Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sponsored by readers like you!

Thank you so much for all your wonderful support of our youth programs! Here are a few examples of pins made last week with the (used) badge maker we bought for the group! We can't thank you enough for all your generous donations! 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Take care of your feet...and a few reminders

I wanted to remind you to check out the products great for foot care! I was at a conference on Friday, and I was shocked to see the state of some of the feet in sandals out there! Holy cow! I thought my slightly dry feet were in bad shape? I encourage you to make these products for your friends and family and hand them out liberally! They will thank you for it!

Related posts:
Formulating with soy bean oil: Making a foot cream (part one)
Formulating with soy bean oil: Making a foot cream (part two)
Body lotion becomes foot lotion
Foot lotion becomes foot cream
Body butter becomes foot cream
Formulating with oils: Lotion bars for very dry feet
Emulsifiers: Thicker lotions with Ritamulse SCG
Foot cream with menthol and eucalyptus
Foot cream with dimethicone

A little blast from the past for you - how can I tell if it's a good recipe? I'm being visited by a lot of people who are asking me to help them fix recipes from other blogs that are done in volume. You can't do a recipe in volume! It's horribly inaccurate! Is the beeswax melted before or after measuring? Do you melt the cocoa butter, then measure it? As well, it makes a mess of loads of spoons and cups. Measuring by digital scale means you measure right into one container for easy clean up.

Secondly, and I don't know how often I have to say this - If you get a recipe from blog x and it doesn't work, please contact the writer of blog x and complain about it. If someone posts a recipe, it's up to them to make sure it really works. I really don't have the time, energy, or inclination to try to fix a recipe that isn't mine. If it's my recipe, please contact me either in a comment or through email and I'll do what I can to get it working. You must include the complete recipe you followed in percentages and your exact process. Please don't send me the recipe I wrote from the blog and claim you followed every ingredient exactly unless you really did follow every ingredient exactly. I need to know the process you followed so I can see what went wrong!

Thirdly, heating and holding your lotions is not an option, it is essential. When someone writes to me to tell me about a failed lotion, at least half the time it's because they didn't heat and hold. (The other almost half is thanks to inadequate levels of emulsifier or no emulsifier, like using beeswax.) I can't stress enough how much the heat and hold process contributes to the success of your emulsification. If you heat it until melting in the microwave, the odds are stacked against making that emulsification work for any significant length of time! Why not reduce the odds and make a great lotion by heating and holding for 20 minutes and creating something lovely?

I can't stress enough how much you want to read the FAQ when you are feeling stumped by something. I would say that at least 60% of the questions you pose in your email message or comments would be answered quickly with a trip to the FAQ. I'm trying to keep up with questions, comments, and messages, but it's getting harder with the increased number of visitors to the blog, and I hate to keep you waiting a week before getting an answer.

I think that's it for today. Hope you're enjoying Sunday in your part of the world! I'm spending today with my friends eating smoked ribs my husband is currently outside making!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I'm still alive!

Hi everyone! Sorry for the dearth of posts lately, but it's been a weird few weeks with being ultra busy and feeling awful with this stomach flu- like thing that randomly shows up! I'll have some blogging time this long weekend, so look for responses to your comments and new stuff then! Thanks for your patience! (In case you're curious, that's my 3DS with vinyl decals! I just thought it looked kinda cool!) 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Don't forget about squalane!

In our haste to use the newest oils we can find, we sometimes forget about the oils that we might have purchased in the past. One of the oils I'm rediscovering is squalane, a bio-identical oil that we find in our skin's sebum at around 12%. It's not an inexpensive oil - 2 ounces/60 ml is about $11.65 at Voyageur Soap & Candle, for example - but you don't need a lot to make a huge difference. You can use it at 10% or lower to get the lovely skin feel from this oil!

It makes up about 12% of our skin's sebum, so our skin identifies it as "ours" and soaks it up quickly. Squalene is a vital part of cholesterol, steroid, and Vitamin D synthesis in our bodies. It penetrates the skin quickly offering softening and moisturizing to even really chapped or cracked skin. You can use it neat or in a lotion. But it's highly unstable with all those double bonds. So instead we use squalane, a hydrogenated version with no double bonds that offers us a lot of stability, such as a shelf life of over 2 years!

Squalane has the same great qualities we find in squalene. It can help chapped and cracked skin (in fact, try it neat!), helps prevent UV damage to skin, offers cell regenerating properties, and can be anti-bacterial. (Remember, though, you can't make claims about the UV protection or anti-bacterial properties.)

Try it in a facial moisturizer (replace the oils in this recipe with squalane and something filled with linoleic acids!) or in an eye cream. It is incredible for a foot lotion for really cracked and and dry feet. And an intense hand lotion or cuticle cream for cracked hands or finger tips would be an ideal application for squalane. In fact, you can substitute squalane for any light oil. The HLB is 12 to 12.9, so if you're using the HLB system to create an emulsifier, you'll have to reformulate for any substitutions (for instance, sunflower oil is 7, so if you exchange that for squalane, you'll have to re-calculate!)

Squalane and fractionated coconut oil in a lotion will give you an amazingly long shelf life - up to 2 years - because there are very few double bonds - if any - in both oils. Both are non-staining and sink in quickly, making it an ideal oil combination for a post shower body moisturizers!

I like to use it as the base for a facial serum as it sinks in quickly and offers silky smoothness. (Original recipe can be found in this post...

