06-04-2012, 07:13 AM
#1
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It's getting really hot down here in southeast Louisiana all ready. I want to use more mentholated soaps/creams for the summer to help start my day with a cool, refreshing shave. So, I'm thinking about getting some menthol crystals off ebay to add to some of my non mentholated soaps/creams.

But I'm clueless on how to go about using said crystals. What would I disolve them in? Would I just add them to the soap/cream and stir? How do I know how much to use? And the list goes on.

If anyone has done this type of thing, please share your knowledge/know how.

Thanks in advance and enjoy those shaves.

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 06-04-2012, 09:05 AM
#2
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I use a 2oz bottle then I add crystals to neutral spirits; they'll readily dissolve. Just fill the bottle with spirits to about 1/2- 2/3 full, then add the crystals. It's saturated when a puddle of menthol floats on the surface of the alcohol. Don't use the puddle that floats straight, instead shake to blend it each time, then you can use it. Use however many drops it takes to give menthol happiness, but be aware it is possible to use too much. Adding menthol this way means you can add it that particular shave by putting a few drops in the lather bowl or brush.

If you add menthol as crystals directly to a product, if it doesn't contain alcohol you really should heat it to 110°F , if memory serves, to get it to melt and incorporate. IMO, it's easier to use the solution and add the drops. Too, any soaps or creams can be made mentholated with the solution method.

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 06-04-2012, 09:24 AM
#3
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Thanks for the info. A little clarification though. "Neutral spirits" means ???? Could glycerine be used?

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 06-04-2012, 10:17 AM
#4
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I wouldn't. It might spoil. But I just don't know. You'd need to heat it to 110°F to get the menthol to melt into it though and IMO, that's just too much of a hassle for a small quantity. You'll only need a little, and it'll last quite awhile.

Neutral spirits means vodka, Everclear, heck, you could even use isopropyl alcohol. No need for high % alcohol; 80 proof or 50% is certainly high enough.

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 06-04-2012, 11:49 AM
#5
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Ah, got it. Thanks again

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 06-04-2012, 12:18 PM
#6
  • Striky
  • Senior Member
  • Reipå, Norway
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How much crystals do you use in a 2 oz bottle filled half way up with vodka?

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 06-04-2012, 12:38 PM
#7
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(06-04-2012, 12:18 PM)Striky Wrote: How much crystals do you use in a 2 oz bottle filled half way up with vodka?

I don't know. I never measured it. I add crystals and if one is in a hurry it can be shaken to dissolve them. If not, just cap it, walk away and it'll happen on it's own more slowly. It's just going into solution, it's not a reaction or anything. If you don't see the menthol puddle floating on the top you can add more, or not, as you see fit. A little at a time is the way I do it.

I want the saturated solution so that I'm not forced to use a whole lot of drops, but there's nothing saying you have to make it my way. You can stop anywhere you want when adding the crystals. Or add a lot more and have a huge puddle floating on the top, or even (If this will happen. I don't know.) have crystals refusing to go into solution floating in the bottle, and add alcohol to the bottle when you wish.

It's basically just crystals and alcohol, it's no big deal. Put 'em together and you'll get something useable no matter how you do it.

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 10-31-2012, 02:37 PM
#8
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We make shaving cream, Sultans Original Shaving Soap and did try
the menthol one time only.
It is pretty toxic stuff, think bear mace
I don't recomend fooling with it, I still have the original bottle we purchased.

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 11-01-2012, 06:55 PM
#9
  • WmNeumann
  • Member
  • Williamsburg, Virginia USA
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Hi Michael!

I'd be happy to help you out. Menthol is not difficult to handle, provided that you have an understanding of its chemistry and properties. So, lets take a look at what we're working with, and what needs to be done.

First, to give you a better understanding, let me explain menthol a bit:
Menthol crystals are naturally produced through mint essential oil extraction. The menthol is the solid constituent of the essential oil, to which its characteristic odor is due, and was formerly known as peppermint camphor. Menthol is obtained by subjecting the distilled oil to a temperature below 0 (F). The menthol crystallizes, and the mother liquor is removed while the low temperature is maintained. Since menthol crystals are so concentrated, you’ll only need a relatively very small amount. When purchasing menthol crystals, look for one that has not less than 99.4% menthol--as a general rule.

Since menthol is extracted from oil, the easiest method that you’re searching for is to return it to oil. I would do the following:

1. Pour one (1) ounce of castor oil in a microwave safe vessel. (a pyrex measuring cup would work great)
2. Place one (1) measured teaspoon of crushed menthol crystals in the oil
3. Place in microwave and heat on high for 30-40 seconds.
4. KEEPING YOUR FACE AWAY FROM THE FUMES, carefully stir and pour the mixture into a suitable capped small container (preferably a bottle with a dropper or spout to control the drops)
5. Whip up your favorite soap or cream in your bowl/mug
6. Add a few drops as desired (CAREFUL NOT TOO MUCH) and continue to whip
7. Enjoy the menthol goodness!
8. Stay Cool In N'awlins

Best Wishes

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 11-01-2012, 11:25 PM
#10
  • Striky
  • Senior Member
  • Reipå, Norway
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Informative post Bill!

