Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Why can't I use Germaben II with an emulsifed scrub? Can I use the deodorant additive in a solid scrub bar?

In this post on making a black cocoa emulsified scrub, Sophia asks: Oh no, I can't use germaben II? I thought because there is e-wax in it I could use it? So what will happen? I watched a lady use it in her e-sugar scrub and it worked for her... now I'm worried! I had been using phenonip but Wholesale Supplies Plus ran out!

When you're considering what preservative to use, you'll want to know what type of product you have. An emulsified scrub is an anhydrous product, which means it doesn't contain water.

Take a look at the preservatives comparison chart. So what does Germaben II require to work? Most of the ingredients in Germaben II require water to dissolve, so it won't work in an emulsified scrub that contains no water. You need to find something that works with anhydrous products, like Liquipar Oil, Phenonip, or Optiphen.

I don't think it did work for the woman who made an emulsified sugar scrub because using a water soluble preservative in the anhydrous product is on par with using no preservative at all in the product. Again, Germaben II is a preservative that requires water to work, and without water, it's a fail.

Related posts:
Preservatives section of the blog
Preservatives: Choosing a preservative
Preservatives: Water activity and sugar scrubs

In this post, Road Trip Essentials: Scrub bars (part two) Honey Lady asks: I am wondering as I read this several years after it's been posted if I could make this with the Deodorant Additive available from Brambleberry? I use it in a deodorant soap I make, and like it. But I know several people who could use 1.) foot scrubs, AND 2.) deodorants for stinky toes!

The deodorant additive at Brambleberry has an INCI of Saccharomyces Ferment, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate. The last two things are preservatives, which we know work only in water soluble products, so we can conclude that this is a water soluble ingredient. Can we add it to a solid scrub bar? We can add it to an emulsified scrub bar because it contains an emulsifier that will allow us to add some water soluble ingredients. I regularly use water soluble sodium lactate as a bar hardener, and I occasionally throw in some proteins or other additives in the mix when I feel I need them.

As a secondary note, you can make a nice spray for stinky feet using a few ingredients! You could make it with 2% to 3% deodorant additive with maybe 1% peppermint essential oil, 0.5% to 2% preservative of choice, and water to make 100%.

Here's another idea! Note that pretty much all this stuff is optional because you can make a perfectly good spray with distilled water, preservative, peppermint essential oil, and the solubilizer for the oil. But I'm adding these things because they offer some great features for your feet! (Should those be feet-ures?) I'm adding the allantoin because it's good at skin softening and protecting, the peppermint hydrosol and peppermint essential oil because they're good at masking odours and increasing circulation, aloe vera to offer moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties,

67% distilled water
20% peppermint hydrosol
10% aloe vera
0.5% allantoin

1% polysorbate 20 or other solubilizer
1% peppermint essential oil
0.5% to 2% preservative

Mix the polysorbate 20 (or other solubilizer) with the peppermint essential oil. Put aside. In a heatproof container like a Pyrex jug, weigh out the the distilled water, peppermint hydrosol, aloe vera, and allantoin and put into a double boiler and heat until 70˚C. Hold at that temperature for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool to 45˚C before adding the cool down phase ingredients.

Add some of the deodorant additive 2% to 3% in the cool down phase and remove 2% to 3% from the water phase to keep the total at 100%. (I'm adding it in the cool down as I don't know if it's heat sensitive!)

And as a note, as I mention on the side bar of the blog, there are no old posts. I get notifications for every single comment, so the earliest post is as relevant as the newest one when it comes to getting my attention! 

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at using sunflower oil in solid perfumes before wrapping up the series on Tuesday.


Tim said...

OK, you've confused me. You say you can't add germaben II to an emulsified scrub because it's water soluble"
"The ingredients in Germaben II require water to dissolve, so it won't work in an emulsified scrub that contains no water."

...but you sday you can add the deo additive to an emulsified scrub bar since it's water soluble:
"we can conclude that this is a water soluble ingredient. Can we add it to a solid scrub bar? We can add it to an emulsified scrub bar because it contains an emulsifier that will allow us to add some water soluble ingredients"

So which is it?

