Liquid Shampoo - Thickener for Potassium Cocoate?

Suzita8Suzita8 Member
I make my own hair formulations using surfactants, etc., (I'm no expert, but I'm learning through an online course, which i need this resolved for) but my daughters like to use this one that is, basically, a soap (INCI potassium cocoate/glycerin). It has a ph of 5.5 and it's really quite lovely and has that typical yellowy-translucency. No need to even condition after it, it's super nice.

So a couple of questions on this topic:

I cannot reproduce this formulation as the website says they use "Magnesium Chloride" as their thickener, but I cannot find it for sale in Canada?? Is this the same magnesium chloride that is digestible/edible? When i do a search, i find only supplements. 

The only other ingredients after aqua, the potassium cocoate/glycerin and magnesium chloride, are 6 plant extracts, ACV (guessing at this point it would only be a touch of it) and scent.

Which leads me to preservation:

Since this is obviously a soap, BUT CONTAINS WATER + GLYCERIN, should it not contain a broad spectrum preservative? They're stating they use "pinus banksiana (pine) extract" as their preservative, and their products have a shelf life of 2 years?? How is this possible? And would the pinus bring down the pH that much to a 5.5??

It's a mystery I'm trying to resolve, as i work through my course to reproduce a product on the market so i can graduate! :)

Thank you for any thoughts and assistance!

Comments

  • Product sounds completely incorrect as there is no way to bring potassium cocoate to a pH of 5.5, it would split into a horrible mess of free fatty acids. You have actually measured the pH yourself?
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Hi @Belassi, I have measured it. Quite astounding, really. There are two such products on the market that i've seen. Still trying to understand how they accomplish this..?? Could it be the various extracts are lowering the pH??
  • Could it be the various extracts are lowering the pH??
    -- No. Sounds like it isn't actually potassium soap. Also, your consumer report indicated the same. Potassium cocoate is appalling, it dries out the skin, strips the oils, leaves hair in a bad state.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • @Belassi - sorry, i'm trying to post an actual screenshot of the ingredient list on the bottle, but it's not letting me :(

    These are the ingredients on the bottle:
    "Filtered Aqua, Potassium Cocoate (saponified cocos nucifera / coconut oil), Glycerin (vegetable), Pinus banksiana (pine) extract, Magnesium Chloride (Magnesium Oil) Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile) flower extract, Urtica dioca (nettle) leaf extract, Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) leaf extract, Trifolium pratense (clover) flower extract, Acetic acid (ACV), Curcubita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea) flower extract. 


  • svensven Member
    lots of extracts? Could it be a premade commercial mix?

  • I found it. Not exactly a large company. The worst thing is that whoever formulated it, has put in olive oil (dandruff food). It's just not possible to get potassium cocoate to pH 5.5 -- if you doubt this I encourage you to try it for yourself.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • that's interesting @Belassi, thank you for your input. I just don't understand how they can get the pH down so low then?? The shampoo is wonderful, really... but how is the thickener Magnesium Chloride used? I can't even find a source for it. Is it the same thing as the supplement?

    Interesting thought @sven, thank you for responding - i wonder if that's how they're making it, but how would they be using it to make this wonderful shampoo with 'soap' and at a low pH?? I'm confused :( 
  • Heaven only knows what's going on. They've got a salt, magnesium chloride, and an acid, acetic... I mean, do you see anyone else using these in shampoo?
    They're stating they use "pinus banksiana (pine) extract" as their preservative
    Best of luck with that! That extract is one of my stock items, I use it instead of EGCG (tea). I tested it several months ago to see if it could be a preservative. Hahahahaha! I made a 20% solution and left it in a closed half-full bottle. It grew fungus in about 10 days.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • ozgirlozgirl Member, PCF student
    This product is probably incorrectly labelled and if you have measured the pH at 5.5 then it does not contain potassium cocoate.

    My guess is that they started out with a product with those ingredients and a much higher pH and then changed the formula to make it a better product but have not changed the label.   
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @suzita8

    The MgCl is what is bringing the pH down.  MgCl in water is also know as Magnesium Oil since it has an oily feel and does add viscosity to water.  It has a native pH of 4.0.  Yes, the MgCl salt is the same as that used in supplements, so you can give that a try.

    As far as including Potassium Cocoate in this concoction, I agree with the other posters that at pH 5.5 it should reverse the saponification of the oils and the concoction would split into two layers.

    But, you never know until you try.

    Curious ... what color is the product and is it homogeneous?
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • That's what i was thinking too @MarkBroussard, and i will try it with the Magnesium Chloride! The product is actually quite beautiful, a clear homogenous emulsion (slightly yellowy like most shampoos that aren't conditioning i suppose). A "professional looking" shampoo. And leaves the hair quite amazingly soft, static-free and clean for 3 days without tangling. Very baffling...

    @ozgirl - i don't think so. I still have a couple of the bottles i purchased from them 3 years ago, and back then the ingredients list said "coconut oil", until they changed it to "potassium cocoate". So obviously someone made them change it to indicate it is saponified oil. 

    @Belassi - there are tons of "so-called-natural" formulations that i see using ACV as a conditioner and pH adjuster. It's terrible. Same as the use, or lack of, preservative. I mean, i'm the first one all-in for natural formulations, but as i mentioned in my very first post - using an extract as a preservative?? Even in natural formulation courses they teach you NOT to do that! 
  • I cut and pasted your ingredients list into my browser and found the product line this comes from.  I saw a listing for this product and nowhere did it say 5.5% pH but it did list 5.5% pH in the Argan oil product that they sell...
  • @David08848 no they do not list the pH, but i did run a pH test on it and it's actually closer to 5 than 5.5, but brings me back to the same question: How are they able to bring the pH down so much after using potassium cocoate? I'm guessing the extracts are doing that?? 
  • ozgirl said:
    This product is probably incorrectly labelled and if you have measured the pH at 5.5 then it does not contain potassium cocoate.

    My guess is that they started out with a product with those ingredients and a much higher pH and then changed the formula to make it a better product but have not changed the label.   

    This is what I am thinking as well.  Also, just using Coconut Oil alone would not be a choice I would make as it would be very harsh on the skin and scalp as well!
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    @Belassi that is interesting. What is the relationship between olive oil and dandruff? 
  • BelassiBelassi Member
    Olive oil is the food of choice for the yeast that causes dandruff.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • @Suzita8 did you test the pH with a test strip or a pH meter?

    I tested Dr. Bronner’s (also mostly Potassium Cocoate) with a test strip and I also got readings between 5 and 6. Then I tested it with a pH meter once I got one and pH was over 8 (as expected).

    Not sure about the exact science behind this huge difference, but the strips I had did mention that they work better with buffered solutions.
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