Saturday, March 28, 2009

Make-up remover: Water based

My favourite make-up remover is water based. I don't wear waterproof mascara, so this is perfect for my needs. It leaves a nice slightly oily feeling on my skin but doesn't leave that oily film on my eye lashes.

The key ingredient in a water based remover is a non-ionic surfactant. You'll remember from the surfactants posts there are four types of surfactants...For our lathery, foamy products, we want to use anionic (negatively charged) and amphoteric (positive or negative depending upon the environment). For non-foamy products, we want to use non-ionic (not charged) surfactants, known as emulsifiers.

What are emulsifiers? (I've got a huge post coming up on this topic, but let's summarize here). Water and oil don't mix. Water is polar, oil non-polar, so they repel each other. If we add an emulsifier, we make water and oil like each other and mix together. An emulsifier has a water-loving head and an oil-loving tail, and if each end holds on to the right molecule, your oil and water will live in harmony together.

So what does this have to do with water based make-up removers? I've been referencing "water soluble oils" in the last few posts. What are those? They are what the name implies - these are oils that can mix with water instead of repelling it. You could get water soluble olive or shea oil at the Herbarie or water soluble soy oil at Suds & Scents, or you can make your own using a non-ionic emulsifier/surfactant. (As a note, I have both the olive oil and soy oil and love them! But if you can't get these products, you can make your own...)

Polysorbate 20 and polysorbate 80 are very high HLB emulsifiers (more on this in a few days) that mix oil and water together. Poly 20 is best used for fragrance oils in things like surfactant mixtures; poly 80 is better with carrier oils. So I'm going to make my own water soluble oil by using polysorbate 80 and a carrier oil.

3 parts oil of some sort (olive, soy, shea, etc.)
1 part polysorbate 80

Mix together well, then add to your water based system. You may have to increase your polysorbate to a 1:1 ratio depending upon the weight of your oil.

What are the goals of a water-based make-up remover?
Something with glide, something emollient, something cleansing - the water soluble oil

So let's be honest...this really is more about the water soluble oil than it is about the other ingredients. But if you don't like an oil based remover, then you need something else. So we're going to make up a remover that has a few other goodies in it to make your skin feel nice as this is meant to remain on your skin.

What do we want in our make-up remover?
  • Water soluble oil - this is the backbone of this recipe. 10 to 20% or so. The higher the oil amount or the heavier the oil, the higher the oiliness will be, so choose according to your desired oil level.
  • Water or hydrosol - lavender and aloe are both lovely for soothing, so let's add that at 70 to 80%
  • Preservative - as this is water based, you'll need 0.5% (Germall Plus) to 1% (Germaben II)
  • Protein - this is will add extra conditioning, so we'll put in 2%
  • Panthenol - never a bad thing to add, so let's include 2%
  • Humectants - if you are using olive oil, you have a humectant in here. And the protein acts as a humectant. If you wanted to include glycerin (2%) or propylene glycol (2%) or sodium lactate (2%), that wouldn't be a bad thing.
15% water soluble oil
78% water, aloe vera, or hydrosol of choice
2% humectant of choice - sodium lactate, propylene glycol, glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein (oat, soy, wheat, silk, etc.)
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative

(For a 100 gram batch of make-up remover, to create you own water soluble oil make up a batch of 12 grams oil to 4 grams polysorbate 80. Mix well. If it looks emulsified, then add that to your mix. If it doesn't look emulsified, add more polysorbate 80 up to 12 grams - a little at a time. Keep a record of what oil you used and how much emulsifier you used! Now add 15 grams to a 100 gram batch.)

Heat and hold your water (aloe or hydrosol) and humectant in a heat proof container in a double boiler until the temperature reaches 70C. In a separate container, weigh out your water soluble oils and heat until the temperature reaches 70C. Mix together the two containers, then when the temperature reaches 45C or lower, add your protein, panthenol, and preservative. Let cool. Bottle, and use.

As a note, you could make this recipe cold without any heating, but I am always worried about preservation when I use water or hydrosols, so I'm suggesting doing this warm!

