Octyldodecanol in shaving cream...

I have been wanting to try to use Octyldodecanol in a formulation and recently found to my surprise that it is an ingredient in many shaving creams on the market!  I am trying to find a source and a usage rate but have found neither.  I can get it from a reseller for the first try with it. 
I am thinking that I might use in the 1% or lower range but that depends on the typical usage rate.  I also don't want it to affect the creamy, dense lather of the shaving cream.  Any info or recommendations will be appreciated!


  • I did find a listing of a "typical use level" of 2%-20% and additional lathering shaving cream products that include it in their ingredients list so that made me feel more comfortable with the idea and I ordered a gallon from a local N.J. reseller to try.  I even included it in my formula that I worked with in my "Rounding Off Numbers" thread here and hopefully it will provide the characteristics I'm seeking in my formula!

    I'm thinking of adding in my homogenization phase on the second day but was wondering about putting it in the initial process.  I does list an SAP value of about 3 at the lowest and 5 at the highest which is a concern although it is extremely low but still worth investigating!  If anyone has any info or suggestions, they will be greatly appreciated!
  • it's an oil at room temperature, so it's most likely added for lubrication
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Bill, does is have an oily or greasy feeling to it?
  • As a guarbet alcohol, octyldodecanol is one of the more polar emollients, its not that greasy.
  • It does seem to have a nice feel although I am concerned about this prescription which was written on http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/octyldodecanol :

    "Stearyl Alcohol, Oleyl Alcohol and Octyldodecanol help to form emulsions and prevent an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components. These ingredients also reduce the tendency of finished products to generate foam when shaken."

    ...especially since it is a "foamy" shaving cream!
  • This is true when adding emollients in soaps and shampoos etc (but adding small amounts can improve your foam in this formulas as well). But formulating a shaving cream is more like formulating an emulsion with wash-active substances. Emollients (most common fatty acids etc) are essential ingredients to get slip and softening the shaving area.
  • Tom, thanks for the info on the Octyldodecanol.  It is good to know that there might be some improvement in foam by using a small amount of this.  I am also considering fatty acids like capryllic/capric triglyceride and her "sister" fractionated coconut oil as well as the polymer polyquaternium-7 but I am open to suggestions for another option that would be readily available online, have a minimum I can meet and will work well with this shaving product so I'm all ears!  I would think that whatever combination of these would be used in a total of about 1% of the formula...  Thanks!

  • OK, so I'm throwing an idea out here!  Here's a list of possible ingredients I am considering:

    Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Octyldodecanol, Polyquaternium-7, fragrance, Triethanolamine,  preservative, Sodium Hydroxide

    Whaddaya think?  Percentages of the three ingredients?  Please share your opinion!  Thanks!

  • TomTom
    edited October 2017
    I would try 1-2% Glyceryl Stearate (start with 1%, but also try Cetyl or Stearyl Alcohol instead) and 2-5% Octyldodecanol. Also you can try other emollient instead of Octyldodecanol (Dimethicone and mineral oil are often used but you can add more natural oil too but concider the stability). As time permits you can try adding gelling agents to add structure in your formulation and play with the rheology, additionally you can improve stability and and more slip.
  • edited October 2017
    Tom et al,

    Thanks for your input!  As I have found, these older formulations are not "robust" as Perry mentioned they should be so I don't have a problem with adding a few things to aid in performance and stability!

    I checked four formulation sample batches again and found that they all have become more liquid which is amazing since they stayed the same for several months!  I ran over and checked the thermostat in my space and found that the temperature which had been a constant 75 degrees during the Summer was now 70 degrees!  I also found mention in one of my old books that water amounts should change dependent upon the time of year for this type of formula!

    I wrote about Glyceryl Stearate SE but Tom mentioned "Glyceryl Stearate" and "Glyceryl Stearate" is what I have on hand so does this sound OK to use?

    I will try the Octyldodecanol since I found it in an old Flick formula from 1996 that included 2% Octyldodecanol and the same ingredients as mine except for 3% surfactant phase included.  I will replace that with TEA Stearate and the Glyceryl Stearate.  Hopefully, all of this will work!

    I'm open for more input and whatever suggestions you all may have to offer!
    Thank You!

  • In going over "Glyceryl Stearate" I see that it has an SAP value of 155- 165!  So now I question using it in a saponifiable system.  What would it offer?

    Perhaps I should just try the Octyldodecanol.  I am assuming that if I used it at 2% I would take that out of the water phase?
  • TomTom
    edited October 2017
    Glyceryl Stearate SE is Glyceryl Stearate with small amounts of Sodium Stearate making it a O/W-Emulsifier. But your formulation is already based on fatty acid soaps. So Glycerin Stearate will act as structurizer and co-Emulsifier - this is why i mentioned to try fatty alcohols like stearyl alcohol instead. Your emulsifier are the fatty acid soaps - for emulsifying the Octyldodecanol.

    Modern shaving cream formulations are often formulated as "soap free". This systems are formulated with synthetic surfactants in a lower pH-region and are claimed to be less irritating.

    Are your batches stored @75°F (~RT)?
  • Tom, I appreciate your help!  I now understand what you were saying.  I found a sample of Stearyl Alcohol and two buckets full of Cetyl Alcohol!  I see that the fatty acid soap will act as an "emulsifier" for the Octyldodecanol and hope that the Cetyl or Stearyl Alcohol will add the structure that this type of formula lacks.

