Some of you may be already familiar with glucomannan. I wrote an article about it and konjac sponge some time ago. However, I wanted to write a separate article about glucomannan. At first, I thought of linking recipes to this article. However, there is so much to talk about glucomannan that I will make a separate post about recipes later.
Glucomannan is a particularly versatile raw material for cosmetics. However, its use in homemade cosmetics is limited. I myself have actually favoured glucomannan in my own cosmetics for many years. I found it by chance in a sports nutrition store. Glucomannan is a versatile, easy and very stable raw material to boot inexpensive. I’ve tested many different glucomannan cosmetics formulas. Now I will share everything I have learned here with you. You really should utilize such a good and safe raw material.
Glucomannan is a pure natural product
Glucomannan is a fibre obtained, for example, from the konjac plant. It is the same plant that is the raw material for konjac sponges- Visit my article on konjac sponges and glucomannan. Pure glucomannan fibre is used both in foodstuff and as a dietary supplement.
In addition to the roots of the konjac plant, glucomannan is also obtained from the roots of other plant like orchids.
Glucomannan is a cosmetic excipient
In this article, I will focus on glucomannan as a cosmetic adjuvant. Glucomannan is a thickener. It forms a gel from any aqueous liquid. If you use oils in the formula, you should also include an emulsifier. Glucomannan does not act as an emulsifier and the oil does not mix with water. Glucomannan cannot and should not be used for anhydrous products.
Glucomannan is a very stable substance. You can use it both in acidic and neutral as well as basic formulas. You can also safely heat the gel containing glucomannan at 80 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes to ensure the shelf life of the product.
Glucomannan mixes well with water and other liquids. It does not clump easily like so many other natural thickeners. However, you should stir the glucomannan mixture from time to time during the preparation process. This will ensure that the gelation is even.
Glucomannan is a skin moisturizing ingredient
Glucomannan is a polysaccharide that combines mannose and glucose. Polysaccharides are especially good for moisturizing dry skin. I have written previously about polysaccharides such as seaweed polysaccharides, from oat beta glucan and pectin.
Glucomannan is a prebiotic
Healthy skin always has a rich and well-being microbiome, the natural bacterial strain. Glucomannan is a polysaccharide and at the same time a good breeding ground for the skin’s natural microbes. Bacteria use polysaccharides as food. In Japan, the konjac plant has been used for hundreds of years to make shirataki noodles. According to Japanese studies, glucomannan in shirataki noodles treats the intestinal flora.
Glucomannan also works in hair care
Glucomannan gives hair volume. By adding a little glucomannan to the hair rinse, you will get a nice texture and volume to your hair. The result is not sticky at all. I have made hair styling products and hair rinses from glucomannan. You can also make a thick and firm hair gel from glucomannan. In hair gel, glucomannan acts like linseed mucus. However, glucomannan gel is easier to prepare from the powder.
How do I use glucomannan in cosmetics?
Glucomannan is suitable as a thickener in liquid products. The properties of glucomannan also include a moisturizing effect on the skin. The use of polysaccharides in cosmetics is precisely based on the moisturizing effect. Glucomannan effectively treats the skin microbiome. Therefore, it is well suited for prebiotic and probiotic cosmetics.
Glucomannan is commonly sold as a dietary supplement. Previously I used to order it as a clean, loose powder. Only glucomannan capsules are now available. The capsules proved to be quite convenient in use. Open the capsule and use only the powder.
Each capsule contains 0.5 grams of pure glucomannan powder. So, you don’t have to measure ultra-small amounts. Half a gram sounds like a very small dose. However, very little glucomannan is needed. With one content of glucomannan capsule, you can make up to 500 ml of toner or hair rinse. Of course, more is needed for thicker gels.
Glucomannan as a thickener
You can thicken toners and lotions with glucomannan powder. Glucomannan gives the toner a pleasant gel-like structure. In creams, glucomannan acts as an emulsifier support. Glucomannan gives the emulsion a gel-like structure and increases the moisturizing effect. Glucomannan significantly improves the structure of the emulsion. Especially in very thin creams a thickener is quite a must.
