Sunday, June 2, 2013

What makes people think Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish so great? Let's take a look!

I stumbled upon this scrub, Fresh Brown Sugar Polish through, while reading the newspaper this morning. At $65, it claims to be anti-bacterial and hydrating for "thirsty skin cells". The site claims that it offers the "restorative, antibacterial properties of sugar".

The paper claimed that the scrub has become a "cult-classic in the beauty world for its delectable scent and incredibly luxurious texture". One of the reviews on the Sephora site stated, "My boyfriend rubbed this on his body and went on a walk. It attracted many animals. We were happy with the results." (I'm not really sure why attracting animals was a good thing...maybe I don't want to know?) It sounds like a popular product!

I have said I wouldn't duplicate products any more, and this is no exception. What I'm doing here is look at a product that costs $65 (I know, right?) and wondering aloud with you, my wonderful readers, why this might cost so much and how we might make something similar. If you want to learn to duplicate products, my suggestion is that you learn how to make products similar to the one you want - for instance, learn to make lotions if you want to make a lotion - then learn about your ingredients so you can see what's important and what's not in the product. Related posts on this blog include the introduction to duplicating products and this one summing up the steps for duplicting them.  

What is the restorative nature of sugar? And anti-bacterial? Is that talking about the sugar when it's in the container or your skin? Is it really hydrating?

Restorative nature? What does "restorative" mean? "Having the ability to restore health, strength, or a feeling of well-being." ( Hmm, I guess this could be used as a non-claim in a sense, because anyone could have a sense of well-being after using a nice smelling exfoliating product in the shower. I'm not comfortable with the word, but I could see how it could be used in this context

What's the difference between moisturizing and hydrating?  Moisturizing is about creating an occlusive barrier to keep the water we have in our skin in our skin and preventing transepidermal water loss. Hydrating is about binding water to something like a humectant and keeping it on our skin. So it isn't really hydrating our skin because there's no binding, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not that a big a deal if they use one word in place of the other.

Ingredients: Sucrose, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinenesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Passiflora Incarnata Seed Oil, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Medica Vulgaris Peel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Limonene, Citral, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol.

The first thing to note is that this is an oil based sugar scrub, not an emulsified sugar scrub. What's the difference? An emulsified sugar scrub will contain emulsifiers that turn the product into lotion when it is rinsed off with water. (Click here for more about emulsifiers.) A non-emulsified or oil based scrub will rinse off and not leave a lotion behind, but it does leave those lovely oils behind. The emulsified scrub will leave a less greasy feeling behind compared to the oil based scrub. (This isn't a hard and fast rule, but in general, a scrub with an emulsifier will feel more lotiony and less greasy after rinsing.) So this means that all the ingredients are oil soluble ingredients.

The second thing I notice is the complete lack of preservatives! We always use preservatives with products that might come into contact with water, and scrubs fall into the definition. (Click here for that post.) It does contain an anti-oxidant or two - tocopherol, possibly the citrus oils - but no preservatives. (You want to use a preservative that is oil soluble in a product like this.)

Our first ingredient is sucrose. No surprise as it's the main ingredient by weight in my sugar scrubs. I tend to use 100% to 140% the ingredient amount in sugar. So if I make 100 grams of emulsified scrub, I would add 140 grams of sugar to the mix.

Sweet almond oil: A light feeling oil with lots of oleic acid, which can be moisturizing and regenerating to our skin.

Apricot kernel oil: A light feeling oil with lots of oleic acid. Many say it reminds them of sweet almond oil.

Jojoba seed oil: A waxy feeling medium oil that's really a wax ester rather than an oil. It can form a light occlusive layer on our skin that traps in moisture and it can penetrate through our hair follicles to moisturize deeper.

Evening primrose oil: A light, dry feeling oil that contains a lot of GLA or gamma-linoleic acid. GLA offers anti-inflammatory and barrier repair mechanism properties.

Passiflora incarnata seed oil: Passionflower seed or maracuja oil. It's a light, dry feeling oil high in linoleic acid (about 77%), which can help repair skin's barrier mechanisms and reduce trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).

Panax ginseng root extract: This is likely an oil soluble extract, which means the post I've written on it probably doesn't apply as there are different things that will be in an oil soluble extract and a water soluble extract.

Tocopherol: Vitamin E, anti-oxidant.

Sunflower oil: A light feeling oil filled with linoleic acid. It's probably the thing the ginseng extract is dissolved in because it's lower down the list than tocopherol, which isn't added at more than 1% of the total ingredient list.

The rest of the list - Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Medica Vulgaris Peel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Limonene, Citral, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol - is all about the fragrance. Some of these things could be used as anti-oxidants, but they're more likely there as the pretty smell that everyone comments on about this product!  (Click here for the essential oils part of the blog!)

