Sunday, May 24, 2009

Road trip essentials: Solid scrub bars - part 2

Love your feet! It's sandal season and you know your feet are going to take a beating. So let's modify our solid scrub bar to give our feets a treat (yeah, poor English, but it rhymes!)

So how is this going to be different than Friday's scrub bar? For your feet you'll want something heavier, more oiler, and more stay-on-y. So we're going to modify a few ingredients. I like a heavier oil for my feet - avocado, castor, olive oil - so I'm adding those at equal parts. I like to use stearic acid for my feet because it creates a whitish kind of soap like look, which is somehow appealing, and I'm going to use peppermint essential oil because it feels nice and cool. I'm also going to use pumice instead of salt or sugar - the salt can sting cracked feet.

As for the butters, avocado butter is lovely for feet, but it does feel a little dry, so please don't substitute all the butters for it. I like to use mango and avocado or mango and aloe (aloe is a fine thing indeed for your feet!) Shea butter is fanastic as well. Oh, too many butters, too little time!

For more oil information, click here...for more information on butters, click here.

50% cocoa butter
20% mango, shea or other butter
3% stearic acid
4% Incroquat BTMS
2% wax of choice - beeswax, soy wax, etc. For candellia wax, please use 1% as it is very hard.
3% sodium lactate
12% oils - heavier oils are good here - avocado, castor, olive oil
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% fragrance oil (I recommend peppermint)
1% Vitamin E (if you are using oils with less than 6 months' shelf life)
0.5% to 1% preservative of choice

Add up to 100% pumice (or 80% pumice, 20% baking soda)

Melt everything except the silicones, fragrance oil, and Vitamin E in a heat proof container in a double boiler until all the ingredients are well melted. Remove from the heat and add the silicones, fragrance oil, and Vitamin E. Add your exfoliant and mix well. Then pour into a mold and put in the fridge or freezer until set. Let sit for 24 hours before using.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Road trip essentials: Solid scrub bars!

Solid scrub bars are a fantastic way to get the exfoliating and moisturizing action of a sugar scrub in the portability of a bar (as Homer notes, the only way to get the awesome power of food is in a bar format, only ours won't contain Chinese newspapers). Solid scrub bars are really modifications of the lotion bar with exfoliants, and it's designed to be used in the shower or tub, rinsed off, but leave behind lovely moisturizing and conditioning qualities so you can by-pass the lotion. It is an anhydrous bar - all oil soluble ingredients with no water - and it is going to be all the ingredients of the oil phase of a lotion bar...we'll let the shower add the water.

So we know what a scrub bar is...what do we need to include in it?

Scrubbing action - that's obvious. You can use salt or sugar for your body, pumice for your feet. I've tried loofah. I wasn't impressed by it. You could use jojoba beads as well. I don't suggest clay beads as they will melt. Sugar is a great choice, but it can melt in the heat of the recipe, so consider salt. Although do not use salt after shaving - it will sting and you will curse my name as you feel the burn!

Moisturizing - We want something really moisturizing that will stay on our skin after we rinse. We're going to use oils for this one. I love olive oil - a beautiful oil full of phytosterols and other good things, and a humectant. Or include other oils you love. Sunflower is a lovely moisturizer and rice bran oil is full of Vitamin E. Let's blend!

Solidness - We need the bar to retain its shape and stay solid in the shower. Butters and waxes are a great way to get the moisturizing and emolliency and still have a solid shape. Waxes can drag, so we only want a bit and I'd leave it out of the body care version. I'm thinking 2% should do it. I'm going to go for my solidness through cocoa butter (about 50%), mango butter (about 20%), and cetyl alcohol or stearic acid (about 3%).

A note on butters - cocoa butter is hardness 10 on a scale from 1 to 10, so we need a lot of it. The other butters - mango, shea, aloe - tend to be less hard. If you want to add shea butter, then do it at 20% and keep the cocoa butter at 50%. For aloe butter, the same thing. If you like something else I haven't listed here, then try it at 20% first - it may be too hard, so you can reduce your cocoa butter and increase your soft butters.

Humectants - We love our humectants, and we want something that's going to be lovely after we leave the shower. We can't use anything water soluble here, so glycerin is right out, but something like sodium lactate is going to help harden the bar and offer humectant-y qualities, so let's use that.

Conditioning - We love our conditioning agents around here, so we're going to include something substantive.

Emulsifying - We want the water and the oils to mix, so we're going to need an emulsifier...BTMS will be both substantive and emulsifying, so let's use that one. (You can use Polawax or e-wax here, but like Alton Brown, I'm not a fan of unitaskers!). I'm thinking 4% because I have some silicones and oils in here.

Glide and slip - We don't want to be dragging this over our bodies, so I'm going to suggest 2% dimethicone, 2% cyclomethicone. Both offer slip and glide, and dimethicone acts as a film former. Never a bad thing.

Fragrance - 1% fragrance to pick you up in the morning or calm you down at night. (Something like Lemon Curd, Hello Sweet Thang, or Jewelled Citrus would be awesome. Can you tell I'm a citrus in the morning kind of girl?) Use essential oils at safe levels.

All right! We have a recipe. Let's formulate!

49% cocoa butter
20% mango, shea or other butter
3% cetyl alcohol
4% Incroquat BTMS
2% wax of choice - beeswax, soy wax, etc. For candellia wax, please use 1% as it is very hard.
3% sodium lactate
12% oils - sunflower, rice bran, olive oil at 4% each
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% fragrance oil
1% Vitamin E (if you are using oils with less than 6 months' shelf life)
1% Phenonip (preservative)

Add up to 100% sugar, salt, or beads. It really is your preference.

As an aside...the amazing Apres Glow Bar on the Dish uses baking soda. You can try this - add 80% exfoliant with 20% baking soda. It feels really nice.

