Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Plant extracts vs. oils. Extending the shelf life of an oil.

We have a ton of comments from the last few weeks, so let's get started! The series on oils generated loads of great comments, so let's take a look at those...

In the post Can oils penetrate our hair? Anastasia asks, Plant extracts vs oils: why would you choose one over another?

For the most part, plant extracts are water soluble - like powdered chamomile, for instance - while oils are oil soluble, so there will be certain applications that are obvious for one or the other. I think about using something like water soluble calendula extract instead of calendula oil. I use the w/s calendula in things like toners or facial cleansers that tend to be all water soluble ingredients and the oil when I'm making lotions. But sometimes I don't want to spend the limited oil phase I have in a product on an oil soluble extract, so I'll use the water soluble version instead.

If you are talking about oil soluble plant extracts, like this mallow extract, then you'd use this because you can't find mallow oil.

If you are talking about something like olive oil unsaponifiables or oil soluble evening primrose flower extract, you'd use those to get concentrated extracts of things we like - like the phytosterols from olive oil - but want in much larger quantities than we'd find in an oil. Those extracts will have a specific amount of something - let's say they guarantee to have 10% phytosterols - that can't be guaranteed in an oil.

Extracts tend to be more expensive than oil and they contain tons of different things that wouldn't be in extracts, like the fatty acids and triglycerides in large quantities, polyphenols, phytosterols, vitamins, and so on. Oils are generally easier to find, and they offer more than just the active ingredients to a products, like skin feel or glide.

What do you think? Share your thoughts!

In this post, Tuesday Wonderings, Sandra asks: On my first supply order I bought a big bottle (1 l) grapeseed oil and 500ml of hemp seed oil. I wasn't aware of the short life span of these oils, and now I have poured 1% vitamin E into them and put them inside the fridge. I just wonder if there is anything I could formulate in order to extend the shelf life of the oils, maybe if I turn them into a solid product of some sort? Do you have any good recipes or tips? I happen to carry Optiphen by the way, in case that would help. I'd just hate to think that both bottles will go to waste if I don't use them up soon.

Adding an anti-oxidant like Vitamin E is a great idea, as is putting it in the fridge. You can also freeze your oils, which will stop the process as of the day it enters the freezer. I can't think of anything you could make with your product that would extend the life.

Related posts:
Heating, holding, freezing, and thawing our oils


Sandra said...

Thank you for featuring my question! I bought the grapeseed oil specifically for creating this facial cream recommended by my supplier Nature's garden:

6 grams Calendula Flowers- Whole
320 grams Distilled Water- (This will be used to make the 286 grams of calendula infused flower water you will need)
23 grams Vegetable Glycerin
18 grams Cocoa Butter
45 grams Avocado Oil
18 grams Castor Oil
4 grams Grapeseed Oil
4 grams Vitamin E Oil
36 grams Emulsifying Wax
5 grams Stearic Acid
6 grams Optiphen Preservative

As you can see, it contains 4 grams of grapeseed oil and 6 grams of Optiphen (also 4 grams vitamin E). Should I count the shelf life of this cream as 3 months due to the grapeseed oil, or does the fact that it's a small quantity, actually smaller then the preservatives - make it last longer?

Thanks once again!

Danuta Kildan said...

Is not the castor oil to sticky for facial cream. Avocado oil is wonderful but heavy oil. I have the feeling that with that ingredients you will have heavy and greasy cream, very occluding. It would make a nice body butter though:)) Good luck with it.

Sandra said...

I have tried this recipe and it felt quite greasy at first, so I tweaked it and added more water, so now it feels wonderful and sinks very fast into the skin. I had the same concern about the cocoa butter actually at first. It's ok if it's a bit sticky since my skin is quite dry though, my main concern is if the optiphen is at an enough strength to protect against rancidity in the grapeseed oil. I'm quite a germophobe :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Optiphen is a preservative and does nothing for rancidity. For that you need an anti-oxidant, like Vitamin E. Having said that, there is so little if it in the recipe, what's the point in using it at all? It is less than 1%!