So what do we have here? We have some nice, light feeling oils high in oleic acid with two oils that are considered to be dry feeling low down the list. I know the 1% part of the list is around the tocopherol as we wouldn't add more than 1% of this to the product, and I think it likely the ginseng root extract is used at 1% or lower. Which means, we could break the product down to look like this...
Sugar - 50% or higher
Each of the oils at no more than 10% each
Tocopherol - 0.5% to 1%
Ginseng root extract - 0.5% to 1%
Fragrance - no more than 2% total

If I were to make this product, one batch would total 240 grams (100 grams oil, 140 grams sugar). It would break down something like this. It's easier to figure out the sugar scrub based, then add the sugar to it. So I would make 100 grams of oils, then add 140 grams of sugar. I'll break down the oil part only into percentages. I'm not including the passionflower oil as I don't have any and I don't really know what it will bring to the mix. You can add it at up to 10%, if you wish.

35% sweet almond oil
35% apricot kernel oil
16% jojoba oil
10% evening primrose oil
1% Phenonip
2% fragrance oil
0.5% Vitamin E
0.5% ginseng extract

Add 140 grams of sugar for every 100 grams of product. Pour the sugar into a container, add the oil, and mix until well incorporated. Continue to do this until the sugar is saturated and can't hold any more oil.

This picture is of a very similar oil based scrub. My jojoba oil is very yellow, my sugar very white, and I added orange colouring to the product because I wanted to give the impression of it being very citrusy. I like it very much, but I used more sunflower oil in place of the apricot kernel oil because I wanted more linoleic acid.

As you can see, this is a fairly inexpensive product to make. If we have a 14 ounce (420 gram) container for $65, I would hazard I could make this for less than $5 with the container. Is it identical to the Sephora product? No, probably not, and I think one of the main selling points is the unique fragrance, but I think we can come really close.

If you want a citrus fragrance, I have a few I absolutely love. Consider the Sweet Meyer Lemon or Clementine Cupcake from Brambleberry, a combination of one part sweet orange oil and one part vanilla oil for a gorgeous Creamsicle fragrance, or Lemon Curd, a fragrance I can't find anywhere any more, which makes me grateful I froze a lot of it and only use it a bit at at time! I used to love Jewelled Citrus from Brambleberry, but it's gone, too! 

If you like your products to be less greasy, I suggest upping the evening primrose oil and decreasing either the sweet almond or apricot kernel oil. If you want your product to be more occlusive, add a little olive oil. And so on...

The pictures you see here are of emulsified scrubs. I love them - they're fluffy, they're luxurious, and they rinse off quite cleanly while still offering moisturizing. I really encourage you to try making one if you've never tried one before. I'm not saying you won't like oil based scrubs again, but you might consider making more than one batch. Just saying....


Sara said...

As always, love your posts. Here is another question about preservatives.
I am allergic to formaldehyde, so a lot of preservatives are out for me. I use optiphen in the manufacture of lotions, scrubs, toners, etc that I both use and sell. I also add vitamin e and grapefruit seed extract to "help" things along.
As I look on the Internet, there seems to be more companies turning to food grade preservatives, like potassium sorbate.
Is this responsible, or is this looking for trouble?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sara! Vitamin E and GSE aren't preservatives, they're anti-oxidants, and they will help retard rancidity but won't prevent contamination. As for food grade preservatives, they are valid preservatives, but they have many restrictions and aren't considered broad spectrum preservatives, so users will want to combine them to create something that will kill all the beasties, not just some of them.

Click here for more information on the organic acids & sodium benzoate. And click on this section on preservatives to see other preservatives you could use.

What I don't get is how these preservatives are considered evil in food but okay in bath & body stuff. I'm confused all the time by these things!

Catherine said...

I read somewhere (can't recall source) that if the % is low enough (maybe < .1%) then you're not required to list it in your ingredient list.

So maybe they're using a low % preservative and not listing it bc they have an unjustly bad rap right now?...

Alexis said...

Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella's secret is out! Now I, too, can be a Disney princess by attracting animals to me with this scrub!!!!!!

DandiCreations said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana said...

I was laughing hysterically at your animal attraction comment. I love your posts and have learned so much from you already.
I prefer the emulsified scrub just for the fact that it feels so good after rinsing it off. And I add preservatives where needed, just to protect myself and my customers. Beside allergies or other reasons, why wouldn't you add it? It is added protection.


Cathy Smith said...

I am so grateful for you!! My husband (a chemist) and I owned an herbal products business for eight years and we found that much of our time was taken up with explaining that "better life through chemistry" had a lot to do with removing the veil of cultural advertising. Thank you for empowering people by sharing your knowledge. Kudos!! Cate

TikiBarSoap said...

It costs $65 because there is a segment of the population willing to pay that much for the brand name. In fact, I am willing to bet Fresh became popular simply by charging $65 for sugar scrubs :) They sell a floral water (eg hydrosol) with some added FO and its like $110. People just pay for the brand so they can put it out in their bathroom so when guests come over it looks like they have tons of money to throw around on stupid stuff, same reason women buy $3000 handbags or $500 pairs of jeans :( I will make my own, thanks! And I like the recipe, I will try it out next week, thanks for that! I have a product that I want to duplicate but haven't had the time yet. I really enjoy reading what you pick to duplicate.