Thursday, July 28, 2016

Please visit this site, not your RSS reader, the link that by-passes me, or the e-mail subscription

I don't talk about the inner workings of the blog very much, but I would ask those of you reading this somewhere other than on my blog - for instance, in an RSS feed, something like Blog Lovin', or even through the e-mail subscription on my blog - to pay me a visit soon!

When you by-pass the blog by linking directly to a PDF or by reading it on a blog feed, I have no idea you're out there. I need my daily stats as a way to sell myself as a speaker at a conference or with a publisher when I send out a book proposal, and if you read me somewhere else, you may as well not exist.

When you by-pass the blog, you're less likely to interact by asking a question, answering someone else's question, or making a comment. And this ruins the sense of community I'm trying to build here.

And it's nice for me to know people are visiting. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing for myself when I don't see you out there. (It's pretty amazing to have a day like yesterday with probably the most visitors I've ever had!)

As I don't want to have to go to another way of counting stats, like having you e-mail me for downloads, I'm asking you to start visit the blog here rather than reading it another way. You don't have to visit every day, but if you're a regular reader, stop by once a week, have a cup of tea, and let me know you're there. I can't make you do that and I can't stop you from reading it through other sources, but if you like what you are reading here and wish to support me, please find 10 minutes in your week to read the post here instead of your usual, by-passing way.

I'm also asking you not to link directly to the PDFs on my blog. The only payment I ask for them is a quick visit to the blog, and I don't think that's a lot to ask. If I continue to see people by-passing the blog for them, I will move to a system where you'll have to enter a code or email me or something similar. (I'm pretty serious about this request...) Please show me you appreciate the PDFs by paying me in your attention by visiting the blog to get them.

You probably don't think this is a big deal or that I'm asking you to do something onerous, but those stats are vital for opportunities to make the blog and my writing career bigger. Every person who visits here shows there's an interest in the material and me as a writer. I know you don't have all the time in the world every day, but if you are interested in seeing more blog material, seeing me at a conference near you, or seeing a real live book, please take the time to visit and show me you're out there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Emulsifiers: Emulthix - a light, cold process lotion with white tea, pumpkin seed oil, and baobab protein

You know I can't leave well enough alone, so I thought I'd take yesterday's Emulthix recipe and add some of my favourite ingredients to take it from great to fan-freakin'-tastic!

Want to know more about Emulthix? Cick here! 

Let's alter my heated water phase first. I'm adding a humectant - sodium lactate - along with allantoin as my barrier ingredient and hydrolyzed baobab protein* as a film former and oil-free moisturizer. (Click for more on hydrolyzed proteins.)

I'm adding quaternized rice, a cationic polymer, to create a film and condition my skin. You could use any other cationic polymer - like honeyquat or polyquaternium 7 - in its place. And, of course, my favourite panthenol!

For fun, I'm adding water soluble white tea extract*, which acts as an anti-oxidant full of lovely catechins, much like green tea extract, at 5% and aloe vera at 10% to moisturize and film form. Feel free to use your favourite extracts in here.

For the oil phase, I'm leaving it as pumpkin seed oil because I like it and it has a nice long shelf life. If you wanted to make this a drier, lighter, more absorbant lotion, you could use a really light oil like fractionated coconut oil, squalane, or meadowfoam seed oil.

If you wanted something dry and silky, consider using kukui nut oil. Oh, you know what would be an awesome combination? Kukui nut oil with babassu. It'd thicken up a bit, but it'd be super silky and less greasy feeling.

This would be a great place to use an ester! C12-15 alkyl benzoate would make a light feeling, less greasy product. Cetearyl ethylhexanoate would feel lighter and less greasy, while ethylhexyl palmitate will make it lighter still.

Remember this: For any lotion recipe you see on my blog, you can substitute any oil for any oil, any butter for any butter, any oil for any butter, and any butter for any oil. So go nuts coming up with awesome combinations your skin enjoys! (Check out this post in the FAQ for more information!)

