Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Advanced Questions Mould on moisturizer

  • Mould on moisturizer

    Posted by Noobie on August 30, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    Hello, I am not a formulator but learned a lot from this website and makingskincare, thank you all in advance! I was studying the ingredients of a product that I have not purchased but I was personally satisfied with the brand’s other products. No other product and the moisturizers I used had any such comments, but this particular product that I’m giving the ingredient list below had a few comments about mould growing rapidly after 1 week of opening the jar, both visibly dark green and smelly. However, after searching sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate on both websites, I could not understand why, since the preservative combo seems effective in theory. I acknowledge the open jar form to be contributing and “clean/natural beauty” ingredients functioning as bug food, but this product strikes me for spoiling even though they use the same preservative combo in their other hydrous products. Any ideas? Supposing there was no other factor such as contamination during the production, storing, or shipping, is this a preservative you would prefer with such ingredients?

    Aqua, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Persea Gratissima Oil, Squalane, Stearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hyaluronic Acid, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Panthenol, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Lecithin, Helichrysum Italicum Flower Oil, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate

    Thank you!

    Noobie replied 5 months, 3 weeks ago 6 Members · 13 Replies
  • 13 Replies
  • Richard

    Member
    August 31, 2023 at 12:22 am

    The two preservatives you mention should product against yeast/mould. But i certainly would not consider them effective for broad spectrum. Since the sodium acrylates copolymer is the “emulsifier” it has to be neutralised to around 6 or more. At this pH these will not offer much efficacy. I suggest you check the pH of the product. Also I am not sure what is being used to adjust the pH, but first check the pH and they may tell you something.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by  Richard.
  • fareloz

    Member
    August 31, 2023 at 5:54 am

    Preservation also depends on preservative content (how much it in?). pH. chelators. manufacturing condition (if contamination load is heavy in the facility - no preservative will handle this)

  • Noobie

    Member
    August 31, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Thank you so much @Richard and @fareloz ! I’m still waiting for an answer from the chemists of the brand, but I do not expect a sophisticated answer since they will want to counter the mould comments. Also the customer representative said that mould was likely a result of the customers’ hygiene, and that their products had an ideal pH of 5.5 although I am not sure how they achieved it since I am relying on theoretical assumptions with the lack of a professional pH tester. I see that sodium acrylates copolymer requires a pH of 6 or higher, but do you think the essential oils lowered the pH?

  • graillotion

    Member
    August 31, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    That preservative package would be called ‘sketchy’ at best, and would be entirely pH dependent. So lets look at the big picture:

    1) If you use sketchy preservatives…you must implement every hurdle in the book. Did they do this? ‘Ell No!

    2) Mold typically wants an iron ion to thrive…one of many reasons we use a chelate. Did they do this? ‘Ell No!

    3) The ‘preservatives’ mentioned are 100% pH dependent, and will essentially not show up for work, if the pH is above 5.5. Did they do this? ‘Ell no…there is no acid listed in the INCI..and the native pH of those ingredients will more than likely be above 5.5. See typical organic acid performance vs pH in attached.

    4) Bug food included. Is the bug food functional? ‘Ell no, so it really didn’t need to be in there. Did they enhance the preservation to account for the bug food? ‘Ell No!

    Where are the fundamental pieces of the hurdle approach? It appears as though this formula (actually lets go with ‘recipe’) was designed by a beginner. I would be disappointed…if it defied the laws of science… AND DID NOT MOLD! 🙂

    All in all….I’m not sure why they even made a formula like this. What is the point, even if it did not rot…what skin benefit would it have? This formula (or maybe better suited to the word….recipe) is pretty much on par with mommy blogger material!

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by  Graillotion.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by  Graillotion.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by  Graillotion.
    • Noobie

      Member
      August 31, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Now that was really helpful, especially about learning about the preservative function, thank you so much!

      • PhilGeis

        Member
        September 1, 2023 at 5:14 am

        To graillotion’s exce;lent post, I’ll add that metely adding prreservatives means little AND the comment that the problem was the consumers’ is absurd - the purpose of preservation is to protect the consumer during use.

