Tag Archives: surfactant

Feb
05

Orange Juice Cake Bubble Bars Recipe


This entry was posted in bath products, bubble bar recipe, Natures Garden', orange juice cake fragrance and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

Orange Juice Cake Bubble Bars RecipeOrange Juice Cake Bubble Bars Recipe

The Natures Garden fragrance oil of the month for February 2020 is Orange Juice Cake! To showcase this delicious homemade pastry scent, we created a few new recipes using it. We will be writing and sharing blogs on each of them! The first one we would like to introduce is this Orange Juice Cake Bubble Bars Recipe. These turned out beautifully, looking like a mini version of actual orange juice cake! This cake is an original recipe coming from the Natures Garden owner’s family! It is scrumptious, moist, and bursting with fresh flavors. We designed this fragrance oil to emulate this cake perfectly. Our recipe for this bubble bar is going to make your skin feel incredibly soft, as well as creating a ton of foam and bubbles for your baths. They are made using a surfactant that we just recently brought to the website, SLSA. You are going to love how this product feels and how it smells too! We can’t wait to share each of these new recipes with all of you.

Ingredients Found at Natures Garden:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
Sodium Bicarbonate- Baking Soda
Cream of Tartar
Corn Starch
Orange Juice Cake Fragrance Oil
Vegetable Glycerin
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Vanilla White- Color Stabilizer
Cocoa Powder Organic
Orange Oxide 1 oz. – FUN Soap Colorant
Yellow Oxide 1 oz. – FUN Soap Colorant
Black Oxide 1 oz. – FUN Soap Colorant
Shea Butter Melt and Pour Soap
Orange Peel Cut & Sifted
Silicone Soap Mold- 4 Bundt Cake Mold
Gloves for Safety
Safety Mask
Safety Glasses
Natures Garden Apron
Flexible Silicone Mat

Other Ingredients and Equipment You Will Need:

Mixing Bowls
Mixing Spoons
Scale
Rubbing Alcohol

Total Recipe Amounts for Bubble Bars:

330 grams Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
460 grams Sodium Bicarbonate- Baking Soda
224 grams Cream of Tartar
72 grams Corn Starch
14 grams Orange Juice Cake Fragrance Oil
200 grams Vegetable Glycerin
24 grams Fractionated Coconut Oil
4 grams Cocoa Powder Organic mixed with 20 grams Vegetable Glycerin
15 drops Orange Oxide FUN Soap Colorant
5 drops Yellow Oxide FUN Soap Colorant
2 drops Black Oxide FUN Soap Colorant

Total Recipe Amounts for Icing:

5 cubes Shea Butter Melt and Pour Soap
6 grams Orange Juice Cake Fragrance Oil
6 grams Vanilla White Color Stabilizer
4 heaping teaspoons Orange Peel Cut & Sifted

Clean and sanitize your workstation along with all of your utensils. There are many dry ingredients involved with this recipe, which can create clouds of powder in the air. Therefore, it is suggested by us that you wear gloves, an apron, a face mask, and a hair net while when preparing this. Also, you will want to prepare your bottle of rubbing alcohol that will be used in one of the last steps.

Mixing the Dry IngredientsMixing the Dry Ingredients

To begin, you are going to need a couple of mixing bowls and a digital scale for weighing. We will be measuring and working with the dry ingredients in the recipe first. Take out a larger mixing bowl for this portion. First, we are going to weigh out 330 grams of the SLSA. This product is very important in this recipe. SLSA is a surfactant that is a great foaming agent for products like bubble bars, shampoo bars, and bath bombs. It helps your skin to feel extra soft after use and creates so many bubbles for the bath. Next, add to the same bowl 460 grams of the baking soda, 224 grams of the cream of tartar, and 72 grams of the corn starch. Mix all of these powder ingredients together well, using your hands.

Break Up the ClumpsBreak Up the Clumps

We use our hands in the mixture to help break up any clumps of powder we might find. Baking soda tends to be very clumpy, and it is important to break all of these up. Otherwise, your bubble bars will not be mixed as thoroughly and there might be bits of powder in the mixture, which you do not want for your finished product.

