Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ingredient: Date palm extract

I've become interested in date palm extract lately - I've seen quite a few references to it lately as an anti-wrinkle ingredient, and I was given a sample of it from the Formulator Sample Shop*. I'm already using it in the form of their Volumizing Complex PF (Water & Rice Amino Acids & Lactobacillus/Date Fruit Ferment Extract & Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy Difluorethyl PEG Phosphate) in my leave in conditioner and absolutely loving it, but as you can see, there are too many other ingredients, like a protein and the polyperfluorooxymethoxy difluorethyl PEG phosphate. to let me isolate what the date fruit extract was bringing to the mix.

Date palm extract - INCI: Lactobacillus/Date Fruit Ferment Extract, which is the one I have - is fermented by adding Lactobacillus lactis, which is supposed to isolate the carbohydrates and lactic acid in the product. The carbohydrates, invert sugar and fructose, are film forming and skin softening, while the lactic acid is exfoliating. For our hair, it can smooth and shrink the cuticle of the strand, which should increase thickness and combability. It is supposed to work as a humectant thanks to the sugars. It offers anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. There are suggestions that it can decrease the appearance of wrinkles around the eye area, which would be an incredible claim! And it's a powerful anti-oxidant.

The suggested usage for this water soluble extract is 1% to 10%, and I'm suggesting we use it in the cool down phase as I haven't seen anything that says it is or isn't heat stable, so I generally default to using it in the cool down phase.

I've also found this ingredient listed as D'Orientine from Lotioncrafter! The suggested usage for this oil soluble version is to use it at up to 2.5% in the heated oil phase in an oil-in-water lotion. It is ECOcert. This data sheet relates specifically to the ingredient from Lotioncrafter.

How to know when to add an ingredient? Check out this post How do you know when to add an ingredient?

The water soluble version can be used in anything that contains water, including toners, cleansers, moisturizers, lotions, and so on. Generally we'll want to use something like this in a leave on product, like a lotion or toner, instead of a cleanser or body wash or something else that we won't leave on for long. It can also be used in hair care products at up to 10%. Again, I'd reserve it for conditioners, leave in conditioners, or other styling products instead of using it in a shampoo.

The oil soluble version can be used in anything that contains oil or an emulsifier, including lotions, conditioners, and so on.

This study showed that the date fruit extract contains anti-oxidants, and that the aqueous extract is a powerful scavenger of hydroxy radicals (as shown in in vitro studies). It contains coumaric acid, a polyphenol that is a powerful anti-oxidant and inflammation reducer; ferulic acid, which helps moisturize skin, helps with light and weather damage, might help with toning down age spots, and it might stabilize l-ascorbic acid in our products; and gallic acid, which is a good anti-oxidant, as well as a wound healer and anti-inflammatory.

This study notes that there was evidence of a "significant antiwrinkle effect" when using 5% date palm extract for five weeks in an eye cream. Please note that this was a small study - 10 women - and we don't know the ingredients of the eye cream, the strength of the date palm extract, and other important details. We also don't know if the results were compared with using nothing at all or a cream that didn't contain date palm or anything else, so was it just about moisturizing? Nevertheless, it's interesting to note.

As an aside, this is how some conditioners are advertised. For instance, the conditioner made hair smoother and more manageable than using shampoo only. Of course it did! Even the most basic conditioner will make your hair feel better than using shampoo alone! This is why you want to look at the fine print of ads!

It seems like this might be an interesting product to use in facial products. Let's take a look at a few with this ingredient!

*In the interest of complete disclosure, I was given a sample of this ingredient from the Formulator Sample Shop. I have advised them that I will offer my uncensored opinion on the ingredient. I have not been paid by them to write this post or try the ingredient, and I am not affiliated with them in any way, except that they have sent me a free ingredients. 

Health benefits of date palm: Phytochemicals and their functions
Procedures in cosmetic dermatological series: Cosmeceuticals

1 comment:

Alexis said...

I have been using this in my shampoo since FSS's data on their website is for 5% in a shampoo. It definitely increases the combability of my wet hair, and this is with me using the same bottle of conditioner I used before I added the date palm extract to my shampoo.

Being someone who gets highlights on a regular basis, I can say that formulating my shampoo has been the trickiest part about making my own products. I have made lots of shampoos that were great for the parts of my hair that were not highlighted but totally trashed the highlighted sections. Through experimentation I've realized that it doesn't really matter how awesome I've made the conditioner if the shampoo was off. Major thing I've noticed is that highlighted hair is extremely pH sensitive. The difference in a shampoo at pH 4.5 and another at pH 4.95 often means the difference, respectively, between a shampoo that cleans easily and one that causes the highlights to matt. It's really difficult to clean your scalp well when part of your hair is all tangled together. Not that a 4.5 pH is a magic number. I have found some ingredients just don't seem to work well with my highlighted hair, but in general an o.k. shampoo becomes wonderful if I lower the pH to 4.5 or slightly below.