Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Shaving Cream improvements - I’m all ears!

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  • Shaving Cream improvements - I’m all ears!

    Posted by david08848 on June 23, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Folks,
    I’ve gotten enough feedback from customers that I want to take another look at my shaving cream formulation and see if I can make some improvements!  If you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them!

    Ingredients:
    Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin,
    Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, fragrance, Triethanolamine, Sodium
    Hydroxide, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA

    Firstly, I want to change from Coconut Oil to Coconut Fatty Acids in the near future.

    Secondly, I am reevaluating the amount of glycerin - I’ve researched and found numbers between 5-15%.  I’m currently at 5%.  Any suggestions or observations?  My formula needs to be more slick and have more cushion.  I wish I had a copy of Harry’s Cosmeticology, 7th Edition Chapter 12 on Shaving - I’ll keep looking as I read it was a great source!

    Thirdly, I’m using a KitchenAid mixer with a hook.  The wire beater adds air - not a good thing but the hook doesn’t always homogenize well enough.  Any suggestions for better equipment that isn’t too expensive?

    Fourthly, I am using a single phase - oils heated to 160 degrees- water phase added - stirred until water is incorporated in about 10 minutes - covered and let rest for 24 hours.  Would a two phase be more beneficial for this product?

    Fifthly, should I be letting the mixture settle and “rest” for a few days before homogenization rather than doing it the next day?

    Sixthly, I am currently leaving 5% of the oils unsaponified (superfatting) but found a book suggesting only 3.5%.  Any suggestions?

    Seventhly, my current formula sometimes turns out to be too pasty.   Several old formulas have the water phase and the oil phase at the same amount - 45% in some formulas.  Any suggestions?

    Just as an example here’s a formula that was posted here on this board a couple of years ago and it is amazingly quite similar to mine:

    (A)

    Stearic acid =                        30.00%

    Coconut oil =                        10.00%

    Palm Oil =                             5.00%

    (B)

    Caustic potash =                  7.00%

    Soda caustic =                      1.50%

    Glycerin =                             10.00%

    water =                                  36.50%

    I’m 61 years old, I have worked as hard as I possible can on this project and I want it to be the best that it can be!  I must succeed with this so any help and assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you for your time and attention to this!

    david08848 replied 3 days, 12 hours ago 8 Members · 62 Replies
  • 62 Replies
  • baylee

    Member
    June 23, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Sorry I can’t help you; I’ve only delved in shaving soap (solid). It used alot of castor oil, the lather was dense and amazing, but very sticky feeling, even after 2 months cure.

  • david08848

    Member
    June 23, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Baylee, Castor Oil has Ricinoleic Acid which makes a very water-soluble soap which is why it can “assist” other oils to lather better but it produces large bubbles not tiny bubbles which are the kind that a shaving soap needs and it also dissolves very quickly compared to other soaps.  However, it is a great oil for liquid soap!

  • david08848

    Member
    June 23, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    I took the above formula posted and did an analysis of the lye percentages:

                
    Oil

    Percent

    SAP Value

    Quantity

    Coconut Oil

    22.22%

    256.5

    10 oz

    Palm Oil

    11.11%

    199.5

    5 oz

    Stearic Acid

    66.67%

    208

    30 oz

    Total:

    45 oz

    Lye and Water

    Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) 16.66%

    Discount

    NaOH

    Water

    0 %

    1.188 oz

    2.4 oz
       (range: 1.2 to 3.6 oz)

    1 %

    1.176 oz

    2.4 oz
       (range: 1.2 to 3.5 oz)

    2 %

    1.164 oz

    2.3 oz
       (range: 1.2 to 3.5 oz)

    3 %

    1.153 oz

    2.3 oz
       (range: 1.2 to 3.5 oz)

    4 %

    1.141 oz

    2.3 oz
       (range: 1.1 to 3.4 oz)

    5 %

    1.129 oz

    2.3 oz
       (range: 1.1 to 3.4 oz)

    6 %

    1.117 oz

    2.2 oz
       (range: 1.1 to 3.4 oz)

