Monday, March 3, 2014

What interests you? How do lotions stay white when using all those extracts?

In the Still collecting your thoughts! post, Carl asks: How can the producers of cosmetics (ex. lotions) add all the different plant extracts to their formulas and still keep the product white without using titanium dioxide?

Not all plant extracts are heavily coloured! Take a look at this container of green tea extract (oil soluble) from Brambleberry compared to the powdered green tea extract (water soluble) from Voyageur Soap & Candle. The green tea extract is completely clear while the powder is that oh-so-attractive green and brown colour. It could be that they are using clear or not very coloured extracts in their products.

There's also the question of how much to use. You've probably seen this with your lotions. If you make a lotion with loads of jojoba oil, you might see a yellowy tinge. Use it at 5%, and there's nothing but white. I wonder sometimes how much of a given thing the lotion makers really use, especially when we see it near the 1% mark. (Not that there's anything wrong with something being used at 1%. My powdered extracts work really well at 0.5%!)


Anonymous said...

I have the opinion that MCT oil (FCO oil) is noncomedogenic, or very low on the scale, but does anyone have any science-information about MCT oil one way or the other?

p said...

I wonder if Carl was asking about how lotions are white in the first place, even those that don't contain whitening agents like a titanium dioxide? Light scattering!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. I'll have to delete your comment if you don't edit it to include a name as we don't allow anonymous comments on thus blog. It doesn't make for a sense of community.

As for fractionated coconut oil, did you check out the post on this oil in the emollients' section of the blog?

Fumiko said...

Hi Carl,
The amount, the quality and the color of actives in lotion make a big difference.
Powdered Green tea extract with 50% EGCG has a reddish brown color, and with 90% EGCG has a light Green Color.
Pine Bark extracts is dark brown and makes lotions very brown. CoQ10 has beautiful orange-yellow color and even with 0.5% makes lotions yellow. Quercetin has reacted strongly with some chemical in my sun screen and intensified its neon yellow-green color that I couldn’t use it any more after staining my skin and bed sheets, and so on.
There are some light colored actives – I use Gamma Oryzanol in almost everything I make, light yellow color of Alpha lipoic acid mixed in oil is hardly noticeable, and wonderful resveratrol is white!
My lotions and creams always have ochre to yellow colors, sometimes orange- pink with pomegranate extracts, but those colors are the proofs of good actives and their effectiveness on my skin.

Natalie Jo said...

First off, I'd like to say I love your blog and your extreme knowledge of chemistry. I've been digging through all your posts on extracts, but have not found much, if anything about powdered rose hip extract. I may be overlooking it. Have you worked much with it and if so, what are your experiences with it?

Thanks in advance for your reply

Natalie Jo

Stonpio Stone said...

I got the same question as Carl. I used damask rose essential oil in my lotion and it becomes yellowish in the end. The brand Jurlique use the same EO but their colours are always pure white. I wondered if they used any cosmetic bleaching agent to get that result.