    I want to stay as close to the original "soap" formulation as possible as there are many companies still producing that type of formula with success and that is the market I am after, but I have no problem with some adjustments to give the formula better consistency and a more "robust" nature!  I am still considering Polyquarternium-7 in a small percentage for what it will give the skin and facial hairs to aid in shaving but I don't want to go overboard!

    My 600+ sq. ft. workroom is in the back of my retail space and is affected by seasonal temperatures but is insulated well so that they do not vary that much so having a "climate controlled" storage area is not possible at this time.  Today the temperature is 73 degrees and two of the 4 samples have become more stiff again (these two have a slightly higher oil phase) and the other two are relatively the same as two days ago!

    All suggestions and observations are welcome and appreciated!  

  • I just checked the one I am using (Equate). It has: palmitic acid, TEA, and stearic acid, in that order. No other bases or fatty acids. It is not nearly as good as the Gillette product, but I can buy three of them for the cost of one Gillette shave cream. I would say the foam is too "fluffy" and not conditioning enough.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • Clive,  you see how different all of these formulation ingredients are and what a difference that makes in the results!

    I ordered two more books and one arrived the other day.  "Cosmetics and the Skin" by Wells and Lubowe a 690 page book from 1964.  It has a total of 3 pages dedicated to Lather Shave Cream and only 3 formulas!  Only one was of any value and was a soap based formula with Coconut Oil, Stearic and Myristic Acid but only using Potassium Hydroxide to saponify.  It did, however, include Stearyl Alcohol at 1.00% saying that it "aids in water retention" and that it makes a "whiter cream than if replaced by cetyl alcohol"!  So that was helpful!  I have another book due in shortly.  It is just so frustrating to spend the time researching, the money purchasing another book only to find one formula and one ingredient that might be of any benefit!  But it is another piece in the puzzle!
  • Psst!  What is Diglycol Stearate?  I got what seems to be conflicting information when I tried to look it up!  (glycol monostearate or ethylene glycol monostearate)?  Stearic Acid?  OCTADECANOIC ACID?
  • it might be a typo for glycol distearate
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • edited October 2017
    Diethylene glycol distearate is listed as a "synonym" as is "Oxydiethane-1,2-diyl distearate"?

    This book was published in 1964 and there are other mentions of it in the book...

  • I looked at Ruth Winter's book but was unable to figure it out... I see  "Glycol Disterate" as an ingredient for another shaving cream...

    Diglycol Stearate has listed "synonyms"as "Diethylene glycol distearate" and as is "Oxydiethane-1,2-diyl distearate"

    Please help me figure it out!  :)

  • edited October 2017
    A friend got back to me so I now know that Diglycol Stearate is an ester with two moles of ethylene glycol and one mole of stearic acid not to be confused with (Ethylene) Glycol distearate which has one mole ethylene glycol and two moles stearic acid – used as a pearlescent agent shampoos and shaving creams.

    Ethylene Glycol Distearate is just the opposite of Diglycol Stearate but they’re both used in similar forms and functions as a pearlizing and opacifying agent in a cream or a lotion or soap. Diglycol Stearate will yield a softer product than Ethylene Glycol Distearate but can be saponified and has an SAP value from 150-170 which will effect production methods... but we'll see!

  • So, it has been an interesting journey!  I have investigated every possibility I can think of and decided to follow Tom's suggestion and I used Stearyl Alcohol with the Octyldodecanol in my formula.  Since my oil phase seemed to be too high, I had lowered it but found with these additives that it was better in a higher percentage so I raised the oil phase back to where it was. 

    I had tried a variation of the Stearic/Myristic/Coconut ratio but I think my old ratio worked better so I did one last sample batch yesterday with the old ratio and it looks promising!  I will take home a sample and try shaving with it tomorrow!  If this one works then I will have come full circle almost back to where I was in the beginning however, the addition of Stearyl Alcohol seems to have given the formula the needed stability and structure and the Octyldodecanol has added to the "slip, glide and cushion" required for this type of product! 

    The answer, in this case, was to take the needed space for the two additional ingredients out of the water phase!  This also helped with the production of the shaving cream as it created a better emulsion during the process.  I also found that adding the water phase to the oil phase in small increments made it easier to homogenize during the process and created a much smoother emulsion!  Thanks everyone for their support and participation!

    Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Octyldodecanol, fragrance, Triethanolamine, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA.

  • edited November 2017
    So, as an update, I tested the product for two weeks, got great shaves with it!  I also passed along a sample to an in-store customer who got back to me with an incredible review of the product with favorable comparisons with other products including one product with one of the new ingredients I am using which was quite interesting since he didn't have my ingredients list to compare with this product!  He tested it eight times, on alternate days he used other products as a comparison with mine and came back with a very well organized and well planned review of the shaving cream.  He was very methodical and as a result gave me solid information I can trust from someone who is quite familiar with numerous products from the shaving market, types of shaving equipment, shaving techniques and he offered valuable opinions and observations based on these.

    As a result of this and of my own testing and observations, today I started production and was able to make 4 production size batches!  All went well!
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