    7 %

    1.105 oz

    2.2 oz
       (range: 1.1 to 3.3 oz)

    8 %

    1.093 oz

    2.2 oz
       (range: 1.1 to 3.3 oz)

    9 %

    1.081 oz

    2.2 oz
       (range: 1.1 to 3.2 oz)

    10 %

    1.069 oz

    2.1 oz
       (range: 1.1 to 3.2 oz)

    Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) 83.34%

    Discount

    KOH

    Water

    0 %

    8.136 oz

    16.3
    oz   (range: 8.1 to 24.4 oz)

    1 %

    8.055 oz

    16.1
    oz   (range: 8.1 to 24.2 oz)

    2 %

    7.973 oz

    15.9
    oz   (range: 8.0 to 23.9 oz)

    3 %

    7.892 oz

    15.8
    oz   (range: 7.9 to 23.7 oz)

    4 %

    7.811 oz

    15.6
    oz   (range: 7.8 to 23.4 oz)

    5 %

    7.729 oz

    15.5
    oz   (range: 7.7 to 23.2 oz)

    6 %

    7.648 oz

    15.3
    oz   (range: 7.6 to 22.9 oz)

    7 %

    7.567 oz

    15.1
    oz   (range: 7.6 to 22.7 oz)

    8 %

    7.485 oz

    15.0
    oz   (range: 7.5 to 22.5 oz)

    9 %

    7.404 oz

    14.8
    oz   (range: 7.4 to 22.2 oz)

    10 %

    7.322 oz

    14.6
    oz   (range: 7.3 to 22.0 oz)

    So going over the figures it would seem that it would work out to an 8% lye discount, which is higher than I expected but that may allow some of  the Stearic Acid to not saponify and to produce a soap that is creamier?

  • oldperry

    Member
    June 23, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    You’ve asked a lot of questions here. I’ll answer one at the moment.

    Thirdly, I’m using a KitchenAid mixer with a hook. The wire beater adds air - not a good thing but the hook doesn’t always homogenize well enough. Any suggestions for better equipment that isn’t too expensive?

    You should use a center stir mixer. See some options in this discussion

    Also, see this blog post about lab mixers.

  • david08848

    Member
    June 24, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Thanks, Perry!  I’ll look through all of those great options!  Anything is better than what I am using now!  I just have to be careful of aeration!

    I’ll keep researching and see if I can answer any of my own questions but if anyone has anything to add, that will be great.  I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it and I appreciate it when it comes my way!  Thanks, Perry!

  • david08848

    Member
    June 24, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Perry,

    I have this Waring WSB50 12″ Big
    Stik Variable Speed Heavy-Duty Immersion Blender - 120V which I have used before for handcrafted soap but it might be OK with this if I am careful not to get air into the batch.  My concern would be the homogenization phase the next day but if the batches are homogenized properly the first day it might be easier.  I’ll still check out the links and see what I find.

    Thanks!

  • markbroussard

    Member
    June 25, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    @David08848:

    I also really enjoy working on these old-style Shaving Creams and have one I am going to commercialize that I use religiously, along with a companion after-shave Face Oil … they’re such a delight to use and give you such a great shave.

    My formula is about 60% Water Phase to 40% Lipids Phase (Oils + Fatty Acids).  Yes, increasing your Glycerin to 10% or so will enhance your cushion and glide.  I see no good reason why you are waiting 24 hours to emulsify.

    Yes, you do want to leave some of the Stearic & Myristic Acid unsaponified … it will improve the skin sensorial.

    As @Baylee mentioned, I also use Castor Oil in my formulation, but I am not producing a cream that really “soaps” … it is a true cream that I supplement with non-foaming surfactant … Heptyl Glucoside.

    It sounds like you’re almost there with just a few tweaks.  

  • markbroussard

    Member
    June 25, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    One other point … if you’re going to switch from Coconut Oil to Coconut Acid, you might want to increase the glycerin you add in to 15% since your not going to yield any glycerin from the saponification of coconut oil, so you’ll need to compensate for that.

