|What is it?||Silicone gel is basically gelled cyclopentasiloxane. It has all the slippy goodness of cyclopentasiloxane with added viscosity.
Mine is from TKB Trading and the SDS states it is comprised of 90–98% cyclopentasiloxane and 2–10% of the gelling ingredient (Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer).
|INCI||Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer|
|Appearance||Crystal clear, viscous gel|
|Usage rate||0–100%, though I generally start around 10%. Usage is similar to Cyclomethicone + other cyclo-siloxanes, but with added viscosity.|
|Texture||Incredibly silky smooth and slippy, with wonderful skin feel and soft powderdry dry-down.|
|Absorbency Speed||Very fast|
|Flash Point||76°C (169°F)|
|Why do we use it in formulations?||Just like cyclomethicone and other cyclo-siloxanes, silicone gel adds wonderful slip to our products and helps reduce tackiness. Small concentrations add a really gorgeous, expensive-feeling skin feel. Higher concentrations of cyclomethicone help “lighten” products, speeding up dry down/absorption speeds. Because silicone gel is viscous, it can also add body and viscosity to our products, depending on the concentration used.
Learn more with this encyclopedia entry: Cyclomethicone + other cyclo-siloxanes.
|Do you need it?||Generally no, but if you are interested in making high-end colour cosmetics I definitely recommend it.|
|Refined or unrefined?||Silicone gel only exists as a refined product.|
|Strengths||Silicone gel is an easy way to add silky viscosity and luxurious slip to our formulations.|
|Weaknesses||Silicone gel is not widely available—I’ve only found it in the USA and Australia.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||Cyclomethicone + other cyclo-siloxanes would be the best place to start, though you will lose the viscosity of the gel. Depending on the formulation this might be ok, or you may need to replace that viscosity with something else.|
|How to Work with It||Silicone gel should be cold-processed due to its low flash point; if you need to heat it, do it slowly, carefully, and briefly!|
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, silicone gel should last at least three years.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||There are 22 different products on UL Prospector with this INCI, but from reading the descriptions they vary in viscosity, so the INCI doesn’t tell the whole story.|
|Recommended starter amount||50g (1.76oz)|
|Where to Buy it||My silicone gel is from TKB Trading, and if you want to be certain you’re getting the same product I have I’d recommend purchasing it from them if you can. Making Cosmetics carries a product with the same INCI, but from the photos it is far thicker (solids are listed at 20% vs. 2–10% for TKB’s product)—if you have that, I’d just it at about half the rate and make up the difference with more cyclomethicone. LotionCrafter also has an INCI-identical product; they describe it as a “clear fluid gel”, and from the photos it looks like it might be the same as (or very similar to) the product sold by TKB Trading.
New Directions Aromatics Australia also has an INCI-identical product; it looks similar to the Making Cosmetics product.