my Patreon feed page, Albert asked: If I wanted to make an after shave balm which includes some alcohol in it, my questions are:
1. In which of the 3 phases (water, oil, cool down) should I add it?
2. In terms or ratios, does the alcohol count as part of the water or the oil content?
3. How much maximum % of alcohol of the total balm can/should one add?
In the same thread, Charlette asked: If alcohol is in an ingredient list--is there no rule of thumb as to where to add it? (Similar to, let's say for example-- almond oil-- which we KNOW gets added in an oil phase). It seems to me that common sense would have it added in cool down (because would it not evaporate if in a heated water phase? Or would it mesh with oil in a heated phase?). I've seen a few ingredients listing alcohol--so my curiosity is also peaked.
The quick answer to the first question is this: Alcohol is water soluble and can sort of handle heat, so it goes into the heated water phase. If you are using small amounts, say 5%, you can add it in the cool down phase, if you prefer.
Related post: How do you know when to add an ingredient?
Related posts: Adding and removing from the water amount
The third one...well, that one has had me searching my textbooks and on-line for more time than I'd care to imagine. I can't find anything reliable about how to use our normal emulsifiers - including Polawax, Incroquat BTMS-50, Simulsol 165, and so on - with ethanol. I did find that Natragem EW, a natural version of Polawax, is stable at 2% alcohol, which gives you an idea that we can't just add it to the product willy nilly.
I've been experimenting with using 10% vodka in a lotion using stearic acid-TEA as the emulsifier, and not only is it lovely and stable, it feels nice on my skin. The only down side I see is that this has an alkaline pH of over 8, which isn't great for a leave on product as our skin has a pH of 4.7 to 5.5-ish. If you're interested in trying this at home, substitute 10% of the distilled water or any hydrosol with 10% alcohol in this duplication of Lush's Dream Cream.
Join me as we take a look tomorrow at using alcohols in gels and lotions!