Melt everything except the silicones, fragrance oil, and Vitamin E in a heat proof container in a double boiler until all the ingredients are well melted. Remove from the heat and add the silicones, fragrance oil, and Vitamin E. Add your exfoliant and mix well. Then pour into a mold and put in the fridge or freezer until set. Let sit for 24 hours before using.

If you are going to add colours to this, make sure they are oil soluble - water soluble colours are going to sit there in tiny droplets and look really weird.

Join me on Sunday for modifying this for your feet!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Better travelling through chemistry: Radon mines

Greetings from Billings, Montana! It is day four of our great honeymoon road trip, and I've found a way to enjoy chemistry on the road. We visited the Merry Widow Health Mine yesterday in Basin, Montana. It was...interesting. When we first pulled into town, it felt a little creepy. We drove through the town and down to another health mine and we didn't see a soul. Not a person, not a dog, not a breeze. We decided to check out the other health mine - the Merry Widow!

Radon mines are purported to have health benefits and can possibly cure all ailments if you sit in them long enough (here's a link...) Radon gas is a colorless, tasteless, inert element formed by the aging or disintegration of radium, and these mines can contain up to 175 times the legal limit allowed in houses. We paid our $5.00 and wandered through the cold, damp mines, reading all the graffiti on the walls from other travellers. We enjoyed the "Doggie Den" because we had a chance to pet some cutie pie Bichon Frises that reminded us of our lovely Blondie dog (sniff sniff...we miss her so much!) but we chose not to soak our feet as it was about 50F inside, which is cold even for a toaster like me!

We were only there about 45 minutes...about 29 hours, 15 minutes shorter than they suggest for a complete healing of all ailments.

Montana is filled with chemistry references - Carbon County, Phosphorous, White Sulphur, and so on. It's a chemist's dream! (And a geologist's dream - the landscapes are incredible!)

We're off today to Mount Rushmore!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Road trip essentials: Solid shampoo bar

I do love the shampoo bar for my very long, very tangly hair. I'm not sure exactly what it is that appeals to me so much, but I really love the idea of not messing with bottles and caps in the shower when I'm travelling.

So what exactly is a shampoo bar? It's a bar in which we put all the things we would normally put into a shampoo - surfactants, oils, silicones, panthenol, proteins - but we leave out the water. (You may have seen these at Lush. This is different in that we actually melt down the SCI or noodle-y part of the surfactants, whereas they seem to press theirs together!)

This is your general break down....
50 to 65% powdered surfactants
10 to 26% liquid surfactants
2 to 7% bar hardener like stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, or sodium lactate (liquid)
1 to 3% emulsifiers (usually e-wax, but BTMS would double duty here)
2 to 7% conditioning agent like Incroquat CR or BTMS
2 to 3% butters - shea, mango, cocoa
1 to 2% hydrolyzed proteins
1 to 4% silicones -- dimethicone at 1 to 2%, cyclomethicone at 1 to 2%
.5 to 2% panthenol
1 to 2% fragrance or essential oils

For this project you'll need
  • double boiler
  • 1 pyrex container
  • a mould - a soap mould works nicely, but you can use a muffin tin or a silicone mould of some sort. (Don't worry about the design on the mould, you aren't really going to see it in the finished bar!)
  • scale
  • spoons
  • freezer or fridge
So here's what I like in my shampoo bar. (Click here for more information on surfactants!)

30% SCI noodles or flakes - I love SCI! It offers a really nice foamy lather that feels great afterwards, and it melts really nicely with the cocobetaine or 30% SCS noodles or flakes. (I have tried using 30% Amphosol AS-90 beads, but it is just too soft! But it offers a lovely lather. It's the prill form of AS-40 with great cleansing, good foam, but it really won't hold up!)
30% SLSa - this cleans really nicely, isn't expensive, and adds lots of bubbles and foam.
15% LSB - for me, this is a nice mild surfactant that works for all hair types. You can choose any anionic surfactant you like for this portion. (Check out the shampoo post for ideas on other surfactant blends!)
10% coco betaine - this amphoteric surfactant adds mildness to your surfactants, and it works to melt the SCI noodles better
3% cetyl alcohol - this will work to add "oil free" moisturizing, will work in tandem with your conditioning agent, and makes the bar harder
3% polawax or Incroquat BTMS - this will help emulsify the oils you are adding into your hair
2% orange butter - because I have really oily hair, I like to add the orange butter, which will help me fight off some oils but adds some moisturizing. You could use 2% coconut oil here. Remember, if you increase the oils, you are going to reduce the lather. You can use something like a water soluble oil, which won't reduce the lather much, if you want to add more than 3%. (Better to save your oils for the conditioner!)
2% conditioning agent - Incroquat CR or BTMS - if you are using BTMS as your emulsifier, then you don't need to add anything here. If you like, add some incroquat CR to the mix so you can get some detangling and softening action!
1% hydrolyzed protein - I like oat protein, but you can add any other protein you like!
1% panthenol - it's always a good thing to add vitamins to your hair care products
1% dimethicone - again, adding a little conditioning to your hair products is a good idea
2% essential oil blend for oily hair - equal parts rosemary, sage, lemon, and cedarwood

1. Weigh your SCI and liquid surfactants into a heatproof container and add to a double boiler. Let melt, stirring regularly to ensure even heating.

2. When melted, weigh out and add everything but the protein, panthenol, dimethicone, and essential oil blend into the container and continue to melt. Your mixture will be thick and gooey!

3. When melted, remove from the double boiler and add the rest of the ingredients.

4. Get some kind of mould - I find something that will give you 100 grams or so is a good amount - and spoon the mixture into it. Freezing it for 30 minutes is the best way to harden these.

5. After a minimum of 30 minutes, turn over your mould and let the bars sit for a while before packaging. I like to wait about 24 hours to let all the water evaporate (you have some humectants in here, so you'll have some moisture drawn to the bars!)

Use and rejoice! Join me on Friday for scrub bars!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Best. Day. Ever.

