed to be a natural foam enhancer, emollient and surfactant thickener when combined with salt (Ingredients to Die For). In your opinion would coco betaine at 10% combined with 2-3% of the natural surfactant enhancer (suggested levels 0.5- 4%) be enough to make it foam nicely and allow the product to "melt" into the hair? All other ingredients are water soluble I just need help figuring out the appropriate foaming capacity (was that even a viable sentence?) The idea is for this to a "cold" process method. Distilled water, pathenol, an FSS hair ingredient and maybe a foaming oat or keratin will help round out the ingredients. Trying to keep my ingredient listing simple (you don't know how much this hurts!)

Birgit said...

I hope you have Metsatöll, and especially their song Küü in your play list. (you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC3Q9q4cRZA)

JenG said...

Hi Susan,

I'm a huge fan of your blog. I read it everyday. Lately, I've been trouble-shooting with a foaming cleanser formula, and am still tweaking it. I'm not sure if the foaming bottles I bought are poor quality, but it seems like I have to put such a small amount of surfactant in it to get the bottle to foam properly (about 8.5% between coco betaine and Decyl glucos). And I can't put any powders in (just a wee bit of citric acid). With this amount of surfactant, it will foam when it comes out of the bottle, but then feels like I'm just rubbing water on my face. It's missing the texture of a commercial foaming cleanser. It's been fine with my dry skin, but friends with more combo skin have reported slight break outs. So my questions are:

1) Where do you buy your foaming bottles?
2) How can I make the texture of the cleanser more similar to commercial products? (commercial product texture feeling a bit more substantive than simply water on face)

Here's the formula that I've found works with the foaming bottles I bought:
Water 69.9%
Chamomile Hydrosol 5%
Lavender Hydrosol 5%
Glycerine 7%
Decyl Glucoside 2.7%
Coco Betaine 5.8%
Aloe Vera Juice 2%
Hydrolyzed Silk Amino Acids 1%
Tea Tree Oil 0.5%
Preservative 0.9%
Citric Acid 0.2%

Thank you so much Susan! Keep rocking this blog!