How on Earth is this product pH 5.5?

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

TeaLeavesandTweed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2015
Messages
100
Reaction score
85
So I've been getting into Asian skin care, and one of the things that they stress is using a low-pH cleanser as your second cleansing step. Well, one of the most famous high-end products is a solid cleansing stick with the following ingredients:

"Glycerol, Water, Orange Peel Oil, Lime Peel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Green Tea Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Basil Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Majoram Oil, Fermented Damask Rose Extract, Apricot Seed Oil, Olive OIl, Sunflower Oil, Betaine, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Camellia Oil, Tocopheral, Rose Flower Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Lauryl Betaine"

It's... basically shaving soap, right? You rub it on your hand, face, or a cloth to create a lather and use that to wash your face after removing your makeup. Now some bloggers have actually measured the pH of the thing (I assume they're measuring the pH of the foam with some water) and claim it has a pH of 5.5. If it were the company making this claim, I'd raise many eyebrows and not believe them, but these are independent measurements and at worst, I'd imagine they would just measure the pH of the water, which should be above 5.5.

Now I'm not here to debate the necessity of low-pH skin cleansers, and I see that Lauryl Betaine (a syn-det, I think) is on the ingredients list, but does that seem like enough to make a low-pH bar out of what is otherwise a pretty standard soap?

Here are the blog posts that review it and show pH:
http://www.holysnails.com/2015/05/sum37-miracle-rose-cleansing-stick.html
http://skinandtonics.com/sum37-miracle-rose-cleansing-stick-review-giveaway/

Both are pretty reputable in the Asian skin care community. A third blogger said she tested it using multi-indicator sticks, but didn't post the photo: http://www.snowwhiteandtheasianpear.com/2015/03/review-sum37-miracle-rose-cleansing.html

So what gives?
 

Obsidian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
10,299
Reaction score
8,094
Location
Idaho, USA
Where did you get that ingredient list? It different then what is in the first two links you posted. They have it as

Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Water, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Lauryl Betaine, Potassium Hydroxide, Betaine, Rose (0.5%), Fragrance, Camellia Oil, Tocopheryl, Green Tea Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Apricot Seed Oil, Yeast/Fermented Rose Extract Filtrate (0.01%), Basil Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Lime Oil, Pot Marjoram Oil, Orange Seed Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil

Same ingredients but in a different order and that makes a big difference in what the product is. The lower PH is due to it being a syndet/soap hybrid.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,419
Location
New York City
There is no "sodium ....-oate" or "potassium ....-oate" anywhere to suggest the carrier oils have been converted into soap (sodium cocoate, for example) and the KOH is the next to last ingredient, which suggests it's used to adjust the final pH of the product, not to saponify oils. If KOH was for saponification, it should be in the front half of that ingredients list.
I think potassium hydroxide is a good clue that it's (partially) soap. They are listing the ingredients that go into the pot, which is an acceptable way to do it -- so no -oates.

Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Water, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Lauryl Betaine, Potassium Hydroxide, Betaine, Rose (0.5%), Fragrance, Camellia Oil, Tocopheryl, Green Tea Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Apricot Seed Oil, Yeast/Fermented Rose Extract Filtrate (0.01%), Basil Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Lime Oil, Pot Marjoram Oil, Orange Seed Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil

Same ingredients but in a different order and that makes a big difference in what the product is. The lower PH is due to it being a syndet/soap hybrid.
I have the impression that the list quoted here from Holy Snail is the correctly translated one. That blogger has gone to some trouble to translate it in detail, as it's apparently in Korean on the product. The more implausible list is just getting passed around. Maybe someone thought the ingredients were more attractive when rearranged.
 
Last edited:

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,453
Reaction score
19,297
Location
USA
Deleted my original post which was based on the ingredients list as shown in the OP's first post. Useless answer. :think:
 

kchaystack

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
2,080
Location
Monroe, LA
Deleted my original post which was based on the ingredients list as shown in the OP's first post. Useless answer. :think:
I don't think it was useless. It was based on the info you had available at the time. Without knowing the exact manufacturing process we can just guess, and really - your guesses are usually more right than wrong.
 

