Thursday, April 30, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Panthenol

Humectant, emollient, moisturizer - is there anything panthenol can't do?

Panthenol is an alcohol that is processed by our body to become pantothenic acid - a water soluble vitamin, Vitamin B - a major constituent of our hair. This is why you see it in most hair care products, and why an entire hair care line is named after it!

Panthenol for hair care products is a fantastic addition at 2% to 5%. It builds a thin moisture film on the surface of your hair (film former) and makes it shine without oil or greasiness. In addition, it can penetrate the cuticle of your hair and brings moisture to the cortex! This means you get good manageability and pliability of your hair, and it is better able to cope with brushing, wind, and other non-hair friendly things. Finally, it could give your hair more body! Studies have shown that 2% left on for 2 minutes can actually swell the hair shaft, making it seem thicker! (So use it up to 5% in your conditioner or leave in conditioner!)

For your body care products, panthenol is a must have, again at 2% to 5%. It penetrates deep into the epidermis to bring water into the stratum corneum, and can retain water in the skin. (It's a humectant - that's what it does!) Unlike some humectants, it will not leave a sticky feeling to your products. Studies have shown that not only is it moisturizing, but it can actually heal inflammation, sunburns, and wounds at 5% in a lotion by up to 30% quicker than a lotion without panthenol. And it's good for people with sensitive skin and babies!

It is very soluble in water, soluble in alcohol and glycerin, and not at all in oils. It's not sticky, so you can use it as a humectant, although I'd use it in conjunction with another humectant because panthenol gets a little expensive! So you're going to add this to your cool down phase at 2 to 5% for maximum awesomeness.

Panthenol comes in the D and L format - d for the right handed molecule, l for the left handed molecule - but our bodies only process the D form. You can get it in powdered or liquid form. I prefer the liquid form because it's easy to add in the cooling down stage, but the powdered stuff works just as well (add to the water stage). (The powdered form is a salt form of panthenol designed for easy solubility.)

Let's get formulating with panthenol (although if you've read any of my hair care posts, you know I include it in everything!)


pearlyn said...

i noticed you always put panthenol is the cooling phase. is it heat sensitive?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Yes, it is. You can use the powdered form in the heated phase, but the liquid should go into the cool down phase.

TheSoapGallery said...

I had to go review this. I bought the powdered kind but added it to the cooldown phase of the beard conditioner recipe. Next time i'll add it to the water phase.

Thanks so much for putting this info out there in such an easy learning format.

Judy said...

Hi Susan,

I've been making solid shampoo and conditioner bars per your instructions but I realized after the fact that my panthenol (and my hydrolized oat protein) for that matter are in powder form and from what I read here are water soluble. As I'm new to this, I didn't realize there was more than one form. So what sort of adaptations should I make for anhydrous recipes if I'm using panthenol in powdered form? For what it's worth, they seemed to blend in and the bars work great for my hair. Thank you for your help and all that you do. Judy

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Judy! If it's working, don't fix it! Powdered products are great for shampoo bars because you don't mess with the solidness of the bars (is solidness a word?)! So leave it and enjoy them. (I've used powdered panthenol before, but I didn't think about powdered proteins. I have a powdered silk protein, but I use that with my mineral make-up stuff!)

Anya said...

Just curious. What is the approximate shelf life of Panthenol?

Nedeia said...

could I use it at 5% for a healing eye serum? I'm planning to do either a gel (chamomile hydrosol, xanthan gum, panthenol, mallow extract and maybe some other goodies). Or should I use it with case near the eyes? :)

Chris said...

Hey Susan, I have a quick question about Panthenol.

I'm buying ingredients to make your basic summer hand lotion (yay!)and found a site which have Panthenol. However it says "Panthenol 75 % Solution" and the INCI reads: "Aqua (and) Panthenol (and) Potassium Sorbate". Do you use pure Panthenol or a blend like this?


Romy said...