WHITE TEA, PUMPKIN SEED & BAOBAB COLD PROCESS LOTION
OIL PHASE
20% pumpkin seed oil
5% Emulthix

WATER PHASE
2% sodium lactate
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% quaternized rice
10% aloe vera
5% liquid white tea extract
51% distilled water

Weigh your oil phase into a larger container, as the water will be poured into the oil. Heat the oil phase if you need to get some things melted (but we don't, in this case). Prepare your water phase. Pour the water phase into the oil phase in a slow stream while mixing with a stick or immersion blender. And you're done! Rejoice!

My tester, Judy, thought it went on smoothly, and felt dry within 2 hours.

Wanda, my besite, said that it was a nice, light consistency for a day time moisturier. It absorbed well, but the humidity is high so that might have delayed the absorption. Not sticky at all. No burning. (I think it was the Vitamin C and ferulic acid Aristoflex lotion that caused some burning, so she analyzes a lot of recipes this way! No burning = awesome lotion in our books!)

I've been enjoying this one as a light hand lotion at work. It goes on smoothly and my hands really feel moisturized, even though it's not a thick lotion.

Join me tomorrow for another exciting Emulthix lotion recipe!

The * beside the name takes you to the supplier of the ingredient. As a note, I wanted to note that I do get free things from time to time from suppliers, and this emulsifier, Emulthix, and the baobab protein were given to me by Jen of Lotioncrafter. The white tea extract came from Formulator Sample Shop. None of the links you click to any site on this blog affiliate links - I just learned what those were and thought I should re-assure you, my lovely readers, that I make no money or gain no reward if you buy something from any supplier anywhere. I provide you with buying information for those harder to find ingredients because you've said you wanted it! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Emulsifiers: Emulthix - a cold process lotion recipe

Yesterday, we said "hello!" to Emulthix, a cold process emulsifier that can handle quite high levels of oils.

I thought I'd try making a basic lotion with only one oil - pumpkin seed oil, one of my favourites - and see what I thought of the viscosity!

EMULTHIX LOTION WITH PUMPKIN SEED OIL
OIL PHASE
20% pumpkin seed oil
5% Emulthix

WATER PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
74.5% distilled water

Weigh your oil phase into a larger container, as the water will be poured into the oil. Heat the oil phase if you need to get some things melted (but we don't, in this case). Prepare your water phase. Pour the water phase into the oil phase in a slow stream while mixing with a stick or immersion blender. And you're done! Rejoice!

As an aside, it's insane how quickly you can make a product with cold emulsifiers!!!

So what do I think? This is a nice feeling lotion. It's thin, which is to be expected when we have 75% water and no thickeners or butters, but still feels luxurious on my skin. It feels like a much thicker product on my skin. (When I compare it to Aristoflex AVC, another cold emulsifier, it's a thicker product.)

By now, you know I have to play with something new, so join me tomorrow to see what else we can make with this new, cold process emulsifier!

And to answer the question, this is a proprietary blend from Lotioncrafter. Click through to see a few more recipes for an anti-aging moisturizer for aging skin and a CoQ-10 moisturizer with peptides.

As a note, I wanted to note that I do get free things from time to time from suppliers, and this emulsifier, Emulthix, was given to me by Jen of Lotioncrafter. None of the links you click to her site are affiliate links - I just learned what those were and thought I should re-assure you, my lovely readers, that I make no money or gain no reward if you buy something from any supplier anywhere. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Emulsifiers: Emulthix

As you may or may not know, I was fortunate enough to visit Jen at Lotioncrafter in April. And it's taken me quite some time to inventory all the amazing ingredients she gave me before I started crafting with them.

