Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Question from Patreon: How to use alcohol in a lotion? (part two)

In yesterday's post, we took a look at how we might use alcohol in a lotion. In today's post, I thought I'd shared a few ways you could incorporate ethanol into your products.

If you want to make something pH balanced for our skin, I know you can use Aristoflex AVC to make 50% ethanol gels. In this case, add the water and alcohol mix to the Aristoflex. If you have dissolved an active ingredient in alcohol like bisabolol or salicylic acid, make the gel with the Aristoflex and water, then add the alcohol mix to the gel slowly while mixing.

So let's say you wanted to include 10% alcohol in a lotion with Aristoflex AVC. This could be your starting point...

80% distilled water
10% vodka or denatured alcohol
3.5% glycerin
5% oil of choice
1% Aristoflex AVC
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
  1. Measure distilled or de-ionized water into a container, then add the glycerin. 
  2. Add the dimethicone, oil soluble extract, Aristoflex AVC, and preservative in that order. 
  3. Mix well. 
  4. Bottle and rejoice!  
I know there are gels that can use higher levels of ethanol, like Sepimax ZEN, and you could try a variation on this formula and include up to 10% oils. I've found formulas with up to 2.5% alcohol - check out this presentation - so we'll substitute 2.5% of the distilled water with alcohol in this next formula.

74% distilled water
10% aloe vera
10% rose water
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

3% Sepimax ZEN

Using room temperature or slightly above room temperature water, add the ingredients in the slightly heated water phase and mix well. Sprinkle Sepimax ZEN on the water. Wait 8 hours. Do not mix during that time. I know you want to, but don’t! After 8 hours – ta da! You have a lovely thick gel!

Or you can put the powder in the water, mix lightly with a fork until the product is wetted, then start mixing. Start at a lower speed with a beater on a hand mixer, then move to a higher speed for about 10 minutes.

This will create quite a thick gel, so if you want it to be thinner, feel free to reduce the ZEN to 2.5% or even 2%. It will be thinner if you mix it than if you let it sit for 8 hours.

Or consider using Sepinov EMT 10 (INCI: Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer). It's a pre-neutralized polymer you can use to make gels, cream gels, and alcoholic gels, and can be added to an emulsion as a rheology modifier (thickener). The recommended usage rate is 0.5% to 5%. The lower usage rate is for including it in lotion, while the higher levels are creating gels or cream gels where EMT 10 is the main ingredient.

To make an alcoholic gel – inedible, sadly – you add all your water ingredients, then Sepinov EMT 10, then your alcohol while mixing.

For a cream gel, which is one with oils, add it to the oil phase, then add the entire water phase while mixing. The data sheets for this product say it can handle up to 50% oils, but that didn’t work for me. I tried 40% and 45% oils and esters, and each time had an epic fail. I suggest no more than 10% oils, esters, and oil soluble ingredients at first and see how it works for you. I liked 10% - you’ll see that shortly – and thought it was lovely and moisturizing.

So we could try making something like this, which is a modified version of my niacinamide & willow bark oil free moisturizer, only we'll include a titch of oil in the mix. The willow bark may help with inflammation, the panthenol will help with wound healing, and the allantoin will protect skin's barrier. (Click on this link to read why I used each ingredient as this post is super long already!)

10% oil of choice
3% Sepinov EMT 10

64.5% distilled water
5% willow bark extract (liquid)
4% niacinamide (powder)
3% propanediol 1,3
3% sea kelp bioferment
2% n-acetyl glucosamine
2% panthenol (powder)
2% chamomile extract (liquid)
0.5% sodium lactate (powder)
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

10% alcohol

In a container that’s big enough to use the stick blender or hand mixer in, combine the ingredients in each phase, then mix with a stick blender until combined. Then add the next phase, and do the same thing. When you're satisfied with the viscosity, which could take up to 5 minutes, stop mixing and package the product!

Yeah, I know these probably what you were thinking of when you asked about lotions, but they are products that are emulsified that contain oil and alcohol, and I think you'll find them quite lovely once you make them. Search on the blog here for more formulas using these three gelling ingredients and you'll find so many places to start!

Hope that answered your question!


Hala A said...

Ahhh I'm so obsessed with this blog! I'm so glad to have come across it because it has everything I want to learn about but have been too afraid to look into/study! Thanks so much, definitely going to subscribe and donate <3
I was also wondering if you had any posts about pressing eyeshadows? I've been meddling with it and I've successfully created matte eyeshadows but the shimmer micas aren't pigmented at all when I press them, hope you can help :)

firegirl said...

If you list alcohol, do you mean pure ethanol or vodka with an alcohol content of say 40%? I have got vodka in the house! Ty

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Hal's! Thanks for your kind words! I'm glad to be of service! I have a number of pressed powders on the blog. Check out the mineral make-up section of the blog or do a search for the topic.

Hi firegirl! Yep, as I mention above, I'm using vodka in the formula, 40%. Can you buy pure ethanol? I've never seen it sold like that. Sounds very flammable to me! 😝

firegirl said...

Thanks, Susan! You certainly can buy 'pure' ethanol (96%) at dragonspice.de and German pharmaies. It is not even denatured. In the UK you need a special licence for the denatured stuff. I have used pure ethanol before for making spirits and liquers. It means you can adjust the alcohol content better than with vodka.

KMY said...

Susan - are there any natural gums that allow alcohol/ethanol? Arabic, tara, LBG, tragacanth, konjac, etc...

gucci51 said...

Hello, I am Neli Arias from Argentina and through these lines I want to express my total gratitude for the person who runs this blog, her generosity is incredible. I am learning a lot and will soon buy an e-book. Sorry if there are errors, I'm using the google translator, haha!

BrNy said...

Hi Susan, after I made the oil free version of this oil and ended up with a super sticky lotion (like I told you in another comment), I made a very simple 10 g water and sepinov sample just to see how the sepinov alone felt... and it was absolutely silky smooth, non sticky at all. So I decided to make the 2nd version of the serum with squalene. I dropped the sea kelp down to 1g and used the rest of the ingredients as the recipe asks (minus the alcohol, added more water) and oh boy, what a difference! Silky, lovely and NOT STICKY AT ALL! The only difference is that I lowered the sea kelp, used some rose geranium hydrosol in the water phase and used 3g squalene and 2g ascorbyl tetrahexyldecyl for my oils. Amazing product, absolutely love it! Thanks a million for that lovely recipe!