Thursday, August 27, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - what's in it? Surfactants

In yesterday's post, Shampoo - how does it work?, we took a look at how a shampoo works to clean our hair. Today, let's take a look at how one would formulate a shampoo, then at the ingredients we might find in one.

So what makes a shampoo a shampoo? We want to formulate a shampoo that will remove sebum and soil from our hair and scalp, remove residue of styling products, leave hair in good condition, and deposit lovely things like panthenol, conditioning agents, and so on.

How do we achieve these goals? We want to include between 15% to 40% surfactants in our mix to remove soil, sebum, and styling product residue. To leave hair in good condition, we'll choose a surfactant mix that is mild to hair and scalp as well as add a few things that might help leave our hair conditioned. And we can use all kinds of lovely ingredients like conditioning agents, panthenol, extracts, and so on to make our hair feel nice when we've rinsed it off.

The concentration of your surfactants will vary, but I usually go for the higher amount (around 40%) because not only is it easier to thicken higher amounts of surfactants, but it's more concentrated, so I don't have to use a lot to get some serious lather!

A basic shampoo would look something like this...

15% to 40% surfactants (mix of anionic and cocamidopropyl betaine)
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil
up to 3% Crothix (liquid) to thicken or use salt at up to 3%
water to 100%

Why are we including each ingredient?

Water: Well, that's a given right? We need to include water in a shampoo to decrease the concentration of the surfactants and act as a solvent for the other ingredients.

Surfactants: We always want to include cocamidopropyl betaine in our mixtures to increase the mildness and thickening of the mix. We can choose surfactants suitable for our skin types - dry, normal, and oily - and use those for our hair types. Some good choices might be...

Dry hair: Amide ether sulfatestauratesSCI (with stearic acid), decyl glucosideacyl glutamate.
Oily hair: Sulfosuccinatesalkane sulfonates.
Normal hair: Whatever you like, lucky you!

All hair types might like the carboxylates (mild cleansing, conditioned feel), SLeS or ALeS, and SCI (without stearic acid for normal to oily hair, with stearic acid for dry hair).

Thickeners: You can use something like Crothix - which will thicken and increase mildness - or salt. (Click here for three posts on increasing viscosity in surfactant mixtures).

Preservative: I generally use liquid Germall Plus in my shampoos up to 0.5%, but you can choose another suitable preservative.

So yeah, I guess we have achieved our goals. Hmm, why do I feel strangely unfulfilled? Perhaps it's because I've left out all the good things that will really make our hair feel really conditioned and soft!

An aside...We could get away without using thickeners in our surfactant mixes - it's really only there for the aesthetics, but a thicker shampoo means less wasted product and will make us think it's more cleansing. Something like glycol distearate (EZ Pearl) is almost always used in shampoo for dry hair because we perceive a pearlized product as more creamy and, therefore, more moisturizing (which it is, actually). Doesn't this picture look like it should be a shampoo for dry hair? (It is, in fact, a bubble bath, but the point is made...)

We don't need to fragrance or colour our shampoo, but there's something about a yellow shampoo scented with citrus that makes us think of refreshing morning showers, a pink shampoo with Pink Sugar that makes us think we're being girly and fun, or a brown shampoo with Vanilla Oak that makes us feel manly and clean. 

I think this basic recipe is a good start - and a great place to start learning about making a shampoo - but what takes a shampoo from okay to awesome are those film forming, moisturizing, and conditioning ingredients. Join me tomorrow as we take a look at those ingredients.

Related posts:
Formulating a basic shampoo

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why cold process soap doesn't work as a shampoo (for most people)

I've been getting a lot of questions about this topic lately, so I thought I should highlight it again. Most people cannot use cold process soap as a shampoo. Shampoos are generally at pH 6.0 or lower, whereas soaps are alkaline, over pH 8.0. This means CP soaps are not pH balanced for our hair. After shampooing with products out of the right pH range, the cuticle of our hair doesn't lie down, and this can lead to abrasion between the hairs. This is a serious cause of mechanical hair damage, and once you have damage, it's hard to repair it, even with the most intense conditioners.

