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Basic Method For Making Gels

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A gel is a clear or semi-opaque substance made from water and a thickener. We use gels when we want to make a product that has little or no fat, although up to 5% of an appropriate vegetable oil can be used. Essential oils, too, can be added up to 5% of the total volume of the product.

The thickener can be a natural polysaccharide such as Carageen (from seaweed Carageen), Alginates (from algae), Pectin (from citrus peel), Cellulose Gum (from wood fibre) and Xanthan gum (grown from bacteria). Thickeners also come in synthetic form.

Although different thickeners have different qualities, I use mainly Xanthan gum in my gels, with the exception of toothpaste, for which I use cellulose gum.

Before you start to make your gel, you will need a hand whisk and a thermometer to hand. The method for making a gel is as follows:

1. Boil the water (this is so that the Xanthan Gum will melt more easily).
2. Pour into a heatproof container.
3. Sprinkle in the Xanthan Gum slowly, and using a hand whisk beat thoroughly until the granules are dissolved and the mixture has thickened.
4. At 40 degrees C, add the remaining ingredients (e.g. oils, active ingredients) except the essential oils.
5. At 25 degrees C, add the essential oils.
6. Pour into bottles or jars.


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