  • david08848

    Member
    June 26, 2017 at 12:38 am

    Mark,

    Thanks for your input!  I know I put out many questions but sometimes that helps to put things into perspective for me!  I needed more ‘cushion and glide’ and more ‘liquidity’ to the formula and better “homogenization” to the formula.  One of the questions was which set of ingredients or single ingredient needed to be changed or the ratios of all the ingredients need to be in better balance.  Another was whether I needed to adjust my manufacturing techniques. Yet another was whether I needed to try doing this in phases.  Then there is the unsaponified percentage and whether the amount should be higher or lower to create a more “liquid” end result. Yes, these are many questions for a formula that contains only 11 ingredients but if the balance isn’t just right then it isn’t going to give the best results!

    I hand stir the batch when the water phase is poured into the heated oil and stir constantly for up to 10 minutes so that all the water is absorbed and consistent in texture.  Then cover and wait 24 hours to homogenize.  Evaporation takes place inside the covered plastic bucket and the water clings to the upper part of the bucket and the lid and that is when weigh then I add the percentage H2O that has evaporated as well as preservative and the fragrance.  That is why it is done at that time.

    So far:
    A.  I think I need to mix the batch with a hand mixer from the beginning.
    B.  I tried a batch with 10% glycerin and what a big difference it made in the consistency and the texture!  (need to shave with it next!) (I may not need that much but I will see in time!)
     
    I went through six formulas that I had collected but I hadn’t analyzed them or put them though a lye calculator but now I decided it was time!  2 were mine and the rest sample formulations from books - I posted one above. I found some similarities and some dissimilarities between them all but it did help and I am still unsure exactly where I am going with this but at least have eliminated some of my own questions and I am closer to where I need to be!

  • markbroussard

    Member
    June 26, 2017 at 12:54 am

    @David08848:

    The one thing you have not done is provide your formula in any of these posts along with the % (w/w) of each of your ingredients.  Without that, it is difficult to offer you more specific advice.

    But, yes, you should prepare your water phase and oil phase separately, heat each to 70C, combine the two heated phases and homogenize immediately to form your emulsion.

    If you stick with Coconut Oil and you’re happy with the 10% Glycerin, then it sounds like you’re good on cushion/glide.  If you switch to Coconut Acid, then increase the Glycerin to 15%.

    If your cream is too thick … perhaps you are adding too much Stearic Acid and Myristic Acid and you need to cut back on that some.  As I said earlier, w/o knowing your % (w/w) of your ingredients, not possible to advise you on that.

  • david08848

    Member
    June 26, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Mark,

    I fully understand what you are saying but this is a public forum and accessible by anyone and everyone.  I’ve been coming to boards like this since 1998 and never posted a formula of mine publicly.  I realize that I am not going to get more specific answers but am really looking for general knowledge and information that will allow me to decide whether it is worth going down one of the alleys I mentioned.

    I follow typical Cosmetic Chemistry procedures and heat my oil phase to 160 degrees, add my bases to my water and measure the temp of both phases until they are both at 160 degrees F then add my water phase to my oil phase and homogenize until the emulsion forms.  But since this is a soap based formula, a gooey paste forms soon into the procedure and water separates out and has to be stirred in until a solid paste forms with no water.  Evaporation occurs during this part of the phase and continues after even though the paste is then placed under a lid.  That water from that evaporation must be replaced and re-homogenized so that each batch is consistent and it is better to take care of it when the batch had cooled to the proper temperatures for your preservative and it is always better to put your fragrances in at that time as well.

    I am totally aware that fatty acids do not have glycerin and that I would have to add more to my formula to make that change and that’s not an issue with me.  Finding Coconut Fatty Acids at a good price is!  :)

    I’m happy with the relationship between my three oil phase ingredients and the glycerin has certainly helped with the pastiness but I am thinking about the possibility of increasing the water phase.  The only other issue would be increasing the unsaponified oil percentage.  Several formulas I ran through the SAP calculators today seemed to be in the 3-4% yet others were at 10% and one was actually at 0%!  I saw mention in one book about making the formula with some unsaponified ingredients would allow the Stearic Acid to make it more liquid.  I wanted to see if that was the case.

