Monday, April 26, 2010

Surfactants: Formulating a body wash for different skin types

I absolutely love using a body wash in the shower. If I formulate it correctly, it leaves behind a lovely moisturized feeling that lasts all day. The goal for a body wash is to offer cleansing without giving my skin that dry, tight feeling. So we want to create a body wash using a combination of mild cleansers that rinse off well at good concentrations and some humectants, emollients, film formers, and polymers that will offer us a nice conditioned feel with lots of fluffy foam and lather. (For more information on mildness, click here.)

Okay, so let's take a look at my basic recipe...

37.5% water
15% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
15% Bioterge AS-40 (C14-16 olefin sulfonate) or SLeS
15% BSB or LSB
5% aloe vera
3% glycerin
3% Condition-eze 7
2% cromoist or other hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% liquid Crothix
0.5% preservative
Colouring, if wanted

What does each ingredient bring to the party?

Water: Well, that's obvious. We don't want a 100% surfactant body wash!

Cocamidopropyl betaine (Amphosol CG): Offers excellent foam as well as foam stabilization. It's a gentle cleanser that also offers some moisturizing through being a humectant. It thickens our other surfactants as well, which is a great feature!

Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate (Bioterge AS-40): It offers a great flash foam with good lather and good bubbles. It's a mild cleanser, and it is good for normal to oily skin. It's also a good emulsifier if you wanted to add some oils.

Ether carboxylate (found in the BSB): These offer good foam stability, and impart mildness, creaminess, and a conditioned feeling thanks to the substantivity to our skin. They are compatible with cationic ingredients, so we can add some cationic polymers to increase the conditioning.

Aloe vera: Offers some film forming on our skin as well as some great phytosterols to help with inflammation. It also contains a ton of salts, which we know is great for thickening our surfactant mixes. I really should be using this at 10% to get the full benefits.

Glycerin: A great humectant that will stay on our skin after rinsing, as well as a great thickening agent that helps create lovely stable lather and bubbles on our skin. It also helps to moisturize skin without oils, and that's never a bad thing!

Cationic polymer (condition-eze 7 or polyquat 7): These adsorb to your skin to make it feel more conditioned and moisturized by increasing our skin's moisture uptake ability. Feel free to use another cationic polymer - like honeyquat - in its place.

Hydrolyzed protein (I use Cromoist): Proteins offer moisturizing, and will feel silky and soft in your creations. In surfactant blends, they will increase foam stability, add slipperiness, and offer creaminess and density. They can also reduce skin irritation caused by anionic surfactants, so they are good for combatting skin dryness. We love these!

Panthenol: It penetrates deep into the epidermis to bring water into the stratum corneum, and can retain water in the skin without a sticky feeling. 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.

Fragrance oil: Well, that's an obvious inclusion because we all like a nice fragrance in the shower! You can use an essential oil here at the same rate. As a note, you won't need to include a solubilizer like polysorbate 20 here because the surfactants we are using are good emulsifiers.

Preservative: Use the preservative of your choice at the recommended amount.

Crothix: This will thicken your body wash, increase the moisturization, and reduce the irritation of our surfactants.

Now we have some ideas of why we're using the ingredients we're using, so we can modify it for specific skin types. This is a good body wash for normal to oily skin as it contains gentle to mild cleansers, some humectants and cationics, ingredients to thicken, and ingredients to mitigate irritation.

If you wanted to exchange some of the surfactants in this recipe, I'd recommend leaving in the cocamidopropyl betaine and the C14-16 olefin sulfonate (great for oily skin) and switching the BSB something containing disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (like DLS mild or Bioterge 804). A taurate might be good for normal or slightly oily skin as it is very gentle and doesn't remove a lot of oil.

If you have acne or rosacea prone oily skin, you can increase the anti-inflammatory ingredients in this recipe (like the aloe vera), add some anti-inflammatory ingredients, like salicylic acid or white willow bark (click here for a body wash with this ingredient) or one of our lovely anti-inflammatory extracts or hydrosols.

And if you want to add more moisturizing, add a little more cationic polymer (say up to 5%) and add some more hydrolyzed protein (up to 5%). You can also add more aloe vera to increase the film forming, and possibly more glycerin to act as a humectant. We could add sodium lactate in this recipe, but it will just wash off, so glycerin is your best choice.

Okay, let's modify this recipe for the oily skin type with a few more anti-inflammatory ingredients.

27.5% water
15% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
15% Bioterge AS-40 (c14-16 olefine sulfonate)
15% BSB or DLS mild or Bioterge 804 or a taurate
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
5% Condition-eze 7 or honeyquat (or other cationic polymer)
2% cromoist or other hydrolyzed protein

2% panthenol
1% white willow bark or salicylic acid, or 0.5% chamomile or 0.5% rosemary
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% liquid Crothix
0.5% preservative
Colouring, if wanted

Join me tomorrow as we modify this recipe for dry skin types!


Naomi said...

I'm having trouble finding Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate (Bioterge AS-40 Surfactant) in the states. Do you know of any suppliers? What about Decyl Glucoside (Plantaren 2000NUP) - is this a suitable sub?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Naomi. You can find C14-16 olefin sulfonate at the Personal Formulator! Substitutions always depend on the skin type and product. If you're using it in a body wash, decyl glucoside is a good sub - it's a very mild cleanser - but for your face or hair, I would use something suitable for normal to oily skin or hair (if that's why you're using it).

While you're at the Personal Formulator, pick up some cetrimonium chloride if you're making hair care products! It's the only place I've been able to find it!

If you take a peek at the surfactant chart, you could use a carboxylate or something like SLeS in its place, depending upon the application. A sulfosuccinate for oily hair or skin and a taurate would be good for normal skin.

Sorry I can't be more specific about what you could sub - again, it depends on your application!

pish said...! : ) I'm (easily) confused, ha.

In your Basic Body Wash recipe, you list Amphosol AS-90 as an ingredient. Is this the same thing as Bioterge AS-90? Afterwards, you mention Bioterge AS-40. Are they interchangeable?

I haven't ordered either the AS-90 or -40 yet, but I'm assuming that one is a liquid and the other a powdered version - am I guessing correctly?

Thank you (again) so much for all your help. You really (really!) rock!!! xoxo

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi pish! Oops, for some reason I started typing AS-90 when I wanted to write AS-40. Bioterge AS-40 is C15-14 olefin sulfonate, so look for that in a non-powdered form. I have to alter this recipe NOW!

In my defence, I've been on serious muscle relaxant and pain killers for quite some time right now - my IQ is about half of what it should be. I'm still a genius, but not as much as usual. Ha ha ha....

pish said...

Ahh! See, I'm glad I asked, because I would've tried using the AS-90. : )

I ordered some (both forms, actually, ha) from Voyageur, and also a few goodies from Creations From Eden. Thank you again for introducing me to that site - what wonderful customer service and info Randi has!

Can't wait to play around with your formulas - and create some of my own! = )

alia said...

what is the basic formulation for body wash and shampoo?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Alia. Have you done a search, clicked on links, or visited either the hair care section or the section for surfactants on this blog? That will offer you all you need to know...