Combining the Liquid IngredientsCombining the Liquid Ingredients 

Set the dry ingredients bowl to the side. Now, place a separate mixing bowl on the scale. You need to weigh out 200 grams of the vegetable glycerin, 24 grams of the fractionated coconut oil, and 14 grams of the Orange Juice Cake Fragrance Oil. We chose fractionated coconut oil as our carrier oil due to the properties it has. This oil contributes to the hardness, cleansing, and bubbly lather in cosmetic products. Each one of these qualities is desirable in bubble bars, which you want to create a lot of bubbles in the bath and cleanse the skin at the same time. Our Orange Juice Cake Fragrance Oil is a combination of pound cake, orange zests, vanilla, caramel, and coconut. This scent is original to Natures Garden and one of our best sellers!

Combining the Mixing BowlsCombining the Mixing Bowls

For the next step, we are going to add the bowl with the wet ingredients to the bowl containing all of the powdered ingredients. Then, you can start mixing them together with your hands. We used our hands because using a spoon may cause the powders to get released into the air and we could lose some of our product, which we do not want to happen.

Forming the DoughForming the Dough

Continue to thoroughly mix the ingredients together. You want to keep going until it reaches the consistency of dough. It may take some time working with it before it reaches this point. Remember to lift and fold the mixture continuously to get the powders at the bottom of the bowl fully incorporated into the rest of it.

Creating the Brown ColorantCreating the Brown Colorant

Next, you will need to get out a small bowl. We are going to be hand making the brown colorant portion of this batter. This step is similar to mixing a facial mask. In your small bowl, weigh out 4 grams of cocoa powder organic. To this, add 20 grams of vegetable glycerin. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly, until there are no longer any clumps from the cocoa powder. Spoon this mixture into the dough batter.

Mix in the ColorantMix in the Colorant

After you have added in the cocoa powder mixture, fully incorporate it into the dough. Evenly fold over the batter repeatedly until you no longer see clumps of brown throughout it. This is just one of the colorants we will be adding to these bubble bars!

Add in Additional ColorantsAdd in Additional Colorants

Once the brown colorant has been fully mixed in, we can move onto the other colors we need. Natures Garden carries multiple FUN Soap Colorants that offer vibrant shades to give color to your soap and body products. For this recipe, we used the shades Orange Oxide, Yellow Oxide, and Black Oxide. Add in 15 drops of the orange, 5 drops of the yellow, and 2 drops of the black. We added these one at a time to see what shade we would be getting, and we were satisfied with our result. This combination gives a nice color to the dough that resembles the look of actual orange juice cake.

Incorporate the Colorants TogetherIncorporate the Colorants Together

After each color is added, we are once again going to use our hands to mix everything together. Continue to knead the dough, especially at the bottom, until the color is evenly dispersed throughout it. An important thing to remember is if the bubble bar dough is too crumbly, you can always add a bit more vegetable glycerin to help. We did not end up having to do this for this recipe, but depending on how your ingredients were measured, you may need to. However, make sure not to add too much vegetable glycerin, or your dough will become too wet and the product will not set up properly. 

Pack the Soap MoldPack the Soap Mold

Now we are all finished with the dough! Take out the silicone bundt cake soap mold and pack the bubble bar dough tightly into it. There should be enough batter to fill all four of the bundt cake cavities. You want to pack it in tightly so that your product is cohesive and sets up together. Allow your bubble bars to set up. You will know they are ready once they have hardened. It took ours approximately 24-48 hours to set up completely. However, it can take longer depending on the climate of your environment.

Remove the Bubble Bars Remove the Bubble Bars

Once the bubble bars have had enough time to finish setting up, you can go ahead and pop them out of their molds. Make sure that you have waited enough time before this step. If not, the bubble bars may crack and crumble instead of remaining in one piece. We removed ours onto a silicone mat to prepare for the next few steps, which can get messy.

Cut Up the Melt and Pour SoapCut Up the Melt and Pour Soap

Now, we are going to prepare the icing for our bundt cake bubble bars! You will need to take 5 cubes from a slab of one of our white melt and pour soap bases. We decided to use Shea Butter, but any of the white colored bases will work fine to resemble icing. Slice the cubes up into smaller pieces and place them in a microwave safe bowl. Then, melt them in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the soap is fully melted. 

