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Vintage cosmetic video – how does bath oil work

If you can get past the horrific 1950s stereotyping, this commerical can teach you something about bath product chemistry.

The commercial features a demonstration of how regular bath oil just floats on the surface of the water while Softique bath oil magically “swirls” into the tub.

As you might have guessed Softique has a special added ingredient that allows the oil to mix with water. That ingredient is a surfactant, a kind of detergent. But if Softique contains detergent then why doesn’t it foam up?

That’s because the type of surfactant they’re using is called a non-ionic and it’s designed to NOT generate foam. Most surfactants that you’re familiar with are the anionic type which are made to create a rich lather. But non-ioinics are useful in this kind of product where you want to combine and an oil and water but you don’t want bubbles.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Amy March 9, 2014, 11:22 pm

    so it’s that what’s being added to an oil-based cleanser, like DHC’s makeup remover?

  • Randy Schueller March 10, 2014, 8:20 am

    Yes, at least the principle is the same. But surprisingly, DHC makeup remover (see full list below) does contain a foaming surfactant: cocamidopropyl betaine.

    water, cyclopentasiloxane, PEG/PPG/polybutylene glycol-8/5/3 glycerin, pentylene glycol, sodium chloride, phenoxyethanol, sodium lactate, butylene glycol, tocopherol, cocamidopropyl betaine, PEG-3 dimethicone, phellodendron amurense bark extract, lactic acid

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