Soapmaker145

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
537
Reaction score
450
Location
Midwest
I think the order of the ingredients is still wrong. This is a syndet with trace amounts of soap and ingredients we use for soap. It's easy to add 1 part per million of something that looks appealing on the label, just to add it to the ingredient list.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,419
Location
New York City
I think the order of the ingredients is still wrong. This is a syndet with trace amounts of soap and ingredients we use for soap. It's easy to add 1 part per million of something that looks appealing on the label, just to add it to the ingredient list.
That's the ingredient order translated from the product package. It seems complete and plausible compared to the first list. Unless it's really important to erroneously have coconut oil second, it doesn't seem to be in the wrong order. Let's assume for a moment that it's not.

Potassium hydroxide can only adjust the pH of this product in the form of soap, seeing as it would react with the other ingredients to produce it. There is no question potassium hydroxide implies soap, but how much? Part per million scam or reasonable product formulation? Let's continue to follow the non-conspiracy lane for a bit.

Since this is a solid product, what's the binder? Glycerin, coconut oil and water don't cut it. And those fatty acids are the superfat in a lot of the leading brands, so that's probably what they are here. In fact, we can re-write the list more in the style of those brands, like this:

INGREDIENTS: Soap (Potassium Cocoate), Glycerin, Water, Tallow Acid, Coconut Acid, Lauryl Betaine, Betaine, Rose (0.5%), Fragrance, Camellia Oil, Tocopheryl, Green Tea Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Apricot Seed Oil, Yeast/Fermented Rose Extract Filtrate (0.01%), Basil Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Lime Oil, Pot Marjoram Oil, Orange Seed Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil

Compare with leading soap/syndet or even straight soap bars like Lever 2000, Dial for Men, Irish Spring, etc. and you'll see all the main ingredients are about the same. This product would then be simply binder/surfactant (soap), emollient (glycerin), water, skin conditioners and pH adjusters (fatty acids), non-ionic surfactant (lauryl betaine).

That's what I deduce from the ingredients. I think it holds water, so to speak. The real scam is probably the 5.5 pH.
 
Last edited:

Soapmaker145

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
537
Reaction score
450
Location
Midwest
That's what I deduce from the ingredients. I think it holds water, so to speak. The real scam is probably the 5.5 pH.
Thank you for making my point so much more eloquently than I did. My point was you can't have pH 5.5 and real soap as a significant ingredient. The 2 are incompatible. One of them has to be wrong. You picked the pH and I picked the list of ingredients.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,419
Location
New York City
Thank you for making my point so much more eloquently than I did. My point was you can't have pH 5.5 and real soap as a significant ingredient. The 2 are incompatible. One of them has to be wrong. You picked the pH and I picked the list of ingredients.
Well of course. But as far as which it is, take into account that the product formulation makes sense while the pH was determined by a blogger with a test strip.
 

TeaLeavesandTweed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2015
Messages
100
Reaction score
85
Sorry about the confusion with the ingredients lists. Complicating matters is that Korea has different labeling rules to the US and ingredients that make up below a certain percent of a product can be listed in any order. So the order of ingredients does not necessarily mean concentration. The ingredients list I posted was from the product webpage for a reputable vendor of Korean skin care products. Thanks for the answers.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,419
Location
New York City
Sorry about the confusion with the ingredients lists. Complicating matters is that Korea has different labeling rules to the US and ingredients that make up below a certain percent of a product can be listed in any order. So the order of ingredients does not necessarily mean concentration. The ingredients list I posted was from the product webpage for a reputable vendor of Korean skin care products. Thanks for the answers.
That is similar US regulations. The cutoff is anything below 1%, if I recall correctly, as long as you list the other ingredients first. It probably only applies to those oils and extracts listed at the end.
 

Latest posts

Top