Can Liquid Aloe Vera be used as a solubilizer?

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Carl

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I have a liquid soap that I make. It is similar to most of the ones discussed on this forum (soapmaking 101 thread) with some minor differences.

I want to scent it with Tea Tree essential oil. When I put the TT in, it immediately starts clumping up and behaving very badly.

If I dissolve the TT in about 1/2 ounce of 100% liquid Aloe Vera, and then put it in the liquid soap, it works perfect. No clumping, all is well.

I did not realize AV could be used in this way. But it seems to work for now.

Any thoughts?
 

Kcryss

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I have a liquid soap that I make. It is similar to most of the ones discussed on this forum (soapmaking 101 thread) with some minor differences.

I want to scent it with Tea Tree essential oil. When I put the TT in, it immediately starts clumping up and behaving very badly.

If I dissolve the TT in about 1/2 ounce of 100% liquid Aloe Vera, and then put it in the liquid soap, it works perfect. No clumping, all is well.

I did not realize AV could be used in this way. But it seems to work for now.

Any thoughts?
That's interesting ... it isn't supposed to be a solubilizer. I wonder if it will stay or if it will separate after a few days.
 

DeeAnna

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Obviously the aloe and tea tree are certainly interacting, but I wouldn't assume the aloe is acting as a solubilizer. I suppose it could be, but without any background info to support this idea, it's purely a guess. Suffice to say it's doing something. Just what, we don't really know for sure.

A solubilizer is basically a type of emulsifier -- something that allows droplets of one immiscible material to be dispersed in another. The difference between emulsification and solubilization is particle size. The droplet size for an emulsified product is much larger than the droplet size for a solubilized product. An emulsified product will be opaque and a solubilized product is clear.
 

Carl

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Last night before bed, I tried 3 experiments. Each with 4 ounces of my LS scented with Tea Tree EO at 2% each. I do have some pictures, but it is kind of hard to derive any value from them so I will not post them. It's hard to tell what you are actually looking at.
  1. The 1st was with just the TT in the soap. It looks like an oil slick on a lake. When you try to lightly stir it with a pipette, it starts clumping around the stirring device.
  2. The 2nd I dissolved the TT in 100% liquid Aloe Vera. It was a very huge improvement over experiment #1. There is no clumping, but you can see some fine swirls in the liquid soap.
  3. The 3rd I dissolved the TT in Vegetable Glycerin. I was truly impressed with this one. No clumping, no swirl in the soap. Looks perfect. It stayed perfect over night, so I'm hoping it stays that way!
 

Kcryss

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Last night before bed, I tried 3 experiments. Each with 4 ounces of my LS scented with Tea Tree EO at 2% each. I do have some pictures, but it is kind of hard to derive any value from them so I will not post them. It's hard to tell what you are actually looking at.
  1. The 1st was with just the TT in the soap. It looks like an oil slick on a lake. When you try to lightly stir it with a pipette, it starts clumping around the stirring device.
  2. The 2nd I dissolved the TT in 100% liquid Aloe Vera. It was a very huge improvement over experiment #1. There is no clumping, but you can see some fine swirls in the liquid soap.
  3. The 3rd I dissolved the TT in Vegetable Glycerin. I was truly impressed with this one. No clumping, no swirl in the soap. Looks perfect. It stayed perfect over night, so I'm hoping it stays that way!
I like your experiments. Would love to hear how the glycerin works out. I don't like using polysorbates and recently found that Caprylyl-Capryl-Glucoside is a great solubilizer. I've used it in liquid soap to solubilize EO's and it's working really well.
It is 100% biodegradable, Cosmos/ecocert approved and comes in at a 1 on EWG. https://www.makeyourown.buzz/caprylyl-capryl-glucoside/
 

Carl

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@DeeAnna @Kcryss
Thought I'd tag you both since you seem interested. I went away for a long weekend and just came back home. All 3 of my experiments had turned to a thick gel while I was gone. This was not the case after the 1st day or two, but giving a few more days turned everything to a thick heavy gel. So I guess my experiments have failed.

I'm not sure if this means anything, but all 3 containers were left "Open Air" in measuring cup style containers for the entire time.
 

DeeAnna

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Yes, it does make a difference that the containers were left open. Pennsylvania in winter -> heated air and low humidity -> fast evaporation. Loss of water due to evaporation will cause this kind of thickening.

Also, liquid soap has a crystal structure, and sometimes that structure takes awhile to develop. If your oleic acid is higher than usual or if the EOs you used are continuing to interact with the soap, you can also see changes in the viscosity of the soap over time.

The soap usually gets thicker, but I've had soap shift from thick to water-thin over time.

A soap very high in oleic acid can repeatedly form a non-pourable gel (like Jello dessert) as more and more and more water is added, because the "gelation capacity" of a high oleic soap is ... well, really high. ;) That's why high-oleic liquid soap can be a pain to deal with.

Since you left the containers open to the ambient air, I don't know if the issue is evaporation or changes in the liquid crystal structure. Maybe both?
 

Carl

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Yes, it does make a difference that the containers were left open. Pennsylvania in winter -> heated air and low humidity -> fast evaporation. Loss of water due to evaporation will cause this kind of thickening.

Also, liquid soap has a crystal structure, and sometimes that structure takes awhile to develop. If your oleic acid is higher than usual or if the EOs you used are continuing to interact with the soap, you can also see changes in the viscosity of the soap over time.

The soap usually gets thicker, but I've had soap shift from thick to water-thin over time.

A soap very high in oleic acid can repeatedly form a non-pourable gel (like Jello dessert) as more and more and more water is added, because the "gelation capacity" of a high oleic soap is ... well, really high. ;) That's why high-oleic liquid soap can be a pain to deal with.

Since you left the containers open to the ambient air, I don't know if the issue is evaporation or changes in the liquid crystal structure. Maybe both?
Why that certainly explains! I feel dumb not thinking of that. I didn't think it could evaporate that quickly, but maybe so.
I guess this means a "Do over"
This time with a sealed container!
 

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