Surfactant Facial Cleanser

I’ve been taking an online class offered through Point of Interest, which comes out every Tuesday (and often continues with posts throughout the week as Susan is able), and the topic of the class this month is surfactants. I went over what surfactants are and what they do a little last week. 

We will be making:

Facial Cleanser (did that last week)

Micellar Water (I have made this but I love getting another perspective on it!)

Creamy cleanser, like a lotion (I have a formula for this developed, but haven’t tried it, so I’m wildly curious to see how close my idea and hers are)

Moisturizer (I’ve made exactly two of these. One I use all the time but don’t care for, the other was a failure so I’m definitely curious to get some tips!)

Toner (phhhsst. I got this. But still. The science behind it should be fun)

Gels of all kinds, like eye serum (squee!)

Serums, including spot treatment (more interested in anti aging for personal use, but all kinds are great for the shop).

As for the cleaners and everything else, the idea is to make a working base then add fancy things like humectants or extracts, vitamins, and so on. 

The Facial Cleanser I made came together in a flash with very little “cooking” and while it took quite a bit of time, that was all down time waiting for bubbles to subside. Here’s the recipe and I’ll explain. 

Perstephanie’s Version of Facial Cleanser 

Initial Water phase

Boil approximately 75g water for 20 min. and allow to come to room temperature.

Surfactant phase

 15g disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS)

7g Sodium lauryl 

sulfoacetate (SLSa)

13g coco betaine 

7g glycerin 

0.5g Liquid Germall Plus 

Water Phase

 10 g aloe vera liquid (or equal amount water and equivalent aloe x 100 or x200)

72g boiled distilled water, that’s cooled off. Don’t burn yourself! 

3g hydrolyzed wheat protein 

.5 g silk peptides 

10-20 drops EO of choice. I used petitgrain because I wanted something that was both citrus and floral. It’s very nice, I think it needs a little something else but I can’t pin point want and it’s a wash off product so I’m not fussed. 

This adds to approximately 125g or 4 oz. The original recipe called for 1-3g of Crothix, added and stirred one g at a time and that’s absolutely possible if you want a thicker product or you can take the water down to 52g and just make 100g and a thicker product that way. I stirred all the surfactants together carefully in a container, then added the aloe, glycerin and water, and gently stirred to minimize bubbles. Even so, I had to leave it overnight and come back to let the bubbles settle. Then I tried it and it was OK. I added a little more glycerin (from 3g to 7g), and the hydrolyzed wheat protein, the silk, and the essential oil. I tried it while I was waiting for the bubbles to settle and loved the feel of it. It’s not drying at all, it rinses clean but leaves your skin soft and hydrated. It might be too hydrating if you have very oily skin but for normal, dry, or sensitive skin it should work great. 

If you are concerned about these surfactants and the fact that they are chemicals, I advise you to look them up on EWG’s Skin Deep. The biggest problem with SLSa is that it’s a powder that can be inhaled (I use a dust mask, promise!) and the other two have excellent safety ratings as far as I can see. Better than many things that are considered natural, which doesn’t always mean safe. Arsenic is natural, after all. So keep a cool head and research your coconut based surfactants before you judge them all as evil and bad. 

Thanks for DIY’ING with me! 


Author: scseery

Soap, bath and beauty, jams and jellies, and unique upcycled gifts. That's what I make and talk about here. A lot.

3 thoughts on “Surfactant Facial Cleanser”

    1. I call it a online class, really it’s her “Newbie Tuesday” blog post series and she just started tackling these surfactants. Being the science minded individual she is, she’s taking it slow, explaining why they work, how they work, how and why additional ingredients work (and how they work together), and encouraging everyone to send in the formulas we create ourselves and our results. It’s been very informative. You should join in! Just scroll her last several posts till you find a Newbie Tuesday and then all the links to previous week’s are usually at the bottom of the post to get caught up. If you don’t have “the right” ingredients, consider reading the comments, a lot of us were unable to source the initial ingredients she suggested and are using other things. If you want to talk more about what I’m using vs. her original formula, you can email me at scseery(at) Gmail(dot) com and I’m happy to have a discussion with you about the pros and cons of different humectants and cationic polymers, if there’s any benefit to using a “skin loving” essential oil like tea tree, rosemary, lavender… All three smell great together, let’s use them all! Or I hear both cypress and helichrysum are excellent for anti aging benefits but one is expensive for a wash off product. And I’d love to talk about glycerin. To me, Susan is very light handed with glycerin in her face wash recipe. Hers called for 3g and I obviously took that up a notch for my combination skin that’s prone to large pores and the occasional T zone zit, usually on my chin. I made a facial moisturizer about six weeks ago, with green tea extract and caffeine, and other skin loving goodies like hyaluronic acid and CoQ10 and it’s been doing great things for my skin, but my face feels so soft after using this wash that I’m not scrambling for that little pot of lotion to relieve the dryness I was getting from washing with cold process soap.
      Anyways, hope you’ll join in at least to read along! Feel free to ask questions! I’m (obviously) a chatterbox!

      Liked by 1 person

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