Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why did I buy that again? Cera bellina - making an anhydrous eye gel

I thought I'd make a nice eye gel with the cera bellina and add some lovely oil soluble ingredients and extracts.

10% borage oil
20% macadamia nut oil
14% fractionated coconut oil
10% calendula oil
12% kukui oil
4% sea buckthorn oil
5% green tea extract (oil soluble)
5% phyto oil
10% cera bellina
10% mallow extract (oil soluble)

Measure out the ingredients in a heat proof container and place into a double boiler. Heat to 75˚C and hold for a bit - maybe 5 minutes - to ensure the cera bellina melts properly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until it turns into an oily gel, which should be around room temperature. When it's completely cooled, put into a container. I put mine in a 30 ml bottle with a decent sized orifice that I could squish.

Why did I choose the ingredients I chose? As I've mentioned in previous posts, I really think we need some drier feeling oils in the cera bellina products, so I chose macadamia nut oil and kukui nut oil for those reasons. Borage oil is not only dry feeling, but it contains some great fatty acids that help with speeding up skin's barrier mechanism repair. I like sea buckthorn oil - and it turns out I have a whack of it in the freezer! - but it's quite orange, so I can't use it in large amounts. 4% seemed like a good idea. And I used fractionated coconut oil to add more oils to the mix without being too heavy or oily.

I added some calendula oil because it has some qualities I really want in an eye gel, such as dealing with inflammation and regenerating skin cells. I thought I'd add the green tea extract (oil soluble) as the anti-oxidant. I thought I'd include some mallow extract (oil soluble) for the slipperiness it can offer.

I bought the green tea extract (oil soluble) and mallow extract (oil soluble) from Brambleberry, in case you're curious! I have no affiliation with Brambleberry other than as a customer who loves their stuff!

I also included Phyto-Oil. It's an oil soluble ingredient from the Formulator Sample Shop with the INCI Name: Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract & Ceramide 3. It has a suggested usage rate of 1% to 5%, and it's oil soluble.

An aside on ceramides...Ceramides are essential for the normal organization of our tissues into structures that are responsible for keeping the barrier function of the skin functioning well, like preventing transepidermal water loss and keeping other things out. They are found in our skin at about 50% by mass. A decrease in ceramides - through aging, exposure to high or low temperatures - can lead to dry skin and itchiness due to a decrease in the efficacy of the stratum corneum's ability to keep water in and other things out. (Learn more about ceramides through Wikipedia!) Having said this, I can't guarantee that the Phyto-Oil will do all these things, but I'm really hoping it will! Which is why I thought it would be awesome in an eye product! 

In the interest of complete disclosure, I was sent some free ingredients from the Formulator Sample Shop. The Phyto-Oil was one of those ingredients. Click here for their information on this ingredient. I am not affiliated with this company in any way, and my opinions are my own. 

What do I think of this eye gel? I'm really enjoying it! I've been applying a light coating under my eyes in the morning and at night, and I've noticed it feels like it sinks in quickly and doesn't make my eyes all greasy looking. (Having said this, I don't use it on days when I'm wearing eye make-up because I already have enough trouble with oily eye lids!)

What would I change? Hmm...I might include Vitamin E at 0.5% to 1% as an anti-oxidant and softening ingredient. I might change the fractionated coconut oil for an oil with more phytosterols or other skin loving stuff, but I'm not sure which kind. I'd love more sea buckthorn oil, but I worry about the colour. Up to 6% might not be a bad thing. I'm quite happy about this eye gel, so there's not a lot I want to change.

If you don't have Phyto-Oil or the other oil soluble ingredients, consider using some oils that have features you like in their place. Something like evening primrose oil would be nice at up to 20% - I wanted to use some, but mine went rancid! - or maybe cranberry oil at up to 10% for the high levels of Vitamin E and phytosterols. Or maybe some pomegranate oil with its amazing levels of phytosterols or punicic acid. Look at some of those oils you've been saving for that amazing facial product and include it! The good thing is that you can use any combination of oils you wish - just take a look at what those oils have to offer and add them at the suggested usage rate!

I think I'm done with cera bellina for a bit. I have so many other ingredients I really want to use, such as Lipidthix! Join me tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Would using a little bit of solid oil work in this? Like Babassu? I just got some and am dying to use it

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous! Try it and see if you like it! Let us know how it turns out?

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

I use Cera Bellina for my cuticle balms, or for gelling a bit the massage / diaper oil for my daughter. Absolutely fabulous!!

p.s. French people often call it Ceralan, and I 've seen methods of doing it at home: beeswax + glycerin + vinegar "au bain marie" (in a double boiler). Just in care you wonder ;)

BTW, Susan, this would be a great idea: how to make our own ingredients series! I'[ve stumbled upon a french blog doing things like this (calybeauty.com I think). And, with someone with more chemistry knowledge like you, I believe this would be a great challenge and a great series of posts!!!

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

** this is the correct link to the "do it yourself". She experiments with some emulsifiers and not only.


Julie said...

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună
Thanks, that was an awesome link! I've always thought about making my own ingredients but haven't actually had a chance to try it. Some by the INCI seem like they wouldn't be too hard. I think I'm going to try making my own before purchasing. I'll post and let you guys know what happens!

Susan, I wanted to make sure you saw the comment I posted on the previous post about how much Cera Bellina is needed for different oils. Not sure if you already saw that info, it was on Lotion Crafter.