(If you'd like another recipe...May I suggest this great recipe I found at the Herbarie called the Fruit & Flowers Make-up Remover. If you have these ingredients, make this recipe. You will love it!)


Alana said...

What is the purpose of adding other ingredients ie. hydrosol, panthenol, humectants, extracts, etc. if they do not remain on the skin? Will using a non-ionic surfactant in a makeup remover without washing it off irritate, dry out, and reduce oiliness in skin, particularly dry skin?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

They do remain on the skin. You don't rinse this make up remover off, which is why I included the lovely ingredients.
As for the non-ionic surfactant, I'm using one in this product as the water soluble oil This recipe has not irritated, dried out, or bothered my oily skin, but you would have to try it yourself as everyone has different reactions and skin feel preferences in our products.

E-wax is another non-ionic surfactant, and it would leave you with a nice, lotiony feeling. It's hard to generalize as non-ionic surfactants take on many forms, as I'm sure you know.

Did you have a specific non-ionic surfactant in mind?

Matej Lieskovan said...

Hello Susan,

My name is Matthew. At first I have to say that I really love your page and it is very helpful for me. You water-based make up remover was the first thing that I crafted.

It is really great, leaves you skin hydrated and it has great cleaning power even for waterproof make up.

But then, something went a bit wrong. I am not sure whether the make up remover should have milky color. It also seems that there is some kind of sedimentation since when you leave it on table for long enough you can see separation. Does that mean that I have to add moe Polysorbate 80?

I also made mistake of putting the hydrolyzed oat protein (can I use oat silk too here?) and panthenol into the water phase at the beggining so it was held at 70C. So maybe this is the culprit of color or sedimentation? I also add sodium lactate, maybe that is the culprit of the color?

Last but not least, I added rose essential oil at the end since we thought that it will have great fragrance. It did but it seems that there are small oil droplets in the make-up remover. Is it possible to somehow add the rose essential oil so it will be greatly emulsified? Thanks a lot for your answers in advance. And sorry for my English, I am not a native speaker :)

Matej Lieskovan said...

I just want to add that the make up remover looks like there is one milky layer at the top and then there is basically larger clear layer beyond the milky layer. Any suggestions where I made mistake? Thanks a lot :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Matej. Did you make the recipe exactly as I made it? You noted you added an essential oil to it. What else was different from what I made in the original recipe. If you could share exactly what you did with the changes you made, I might be able to help further.

Matej Lieskovan said...


I added panthenol and hydrolyzed oat protein to the mixture when the temperature was around 75°C. I also used almond oil. And I added the rose essential oil at the end. Last but not least I used Germal Liquid Plus as the preservative. The mixture became milk like when I poured both bases together. I used sodium lactate instead of glycerin. Now there is white separated part at the top and the relatively clear part underneath it in the bottle. I suspect it can be the panthenol and protein added at such high temperature? Should both bases become milky like when mixed together? Thanks a lot for your help :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I still need more information. Can you please write out your recipe in percentages as I'm still not sure what you've used. Please be precise about each ingredient. I don't need the process as you've already shared it here.

Matej Lieskovan said...

Hello Susan,

iIt is me, Matthew again :) Sorry for replying that late but I have not had enough time for cosmetics. But now I am going to help my girlfriend to formulate some water based make-up remover. I am going to use exactly the same recipe you posted here but I would like to scent the make-up remover. Should I just add a few drops of rose essential oil to the final solution? Or is there any other way? Last time I added few drops of rose essential oil to the mixture there were droplets floating on the surface. Is there any way how to eliminate this? Thanks a lot for your reply.

Regina Sáenz said...

Hi, I would really like your advise. My makeup remover became milky when I added the ingredients to the water. I used: 78% water, 1% glicerin 1% sodium lactate, 12% almond oil, 0.5% vit E, 4% poly80, panthenol 2%, peppermint EO 0.5% and 1% potassium sorbate.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Regina. That'll happen when you mix oil and water together. It forms a lotion, which is pretty cool, eh?