Monday, July 18, 2016

Experimenting in the workshop: Ultra Bubbly Bubble Bath

My mom loves a nice bubbly bubble bath. I've stuck with my basic recipe for quite some time, but I thought it was time for a change to see what else would work.

I was excited to see Voyageur Soap & Candle has brought LSB (INCI: Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (and) Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate) back. SLSa is a very bubbly and foamy surfactant, and it's an amazing addition if you want bubbly fun. The down side is that SLSa is generally in a powder format, and you can only add maybe 5% to a bottle of liquid bubble bath before it thickens it so hard you can't get it out of the bottle! Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS) has great foaming qualities, so together, they're a winning combination.

We know cocamidopropyl betaine is a great secondary surfactant that has great foam and foam stabilization with thickening properties. And C14-16 olefin sulfonate has good flash foam and cleansing.

What can you do if you don't have these surfactants? Find others that might work for you. Most surfactants you can buy are good with bubbles and foam, so you'll have to play with them to see what works best. I like to use about 50% surfactants to get my bubble-age, so a little goes a long way. I add glycerin as a bubble enhancer. You really don't need more ingredients in this as it's meant to be all about the bubbles and lasting foam.

44.5% distilled water
10% LSB
20% cocamidopropyl betaine
20% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
3% glycerin
2% fragrance - black amber vanilla fragrance oil (Brambleberry)
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
Liquid colouring (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together - except the distilled water - with a large fork or spoon until uniform. Then add the water and mix again until uniform, avoiding too many bubbles. Add your fragrance oil and mix to see what the final viscosity may be. If you want it to be thicker, you'll have to use something like liquid Crothix or Ritathix DOE as this recipe won't thicken well with salt.

I added 1% liquid Crothix to this recipe and it became very very thick. How much you'll need depends upon the fragrance you choose to use. Lavender thickens it, citrus thins it to water. Be prepared to add 0.5% to 1% liquid Crothix, mix well, then add a little more, if necessary.

You can see this is way too thick! Getting it into the bottles was so much work. (I used a funnel, then squished the bottle until a bubble appeared, then I let it suck the bubble bath down. I trashed the bottle doing this!)

What did my mom think of the bubble bath? She likes the bubbles and foam she gets from this one. She would like it in a squeezier bottle - like an HDPE one - as it was a little thick. (Yeah, that was my bad! I went right for 1% Crothix instead of doing it in 0.5% increments. I didn't think it would get that thick!)

Related posts:
Can I water down a thick bubble bath?
Are these surfactants good for a bubble bath?
When products go right! Bubble bath
Surfactants and fragrances
Iron Chemist: LSB results


HG moisturizer said...

Hi Susan!

My comment isn't really about this post (though I do wish I could sit and relax in a bubble bath!) my question is a bit more personal.

Not sure if this was asked before but I'm really curious, how did you learn to formulate when you first started out? There aren't many schools that teach this and other than your blog (WHICH I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR!!!) I never seem to find much practical information on formulating (>_<)

frankly I have no idea how the cosmetic chemists around the world learn to formulate products lol

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi HG Moisturizer: I've written my answer to your question (and kind words) as today's Weekend Wonderings. Thank you for asking!

Chris said...

Hi Susan,

I tried a variation of this formula because I am attempting to use the foam as an admixture to a cement formula for a building material application. Foam stability or bubble age is very important for my application and the below formula has given me some of the best stability so far

17% LSB
50% cocamidopropyl betaine
33% C14-16 olefin sulfonate

This formula is blended and added to water in a 1 to 4 surfactant to water ratio. The foam maintains it's stability(meaning the bubble size do not exceed ~50-100 microns for about 10 minutes but I am looking to maintain stability for about 20 -30 minutes. You mention that cocamidopropyl betaine provides bubble age but I attempted to increase it's ratio and it didn't help much beyond 50%. Are there other compounds that can help with bubble age? Would any SLS or ammonium Lauryl Sulfate help at all in my case?



Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Chris. Consider increasing the LSB as SLSa is an amazing bubbler! Let me know if this helps!