What is causing an allergic reaction in this mask recipe?

abieroseabierose Member
edited January 2021 in Formulating
Today I made a clay mask based on a recipe I found on a mommy blogger site is 😳 Anyway, I tested it on myself (although I should have done a skin patch test first!) and my face immediately started to burn. I rinsed it off and my face and my face is STILL red and uncomfortable 15 minutes later! Are there any ingredients below that might cause this? Thanks!

INGREDIENT - %

Distilled water - 56.23
Rose Hydrosol - 12.12
Kaolin Clay, Pink - 3.22
Kaolin Clay, Natural White - 11.27
Rose Hip Seed Oil - 3.22
Avocado Oil - 4.19
BTMS-50 - 2.58
Emulsifying Wax - 3.22

Optiphen Plus - 1.21
Licorice Root Extract - 1.61
Strawberry Essential - .34

Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    My guess - One or more of Rose hydrosol, rose hip seed oil, licorice root extract, strawberry essential oils

    There's a reason most of the known skin allergens are found in natural ingredients. Plants evolved defenses against animals that might harm them. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Also...Don't take formulating advice from mommy bloggers!
  • Hahaha!! You are SO right about that @Perry!! :blush:
  • abieroseabierose Member
    edited January 2021
    Oh! So my next question is how can I really simplify this mask? If you have an idea on what percentage I should use of each ingredient, that would be super helpful too! I would really like to jump on the "rose themed" and "masks" bandwagon and come up with a nice product :) Thanks!!
  • Does that strawberry oil smell like strawberries? Because there is no such thing as strawberry essential oil. There are strawberry fragrance oils and, much less common, strawberry seed oil.
    Strawberry fragrance oils that I've looked at often contain quite high amounts of benzyl benzoate, and some also contain benzyl alcohol. While they are safe even at high rates of usage, they are both known to be irritating.
    I also find phenoxyethanol quite irritating to my face, and even more when mixed with strawberry fragrance.
    I'd just use 5 or 6% emulsifying wax and drop the BTMS-50. Not because it is irritating, but because it probably won't make much of a difference in the final product and BTMS-50 is way more expensive.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    +1 for the strawberry; pentyl butyrate and ethyl methylphenylglycidate, used to create a strawberry odour, are both irritants, while strawberry seed oil is nearly odourless (it certainly doesn't smell like the fruit)
    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
  • @justaerin and @Bill_Toge...wow, thanks for that information! I bought the oil from Amazon and it says it's 100% pure and organic...there is even multiple responses from the seller to consumer questions regarding its origin and authenticity and stating that it is "pure essential oil extracted from strawberry seeds and pulp without any additives" (see screenshot attached). This kind of thing is so maddening! It is also very irresponsible for this company to blatantly put out misinformation that could potentially harm people. I should have done better research for sure. Anyway, thanks for all the information!!


  • Is Optiphen generally known to be more irritating compared to Liquid Germall Plus? 
  • justaerinjustaerin Member
    edited January 2021
    @abierose we all have to start somewhere.
    First, please don't take my word for any of this, always do your own research. But I'm not trying to sell you anything, so I'm less likely to tell you what I think you want to hear. People who are open to learning often know a lot. Many of the people here know more than I ever will about cosmetics and chemistry in every way, but I am pretty good at shopping online. At this point, don't buy essential or fragrance oils on Amazon. Even the otherwise good brands are relatively poor quality. Don't buy MLM oils either. Buy them from local stores or order directly from specialty, soapmaking, or cosmetics raw materials suppliers.
    Not all information is equally good, so consider the source. The same is true for sellers and products. You can learn how to tell the good from the bad.  Popularity doesn't imply quality or authenticity, it just means that it appears that people buy it and leave positive reviews. People follow other people.
    In this case, as in most, it helps to know at least a bit about what you're buying, then figuring out how much it should cost.
    Most essential oils are distilled from plants by boiling parts like leaves, roots, bark, and occasionally flowers. Citrus oils can pressed or distilled. There are a few natural extracts used in perfumery that are sometimes essential oils but sometimes CO2 extracts or concretes or absolutes or oleoresins, however they are usually very expensive.
    Sold by unscrupulous sellers as essential oils that are always fragrance oils: musk or anything else that comes from animals, coconut, nearly all fruits, berries, melons, most florals
    Often sold as essential oils, and these oils/extracts do exist, but will be adulterated, substituted, poor quality, or fragrance oils if they aren't expensive: rose, neroli, helichrysum, ylang ylang, sandalwood, jasmine, rosewood, vanilla, coffee
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Adding to what @justaerin said, the biggest problem with purchasing natural ingredients is that you never know what's in the ingredient they are selling you. And there is almost no way to find out. Unless you have an IR Spectrometer to compare it to a previous sample, they could sell you brown water or fragranced glycerin and you wouldn't know.  

