Thursday, February 26, 2015

Making a water in silicone serum with Lotioncrafter Serum SE

I love silicones! I think they are the silkiest feeling ingredients we can find, so I've always wanted to make a silicone serum like the No 7 one my mom uses or the Oil of Olay one my bestie likes so much. I found this ingredient at Lotioncrafter - Lotioncrafter Serum SE* - and thought I'd try it!

What is it?"Lotioncrafter Serum SE is a proprietary blend of self emulsifying silicone fluids designed to make the creation of water-in-silicone emulsions (or serums) simple. Along with Lotioncrafter Serum SE, serums are created and stabilized using a sodium chloride/sodium citrate buffer. This reduces interfacial tension and improves freeze-thaw stability, as does the addition of glycerin and/or glycols (dipropylene, propylene or butylene glycol). These also contribute to increased preservative efficacy."

So it's an emulsifier that has been designed to bring water and silicone together in a serum format. Why can't we just use Incroquat BTMS-50 to make a facial thingie with silicones? We could, but then we'd be making a lotion, not a serum. This creates more of a gel than a lotion, although it isn't clear.

This is a great way to get loads of cosmeceuticals or actives into your product, and it's fantastic to use underneath make-up. In fact, if you're looking to make an under make-up primer, this is a great product!

You'll want to add a sodium chloride (salt) and sodium citrate buffer to it, so don't forget to order the latter when you order this emulsifier. Oh, and get yourself some propylene glycol as well. I've tried it with 10% glycerin, and it was a bit sticky for my tastes!

How do we use it? You can get all your ingredients together and follow the instructions. The down side is that you have to mix it for 10 to 15 minutes with a hand mixer, so if you have a stand mixer, all the better! (Trust me, your arm will get tired!) It is made cold with no heating and holding, so make sure you are using distilled water and avoid using a lot of botanical ingredients to preserve it well.

I'm linking to a few sample recipes before I share what I've made with you tomorrow. The process is fairly similar for each one, so if you want to go nuts and make one tonight, just follow the easy to use instructions Jen from Lotioncrafter has included in this basic water in silicone serum recipe!

Soothing & Clarifying Facial Serum (on Lotioncrafter's site)
Time Defy Facial Serum (on Lotioncrafter's site)

*Please note, I have not been paid or compensated in any way to write about this ingredient. I just really liked it! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence...

Wow! The number of people visiting my blog has gone up by 10% over the last few days. I think you're all here about the challenge Dr Dunn has put forth to soapmakers and the preceding discussion. I need to make something clear - I don't have anything against anyone. My goals are never to hurt or mock someone. My goal is always to learn more!

As you know, I strive to be all about the science around here, providing you with evidence and studies and all that other good stuff to back up why we're using the ingredients we're using. When I find something that makes a claim that I didn't expect or haven't seen before, I look for more evidence to back it up. Let's say shea butter claims to completely wipe out wrinkles. I would look for quite a few studies to back this up, not just one. I wouldn't use something anecdotal and I wouldn't use something that had only a few subjects. I would want something extraordinary because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Normal claims can use normal evidence - like the idea that shea butter moisturizes our skin or makes our skin feel greasier than not using it. But something extraordinary - that shea butter eliminates all wrinkles and crow's feet - would require pounds of paper to print all the studies I'd want to see before writing that on this blog.

If you are making a claim of any sort, you need to provide some evidence. Let's say you wanted to prove to me that you could do something, like make an oil-in-water lotion without using an emulsifier. I would ask you for a complete accounting of the recipe and the process with all the details as well as a video.  In fact, I would ask you for extraordinary evidence - such as showing me the lotion a month later, three months later, six months later, and so on because the problem here would be that the lotion would separate over time. Merely saying to me that you did this isn't considered evidence. (Okay, maybe to Lionel Hutz who says that "conjecture and hearsay are kinds of evidence".) I'm being skeptical about something that I have been taught is not going to work or not going to work well. My mind is open to learn more, but I need more evidence before I'm going to spend the time discussing it further. Asking you for that evidence isn't disrespectful or disparaging - it's a normal part of the process. If you choose not to provide what I've asked for, then you can't expect me to change my opinion that you can make a lotion without an emulsifier. You might be a lovely person, but one person's word does not change science!

I'm strive to be the first person to admit when I'm wrong. (If you find something on this blog you need to correct, check out this post on how to tell me that!) Learning is all about admitting you don't know something or that you're mistaken, and the first step is being okay with not knowing things all the time. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll see all kinds of corrections scattered around as I've learned more or read more or found more studies or been told by you, my wonderful readers, that I'm wrong. I know some use this against me, saying that "Swift is wrong all the time. She admits it on her blog." (Yes, I've actually seen this statement.) That's fine. I'd rather be wrong from time to time and keep learning than hold on to outdated or incorrect ideas. If you wish to see this as a failing in my character, I'm okay with that. (I think it says more about you than it does about me if you think that making mistakes is something to be ashamed of instead of something to embrace as part of the learning process...)

I'm excited to see what will come of Dr Dunn's challenge! Let me know if you enter into it so we can follow the process!

Related posts:
Where do I get my information?

Monday, February 23, 2015

A few random things for a lovely February morning...

