After my failed experiments with Sepimax Zen a couple of weeks ago, I continued my pursuit of a better way to make a gel that was non-sticky and didn’t smell like a plastic factory. That pursuit led me to order some “Preneutralized Carbomer” from Lotioncrafter.
Pre-neutralized carbomer is a sodium carbomer that does not have to have the pH adjusted in order to turn into a gel. I read the data sheet on it and it is apparently a product called PNC 400. There are other carbomers that do require you add something to raise the pH in order to get them to gel, but the pre neutralized kind sounded much easier to me, and it was inexpensive, so I bought some.
Today my Lotioncrafter package arrived, so tonight I whipped up a batch of gel.
Although my vacation was cancelled this week due to work, at least I do get tomorrow off for the Thanksgiving holiday, so tonight I found a little time to play. Lucky me that it didn’t take very long at all to accomplish this gel.
I had no instructions for using the product, but I watched some videos on Youtube concerning making carbomer gels. I assumed I could make this just the same, eliminating the step where they add the pH adjuster. I couldn’t find any resources online or on my forums with any recipes to try out, so I decided to just wing it.
I know that you can’t use certain ingredients with this carbomer, such as anything with electrolytes (Sodium Lactate, Aloe Vera) so I left those out. Instead, I used cucumber essential water with vegetable glycerin and propanediol 1,3 as the humectants.
My goal was to make an eye gel that would be cooling and contain ingredients that might help reduce common under eye issues such as eye bags, wrinkles and puffiness. It should also contain ingredients that add moisture and help repair the skin. I wanted it to smell good and be pretty, so it was a pleasure to use.
To meet my goals, I chose my ingredients:
- Distilled Water
- Cucumber Essential Water (cucumber is commonly used to reduce eye puffiness, and it is cooling)
- Niacinamide – Vitamin B3
- DL Panthenol – Vitamin B5
- Vegetable Glycerin
- Propanediol 1,3 (you could leave this out and replace with water, or use propylene glycol or butylene glycol instead).
- Liquid Germall Plus
- Pre neutralized carbomer.
- Colorant – I chose to use some pre-diluted lab colorant – a green color to go with the cucumber theme.
So the next step was to figure out how much of each to use.
- Most of these ingredients I am very familiar with, and typically use roughly the same amounts whether making lotion or anything else. So I knew already to use 2% each of Niacinamide, Panthenol, and Propanediol.
- I didn’t want this to be sticky, so I used just 1% glycerine.
- I didn’t want it to be scratchy, so I used just 0.5% allantoin.
- I typically don’t use more than 10% of hydrosols, so the cucumber water amount was easy to figure out.
- The carbomer says (on the Lotioncrafter site) to use between 0.2 to 0.5%. I wanted a thick gel, so I used 0.5%.
- Liquid Germall Plus is typically used around 0.5%.
- Then I just added the rest of the percentage as water.
- I went very light on the colorant to give it just a hint of a tint. Just 2 drops.
Vitamin B Under Eye Gel
|Cucumber Essential Water||10%||12|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)||2%||2.4|
|Lab Colorant (2 drops)|
|Liquid Germall Plus||1%||0.6|
How I made it:
First I disinfected all my implements and containers with rubbing alcohol and let them dry. While they were drying, I gathered up my ingredients.
Next, I measured out all my phase A ingredients into a beaker.
I heated this to about 172 degrees and held it for 20 minutes on the stove (in a pan of water / like a double boiler). I am not sure that you have to heat and hold this, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt, and I really wanted the powdered ingredients to melt and dissolve well so they weren’t scratchy,
I stirred it with a spatula to mix it together and let it cool to room temperature.
I measured and added the Phase B ingredient (preservative) and mixed well with a spatula.
I stirred the liquid in the beaker until it made a little tornado in the center and slowly sprinkled in the carbomer powder until all of it was added. I understand that as the carbomer gets older it can clump up and you might need to sift it, but since my carbomer was brand new, I didn’t bother.
Then I stirred it up with the spatula. It was kind of lumpy, but I broke up some of the lumps.
I let it set for about an hour. It had thickened, but had little “fish eyes” (like tapioca pearls).
Finally, using one beater attached to my kitchen mixer, I beat it for about 30 seconds.
Beating it smoothed out all the lumps and fish eyes and gave me a beautiful, smooth, consistent gel. It was fairly thick, but still very spreadable.
I tried some out. Ok I put too much on. You don’t need nearly this much — not even close!
I put some under my eyes to see if it was sticky. While I didn’t like it on my hands, (probably because I used too much), it sunk in quickly under the eyes and didn’t feel tight or tacky at all. My hands did feel tacky, but again, I used far too much.
There is no bad smell like with the Sepimax Zen. All I can smell is the lovely cucumber essential water.
Then I scooped it into these cute, little 2 ounce containers I got from Midwest Bottle. It made 3 little jars.
It has kind of a pearl look to it, but I understand that is due to little streaks of carbomer that is still dissolving. It is supposed to clear up as it hydrates. Either way, the pearl effect is nice too.
I am extremely excited about this because it means I am going to get to make my gels for my Christmas gifts after all! I’ll wait a little while and see what happens with this one. I don’t know yet if it will thin out overnight, or come apart, or do some other strange thing. I am going to watch it for a little while and observe.
Overall, I think this is a very easy endeavor. It is simpler than making lotion. You just have to get the right gelling agent that you like working with.
I might try a different carbomer that is not pre neutralized and see how I like that. To be perfectly honest though, I thought this worked great. I wish you could use electrolytes with it, but there are other nice things to use instead.
I am sitting here thinking of all the different gel things you can make with this product. Hair gel might be fun, or hand sanitizer (this carbomer can handle alcohol). They would be slightly different formulations than this one, but I am feeling confident that they are within my grasp!
I think my next creation will be some sort of rose hydrosol wonder gel. Who knows, maybe this weekend! I also got some other new goodies from Lotioncrafter, so stay tuned….what could it be?