Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Using extracts?

In this post, McKenzie asks: I hadn't looked at many fruit extracts for my recipes before, but was recently intrigued by banana extract and a few other powdered yellow extracts that were described as pale yellow creamy powders by my supplier. The creamy texture and color with the obvious gaggle of benefits of each made me curious about mixing several together with a small percentage of opacifying agents etc, to make a face powder or the like to have a creamy, good-for-you color cosmetic. In the case of banana extract which is so moisturizing, that would even sound nice in theory applied neat to the undereyes!

My problem comes with the usage rates. Many do say not to exceed 0.5-5% final product, but they also usually call for it being a tincture first, so I'm not sure if this is a seperate usage rate from the rest. My questions are then:

1. Is it safe to use something like this applied directly to the skin, or in rates far above the usage rate? Or are the any avenues to research/how to know if the manufacturer's suggestion can be exceeded if it is not noted in the data sheet?

2. Would combining multiple extracts up to the level of their usage rates be harmful? For ex., if I combine 4 extracts that can be up to 5% in final formulation and the mixture comprises 20% of the final product, will so many active ingredients be troublesome even though their individual maximums were not exceeded? Particularly for cases were fruit enzymes and natural acids are present.

First off, I have never used a powder that calls for being turned into a tincture first. That would annoy me something silly and I wouldn't use them, so I can't speak to that. I get my powdered extracts from Voyageur Soap & Candle, and I just dissolve them in a little warm water before combining them in my products.

Secondly, would a powdered extract offer up its awesome powers in a powdered product like a facial powder? It would depend. I use allantoin in my face powders because I've read it may be able to protect from cold and wind chapping, two things I get a lot this time of year. But will banana extract work well in a powdered format? I'm not really sure.

I wouldn't use extracts above the suggested usage rate. They are suggested for usage at these rates for a reason. For some, it's because they have exfoliating properties and too much is not a good thing. For others, it's because they aren't soluble over certain levels and you'll end up with clumps or precipitation. Always check with your supplier and ask if they have data bulletins you can read. There are many different manufacturers of powdered extracts, so don't assume what you read about one version works with another one. Ask for all the help you can get from your supplier so you can make good choices.

As an aside, Cosmetics Info has loads of great information on how to use ingredients safely! 

When it comes to combining extracts, it depends on which ones you're using. If you are combining green tea, rosemary, and honeysuckle, no problem. If you're combining a few exfoliating extracts like papaya and pineapple, you might see some sensitivity. Knowing what each extract bring to the party means you can make good and healthy choices about your ingredients.

Having said this, you can exceed the suggested solubility rate easily, meaning that you'll see some precipitation in your products, like you see in this picture. I used the suggested amount of each one, but together they exceeded what the toner could handle.

I encourage you to check out this post on combining extracts, and hit "newer post" at the bottom of the comments section to see some examples of this process. 

As a note, more doesn't necessarily mean better. Most of our extracts are used in small amounts because that's all that's necessary. We don't necessarily get better results using 2% rosemary extract than we would with 0.5%. Again, knowing your ingredients and what each brings to the mix is the way to decide on what you'd like to use.

If you're new to making products, try one extract at a time and see how you like it. Keep good notes on how it dissolves, how it smells, what colour it turns the product, what it feels like on your skin, what it feels like on your skin after an hour or after rinse off, and so on. You may love the idea of including grapeseed extract in a facial cleanser, but if it turns out looking like this, maybe not so much!

Related posts: Extracts section of the blog


jean zhang said...

Hi Susan,
I recently read the article from Chemist Corner on Extracts,, do you agree with it?
I personally did doubt about how good the extracts being claimed, and there is not much scientific research there to prove they are working, right? I wish to know how you think, many thanks!

ChristineMM said...

But a tincture is usually alcohol in which the fresh plant matter is soaked ie plant flowers or a plant leaves. Certain medicinal properties of plants and herbs can only be extracted by alcohol extraction. A powder is the dried actual parts. Or for example you can buy dried licorice root, or you can get the dried licorice root that has been pulverized into a powder. Some medicinal properties can be extracted via water and other plants can only be extracted via alcohol. This is a topic of herbalism and it is something that people usually do not know unless they studied medicinal properties of herbs. For example if you want the medicinal use of St. John's wort you must extract the leaves or flowers via alcohol to make a tincture. You can make a tea out of water, also called an infusion or you can take a capsule of the powder, but the medicinal effectiveness will vary. However you can't expect the same medicinal property if you took Drived leaves and soaked them in water as if you were taking four drops of alcohol-based tincture.

I understand you're asking about facemasks but that basic info should be said if you're using directions the call for the use of a tank sure that is completely different product with different components then buying banana powder to use on a facemask

Lauren said...

I think one of the issues that should be considered here is if the product will even have an effect when used as a straight powder. If the ingredients in the powder are just sitting on top of the skin the base material will literally be there for label value as the beneficial constituents aren't solubilized. One can make the argument that some of the constituents may dissolve, but it would probably be a very, very small amount without a solvent present of some kind.

Sandra said...

@ChristineMM, that's odd, I remember my Neuroscience textbook from second year saying that specifically capsules of St. John's wort seemed to be effective against depression, not tinctures.

Lora said...

Susan, I am curious as to whether or not you have heard anything about Plant stem cells (meristems) such as those offered by Sederma/Croda? They claim to have results backing up their claims but they don't release that or even prices unless you sign up with their website through some long process of registration.

Speaking of claims, the Checkout has recently made a YouTube viedo about clinical trials and cosmetics (e.g. "90% longer lashes in 14 weeks!), what do you think?

Alana said...

Do powdered ingredients work if not dissolved in a water/glycerin or any other medium? Do the powders still have benefits simply in a powdered form in say makeup powders, dry shampoo, etc? Have you heard of powdered emulsions and how one can make one?

Lyndy said...

Susan I'm working on a dry clay mask tht customers can add their own liquid as needed for 1 time use. How much powder extract would I add if the usage rates say 10 to 1?? I'm a little lost here. Do I add at .10 percent?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lyndy! Use the powder as it is suggested by your supplier. If they say use 0.5%, use 0.5%. The 10:1 thing is just describing the active amount, and it's interesting, but not useful when it comes to knowing how much of the powder to use.