Monday, November 28, 2011

Water-Dispersable Oil - No Kidding

This just sounds all wrong – water-dispersable sweet almond oil. Excuse me? Oil doesn't dissolve in water! Anyone who ever tried mixing a plain oil and vinegar dressing knows this – the oil beads up, swirls around, then floats to the top and sits there, glistening defiantly.

Unless...

There is an ingredient that can be added to transform oil into a water dispersable substance. The cool part is, it doesn't change the look, smell, feel or behavior of the oil – until you add water and see it rinse away as a milky-white liquid (leaving no oily residue). And if you've been reading this blog for a while, you aren't even a complete stranger to what this ingredient is.


Ta Daa! Meet Polysorbate 85
There are numerous non-ionic surfactants, but polysorbate 85 is the star of todays show. (one of these days I am going to apply for a job as an ingredients-namer. Why are they always so boring and unimaginative? Manufacturers seriously need some inspiration and fresh input).

To Refresh Your Memory...
Non-ionic surfactants are useful as emulsifiers. Adding one to a soapy-lathery formula will give the mixture body and keep everything from separating. Non-ionic surfactants are called non-ionic because they are neutral (neither positively nor negatively charged). I know you already knew all this from this earlier posting, but I thought I'd just refresh your memory.

With a Name Like That, it Might Be Bad For You
I realize the name sounds very chemical-like and a bit scary, but polysorbate 85 has undergone testing and you really have to work at it to make this ingredient cause a reaction.  If you apply a solution with 10% polysorbate directly on the upper arm of 15 healthy people, keep the area under a bandage (reapplying every day for 4 days), 11 of the 15 people will show minor skin irritation after 4 days. (Read the Effect of Polysorbate 85 on Human Skin here).

For the water-dispersable sweet almond oil I am using, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) describes the proportions as > 70% oil and < 30% polysorbate 85.

Am I worried? No, and Here's Why:

  • Because this oil is being used as a wash-off ingredient (in a body scrub)
  • Because I have used it for a few years (on my sensitive skin) with absolutely no reaction of any kind
  • I source this oil from a highly reputable supplier that I have dealt with for years – and they recommend using it undiluted as a massage oil base

LisaLise Products With Water Dispersable Oil
Himalayan Crystal Detoxifying Body Scrub, Himalayan Crystal Exfoliating Body Scrub

What Else Can you Use Water Dispersable Oil For?
Now there's a fun question! It's at the moment being tried out for infusing herbs (like, say, juniper berries) after which it can be added to a body scrub or massage oil. I have plans on trying it in a hair product and will follow up on that – promise!

23 comments:

Rikke said...

Very informative and interresting!

Kh Rikke

Lise M Andersen said...

Yay Rikke! You can comment again! :)

Louise said...

Aha! Funny you should bring this up, I just wondered what would do this the other day :)

Lise M Andersen said...

Louise, I believe you will find polysorbate 85 in many commercial 'face cleansing oils'. I've seen a few, and they behave exactly the same as 'my oil' when in they come into contact with water. I must go on a label-reading expedition and double check this!

Lola Zabeth said...

Great post, Lise! Learning a lot as I always at your blog. Of course I can't wait to hear how you use it in a hair care formula :)

Lise M Andersen said...

Thanks Lola. Hoping to work on that hair formula this coming week...

Anonymous said...

Omg! You've provided wonderful, clear, concise information on PS 85, when other sites waffle on with nothing but technical info - which is sooo not helpful!

Thank you so very much (even if this is an older post). I almost started pulling my hair out trying to find this info.

What a gem you are! :)

Gabrielle

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi Gabrielle,

Thank you sooooo much for your very kind words! I know exactly what you mean about trying to find out something specific and hitting a brick wall wherever you look. There are some ingredients I have been researching for years and still have had such limited luck with that I'm not able to blog about them - yet! That, however, doesn't stop me from my search! :)

Anonymous said...

I have been having dermatits issues with my hands for a couple of months now. Being a massagw therapist,if my hands were immersed in pure oil each day as they had been in the past,there should,by rights, be no dry patches on my hands. I am so annoyed that Ive paid for expensive water dispersable oil to make towel cleaning easier for my employers but have created a skin disorder for myself. Back to pure oil for me, going 100% coconut oil,this time I ha e done my research and know how good it is for everyones skin...

Lise M Andersen said...