I might be using this method, as I don't want alcohol added to the products if I don't have too.

Thanks!

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 11-02-2012, 04:48 AM
#11
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Hey Bill,

Thanks for the informative post, it helps alot.

One question, would glycerin work in place of castor oil?

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 11-02-2012, 09:26 AM
#12
  • WmNeumann
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  • Williamsburg, Virginia USA
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(11-02-2012, 04:48 AM)MichaelD Wrote: Hey Bill,

Thanks for the informative post, it helps alot.

One question, would glycerin work in place of castor oil?

Hi Michael,

Sadly, no. Menthol crystals (even if melted first) will not dissolve in glycerin. Glycerin is water soluble. If you melt the menthol crystals into glycerin, what you'll find is that once cooled, the menthol will re-crystalize and cause a mess. If you want to successfully add menthol crystals to glycerin, you'll need an emulsifier such as a polysorbate. You'll need to melt the menthol crystals, add it to polysorbate 20, then add that mixture to your glycerin. The exact ratio required, I can't disclose, as it would reveal my trade secrets. But, if you're determined, you could probably find the answer (and a lot of incorrect ones) on the internet, or through trial and error.

Bottom line is that menthol crystals are soluble in oil, alcohol, polysorbates, etc. (like dissolves like).

If you don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to formulate and make such a product, I've heard of a rather inexpensive product that is expected to be released soon by a company that is what you're describing. If I understand you correctly; you're looking for a product that will provide a menthol boost to creams, soaps, lotions etc, and also contains the humectant properties of glycerin-to make a menthol uber lather perhaps?

Best Wishes

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 11-02-2012, 10:25 AM
#13
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If you don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to formulate and make such a product, I've heard of a rather inexpensive product that is expected to be released soon by a company that is what you're describing. If I understand you correctly; you're looking for a product that will provide a menthol boost to creams, soaps, lotions etc, and also contains the humectant properties of glycerin-to make a menthol uber lather perhaps?

Thanks again. I just wondered about the glycerin/menthol combo because something called "The M-Bomb" is available on another site. Supposed to be good stuff.

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 11-02-2012, 10:29 AM
#14
  • Striky
  • Senior Member
  • Reipå, Norway
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Bill, which castor oil do you recommend? Is there a big difference between the different brands?

This is relative cheep, but is it good for tis purpose?: Now Foods, Solutions, Castor Oil, 16 fl oz (473 ml)

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 11-02-2012, 10:50 AM
#15
  • WmNeumann
  • Member
  • Williamsburg, Virginia USA
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(11-02-2012, 10:25 AM)MichaelD Wrote: If you don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to formulate and make such a product, I've heard of a rather inexpensive product that is expected to be released soon by a company that is what you're describing. If I understand you correctly; you're looking for a product that will provide a menthol boost to creams, soaps, lotions etc, and also contains the humectant properties of glycerin-to make a menthol uber lather perhaps?

Thanks again. I just wondered about the glycerin/menthol combo because something called "The M-Bomb" is available on another site. Supposed to be good stuff.


Hi Michael,

The glycerin/menthol combo works well provided that a polysorbate (ie polysorbate 20) is utilized as an emulsifier like I described previously. I haven't had the opportunity yet to try the product that you mentioned, but I looked at the ingredients for you and it appears that they used polysorbate 20 as the emulsifier, so it looks well formulated and should work well for you. Also, just to let you know, the last ingredient listed is lecithin. Lecithin also acts as an emulsifier. It should work well, so if you get it, let us know how you like it.

Best Regards

(11-02-2012, 10:29 AM)Striky Wrote: Bill, which castor oil do you recommend? Is there a big difference between the different brands?

This is relative cheep, but is it good for tis purpose?: Now Foods, Solutions, Castor Oil, 16 fl oz (473 ml)

Any good brand will suffice. The NOW brand that you listed is great quality and will work perfectly for you.

Best Regards

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 11-02-2012, 12:51 PM
#16
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(11-02-2012, 09:26 AM)WmNeumann Wrote: <snip>
If you don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to formulate and make such a product <snip>

Actually, there is no formulation required at all. Just add menthol to alcohol. It's that simple and I thought I indicated that. At any point one can stop adding menthol, even before the saturation point. The beauty of using alcohol as the solute is that it's so absolutely brainless. Just put crystals in alcohol, stop when you wish, or add more if you wish. If you see a puddle floating on top, be sure you shake it before using. It couldn't be simpler.

Of course water could also be used, just bring it up to 110°F (I forget the actual temperature, but it's basically just above lukewarm) then add crystals and they'll instantly dissolve. I've never used water and don't know what will happen as it cools off. I like the mix of alcohol/water of neutral spirits or rubbing alcohol. No fuss, no muss.