Fragrance the IcingFragrance the Icing

After it is melted, add to it 6 grams of Orange Juice Cake Fragrance Oil. We also want to match that with 6 grams of Vanilla White Color Stabilizer. This is because some fragrance oils can cause discoloration to soap and we need ours to stay white in order for it to look like icing. Once those two are added, stir to incorporate everything.

Apply the Soap IcingApply the Soap Icing

Carefully, drizzle the melted soap over your bundt cake bubble bars. Pour it gently and in a back and forth motion, as you would ice cinnamon rolls. Then, grab your bottle of rubbing alcohol that you prepared at the beginning of this recipe. Spray the bubble bars with the melted soap on them with the rubbing alcohol. This will help out for the last step.

Top the Bubble Bars OffTop the Bubble Bars Off

The final step in the recipe is to top our bubble bars off with “nuts”. We needed to spray the icing with rubbing alcohol in order to get these to stick. Take orange peel, cut and sifted, and sprinkle it on top of the bubble bars. This step helps complete the look of authentic orange juice cake. Allow some time for everything to dry before moving them. Once they are finished drying, you have completed this fun project!

Your Orange Juice Cake Bubble Bars are now ready to be used! When you want to put the bubble bars to use, all you have to do is simply crumble up some pieces from one of them. Place these under your warm running bath water and see the wonderful bubbly lather these create! We hope you enjoyed following along with us to make these!

Sweet Rolls Dessert Recipe

Since these orange juice cake bubble bars look like real cinnamon rolls, we thought we would share a delicious dessert with all of you! These Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls by Sally’s Baking Addiction are a perfect representation of our bubble bars. This is a blog full of all different kinds of recipes that are simple to make and delicious to eat. All of the orange lovers out there will really like this take on traditional cinnamon rolls. The orange flavored glaze adds a really nice touch to these as well. Give them a try and enjoy!

 

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is the responsibility of our customers. If you plan to resell any of the recipes that we provide, it’s your responsibility to follow all FDA regulations. We cannot offer any advice on where to buy the products and ingredients listed in our recipes if they are not sold by Natures Garden. When you use our recipes and/or raw ingredients, you are agreeing to indemnify Natures Garden against any liability of performance, any lack of performance, or any problems that you encounter with the finished products.

Jan
13

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate SLSA


This entry was posted in Alternative to SCI, Free Recipes, Natures Garden, SLSA, surfactant and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate- SLSASodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate- SLSA

We have an exciting new blog for everyone today! We will be introducing to you a new product that we recently added onto the Natures Garden website. There are a couple reasons for writing this blog. First, we want to give you information about this product to educate you about it. Second, we want to show you a different way to create your favorite and most loved bath and body products. New ways of doing things are constantly emerging. It can be very beneficial to try things out other ways than you are used to. You may find a new personal preference that you didn’t know you had! Plenty of methods are out there for making homemade recipes. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, is the product we are introducing today. We are excited to be talking about our new product and hope you get to enjoy it as much as we do!

All About SLSA

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is a surfactant that is derived 100% naturally. It comes from coconut oil and palm oil. It is also completely free of all sulfates. A surfactant is a surface acting agent, which basically means that it causes products to fizz and foam. There are a plethora of homemade cosmetic items that you can make with SLSA. Starting with bath bombs, the two most important ingredients to make them are baking soda and citric acid. The combination of these two is necessary in order to cause the fizzing reaction when the bath bomb hits the water. SLSA is going to contribute incredible foaming qualities to your bath bombs that will accompany the fizzy reaction. Another product that can be made using SLSA is bath bubble bars. This is the perfect surfactant to use to make these because of the foaming quality it contributes. Your bath water will be exploding with mounds of bubbles when these hit the bath water. You can also use SLSA to create many other cosmetic related products too, such as shampoo bars, liquid soap, and facial washes.