I laughed, I cried, I actually jumped up and down a little in the middle of the ceremony. Yesterday, I married the most wonderful man in the world...and I have to be the happiest woman alive! (I must be married - I woke up this morning and started doing laundry!)

It was a perfect day, made even more perfect by all the work our best man and bridesmaid put into organizing pretty much everything. My dress and his shirt were made by my mother, who is an amazing dressmaker, and my best friend (bridesmaid) made my hair jewels. I wore my something old (a heart shaped locket my dad gave me when I was 18), something new (my beautiful dress), something borrowed (the butterfly jewel in my hair), and something blue (my grandmother's opal ring). We exchanged my grandparents wedding rings, and we wrote our own vows, but kept them secret from each other.

And now we're off on our road trip!

As a secondary note - I'm an auntie - as an only child, this is new to me - and I promise to be the cool aunt who buys the boys video games and teaches them new swears.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Road trip essentials: What do I need for my honeymoon?

A man who can keep me safe from giant snakes? I think he's perfect!

It's my wedding day! (And yes, this was pre-written because I have far too many things to do today!) I'm marrying my wonderful partner of 15 years, Raymond. He is a kind, considerate, gorgeous, intelligent, wonderful man and I am so fortunate to have found someone like him with whom I can share my life (yep, I'm sappy, all right!) And I'm really looking forward to our honeymoon road trip to follow! Three weeks of travelling who knows where to see interesting things, enjoying the wonderful companionship of my new husband, chatting and singing loudly to our favourite music as we travel the highways of northern America and southern Canada in search of bizarre exhibits, really large roadside attractions, and super happy fun adventure!

I feel a huge component of an awesome road trip is being I need to make sure I have all the products I'm going to need to make our inexpensive motel rooms feel like home.

I present to you my list of essentials for a road trip. (Forget the maps and tourist guides, I need my bath & body products!) Even though I'm not worried about any restrictions on liquids on a plane, I like to use a lot of solid products because I hate carrying around tons of bottles! The Toyota Echo (or the TARDIS, as we like to call it) only has so much room in the trunk!
(Click on the links above to take you to the recipes we've already covered...) So what else do I need to make?

Let's start with the solid shampoo bar on Monday, May 18th!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Going to the backyard and I'm going to get married!

Raymond and me at Snake River, Idaho. It was a great day on our 2K2 road trip through America to Disneyland, and we stumbled upon this giant canyon we didn't expect. It's not the best picture of the two of us, but I think it's my favourite. We've both lost weight, and my hair was a little flat from the lack of humidity - but to me it symbolizes how much fun we have together, how we stumble upon the unexpected, and how we seem to be thinking on the same wavelength all the time!

Tomorrow I'm marrying the most wonderful man in the world, then we're off on a 3 week road trip honeymoon. I will still be posting here as I've got a few things planned - information on cyclomethicone, some ideas on products to take on a road trip, mineral make-up Wednesdays - interspersed with stories and pictures from our honeymoon.

We are taking the I-90 across America and when we get to about day 11, we'll turn around and come back on the Trans Canada home. I have no idea where this adventure will take us - very symbolic of marriage, eh? - but Raymond is a great road trip companion, and I know we're going to have fun!

If you have some suggestions for I-90 or Trans Canada fun - we like giant roadside attractions, weird museums, and tourist traps - post 'em in this thread. If you have ideas for supply, bead, fabric, or other craft stores, I'm eager to hear them! (I will have the laptop with me, so I can google them!) And if you have a great used video game or board game store in your town, I'm there!

I will be checking the blog, and although I can't guarantee I'll have time to answer comments or e-mails, keep them coming. We have great readers of this blog and I'm sure you'll be able to answer a question or two to help out your fellow aspiring cosmetic chemists!

I'll be back around June 8th, so I hope to see you then!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Cyclomethicone

Cyclomethicone - how I love thee, volatile, oil soluble liquid-y silicone that makes my skin feel soft and smooth and makes my hair behave. With all your cyclically goodness, I love to add you to hair care, body care, and personal care products! (I'm getting married in 2 days...I think I'm entitled to be a little poetic right now!)

Cyclomethicone - what is it? What does it look like? How do I use it? When do I use it? And why are you getting all poetic about this molecule?

As you can see from the picture to the left, it is a cyclical, rather than linear, molecule. (Hence the name - "cyclo"methicone). I think it's very pretty and would make a really great necklace design. (Dimethicone is linear...)

Cyclomethicone is non-cooling - it will evaporate, but it won't make your skin feel the cooler the way water or alcohol might - and it is colourless, odourless, and non-staining (which makes it perfect for really personal care products, which I'm not going into here as the children might be reading!). It has the consistency of water, so be careful when you're adding it to your creations - it's easy to add too much!

It offers your body care products good spreading, detackification, water sheeting, and transient emollient properties. It is a great way to deliver fragrance as it will deposit it, then evaporate. And for deodorants or anti-perspirants, it will deliver the active salts you want to keep away stenches and bacteria.

Use it at 0.1% to 85% in your creations (I like it about 2%). It is oil soluble, so you can't use it in a toner or other water based creation without some kind of emulsifier. It is great in lotion bars and other anhydrous products to help with spreading and fragrance delivery. It is non-polar, which means it can be used for fragrance sprays with non-polar fragrance or essential oils. (For more information on polar vs. non-polar, please visit my post on the topic.)

Include cyclomethicone in your make up removers or cleansers as it's a great solvent for organic based oils, leaving behind a dry, smooth, non-greasy feeling. It is mild and non-irritating to skin, two things we really want in a cleansing additive!

How does it work in our products? Cyclomethicone is deposited at the surface of the hair or skin and spreads uniformly over the surface, coating the hair shaft or skin. It's going to bring the other ingredients along for the ride, which means your products will glide nicely and coat the desired area with a thin film. It works well in hair care products for this purpose - you'll see it in a lot of styling products because it helps the thicker ingredients used to make hair stiff spread on your hair instead of being seriously tacky!