I wanted to remind you how easy it is to make your own wax tarts (a la Scentsy's products)!  We just made them - and candles - with the kids in craft group, and it was great fun! You can get a little burner that uses a candle at your local big box retailer or dollar store for no more than a few dollars, and you've got yourself a lovely gift. We used the clam shell containers I bought at Voyageur Soap & Candle, but you can use silicone ice cube trays, chocolate molds, and other molds to make them as well!

Many of you have written to me about using apple cider vinegar in your hair. Although I haven't found it works for me, some of you really like it. Check out the Beauty Brains explanation as to why this might work.

I loved this post on polyquaternium on the Chemist's Corner. So in depth! If you've ever wanted to know more about our cationic polymers like polyquat 7 or honeyquat, check out this post!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kevin Dunn has an interesting challenge for all you liquid soap makers!

As you all know I don't make handmade soap, but I buy it and I'm fascinated by the chemistry of it. After a lengthy discussion that happened in this post, I wrote to Kevin Dunn of Scientific Soapmaking to ask him a question, and he responded!

Kevin Dunn has put forth this challenge. (To learn more, click here!) "In the Sep/Oct 2014 issue of the, I discussed the prospect of lowering the pH of liquid soap to pH 7. I remain skeptical that such a thing can be done, but claims to the contrary persist. So I am issuing a friendly challenge to the handcrafted soap community. Send me an 8 oz bottle of your pH 7 liquid soap."

He goes on to specify what the soap must consist of and the awesome way he will be testing the results. If you have brought your soap down to pH 7 AND your soap doesn't contain anything other than water, soap, glycerin, any combination of fatty acids, and citric acid or vinegar, you can send your results to him. I'm dying to see what happens!

I can't encourage you enough to read his page. He explains the chemistry of soap making in such an interesting way!

The soaps above are from Corry. I don't have a link for her page yet! If you're reading this, please send me an email! 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: What's that whitening effect with lotions?

In this post on Lotionpro 165, Michelle asks: I had some whitening when using Lotionpro (at 4%) and it was suggested that it was reacting with my fatty alcohols (2% behenyl, 1% cetyl). Have you noticed this?

I haven't noticed it with this emulsifier, but I admit that I'm not that bothered by what's called the soaping effect. The fatty acids in the lotion, combined with an alkaline ingredient like triethanolamine or potassium hydroxide, create a soap, which acts as the emulsifier in your lotion. (A common combination is triethanolamine and stearic acid.) If you're using a stearate or oleate based emulsifier, you are bringing the water and oil together in your lotion by creating a soap, which is going to leave those white streaks when you apply it. In the case of Lotionpro 165, you're using Glyceryl Stearate and PEG 100 Stearate to create an emulsion.

How can you get rid of this? You can add some dimethicone or change emulsifiers! Or just accept it!

Related posts:
What is the "soaping effect"?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why are preservatives considered a "necessary evil"?

Surfing around the 'net the last few days, I keep coming upon people commenting that "Preservatives are a necessary evil..." or "I don't like preservatives, but I'm using them..." (I guess I should be happy you're using them!)

What's not to like? Preservatives make it possible for us to make lotions that last longer than a week. They keep our products looking and smelling pretty. They keep you from getting horrible infections and diseases. They keep mold and other gross things from making your lotion look like that horrible picture to your left. They keep the people you love safe! How they a "necessary evil" or unlikeable?

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, if someone from the middle ages travelled through time and saw all the stuff we have to keep ourselves safe and healthy that we are choosing not to use, they'd beat us to death with scythes. 

I freakin' love preservatives! Using 0.5% of something like liquid Germall Plus gives one such peace of mind compared to the wishing and hoping things will remain uncontaminated that comes with not using that tiny amount. Want your product to stay mostly natural? 0.5% preservative keeps that lovely and botanically laden product safe for months to come!

When should you use preservatives? When you're making a product that contains water or might come in contact with water, like a sugar scrub.

Just a few thoughts for the day...

Related posts:
Why use a preservative?
Choosing a preservative

Monday, February 16, 2015

A few thoughts about conditioners for an extremely warm Monday in February...

If you are making rinse off or leave in conditioners, you want to use an emulsifier that is positively charged or cationic. This means using ingredients like Polawax, polysorbate 20, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil or Caprol Micro Express as the main ingredient isn't the best idea. Why? We use positively charged or cationic ingredients in a conditioner as the emulsifier so it will adsorb or form a film on our hair. This process is called substantivity. (Click here for a longer description on how conditioners work!) These ingredients are non-ionic or neutrally charged, and anything you make using them will be more like a lotion than a conditioner. This means you might get some moisturization from the emollients, but you won't get any conditioning.

Instead, you'll want to use cationic emulsifiers like like Incroquat BTMS-50, Rita BTMS-225, Incroquat CR, or cetrimonium bromide as your main ingredient in a conditioner. You can add loads of non-ionic or neutrally charged ingredients into the conditioner - things like panthenol or aloe vera or glycerin and so on - but you want the main emulsifier to positively charged.

You don't need to lower the pH of a conditioner when you've made it. Conditioners made with the positively charged ingredients I mention above will be a pH 6 or lower.

Can you substitute BTMS-25 for BTMS-50? Yes, most of the time. Check out this post for more information!

Related posts:
Hair care section of the blog
Conditioner: What's that then?
Conditioner: Defining our conditioners
Conditioner: The basic recipes
What's important in a conditioner? Part one
What's important in a conditioner? Part two
Back to the very basics: Conditioner
Leave-in conditioner with kera straightening and lycopene
Coconut oil and pisum satvum rinse off conditioner