Saturday, January 26, 2013

Question: What's my favourite facial cleanser recipe?

In this post, Lise asked: Thanks for this series on cleansers which has me all curious about your own preferred face cleanser. I ask because I have personally never had any real success using surfactant based face cleansers. (not sure if it's sensitivity or just a dislike of the feeling of soap on my face). I have always been a bit curious as to how mild one can go with a surfactant based cleanser and still have it 'work'. I'd love to hear your thoughts in this.

This recipe is my favourite, my facial cleanser with a ton of extracts (modified) in the foamer bottle. I have altered it in the last few months because I can't get LSB any more - which is one of the reasons I suggest we use single surfactants or make our own blends when we can - so I've started using disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (10%) and C14-16 olefin sulfonate (5%) in its place. The powdered extracts can make the foamer bottle not work very well, so sometimes I leave out the extracts to have a clear product. (My mum hates the look of the did-you-add-blood-to-that? mess above, so she hides it on me, making it really hard for me to find my facial cleanser some days!)

I also love the mud cleanser recipe I posted earlier today as an exfoliating product for my oily, sensitive skin. I bought some BC Glacial clay to add to this product, and I'll post my results next week.

My favourite combination of surfactants for my oily, sensitive skin is disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, C14-16 olefin sulfonate, and cocamidopropyl betaine. For my friends with dry skin, I'm a big fan of polyglucose/lactylate blend and the taurates.

Unfortunately, this recipe wouldn't work as a surfactant based scrub recipe as it is really watery. You could increase the surfactants and add some Crothix at the end - I think it took 5% for me to thicken this into a pump bottle consistency - or you could just enjoy a more watery product! 

I get where you're coming from, Lise! Before I started making my own things, I never let soap or anything foamy touch my face. I used Spectro-Jel (click for a possible duplication here) for years becauase it seemed like surfactants dried out my skin too much.

If you want to try using a surfactant based product after years of avoiding them, I suggest starting at a low level of surfactants and putting the product in a foamer bottle so you don't have to mess around with thickeners. Try something like 20% maximum surfactants, depending upon your skin type, and compensate with lots of water or hydrosols. As usual, don't make a huge batch because your skin might not like it.

Where to start? With the recipe above. Or may I suggest this creamy exfoliating facial cleanser with jojoba beads for dry to normal skin? I'd make the substitution of polyglucose/lactylate blend in place of 10% of the SMC taurate as a really gentle cleanser that moisturizes well. My best friend - with normal skin - and I - with oily skin - both found this a little too moisturizing when we rinsed it off!

To answer another question I've seen lately - why do I use such high levels of surfactants in my products? When I use my surfactant based products, I tend to use small amounts, which is why I can use higher levels of surfactants. I put some on my hand, lather it up, then rinse. I find this way of washing my face means I don't have to rinse so much and I never get that tight feeling. Others might prefer to use lower levels of surfactants and use larger dollops while cleansing. (As we know, the most enjoyable part of this process is learning what our skin likes and doesn't like and how we can make our products well!)

As well, lower levels of surfactants are harder to thicken, so I avoid adding a ton of Crothix - which I love, but my skin doesn't at higher levels (5% and up) - by adding more surfactants or adding things like aloe vera, which help thicken our products for us!


Chris said...

Hey Susan,

These scrubs/cleansers you've been posting, are they for everyday use?

Lise M Andersen said...

Thank you Susan! Great input and lots of ideas to start from. :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lise! Too many ideas, I fear!

Hi Chris! It depends in your skin type. Some might be able to handle it, others might not. I would suggest they aren't for every day use.

Doffy said...

Hey Susan!

What's your opinion on this recipe?

Facial Cleanser
55,5% distilled water
20% disodium laureth sulfosuccinate
10% disodium cocoamphodiacetate
10% hydrosols (so many to choose from!)
3% polyquat 7
0,5% chamomile extract
0,5% honeysuckle extract
0,5% liquid Germall Plus

I plan on using this cleanser every day, so I hope it's mild enough. Also I should mention that I have acne and oily skin, so I'm not sure if the amount of extracts and hydrosols are enough to benefit this condition. And lastly I'm concerned about the product being too watery as I don't usually like that.

Laura King said...

Hi Susan, you have made me rethink surfactant-based facial cleansers! I've never made my own because I don't like how the commercial ones make my skin feel. I may have been too hasty and will have to give them a go. I'll let you know how I get on. I'd be interested to hear if Lisa manages to formulate one that her skin likes.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Doffy! I like the look of your recipe! Consider using rosemary hydrosol as it's great for oily skin. This will be watery and hard to thicken. You can solve that problem by adding a ton of Crothix - probably in the range of 3% to 5%, but start with 1% - or by putting it in a foamer bottle. I'd go with the foamer bottle as Crothix is an emollient, and too much doesn't seem good for us oily skinned girls! Let us know how it turns out!

KMY said...

Hi Susan - I just studied up on this whole line of formulating you did with facial washes with & without exfoliation. Question for you -- is this still your favorite face wash or have you come up with something even more fabulous in the last few years? Thank you so much!
- Kim Y.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi KMY! This remains my favourite recipe - the one that looks like blood - but I am also using this foaming soy foamer bottle recipe for those days I don't feel I need a deeper clean. I'm getting older, and the oil in my skin is reducing. (Although my greasy hair has something different to say about that!!!)