Tuesday, April 29, 2014
A more detailed look at decyl glucoside: Some basics about it and the pH
Part of the appeal of decyl glucoside is how it is manufactured, and its Ecocert status. "Decyl glucoside is produced by the reaction of glucose from corn starch with the fatty alcohol decanol which is derived from coconut." (Wikipedia) So you can say it is derived from sugar and coconut.
It is not thickened by salt, so you'll have to find another way to do it. You could use guar gum, xanthan gum, or carbomer (gelling agent). You can use Crothix, but it seems that Ritathix DOE is designed to work better with it.
As a quick aside - why do we care about the pH? Because our hair and skin want things that are acidic or have a pH lower than 6. Decyl glucoside has an alkaline pH or one that is above 8. This can make our skin feel dry or scaly and can make the cuticle of our hair stick up, leading to damage.
Chemistry of our skin: pH of our skin
As much as I'd love to say that you can use pH strips to test the pH, they aren't sensitive enough for this application and you can get false or pointless readings that won't offer enough information. If you are going to be using this surfactant quite a bit, invest in a good pH meter, and learn how to reduce the pH in your products. They tend to cost between $50 to $120, and I recommend you check the supplies necessary for your meter before buying.
I have a Jenco machine and it doesn't require me to replace the electrodes or other things, which is awesome!
I'm afraid I can't offer any rules about how to adjust the pH because there are too many variables. For instance, if you add 10% decyl glucoside to water, you'll have a lower pH than adding 20% decyl glucoside or 30% decyl glucoside. It will depend upon the other ingredients in the product. If you have some ingredients with a lower pH - say lactic acid - then you'll have a lower pH than a product without those acids. And it will depend upon the initial pH of your product. If you have something that has a pH around 8, it'll be easier to get it to the acidic level you want than if you're starting with 11.5.
More information on pH meters
What pH meter should I get?
Adjusting the pH of our products
More about adjusting the pH of our products
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at using decyl glucoside as a substitution in a few products.