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

I think Susan answered to the % thingie in one of the previous posts, I am not sure.

As for the link - it is worth trying! I have made my own Cera Bellina but I have to admit that I did not use it ... yet :-(

Maybe for my next lip balm?

[p.s. the day will come when only a bot could decipher the captcha!! I refreshed it 6 times :)) ]

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

Oh, and check out this one!


I completely forgot this! Tutorial on how to make your own emulsifiers :)

Julie said...

Susan, what is your take on calybeauty.com? If you get a chance to look at it, look at the "Achieve Its Ingredients" link (at least thats what it translates to on my computer) There is quite a bit of How To's on making your own ingredients. Is it safe to do this and use in your products? If you sell your products?

Julie said...

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună I'm still looking for the actual post on how to make Cera Bellina. Do you have the direct link?

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

Jane -

look here:


"Ceralan --> nom INCI : Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax
C'est de la cire d'abeille estérifiée
utiliser le procédé indiqué :
faire fondre un volume de cire d'abeille
lorsque celle -ci est fondu, couvrir du double de glycérine et ajouter du vinaigre ou acide citrique, chauffer au bain-marie en mélangeant"

And then she explains about the esterification, that we need to use the alcohol in excess and speed up the process with more heat + an acidic environment.

There's also a thread on this topic on The Dish, I have posted there my results :). The French call Cera Bellina "Ceralan", so maybe this is why you missed it :)

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

Oups :-) JULIE, not JANE :))

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...


Julie said...

Thank you!

Julie said...

what about the percentages?

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

1 part beeswax
2 parts glycerin

vinegar (or citric acid solution) - I forgot this one :) try with google translate and check the comments from that web site, maybe it's something in there!

can't wait to see Swift jumping in this thread :D

Julie said...

But wait, wouldnt using the NaOH be backwards? The blog says to use citric acid. NaOH does the opposite. I think I will try your amount but with glycerin, beeswax and citric.

Julie said...

oh ok. so what is the dish link for? That wasnt for a DIY cera bellina?

Julie said...

I found this link on the other site you posted. They are calling it Beemulse but it looks to be the same method as making Cera Bellina. And it's easier to understand.

I think I will try this one.

Sânziene şi Mătrăgună said...

Hi, Julie! SOrry , I was already far from the desk :)

Indeed, the correct procedure is the one with vinegar. The Dish's thread has 4 big pages, you can also see there my picture with the cera bellina prills :D Love it, I need to use it now :))

Julie said...

I did make the DIY Cera Bellina and made an oily gel out of it. It worked! I've never tried it with regular beeswax or cera bellina though and I don't have anything to compare it to so I can't say that its just like cera bellina, but it looked right and felt great on my skin.
I think I may try it with plain beeswax to see if it comes out any different. Then I'll have a better idea if the DIY Cera Bellina worked. Will post the results.

Anonymous said...

Susan - I just made the anhydrous eye gel with the cera bellina! OMG!?!!
I had to sub a few items for what I didn't have...I added some argan, jojoba and evening primrose to the mix of macademia, borage, etc...and WOWWOWWOW! If I could dip my whole self in to this delicious texture and feel I would! I'm definitely trying the simple shea and macademia blend, next. Thanks for bringing us this ingredient!!

Matilda said...

Hi Susan,

I'm wondering, do you think a couple drops of Lavender Essential Oil would work in this formula? I'm not sure if an EO counts as water based.

I love the texture, but am walking around thinking I smell oil on my face, so thought the lavender EO may be gentle enough to use for the smell.


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Matilda! I've answered your question in today's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer is that you can add EO if you want, but consider the suggested usage rate and fragrance before doing so. As well, EOs are oil soluble, not water soluble.

Mary Walton said...

Hi Susan
This was a complete disaster for me, the 10% cera bellina produced a solid product. I used a variety of vegetal oils, sunflower, pomegranate, macadamia and 5% CO2 coffee.
Can you explain please?
As I made a kilo of this to give to friends and family, can it be saved. Can I add more oils to the base that I have. It is like a balm in fact.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Mary! Why did you make such a large batch when you were making it the first time? I always stress making small batches the first time you make anything because different hands produce different results! One kilo is excessive for a lotion; for this product, it's whatever word means far beyond excessive! Unless you have 100 friends, you won't use all of this in five years!

It sounds like you didn't follow my recipe exactly and made many substitutions, which would explain why you had different results. Did you see the other posts I wrote on cera bellina? You have to test it with each oil!

How to save it? Dilute it with more oils. I'd remove 50 to 100 grams and add oils 5 grams at a time to see what works. I'd suggest an inexpensive oil, like sunflower.

Birgit said...

I made this eye gel yesterday (with a bunch of substitutions as I had different oils and extract at hand). Made a 50 gram batch, and I think it will last me a while as only a tiny amount is needed.
I have to say the skin around my eyes felt wonderful this morning. Will definitely use it on my lips and cuticles tonight. I am really liking this product. The only (minor) problem I have is that even though I used dry oils, it doesn't seem to absorb too quickly. Which is fine for night use, but not so much for mornings. Maybe I used too much cera bellina (10%), or maybe my eye area was just so moisturized from last night that it didn't need any more this morning. Anyway, I can see why you love this gel so much, Susan, it sure is fabulous and I will definitely make more when I run out.
Thanks for this lovely recipe