Detackification (yes, it's a thing) means it will make ingredients like glycerin and honey and all those other gooey humectants feel less tacky, helping them glide over your skin!

The spreading ability is a key feature of cyclomethicone, which is why you see it in so many colour pigmented cosmetics, like lipstick and liquid foundations.

And the evaporation is a key feature. In hair care products, it will help your hair dry faster, which is a good thing for those of us with really frizzy hair. This is why you see it in the anti-frizz sprays: The cyclomethicone helps with the spreading abilities (not that dimethicone really needs the help), helps with wet combing, delivers the active ingredients to your hair, then evaporates, which decreases your drying time (which is a good thing for us frizzy haired girls!).

In fragrance sprays, couple cyclomethicone with another light oil and fragrance...the cyclomethicone will spread the fragrance nicely, then evaporate.

I think the two key features of cyclomethicone is the spreading ability and the evaporation. It shows up to the party, helps all the ingredients you love and adore spread evenly and smoothly, then it vapourizes into the night leaving behind a silky feeling of emolliency.

As I have to stop writing these in depth posts today as there are far too many things to do for the wedding, as well as cleaning up the workshop, tidying away my craft group stuff, packing for the road trip, and are a few recipes in which I use cyclomethicone. Try it in your favourite hair care products, lotions, lotion bars, and other creations at around 2% and see how you like it!

Body care products...

Hair care products

Have fun formulating!

Note: I will be posting while I'm away - I've pre-written a few things and I'll be posting pictures and stories of our adventures on the road - but I won't be continuing this series "Better Crafting Through Chemistry" until I get home on June 7th or 8th.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dimethicone in body care products (part 2)

I know it's Wednesday and I'm supposed to be posting a mineral make-up tutorial, but I simply don't have time with the wedding preparations and work. Meanwhile, enjoy this post on dimethicone!

So now you know how awesome dimethicone can be in hair care and anhydrous products, let's include it in a lotion!

You can include dimethicone in any lotion at up to 2% in the cool down phase. (You can use up to 5%, but I think 2% is more than enough). It is going to add all those great qualities - film former, protective, glide, silkiness - at just this little amount.

As a note, BTMS is a magnificent emulsifier for silicones - in fact, it was created to be a great emulsifier for silicones and can emulsify an up to 50% silicone lotion! - so if you like this emulsifier, use it in place of e-wax or Polawax.

So let's take a look at a heavy lotion or cream for feet!

FOOT CREAM WITH DIMETHICONE (original can be found here...)

60% water
3% glycerin

13% oils - olive and rice bran are great choices here (we want heavier oils) - reduced from 15%
10% butters - I'd choose shea and/or mango here as they are both very emollient
6% emulsifier
3% stearic acid (or cetyl alcohol for a more glidy, but less stay-on cream)

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend
2% dimethicone

Suggestion: If you have menthol crystals, add them at 3% of the oil phase and remove 3% from the water phase to compensate. Or choose an essential oil blend like 1 part eucalyptus, 1 part camphor, and 1 part peppermint and add that at 1%.

1. Weigh out your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.

2. Weigh out your oil phase in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler. (If you are using menthol crystals, add this to the oil phase.)

3. When both containers have reached 70C, weigh out your water again, then add it to your oil container.

4. Blend with a hand mixer or stick blender for at least 3 minutes. Repeat this process as often as you would like until the temperature reaches 45C.

5. Let cool to 45C, then add your fragrance or essential oil and preservative. Mix well with your hand mixer or stick blender, then let cool.

6. You can pour the mixture into a jar now, but leave off the cap and let set for a few hours. Or you can wait until the mixture reaches room temperature, then spoon into your jar. Or you could use a pump bottle or malibu bottle as this will be bottle-able if you have a way of squeezing it out!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yarrow craft group: Pet care class recipes

Here's the link to the recipes for the pet care class, specifically to the fragrance mister and the pet powder. My little Blondie dog is going to smell absolutely of strawberries after her walk tonight. (She's getting a bath on Thursday in anticipation of the wedding, but I can still make her smell lovely today!)

See you on June 16th for super happy fun chocolate making (although I have no idea what kinds of moulds I have for summer)!

Dimethicone in body care products (part 1)

Dimethicone is an awesome additive to your body care products at up to 5% (although I like it around 2%). What does it offer? Dimethicone in body lotions and other creations is a...
  • good emollient and lubricant
  • skin feel modifier (more glide, feels silkier)
  • water barrier protectant
  • protectant against the elements
  • conditioner
  • film former
  • anti-whitening and spreading agent
Because dimethicone allows your skin to "breathe" - that is, allows diffusion of molecules through a film - you can use in body care products to trap in moisture and protect your skin from the harsh elements around us. But it offers protection against the elements, making it a great choice for hand and body products because it is one of only three approved barrier ingredients.

Dimethicone will reduce the white soapiness you get with some heavy lotions and creams, and increases the spreadability of your lotions, which is always a good thing (I hate drag!). It acts as another emollient and lubricant, so your lotion is going to spread very nicely, and it will leave a silky feeling behind.

I love dimethicone in my body butter - I include it as a film former (because I need all the protection from the elements I can get), an emollient (because it feels really lovely), and as a spreading agent (with all those butters, it gets a little hard to spread it without drag).

Again, because dimethicone is oil soluble, it's not suitable for toners or sprays, but you can include it in lotions and fragrance sprays and other oil soluble creations. It's great in a lotion bar, so here's a tweak of my favourite bar...

I'm including the dimethicone in this creation because I want protection from the elements, glidi-ness, and emolliency.