Glucomannan works well with acids, bases and even salts. Hydrolats and essential oils are also compatible with the same product as glucomannan. So, you can use glucomannan without worries in all your products.
Glucomannan acts slowly
Please note that glucomannan swells slowly in the liquid. You can notice that the product has thickened in as little as 30 minutes. The final situation will not be clear until 12 hours later. Therefore, it is very important to use glucomannan powder very sparingly. I have tested some cosmetic formulas. For these guidelines, see how little glucomannan powder is actually needed.
Examples of dosing of glucomannan powder
Dosage of glucomannan in toner; 1 gram of glucomannan powder is mixed with a litre of liquid. This type of toner is pleasant to the skin. I’ve done a toner of 500 millilitres (1/2 litre) of water. I then used 0.5 grams of glucomannan (content of one capsule).
Dosage of glucomannan in creams; the dosage depends very much on how thin or thick cream you want. Glucomannan should not be used plentiful. If used excessively, the cream can easily become sticky and lumpy. Too much glucomannan easily deposits on the skin. The cream is also no longer applied properly. Usually, I use 500 ml of liquid 0.5 grams (one capsule contents) of glucomannan powder. In case I don’t need all the liquid for the cream, I use the rest as a hair rinse or toner.
Dosage of glucomannan powder to face masks; you will need 0.5 grams of glucomannan powder and 50 ml of liquid. After just 30 minutes, the mask is ready to be applied on the skin. If I let the face mask swell overnight only the half of the glucomannan powder is needed.
Caution in the making products containing glucomannan
Glucomannan is an easy and safe ingredient. Nevertheless, it also has its weaknesses. If you have dosed too much glucomannan, the product will easily become a solid clump. The clump cannot be restored. That is why I recommend that you first dose glucomannan powder very carefully.
Dose glucomannan moderately. If the composition appears thin, do not immediately add glucomannan. Wait overnight and check again. Probably the product now has the desired composition. You can easily add glucomannan to the finished product as well.
How do you thicken your cosmetic formula?
Many of you know what a konjac sponge is. However, there may be many who are not familiar with glucomannan. It is the very same, natural material. The Konjac plant has a long history as a gentle skin cleanser. Its popularity just seems to be growing and is happening for a reason. Gentle konjac products are suitable for caring cosmetics. In this article, I will introduce you to the konjac plant and products made out of it.
Cognac plant (Amorphophallus konjac)
The Konjac plant is a very popular perennial plant in China, Japan and Korea. It has many names like devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, elephant yams, snake palm or konyak potato. The plant has an edible stalk that resembles a potato. Konjac is originally coming from China, Yunnan Province.
The root tuber of the Konjac plant is used to make jelly-like desserts popular in Asia. In Japan, the health effects of the konjac plant were noticed hundreds of years ago. The dried rhizome of the Konjac plant contains about 40% glucomannan fibre. Glucomannan is a polysaccharide that has been found to have beneficial effects on intestinal well-being.
In Southeast Asia, the konjac plant is used to make Shirataki noodles along with sweet fruity jellies. Konjac gel is used to make a great many Asian dishes. The gel has no taste but in Asia people like its texture.
There is a risk of suffocation when eating Konjac gel
Everyone should be cautious when eating Konjac gel. It has sometimes caused suffocation in America. Therefore, konjac fruit jellies are not for sale at all in the EU area.
Glucomannan and weight loss
Ground konjac fibre was sold to accelerate weight loss. Glucomannan passes through the intestine without digesting and at the same time swells. Konjac gives a feeling of satiety without calories.
Use of Konjac plant in cosmetics
Konjac plant has been used in cosmetics for a very long time. In Japan, konjac was used 120 years ago to cleanse the skin of new-borns. This tells a lot about the gentleness of the konjac sponge.
