Everywhere you read, people are introducing micellar water, micellar cleansers, and micellar tonics. Funny, when we launched our Island Rx Micellar cleanser 16 years ago, not many listened or cared. What did happen, though, is that it became one of our top selling products because of our vegan micellar structure. The reason for that is that micelle in the soap makes it clean deeper and leaves the skin not harmed like chemical-based detergent facial cleansers.
Micelle is Not a Chemical
Over the years, the general first question we get about Island Rx, MetaClean, and Windsurfer is, “Are Micelle a chemical?” No, it is an ionic structure created by the soap making process that both loves and hate water at the same time. We use this principle of science to allow the micelle to like water on one side of the ionic bond, and it loves oil on the other side of the ion. Micelle is why we can deliver ayurvedic oils or moisturizing oil via the soap. This functionality is a huge deal, while the micelle also offers the ability to remove grime from the skin without stripping oils. All said scientists in school take a long time to understand how and what a micelle does. What is right for you, is that we know it.
We did not invent micelle ionic structures, but we were the first to explore its advantages 16 years ago. The frustration of being a small science-based innovator in a sea of big brands is when you created something many years earlier, and they act as if they invented a new profound technology just yesterday. Wendy says, “Bob, get over it.” I must admit it is hard when you come out of high-tech, as I do, where we were measured on innovation and not advertising dollars.
Said, it has been 16 years since we introduced Island Rx and subsequently, Island Rx foaming wash that featured vegan micelles as an innovation that helped clean and conditioned the skin. Many of our loyal customers recognized then and now that there were epigenetic properties to Island Rx that cleaned, cleared, refresh, and conditional moisturized the skin. All are from micelles created during the soap making process. And it is still the same working to condition and cleanses the skin. The micelles also offer acne reversal, skin blotching, and fading of dark spots.
So a sort of welcome to the newcomers, but with a warning. You see, many big brands cannot give the super low prices they offer by using whole natural micelle structures and wait until they figure out how to synthesize something to be similar and at a lower price. They also put minuscule amounts of an ingredient and claim its presence to “Me Too” in the market.
So, in search of a cheaper micelle, they opted to use a petroleum micelle alternative and use little of it. Yes, just another buzzword on the label that mimics something that works.
So, when you use Island Rx, you are getting the real deal of a micelle that comes from the process of making the soap. Frankly, this is also true of other Castile soaps like Dr. Bronner and others who make their soaps. It is a natural byproduct of the process and vegan in nature. It is not added to sulfate-based cleansers or deionized water.
So what is a micelle?
Well, the better question first is, “What is soap.”
Soaps are sodium or potassium fatty acids salts, produced from the hydrolysis of fats in a chemical reaction called saponification. Each soap molecule has a long hydrocarbon chain called a Micelle, sometimes called it’s tail’, with a carboxylate ‘head.’ In water, the sodium or potassium ions float free, leaving a negatively-charged head.
Key Takeaways: Soap
- Soap is a fatty acid of a salt.
- Soaps are used as cleansers and lubricants.
- Soap cleans by acting as a surfactant and emulsifier. It can surround oil, making it easier to rinse it away with water.
How Soap Cleans
Soap is an excellent cleanser because of its ability to act as an emulsifying agent. An emulsifier is capable of dispersing one liquid into another immiscible liquid. This means that while oil (which attracts dirt) doesn’t naturally mix with water, soap can suspend oil/dirt in such a way that it is removed.
The organic part of natural soap is a negatively-charged, polar molecule. It’s hydrophilic (water-loving) carboxylate group (-CO2) interacts with water molecules via ion-dipole interactions and hydrogen bonding. The hydrophobic (water-fearing) part of a soap molecule, its long, nonpolar hydrocarbon chain, does not interact with water molecules. The hydrocarbon chains are attracted to each other by dispersion forces and cluster together, forming structures called micelles. In these micelles, the carboxylate groups form a negatively-charged spherical surface, with the hydrocarbon chains inside the sphere. Because they are negatively charged, soap micelles repel each other and remain dispersed in water.
Grease and oil are nonpolar and insoluble in water. When soap and soiling oils are mixed, the nonpolar hydrocarbon portion of the micelles breaks up the nonpolar oil molecules. A different type of micelle then forms, with nonpolar soiling molecules in the center. Thus, grease and oil and the ‘dirt’ attached to them are caught inside the micelle and can be rinsed away.
For you, what is important to know is that by using Island Rx, you get a deep cleanse and the natural oils are deposited and act like a super moisturizer for your skin. Hydration and emollient moisturizing.