MY FAVOURITE LOTION BAR RECIPE (original recipe found here)
28% beeswax - to harden the bar
10% fractionated coconut oil - this is a very light oil, very emollient
25% sunflower oil - conditioning for the skin
3% rice bran oil - high in Vitamin E
28% mango butter - creamy and emollient (reduced from 30%)
2% IPM - (an ester) IPM helps greasy things feel less greasy and sinks in quickly
2% cyclomethicone - this silicone helps with the glide
2% dimethicone - see above for why this is included
2% vitamin E - to prevent rancidity and good for my skin
1% essential or fragrance oil

Melt all but the cyclomethicone, dimethicone, and essential or fragrance oil in a heat proof container in your double boiler. When all the ingredients have melted, add the cyclomethicone, dimethicone, and fragrance oil, then pour into a mold or twist up deodorant container. Let set. Use!

Join me Thursday for fun with dimethicone in lotions!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dimethicone in hair care products

I've finally converted Raymond to the joys of using dimethicone for shinier, softer, more manageable hair that won't frizz out during Easter egg decorating contests!

Dimethicone is an awesome inclusion in your hair care products at about 2% or so. Why add it? It is a great conditioning agent to add to shampoos and conditioners, offering...
  • humidity resistance
  • reduced static electricity (so no fly-aways!)
  • good wet and dry combing
  • heat resistance
  • film former
  • lubricity and shine
  • improved feel and softness to hair
...all of which we love in a hair care product!

How does it do this? It forms a film over the strand of hair, trapping in the good stuff. But it's a permeable film, allowing water vapour and other gases to pass through, so you are allowing your hair to "breathe" (yeah, weird concept, hair breathing, but this is what other people call it and it gets the point across, so I'm using the word). It reduces the combing force required to comb out your hair when it's both wet and dry, which means you aren't having to work so hard to get a brush through, so you are damaging your hair less and finding less falling out! And you'll find your hair is less staticky because of those the short answer should be - it forms a film on your hair and that's an awesome thing indeed!

How do you use dimethicone? It's easy to add dimethicone to shampoos, conditioners, and leave in conditioners - just add at up to 2% in your cool down phase. You can get away with adding 2% to a shampoo without an emulsifier, but it will reduce the foam and lather a bit (believe me, it's not much) and your conditioner and leave in conditioner already contain emulsifiers, so there's no worry there. My beloved anti-frizz spray is all about the silicones, so you can use that to your heart's content to get the benefits of dimethicone for your fly-away, frizzy hair! (As a note, if you want to add 1000 c.s. dimethicone to the anti-frizz spray, you will get something thicker!)

Dimethicone is one of the main ingredients in the 2 in 1 shampoo concept. The dimethicone is added to behave as a conditioner, coating the cuticle of the hair and reduces combing forces and imparts a soft feel to your hair.

(And to answer the question in advance...yes, silicones coat your hair, but they wash off the next time you shampoo. Over time, you aren't going to get some icky build up or waxy film if you are washing your hair regularly!)

So let's make a 2 in 1 shampoo! We're adding the glycol distearate as a conditioning agent that will offer "oil free" moisturizing to your hair (like cetyl alcohol will with a conditioner). We're also adding a lovely cationic polymer (honeyquat or condition-eze 7) to increase the conditioning. If you have celquat H-100, I'd suggest adding it at 0.5% to your heat phase because it needs to be dissolved and dispersed.

You'll notice we're not using Crothix in this recipe. The glycol distearate will provide our thickening for us. Having said that, some fragrance oils will thin the glycol distearate out (for instance, black raspberry vanilla), so you can add up to 2% Crothix when the mixture has cooled - I'd leave it to the next day to be on the safe side!

SHAMPOO RECIPE (find the original here)
15% Bioterge 804
15% DLS Mild or LSB

30% BSB

15% SLeS
15% BSB or LSB

46% water
10% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
3% glycerin
2% glycol distearate (known as EZ Pearl at Voyageur)
2% hydrolyzed oat protein (or other hydrolyzed protein you like!)

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
1% condition-eze 7 or other cationic polymer (honeyquat, celquat, and so on)
1% essential or fragrance oils
0.5% Germall Plus or 1.0% Germaben II or other preservative at suggested levels of use
Colour, if desired

Put all your surfactants and heat phase ingredients into a large container and heat in a double boiler. Add your glycol distearate and let it melt. This is going to take some time, so be patient. When this has melted, mix very well and let cool to 45C. Then add the cool down phase ingredients.

This mixture is going to be pearly and very pretty. You can leave it as is, but I really like to put a little colour in it to show off the pearli-ness!

Join me tomorrow for fun with dimethicone in body care products!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Dimethicone

I mentioned silicones in the post on occlusives and if you've read any of my hair care posts, I consider dimethicone to be a major part of my anti-frizz routine, but dimethicone is great for body care products as well.

What is dimethicone? Dimethicone is a non-volatile oil soluble silicone you can add to your hair and body care ingredients.

In body care products, it works as a barrier ingredient, emollient, lubricant, carrier/diluent detackifier, and and skin protectant (one of three approved by the FDA). You can use it in products as diverse as body lotion and lip balm to offer shine, glide, and protection from the elements.

In hair care, it improves wet and dry combing, helps with shine, improves hair feel (softness), reduces static charge, and works as a humidity resistor. And in colour cosmetics, like foundations, it is a lubricant, spreading agent, emollient, and diluent/carrier ingredient.

Is there anything dimethicone can't do?

Yep, it can't create world peace. Although if everyone had shiny, soft, manageable hair, perhaps the world would be a nicer place and people might get along better...but I digress.

How does it perform such miracles?

Dimethicone tends to migrate to the surface of your hair or skin, forming a nice film that not only protects your skin, but keeps all the good stuff you've put into your lotion or conditioner to your skin or hair.