20% squalane
20% soybean oil
20% camellia oil
10% evening primrose oil (20% for very dry skin, reduce the squalane by 10%)
10% borage oil
10% sea buckthorn oil**
10% rosehip, carrot, or other oil that looks nice to you

Feel free to exchange any of these oils, except for the squalane. Feel free to try using something like 20% evening primrose or 20% borage if you don't have one or the other. Keep the oils light and dry feeling for facial skin so you don't look all shiny!

**As a note, if your sea buckthorn oil is very orange, only use 1% to 5%. Only you know the colour of your sea buckthorn, so use your best judgement. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Using the FAQ and newbies' section to get information. Is polysorbate 20 less sticky than polysorbate 80? How should polysorbate 80 smell?

Just a quick reminder that the FAQ and the Newbies' section of the blog contain a lot of information that might interest you. I would say that fully half of the questions I see in e-mail and comments could be easily answered with a quick trip to the FAQ. I don't get a lot of time to answer comments or messages during the week, so rather than waiting until the weekend to get a response, taking a trip to either of those sections will get you an answer quicker than waiting for me! As well, if you're interested in a topic - say, making shampoo - checking out the section about that topic - like hair care - will likely give you loads of information! Also, consider doing a search. The search function on this blog is fantastic - thanks, Google! - and you will find a wealth of information that might even overwhelm you!

From this post, Polysorbate 20 vs polysorbate 80, Lucy asks: I've recently made a water based spray with fragrance oil at 1% and poly 80 at equal amounts. It's sticky. My ingredients are just those three. I know i need to use poly 20 but it's just not available in my country. You think the poly 80 is the culprit? Would poly 20 remove stickyness? 

No, polysorbate 20 and polysorbate 80 are both sticky. They are derived from sugar. I found that caprylyl/capryl glucoside is also sticky. I found that Caprol Micro Express and PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil are the only non-sticky solubilizers I've found.

As a quick question, what preservative are you using? One is necessary in this product! Whenever we have water, we must use a preservative. (Related post: When should you use a preservative?)

Related posts:
Making a fragrance spray with caprylyl/capryl glucoside
Water based fragrance spray
Oil based fragrance sprays and solid perfume
Men's products: Scented body sprays

In this post, Esters: Using polysorbates in your products, Ursula asks: I have a quick questiopn about polysorbate 80, what should it smell like? I have just received some and tried to make a bath oil with it, in the container it smeels like neatsfoot oil (that you use on leather and horse tack) and even at 4% fragrance oil I can still smell it in the bath oil, Is this a normal smell for it or is there something wrong with my polysorbate?

I asked my family to smell my bottle of polysorbate 80 and they described it as sweet or slightly sugary. I have no idea what neatsfoot oil smells like, so I looked it up, and the general theme was "icky" or "unpleasant", so I think there's something wrong with either your sense of smell or the polysorbate. (I'm going to guess it's the polysorbate 80...)

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm presenting at the Conference for the Canadian Guild of Soapmakers, Chandlers, and Cosmetic Makers!

Woo! This is going to be fun! I've been asked to run two workshops at this year's 1st Annual Conference for the Canadian Guild of Soapmakers, Chandlers, and Cosmetic Makers the weekend of October 16th to 18th in Banff, Alberta! I'll be running two workshops sponsored by Voyageur Soap & Candle - lotion making and hair care products - on Saturday and Sunday respectively. This is going to be great fun with loads of workshops and chances to spend time with your fellow creators in a beautiful place like Banff! I'm not sure of all the details, but if you click on the link above, it'll take you to the page and you can learn more!

If you have any questions for me, let me know! This is going to be great fun!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: How to heat proof a whipped butter?

It's been a weird week! I've been sick for most of the week with some kind of stomach/digestive ailment, which has left me in bed feeling very grumpy. Today is Rated T for Teen video game club with the kids, then tonight we're going to see Nightwish in Vancouver, and we'll stay in town until Monday. I hope I'm feeling well enough to enjoy myself! As a result, I won't be getting to all your e-mails and comments as I usually do on Saturday, but I'll try during the next week to carve out some time to answer what I can! (Next Saturday, I'm teaching the Back to Basics class at Voyageur Soap & Candle, so I'll have to wait until Sunday for more writing time!)

In this post, Newbie Tuesday: Creating whipped butters, Christine asks: I'm trying to formulate a body butter that won't melt in the summer heat during delivery. I saw your whipped body butter made mostly with soy butter and wondered how that would withstand the heat. (I live in steamy GA.)

It won't. Soy butter is a butter made of soy bean oil and hydrogenated vegetable oil, so it'll have a lower melting point than something like mango butter or cocoa butter. If you want to try to make something more heat resistant, look at those butters or other butters, like sal or kokum, that have higher melting temperature. For the love of all that is good and holy, don't use coconut oil as it has a very low melting point around 24˚C (76˚F). You can consider adding something like beeswax or cera bellina, but that will change the consistency and skin feel of the product.

If you wanted to make your own butter, you would use something like Lipidthix, which is a powder you can add to your oils to make them solid. Check out the posts below to see how you might do this! 

If you have a suggestion for heat proofing a whipped butter, please share your thoughts! I've heard many people say they just don't sell or ship whipped butter in the warmer months...

Related posts:
Why did I buy that again? Lipidthix
Lipidthix: Making a butter
Lipidthix: Using 25% to make a butter
More about Lipidthix and re-heating products
Pumpkin seed oil: Making pumpkin seed oil butter