Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ingredient: Olive oil unsaponifiables

Olive oil unsaponifiables (INCI: Olea europaea (olive) oil unsaponifiables) are the unsaponifiable portion of olive oil that can be used in our products as an oil and ethanol soluble emollient, much in the way we'd use olive oil.  Use it the way you would any other oil, but especially where you want a light product, like in a facial moisturizer, light lotion, body milk, or sprayable lotion.

Quick aside: What's an unsaponifiable? It's the portion of an oil that fails to create a soap when it is mixed with lye. 

It's a much lighter oil than olive oil - I'd say it's on par with an ester or fractionated coconut oil and its specific gravity is 0.81 to 0.84. It has a very light and non-greasy skin feel. It contains 55% to 70% squalane, 15% to 25% squalene (a triterpenic compound), 10% to 15% glycolipids (a lipid with a carbohydrate attached, Wikipedia), and 1% to 7% phytosterols, primarily in the form of campesterol and stigmasterol. It contains Vitamin E at 70 to 130 ppm, but some can be fortified with extra tocopherols. It has a shelf life of at least one year, but it could be more.

This ingredient can go by the brand name Dermolene (data bulletin here, ignore the horrible spelling!), Insapolive, or Planell Oil. Some versions of this ingredient appear to be ECOcert - ask your supplier.

How do we use olive oil unsaponifiables? You can use this ingredient anywhere you'd use olive oil but want something ligher. You can use it in the place of fractionated coconut oil or esters, and it's suggested that we use it in anhydrous products as it is so moisturizing. Treat it like any other oil by using it at up to 10% in the heated oil phase of your product. (As an aside, you can use this neat, like any other oil.) You can use it in any product suitable for your skin or hair. It would be a great addition in place of an oil in your facial moisturizer or serum!

Where can you get this lovely ingredient? I was sent mine by the Formulator Sample Shop and I've found it at Lotioncrafter. In the UK, you can find it at Of A Simple Nature.

You can also find olive oil unsaponifiables in an ingredient called Oliwax, that is used as a rheology modifier (like we would use our thickeners, stearic acid or cetyl alcohol). This comes in white flakes and is used in anhydrous products and lotions to thicken them.


Kim said...

Would olive oil unsaponifiables be ok for oily skin versus other oils or be considered oil free?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kim! Technically, this would be considered oil free because it isn't an oil. (I've seen someone claim that a lotion with shea butter was "oil free" because shea is a butter, not an oil, but that seems like a stretch.) Is it okay for oily skin? I don't know the answer to that question because everyone's skin is different and everyone will react differently.

I've written a longer post on this topic that you can find on August 17th!