Glucomannan powder is made from the dried root tubers of the Konjac plant. Glucomannan powder is popular as a cosmetic thickener. It is a genuine natural product that the skin tolerates really well.
The brilliancy of the Konjac sponge lies in its structure. The Konjac sponge leaves a thin layer of water between the skin and the sponge. Thus, the skin is never in direct contact with the fibres of the konjac sponge. This way, even the most sensitive skin does not suffer from cleansing.
The thin aqueous layer of Konjac sponge is slightly alkaline. It alone cleanses the surface of the skin quite effectively.
You can use konjac sponge with or without detergent. If you use a cleanser, you can also remove makeup with a konjac sponge.
Konjac sponge has the ability to peel the skin very gently. When cleansing your skin daily with a konjac sponge, you may not need any separate exfoliation at all.
Konjac sponge is said to deep-cleanse the skin and cure acne. Unfortunately, this is not true. It’s just a very gentle sponge. The Konjac sponge has no miraculous effects.
Konjac sponges are available in several different colours
The colour of the Konjac sponge comes from the active substance added to it. Unfortunately, these active ingredients have little or no effect at all on skin care. The activated carbon in some konjac sponge is tightly bound to the fibres of the konjac sponge. Activated carbon does not come into free contact with the skin. The clays, in turn, make the sponge slightly alkaline and thus prevent the growth of bacteria in the sponge.
Here are some examples of different konjac sponges
- Dark grey konjac sponge contains activated carbon
- Green konjac sponge contains green clay or green tea
- White konjac sponge contains kaolin
- Red konjac sponge contains red clay
How to use a konjac sponge?
Konjac sponge is easy to use. Once you have got the konjac sponge, first sink it in water for about 20 minutes. This will soften the sponge properly. At its simplest, you can rub lightly, in a circular motion, all over your face with a wet konjac sponge. You may not need any cleanser at all, especially if you don’t have any makeup.
If desired, use cleanser in combination with konjac sponge. You can choose the cleaning agent of your choice. However, I do not recommend cleaning oil or oil cleaning cakes for this purpose. Cleansing milks, foams and soaps, on the other hand, go very well.
You can use konjac sponge all over your body perfectly. Some people also use konjac sponge to wash their hair.
Take care of your konjac sponges well
Konjac sponges are inherently antibacterial. They repel bacteria both in terms of their structure and chemically. However, this does not mean that they will not be spoiled. Konjac sponges should always be cleaned thoroughly after use and hung to dry. Even after careful care, the konjac sponge should be replaced about every 1-2 months with a new one.
Konjac sponge is a natural product
You can throw the used konjac sponge to compost as it is a 100% natural product. It is a completely biodegradable fibre. It decomposes in compost like any fruit peel or other plant fibre.
Glucomannan powder as a thickener
The glucomannan powder is a really easy to use as well as very effective and easy to use -thickener. Glucomannan powder is a very mild substance that is also suitable for baby products.
Only a small amount of powder is enough to thicken the cream. For 60 ml of cream, I usually use knife-tipped glucomannan powder. To face masks, powder can be added more approximately. I’ve added a content of one glucomannan powder capsule to a face mask. Glucomannan powder makes the face mask gel-like and helps it stay well on the face.
Because glucomannan is an indigestible fibre, it deposits on the skin. Therefore, you should not add it too much into your products.
Use glucomannan powder to make face masks or to thicken creams.
The glucomannan powder is mixed with a cold liquid or water infusion. Sprinkle the powder into the liquid a little at a time while mixing. The powder will thicken on its own in a few minutes after absorbing the liquid.
Where can I get glucomannan powder?
I haven’t found glucomannan powder in online stores selling homemade cosmetics. That is why I have bought pure glucomannan powder as a sports nutrient. It is quite inexpensive and survives long time. Check out that you are sure to get 100% pure glucomannan.
Do you have experience with konjac sponges?