Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One ingredient, five products: Gels - making an aloe vera gel

As I mentioned yesterday, some gels aren't great with electrolytes. Check the suggested usage and abilities of your gel before trying it with electrolytes. Carbomer Ultrez 20 and ETD 2020 are good for an aloe vera gel, while Carbomer 940 isn't.

To make a basic aloe vera gel, you can make up your gel as per these instructions with up to 100% of the water in the form of aloe vera.

If you want to make a thinner aloe vera gel, make up your gel as per these instructions, which will get you a thick gel. To it, add up to 50% aloe vera and enough preservative to preserve the aloe vera, mix into the gel, and bottle.

Take a look at the aloe vera gel you get at our supplier's shops, and you'll see that they are a combination of aloe vera and this carbomer. Here's an example from Voyageur Soap & Candle. When you look at the recipes I make on this blog, I'm using aloe vera liquid or juice because we don't need the extra thickening in our products! 

Sounds pretty easy, eh? But we might want something a little more....shall we say, complicated? (Hey, it wouldn't be a Swift recipe if it weren't complicated!) If we're making this for a post sunburn kind of situation, wouldn't we want to include a few other ingredients that might be good for inflammation or sunburn?

What ingredients could we choose for post sun exposure? We want things that will moisturize without oils, things that aren't occlusive, and things that will help with inflammation. Let's turn to our botanical extracts first. Water soluble marshmallow extract would be really nice, offering soothing and moisturizing. Horsetail extract is a good wound healer and anti-inflammatory. Witch hazel is a good moisturizer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant. Allantoin would be great at around 0.5% to help speed up skin's repair mechanisms and to reduce trans-epidermal water loss. Chamomile extract or hydrosol is always a sure winner Panthenol offers wound healing and behaves as a humectant, so we could add that to the cool down phase.

You can choose any combination of ingredients to make a post-sun exposure aloe vera gel. These are just a few of my suggestions.

60% thick gel recipe (see this post)
20% aloe vera
10% witch hazel
5% marshmallow extract
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.2% liquid Germall Plus*

*In case you're wondering why such a low amount? It's because we already have preservative in the gel, so we only need to preserve the stuff we're adding. If I look at adding 40% more to the gel and I need 0.5% liquid Germall Plus, then I would have to add 0.2% preservative. (0.5 * 0.4 = 0.2) You could actually leave the preservative out in this case because we'll have 0.3% liquid Germall Plus, which is in the middle of the suggested usage rate. I'm adding extra because botanicals can be a little tricky to preserve, so I figure I'm better off maximizing my preservative! 

Add all the ingredients into a container, except for the powdered extracts. Mix the powdered extract into another water soluble ingredient - like the aloe vera - and mix until it is dissolved. Add to the rest of the gel and mix well. When everything looks uniform, remove and package!

Related posts in this series:
One ingredients, five products: Gels - an introduction

Related posts in general:
Summer products: Aloe vera apres sun spray
Super extra aloe-y apres sun spray

A note: To turn the summer sprays into gels, reduce the liquids to no more than 50%, keep the ingredients the same, and mix into a thick gel!

Join me tomorrow for more fun with gels!


Elizabeth Aqui-Seto said...

Susan, I've wanted to make an aloe vera gel for a few years; and am so delighted that you've provided the receipe. I'll be buying the carbomer in the next couple weeks and trying this recipe. I just love gelled products, both in summer and winter.
Thank you.

MIKS, 24-HOURS/7-DAYS/365-YEARLY said...

Hi Susan! Just wanted to to thank you for all that you do! You are saving my mixtress life! LOL! With this recipe, may I used this DIY on my hair?? I am all natural with afro-curly textured hair.

Write me when you can.
Thank you,
Tamika G.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi MIKS! You could use this on your hair as a hydrator. Ideally, you'd want to add a light conditioning agent, a cationic polymer like honeyquat, polyquat 7, polyquat 44, polyquat 10, and so on to give it that extra oomph for your hair. But it's a great gel as it is!