Saturday, August 23, 2014

Write a review! Win an e-book! Look at who won last week!

Another week, another batch of wonderful reviews from you, my fantastic readers! What's all this about, then? If you write a review of a recipe on this blog, I'll enter your name into a draw to win one of two e-books every Saturday! But much like last week, the reviewers did such a wonderful job and took such an amazing amount of time giving their thoughts, I can't draw names and leave anyone out! So everyone gets the e-book of your choice!

Thanks, Dora, for your review of this body butter! 

Thanks, Pat, for your review of this facial moisturizer! 

Thanks to charmscribe for this review of the leave in conditioner and for this review of the facial serum! 

Thanks, Jan Hunnicutt, for your review of the solid perfume with sunflower oil!

And thanks for Diva Soap for your review of this emulsified scrub with pumpkin seed oil!

Please write to me at sjbarclay@telus.net and let me know which e-book you want. (You can choose the upcoming facial products e-book as well. It's almost done!)

As a quick note, you can write as many reviews as you want in a week - I will enter all of them into the draw and you'll be eligible to win the random draw for each review - and you can enter every week, if you want. There is no limit as to how many e-books you can win! (Okay, technically, you can only win five e-books as that's all I have, but I could put your name down for future ones!)

What's the deal with the e-books? I offer these four e-books in exchange for donation to the youth programs my husband and I run in the community. If you want to know more about each e-book, click on the link!

Creating Hair Care Products (shampoo, conditioners, leave in conditioners, and anti-frizz products)
Back to Basics (anhydrous products)
Lotion Making 101 (part one for learning to make lotions)
Formulating Lotions and Creams (part two for learning to make lotions)

And thanks so much to you, my wonderful readers, for your reviews. You're helping other readers make choices about which recipes to try and you're helping me to learn which recipes you like and want to see more like. You are, as the kids in the group say, freakin' awesome!

Friday, August 22, 2014

My favourite dishwashing soap recipe with d-Limonene

I love making lotions, but I really hate the greasy mess that I have to clean up afterwards, so I turn to my favourite degreasing ingredient - d-Limonene! This solvent derived from citrus fruit can cut through the greasiest mess on your dishes and utensils!

It's a really simple recipe. Just make sure you follow the steps in order. It won't blow up or anything, it just won't solubilize the d-Limonene properly if you add the soap first. 

EASY DISHWASHING LIQUID MODIFICATION
5% d-Limonene
5% polysorbate 20 or polysorbate 80
90% dishwashing liquid of choice. 

I weigh the d-Limonene right into the bottle, then the polysorbate 20 or 80. I mix it up really well by shaking. Then I add the dishwashing liquid - I like Sunlight, mainly because of the day-glo yellow colour and citrus-y scent - and shake well. You're done! 

My suggestion is to load up the sink with the greasy dishes, add the dishwashing liquid, then let set for 5 to 10 minutes. You'll find the grease just slides right off! I am not joking about this! It is quite awesome. 

Where to buy d-Limonene? I know of two places - Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C. and New Direction Aromatics (Canada or USA site). 

Yes, you can use an essential oil of a citrus fruit in place of the d-Limonene but the cost might be more, so be aware of that. I've heard orange is the best choice, although lemon is supposed to be good, too.

And you can use another solubilizer in place of the polysorbate 20 or 80. I haven't tried PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil in this application, but I'm sure it will work very well at a 1:1 ratio. You can try caprylyl/capryl glucoside as well, but I don't know how that will work as I haven't had good results with it with other essential oil type products. 

As I've mentioned in the past, try d-Limonene in other degreasing products, like hand cleansers, cleaning sprays, and even shampoos at low levels for really greasy hair. 

Related posts: 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an apres shaving spray (part three)

On Tuesday we figured out how to make a apres shaving spray with cucumber extract and minimally processed ingredients, and we created the recipe on Wednesday. I thought today could be about modifying that product.

Please note, these modifications will work for a variety of products, including lotions, body washes, toners, and other things you might like to make instead of the shaving spray. I figured it would be fun to look at other ways we could accomplish the goals we set out, which was to offer moisturizing without oils, reduce inflammation, and reduce redness. 

Should I include a cationic polymer for conditioning? Yeah, I could use honeyquat at up to 3% in the cool down phase, but my husband finds it a bit sticky. Or you could use polyquat 7 at up to 3% in the heated water phase.

Can I include an oil in this? No, you can't, unless you use a solubilizer because all the ingredients in this product are water soluble. And solubilizers tend to feel pretty sticky, which isn't what we want. You could, however, use a water soluble oil like PEG-7 olive oil esters or water soluble shea butter. Don't use too much, though. Maybe 5% or so because they can feel a bit sticky at higher levels.

