Saturday, June 25, 2016

My thoughts on comments...

As a note, as much as I love seeing your comments, I'm assessing whether or not I can continue to answer most of them individually in the near future. I've been keeping track of the amount of time I spend on the comments, and it's a lot. I mean a lot a lot!

I'm not kidding about how much time it takes to answer comments. I generally start writing around 11 am on Sunday, and I can take until 3 or 4 to answer comments. By then, I'm generally tired and need a break, then it's dinner, and my writing time is done for the week. This means no blog posts for the week. That's a big deal to me.

I do find it hard to get to your comments right away. I have a super busy life, and if you want an answer with more than a few lines, you generally have to wait until the weekend when I have more time and can be more thoughtful. This time is competing with time during which I could be writing blog posts and e-books, teaching, or doing more research. And in the end, maybe 5% of you come back to acknowledge that you've seen the comment, and even fewer return to share what happened to the recipes I helped you work out. It's a huge commitment of time for something it seems few people see or value.

I'll be monitoring the blog over the next month to see what I should do. If I choose not to answer comments individually, I will still answer unique or interesting ones or ones that could benefit the larger readership as a Weekend Wondering. The rest will go unanswered or they may be answered by a link to a place on the blog where you can find an answer, like the FAQ or newbie section. (I haven't really decided what I'll do because I'm hoping I don't have to make that decision...)

What can you do to keep me answering comments? Show me you're out there. Watch for me to answer by refreshing the page or by clicking the little box that sends you an e-mail when someone has posted in that thread. Say "hi" or "thanks" or "WTF, Swift?" or whatever to acknowledge that you've returned to the blog. When I say things like, "Let us know how it turned out!" come back and let us know how it turned out! Share a recipe you've made from the blog or share your modifications. In short, participate in the blog!

I get if you don't want to participate because you feel you don't have something to say. I'm sure you do, but I want to support my reticent and introverted readers by saying that you don't have to say anything if you're not comfortable doing so!

I'm part of a lot of Facebook groups and fora, and I see when you've posted here and there and the other place and that other site, so if I didn't answer your comment, it might be because you've had it answered in all those other places, and my opinion isn't required. Don't get me wrong: You don't need to post here and wait for me to answer. There are so many great sites, blogs, and groups where you can get information, and I encourage you to be part of all of them. Just don't get upset when I don't answer a question for which you've had half a dozen answers in other places. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Newbie Tuesday on Thursday: We're making facial products

I asked and you responded - let's do a Newbie Tuesday series on facial products! Here are the products I'd like to make!

- Facial cleanser
- Micellar water
- Creamy cleanser (like a lotion)
- Moisturizer
- Toner
- Gels of all kinds - toner, serum, eye gel
- Serum, including spot treatments

We'll work to create a base. Once we're happy with it, we'll start adding fancy things like extracts, cosmeceuticals, vitamins, and so on.

Where should we start? I'm thinking we start at the beginning with a facial cleanser then move into micellar water.

What do we need to buy for the series? I'll put together a list and share it here shortly. I'll offer a few choices based on your skin type. (Check out this section on skin chemistry and types.)

What about preservatives? Yes, you'll need to use preservatives. I will be using liquid Germall Plus in all my products and all the recipes are created with those in mind, but you're free to use any preservative that works with the product you're making. As we'll be making products with water, you'll want to choose something that is soluble in water. If I had to choose another preservative, I like Germaben II or PhenonipI'm not suggesting Optiphen as it can destabilize lotions for even the most experienced formulators, but you're welcome to use it. There are no "natural" preservatives I've seen that can stand alone or pass testing, so I'm not suggesting any of those at this time.

Check out the preservatives chart for more choices, or the preservatives section linked above to read more about all of them.

What do you think? Should we start with facial cleanser? Do you want me to outline a schedule we'll be following to give you time to order things? I'll put a shopping list up for all the products we'll be making over the next three months so you can get what you need.

Once I put up the shopping list, I figure we'll need four weeks for you to get the ingredients at your home - possibly longer in Canada as we have a postal strike looming in the future - before posting the first facial cleanser. Let's choose a about Tuesday, July 26th for the first recipe to create a facial cleanser?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Using solubilizers to produce fragrance or room sprays

Sorry for the silence. It's been a difficult week as my mom's health isn't great at the moment, and it's kept me away from the computer. Thanks for your patience!

In this post, Caprol Micro Express, Sandra asks: I made a spray by using CMB but I found the spray was turned cloudy when the room temperature increased. Did you experience it? Is it fine to use such cloudy product? Or, it turns bad already!? Is there any way to enhance its stability? Thanks a lot! :)

The short answer is yes, you can use it when it's cloudy.

The longer answer is still yes, with an explanation of how solubilizers work. When it's cloudy it means you've done some solubilizing, which is a good thing. It means some of the oil is being solubilized by the Caprol Micro Express (in this case). You can get to a point where your product will not be cloudy - check out these room sprays I made using PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil below.

There are so many different solubilizers - you can see below all the different experiments I've done with them - and some produce clear products and others don't. You have to get the ratio right to get a clear product, and not all of them produce a clear product!

Some are a 1:1 ratio of solubilizer to fragrance/essential oil and some are higher. This is really a place where you need to experiment with your ingredients to see what works best.

Take a look at my experiments in the links below. You'll see all the ways I tried to get some of these things to work and what I had to do to get them clear.