        The product should be recalled. What brand is this?

        • Noobie

          Member
          September 1, 2023 at 9:19 am

          Thank you Dr. Phil! The brand is by no means international or domestically as popular, it is a brand named “Polente” in Turkey selling from both their own website and a storefront of an online shopping app. They sell under the claims of “natural, organic, clean” but different than other such brands, they don’t just sell oil and botanical extract mixtures, which draws customers that seek “dupes” of more expensive brands. For example, I saw many comments likening this to the Kiehl’s avocado eye cream but being significantly cheaper. This brand has the same preservative system and almost the same ingredients varying slightly in percentages, so those that like a facial moisturizer also mostly like the other version or the eye creams but the same might not go for dry oils, soaps, or botanical mists, bar shampoos and conditioners that they have. Since understanding the comments even with the auto-translator might be difficult, let me summarize them: Many comments of course preach the “clean ingredients” but since almost the entire industry promotes this, I think they mean clean AND cheap. Few of them address their skin-related issues for choosing natural products, but there is an equal part that addresses sensitivity upon use without attributing it to the essential oils and extracts. Personally, I knew better to not fall into fear mongering after following great cosmetic dermatologists and chemists like Dr. Idriss, Dr. Dray and LabMuffin but of course, budget was an issue and I did not have a skin concern leading me to choose this brand to begin with. I developed a critical eye of the marketed active ingredients after reading Dr. Perry’s comments as well but I think there are a few other people like me that also wanted panthenol, niacinamide etc. in one product in the form of a daily moisturizer, unlike LRP’s Cicaplast balm for example. These dermatologist and chemists also emphasized the preservative problems in the industry caused by fear mongering and cautioned against “no preservative” or “naturally preserved” products, and I believed this brand mostly used clean beauty for sales and still took care to preserve their hydrous products. I don’t think they were effected by the mould accusations at all and I am not sure how they would recall and substantially develop their new formulas. At this point, thanks to your insights and with the lack of an answer to my e-mail, I think it’s safe to say that they don’t conduct adequate tests and the products are not manufactured or formulated by at least good chemists. I think my question reflects the problems in the beauty industry today as you can suspect, even though this is a small brand. I am and will be mostly sticking with derm brands just to be safe from issues like this but your expertise also really helps to have a critical eye, so thank you.

          • Noobie

            Member
            September 1, 2023 at 11:35 am

            Not sure if a new post is necessary, but a Korean brand selling internationally also seems to me to have sketchy preservatives. A’pieu’s Ampoule has the following ingredients: Water, Centella Asiatica extract, glycerin, 1-2 hexanediol, beta-glucan, Madecassoside, ethylhexylglycerin. It is in a glass eye dropper bottle and again, I might be totally wrong, but I’ve read here that ethylhexylglycerin was not a preservative.

            • graillotion

              Member
              September 1, 2023 at 2:06 pm

              In the Korean example…they are using Hexanediol as the primary (cough, cough) and EHG as a potentiator. IMHO, that is not a prudent system (two potentiators does not equal one preservative… 😆 ), but someone caving to pressure from the eco-nuts. Don’t get me wrong….there is not a formula that goes out my door….that does not have both those ingredients….but to me….that is just two really good boosters.

              Unfortunately one of the big suppliers…is pushing Hexanediol….as a adequate preservation system. 😩

              • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  Graillotion.
            • graillotion

              Member
              September 1, 2023 at 2:12 pm

              ….NOTE: I do personally believe…. Hexanediol…is one of THE BEST potentiators of the many options. Love the stuff! (Peek at carbon chain length…if you want to know why it is better than some of the other glycols.)

            • Noobie

              Member
              September 1, 2023 at 2:21 pm

              Oh the thing about hexanediol is a great tip, thank you! I think suppliers pushing these “alternatives” make it really worse for formulators…

  • BathroomChemist

    Member
    August 31, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    Can you also tell me about the material of the container, whether it’s glass or plastic, and if plastic what type? Since you said it’s a jar, I’m assuming that it’s glass.

    • Noobie

      Member
      August 31, 2023 at 8:24 pm

      Yes it is a clear glass jar

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