If the goal is to mentholate glycerine soap, just melt the soap then add your menthol. The soap melts above the melting point of menthol, so again just add the menthol and it will melt faster than you can add the crystals. Some will also vaporize, so keep your head away.

Just be careful, you can use too much and cause harm to the skin.

I strongly suspect a mix of glycerine and water would work fine, but never tried it. The materials aren't expensive, so experiment.

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 11-02-2012, 01:52 PM
#17
  • WmNeumann
  • Member
  • Williamsburg, Virginia USA
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(11-02-2012, 12:51 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: <snip>
Of course water could also be used, just bring it up to 110°F (I forget the actual temperature, but it's basically just above lukewarm) then add crystals and they'll instantly dissolve. I've never used water and don't know what will happen as it cools off. <snip>


<snip>
I strongly suspect a mix of glycerine and water would work fine, but never tried it. The materials aren't expensive, so experiment.
<snip>


ShadowsDad,

Water cannot be used by itself. Just because the temperature rises above the melting point of the menthol crystals, doesn't change the laws of nature. The menthol crystals will melt, however, when the water cools, the menthol crystals will fall out of suspension and re-crystalize. The only way to prevent this is to prepare the menthol crystals with a polysorbate prior to introduction to the water. Additionally, glycerine is water soluble and will share the same properties when it comes to menthol crystals, and will require the same preperation as I outlined in this reply and my previous posts. Even dissolving the menthol crystals in alcohol then transferring to glycerine, water, or a combination thereof will not work long term, and will re-crystalize unless the alcohol content has a sufficient alcohol:water ratio; i.e. a minimum 55/45 after-shave for example.

If you have any further questions or comments, you can PM or contact me offline; I'm more than happy to help you.

All the best

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 11-02-2012, 06:23 PM
#18
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So that's why neutral spirits works.

OK, so no experimentation required. No need to formulate anything, just use 80-100 proof vodka and be done with it.

But Hmmm, then why doesn't the menthol I melted into my glycerine soap recrystalize? Or in my 80 Below which is far less than 40% alcohol?

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 11-03-2012, 12:40 PM
#19
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MichaelD,

I made some M-Bomb today just because I can and because I've been wanting to for over a year. When I'm done playing with it in a few days (assuming it works) do you want it? I may need to add more menthol, but using it will tell me if it needs more. If it works I'll also post how I did it. ANYONE can do it; if couldn't be easier (if it works). I did hand lather it with some handsoap and it appears to be what I wanted.

BTW, it has A LOT of menthol in it's 2 ozs right now. Possibly 1/3 by volume (but I weighed it out). But I think I can add more. I see no signs of saturation.

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 11-03-2012, 01:16 PM
#20
  • WmNeumann
  • Member
  • Williamsburg, Virginia USA
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(11-02-2012, 06:23 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: So that's why neutral spirits works.

OK, so no experimentation required. No need to formulate anything, just use 80-100 proof vodka and be done with it.

But Hmmm, then why doesn't the menthol I melted into my glycerine soap recrystalize? Or in my 80 Below which is far less than 40% alcohol?



Hello ShadowsDad,

Sure, I’d be more than happy to answer those questions for you. Hopefully they weren't rhetorical.

Your menthol doesn’t re-crystalize when melted into your glycerin soap because it is being dissolved and held by a few suitable candidates. If you refer back to my previous postings, I advised how menthol will dissolve into oils, as it is originally extracted from oil; peppermint to be exact. So, let’s take a look at an example of a brand of glycerin soap. I chose this soap as an example because I read in a previous post where you stated that you routinely use this brand and add in fragrance oils and menthol for your personal use:

Clearly Natural Glycerin Soap (Aloe variety, but it doesn’t matter which one)
Ingredients: Glycerin, Saponified Coconut, Palm and/or Palm Kernel Oils, Vegetable (Coconut/Corn/Sugar)-derived Surfactants, Humectants, Sodium Citrate, Blend of Fragrance and Essential Oils, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex.

So, using this as an example, we have quite a few candidates for the menthol to be friends with. We have the saponified coconut, palm and/or palm kernel oils, to name a few. We also have the blend of fragrance and essential oils to work with. Remember how we needed oils for the menthol? Technically, in the case of the saponified oils, the menthol would bind with the hydrolyzed free fatty acids as a result the saponification of the fats. Additionally, if you add your fragrance or essential oils at the same time (as you mentioned) this will give your menthol additional support. So, in closing, those are the reasons.

In response to your question about your 80 Below product, you have a few things working in your favor. Namely, the alcohol content is a good starting point. You mentioned that it’s well below 40% ABV. While that’s below the minimum accepted industry standard ratio of 55/45, it can work out--even by itself--provided that your menthol content is not too liberal. Fortunately, in this case you are adding your blend of essential oils, which will bridge the gap and provide the menthol with enough support.

I Hope this helps you understand better. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at your convenience; I’m always happy to lend a hand.

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