    Thanks Mark for your input and answers, thank to everyone for reading through my long-winded responses :) and I’d be happy to hear from anyone with their observations!

  • markbroussard

    Member
    June 26, 2017 at 2:24 am

    @David08848:

    If your formulation is forming a gooey paste as you describe when you homogenize … that is typical when homogenizing soaping emulsifiers.  But, if it is that gooey/pasty then I think your issue is that you have too much Stearic Acid and Myristic Acid and not enough water.

  • david08848

    Member
    June 26, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Mark, I just did a check on one formula I hadn’t rechecked with the others and I know see what’s happening!  I think you’re right about there being an imbalance of phases!  I’ve played with these numbers so many times…  I’ll check it out more thoroughly tomorrow but I think I’m getting even closer!

  • david08848

    Member
    June 27, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Stayed up too late last evening when I discovered some things I needed to look into!  The one test batch I had made had some incorrect numbers in the formula and it turned out to have 0% lye discount!  That’s why it was so pasty!  I decided to go though several of the most important formulas I had collected and put them all though a Lye Calculator from the Soap Guild (of which I am a member - I just paid my dues for another year today!) and was able to recheck all of the SAP values for the formulas but also the ratio of KOH to NaOH which proved to be quite interesting!  Today I decided to write up several formulas for potential changes in the ingredients percentages and I then ran them all through the Lye Calculator and was able to better see the relationships between each phase and the percentages of each which made it much easier to compare!  As a result, I was able to narrow it down to two formulas which I think will work better.  The oil phase was definitely too high, Mark, and I adjusted all of them, recalculated the lye amounts which also proved to be quite interesting and then was able to clearly see the relationship between the oils, the lye and the water!  The glycerin turned out to be something that I can adjust as it is part of the water phase but not as essential as the other aspects of the formula but I do know what it can do to help and will deal with it when the time comes.  One thing I found interesting was the resultant lye percentages! Such a tiny difference in the NaOH percentages from 0% to 10%!

    Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) 16.66%

    Discount         NaOH Water

    0 %      1.100 oz           2.2 oz    (range: 1.1 to 3.3 oz)

    1 %       1.089 oz          2.2 oz    (range: 1.1 to 3.3 oz)

    2 %      1.078 oz          2.2 oz    (range: 1.1 to 3.2 oz)

    3 %      1.067 oz          2.1 oz    (range: 1.1 to 3.2 oz)

    4 %      1.056 oz          2.1 oz    (range: 1.1 to 3.2 oz)

    5 %      1.045 oz          2.1 oz    (range: 1.0 to 3.1 oz)

    6 %      1.034 oz          2.1 oz    (range: 1.0 to 3.1 oz)

    7 %      1.023 oz           2.0 oz    (range: 1.0 to 3.1 oz)

    8 %      1.012 oz           2.0 oz    (range: 1.0 to 3.0 oz)

    9 %      1.001 oz           2.0 oz    (range: 1.0 to 3.0 oz)

    10 %    0.990 oz         2.0 oz    (range: 1.0 to 3.0 oz)

     

    Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) 83.34%

    Discount         KOH    Water

    0 %      7.532 oz          15.1 oz   (range: 7.5 to 22.6 oz)

    1 %       7.456 oz          14.9 oz   (range: 7.5 to 22.4 oz)

    2 %      7.381 oz           14.8 oz   (range: 7.4 to 22.1 oz)

    3 %      7.306 oz          14.6 oz   (range: 7.3 to 21.9 oz)

    4 %      7.230 oz          14.5 oz   (range: 7.2 to 21.7 oz)

    5 %      7.155 oz           14.3 oz   (range: 7.2 to 21.5 oz)

    6 %      7.080 oz          14.2 oz   (range: 7.1 to 21.2 oz)

    7 %      7.004 oz          14.0 oz   (range: 7.0 to 21.0 oz)

    8 %      6.929 oz          13.9 oz   (range: 6.9 to 20.8 oz)

    9 %      6.854 oz          13.7 oz   (range: 6.9 to 20.6 oz)

    10 %    6.778 oz          13.6 oz   (range: 6.8 to 20.3 oz)

     

  • david08848

    Member
    June 29, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    It’s been an interesting week with lots more research, analyzing as many
    formulas as I could find and notating the differences!  I upped my
    water percentage, lowered my oil phase and got more accurate numbers on
    my lye calculations, added a larger percentage of glycerin and wrote out four formulas accordingly.  It was much easier to see the differences and
    understand where I needed to go with this project after looking at all four formulas and I selected one and made it this afternoon.