The Benefits of Using SLSA

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate carries a lot of benefits along with it. SLSA brings to the table many elements that are very beneficial to the skin. What might just be the greatest quality of this surfactant is that it can be used on every type of skin and hair. We feel this characteristic is important, and products with SLSA work really nicely for people with dry and sensitive skin. There are so many different skin conditions out there such as eczema, rosacea, acne, and psoriasis. We want to be able to cater to our customers and provide them with products that will work for all types of skin. This is just one of the reasons we decided to add SLSA to our website. Personally, my skin tends to be more on the dry side. When I took a bath using a bubble bar made with SLSA, it left my skin feeling more hydrated. This is one of my favorite things about this product.

Another key benefit of using SLSA in your homemade bath product recipes is that it will provide a much thicker lather to them than other surfactants will. This quality contributes significantly to creating bubbles that are actually long lasting. SLSA readily dissolves in water because of its small particles, which is great for things like bath bombs. Other great things about it are the excellent flash foam that it has, the two year long shelf life, and the versatility of the product. Powder shampoos and bath salts are some of the other recipes SLSA can help create that we have not mentioned. There are many other cosmetic items this can make, which we will be mentioning later on. Next, we want to discuss how SLSA compares to other types of surfactants.

SLSA in Comparison to Other Surfactants

SLSA is a product that is extremely versatile in this industry. It can be the perfect alternative to other surfactants such as Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SCI is a customer favorite that we sell at Natures Garden. Each of these also contribute plenty of versatility in cosmetic recipes, projects, and products. Similarly to SLSA and coconut oil, SCI derives from coconut. Some of the recipes that we have on our website that were made using SCI include the Pearamel Salt Scrub recipe, Lavender Mint Bath Bomb, and our Rainbow Bath Salts recipe. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is another type of surfactant that commonly gets used for soap making. It is an inexpensive item that makes for a great foaming agent in different personal care products. As we mentioned, many of the same recipes can be created with any of these. However, your recipes will have individual elements added to them based on the one you use.

These three surfactants are great for making all kinds of homemade bath products. Some of the different ones include bath truffles, bubble scoops, and body scrubs. Although SLSA can be used as an alternative to both SCI and SLS, we wanted to share some of their differences. SCI has qualities in it that benefit the skin. Products that are made with SCI tend to have more moisturizing elements in them than those made with SLS or SLSA. One example of this is in bubble bars. Compared to other surfactants, a bubble bar made with SCI is going to make your skin feel more softened and silky smooth after taking a bath. However, a bubble bar made with SLSA is going to create a lot more lather and extra bubbles for your bath compared to the others. The surfactant you choose to use depends on what you are looking for. If you want more of a bubbly bath, SLSA will provide that.

Recipes That Can Be Made with SLSA

In order to give all of you a realistic idea of what to expect with this product, we created some new recipes to showcase it. We will be selling SLSA in two different size options, a 16 ounce package and a ten pound package. For this blog, we have prepared three recipes to share with you. There is the Sparkling Sangria Body Scrub, the Sangria Shimmer Bath Bombs, and the Sangria Scoopable Bubble Bars. Each one of these were made using the Natures Garden Sangria Punch Fragrance Oil, which is a perfect blend of fresh fruit and wine. This is one of our best selling fragrances. We are super excited to get to show you how you can create these recipes too!

Recipes That You Can Make with SLSA: Sparkling Sangria Body ScrubRecipes You Can Make with SLSA: Sparkling Sangria Body Scrub

The first recipe we are sharing with you is our Sparkling Sangria Body Scrub. This luxurious product is going to make your skin feel wonderfully moisturized and exfoliated. We used enriching ingredients such as mango butter, avocado oil, jojoba oil, palm oil, and coconut oil 76. The mango butter has properties that provide softness to the skin as well as moisturizing qualities. This is a popular product in many of our recipes such as lip balms, lip glosses, lotions, and scrubs for this reason.

The moisturizing quality of avocado oil makes it such a common ingredient in recipes for soap, lotions, massage oils, and scrubs. The jojoba oil contributes to lather and also contains moisturizing properties. The palm oil gives this scrub a nice creamy lather, while the coconut oil produces a nice bubbly lather. All of these ingredients mixed together make up this wonderfully exfoliating body scrub. Mixing up different oils, butters, fragrances, and more can create variety within your products, which is important. We tested out the SLSA in this product to add to the variety in our recipes. This surfactant makes this more of a foaming body scrub, as opposed to some of our other scrubs. Additionally, it adds significantly to the lather and application to the surfaces of the body. It can also help treat any patches of dry skin that you may have because of the SLSA it contains.

