Weekday Wonderings: Is MCT the same as PEG-6 caprylic/capric triglycerides? Can I add things to aloe vera gel? Using SCI in liquid products?

I haven’t been answering many comments you’ve been leaving on this new blog because I feel that when I enter a conversation, it stops, and that’s no fun. But I wanted to return to the idea of doing the Weekend Wonderings based on your questions and comments, as well as highlight some of the cool conversations going on around here!

In this post, (Patreon) PEG-6 caprylic/capric triglycerides , Dianne asked: So I started hunting for this ingredient at New Directions in Sydney and I didn’t get any reference to PEG-6 caprylic/capric triglycerides however it took me straight to MCT Oil. Is this the same thing? If so, easy peasy as I have that in my pantry.

The short answer is – no, they aren’t the same thing. The longer answer? Although they have a similar INCI or International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredient names, they aren’t the same. The PEG part in front of the name is an important piece of the puzzle.

From this post: PEG stands for polyethylene glycols or ethylene glycols, which are esters that have undergone a reaction with polyethylene glycol to create an ester that is water soluble and might behave as an emulsifier. Surfactants have a hydrophilic (water loving) head and a lipophilic (oil loving) tail, which means they can help emulsify themselves or other oil based ingredients we might want to include in our water based products.

In other words, that PEG part means that something has been turned into a surfactant, or something that can emulsify other things. We used PEG-6 caprylic/capric triglycerides as the solubilizer for the oils on our skin and other things in this (Patreon) rose water micellar water. as it’s a solubilizer. If we used caprylic/capric triglycerides – better known as medium chain triglycerides or MCT, possibly fractionated coconut oil – we would just have an oil floating on the top of the micellar water. (We will see more about this when we get to bi-phasic make-up removers!)

Related posts:

What’s an INCI name?

Reading INCI names

Substitutions: Reading INCI names

In this post, What kind of aloe vera do I use in my formulas?, Nadia asks: I recently bought an aloe vera gel of the type you describe above-has a carbomer some glycerin and preservatives -to play with. Could I use this as a “base” and also use some hyaluronic acid gell as well as some other botanicals and or/water soluble actives? I want to make an under eye gel without oil as it causes little bumps on my skin there. I know I would need to add extra preservative but as there is no oil I wouldn’t need an emulsifier right?

Yes, you can use a gel like this as the base of something awesome, adding all kinds of water soluble things, like hyaluronic acid, botanicals, and cosmeceuticals. You can make silly things with it, too, like this glitter gel I love so much (link to part 4 on Patreon). And you will want to add some preservative to the mix, too. No emulsifier is required as the gel is water soluble and your ingredients are water soluble!

As for adding oils – you may be able to add oil depending on the type of carbomer. Most of them can handle a titch of oil – I’ve used 5% with Ultrez 20 – and some can handle a lot, like Sepinov EMT 10 and Sepimax ZEN.

In this post, Creating a foaming facial cleanser, Karrye asked: I’ve formulated a recipe similar to this, but it keep separating. It doesn’t separate all the time but after a day or two it does most of the time. Should I be adding an emulsifier? I just can’t figure out why this recipe won’t stay together.

70% water
3% glycerin
3% PEG 7
5% SCI
15% Cocamidopropyl betaine
2.5 panthenol
1% colloidal oats
.5 white willow extract
.5 germall plus

Here’s the problem – sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) isn’t very water soluble. Some versions are more water soluble than others – for instance, the powder’s a better choice than the noodles – but it’s still a pain to incorporate it into a liquid product. It will appear to be separating as it starts to solidify again, the way you see in the picture above. (That was a batch that contained noodles, which are super hard to incorporate.)

Please see this post for more information:  Using powders like SCI or SLSa in liquid products.

Related posts:

How to melt SCI in a double boiler?

How do I melt SCI?

Surfactants: SCI – a comparison

Working SCI – noodles, flakes and prills