Thursday, October 13, 2016

Newbie Tuesday on Thursday: Using botanical extracts in your facial cleansers (part two)

Let's take a look at including some of those extracts about which I wrote yesterday in our cleanser recipes! You can modify any recipe you wish to include them: I'm using the one we modified on Tuesday with the aloe vera.

If I wanted to create something for oily skin, my first thoughts are always about rosemary extract as it's awesome for taming sebum. I also like to include grapeseed extract as it reduces oiliness as well. And a little chamomile is fantastic for reducing redness - if that's an issue for you - and decreasing transepidermal water loss and leaving our skin feeling much more hydrated. I don't like to use three extracts in one product because it can lead to precipitation in the container, so I'm thinking of using chamomile and grapeseed extract in my cleanser.

But there another way to get all the awesome power of one of these extracts in another form? Why yes, yes there is! We can try using hydrosols (aka floral waters or distillates) or essential oils!

The easiest way to explain hydrosols are that they are the water soluble portion of the plants used to make essential oils. You might see them listed as hydrolats, floral waters, or distillates.

When buying your hydrosols, make sure you're getting a hydrosol. Check the INCI name to ensure it's a floral water - for example, like this one from the Herbarie or this vanilla one from the Formulator Sample Shop - instead of a blend of essential oils and solubilizers in water. Not that there's anything super wrong with having the latter, it's just that it's a different product than we're getting with the floral water.

There are all kinds of floral waters or hydrosols you can try from chamomile to lavender to champa (which smells freakin' amazing!) and more. In general, they smell a bit like the thing they are - so neroli will have that orange smell, while peppermint is a bit...well, minty, of course!

So I could do something like use chamomile hydrosol with rosemary extract or peppermint hydrosol with chamomile extract or grapeseed extract with neroli hydrosol, and so on. There are loads of ways to combine these ingredients, and we'll see a few over the next few days.

We need to pause for a moment and talk about this lovely liquid. It isn't just for oily skin - all skin types can enjoy the hydrating goodness of witch hazel! It's full of lovely tannins, which do make it a bit astringent, but also contains polyphenols which behave as strong anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories on our skin. It can reduce swelling in tissues, and is a great wound healer.

Check to see how much alcohol is in the one you buy. I get one that's about 14% alcohol from Voyageur Soap & Candle*, and I find my oily skin responds well to it. (You can find this version at the Personal Formulator in the US). Or choose one that doesn't contain alcohol, like this version from Windy Point in Alberta

We must stop and pause for a moment and ask ourselves a question: Is there any point of including these lovely botanical ingredients in a product like a cleanser, something that will be washed off? The answer is both yes and no...I know, I'm annoying, right?

I've said this before, but I tend to wash my face and go more often than not, so I want to pack as many goodies into my facial cleanser as possible. I find cleansers containing aloe vera or witch hazel increase the mildness of my products, so my skin feels less tight and more hydrated. I find including chamomile in my products make my skin feel more hydrated, too, and reduce the normal redness I get from my rosacea. I also find that include grapeseed extract helps reduce sebum production and makes my skin feel less oily. But that's just my experience. Yours will vary, and that's the fun of making things!

If you're using a toner, moisturizer, serum, and so on after cleansing, then it might be a thought to leave the botanical ingredients for those products where they'll have contact with the skin longer. Since they aren't super expensive and we only need a titch, I'll encourage you to play a bit with these extracts to see if they bring anything to the cleanser that you like. As usual, try one extract at a time and see what you think. Keep good notes so you know what you like and don't like.

Here's one of my new avourite versions for my oily skin. Note that I'm including 10% witch hazel, which means I remove 10% from the distilled water amount, and 10% peppermint hydrosol, which means I remove another 10% from the distilled water amount. I'm including 0.5% powdered chamomile extract as well, so I need to remove 0.5% from the distilled water amount. Any time we add something to the recipe, we need to remove that same amount from the distilled water amount. In this case, I'm adding 20.5% more ingredients to the mix, so I'm removing 20.5% from the distilled water amount.

15% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
15% DLS
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
3% cationic polymer - I like polyquat 7
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

21% distilled water
10% witch hazel
10% peppermint hydrosol
10% aloe vera liquid
0.5% chamomile extract

up to 2% liquid Crothix

Weigh the surfactant phase of the product into a container and mix. I suggest using a fork and mixing so you don't get a ton of bubbles. It's not the end of the world if it gets bubbly, but you'll have to wait a few days for the bubbles to go down.

Measure out a bit of water into a small cup, like a shotglass, to dissolve the powdered extract. Do your best to dissolve it, but don't stress too much if you can't get all the lumps out. It'll dissolve more when you add it to the rest of the water.

Add the water phase, phase then mix again until it is blended. Again, try to avoid too many bubbles.

Add the Crothix 0.5% or 1% at a time. Mix well with the fork. It will likely fall to the bottom, so I suggest stirring from the bottom to make sure you're integrating the Crothix. If it isn't thick enough, add another 0.5% to 1%.

For oily skin, don't go over 2% as it can feel a little too moisturizing. For other skin types, you can go as high as 5% if you wish, but this will be very very moisturizing. If you can't get the visosity you want right now, it's okay. This is why we have pump bottles!

If you'd like to play along with this series, please start at the top and work your way forwards to make awesome cleansers!
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Newbie Tuesday on Tuesday: Modifying the recipe with aloe vera
Newbie Tuesday on Wednesday: Modifying the recipe with botanical extracts (part one)

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at more recipes we can make using botanical extracts! 


alia said...


oliwax (thickener & emulsifier)
olivEmuls (co emulsifier)
olive oil (emollient)
silcolive (olive derived silicone)
MSM (hair growth & curl loisening)
quinoa protein (color retention)
rice protein (volume)
baobab protein (nourish+recover)
silk amino acids (silkiness+glide)
keratin protein (protection)
biotin (thicker hair)
panthenol (overall hair health)
phytenso(soy phospholipid complex)-a natural relaxer

all above 2% except EO 1% & preservative 0.5% & water to 100

i dont want to use btms
so besides that
is this recipe correct??

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Alia. As I've mentioned before, could you please post your comments in a post that seems related to your question? You're asking about a leave in conditioner in a post about facial cleansers. If I answer your question here, no one will see it when they want to learn more about conditioners. Please find a post on conditioners and I will do my best to answer it there.

Laura said...

The extracts that I have from New Directions dilution ratios are very small, they vary but most common is 3 grams per 100ml of water, which makes a tincture.
0.5 % of chamomile extract powder would be way too much..
Are extracts really that different from different suppliers?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Laura! Yes, they can vary incredibly from supplier to supplier. If you're using 3 grams in 100 grams of water, then that's 3%. I don't know why anyone would make a tincture with the powders. It's illogical to use a powder in that way as they re designed to dissolve easily in room temperature water. Just add them directly to the product at 0.5%.

I'm referring to the chamomile powder I found at NDA in this post. It says to use 2 grams in water or alcohol or glycerin. To me, that's too much. I'd use 0.5 grams in 99 grams of water with 0.5 grams of liquid Germally Plus. If you're making a mix with water and powder, you must use a preservative. NDA is terrible at recommending that.