    The
    saponification of an oil phase that’s mostly fatty acids occurs very
    quickly even with a larger water phase.  This type of formulation is one
    where a gooey paste forms very quickly and doesn’t benefit from using a
    mixer in the initial stage.  In 24 hours or less the consistency will
    become looser and will benefit from homogenization which includes the
    evaporated water, the preservative and the fragrance.  If let to sit for
    a while, pearlescence will increase and even if it is put into the
    packaging at this point, it will occur there.

    Here is a photo of the batch I talked about doing the other week on the 15th! 

    I am hoping that the batch I did today will come out as well as this one did!

  • belassi

    Member
    June 29, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Looks good!

  • david08848

    Member
    July 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks Belassi!
    I tried a batch with 8% glycerin to see how much it differs figuring what when I homogenize on the second day I have the choice of either adding back the evaporated water (which is usually somewhere around 2%) or I could add glycerin instead to bring it up to 10% if that’s what it needs!  It doesn’t seem that much different but it takes time for this kind of formula to reach a smooth, pearlescent state. 

    The main point, though, is that I am pretty much where I need to be with this formula, which is great!  Thanks again to everyone who offered advice and assistance!  I’m going to try some new scents with these new batches of the new formulation then go back and redo the best selling ones out of the rest of the fragrances I offer!  Hopefully the reception will be good!  This is an amazingly tough crowd to deal with!  Wish me luck!

  • david08848

    Member
    July 10, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Well, I’m not there yet!  I have done some experimental batches but still come up with a product that is too firm and stiff!  I have been doing a ton of research and did find a few more formulas but only a couple with Stearic, Myristic and Coconut Fatty Acids!  Formulas with Myristic Acid are very difficult to find even though it is a standard for all the “British Shaving Creams” that are available.  I took a Flick formula that was done in two stages and included SLS and rewrote it as a one stage formula:

    Flick Formula:
    Shaving Cream

    Oil Phase:                           36.4% OILS

    20.40%                                  Stearic Acid              

    10.20%                                   Myristic Acid                       

    5.80%                                     Coconut
    Fatty Acid

    Water Phase:                     46.2%  H2O

    0.35%                                     NaOH

    6.8%                                       KOH

    .95%                                        Triethanolamine

    46.2%                                     H2O

    5.4%                                        PEG-400
    – glycerin sub?

    2.7%                                        SLS

    .20                                          Menthol

    1.00%                                     fragrance

    100%                                                             

     10% water loss

    The numbers aren’t too bad, the Stearic is a bit lower than I usually see but what is odd is that they account for “10% water loss” which I have never seen before and if I compare the oil and water amounts minus the “10% water loss” then they are about equal which is what I have seen suggested in many books.  Oh, Harry’s Cosmeticology, 7th Edition - Shaving Preparations… where are you?  Still looking for that…

    Any suggestions or observations?

  • belassi

    Member
    July 10, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    I have Harry’s 8th Edition part 1 and 2 but there is not a lot on shaving. I see that Perry is a contributor. I found this:

    Formula 25.1 Shaving Cream

    Oil phase        %w/w
    Mineral oil and lanolin alcohol 5.0
    Cetyl acetate and acetylated lanolin alcohol 2.0
    Polysorbate 80 and cetyl acetate and acetylated 0.5 lanolin alcohol
    Stearic acid 10.0

    Water phase
    TEA 1.2
    Glycerin 4.0
    Water 77.3
    Fragrance/preservative q.s