Kelli Spears said...

Thanks Susan, this is a great post on scrubs. I really like using emulsified scrubs and solid scrub bars. They make your skin feel so silky and smooth and with the emulsifier in the formulation it makes rinse off nicer and less oily than with just oils and butters.
I had a suggestion for Honey Lady and anyone else who might be interested. There is an ingredient called Trehalose that performs in a more than one capacity in formulation. One of those is its ability to trap and reduce bad odors when used at 2% in formulations. It is water soluble and comes in powder form so this would have to be kept in mind when making a scrub. Sugar would be right out but you could use a different exfoliant. Not sure if you could dissolve it in another solvent ingredient. The website I buy it from is and it is overseas. Taiwan I believe. I was hesitant the first time I ordered because you just never know when ordering from far and away places. I was actually very impressed with how quickly shipping was and the shipping cost was less than what I pay within the US most of the time. I have since ordered from their website numerous times and have not had any problems(except waiting--I'm impatient). I have only used this ingredient in formulas containing water but I will be experimenting with it in deodorant formulations in the future.
Hope that helps or at least offers some optional ideas.

F. C. Brooks said...

Hi, thanks for your post. I have a question. In the Making Skin Care group on facebook I've read more than once from who seem to be reputable formulators that in an emulsified scrub if you add a preservative it should be a water soluble one, not an oil soluble one so that when it comes into contact with water it would be activated. What do you think about that angle? I use Germaben II E in my oil based scrub and was thinking that based on this advice I could use Liquid Germall Plus if I develop an emulsified scrub instead. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi FC Brooks. Could you please cut and paste here exactly what was said in that group? I can't access it, and I'd like to know the logic behind that statement. I'm always up for learning new things, but I can't get the concept to make sense for me. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan. I follow your blog, as well as the "making skincare" group on facebook, which includes Jane Barber (author of this post: and Mark Fuller (who has a ton of experience in the industry, from the commercial side). According to the Reviews of 27 Preservatives post: PRESERVING ANHYDROUS EG SCRUBS

If water may be introduced to the product or the product used in a humid bathroom then a preservative is advisable. An expert microbiologist advises that if trying to preserve an anhydrous product (including all oil+sugar/salt scrub) the oil soluble preservative will get locked in the oils so will not reach any water, if water was introduced into the product. So if you added an oil soluble preservative then that preservative will stay in the oils and not move over to where the water is located to protect that water against bacteria and mould so would be useless. So contrary to what you may have read, we should really use a water soluble preservative in an anhydrous product which means we’d need to add an emulsifier to get that preservative mixed in properly with the oils.

When I pointed out the inconsistencies between this information and your information on the Making Skincare group, the answer was basically "no one knows the right answer, have your product tested". Well, that's not realistic for me, cost wise. So at this point, I've just decided to not offer sugar scrubs (I sell at farmers markets) as no one can seem to decide how to preserve them, or even if they need it (there is some discussion on the concentration of sugar being sufficient to eliminate the need). If you ever find a definitive answer, do let us know. I've spent more than a year researching this. I surrender.


Anonymous said...


Im very confused on what preservative to use for preserving anhydrous body butters, scrubs & bath salts. I live in India and make my own body butters. But I want them to last longer. Please advise. I just need someone to tell me ... here use this!!. I do not make lotions so my body butters contain zero water. Although while using they could get contaminated with water. So please help me

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Anonymous. Please sign off with your name or I will have to delete your post. As you can see on the right hand section of the blog with loads of information, I have a no anonymous posts policy around here for a few reasons. You don't need to be signed into Google+ - just a friendly "bye, (name)" will do!

Have you checked for the answer to your question in the FAQ or the newbie section of the blog? I know I answer it in great detail there.

Pia Bergman said...

Hi Susan and F.C. Brooks... Any resolution for how to preserve something like an anhydrous scrub or cleansing balm? I am thinking about using Optiphen Plus, or Germaben II E. Thanks!


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Pia! Check out this post in the preservatives section of the blog.