One of my new favourites is Emulthix (INCI: Sodium Polyacrylate (and) Dimethicone (and) Cyclopentasiloxane (and) Trideceth-6 (and) PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone), a cold process emulsifier that is used at 3% to 6% to emulsify oil phases up to 50%! It's effective with lotions at pH 5.5 to 11, so you won't be able to make anything with loads of salicylic acid (BHA) or AHAs.

It's pretty easy to use. Weigh your oil phase into a larger container, as the water will be poured into the oil. Heat the oil phase if you need to get some things melted. Prepare your water phase. Pour the water phase into the oil phase in a slow stream while mixing with a stick or immersion blender. And you're done. Don't you just love cold process emulsifiers?

A few thoughts when using this...

1. You must use distilled water. This is not optional. I'm not talking about water filtered in a Brita or other container. I'm talking distilled water or reverse osmosis water. If you're concerned about your water, heat it before using.

2. You have to follow the instructions the way they're written. This has a cool way of emulsifying, and if you don't put the water phase into the oil phase in a slow stream while mixing with an immersion blender, you will mess it up.

3. Don't try to bring the pH too low. If you do, it will fall apart. It's easy not to mess with the pH of the product - don't add any serious acids.

I encourage you to visit the linked page above to learn more about this emulsifier before we use it tomorrow in a cold process lotion!

For those who think I've taken a while to get talking about my super happy fun trip to Lotioncrafter, I'm sorry. The bottom row of this cupboard contains just a few of the ingredients I brought back - I also have a box of silicones and esters! - so it's taken me a while to inventory them, let alone use them!

The aluminum containers are from Formulator Sample Shop, and there are so many awesome ingredients there, too! There's a third shelf above that one filled with all kinds of awesome colours, micas, and fragrances from Windy Point! And did I mention that there's an entire shelving unit, and at least two more boxes filled with things. Now you know why I get analysis paralysis when I get into my workshop. How to choose what I want to use when there are so may cool things???

I wanted to note that I do get free things from time to time from suppliers, so some of the ingredients from Lotioncrafter and all of the ingredients from the Formulator Sample Shop were free from the supplier. None of the links you click are affiliate links - I just learned what those were and thought I should re-assure you, my lovely readers, that I make no money or gain no reward if you buy something from any supplier anywhere. 

Join me tomorrow as we make a cold process lotion with this new and cool emulsifier! (Ha! Get it? Cool, 'cause it's a cold emulsifier?)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Adding clay to a lotion?

In this post, Modifying our lotions into creams, Dawn asks: I'd like to use your thick cream recipe and add bentonite and kaolin clay to make it an exfoliating foot scrub. Can I simply add the clays to the finished cream at safe usage rates?

Adding clay really can be as easy as adding a certain amount to a product you like and rejoicing about it. However, it's not something you can keep around your house forever. And be aware that some clays dissolve really well in water, so test a small batch first to make sure you aren't creating mud!

I suggest keeping a clay in lotion product for a short period of time, maybe four weeks tops, and using a preservative intended for hard-to-preserve products at the maximum rate. (Something like Germaben II or Phenonip would be good choices here.)

Related posts:
Creating a surfactant based clay cleanser
Using the surfactant base to make scrubs
Physical exfoliants (part two)
Facial scrubs, more exfoliants
Duplicating products: Trilogy's gentle face exfoliant

My first e-zine is available to Patreon subcribers today!

If you're a subscriber for the blog at the $10 level through Patreon, today you'll see the first of my e-zines, Summer Products, available for download! You'll get 31 pages of exclusive to the e-zine recipes for summer products, like aloe vera gels, light summery lotions, and beachy hair sprays, as well as my favourite cool tie pattern!

I'm quite excited right now, as you can probably tell, and I can't wait to hear your feedback about it! Thank you so much to my lovely subscribers!

If you're interested in learning more about what it means to subscribe to me through Patreon, please click here and check out the link "Why Susan Barclay Nichols is on Patreon". 

What to do if you missed this e-zine and you're interested in reading it? These will be available to non-subscribers a while after they are received by the subscribers. (And thank you for being interested in reading them!)