  • belassi

    Member
    July 10, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Sent you a PM

  • belassi

    Member
    July 11, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Have you read pages 505-508 in the 8th Ed., “Shaving Preparations”? There’s a ton of very useful info there. EG Quaternary ammonium compounds and cationic guar gums are excellent choices for inclusion. They leave the post-shaven skin feeling conditioned, not taut, and create creamy luxurious foams. The mechanism by which quaternary ammonium compounds work is electrostatic attraction. The positively charged ammonium group reacts with the negatively charged sites on the skin. The hydrophobic portion of such agents acts to reduce the friction between the shaving hardware and the skin. Among this list, the following can be selected: polyquaternium-7, polyquaternium-39, polyquaternium-24, poly quaternium-10 plus poly quaternium39. 

  • david08848

    Member
    July 11, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Thanks Belassi!  I saw reference to some of that actually here on a post a while ago which was why I was interested but I haven’t read it yet.  I am really looking for older formulas for this very specific type of product so that pretty much means I would be looking in books from the 1930’s, 40’s and possibly the 50’s and 60’s.  More often than not they are in Cosmetic Chemistry books rather than soap making books and contain the very limited list of ingredients that I posted earlier.

  • david08848

    Member
    July 11, 2017 at 1:10 am

    So I decided that the best thing for me to do was to set up my last five batches on my big stainless steel table in my workroom which is in the back of our building that holds our retail store.  I took notes, wrote down my observations of what they looked like, felt like and behaved and weighed every batch.  I also listed the differences in the formulas which made it easier to come up with ideas of what was happening.  I homogenized the very last batch I made which was quite “stiff” and added the water but it still remained quite stiff!  In looking at my formulas I found that I had upped the TEA from 0.5% to 1.0% because I had read that it helped to make “creamier” lather.  What they didn’t say was it could make the cream “stiffer”.  I noted that in other past batches they same thing happened and they had the 1.0% rather than in 0.5%!  Bingo!  The light went on!  So it seems that is one of the problems.  Also, this last batch I did in “phases” by adding small amounts of the
    water/lye solution and stirring in between.  It made a much smoother
    product even though it was still too stiff!

    The other issue is “superfatting” as they refer to it now.  One batch, the picture of which I posted, came out very well but turned out to have a “zero superfat” because of some math errors which I finally figured out last weekend.  I had read that “superfatting” actually helped the soap-based cream be more smooth and pearlescent but this batch seemed fine in those respects so I need to figure that out then also decide if I need to lower the oil phase slightly again and the lye as well so that I can up the water percentage!  It’s been a great deal of work but I now seem to be getting somewhere!

  • david08848

    Member
    July 11, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    So I decided to take this Flick formulation and try and calculate the rest of the ingredients with the 10% of the “water loss” removed to figure out what the actual ingredients percentages of each ingredients are.  I downloaded Perry’s Excel Formula Template and entered all the numbers then tried to recalculate the rest of the formula ingredients in their actual higher percentages but I seem to not understand the relationship:

    Flick Formula:
    Shaving Cream

    Oil Phase:                           36.4% OILS

    20.40%                                  Stearic Acid              

    10.20%                                   Myristic Acid                       

    5.80%                                     Coconut
    Fatty Acid

    Water Phase:                     46.2%  H2O

    0.35%                                     NaOH

    6.8%                                       KOH

    .95%                                        Triethanolamine

    46.2%                                     H2O

    5.4%                                        PEG-400
    – glycerin sub?

    2.7%                                        SLS

    .20                                          Menthol

    1.00%                                     fragrance

    100%                                                             

     10% water loss

    After calculating each ingredient to be 10% higher and lowering the H2O from 46.2 to 36.2 I am coming up with over 105% for my formula!  What am I doing wrong?

  • belassi

    Member
    July 11, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    You can’t do the Math like that and expect it to come out right. Excel is the best tool for this sort of thing. You set up the water cell as (100 - %total of other ingredients)
    Then if you want to raise the rest by 10% you simply do so, eg set up a cell called “adjust” and then the required water will be recalculated automatically.

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