Dimethicone is rated by c.s. or centistrokes. The higher the c.s., the thicker you'll find your dimethicone. 350 c.s. is considered as thick as mineral oil (so thicker than shampoo, but not as thick as ketchup), whereas dimethicone 1000 c.s. is going to be as thick as motor oil (so thicker than ketchup, but not as thick as molasses). So why should you care about the centistrokes? The lower the centistrokes, the quicker surface if you have the 350 c.s., it is going to spread quicker than the 1000 c.s.

As an aside, these descriptions of viscosity are given by the manufacturers of dimethicone, and I think they're not great. Really, do I want to use the words "motor oil" when I'm trying to tell you about this wonderful product that will bring shine and manageability to your hair? I know I'm picturing my hair dripping with grease...not a nice image.

So why use the 1000 c.s. (like I do in my hair care products)? Because it will form a nicer, more long lasting barrier for hair in humidity, for instance. I like to use the 350 c.s. in body care products; 1000 c.s. in hair care products.

It is non-volatile over 5 c.s., meaning it won't evaporate from your skin or hair like cyclomethicone will.

Given this giant list of things dimethicone can do...well, I think we're going to need a little more than one post to discuss the awesome power of this silicone...

The quick summary - dimethicone is not suitable for water only products, like toners, but works well in lotions, surfactant systems, conditioners, and other surfactant or emulsified products. Use at up to 5% - although I like 2 to 3% - in these systems.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Allantoin in other creations

I love allantoin in my creations! It's great for an apres sun spray (add at 0.5%) or a toner (at 0.5% to 1%). It's perfect in hand lotions - especially now with all the hand washing we're doing to keep pandemics at bay - and excellent in facial moisturizers!

You can make a beautiful spray with 1% allantoin, 0.5% preservative, 98.5% water or hydrosols to use pre-mineral make up usages (or post, if you have sensitive skin) or when you're out in the weather having fun! Heat and hold water and allantoin, then let cool and add preservative. Put into a spray bottle and rejoice! (If you want, throw in 2% sodium lactate or other humectant, and 2% hydrolyzed protein and you have yourself a water based moisturizer with humectants, emollients, and barrier ingredients!)

I really like using allantoin in body butters. It helps with my incredible chafed elbows, and it's good for the winter months when I forget to wear my coat! I add it at 0.5% to 1% during the water phrase, making sure it dissolves really well! (I'm including my hydrolyzed protein in here because it's a perfect addition to a body butter!)


36.5% to 37% water
10% aloe vera liquid
10% lavender or rose hydrosol
2% sodium lactate
0.5% to 1% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed protein of some sort (I like oat!)

10% oils (olive oil is great for a heavy body butter - humectant and emollient)
15% butter of choice
6% BTMS, Polawax OR Emulsifying wax NF
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone

1. Weigh out your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Stir until the allantoin has completely dissolved.

2. Weigh out your oil phase in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler.

3. When both containers have reached 70C, weigh out your water again (and add more hot water to compensate for any evaporation), then add it to your oil container.

4. Blend with a hand mixer or stick blender for at least 3 minutes. Repeat this process as often as you would like until the temperature reaches 45C.

5. Let cool to 45C, then add your cool down phase ingredients. Mix well with your hand mixer or stick blender, then let cool.

6. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature (a few hours), spoon into a jar and let set before using.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Allantoin in mineral make-up products

Allantoin is great in mineral make-up products meant for your face, like blushes, foundations, and finishing powders. Let's adapt our finishing powder to include some allantoin...

FINISHING POWDER (by volume, not weight)
3 tbsp treated serecite
1 tsp micronospheres
1/5 tsp or 6 scoops calcium carbonate or kaolin clay (for oil control, optional)
1/5 tsp or 6 scoops powdered silk (optional, but very nice)
2 scoops allantoin (up to 3 scoops)

What's the point of the allantoin in this? It acts as a humectant, so your skin should feel a little more moisturized, and it can be a skin protectant, so it could help in windy conditions. You can blend the serecite, calcium carbonate, and allantoin in a coffee grinder, then add the micronospheres and silk to a baggie and squish it together. Put it in a nice 30 gram container and use a powder puff or kabuki brush to apply!

You could add a little colour to this and make a bronzing powder - add up to 2 tsp of colour blend of micas and iron oxides - if you wanted. Or use it as a very light, sheer coverage foundation. Or use it as a blush recipe. (Although I'd include titanium dioxide to give it a bit more coverage...again, I'll be posting about this in June.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Allantoin

I touched on allantoin a little in the occlusion here to find out about more occlusives!

Allantoin, also called 5-ureidohydantoin or glyoxyldiureide, is a fantastic skin protectant that softens skin (it's a keratolytic, meaning it causes the keratin to soften), causes rapid cell regeneration and proliferation, and is approved by the FDA to temporarily prevent and protect chafed, chapped, cracked, or windburned skin by speeding up the natural processes of the skin and increasing the water content. It can be derived from comfrey root, aloe vera, and urine...I'm not sure how to tell which is which when you buy it. (How do they figure these things out? Did someone have some urine hanging around the house, let it evaporate, then used it on a wound?) It can be used an abrasive or astringent agent, an anti-irritant, and a moisture binder (and you know how much we love those!)

So what does this all mean for our creations? It can be used in pretty much any water soluble product we might want to make. I like to use in lotions and potions in the winter to protect my skin. It's nice in an apres sun spray to help with soothing, healing, and exfoliating (can you tell I need to protect my pale skin from the sun or what? Summer is not my friend...). I like to use it in a toner to help with softening, cell proliferation, and moisturizing, and it can be used in shampoos or body washes as both an anti-irritant and an exfoliant (great for dandruff prone scalps). And in a facial cleanser, it's doing three or four things at once!

Its pH is 4 to 6, but you're going to be using so little - 0.5% to 2% - that it shouldn't have a huge effect your creations.

