Experiments in the workshop: Making a Miracare Soft 313 body wash thickened with Siligel

Last week, we met a new surfactant with which I’ve fallen in love – Miracare Soft 313. (INCI: Sodium cocoyl glycinate (and) disodium lauroamphoacetate (and) cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine (and) lauric acid). Today, let’s take a look at how to thicken it to create a lovely body wash or facial cleanser.

Surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLeS), can be thickened easily with salt or Crothix, but newer surfactants, like Miracare Soft 313 or sodium cocoyl glutamate, for example, can’t be. Trying to figure out what will thicken my products is one of the major reasons it takes me so long to share new surfactants with you. I have to create a product, then watch it over time to ensure it doesn’t separate or smell weird or morph in some strange way.

Siligel (INCI: Xanthan Gum (and) Lecithin (and) Sclerotium Gum (and) Pullulan) is an interesting thickener when it comes to surfactants as we can’t use more than 5% active anionic or negatively charged and amphoteric surfactants, meaning we have to calculate how much of each we have. With Miracare Soft 313 we have one anionic surfactant – sodium cocoyl glycinate – and two amphoterics – disodium lauroamphoacetate and cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine – which make up 33.5% to 35.5% of this surfactant blend. If we used 10% in our body wash, you’d have 3.35% to 3.55% active surfactants, which would be okay with Siligel. So I used 10% in this formula.

As an aside, you can use something like decyl glucoside at much higher levels as it’s a non-ionic surfactant, but it starts to smell weird after a while. I’ve been sharing my experiments with various thickeners with Jane Barber of Making Skincare and Christine Hwang, and they noticed this too. I used a lovely formula from Christine to make a decyl glucoside body wash with Siligel, and it looked awesome and was fine at first, but after about 8 weeks it had that weird smell. 

It can tolerate a ton of electrolytes – up to 20% – so I chose to use re-constituted 200x aloe vera at 10% as I like how it hydrates my skin and reduces irritation. You can use any liquid form of aloe vera here, but don’t use the gel as that’s thickened by a carbomer and might not play well with our thickener.

I’ve been adding a lot of humectants to my body washes lately as it’s been very dry and it need the extra hydration. In this formula, I’m using 3% glycerin and 3% propanediol, but you can choose any other combination you like. I made a version with 3% sorbitol I really liked, too.

If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you’ll notice I’m not using things like my beloved hydrolyzed proteins or cationic polymers. This is because Siligel can’t handle those ingredients. 

I think this product would be a great body or facial cleanser for those with dry or sensitive skin, although I really enjoyed it as someone who has oily skin. You’ll want to use a scrubbie poofy thing in the shower as it isn’t as foamy as you’d expect as there’s a low surfactant level, but it foams and lathers very nicely.

I fragranced it with Yuzu fragrance oil as it just screams “wake up!” to me in the morning, but you could use any fragrance or essential oil you like. And feel free to add a colour. Normally, I’d add a yellow or orange in something citrus-y, but I was testing this to see if the colour would change, so I left it out this time. Use a water soluble colourant like LabColours with body washes.

YUZU FRAGRANCED MIRACARE SOFT 313 BODY WASH WITH SILIGEL

EVERYTHING BUT SURFACTANTS PHASE

70% distilled water

10% aloe vera liquid

3% glycerin

3% propanediol 1,3

up to 1% fragrance or essential oil (optional)

0.5% liquid Germall Plus

2% Siligel

SURFACTANTS PHASE

10% Miracare Soft 313

pH ADJUSTING PHASE

0.38% 50/50 blend of citric acid and distilled water* or 0.19% citric acid powder

*Weigh 50 grams citric acid and 50 grams distilled water into a container, mix well, then bottle. We can use this to alter the pH to make it lower or more acidic. It’s much easier than trying to use the powder a pinch at a time.

Weigh everything but the surfactants phase into a container in order. Sprinkle the Siligel over the top of the container.

Mix for about 10 minutes using an immersion blender. I use a Minipro Mixer (from Lotioncrafter) or other small immersion blender. You need something that’s considered high shear, so you can’t use a hand mixer, you need a stick blender. This started to thicken for me after about 2 minutes, but I kept going to 10 minutes.

Add the Miracare Soft 313, then mix with a fork until uniform.

Test the pH of the product. My initial pH was 7.9. I diluted the product – 10 grams of the product with 90 grams of water – and altered it until I reached a decent pH. It took 0.38% 50/50 blend citric acid with distilled water to get it to pH 4.87. It could be a little higher, but I’m happy with this, so I’m done now.

This can take up to 24 hours to reach its final viscosity, so don’t panic if it isn’t thick enough when you’re formulating.

I really like this formula for these drier months. It doesn’t make my skin feel all tight and dry, which is always awesome, and it has a nice lather and foam to it. I have been using it as a facial cleanser, and there are a few modifications I’ve made to it, like adding a powdered extract or two, and lowering the surfactant amount to make it rinse off easier.

Why am I telling you about this? I should show you! Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with Miracare Soft 313!