which we looked at yesterday, asked if we could make a moisturizer more natural. I hate to do it, but before we start, I must ask the question - what does it mean to be natural?
I'm going to be honest here and say that I don't really know what natural means. There isn't a standard for it - you can call anything you like "natural" and you won't get in legal trouble for doing so. For the purposes of this post, I thought I would consider things we find in our bodies as natural, ingredients like glycerin, stearic acid, and sodium lactate. But then, those ingredients require a lot of processing. Does a processed ingredient count as a natural one?
My husband asked me how I would classify Pringles chips. They're derived from potatoes and contain a lot of potatoes (about 42%), but the process they have to go through to become Pringles is a lengthy one filled with all kinds of other "derived from nature" ingredients. They are heavily processed to become Pringles, but they are still "derived from potatoes" and contain lots of potato goodness. Would I call them natural? The amount of processing something has to go through to become an ingredient is probably on par with what a Pringles chip has to go through to become a Pringle, so why do we consider one thing natural and not another?
What about regular chips? Why are Kettle Chips considered "all natural"? Read their statement about natural and tell me what sets them apart from something like Old Dutch. Is it because one says they're natural and the other doesn't?
I think we can agree that our ingredients are processed. Take a look at decyl glucoside, an ECOcert ingredient that a lot of people consider natural. "Decyl glucoside is produced by the reaction of glucose from corn starch with the fatty alcohol decanol which is derived from coconut." (Wikipedia) Would you really consider it a natural ingredient if it requires that much processing to exist?
Click here to learn a tiny bit more - but not much - about ECOcert. Why so little information on their site and Wikipedia? So infuriating! Or you can take a look at this really really long document to learn more. Take a look at the Cosmos standard as well.
Natural products - a look at some ingredient lists
What does natural mean?
What does "coconut derived" mean?
Ritamulse SCG in our products. Here's an example of a minimally processed ingredient lotion with this emulsifier. If we look at yesterday's moisturizer, it'll look something like this...
VERY BASIC MOISTURIZER WITH RITAMULSE SCG
HEATED WATER PHASE
HEATED OIL PHASE
COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% to 1% preservative
I've had to increase the emulsifier to 6% because we require more Ritamulse SCG when formulating than we do Incroquat BTMS-50 or Polawax, for example. I generally use it at 8%, but that might be a little too thick for a facial moisturizer, so I'll try it at 6%.
There is no hard and fast rule for how much Ritamulse SCG to use the way there is for something like Polawax. Most formulations you see will use it at 8%, so we're taking a bit of a risk using it at 6%. The only other rule to keep in mind is that you can't go over 25% oils with this emulsifier.
This lotion could be 100% natural if we used a preservative considered natural, like Leucidal or Advanced Aloe Leucidal. The problem is that there are reports coming from all over the place that these preservatives aren't working as well as they could for big companies, which makes me very worried for us homecrafters! Plus there are reports it might not be compatible with Ritamulse SCG, which is our main ingredient here! I would prefer not to work with something that could fail like this. If you really must use one of these preservatives - and until we get more information, I don't encourage it - then use it at the full 4% to be on the safe side. Remove that 4% from your water phase. (So 79% water, 4% preservative in the cool down phase.)
If you are considering using Leucidal in your products, please take a look at this report on the Badger sunscreen recall using a preservative similar to Leucidal, and a note in this forum that some are using an anti-fungal like potassium sorbate with this preservative. Please be obsessive about cleanliness and choosing the right container for that product, like a pump or something with a small orifice.
I'd much rather work with a tried and true preservative like liquid Germall Plus. If you think about it, you're using 0.5% in this lotion, which is very little, but you're getting really big returns in the form of lovely lotions that aren't contaminated. Or try something like Optiphen at 0.75% to 1.5% in the cool down phase, but make sure you add it carefully at below 45˚C or it might curdle your lotion.
What about the rest of the ingredients? This is where your own sense of what is natural has to kick in because clearly I'm unable to make those decisions for you. The lovely thing about making products is that you can customize it however you like!
evening primrose oil because it's a drier feeling oil with some good phytosterols and fatty acids.
So what will our recipe look like in the end?
VERY BASIC MOISTURIZING WITH RITAMULSE SCG
HEATED WATER PHASE
2% sodium lactate
HEATED OIL PHASE
10% evening primrose oil
6% Ritamulse SCG
COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
Use the general lotion making instructions for this recipe.
So there's an idea for something that is more natural. If you want to stay away from preservatives, may I suggest an anhydrous or non-water containing product like a lotion bar for your facial needs? You could keep that kind of product 100% natural with great ease!
Suggestions? Comments? I'm always here to listen!