Recipes That You Can Make with SLSA: Sangria Shimmer Bath BombsRecipes That You Can Make with SLSA: Sangria Shimmer Bath Bombs

The second recipe that we made using Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate are these Sangria Shimmer Bath Bombs. Our new product is perfect for making bath bombs. Some of the other bath bombs on the Natures Garden website use SCI. As you know, we switched that up in this recipe. The purpose of using a bath bomb for most people is to watch the bath bomb fizz. When the SLSA is added into a bath bomb recipe, it will fizz AND foam. What could be better than that? These will let you experience a bubble bath in a brand new way and they are simple to make. We love them!

Recipes That You Can Make with SLSA: Sangria Sparkle Bubble BarsRecipes You Can Make with SLSA: Sangria Scoopable Bubble Bars

Our last recipe to share is these Sangria Scoopable Bubble Bars. Who does not love to take a nice, relaxing bath after having a long day? These bubble bars are the perfect product to help you to a night of relaxation. To use the sangria bubble bars, run a couple under warm bath water. They will start foaming immediately. We love these bubble bars because of the bubbles they provide. Unlike bath products made with SCI, these have much more lather to them! This is because SLSA is a surfactant that has more of a foaming quality to it. Therefore, the products made with it are also more foamy and bubbly. These will give you one of the most relaxing baths you have ever had!

More Fun with SLSA

We have covered some of the benefits of SLSA, but this page gives you the full run down. We also found a blog page that is super helpful when it comes to learning different ways you can make bath bombs. The website is actually called How to Make Bath Bombs! This specific recipe is written by a user named KCAT, who attempts to duplicate a very popular bath bomb recipe. In this step by step recipe, she used SLSA to create her bath bomb, just like we did!

We hope that you enjoyed learning all there is to know about SLSA with us and the different ways it can be used! If you try out any of the recipes that we mentioned today, we would love to hear how they turned out for you. Reach out to us on social media to share your results!

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Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is always the responsibility of our customers. If you plan to resell any of the recipes that we provide, it is also your responsibility to follow all FDA regulations. We, at Natures Garden, cannot offer any advice on where to buy the products and ingredients that are listed in our recipes if they are not sold by Natures Garden. When you use Natures Garden recipes and/or raw ingredients, you are agreeing to indemnify Natures Garden against any liability of performance, any lack of performance, or any problems that you encounter with the finished products.

Jul
02

Coconut Oil 76 in CP Soap


This entry was posted in bath and body, bath products, cold process soap, Natures Garden, Natures Garden Fragrance Oils, Soap making supplies, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

Coconut-Oil-76-in-CP-SoapCoconut Oil 76 in CP Soap

You’ll go coco-nuts for coconut oil 76 in CP soap. What does the ’76’ mean? It simply denotes that this type of coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Coconut oil has many beneficial properties for use in all sorts of products–it’s even edible!!–but for our purposes, we’re going to discuss coconut oil 76 in CP soap. (Please do NOT attempt to eat the soap.)

Coco Clean

Our cold process soap testing recipe features coconut oil as the second most abundant ingredient (by weight) after water. Rightfully so, for you see, coconut oil is comprised primarily of lauric and myristic fatty acids which are characterized in soap-making by providing cleansing properties, a bubbly lather, and hardness. Coco-o is a surfactant, meaning it reduces the surface tension of a liquid when it is dissolved, allowing the dirt and impurities to be rinsed off of the skin.

Coco Cream

In addition, the high content of saturated fat serves to give coconut oil a higher SAP value (the number of milligrams of lye that is needed to completely saponify, or turn into soap, one gram of a specific oil, butter, or fat. — Lye, while generally thought of as a bad guy, is a necessary evil for the saponification process. Always remember to follow safety procedures when handling lye. [Add lye to water, the mixture will get hotter; add water to lye, you’ll probably die]). Remember that rhyme to ensure safety.  While you will likely NOT actually DIE, you can certainly get hurt from the lye volcano you will create if you add water to lye.  SO… Don’t ever do that!  Always add your lye to your water.  The high SAP value of coco-o helps to superfat the soap (the amount of lye used is less than the given SAP value), giving it a nice, creamy texture and more lather ability. You can thank coconut oil for making your homemade CP soap clean and bubbly.

