I have been intrigued lately by some posts I have been seeing while stalking the “Point of Interest” blog. While she makes many terrific things, I stumbled on some articles in which she is making clear gels and gelled toners. Of course, I had to give it a try.
She recommended a few different gelling agents, one of which was Sepimax Zen.
Sepimax Zen is supposed to be able to make very clear, thick gels, and is electrolyte tolerant, so it can handle things like Aloe Vera. This is why I chose to try this particular gelling agent.
I modified one of the recipes I found on the “Point of Interest” blog and came up with a formula that I wanted to try.
I have been wanting to make a few gels lately. I bought some rosewater, cucumber water, and some cosmeceuticals so I could make some under-eye gels. I wanted to start simple though, since some of those ingredients are quite expensive and I didn’t want to waste them in case things didn’t turn out on my first try.
With this one, my goal was to make a spot treatment gel with some ingredients that have been studied and shown to help reduce redness, irritation and reduce acne.
- Niacinamide is thought to help with reducing redness and inflammation, reduce wrinkles, improve the skin barrier, and even out hyper pigmentation,
- Willow Bark is a plant extract which contains salicylic acid which is an anti-inflammatory and helps the skin shed dead skin cells.
- Allantoin, of course (one of my favorites), also helps with shedding dead skin cells, is anti-inflammatory and moisturizes and softens the skin. It is thought to help with skin healing.
- Panthenol is a wonderful conditioner, but it also helps with wound healing, moisture, and improves skin texture.
All of these things, and of course, aloe vera, sound like a great combination to me! I think they meet the requirement for a spot treatment gel.
Spot Treatment Gel with Niacinamide and Willow Bark
- Distilled Water – 66.5% – 120 grams
- Aloe Vera Liquid – 10% – 18 grams
- Strawberry Fruit Essence – 10% – 18 grams
- Sodium Lactate – 2% – 4 grams
- Allantoin – 0.5% – 1 gram
- DL-Panthenol – 2% – 4 grams
- Niacinamide – 3% – 5 grams
- Liquid Germall Plus – 0.5% – 1 gram
- Willow Bark Extract (Water Soluble) – 3% – 5 grams
- Sepimax Zen – 2.5% – 5 grams
First, I measured out my Phase A ingredients and slightly heated them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. My goal was not to get them hot, but just warm enough to dissolve the powers I had added.
I gave that a good stir until everything was fully dissolved and let it cool to about 102 degrees F.
I added my Phase B ingredients and mixed everything together well.
Then I sprinkled the Sepimax Zen on top and put it aside overnight (for about 10 hours).
After the time had passed, I gave it a look and was expecting to see a clear gel that looked like Aloe Vera gel. That is not what I saw. I saw a semi-coagulated mess of liquid-y semi-clear, semi-opaque gel. (I will spare you the crude commentary my husband came up with when he saw it).
So I got out a hand mixer with one beater attached and mixed it for a few minutes. It came together into a cohesive gel, but it definitely was not clear. It’s kind of translucent white.
The strawberry essence I had added was totally replaced by a weird sort of chemicall-y / plastic-y type of smell.
I tried it out on my hand, and while it felt a little sticky, I didn’t think it was too bad. So I put some on my face. There it was sticky. So much so that my eyelids were kind of glued open. I washed it off.
This is my first batch of “gel”, so I wasn’t expecting much and didn’t include any terribly expensive ingredients “just in case”.
To me, this is not usable. It is sticky and stinky. I am going to leave it in the jar for a while and see what happens to it (Will it dry out? Will it lose the smell? Will it sprout arms and legs and clean my house when nobody is looking?).
Susan, on her blog, or somewhere in the comments, mentions that gels are not inherently sticky and it’s what you add into them that makes them so. As such, I am going to make a batch of gelled water tonight just to see if it turns out sticky. Nothing but water, Sepimax Zen and a little preservative. If it is still sticky, then it is the Sepimax Zen, and I need to find another gelling agent. If not, then I need to look at all the ingredients in the recipe above and start eliminating whatever could be the culprit. We’ll also see if it turns out to be a clear gel rather than opaque.
I’ll let you know tomorrow.
See Part 2 of the experiment HERE