As a note, you cannot get a soap to pH 6 because it'll stop being soap!  

CP soaps aren't as soluble in hard water as most surfactants. Soap molecules in hard water are converted by double decomposition to form insoluble non-foaming salts like lime, calcium, or magnesium salts of fatty acids. This isn't a big deal on your skin, but it can lead to build up on your hair, leaving it looking dull and feeling kinda crunchy. They won't foam well if there are metal ions in your water - and most water contains metal ions - and they won't foam well in the presence of sebum. Given these properties, CP soap isn't going to remove all the stuff you've put on your hair and you won't get a feeling of being clean (or, ironically, your hair might feel too squeaky clean, which isn't a good thing).

What I make as a shampoo bar is what is called a syndet or synthetic detergent bar, using surfactants. If you're interested in learning more, click the links! 

There are some people in the world who use soap as shampoo and like it, and to them I say "yay"! But most of us will have results that are less than stellar. If you are one of those people, now you know something!

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - how does it work?

The post, Should we design our recipes as lines of products?, put forth the idea that maybe we should be consider what we use together when we are making our products. Can we leave ingredients out or reduce the concentration of ingredients when we know what might be coming next? To that end, let's take a look at the first product most of us use when we're washing our hair - shampoo!

How does shampoo remove sebum, dir, skin cells, and so on from our hair?

The main ingredients in a shampoo are the foamy, bubbly, and lathery ingredients we call surfactants. Surfactants are wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing easier spreading, and lower the interfacial tension between two liquids. (In other words, a surfactant makes it possible to mix oil and water or for lathery things to remove oil or dirt from your skin or clothes.) (From Wikipedia.)

Surfactants have a hydrophilic (or water-loving) head and a lipophilic (or fat-loving) tail. The hydrophilic head clings onto watery stuff - say the water phase of our lotion - and the lipophilic tail creates a ball around the oily stuff - the oil phase of our lotion.

When it comes to making a shampoo, our focus will be the lathery, foamy types of surfactants or surfactants that exhibit detergency - meaning something that wets and solubilizes oils, soils, and proteins, and removes them from surfaces, clothes, and people. They tend to be bubbly, foamy, and lathery. 

Yes, the emulsifiers we use like Polawax or BTMS are surfactants! 

We know that surfactants lower surface tension, but they're also effective at deflocculating soil and dirt clumps in our hair. (Deflocculating means "to disperse an agglomerate into fine particles and form a colloid" - in other words, to disperse a clump of something into finer particles. You might remember flocculation from the epic lotion fail post - this means for finer particles to clump together!) The shampoo keeps the fine particles in suspension so they can be washed away and not go back onto your hair or scalp.

Detergents work in a few different ways...
  • "Roll-up mechanism": Causes a rapid detachment of oils from your hair, scalp, body, and/or clothes, which are displaced by the surfactant. 
  • Micellular solubilization mechanism: The soils are solubilized into the micelles and washed away (this is dependent upon micelle concentration). It's all about displacing the oils in your hair and scalp with the detergent solution. 
  • Dispersion and emulsification: Soil particles are emulsified into the solution. Sebum might actually help this process. 
What are the goals of a shampoo? Our goal is to clean our hair...which means what? We want to create a lovely lathery, bubbly, non-toxic and non-irritating, fresh smelling shampoo that will...
  • remove sebum and soil from our hair and scalp
  • remove residue of styling products
  • leave hair in good condition after rinsing, meaning it can be combed or brushed when wet or dry
  • deposit lovely things like panthenol, conditioning agents, and so on
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at what ingredients we might find in a shampoo!

Related posts:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Should we be designing our recipes as a line of products?

Kneeley asked a great question: If we were to make say, a shampoo and a conditioner, and maybe a leave in all for the same person or same hair type that are meant to be used together, would we need to make alterations to the recipes for things such as glycerin, proteins etc due to either something like protein build up or stickiness? 

