Sunday, August 15, 2010

Esters: Using C12-15 alkyl benzoate in facial moisturizers

A facial moisturizer is the perfect place to use C12-15 alkyl benzoate or cetearyl ethylhexanoate as they're lightweight, emollient, non-comedogenic, and non-greasy, meaning we get the benefits of an oil without the possible drawbacks like blackheads or break-outs. And the increased occlusivity of C12-15 alkyl benzoate is always great for facial products! Let's take a look at the cationic facial moisturizer and see how we can tweak it with this ester!

77.5% water (you can replace 10% to all of the water with hydrosols or aloe vera)
2-5% humectant of choice
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed protein

8% oils
4% BTMS-50 (or Polawax, if you want more greasy feel)
2% cetyl alcohol

0.5% to 1% preservative
2% panthenol
0.5% extract
0.5% another extract

The one down side of using esters is the lack of polyphenols, phytosterols, and all the other good and lovely things you might find in an oil or butter, so we'll have to make up for this somewhere else. If you're a dry skinned person, you could use 50-50 combination of C12-15 alkyl benzoate or cetearyl ethylhexanoate to create a very light, less greasy moisturizer that still has some of those qualities of the exotic oil. For instance, a facial moisturizer with 5% borage oil and 3% ester will give you an emollient product with the wonderful GLA that helps repair our skin's barrier functions.

If you're an oily person, this recipe with an ester means fewer breakouts and much less greasy product! (For some ideas on formulating oil-free moisturizers, click here.) You'll notice we normally don't use any oils in these kinds of moisturizers, but using an ester will offer emolliency without the fear of break-outs! You can use either ester (or one of the esters we'll be looking at in the coming days) to create an emollient and possibly occlusive product without worries about comedogenicity!

Join me tomorrow to meet another ester - isopropyl palmitate!


melian1 said...

i a little confused, do we sub the ester for the oils in this formula?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

You can sub the esters for all the oils or part of the oil phase - it depends on what skin type you have and what goals you have for the moisturizer. Using an oil like borage 50-50 with an ester can make a dry feeling, light moisturizer with some great fatty acids.

melian1 said...

thanks! i'm loving your blog, especially this new series on esters.

p said...

Hi Susan, I bought these "Jojoba-60 Esters" a while back, not knowing anything about esters:
Is this really an ester? The INCI is Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil.


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I've never used these particular esters, but they meet the definition of what jojoba esters are supposed to be. Here's a link to with more information. Here's a short bit of information on the product from either the manufacturer or a distributor, and here's a pamphlet from another company.

Finally, here's a longer data bulletin on jojoba. There's some interesting chemistry in there!