HI Anon - this is a very interesting comment and I would love to hear some more details about it. You are the first person I have heard from experiencing problems from water-dispersible oils.

Could you let me know the exact ingredients of the product that has been causing this issue? (An ingredients list would be great, but you could also just take a pic of the ingredients list and mail it to me - my email is on the sidebar).

There are several surfactants used for this purpose. I'd like to see if we can't get to the bottom of this!

María Zamora said...

Hi Lise. I've been tempted to use polysorbate as a solubilizer (PS 80 or 20), but I skyways have concerns about it because it could be irritating. I was thinking in using it in micellar water or in a face toner to add a little amount of oil or essential oils.
For a rinsed product, OK, but what about a leave-on product as a toner, a serum, a gel...?

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi María - I have rarely used PS 20 or 80 in any leave-on products - and even though it is rare to see irritation from them it is a concern that can't be dismissed. Years ago I used PS20 in skin toners for a while and never had any irritation. I believe it was under 3% that I used (and the label read that 'up to 20%' could be added). I switched to hydrosols as the basis of my skin tonic ages ago and have never looked back, which has kind of left my use of polysorbates to rinse-off products.

The scents of hydrosols are absolutely divine and you are getting all the water-solubles from the plants. Have you ever tried them?

María Zamora said...

Oh, yes, I love them! I also like infusions (double filtered), but I was searching to make some kind of non-alcoholig eau de cologne, and I was searching for a solubilizer (I've searched in Aroma-Zone too, they are my main supplier, but with theirs, I need 4 times the quantity of solubilizer for the quantity of oils/EOs.
Do you have any other idea?

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi María - if you want to work non-alcoholic, have you considered a vinegar-base? This may work without any solubilizer - depending of course on the amount of essential oils you want to add. I haven't tried this myself, but I've seen it recommended to this who prefer an alcohol-free product.

María Zamora said...

Hi Lise.
First of all, sorry for the mistakes I have already seen in my previous posts, it seems the corrector on my mobile was playing jokes (LOL).
Well, concerning the vinegar-base products, yes, I've heard about them in some French blogs. Despite this idea to make extracts to use in creams is fine, i don't think it could work if you want to make a non-alcoholic eau de cologne due to the vinegar smell itself, that would be very strong (I'm thinking for example about the 4 thieves vinegar, in French "Vinaigre des 4 voleurs").
I was thinking about it to make cologne for my new born twins nephew and niece, but my sister could be very special for smells, so I think I have to leave this idea apart. But I think PS 20 or 80 could be a goo idea to make, for example, a "pillow mist" ("brume d'oreiller"): a mix of calming EOs as lavender, sweet orange, neroli, etc to spray on baby's pillow before it goes to sleep. The fragrance impregnated in the pillow fabric would help them to have a good sleep. I've tried something like that (without solubilizer, just shaking) using orange blossom flower hydrosol with a few drops of lavender and sweet orange for a friend of mine when she gave birth and she told me it seemed to work.
OMG, what a long post! Please excuse me, sometimes I don't realize people have their own life to live instead reading my über-long messages (LOL).
Cheers! :)

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi María - no need to apologize for typos! We all make them! I understand your concerns about working with vinegar as a base.

My best suggestion would then be to work entirely with hydrosols. You can make the most gorgeous and subtle blends and scents with them. Check under topics for hydrosols - I did a series about blending them and and how they work together - you might find it useful :)

María Zamora said...

Oh, yes, that option of course has been done :) I made a mix of lavender with orange blossom hydrosol that I found absolutely great, but she did not like it (LOL). But I don't care, I absolutely love working with hydrosols instead of just plain mineral water, they add that little extra and smell great :)

Thank you for all the time you take to read and answer all comment that us, poor hobby DIYers, send you periodically. They are really helpful for us :D

Lise M Andersen said...

María your comments and input are both interesting and inspiring and always welcome. :)

Anonymous said...

Louise, I've just come across your blog while searching for clay recipes. I just want to say that all that I've read in the last hour is fantastic. I've bookmarked the page and will be back. Thanks so much for sharing so much, including what doesn't work, which is so helpful.

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi Anon - so pleased to be of help! Thanks for your kind words.

SkinnyB*tch said...

Lise please tell us where we can purchase the tween 85? thank you:-)

SkinnyB*tch said...

where can we buy tween85

Lise M Andersen said...

Hey there SkinnyB•tch - try checking the sidebar under links for New directions. They are global and will probably have it. Best of luck :)