Experiments in the workshop: Making a rose water & chamomile facial cleanser with other surfactants and Siligel

We made a lovely facial cleanser the other day with Miracare Soft 313 and Siligel. Let’s take a look at using other surfactants in this formula.

The key to using Siligel as your thickener for surfactants is to remember what you can’t use with it. You don’t want to go higher than 5% active anionic or amphoteric surfactants, which means we can’t use more than 5% active sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLeS), C14-16 olefin sulfonate, disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, and so on.

Related posts:

Surfactants section of the blog

Anionic, cationic, and non-ionic?

For this formula, I’m using foaming silk protein surfactant, which is an anionic or negatively charged mild surfactant that’s considered very gentle. The one I’m using is 31.5% active surfactant, so if I use 10% in my product, I’m using 3.15% anionic surfactant. To this, I added 5% cocamidopropyl betaine, an amphoteric surfactant that’s 30% active, giving me a total of 1.5% surfactant.

Many of these ingredients are the same as those we used yesterday, so I’ll refer you back there for more information on why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I did add 10% rose hydrosol to make it smell a little nicer, and I tried a new preservative, Euxyl PE 9010 (INCI: Phenoxyethanol (and) Ethylhexylglycerin), just for fun. It can be used at 0.5% to 1% and should be mixed with glycerin, propylene glycol, propanediol 1,3, or sorbitol, which you’ll see in this formula. (I’ll have more on this preservative shortly…) If you don’t have it, you can use 0.5% liquid Germall plus instead.

Oh, and I used liquid chamomile extract to reduce redness and reduce transepidermal water loss. If you have the powder, add it at 0.5% and add 4.5% distilled water to ensure the formula totals 100%.



40% distilled water

10% rose hydrosol or floral water

10% aloe vera liquid

5% Olivem 300 or another water soluble oil

5% chamomile extract (liquid) or 0.5% powdered extract

2% panthenol (powder or liquid)


5% glycerin

5% propanediol 1,3

1% Euxyl PE 9010


2% Siligel


10% foaming silk (=3.15%)

5% cocamidopropyl betaine (=1.5%)

Weigh everything in the other stuff phase into a container.

Weigh everything in the preservative phase together in a small container and mix until uniform, then add to the other stuff phase and mix until uniform. If you aren’t using this preservative, don’t bother making these a separate phase, just add it all into the other stuff phase and mix.

Sprinkle the Siligel over the liquids, then mix.

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.

I found it was really fluffy and poofy, as I noted in the previous formula, so I let it sit over night before adding the surfactants. You can let it sit or add them right away, if you like. In either case, add the surfactants, then mix with a fork until uniform.

Rejoice, for you are done!

What can you do if you don’t have Siligel? You could use another thickener like xanthan gum or Ritathix DOE. You can’t use salt or Crothix as neither will thicken this up. You could leave it quite liquid and turn it into a former bottle, as I’ve done so many many times (see the post below). Or you could join me for more ideas on thickeners over the coming weeks!

As a note, I’m writing a series on thickeners as we work through these new surfactants and you’ll see how Ritathix DOE and so many others works. I’ve been experimenting since September 2016 with these ingredients, and I’m way too excited about them

Related posts about using foaming proteins:

These are a few of my favourite things (formulas and more links)