Coco – What the heck does that mean?

Furthermore, coconut oil serves as an emulsion stabilizer. What the heck does that mean? You may already know, but I just learned about this today, so I’m going to recap for myself and the benefit of anyone out there who’s not entirely sure. An emulsion is a mixture of two things that don’t really want to go together– for instance, oil and water. Water is the number one ingredient (by weight) in our CP soaps, and just about everything else is some type of oil (apricot kernel oil, castor oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, fragrance oil, and- of course- coconut oil 76). An emulsion stabilizer helps to keep this mixture from separating. This means, not only will it help hold your soap together, it will also help hold the fragrance. (Don’t worry, the coconut oil itself has been refined so it is odorless. Unless you ARE looking for a coconut fragrance in your soap. If so, we’ve got ten coconutrelated scents you may enjoy using!)

Coco No-no

Oh, wow, you’re thinking. Coconut oil 76 in CP soap is so great, I want to use as much of it as possible! And of course you do, but how much is too much?  A typical soap recipe calls for 20-30% coconut oil. It’s important not to use more than 30% coconut oil. Why? Is it possible to be TOO clean? The excess coconut oil 76 in CP soap will interact with the natural oils on your skin and dry it right out. But if you use the appropriate amount of coconut oil, it works in the soap to help clean skin and even reduce inflammation.

Cococonclusion

Coconut oil 76 in CP soap is awesome as long as you’re careful not to use too much in your recipe. So go ahead– what are you waiting for? Follow the links above to purchase coconut oil 76 and other ingredients for our CP soap testing recipe or one of our other fun CP soap recipes. Browse our wide array of fragrance oils to find a scent that you love. Thanks for reading and happy soaping!

Mar
01

What is a Surfactant?


This entry was posted in adsorption, bath and body, cleansing, cosmetic ingredients, cosmetic recipe, emulsifier, Natures Garden, Natures Garden Fragrance Oils, recipes, soap, Soap making supplies, surfactant and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

Have you ever tried to wash dirty dishes equipped only with a sponge and water?  This can be quite a feat.  You will notice that it takes a lot more time and elbow grease to get the job done.  Wondering why this is?  The answer as you will notice right away is that the dish soap is missing.

Did you know that the most eminent surfactant in existence is soap?

Surfactants seem to always get the bad rap.  Many people associate surfactants as bad ingredients to have in your recipes, but truth be told, this statement is not true!  Yes, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is a surfactant, and it can be more irritating to your skin than other surfactants, but is it as bad as what you read in the media lately?  It is an urban myth that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate causes cancer.  Read the truth for yourself.   In fact, many of the surfactants that will be listed in this class are derived from a natural source and they work to improve the integrity and performance of your cosmetic formulations.

Surfactants work with various liquids and substances; including oil and water.  Much like that of the role of the emulsifiers, surfactants have a hydrophilic (water-loving) head, and a lipophilic (oil-loving) tail.  In fact, emulsifiers are surfactants, and surfactants are vital to the industry of bath and body products too.  They comprise the largest category of cosmetic chemicals, and seem to have an endless list of cleansing capabilities.  So, needless to say, there is quite a variety to select from when seeking the perfect surfactant for your recipes.

The main qualifier in deciding which surfactant to use is all based upon the benefit that each surfactant provides.  Just like cold process soaping or any homemade bath and body products, the components that you choose to use in your recipes have a direct beneficial affect on the skin when the recipe is transformed into a finished product.  Therefore, when selecting which surfactant to use; it is just as equally important as to what you are looking to achieve in your finished product.  Each surfactant has key functions in which it will excel and equivocally each will also have other functions where it will be lacking.