If this is such an incredible product, why don't I have it in everything? Because it can get gritty. Allantoin comes in the form of a white product you want to dissolve in your water phase of any creation. Its solubility is 0.5% at 25C, so I use it in my heating phase, although using it in the cool down phase is suggested. But if you don't dissolve it just right, it can re-crystallize and be like a thousand tiny shards on your skin...great, now I've scared you off! Don't run! You can use allantoin at 0.5% in the heating phase and it should dissolve really well. I've tried it at 2.0% and I didn't like it, but it might work for you.

So you can use allantoin in your products at 0.5% to 2.0% in the water phase (heated) or cool down phase. Try modifying a few of your favourite recipes to include this wonderful ingredient! I'd suggest a facial toner, facial cleanser, or facial moisturizer as the perfect place to start.

Tune in tomorrow to see how we can use allantoin in our mineral make up applications!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mineral make-up - Part 12: Using ultramarine blue

Ultramarine blue is a great way to get a light blue colour without all the awesome power of blue iron oxide. You can use a little more, and if you already like the blueyness of it, it only takes a bit of base or mica to make this a sparkly treat!

Compare the ultramarine blue on the left, the blue iron oxide on the right. You can see how the blue iron oxide is going to be a blue-black colour, whereas the ultramarine blue is going to be a more blue colour.

Ultramarine colours (like ultramarine purple, pink, and blue) tend to be more pastel type colours (although the one I have is more a basic blue than a pastel colour), as opposed to the intensity of the iron oxides. So you can't do the 3/4 tsp to 1 scoop ratio to get a light, matte, base kind of eye shadow. We are going with the 3:1 ratio of base to colour because it is much lighter than the iron oxide.

3 scoops base
1 scoop ultramarine blue

This is going to give you a very matte, light blue eye shadow.

If you get an ultramarine blue like mine above, try a 6 scoops base to 1 scoop ultramarine blue ratio to start.

PERIWINKLE BLUE (slightly shiny)
3 scoops base
1 scoop ultramarine blue
2 scoops silver mica or arctic blue mica
or 2 scoops starlight blue mica (picture to the left - scroll down to the bottom if you click on the link!)

The starlight blue mica is a white mica with blue tinges, so it will add a blue sparkle to your eye shadow as it lightens it. This is not a picture of the finished eye shadow, but a picture of the mica.

Yes, I am slightly obsessed with periwinkle blue as my mother likes to wear it, so I've done a ton of experimenting, but it is a lovely colour. So how does this differ from the other periwinkle blues? It has no periwinkle blue in it! The other periwinkle blues had the mica in it - we are using the base to get our colour, then we add the micas for the shine!

The easiest way to get colours that go well together is to create your base colour - 3:1 base to ultramarine blue - then add your micas.

Using this 3:1 base to ultramarine blue ratio, try adding a scoop of each of these micas and see what changes! Heck, add 2 and get some serious sparkle! Or mix and match!

1 scoop periwinkle blue for a more periwinkle blue with a touch of sparkle
1 scoop blue sparkle mica for a more sparkly, more blue-y blue
1 scoop hydrangea highlights for a light blue with a lot of sparkle (and a bit of colour shifting!) - look right for this colour!
1 scoop aztec aqua for a blue with green highlights
1 scoop splendid turquoise for a blue with turquoise highlights

or try
1 scoop aztec aqua with 1 scoop hydrangea highlights - hint of turquoise with shape shifting qualities!

As I've done many times before, experiment! Make your blue base with iron oxides, ultramarines, or micas and play with your blues! And let me know if you discover something new and interesting you want to share!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fun with silk!

It's hard to make generalizations about silk as you can get so many different kinds - liquid, powder, low molecular weight, high molecular weight, and so on.

The molecular weight is important because the lower the molecular weight, the more likely the protein will actually penetrate the skin and hair and act as a humectant in the stratum corneum or cortex. This means it is good for drawing water internally for dry and very dry skin and hair. If you have frizzy hair, drawing water inside might lead to more frizziness, so choose your weight wisely. (This is probably the reason my hair doesn't like silk - it's already frizzy!)

For something like CroSilk 10,000 (from Croda), a low molecular weight silk, you can use between 0.5% to 20% in your creations. For something like hydrolyzed silk proteins or hydrolyzed silk peptides, you can use 0.2% to 3% in your creations. The powdered silk is fantastic for mineral make up applications and gives it a smooth, silky feeling that also conditions your skin, or you can dissolve it in your heat and hold stage and use it that way.

As with the other hydrolyzed proteins, substitute silk for any recipe indicating hydrolyzed proteins. It is water soluble, and should be added during the water phase of your creation so you can heat and hold it. It needs to be well preserved, so use the maximum preservative indicated for your product. And I wouldn't go over 5% - it's expensive, and 2 to 5% is ideal for our creations (I'd choose 2% to 3%).

I use it in my shaving lotion not only for the silky feeling, but the conditioning and humectant-y properties. And I figure you can never go wrong with lots of moisturizers and film formers for such sensitive areas! (I mean my underarms...I don't need to shave my legs. I know, envy me now! All that head hair and very little leg hair? )

Let's take a look at how we can use powdered silk proteins or peptides in a finishing powder. You can add foundation colours to this, but I leave it uncoloured as an oil control, conditioning, and shine product for my oily skin. The silk feels really lovely in this, and it adds the element of a little conditioning for your skin in a powdered product. (I'll be writing more about foundations in June...)

I like to use about 3% silk powder in a mineral make-up application. Why 3%? It's right in the middle of the suggested usage rate, and those little scoops are 0.15 cc (1/32 tsp) (and for some reason that works out to 3% most of the time).

FINISHING POWDER (by volume, not weight)
3 tbsp treated serecite
1 tsp micronospheres
1/5 tsp or 6 scoops calcium carbonate or kaolin clay (for oil control, optional)
1/5 tsp or 6 scoops powdered silk

Put together in a plastic bag and squish and squish and squish until well blended. Please don't put this into a grinder because it will damage the micronospheres. Use this as you would a foundation to brighten up your skin, control oil, and give yourself a nice dewy glow!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fun with phytokeratin

The best picture I could find was this one...of my campsite famous roasted corn on an open fire. Freshly picked that day, roasted until it's sweet, then covered in creamy butter and salt! Yum! But that has very little to do with this post...except that I mention corn. Now I'm hungry!