Related posts:
Chemistry Thursday: Solubilizers, emulsifiers, and dispersers
The difference between solubilizers and emulsifiers redux
Solubilizers: A comparison
More thoughts about solubilizers
Surfactants and fragrance/essential oils 

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil
Preparing for my experiments with this ingredient
Experiments with different fragrance and essential oils (part one)
Experiments with different fragrance oils (part two)

Esters: Polysorbates
Using polysorbates in our products
It's all about the polysorbates, baby!
How to use polysorbates in our products

Caprylyl/capryl glucoside (overview)
Making fragrance sprays with caprylyl/capryl glucoside
Caprylyl/capryl glucoside, part two

Cromollient SCE in our products (overview)
Cromollient SCE in our hair care products
Cromollient SCE in a body wash
Cromollient SCE in a clear body wash
Using Cromollient SCE in other products

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Newbie Tuesday: Facial products?

I was thinking about resuming Newbie Tuesday in the near future to make facial products, like a moisturizer, toner, or cleanser. I thought we could develop a base recipe, then add some cool extras to it, like cosmeceuticals, extracts, botanicals, and more. 

What would you think of this idea? Or would you prefer to work on something else for a newbie series of tutorials? (Check the newbie section below to see what we've already covered.) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Related posts:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why do conditioning agents smell fishy?

Have you ever caught a whiff of a positively charged conditioner like Incroquat BTMS-50 or honeyquat and wondered why it smelled fishy? There's nothing wrong with the product: You're smelling the ammonium salt in the cationic quaternary compound! (That N in the molecule above...) Some people can smell it, some can't. It's hard to know if you'll be a smeller or not until you get a nose full of the ingredient. 

It shouldn't remain in the finished product, although there are some very sensitive noses that might still notice it. If you do, consider scenting the product at 0.5% to 1% to mask it. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Can I use magnesium oil in my lotions?

In this post, Pumpkin seed: Making a light lotion, Anamaria asked, I would like to know if I could ever make this same lotion adding magnesium chloride oil? Would it survive to the heat? Thanks

Magnesium oil isn't an oil. It's a solution of water and magnesium flakes, so it's a water soluble ingredient, not an oil. It could handle the heat well, so you could add it to the heated water phase of a lotion. Magnesium chloride is a salt or an electrolyte, and a lot of our ingredients really don't like electrolytes much, so check before you add it to your product.

What is an electrolyte? "An electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that make the substance electrically conductive. The most typical electrolyte is an ionic solution, but molten electrolytes and solid electrolytes are also possible. Commonly, electrolytes are solutions of acids, bases or salts." (From Wikipedia).

The most common electrolyte we'll meet as bath and body makers is salt (external link), found as magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts), sodium chloride (table salt), dendritic salts (sodium chloride), and so on. (Magnesium chloride in magnesium oil is a salt.)

How much salt a product can handle will depend on the product. Surfactant blends like shampoo, body wash, or bubble bath can generally handle about 3% before they go really watery. (In fact, we can thicken some surfactant mixes with salt - it's called the salt curve.) Surfactants aren't a great place to use electrolytes.

If you want to put it into a lotion, check to see what your emulsifier can handle. Polawax is electrolyte tolerant, Natragem EW can handle up to 10% salt, but Aristoflex AVC will fall apart. Lotionpro 165 (aka Simulsol 165) is supposed to handle electrolytes well.

If you want to put it into a gel, check to see what you can use. Ultrez 20, my favourite carbomer, works very well with electrolytes, but if you use more than a titch, you'll start to lose viscosity. I'm working with Sepimax ZEN and Sepimax EMT 10 this week, two gel creating polymers that have good resistance to electrolytes, so those might work for a magnesium oil gel.

Xanthan gum is tolerant to high levels of electrolytes, and salts could actually help thicken it further. Guar gum is "uncommonly resistant" to electrolytes, and can be used in combination with xanthan gum to thicken it further.

If you want to use it in a product, try it at a low amount - let's say 3% - and see how it turns out. Make a small batch of the product to see what you think of it, and keep really good notes. Then add 1% every time you make it to see what you think. And come back to tell us what you think so we can share your experiences with other people who might like to make products with this magnesium oil.

A guide to magnesium oil
Ancient Minerals

Magnesium picture above By Romain Behar, Public Domain

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: What do I do when a friend is selling my recipes?

I thought I'd share as a quick note that I'm finally on Twitter. You can find me there as @SwiftCraftyM and subscribe or like or whatever one does to follow someone. (Funnily enough, I couldn't get my whole real name or my silly nickname in there as there were too many characters!)

In this post, There are no old posts, Febe asks: I have a question about copy write of recipes. My neighbor is using my skincare recipes and "selling to friends and family." I spent two years working on my formulations and testing. I asked her to test and she asked for the recipes to make for herself. Lesson learned - I should not have shared. But, I thought she was my friend. Anyway. She changed some amounts but not the ingredients. Are there any guideline that govern this kind of activity? How does all that work if someone copies your recipe and sells the produce? 

That's really unfortunate that a friend would do that to you. I'm so sorry you've experienced this kind of betrayal. What's she has done is completely unethical and just plain mean. 

I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know much about trademark or copyright, but my feeling is that I don't think there's anything you can do about this without spending a lot of money. And in the end, I suspect, she can say that it's her recipe because she altered the amount of this thing, increased the amount of that thing, and took this other thing out altogether for another thing. 

Are you comfortable bringing this up with her? Do you think talking to her will help? She might not stop selling things, but you might feel better sharing your feelings with her? 

I could be completely wrong here. I'd love to hear from someone more knowledgeable about the law than I am. I'm guessing from the spelling of "neighbour" as "neighbor", the original commenter is in America?