Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating can anyone help me figure out why my body wash feels so drying and doesn’t foam nicely?

  • can anyone help me figure out why my body wash feels so drying and doesn’t foam nicely?

    Posted by domicanica on April 29, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    i’m trying to formulate a body wash. i intend for it to have a rich, dense, creamy, luxurious lather and i want the skin to feel clean but soft and not stripped after use. so far, all the formulations i’ve came up with makes my skin feel stripped and squeaky clean and the lather is weak and on the thinner side. the foam is fine but it’s just not nice and dense like how i want it. it didn’t thicken either but that’s another story

    this is latest formula i tried, adds up to 120g:

    water 51.3%, 61.56g
    sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate (iselux flakes) 12%, 15.6g (80% active matter)
    sodium methyl cocoyl taurate 3%, 3.6 g (70% active matter)
    cocamidopropyl betaine 10%, 12g (30% active matter)
    sodium cocoamphoacetate 7%, 8.4g (44% active matter)
    propanediol 1,3 5%, 6g
    glycerin 3%, 3.6g
    sodium chloride 2%, 2.4g
    citric acid around 1.1g, i just added until i got to pH 5 but i can’t remember exactly how much i added 😐
    sodium phytate 0.2%, 0.24g
    dermosoft 1388 eco 4%, 4.8g
    glyceryl caprylate 1%, 1.2g
    glyceryl oleate, 0.5%, 0.6g

    i’m aware that nothing foams as nicely as sulfates but i’m honestly shooting for a sulfate free formula.

    i added the glycerin, propanediol and glyceryl oleate because i thought they would help it feel less drying and harsh but they didn’t make any difference compared to the formulations i tried that didn’t include them.

    any advice to make this foam nicer and feel gentler?

    domicanica replied 3 years, 1 month ago 4 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • OldPerry

    April 29, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Glycerin and propanediol will like reduce foam, so take those out.
    You also have a very high % of surfactants. You could probably cut it in half.

    But is there a product on the market that uses the surfactants you are using and has a nice foam? You’ll want to compare yourself to that product, not to products that foam using sulfates.

    When you limit your choices, you have to limit your expectations.

  • domicanica

    April 29, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks @Perry. I honestly didn’t think that I had a high level of surfactants. I tried this based on a similar formulation from Innospec and it all adds up to 33% surfactants with ASM of 18% but I’ll go back and lower the surfactant amounts.

    I haven’t really seen anything that uses the exact surfactants I have or have access to unfortunately, but I keep seeing SM cocoyl taurate referred to as having a “dense creamy foam” so I really didn’t think it would be so hard to achieve the results I want 😐

  • OldPerry

    April 29, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    @domicanica - You have to understand raw material suppliers are in the business of getting you to use more of their product. You can’t always trust the ingredient levels they suggest because they have an incentive to make you use more than you actually need. 

    The first body wash formula I worked on had an AMS of around 10%. Not that it necessarily had great foam but it was accepted in the marketplace and was effective.

  • domicanica

    April 29, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    dropping gems as usual thank you @Perry . on that note, apart from judging off how my skin feels, and writing on my arm….how would i test the effectiveness of my products in terms of cleansing?

  • OldPerry

    April 29, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Well, the answer to that question is complicated because it depends on how you want to use the answer. It also depends on what you mean by the word “cleansing.” 

    Method 1 : If you want to know how your formula compares to another formula under controlled conditions, you first have to set up some model that simulates “dirty skin.” For this you need a substrate. This could be real skin of living human volunteers, cadaver skin, pig skin, plastic, etc.  You also need a mixture that simulates dirt. Most simple would be vegetable oil or some other shorter chain oil. You place the dirt on a defined section of the substrate, then follow some specific protocol for washing which keeps constant the amount of water, time rubbing, amount of product, water temperature, rinsing time, etc. Then you collect the rinse water and somehow measure the amount of oil that comes off. That gives you a measure of how effective your product is for cleaning.

    Of course, you have to repeat this a number of times and see how well you can reproduce the results, but that’s the idea.

    Remember that this is only a simulation of cleaning because real skin is dirty in different ways. Also actual skin varies from person to person.

    Method 2 : Now, if you just want to know how well people think your product cleans their skin, you give them your product, ask them to use it, and then rate how well they thought it worked. You can also give them a control product if you want to know how it compares to a specific formula.

    This doesn’t necessarily tell you how well the product cleans but it does tell you whether consumers think it cleans better than something else. And in terms of getting people to buy your product, it is probably the more useful information.

  • domicanica

    May 1, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    @Perry I took your advice and lowered amount of surfactants I was using and it feels a lot better. I really appreciate your advice, thanks a lot.

  • Graillotion

    May 2, 2021 at 12:44 am

    First I am clueless in the area of body wash.

    But I am a consumer…that has tried a number of sulphate free ones.  @Belassi reviewed one by OGX…and I agree (and use it now)…. a great sulphate free body wash

    Cosmetic Science Talk - Chemists Corner

    Cosmetic Science Talk - Chemists Corner

    My only point being….look at their INCI and see if you can clone it.

  • domicanica

    May 5, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Hi @Graillotion, this is good advice. The problem for me really just lies in figuring out which percentages/ratios I should be adding these ingredients in. I guess I’ll have to keep using trial and error until I figure something out.

    I do find it interesting that that OGX uses SCI in their body wash. As far as I’m aware it has poor water solubility which I assume is why all my formulations using it have ended up with sediment to the bottom….

  • ngarayeva001

    May 5, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    I am quite familiar with these surfactants. Sorry, don’t expect it to foam well. You can make it very mild and feeling nice though. There’s plenty of good advise above already, I would just add that it wouldn’t hurt to add some cationic polymer like poliquaternium 7, polyquaternium 10, cationic guar etc. Be careful with cationic silicones, they migh impact viscosity.

  • ngarayeva001

    May 5, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    re SCI in OGX, I am pretty sure the reason it works is that they use a tiny amount. Olefin Sulfonate is the primary surfactant in OGX.

  • domicanica

    May 7, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    @ngarayeva001thanks for commenting, cationic guar seems to be common so I’ll see if I can find some. What would you advise, to get a good foam? 

  • domicanica

    May 11, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Just wanted to come back and say that after taking Perry’s advice and lowering my surfactant amount and reducing the glycerin and propanediol I’m much more pleased with my product. Really appreciate the help guys!

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