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.