I guess it’s a gel… sort of…

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

Phase A

  • 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

Phase B

  • Liquid Germall Plus – 0.5% – 1 gram
  • Willow Bark Extract (Water Soluble) – 3% – 5 grams

Phase C

  • 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




19 thoughts on “I guess it’s a gel… sort of…

  1. Kind of excited to see the beginnings of an experiment and how you develop it. Watching with interest! I made my first ever whipped body butters yesterday – very very basic and a little greasy feeling (maybe?) but I’m so excited to have made a start!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s exciting to branch out and try new things. 🙂 I live for it! I think the whipped body butters (the anhydrous ones) are greasy too, so I don’t use them, but my family loves them. They are really not much but oils and butters, so they do melt on the skin and feel greasy. However, if you are a sun-bather (which I am not), I suppose you are used to having tanning oils on your skin, and feel a little dried out from the sun, so I could see why thy love it so much. So excited you finally have a little time to try something new. It’s fun, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan (Point of Interest) is amazing!! I think her work rate is prodigious, and I have loads of her info stored for “one day…” In the end I go with the simplest recipes I can find, but I learn so much from her work. I had a giggle thinking about what your husband may have said – and the first thought that “came” to my mind is also not for publication – LOL!!
    I have run out of the last moisturiser I made – which was an adaptation of one I found on the Aussie Soap Supplies website, so that is on my list for today. BTW – I have skin prone to rosacea and salicylic acid aggravates it like nothing on earth!!
    Looking forward to your update!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, I think you read his mind though, because you’re right! He said something like “where did the jar of j***” come from? LOL – he is such a smart a**!

      I don’t find salicylic to irritate my rosacea, but everyone’s is different. This gel was supposed to be a spot treatment for my nieces as they sometimes get breakouts of pimples (as they are still young enough for that mess).

      Good luck on your moisturizer!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my gosh! Maybe your are allergic to it. My husband’s dermatologist recently prescribed salicylic acid cream for his psoriasis, but the pharmacy said it is in short supply and can’t get it for months. They told him he could use it on his rosacea too, so it is very strange you got that reaction. I’m thinking an allergy or sensitivity caused it. Good that you know that it causes that for you so you don’t use it anymore!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha – I could post him mine!!
        You’d think really you could just powder some aspirin (mortar and pestle) and mix it into aqueous creme base, yeah? Might have to do some maths to get the concentration right…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is why I ended up buying the willow bark extract because it contains salicylic acid. But sadly, it did nothing for his psoriasis. However, the expensive cortisone drugs they have given him do little to nothing either, so I wouldn’t say that was a good scientific test.


      4. I remember from about a hundred years ago when I was studying herbal med, being told garlic oil – or maybe garlic infused olive oil – for psoriasis. Not sure if it works though! And might stink a bit!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I was bored so I did an analysis formulation of it. Sorry for the ugly cut and paste, but it was in Excel. I think it could be made pretty inexpensively.

      Oleic acid was the hard one to find, but I found it on Amazon for $14 USD. The rest are available at lotioncrafter or making cosmetics. I don’t know if that is the magic ingredient you were talking about or not. The rest of them seem pretty standard for a lotion/cream.

      Ingredient Recommended Usage Phase Function Est % Note

      Distilled Water Water water 84.90%

      Glycerin 2 to 5% Water Humectant 2.50%

      Cetearyl Alcohol 1 to 25% Oil Thickener 2.00%

      Stearic Acid 2 to 10% Oil Thickener 2.00%

      Steareth 21 2% max Oil Emulsifier 2.00% Could substitute with another emulsifier

      Dimethicone .5 to 5% Cool Down silicone 2.00%

      Oleic Acid Under 2.5% Cool Down or possibly oil surfactant 2.00% “/Oleic acid ranging formulations ranging from 2.53 to 92.7% were considered “”slightly”” to “”moderately irritating.”” 
      (*PubChem- https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)”

      Panthenol 1 to 5% Water conditioner 1.50%

      Euxyl® K 703 (Phenoxyethanol and Benzoic Acid and Dehydroacetic Acid) .4 to 1.2% Cool Down Preservative 1.00%

      Sodium Citrate .1 to 1 % Cool Down PH modifier 0.10%

      I need to get a life, when this is more fun than anything else on a Saturday night. 🙂


  3. HAHAHA!!! We actually got off the couch and went out to a house concert last night (our Saturday) for the first time in ages – some good (old) R & B – nice, but boy was I tired!!
    The way the guy goes on about that cream, I wonder if he is leaving something out – the ingredients as they were listed didn’t seem that mysterious – thanks for doing the analysis – I was way too lazy – LOL!
    Now it’s Sunday afternoon and we have to go out again (I just want the couch)…
    : )

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s