Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Fragrancing Surfactant Based Systems

  • Fragrancing Surfactant Based Systems

    Posted by Anonymous on July 16, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Hi there, I am used to fragrancing surfactant systems (e.g. shampoo, body wash) with essential oils however wondered if there was any reason why alcohol based fragrances wouldn’t work.  could anyone explain possible incompatibilities?  I was talking with a colleague who mentioned that she thought the ‘carrier’ might affect the stability of the formulation however was unsure as to what was actually going on.

    Any help would be so greatly appreciated - I am used to simply adding ‘off the shelf’ fragrance blends and/or essential oils however a client recently asked me a similar question and to be honest I was unsure myself.

    Anonymous replied 10 years ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • OldPerry

    July 16, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Well, that depends on the composition of the fragrance.  Alcohol in the fragrance won’t really matter it should be compatible with most things.  But there could be some oils in the fragrance that are not compatible with the surfactants and could cause the formula to become cloudy.

    The fragrance could definitely affect the stability of the formula though.  It could oxidize and make things turn yellow or make them smell bad.  It is really specific to the combination of chemicals rather than any general rule.
  • DavidW

    July 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I am not aware of alcohol based fragrances if you are buying from fragrance manufacturers.  Depending on how much alcohol it can thin your shampoo and cut down on foaming.  I would just use your essential oils or “off the shelf” fragrance oils.  You will have to premix them with something most likely to make them soluble.  Don’t use to much oils or your system could end up thinning out over a few weeks time.

  • samf

    July 17, 2014 at 6:24 am

    I usually mix together 1 part Polysorbate 20 to 1 part EO’s and 0.1% Mixed Tocopherols then add it to the shampoo - never heard of buying eo’s diluted with alcohol - they’re usually diluted in alcohol when being formulated as a fragrance product.  I would not use eo’s for formulating purposes that were diluted with carrier oils (unless of course you’re using sandalwood or chamomile etc).

  • Anonymous

    July 17, 2014 at 9:31 am

    thank you for your comments - it’s a strange one but I am working on a hand wash for a restaurant and have been asked whether or not a number of their ‘food flavourings’ would work in such an application and the majority are alcohol based.  I was not prepared for this question, having always blindly added essential oils or “off the shelf” fragrance oils to provide scent to a formulation.

    I had a long think about this and thought that as alcohol is miscible with water it probably shouldn’t have an effect on the formulation - especially since the w/w% of alcohol based fragrance would be so low (under 1%)

    I am going to make a test batch and will let you know of the results.

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