What about proteins? I used hydrolyzed silk protein yesterday in this product, and I really like the feel of it. However, you can use any hydrolyzed protein or peptide you like. I've been playing with one called lupine amino acids that the Formulator Sample Shop* sent me, and I quite like it. I wasn't able to find a ton of information about it, but it has a similar feeling to silk to me, and I'm wondering if it penetrates hair and skin as well? You could use oat, wheat, soy, or any other protein at up to 2% in the heated water phase.

As a note, some proteins can be a bit sticky, so I suggest trying them out in a product that isn't chock full of expensive ingredients to see if you like it. For instance, try making something like this - 48.5 grams water, 1 gram protein of choice, and 0.5 to 1 gram preservative and see if you think it feels sticky. If you like it, then great! If not, then you didn't waste a ton of ingredients!

What about humectants? You can try other humectants, but keep them at lower levels so you don't get stickiness. You can try honey at 2% or lower and see if you like it, try propylene glycol at up to 3%, or even glycerin at up to 2%. Again, if you are worried about stickiness, try adding them

*As I've noted before, the Formulator Sample Shop has sent me free ingredients to try. I receive no compensation for writing about them, and I've made it clear that they will get my honest opinion, good or bad, on the blog.

MODIFIED CUCUMBER & PEPPERMINT APRES SHAVING SPRAY
HEATED WATER PHASE
42% distilled water
20% witch hazel
10% peppermint hydrosol
10% aloe vera liquid
3% polyquat 7
3% PEG-7 olivate
2% sodium PCA
2% hydrolyzed silk protein

COOL DOWN PHASE
5% liquid cucumber extract or 0.5% powdered extract (add 4.5% distilled water)
1% liquid panthenol
0.5% honeysuckle extract
0.5% chamomile extract
1% Germaben II

Weigh the heated water phase into a heat proof container and place in a double boiler. Weigh the container with ingredients so you can compensate for water loss at the end of the process. Heat until it reaches 70˚C, then hold for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, weigh the container and ingredients again, and add enough water to make it up to the original weight.

Allow the ingredients to cool down to 45˚C, then add the cool down ingredients. Stir well. Allow to cool to room temperature, then bottle. I like to use spray bottles, but you can use any bottle with a disc cap or other closure.

What do I think of this version? I liked it, and it felt more moisturizing than yesterday's version, thanks to the water soluble oil and cationic polymer. As with yesterday's version, it doesn't sting open cuts, but it doesn't stop bleeding either.

I'm loving this as a toner/moisturizer for my really oily skin. Considering that I loaded it up with loads of things for red and irritated skin, this is a great product for your face as well!

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a basic toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a more complicated toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an eye gel
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an apres shaving spray (part one)
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an apres shaving spray (part two)

Join me tomorrow for a few ideas about making cleaning products at home!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an apres shaving spray (part two)

Yesterday we took a look at the ingredients we could use in an apres shaving spray made from minimally processed ingredients, so it's about darned time we wrote up a recipe for this product!

CUCUMBER & PEPPERMINT APRES SHAVING SPRAY
HEATED WATER PHASE
58% distilled water
20% witch hazel
10% peppermint hydrosol
2% sodium PCA
2% hydrolyzed silk protein

COOL DOWN PHASE
5% liquid cucumber extract or 0.5% powdered extract (add 4.5% distilled water)
1% liquid panthenol
0.5% honeysuckle extract
0.5% chamomile extract
1% Germaben II

Weigh the heated water phase into a heat proof container and place in a double boiler. Weigh the container with ingredients so you can compensate for water loss at the end of the process. Heat until it reaches 70˚C, then hold for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, weigh the container and ingredients again, and add enough water to make it up to the original weight.

Allow the ingredients to cool down to 45˚C, then add the cool down ingredients. Stir well. Allow to cool to room temperature, then bottle. I like to use spray bottles, but you can use any bottle with a disc cap or other closure.

Related posts:
How to use botanical extracts?
Extract section of the blog

One of the things we didn't really address yesterday is the usage of preservatives. You know that when you have a product that contains water, you need a preservative. In this case, I'm using Germaben II, which is a change from my usual favourite, liquid Germall Plus. I'm switching because I'm using quite a few botanical ingredients in this product, and botanicals can be hard to preserve. I figure that it's better to be safe than mouldy, so I'm choosing to change preservatives to ensure my product is safe for the people I love. Any preservative for water soluble products is suitable here, but I encourage you to use it at the upper limits.

What do I think about it? I really like this apres shaving spray. It feels slightly cool and soothing upon application, and continues to feel moisturizing for quite some time without feeling sticky or oily. It doesn't sting open cuts, but it doesn't stop bleeding, either. I've been using it as a facial toner, too.