  • This is really disheartening. You would think that legally they wouldn't be able to claim something is "100% natural" or "organic" if it wasn't but I suppose that's a bit of an idealistic way of thinking :blush:
    Thanks for all the info. It's incredibly helpful!! 
  • abierose said:
    This is really disheartening. You would think that legally they wouldn't be able to claim something is "100% natural" or "organic" if it wasn't but I suppose that's a bit of an idealistic way of thinking :blush:
    Thanks for all the info. It's incredibly helpful!! 
    Many of us have amateur's have been down that path early on.  I used to buy what I thought were exotic oils like Moringa, Black Seed, and Tamanu... Turned out they were all just veggie oil like you buy in the store. :( 
    You learn VERY quickly....where to buy quality inputs...and it is not on Amazon or e-bay (usually).
  • @Graillotion, yes I have been there with cherry seed oil, peach kernel oil and whatever fancy sounding nonsense oil I could find too. Needless to say these all oxidised in several months.
  • It might be unpopular opinion but I would like to question the very idea of clay masks. I know many people like them, but the only thing clay does is absorbs excess oils. Isn’t it easier just to use a paper napkin or wash the face? Majority of masks are useless. The rare exception might be acid peels in mask format.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    @Perry in fairness though, if you run it through a gas chromatography machine and it turns out to be a huge mixture of compounds, it's almost certainly natural
    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
  • UPDATE: Well, I modified the recipe and removed the strawberry "essential oil" as well as the licorice root extract and btms-50. I kept the rose hydrosol because I have used it in other formulations without any allergic reaction. I did add green tea extract in place of the licorice root...I guess mostly for appeal and to use up the sample that I had :smiley: Anyway, no allergic reaction at all!! However I also didn't notice any particular benefit either...does anyone have a suggestion on what I could add that might add a noticeable benefit..?

    @ngarayeva001 I hear what you're saying...I think masks appeal to a certain demographic and they usually offer some instant noticeable (and short lived) benefit. I know my 19 year old stepdaughter LOVES them! :smiley:
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
  • It might be unpopular opinion but I would like to question the very idea of clay masks. I know many people like them, but the only thing clay does is absorbs excess oils. Isn’t it easier just to use a paper napkin or wash the face? Majority of masks are useless. The rare exception might be acid peels in mask format.
    They offer a semi-professional-ish beauty salon/spa experience at home.
    As you mentioned they did do little - excess oil absorption, mild physical exfoliation, etc. But that instant "wow" feeling/experience makes the sale pretty easy.

    abierose said:
    UPDATE: Well, I modified the recipe and removed the strawberry "essential oil" as well as the licorice root extract and btms-50. I kept the rose hydrosol because I have used it in other formulations without any allergic reaction. I did add green tea extract in place of the licorice root...I guess mostly for appeal and to use up the sample that I had :smiley: Anyway, no allergic reaction at all!! However I also didn't notice any particular benefit either...does anyone have a suggestion on what I could add that might add a noticeable benefit..?

    @ngarayeva001 I hear what you're saying...I think masks appeal to a certain demographic and they usually offer some instant noticeable (and short lived) benefit. I know my 19 year old stepdaughter LOVES them! :smiley:
    You could add 24k gold or colour it gold. Gold mask almost always have a very noticeable benefit on your IG/Facebook photos.  :) :) :)
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @ngarayeva001 - it's all about the experience. Much of the enjoyment of cosmetics is based on the experience.

  • Pattsi said:
    You could add 24k gold or colour it gold. Gold mask almost always have a very noticeable benefit on your IG/Facebook photos.  :) :) :)
    🤣 Very true, lolol! Although that's not exactly the benefit I was going for 😁
  • Perry said:
    @ngarayeva001 - it's all about the experience. Much of the enjoyment of cosmetics is based on the experience.

    This is SO true.
  • abierose said:
    ...does anyone have a suggestion on what I could add that might add a noticeable benefit..?


    You have to state the benefit you are looking for.
  • @Graillotion good point! Well, specifically for the skin to feel softer post mask at the very least. Ideally i would like to create a pore-minimizing mask that also makes the face feel noticeably softer to the touch...any suggestions?
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