Gel to Foam Cleanser


I really like things that transform while you are using them: Powders to cream, blooming bath oils that change from oil and emulsify in water, that sort of transformation.  So I decided to make an oil-gel to foaming cleanser that could probably be used as either a facial cleanser or a shower oil.  

I made this quite quickly after researching the ingredients so it is essentially a 'bare bones' formula but I hope you can gain some inspiration!


What you need to make one of these is a vegetable oil for your base base, an oil soluble surfactant or a combination of them and something to create the gel.

I used a base oil of Sunflower oil and  some Dermofeel Viscolid - which has the INCI of hydrogenated vegetable oil - as a thickener. It can be used between 5-15% depending on the viscosity you are after.  For a thin gel no more than 5% is needed.  

I used Lumorol as my oily surfactant which has the INCI of  Laureth 4, Mipa-Laureth Sulfate, Propylene Glycol and is not very 'natural' but it was all I had to hand.  That can be used up to 50%.  

I also used a semi-natural emulsifier called Sebumol 1000  to support the surfactant.  That has the INCI of Polygylceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate and Polyglyceryl-3 Caprate - which is a more natural alternative to polysorbate 80.

I mixed them all together in a glass jar and heated them to 80-85c whilst stirring.  Then stirred until it reached room temperature. It only started to properly gel at 25c.

What is it like?  You can see from the picture that it is a hazy gel and goes on smoothly.  When it is mixed with water it gives a creamy foam.  My skin feels clean BUT I think it is still a little too cleansing and wondering if I could reduce some of the surfactant or adjust the ratios of the Sebumol and Lumerol?

To give a refreshing scent I also added Rosemary essential oil as it smells nice and refreshing.

Below is a picture of the gel on my hand. As you can see it isn't completely clear but that isn't something I mind and foams up pretty nicely.


Before foaming it kind of emulsifies into a cream.  You could easily adapt this by using an oil infused with alkanet root to make it pink or even Sea Buckthorn berry oil for an orange/yellow hue.

All in all, this starting formula is really quite good but could also do with tweaking here and there.  

Note: if you are going to make something like this make sure you put it in a bottle with a lotion pump or airless bottle - as there is not preservative it could easily get contaminated if water is introduced.