Monday, May 19, 2014

Making a cooling spray - part 1

I am not a fan of warmer weather. I'm content around 16˚C to 20˚C, maybe a little warmer when I'm camping, so I get a little cranky when the temperature gets up around 30˚C. Yeah, I have an air conditioner, but that doesn't help when I'm sweating at the library for the groups or in the incredibly warm office I tend to visit now and then! I consider two things essential in the summer - a cooling spray and cool ties. (You can find the pattern for my cool ties here. My dog is modelling one for you!)

So what goes into a cooling spray? I've made them before - click here - but I thought I'd rethink the whole thing to see if there are other ingredients I might be able to include or that might help with extra cooling.

Whenever I start messing around with a new product, I ask myself this - what's the point of this product? What do I want it to do? What's the goal in making it? - and I find that's a great place to start. I want a cooling spray. I want to spray something on my skin that will make me feel cooler. I wouldn't mind if it had some skin loving ingredients like proteins or conditioners or moisturizers, but the main goal is to make my skin feel cooler. And I'd like something that won't feel sticky when I start to sweat or when the humectants I put in it draw water to my skin. So where should I start?

Peppermint essential oil is great at making one's skin feel cooler as the menthol in it is a thermoreceptor agonist or something that makes our skin warmer or colder. (Click here to learn a little more about this topic.) In the case of peppermint, it makes our skin feel colder. The problem is that I don't know if I want to smell like peppermint all day long. I'm not a huge fan of the taste or smell of peppermint, to be honest - I even use anise flavoured toothpaste to avoid the flavour - so it's not necessarily my first choice. As well, if I use an essential oil in a water based product, I'll have to find some kind of solubilizer like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil or polysorbate 20, which can feel a bit sticky. I've been using 1% peppermint essential oil with 1% polysorbate 20 in my products for years, but I think I'd like to see if there's something else I could use.

What about peppermint hydrosol? I've been using that for a while and I really like it in the cooling spray. It isn't as cooling as the essential oil, but it doesn't make me smell like I've been overdosing on gum all day long, which is a bonus.

As a thought, I could use eucalyptus essential oil to help with cooling, but it smells very medicinal, and I worry that anyone within a ten foot radius might think I've been overdosing on Vicks!

The Formulator Sample Shop* has been sending me free samples of things, and one of the products they sent me was a ginger mint extract that is supposed to be a cooling ingredient. It's a water soluble ingredient used at 1% to 10% to offer a sense of cooling. The product is a little sticky on its own, but I have found it to be not too sticky when used at up to 10% in the final product.

We know the awesome power of peppermint already, but for some reason, I haven't written much about ginger root, despite the fact that I've used in a few products, like this low surfactant foaming face cleanser. Ginger root has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the gingerols in it, and anti-oxidant properties that might help with maintaining protein levels in our skin. The anti-inflammatory properties might add something to the cooling properties.

I figured I'd use this ingredient in my product as it doesn't smell at all like mint, which, to me, is a good thing! Because I don't have peppermint essential oil in the product, I can handle some peppermint hydrosol, which I'm using at 20%.

Okay, so where are we so far? We're using 10% ginger mint extract and 20% peppermint hydrosol. What else can we use? Witch hazel! Yeah, I know that sounds like a strange choice, but it's got some great cooling properties we can use!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at some other cooling ingredients we can use in our cooling spray!

*Disclaimer: The Formulator Sample Shop sent me a whole bunch of really interesting ingredients for free, and I've been playing with them in the workshop. I have made it really clear to them - and they accept - that I will share my honest opinion of these ingredients with you, my awesome readers. I will not say something is great if it isn't, and I'm not getting any payment except for these free ingredients. I just want to let you know this. I will tell you when I get something for free - everything else is purchased with my wages. 


p said...

Hi Susan! I thought ginger is warming, not cooling. In what way is it cooling?

Anna Rose said...

Hey! this is a bit off topic but Iwas wondering if you know a formula (or point me in the right direction) for a diaper cream. I know you have one but I need it to be zinc oxide free because it is for my dog (blatter issues)
Thanks in advance!, AnnaRose