Experimenting with Ecogel
I have used Ecogel to stabilise my natural creams in the past and I have been impressed by the skin feel and how it functioned as a stabiliser. I also worked with it as a stand alone emulsifier and at the time I think it had separated and I was not sure about the skin feel. I gave up on it sadly, however after having a chat with the guys over at Infinity Ingredients I decided to have another go at formulating with it. So what is Ecogel exactly? Lucas Meyer say '
'Ecogel™ is the first natural gelling-emulsifying agent able to create light gel-creams. Ecogel™ is a patented optimized combination of natural origin ingredients derived from a sustainable green process: lysophospholipids, xanthan gum, sclerotium gum and pullulan. Ecogel™ is a polyvalent easy-to-use 3-in-1 lab partner thickening, stabilizing and emulsifying agent, highly compatible with electrolytes and surfactants. Its silicone-like feel offers innovative sensorial solutions to formulators.''
Ecogels INCI is Lysolecithin (and) Sclerotium gum (and) Xanthan gum (and) Pullulan It has thickening properties thanks to the synergy between xanthan and sclerotium gums. The emulsification comes from the lysolecithin and provides a high HLB which creates fine oil droplets and a more stable emulsion. According to the data sheet it has the following qualities
Ecogel™ is stable within a wide range of pH, from 3 to 10.
Ecogel™ supports high quantity of electrolytes (up to 2%).
Ecogel™ is compatible with surfactants. It is particularly interesting for a use in shampoos and shower gels since it increases viscosity and improves sensorial properties.
Ecogel™ is compatible with most preservatives and additives.
So how does one work with Ecogel?
DOSAGE AND APPLICATIONS
>0.3%: Skin feel enhance
>1%: Stabilizer and viscosity adjuster for all kind of emulsion
>1.5-2%: Main gelling and emulsifying agent for gel-creams.
Ecogel needs to first be dispersed in the water phase and heated to 70-75c for around 20 minutes and stirred to allow for proper hydration.
If there is an oil phase this needs to be heated to a similar temperature and added after the period of hydration at which point high shear or rapid stirring needs to happen for approximately 3-4 minutes and then it needs moderate stirring whilst it is cooling. However, this is not always possible when hand crafting skincare. Possibly you could use a soup maker type appliance which has an in built stirrer and can provide a steady and consistent heat and stirring?
I tackled this a different way. I added the Ecogel and used an immersion blender to stir. I then heated it with a double boiler and stirred intermittently whilst on the heat for 20 minutes to allow for the Ecogel to hydrate.
After 15 minutes I heated up the oil phase and then when hot I combined with Ecogel and stirred with the stick blender for a few minutes and then used an overhead stirrer slowly however this can be done by hand or with a stand mixer. These are my formulas:
INCI: Aqua, glycerin, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Squalane, sodium levulinate, sodium anisate, potassium sorbate, Helianthus annuus Seed Oil, Lysolecithin, Sclerotium gum, Xanthan gum, Pullulan Rosmarinus officinalis Leaf Extract, Nigella Sativa (Black cumin) Seed Extract and, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Curcuma Xanthorrhiza Root Extract, Simmondsia chinensis Seed Oil, Calendula officinalis Flower Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil and Polyglyceryl-6 Caprylate, and Polyglyceryl-3 Palmitate, and Usnea Barbata (Lichen)Extract, Epilobium Fleischeri Extract, tocopherol acetate, citric acid
|Ecogel||Lysolecithin (and) Sclerotium Gum (and) Xanthan Gum (and) Pullulan||2.00|
|3||Meadowfoam Seed Oil||Limanthes alba Seed Oil||2.00|
|4||Plantasens Olive LD||Olive Squalane||2.00|
|5||Dermosoft ECO||Water, Glycerin, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate||3.00|
|7||Potassium Sorbate||Potassium Sorbate||0.10|
|8||Rosemary Co2 Extract||Helianthus annuus Seed Oil, Rosmarinus officinalis Leaf Extract||0.10|
|9||Blackseed Co2 Extract||Nigella sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract||0.10|
|10||Turmuric Co2 Extract||Curcuma xanthorrhiza Root Extract||0.10|
|11||Calendula Co2 Extract||Simmondsia chinensis Seed Oil, Calendula officinalis Flower Extract||0.10|
|12||Lichen Extract||Name Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, and Polyglyceryl-6 Caprylate, and Polyglyceryl-3 Palmitate and Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract||0.30|
|13||ALPAFLOR® ALP®-SEBUM||Epilobium Fleischeri / Flower / Leaf / Stem Extract||3.00|
|14||Vitamin E acetate||Tocopherol acetate||0.50|
|15||Citric acid (50% solution)||Aqua, Citric Acid||QS|
This has a total of about 5% oils including Co2 extracts. You will note that I used Dermosoft Eco which contains electrolytes but I expect that there is less than 1% of sodium levulinate and sodium anisate in there so we are probably within our 2% limit here.
As you can see, it looks like a cream but it is quite gel like and nice and light on the skin. It has a nice consistency and leaves no greasy residue or tackiness. All in all it has a pretty nice feel to it.
Hydrating HA Gel
INCI:Aqua, Sodium hyaluronate, Lysolecithin (and) Sclerotium gum (and) Xanthan gum (and) Pullulan, Methylpropanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenylpropanol, lactic acid
|Hydrating HA Gel|
|2||Ecogel||Lysolecithin (and) Sclerotium Gum (and) Xanthan Gum (and) Pullulan||2.00|
|3||Dermosoft OMP||Methylpropanediol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Phenylpropanol||3.00|
|4||HA High Molecular Weight||Hyaluronic Acid||1.00|
|5||Lactic Acid (80%)||Lactic acid||QS|
As you can see this one is clear, there are quite a few bubbles in it so I will have to wait a few days for the bubbles to clear to get a better idea of its clarity. Skin feel: it is a lovely thick gel, light and firm without any residue or stickiness or sliminess.
Initially I would say that Ecogel's strength lies in its ability to hold small amounts (1-2%) of oils like essential oils. I would say that it is perfect for making serums with lots of water soluble extracts. I would like to play around with this and add different gums like guar, carob or konjac to see how it can be improved or built upon. I would also like to see how it fairs with fatty acids and butters. The distributors of Ecogel in the UK are Infinity Ingredients. You can get small quantities from www.aromantic.co.uk and www.theformulary.co.uk .