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a basic toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a more complicated toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an eye gel
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an apres shaving spray (part one)

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at modifying some of the ingredients!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an apres shaving spray (part one)

Sometimes we forget to include our menfolk when we're making products. They need some seriously crafty love, too! So let's take a look at making an apres shaving toner with cucumber extract. (This would also be a great soothing spray for apres shaving for the ladies as well, but we need to pay attention to the guys today!)

With every product you make, ask yourself why you're making the product. What's the goal? The goal for my after shaving product is to offer something that will feel cooling, soothing, and fresh. I want something that will reduce redness and inflammation, and something that can moisturize without oils. I don't want something that feels sticky, so I'll have to choose my humectants carefully.

I'm going to try something different today - I'm trying to choose minimally processed ingredients that will offer the properties I want! What does "minimally processed ingredients" mean? It's my way of trying to include more botanical and less processed ingredients into this product. I'm still using preservatives because to not include them would be foolhearty with all these botanical and hard-to-preserve ingredients. 

When we take a look at the goals of the product, we can see that including cucumber extract will offer loads of those qualities to a product intended for use after shaving. What else should we use?

This product is very similar to a toner in that we'll be applying it our face through a spray or on a cotton pad, so you could use your favourite toner recipe and add up to 5% liquid cucumber extract or up to 0.5% powdered cucumber extract to the product and rejoice!

I'm going to make this like a toner, so it'll be filled with water soluble ingredients. We could make an apres shaving lotion - see below for loads of ideas - with cucumber extract in them. (Look for a lotion recipe in a few days using cucumber extract.)

What kinds of ingredients do I like in an apres shaving product? I think I'd like to include some witch hazel. It's astringent and moisturizing at the same time. 20% to 30% seems to be a good amount. I think I'll use a little chamomile in here as well as it's a great anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-irritant ingredient. Should I go with the hydrosol or the extract. Let's think on that for a moment...

An aside: How do I decide whether to use a hydrosol, essential oil, or powder for an extract? Let's say I have an ingredient like rosemary. I could use it as a hydrosol, essential oil, or powdered extract. If I'm making something that's water soluble, I would use the hydrosol or powdered extract. If I'm making something oil soluble, I would use the essential oil. Let's say I'm making a lotion - I could use any of the three versions because a lotion contains oil and water soluble ingredients. How would I choose? If I don't want the smell of rosemary in my product, I would not use the essential oil because it will impart a fragrance. If I don't mind the smell, then rosemary essential oil would be a good choice.

There are also differences in what is oil soluble and what is water soluble in a plant, which could also determine the choice. There could be more anti-inflammatory power in an extract than an essential oil - or vice versa - which would make your choice more apparent.

When it comes to hydrosols versus powdered extract, I try to think of what is in the workshop - sometimes I run out of things - and how much other powdered stuff might be in the product. If I'm making a toner, I might not the powdered extract to colour the product, so I'll go with the hydrosol. Or perhaps I already have five different powdered extracts in the product - one more might cause a precipitate or bunch of powder at the bottom of the container - which means a hydrosol might be a better choice.

In this case, I'm going with powdered chamomile extract because I have no other powders in the mix and it's what is in my workshop.

I think I'm going to add 0.5% powdered honeysuckle extract as it can be an anti-irritant that soothes irritated skin and reduces redness. This means I'm going to use my liquid cucumber extract to ensure that I don't have a bunch of powder in the product.

I think I'm going to add some peppermint hydrosol to the mix at 10% because it is supposed to offer a slight cooling sensation while behaving as an anti-septic and astringent. It can be problematic for open wounds, so if you have a tendancy to cut yourself a lot, I would suggest leaving it out for now.

I know you're asking why I'm not using aloe vera liquid in this product. I find it to be a bit sticky even as low as 10%, and that's not something I want to include. Feel free to use it at up to 20% in the heated water phase, if you wish.

Which humectants should I use? These wonderful ingredients draw water from the atmosphere to your skin to moisturize and hydrate. I think I'll use sodium PCA at 2% in the heated water phase. I could use glycerin, but I don't want that stickiness, so sodium PCA seems like a better choice to me.

To those who might say that sodium PCA isn't a natural ingredient, it's found in our skin in our natural moisturizing factor (NMF), so I figure if it's found in our skin, that's about as natural as you can get! 

And what about using a protein? Hydrolyzed proteins are fabulous form filmers and moisturizers. They're a perfect fit for this product! You can use any hydrolyzed proteins you might have in your workshop at up to 2% in the heated phase of this product. Silk hydrolyzed protein might be really nice here in this application.

