Friday, October 7, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Can we add carrier oils to cleansers?

In this post, Why the heck did I buy this and what can I do with it Wednesday: Sea kelp extract, Carmit80 asks: For foaming cleansers I see you don't add any carrier oils as an emollient. Would this be possible or even effective? Would l we then need to add the emulsifiers? Thanks!

There are a few questions here that I would like to address...
Why don't I add oils as emollients?
Would it be possible to add oils to a foaming cleanser?
Would we add an emulsifier to a foaming cleanser?

The answer to the first question is that I generally don't add carrier oils to foaming products like body washes, facial washes, bubble baths, and so on as oils can suppress and even destroy the bubbles, lather, and foam in a product.

There are other ways to add emolliency to a foaming cleanser that won't suppress the bubbles. We can use ingredients like glycol distearate or Crothix to both thicken and moisturize, or add ingredients like water soluble olive oil (or PEG-7 olivate), water soluble shea oil, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, myristamine oxide, and so on. These ingredients are less likely to suppress foam and lather than an oil.

Is it possible to add oils to a foaming clanser? Yes. A lot of surfactants - the ingredients we use to make the products foamy, lathery, and bubbly - are good emulsifiers, meaning they can incorporate oil easily into the product. If you have something like C14-16 olefin sulfonate, you can easily add something like 5% carrier oils along with your 1% fragrance or essential oil and see it mix well. Use something like disodium laureth sulfosuccinate and you'll need a solubilizer. If you really want to use carrier oils, then you'll have to check each surfactant to see what it can handle.

If your surfactants can't emulsify well, you'll have to use a solubilizer like polysorbate 80, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, Cromollient SCE, Caprol Micro Express, and so on. (You can't use an emulsifier like Polawax or Incroquat BTMS-50 as they aren't suitable for these kinds of products.) Some of these solubilizers - especially the last two - are great emollients on their own!

Related posts:
Esters: Using PEG-7 olivate in a body wash
Body wash with esters
Check out this section for loads of cleanser recipes: Surfactants, not including hair care products

And look for the continuation of the Newbie Tuesday facial cleanser series shortly as we add non-carrier oil emollients to our products.