Preamble I have only basic education in Chemistry (excelled at Organic chemistry nomenclature, but then subsequently quit when I could not grok the simplest replacement reactions). Also I will note I could not find a tag for retail product labelling.
I bought a lot of shaving cream product that I really like. I have been reading the ingredients and I don't understand why it contains so many acids and bases. Perhaps this is an oversimplification, but I was under the impression any acid and base that were mixed would in time, resolve themselves to a salt and an extra water molecule. Let me share with you the ingredients list verbatum so you can see too:
- Aqua (water)
- Stearic Acid
- Myristic Acid
- Potassium Hydroxide
- Coconut Acid
- Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter
- Parfum (Fragrance)
- Sodium Hydroxide
- Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil
So it seems to me the major ingredients are acids, bases, water and fats blended together with an emulsifier (Glycerin?).
Question Wouldn't the acids and bases react with each other shortly after mixing, leaving my product with a different mixture of compounds than in the ingredients list?
Speculation Here is my attempt at answering, so you can an idea that I did put minimum thought into this.
- Are some of these things with "acid" in the name, not really acids as I learned them (pH under 7, with a donor H+ ready to go)? And therefore they do not react?
- Considering the vendor spells out cocoa butter with a long latin name, maybe they have arranged the ingredients list to impress the customer? For instance writing out Stearic Acid and KOH instead of, say, "lard" or "wax" or whatever unimpressive name is actually the product of the acid-base reaction?
- Perhaps the vendor is legally required to print the reagents rather then the product(s), in some circumstances?
- Perhaps there is some process in the mixing of the ingredients, or some catalyst that inhibits the reaction? And to what end? For the reaction to happen on my face when water is mixed into the product?