Shaving Foam

Shaving foam
Shaving foam under the microscope. Dark field illumination.

Here I compressed some (very stiff) shaving foam between glass slide and cover glass. Quite a bit of pressure was necessary to form a single layer of bubbles. The image was made using dark field illumination. I used shaving foam from the can… Very interesting chemical compounds can be found in the foam, at least they sound interesting: Isobutane, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Tocopheryl acetate, Allantoin, Propylene Glycol, TEA-Palmitate, Polyquaternium-7, Stearate, Ceteth-20 ….. and of course Aqua (water) and perfume. The propane is probably the propellant (is this can of shaving foam explosive as well??). A little bit of research reveals some interesting facts:

  • Tocopheryl acetate: this is a Vitamin E derivative which protects the skin from ultraviolet (UV) light. It is commonly found in ceams and other products that are applied to the skin.
  • Allantoin: this substance has a moisturizing effect on the skin and increases its smoothness. It binds substances that irritate the skin and therefore protect the skin.
  • Propylene Glycol: this one seems to be a pretty versatile compound. It is used as a moisturizing agent as well as for de-icing aircraft.
  • Polyquaternium-7: An anti-static agent. It also forms a film around hair to protect it (it is also found in many shampoos).

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