What a great question! This got me thinking about how our products work together and the idea of creating recipes for a line of products. I generally make products as a one-off, never assuming you'll be using another recipe from this blog in tandem with something else. But what if you're using a cleanser, toner, moisturizer combination or a shampoo, conditioner, leave in, anti-frizz combination every day? Are you getting too much of something by piling one on top of the other?

If I may ask you for a moment of your time, could you please give me an idea as to what products you might use together? This will help me design some recipes to go with this series!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: If Vitamin C doesn't penetrate the skin, what is the benefit of it?

In this post, Weekend Wonderings: Adding Vitamin C to a product, Rosi asks: If vitamin C does not penetrate the skin, what is the benefit of it?

Good question! We use a lot of ingredients that don't penetrate the skin well, like hydrolyzed oat protein, carionic polymers, and oils, to name a few, and we know they offer great benefits. 

I think we need to talk about what it means for an ingredient to penetrate our skin. Most ingredients will penetrate a layer or two of the stratum corneum, or the upper layer of our skin. Ingredients and products will mix with the natural moisturizing factor or the stratum corneum lipids to enhance moisturizing and hydration, assist with exfoliation, or create an occlusive layer. We can add ingredients to our products to help increase the possibility of penetration, called penetration enhancers. (Never ever do a search for that on Google!!!)
Molecules have to be very small to penetrate your skin - if I recall correctly, it's around 500 Daltons, which is very small - and very few of the ingredients we're using are that small. 

But does Vitamin C have to penetrate our skin beyond the stratum corneum to do its magic? Vitamin C is a water soluble anti-oxidant has been proven in studies to be an anti-inflammatory that can stimulate collagen formation, lighten skin, treat hyperpigmentation, and heal wounds. It's water soluble ingredient that works best in creations with a pH of less than 3 (now that's acidic!) and concentrations up to 5% are well tolerated by our skin. It's present in every layer of our stratum corneum and it's essential for stimulating collage synthesis and the formation of the barrier lipids. Applying a lotion with a concentration of 5% over 6 months have been shown to improve the appearance of skin with photo-damage (and this isn't the "improve the appearance" like the cosmetic companies use this phrase - this was an actual study!) and it's been shown to reduce sunburn cell formation and reddening in humans. And it has been shown that it can influence the synthesis of specific ceramides, which can improve the water retaining properties - well, at least in vitro. (This hasn't been confirmed in living human skin yet.)

To answer your question, there are loads of benefits to using Vitamin C in a product. Very few of our ingredients offer any penetration beyond the stratum corneum, and that's okay! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekday Wonderings: Is this ingredient oil free?

In this post on olive oil unsaponifiables, Kim asks: Would olive oil unsaponifiables be ok for oily skin versus other oils or be considered oil free?

Technically, olive oil unsaponifiables would be considered oil free because it isn't an oil. (I've seen someone claim that a lotion with shea butter was "oil free" because shea is a butter, not an oil, but that seems like a stretch.)

Is it okay for oily skin? I don't know the answer to that question because everyone's skin is different and everyone will react differently. The only way to know that an ingredient is right for you is to try it and keep a record.

Please note that if an ingredient is causing pimples, it won't happen overnight. It can take up to a week for a pimple to erupt from the skin, so if you use something today and you've broken out tomorrow, it likely isn't the ingredient's fault. You were brewing up something under your skin and it's simply a coincidence! You may break out with something if you're having an allergic reaction, but that isn't the same as a full blown pimple!

Related posts:
Only you know what your skin can handle
A couple of notes on breakouts, acne, and comedogenicity

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Adding Vitamin C to a product

In this post, A few thoughts for a lazy Saturday, Fuchia asks: A bit off topic but I'm curious about making a Vitamin C cream. I have a face cream recipe I make now and love (it does not contain Vitamin C but uses Optiphen Plus as a preservative) and keep reading online that you can just add a small amount of L Asorbic acid to it and it will keep for a few weeks. Why can't it keep for longer then that (ie 6 months to a year) and is there another step involved in making Vitamin C cream or is it that easy?