The term surfactant is actually a combination of its meaning:  surface acting agent.  Let’s look at it again: surfactant = SURFace ACTing AgeNT.  But the term surfactant is not always the one that everyone sticks with.  It seems that surfactants have several names that all become applicable depending of the role of the surfactant in a specific recipe.  For example, in recipes where foam is the finished product, the surfactant used maybe referred to as foaming agents.  Surfactants used in body recipes, can even be termed as detergents or soaps.  Or, in the example of shaving creams, surfactants are considered lubricants because they protect the skin from irritation and the razor’s sharp edge while still allowing the removal of all of the unwanted hairs.

Everything that a surfactant does occurs at the surface levels of the liquids.  The biggest role that a surfactant has is the capability to lower the surface tension of a liquid.  The reaction which then occurs is the conversing of the liquid (with the lower surface tension) and the additional substance.  To break this down in simpler terms; a surfactant has the power to change the properties of a substance.  This process is known as adsorption.  The term adsorption means:  the gathering of gas or liquid in a condensed layer on the surface.  This condensed layer creates a film which is why the surface tension is lowered.  There are four different categories of classification for surfactants based on their interfaces and charges.  They are: Anionic, Nonionic, Cationic, and Amphoteric.

Education is always a powerful thing, and it is not necessary to completely know the ins and outs of everything surfactants.  But, you will want to have a general idea of each group of surfactants and how they play a role in your finished product.  This is especially true if you are looking to accomplish a “made from scratch” recipe.  It is also beneficial to know a few other things about surfactants too.  This would include information like why the surfactants are grouped or classified together or how/if surfactants work with additional groups of surfactants in a collaborate manner.  Spoiler alert:  Not all surfactants play nice with one another!

Anionic surfactants are considered to be the go to surfactant for many formulations.  This group of surfactants is also the most commonly used among foaming product productions, like shampoos or body washes.  The reasoning for this is because the anionic surfactant’s primary functions are creating high foam, high cleansing, and high washing capabilities in a finished product.

Anionic surfactants have a negatively charged water-loving head.  Anionic surfactants work very well in recipes which have a reaction between a chemical (like lye) and fatty acids or alcohols (like animal lard or vegetable based oils).  Hand processed soap, whether it is CP, CPOP, or HP, are all examples of anionic surfactants.  Other examples of anionic surfactants are Sodium sulfates, Ammonium sulfates, sulfosuccinates, sarcosines, sarcosinates, isethionates, and taurates.

One of the drawbacks of using an anionic surfactant relates to skin sensitivity.  Due the high foaming, cleansing, and washing capabilities, skin irritations can occur.  It is for this reason that if you are looking to create a handmade recipe it is best to choose another category of surfactants, or balance the anionic surfactants with amphoteric surfactants.

Amphoteric surfactants are the go with the flow surfactants.  They have the possibility to either have a positive or negative charge.  Their charge is all based on the pH or alkalinity of your finished product.  Hence the amphi prefix.

When an amphoteric surfactant is used in a recipe where the end result of a finished product has a lower pH, the amphoteric surfactant takes on a more conditioning and nourishing role.  On the other hand, when an amphoteric surfactant is used in a recipe where there is a higher pH in the end product, it resembles more of an anionic surfactant with high foaming and cleansing capabilities.  Neither option is necessarily bad; they are just on two different planes of the beneficial skin aspects.

Amphoteric surfactants are the most docile of the surfactants.  They are also the second most used surfactants in the industry.  This is because when used alone, they are able to provide a gentle aspect to the nature of your end product.  Adversely, when an amphoteric surfactant is coupled with an anionic surfactant, the amphoteric surfactant mellows the harshness of the anionic surfactants.  In fact, amphoteric surfactants can be used solo and in conjunction with any other of the surfactant groups.  There adaptability is just one of the reasons why they are so widely used.

Some examples of well know amphoteric surfactants are Coco Bentaine, Lauryl Bentaine, and Hydroxysultaines.

Cationic surfactants are the opposite of anionic surfactants.  They have a positively charged water-loving head.  It is because of this positive charge that cationic surfactants can offer many skin loving, nourishing benefits to the skin and body.  These surfactants are best used in recipes where foaming is not necessarily mandatory such as hair conditioners.  Cationic surfactants alone do not allow for ample foaming capabilities.