What about panthenol? Don't you love the stuff, Swift? I do, and considering that it's found in our bodies, I think we can consider it natural. It's supposed to help with redness and inflammation, as well as speeding wound healing, which is a great feature. So let's include it at 1% in the cool down phase. (It can get a bit sticky, so I don't want to have too much in there.)

Have we covered all the bases? We've got loads of ingredients that will help with reducing redness, soothing inflammation, and speeding up skin's healing, which are all the kinds of things we want when making a product like this! But this post is getting really long...so join me tomorrow as we look at the recipe!

Related posts - Shaving lotions:
Experiments in the workshop: Rita BTMS-225 in a shaving lotion
Modifying conditioner into shaving lotion (part one)
Modifying conditioner into shaving lotion (part two)
Shaving lotion with green tea extract
Modified shaving lotion with honeysuckle extract

Related posts: Shaving bars:
Conditioners become shaving products: Shaving lotion bars
Solid conditioner bar becomes shaving bar

Related post: Leave in conditioners become beard conditioners

Related post: Pre-shave formula idea

Related post: After shave lotion

Related section: Products for men! 

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a basic toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a more complicated toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an eye gel

Monday, August 18, 2014

One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an eye gel

I really love this eye gel recipe, and I thought it could only be made better by including some liquid cucumber extract. You can use powdered cucumber extract at 0.5% in this product, but you will end up with a darker coloured gel. No big deal, just thought you might want to know.

I made a gel using this recipe, then I removed 20 grams and made myself a lovely eye gel with cucumber.

CREATING A GEL WITH CARBOPOL ULTREZ 20 (THICK GEL)
96.8% distilled water
1.2% Carbopol Ultrez 20
1.6% 18% lye solution or triethanolamine
0.4% liquid Germall Plus (or preservative of choice)

To make it easier...
242 grams of distilled water
3 grams Carbopol Ultrez 20
4 grams 18% lye solution or triethanolamine
1 gram liquid Germall Plus

Please check out the post I wrote last year on making gels to see the recipe and process.

Remove 95 grams of the gel and add either 5 grams liquid cucumber extract or 0.5 grams powdered extract. You'll want to dissolve the powdered extract in a little liquid. Might I suggest you use something like panthenol - up to 2 grams of it - to dissolve the powdered extract? (You can make a small batch of this - I liked the one I made with 20 grams gel, 1 gram liquid cucumber extract.)

You can add all kinds of wonderful things to this eye gel. Check out the posts to which I've linked to below to see more ideas on how to modify this recipe for your skin types and workshop ingredients.

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a basic toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a more complicated toner

Related posts:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Isn't this Lego set awesome? Can I lower the pH of soap? Will CP soap damage my hair?

If you want to buy the science-loving child (or adult) in your life a present, may I suggest this wonderful Lego Research Institute set with female scientists! It's sold out at the moment, so bookmark that page and keep checking back to get your set!

Note: I'm telling you about this because it's awesome, not because I have been paid or compensated in any way. I love Lego and science, so this is seven kinds of awesome!!!

In this post, adjusting pH in our products, Cabrini asks: My concerns are I made my own shampoo, which the ph balance is a 9. Will it damage my hair? I did use a citric acid it bought it down to a 7, but it changed the look of my shampoo like a creamy consistent. If I add more citric acid it become to thick and seperates and than it its at a ph5 balace. I appreciate your time, hope you can help me.

Here's the thing - soap is alkaline and has a pH about 8 to 10 because soap isn't soap if it isn't alkaline. The clouding you saw when you brought the soap down to pH 7 and pH 5, demonstrates that it's no longer going to work as soap as it's breaking down. So you can't reduce the pH of your soap below pH 8 or it won't be soap any more.

Cold process soap isn't suitable for a shampoo. CP soap is alkaline, and your hair doesn't like alkaline things. You might find your hair is tangled, hard, or crunchy after using it (before conditioner). It can lead to build up of salts on your hair. The tangliness and crunchiness is because the cuticle of your hair strand isn't laying (mostly) flat and the shingle like bits of the cuticle are interlocking with the other bits and causing tangles.

Can this cause damage to your hair? It can because too much friction between hair strands can cause damage to the cuticle. The damage can come from the build up of salts or the interlocking of the cuticles.

I know some people like CP soap for shampoo, and I'm glad it works for you, but most hair types will not like it at all.  

Related posts:
Why CP soap doesn't make a great shampoo
The hair strand: The cuticle
 "Good condition" - what does that mean?
Quick summary of damaged hair

Want to know how soap works? Check out this great post at About Chemistry on the topic!

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with cucumber extract!