Hi Susan,

I am making a cream for the face and I am using the Panthenol in the powder form.
I want to use it in the water phase.
In the water phase I am doing a carbopol 21 gel and separately the gel with xanthan gum and caffeine...where should I add the panthenol?
I know that panthenol doesn't go well with the carbopol, so I am using a higher percentage

hanna said...

hi susan, istn swelling of the hair shaft something bad?? shouldnt we keep water out all the time?? thanks :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Hanna. No, water is your friend. Water keeps our hair hydrated and pliable. The problem is when we lose water in our hair. That's what all of this conditioning is about - keeping water in our hair shaft so it'll be elastic, bouncing back from damage. We apply oils to trap in moisture, to form a film so the moisture can't escape, and to moisturize. There is a balance, though. We want a certain amount of water in our hair shaft, but not so much that the cuticle will lift and cause damage. Some of us can have issues with too much water, and that's when we get breakage or frizzing. But we want water. Check out the hair care section of the blog for more information on the biology of our hair!

Pam said...

I use powdered Panthenol in the cool down phase. I haven't had a problem, as far as I can see, with using it this way. Is this OK?

Nerium said...

Hi Susan,

I made a batch of solid shampoo bars (pretty much a regular cold process soap recipe with citric acid and panthenol included in the ingredients). So, after reading several of your posts, I realize that this isn't really going to be a shampoo bar that I will be happy with for my hair, so I'll use it as a regular soap bar instead and I'm going to try one of your shampoo bar recipes instead. My question for you is regarding the panthenol. I couldn't find it here in Ottawa, so I bought a bottle of Pantothenic Acid (Calcium d-pantothenate) in gel capsules and emptied the contents to use in my recipe. Is this a good substitute or no? What do you think?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Nerium. Possibly. I'm sorry but I don't know the answer to this because I don't know how this will work in an alkaline environment.

Mirror_Sound said...

Hi Susan (:
I've been looking around for quite a bit and haven't came up with anything conclusive for something that's been bugging me. Does Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) work for the humectant and healing properties Panthenol (provitamin B5) has? Since regular Pantothenic acid is easily obtain compared.

Thanks so much for your blog, it's been great in my journey to be informed.

Eepa said...

Hello. =)
I was wondering if I could include panthenol in my styling spray or shampoo as I don't use any conditioners. Would it work better in one of them than the other? And would the salts in the styling spray interfere with it? Thank you! =)

Styling spray recipe is:
75% water
7,5 % Epsom salt
7,5 % sugar
5,6 % Dead sea salt
2,5 % Aloe vera juice
1,9 % glycerine
0,6 % preservative (phenoxyethanol)

Shampoo recipe is:
84 % herb infusion (I use soap nuts to give the cleansing factor to the shampoo)
7,4 % apple cider vinegar
7,4 % aloe vera juice
0,6 % xanthan gum
0,7 % preservative (phenoxyethanol)

Deb said...

i scanned your blogs and several other sites for the answer to this question and apologize if I am asking you to repeat yourself. I am working with Panthanol B5 powder for the first time-The recipe called for the liquid version. I checked a site and it says the liquid is 50% active-does that mean that if I use the powdered form I would use 50% of what I would need if I used the liquid. Your blogs are so helpful. Thanks in advance for the answer to this.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Deb. Use the powdered panthenol at the same rate as liquid panthenol in the heated water phase.

Deb said...

If a liquid ingredient is listed as "50% active"-does it mean that 50% of the liquid is 50% powder dissolved in the water(in the case of panthenol). I have substituted the powder for the liquid as you suggested but just curious.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Deb! Check out this post for more information on what it means to have an active ingredient. Hope this helps!

desirae curry said...

I know this is an old post, but I have a question, I would like to try panthenol as a replacement for glycerin, only problem is, I can't find it, what site(s) carry this ingredient? I would love to male a batch of lotion with this and see the difference it makes in kynlotion. Thank you so much for any company names or websites you can direct me to

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Desirae! So many companies carry this! There are posts in the FAQ with suggested retailers from all around the world, and I'm sure you'll find someone near you there!