Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Newbie Tuesday on Wednesday: Adding botanical extracts to your facial cleansers (part one)

I'm a big fan of using powdered extracts to add some extra oomph to my facial cleansers. They tend to be inexpensive - for instance, $3 to $5 for 10 grams - and we only need a bit to go a long way. Let's take a look at these botanical extracts and see how they can fit into our facial cleanser!

There are a few ways to use botanical extracts, but the most common versions I see are liquid or powdered.

The powdered extracts I get from Voyageur Soap & Candle* are designed to be very soluble in water, and you only need a little to go a long way. I use 0.5% in the cool down phase (less than 45˚C or 100˚F) in a product to offer all the awesome power of that botanical ingredient, like grapeseed, green tea, rosemary, and more.

You can get liquid extracts, which we'll visit in a few minutes....

For this series, I suggested that you get a few extracts, so let's take a look at those, and a few others you might use in a cleanser. (Click on the bolded names to read more!) For the powdered extracts I list below, they are used at 0.5% in the water phase unless otherwise indicated.

Chamomile extract: I've recommended this for all skin types as it's a magnificent ingredient that can reduce redness and inflammation while reducing transepidermal water loss for up to 48 hours for all skin types. It will make your product a little yellow if you're using the powdered extract.

Rosemary extract: This is recommended for oily skin as it's an astringent ingredient that reduces oiliness and acts as a great anti-oxidant. This is a green-ish brown-ish extract that will be more brown than green in your products.

Grapeseed extract: This one is great for oily skin as it's an astringent ingredient that acts as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory in our products.

Green tea extract: This extract is great for all skin types as it offers all kinds of benefits, like behaving as an anti-oxidant, reducing water retention, and reducing inflammation, to name a few things. (I encourage you to hit "newer post" at the bottom of the green tea write ups as there are quite a few of them, and it's a fascinating ingredient!)

Cucumber extract: Anyone can use this extract, but it's especially awesome for those with dry skin as it's emollient, anti-inflammatory, and soothing. It may be astringent, but that doesn't mean that it's drying to your skin. It creates a light layer of moisture on your skin, which is exactly what dry skin needs!

There are loads of other extracts you could use like chrysanthemum or willow bark for acne prone skin, strawberry for oily skin with bigger pores, marshmallow to create a slippery emolliency for normal to dry skin, liquorice for skin with age spots or uneven skin tone, and more. (We'll go into more detail about extracts when we get to toners as many of these are better in that application than a cleanser...)

Why use liquid extracts? Often they tend to be less colourful and less fragrant than our powdered extracts, but that's not a given. Check the description of the extract at your supplier before buying. It's not a bad thing to be colourful or fragrant - heck, I pride myself on being both every day! - but it might not work with the product you're making.

This is my cleanser with grapeseed extract. It looks like blood!!!

Because they're pre-dissolved, they won't precipitate or end up as gunk at the bottom of the container the way the powders might.

Make sure you get the water soluble extracts if you want to use them in cleansers, toners, gels, and water based products. You can use a bit of an oil soluble extract in a product - see below - but it's so much easier to use the water soluble ones in the products we're making in this series.

What about using an essential oil? You can do that in a facial cleanser without having to worry about emulsifying it into the product as many surfactants are great emulsifiers as long as you're only using 0.5% to 1% maximum. I would caution you, though, as essential oils carry fragrances with them, so really think hard about whether you want to smell the earthy tones of chamomile or the camphory smell of rosemary under your nose and on your face all day.

We'll be choosing one or two powdered extracts for the recipes you'll see tomorrow, using them at no more than 0.5% in the water phase. There's no reason to use more because you'll end up with precipitation, where the powder clumps at the bottom or starts to clog up the pump or foamer part of the bottle. (Click here for a short post on solubility...)

A final thought on extracts for now: Never mix exfoliating extracts in one product! For instance, papaya and pineapple are awesome on their own, but together they can work too well and create redness and sensitivity. Check your extracts before mixing them to ensure you're getting goodness, not face pain!

Posts specific to extracts and hydrosols:
The extract section of the blog
How to use extracts and hydrosols in our products
What exactly is an extract?
Extracts: Powdered or liquid?

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

Join me tomorrow as we learn more about the botanical extracts we can include in our facial cleansers!

And I want to remind everyone to take a look at this post - Did you make a cleanser? - as I'd love to collect the versions you've made in one place! Please don't forget to share your recipe with your fellow readers! 


Krista said...

Hi Susan,
Im using extracts in my creams during the cool down phase at about 45 degrees and im having a hard time incorporating them into the cream. I often find that i have the take the mixer again to avoid clumps but then that causes inconsistencies with the viscosity of the cream. Some of them are also stinky... lol.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Krista! Are you using them at the suggested usage rates? I know the ones I get from Voyageur are 0.5%, but each supplier makes different suggestions. Have you tried dissolving them in a titch of water before adding?