Thursday, 24 July 2008

Emulsifiers and preservatives for creams

I was asked last week about some of the ingredients I use in my creams - such as preservatives - and I could only remember a little bit about them! So this post is for purposes of my own revision (maybe it'll stick in my head if I write about it) and anyone reading who asked the question!

I use a preservative supplied by Aromantic called "preservative 12" - or phenoxyethanol ethylhexylglycerin if you like long complex words - in all of my creams. I recently did a course with Kolbjorn about raw materials, and learned that this is the most natural preservative on the market, although it isn't certified by the the soil association as organic because it isn't biodegradable. I used about 12 drops in 100ml of cream. A search on phenooxyethanol ethylhexyglycerin (Ok, that's it I'm going back to calling it Preservative 12 now) brings up a number of natural cosmetic sites listing it in their ingredients, so it looks like I'm in with the right crowd. LOL This is what Aromantic say about it:

A new, innovative, more natural Preservative, which has just come out onto the market. The addition of ethylhexlglycerin affect the interfacial tension at the cell membranes of micro-organisms, improving the preservative activity of the phenoxyethanol. This blend a has a broad-spectrum effect on bacteria, yeasts, and mould fungi. Excellent for all types of Skin Care products, except those which contain Detergents. This Preservative is not pH sensitive and can be used in pH ranges up to 12. Recomended dosage is 0.5%-1%.
There are then a number of different emulsifiers available to use. Mostly I've used the duo of VE (glyceryl stearate) and MF (sodium stearoyl lactylate) emulsifiers, which are easy to use. VE is the fat-loving emulsifier that goes in with the fat stage ingredients while MF is the water-loving one! Both VE and MF are produced from coconut and palm oil.

I just recently tried out using a single emulsifier, that goes in with the fat stage: vegetal (cetearyl glycoside) which Kolbjorn describes as

...a modern emulsifier made according to ecologically friendly principles as its production does not involve the use of chemicals or organic solvents
Sounds good. It also makes very light creams. All good so far! The downside is that it's harder to work with - my first attempt was a runny, separated out mess. :-( My second attempt is much better, but I think it's going to take some practice!

So next time someone asks me about preservatives, I'll be able to say... "Oh, phenoxyethanol ethylhexylglycerin! Didn't you know?" LOL That is, if I haven't forgotten it again - but that's what blogs are for. :-)

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