Thank you to all my lovely readers and patrons for supporting me over this really stressful period of time. I hope I have shown my appreciation for your kindness and generosity!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: All about Swift!

In this post, Ultra Bubbly Bubble Bath, HG moisturizer asks: Not sure if this was asked before but I'm really curious, how did you learn to formulate when you first started out? There aren't many schools that teach this and other than your blog (WHICH I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR!!!) I never seem to find much practical information on formulating (>_<) Frankly I have no idea how the cosmetic chemists around the world learn to formulate products lol

Here's a rather longish post, if you'll indulge me.

From this post, What's your background?

I graduated from university with a degree in English and Canadian studies with the intention of teaching. It was the middle of the recession and no one was hiring, so I became a financial worker at the the income assistance department. I eventually became a social worker with the child protection department, but left for a while because it was an incredibly stressful job! After writing a book - and not getting paid for it - I returned to work as a family counsellor with community services, the best job ever and one I am in today.

A few months after starting my job, my husband and I started a games night with a few kids at the library. I started connecting with kids on my caseload through crafting, and we decided to start this group at the library. I had practiced making bath bombs at home, but when we tried them at the library, we failed epically and embarassingly. I went home and did a search to figure out where I went wrong, and I found the Dish forum. (I was using hydrous citric acid and I wanted anhydrous citric acid!) I had no idea you could make all these bath and body products from scratch!

I got up the courage to make a lotion and was completely mesmerized by the moment of emulsification. The success of that project spurred me to try making shampoo, then conditioner, then everything else (except soap). (As an aside, I haven't used any store bought products since 2007 with the exceptions of mascara, toothpaste, and deodorant! I make everything else!)

I started on the first page of the archives of the Dish forum and read to the beginning of that section, then started in on the first page of the current section. I experimented along the way, then returned to those sections with new questions. I started reading textbooks on making products, but I soon realized my chemistry knowledge was lacking, so I registered for a grade 11 class at the local continuing education centre. I didn't take chemistry in high school. I started, but switched out for a German class because that seemed way more interesting, so this was all brand new for me. I finished my first chemistry class in three months, then the grade 12 in two months. (A+ in both classes! Yay!) I re-did my math classes, then registered at the local university for chemistry classes. (I'm still taking classes, and loving them! Am I working towards a degree? It would be nice...)

In the meantime, I started the blog. At first, it was a place to post things from craft group, but in March 2009 - National Craft Month - I decided to turn it into a blog for writing about bath and body products with my first post on toners.

And here we are today. I'm afraid it's not that interesting, but I do hope it encourages those of you who are scared of chemistry and math to give science and math a chance. You don't need to be a whiz to convert recipes from percentages to weights, and you don't need to be in the lab testing everything with a precise scale to make a lotion. A little curiosity and a willingness to learn are what you need to make awesome bath & body products...and I know we all have that inside us!

Related posts:
Why did you start making your own products?
Please share your thoughts! 

Here are two posts about where I get my information, and where you can start...
Where do I get my information?
How to research ingredients?

There isn't a lot on formulating out there, and that's why I write the blog. It's my way of giving back to a community who shared so much with me and started me on this amazing journey. I started writing Point of Interest because it seemed a pity to have all this stuff I'd learned trapped in a stack of notebooks that no one but me would see, and I figured it'd be fun to share what I could and learn from you, my lovely readers. I am so indebted to the people who took the time to share recipes, ideas, experiences, and reviews of ingredients on that forum because it has made such a huge impact in my life. I know I can never thank them enough, but I hope this blog will suffice in showing my gratitude. And I've learned so much from you, my lovely readers!

This is why I ask you to come back to the blog and share your thoughts and experiences. I've seen too many fora and groups turn into places where people don't share, and they turn into sad places where no one participates. I don't want this blog to become one of those sad places...