Cationic surfactants work well with 2 of the 3 remaining surfactant groups.  Both amphoteric and nonionic surfactants will be compatible with cationic surfactants with no problems.  However, because of the opposing charge cationic (positive) and anionic (negative) surfactants will not combine.

Some common cationic surfactants used in bath and body recipes are your chlorides (Benzalkonium, Stearalkonium, and Centrimonium), Trimethyl Ammoniums, and Methyl Sulfates.

Nonionic surfactants have no foaming capabilities which is why this group of surfactants are rarely used as a recipe’s main surfactant.  Evident by the prefix non, these surfactants do not have a charge in their water-loving heads.  The end result of using a nonionic surfactant will allow for a finished product that has a very gentle cleansing ability.   But, just because it doesn’t foam, it doesn’t mean it does cleanse.

Psychologically speaking, there is a direct mental correlation between foaming and cleansing.  We as a race have somehow inherently made this connection.  Whether it is a physical view of suds equating to cleanliness, or simply urban myths that have taken on a life of their own, the reality is; it could not be further from the truth.

Nonionic surfactants, or at least some of them, are ethoxylated.  What this means is that the nonionic surfactants have had some reaction to the addition of ethylene oxide.  With this reaction comes an even more water-loving head, almost as if it has been supercharged.  This then makes nonionic surfactants (like Polysorbate 20) perfect solubilizers.

But, don’t just disregard this category of surfactants yet.  Nonionic surfactants can also be used in formulations to reduce irritants, due to their gentle cleansing ability.  They also have the capability to be used as an emollient, softening or soothing skin.  Not to mention, these surfactants can be used to stabilize foam in recipes.  Hold on to your seats though folks, because it gets a little better!  Due to its lack of a charge, nonionic surfactants love every other category of surfactants; you can consider them the peacemakers!

Some common nonionic surfactants used in bath and body recipes are your Polysorbates, Emulsifying Wax NF, E-wax, Glyceryl Oleate, Glyceryl Stearate, ingredients with the prefix PEG, Ceteareths, Oleths, Sorbitans, Lauryl Glucoside, and Polyglycose.

In summary, surfactants are amazing little compounds found in many items we use every day like adhesives, bath gels, creams, lotions, frozen foods, chewing gum, inks, and fabric softeners; just to name a few!  There are four main applications of surfactants particularly in just bath and body recipes.  They include: cleansing, solubility, emulsifying, and conditioning.

Some other additional aspects of surfactants to bath and body recipes include:  the potential to increase stability of a product; certain surfactants can be used as thickening agents; due to the composition of a surfactant, some maintain anti-microbial elements and therefore can be used as preservatives; there are even some that have the capability to reduce irritation allowing for a milder product on the skin.

Interested in adding some surfactants to your recipes?  Below is a list of some commonly added surfactants to bath and body recipes:

sodium lauryl sulfate (can be derived from coconuts)  Produces High Foam; easy to thicken. Strong Anionic Surfactant; can cause irritation
ammonium laureth sulfate (derived from coconuts) Produces High Foam; easy to thicken.  Strong Anionic Surfactant; can cause irritation
disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate (derived from coconuts)  Foaming agent, Mild Anionic Surfactant; gentle on the skin
Cocoamphocarboxyglycinate  (derived from coconuts)  Mild, Amphoteric Surfactant
decyl Polyglucoside (vegetable derived, used in baby shampoos for its gentleness)
cetearyl alcohol
stearyl alcohol
Cocamidopropyl Betaine (derived from coconut oil) Amphoteric Surfactant
Decyl Glucoside (derived from sugar)
Glyceryl Cocoate (derived from vegetables)
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (derived from coconuts)
Almond Glycerides (derived from vegetables)
Sodium Lauryl Sulphoacetate (much milder surfactant than SLS)
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (derived from vegetables and is a natural substitution for SLS) 
sodium methyl cocoyl taurate
(derived from coconut)
Sucrose Cocoate (derived from sugar)
polysorbate 20 (vegetable derived)
polysorbate 80 (vegetable derived)

If you formulate your own cosmetics, please visit our customer suggestion page and let us know which surfactants you would like to see Natures Garden carry.  We will be increasing our line of natural cosmetic supplies.