(From this post on Vitamin C.) It isn't easy to add Vitamin C to a product.  Because it's really unstable in water and it doesn't easily penetrate our skin. Plus pH 3 is really acidic and that's not a great pH for our lotions or serums to be. And it degrades easily when exposed to oxygen.

So let's say you want to use Vitamin C in your creations. Is it possible? It is. The ideal product would be a non-ionic anhydrous product or emulsion in an air tight container (so a lotion or serum not including any cationic ingredients - like BTMS or cationic polymers -  or anionic ingredients - like our bubbly surfactants - is right out). You can use it with silicones or oils as an anhydrous creation. But Vitamin C is water soluble, so how the heck would we get it into a creation with little to no water?

You can use an ester like ascorbyl palmitate in a serum or lotion as your source of Vitamin C, for instance. You can use the water soluble Vitamin C in an emulsion, but you will see some degradation of the ingredient, so don't choose a pump bottle but something like a malibu/tottle or disc cap to keep it less exposed to the air. (As I note, I found tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate at Lotioncrafter's site. This is another ester with Vitamin C and very stable. I also found VitaC Stable at the Herbarie, which is Vitamin C with a phosphate added for stability. Or MAP at the Formulator Sample Shop.)

Or you could dissolve it in water and create an emulsion, although this will be less effective than using the ester. And it can oxidize quickly, making your products an orange/brown colour (that's when you know it's oxidized!), which isn't great. So it's looking like using one of the esters is the best choice.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A quick note for those of you seeking cetrimonium bromide

Back by popular demand, the Personal Formulator (US) is selling cetrimonium bromide again! I'm putting in an order as I really want to play with this ingredient much much more!

Please note, I am not affiliated in any way with the Personal Formulator - other than as a paying customer - so I provide this information to you as a public service, not as a way to make money! 

Weekend Wonderings: Substituting one oil for another

I've had a few questions this week about substituting one oil for another. In general, you can substitute any oil for another oil in most recipes. You will change the skin feel, viscosity, colour, and other features, but you won't change the chemistry of the product. (Meaning that your lotion will still emulsify well...)  For instance, if you were previously using meadowfoam seed oil - a very light, less greasy feeling oil - for olive oil - a heavier, medium greasinesss oil - your lotion may feel slightly heavier and greasier. If you were to substitute the other way, you'd have a less greasy, lighter feeling oil.

There is an exception to what I've just said. Castor oil and beeswax have a neat way of interacting that makes the product more plastic, which is why this combination is used a lot in lipsticks. If you see castor and beeswax being used together, it's probably a wise idea not to alter the recipe unless you know they aren't working together in this way. (See this recipe at Voyageur for making non-petroleum jelly with castor oil and beeswax. You cannot substitute the castor oil for another oil in this recipe!) 

I encourage you to play with your oils! When I started out making products, I followed every recipe to a T. I'd find one - say, sweet almond & chamomile - and I'd run down to get a bottle of that oil. Then I'd see another one - let's say aloe & olive oil - and I'd have to have a bottle of that, too. In a few months, I had dozens of bottles of oil that only have a short shelf life - a year is short to me these days! - and I wasted so much money. This is why I write a lot of my recipes saying "oil" because you can use the oils you know and love instead of my favourites.

And yes, you can freeze your oils

I encourage you to get to know your oils by playing with them. When I do my lotion making, facial products, and anhydrous classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle, we set up an oil bar where people can play with the oils to get to know the skin feel before we make our products. I think this helps to make more educated choices about the oils you're planning to use, and I think it saves you money because you don't need to buy tons of different oils when four or five will do. (The picture above is of our oil bar!)

On a secondary note, when substituting one oil for another, there are many ways to determine how to do it. You could compare fatty acids, greasiness level, viscosity, cost - there is no right way to compare oils. It's about what you want and the application in which you'll be using it. I encourage you to visit the emollients section of the blog to see detailed posts about loads of different oils and to see the comparison charts I've written.

Related posts:
Getting to know your oils - scroll down to see the start of the series