Welcome back to the comparison post!
In this corner we have Sepimax ZEN! An emulsifying stabilizer! Gel like! Electrolyte happy! Skin happy! Pre-neutralized polymer! And it also goes by the name, “Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6”!
And in this corner we have Aristoflex ACV! An oil-in-water emulsifier! Maker of emulsifier-free cream gels! Maker of body milks! A pre-neutralized synthetic polymer! And it also goes by the name of, “Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer”!
In the Scrub Me Down Kitchen, we’ve been playing with AVC for quite a while now and ZEN for maybe four? five? months now. During our ingredient testing phase, we’ve developed some recipes we are very happy with and cannot wait to share them with you all if they continue to dazzle us with their performances. They both have a few more rounds of various testing to go through, one pair of them is currently sitting on my window sill drinking tea and watching the construction. And will continue to sit there for the rest of summer watching the buildings go up across the street. Another pair of them spent their time in various pots and pump bottles. Yup, I sat there watching Doctor Who one day just pump, pump, pump the AVC and the ZEN bottle. It was weird.
We are almost at an end to our ZEN and AVC comparison, there is at least one more post that won’t be published for a few more months until we’ve finalised everything. So, what have we learnt?
Container size does matter when making the ZEN:
Test 1: I bought some awesome little silver bowls to test out new recipes in. They are six inches in diameter. I made four tests the first try months ago. Two aloe gels (one at 2% and one at 3%) and two with my face serum base oils+10% aloe juice+ recipe again at 2% and 3% ZEN. They all turned out beautifully! Very smooth textured, no lumps or anything. The aloe gels turned out to be clear (I’ll be making more aloe gels with a higher percentage of aloe in the future with some cucumber extract and peppermint hydrosol for an after sun care BOOYAH! edit: two months later? This Summer Sun Gel is the bomb!!!!). All were a success. No lumps, clumps, very smooth and creamy texture in the oil based, and very store bought quality in just the aloe gel.
Test 2: my maid seems to enjoy playing hide and seek with me and hid my new test bowls on me. So I used my 250mL beakers to make this batch as Susan used beakers on her blog so figured they should work. Made up two batches to test out green tea extract and coffee essential oil. This experiment was an epic failure. Gross and lumpy. No amount of blending got rid of those globs. It looked unappealing, and if I wouldn’t use it… well you get my drift. The rubbish bin got some hydration action.
Test 3: finally found my bowls (she put them on the storage shelf for some reason. I mean they are stainless steel. Wouldn’t you think they would belong with the countless other stainless steel bowls under the stove?) Tried the same ingredients as in Test 2 but into the stainless steel six inch diameter bowls. Put it to bed, and just beat it up with the electric whisk. Perfection! Well, perfection in the sense that there are no lumps, smooth textured and looks pretty good in the bowl. Perfect texture!
Test 4: With some tweak to Test 3, I tried again. 2% ZEN in a bowl and in a beaker just to make sure about bowl size mattering. The ZEN in the bowl mixed up in less than a minute with no problems or worry. The ZEN in the beaker, I moved to another silver bowl and took my electric whisk to it. After about three minutes of beating, it finally was less lumpy, so I let it sit. Over time, it reduced its lumps some more, so I beat it. I beat it good. The lumps were still there, but not as pronounced as before.
Conclusion: make sure that your bowl/jar has a wide mouth. I noticed while taking pictures of Test 2 that the gel only really was on top and not all the way through like it was in Test 1. Try again, but use a wide mouth container to put it to bed. I also used an electric whisk to beat mine up (god I love this phrase!!!). I made two test batches yesterday and decided to try covering one and not covering the other while the ZEN slept. I didn’t notice a difference.
Many months in, which do we prefer:
AVC. Hands down. Just the way the AVC makes the face feel, plush, cushiony, velvety and fresh. There is no feeling of heaviness or tightness on the cheekbones or forehead. There is no shiny residue on the skin, and this can be worn under your cream/lotion but above the toner. It is a great way to boost the hydration of the skin without an oily residue or heavy feeling. The ZEN is great, but it just cannot compare to the AVC in terms of the way the skin feels.
ZEN. Well my lovely little minx, you put up a good fight, and you can take my silks and aloe and extracts like a champ. You make my skin feel somewhat toned, and you provide a ton of hydration too. You might loose the battle over a face hydration booster, but by golly, you win the eye trophy! And you look like brains! How neat is that!
Over the next while, we will continue to play with the AVC and ZEN working and tweaking the recipes to get the best recipe we can. I’ve been using a new AVC recipe on my face and a new ZEN recipe around my eyes for about a week and I’m not itching to tweak them for any reason. And that is usually my clue that it is pretty gosh darn good!
If you are looking for advice, which should you buy?
Golly, this is a hard one. If you don’t mind the way aloe vera gel from the chemist makes your skin feel, I think I would suggest Sepimax as it is more versatile. We made a cucumber-minty-aloe after sun gel loaded with vitamins and proteins and that with the AVC it would be impossible to do. But, if you want that plush feeling, I would say the AVC. I know! This was no help! Ultimately, I would suggest getting two little baggies of white powder and playing with them. They are both unique, provide a cushiony feel, hydrate lots and lots… for me personally, I would go with the AVC simply because it makes me skin feel plush. But the ZEN feels like it tightens. So just get two little baggies and go play. Then tell me about it!
Have you played with ZEN or AVC before? Which do you prefer?