Phytokeratin is a proprietary blend of soy, corn, and wheat proteins designed to be the best of all worlds. It has elements with low molecular weight for penetrating skin and hair, and it offers substantivity and film forming through the higher molecular weight molecules. As with other proteins, it is water, glycerin, and alcohol soluble, so this is for products containing water - anhydrous products are right out! Include any proteins in your cool down phase at 1 to 5%. (Having said this, LabRat suggested putting in the heat and hold phase, so I'm going to suggest that as well.)

I've used phytokeratin in my shaving lotion for ages because I want both the slip and the conditioning properties, and it's a perfect addition to a facial moisturizer or toner because it does double duty. I don't use it in my hair care products because I find anything with low molecular weight - phytokeratin and silk - tends to make my hair frizz out, but if you have dry hair that needs conditioning, then phytokeratin is a great addition to any shampoo, conditioner, intense conditioner, or leave in conditioner!

Because the hydrolyzed proteins play well with surfactants, let's add some to our facial cleanser (original post and instructions found here...)

50% water
20% LSB or BSB surfactant (I like LSB for degreasing, use BSB if you have normal or dry skin)
10% Amphosol CG
10% aloe vera or other hydrosol
2% phytokeratin (substituted for cromoist)
2% panthenol
2% glycerin
0.5% chamomile extract
0.5% honeysuckle extract
0.5% Germall Plus preservative or 1.0% Germaben II preservative
up to 2% Crothix

Increase the protein to up to 5% if you like and increase the panthenol to 5% if you like. Just remove an equal amount of water.

Let's have some fun with silk tomorrow!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fun with hydrolyzed oat protein

Oats are also called "avena sativa" - look for this ingredient on labels of your favourite products.

I love hydrolyzed oat protein - I put it in nearly everything! Although the suggested usage is 1 to 5%, I tend to use about 2% due to cost. It is a humectant, so I use it for both that purpose and the silky feeling it offers to hair care products. It's soluble in water, glycerin, and surfactants, but not alcohol or oils, so save it for your water based products like lotions and hair or body care products. Oat protein tends to be a higher molecular weight, so it's not going to be as penetrative as something like silk or or phytokeratin (coming up soon!), so it is better for film forming and conditioning than those other proteins.

If you've read any of the recipes I've posted, you'll see I put it in simply everything - yes, I love it that much! I especially love it for my leave in conditioner - it's substantive, it's a humectant, it makes my hair feel silky - and my liquid conditioner. But you can use it in lotions as well, like facial moisturizers (the anti-irritating and moisturizing effects are wonderful!) and body butters.

Let's include it in the body butter now! (Original post can be found here with instructions...)


58% water (reduced by 2% to include oat protein)
2% sodium lactate or glycerin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein (added to water phase to heat and hold it)

10% oils (4% light, 4% medium, 2% heavy, or just 10% of the oil of your choice)
15% shea butter (or butter of choice)
6% emulsifier*
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

So we've included the oat protein in this recipe to give the feeling of silkiness, and increase conditioning and moisturizing. But what if we want something more conditioning? We'll need a protein with a lower molecular Phytokeratin and silk!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Hydrolyzed proteins

This is a picture of the hydrolysis of saccharides. It really doesn't go well with this post, but I thought it needed a picture!

I do love the hydrolyzed proteins - they're humectants, emollients, and film formers, and they do this at really low usage levels, so they're fantastic additions to your products. We can choose from dozens of proteins - silk, wheat, oat, corn, soy, and so on - and what you choose really depends upon what you are seeking in your product.

Proteins have very poor water solublility, so they are hydrolyzed to increase this solubility. (How do they do it? They hydrolyze by cleaving the protein molecule to disrupt the peptide bonds. This cleavage can happen by chemical or biological means, or can be a combination of applying high temperatures and pressure.) They are usually vegetable proteins, and the hydrolyzation means they will be water soluble to offer conditioning, moisturizing, and film forming properties. They are amphoteric, and a positive charge makes them substantive.

Proteins can increase the substantivity (the adsorption of the product to your hair or skin) of your product by binding fatty alkyl groups to the proteins. The lower the molecular weight, the better they will penetrate your hair and skin. The higher the molecular weight, the better they will film form.

Proteins offer moisturizing, and will feel silky and soft in your creations. In surfactant blends, they will increase foam stability, add slipperiness, and offer creaminess and density. They can also reduce skin irritation caused by anionic surfactants, so they are good for combatting skin dryness. (Add a little crothix and you have an anti-irritation festival going on!)

If you've ever seen the hydrolyzed proteins, you'll notice some of them have a brownish colour and slightly weird odour (believe me, the kids in my craft group have noticed it!) This is due to the Maillard reaction between the proteins and carbohydrates (oligosaccharides) - you might recognize this from cooking, when meat browns! - and it is normal. (More complicated explanation here, if you're interested!)

So what does this all mean? Adding a hydrolyzed protein to your products can increase conditioning and moisturizing without the oils, make your products feel silkier and softer, and decrease irritation. Not bad for 2% of your recipe, eh? (You can go higher, but with the cost, you might not want to do so!)

Proteins should be added at 1 to 5% to your cool down phase, when your creation is less than 45C. Please preserve them well using the maximum level of your chosen preservative as they are protein based!

UPDATE NOTE: I've been contacted by Bonnie, who reminds me of the legendary LabRat's suggestion that adding a hydrolyzed protein to your cool down phase can result in contamination. Although all the materials I've read have suggested adding to the cool down phase, I'm going to side with LabRat on this one (after all, he's my guru!) Adding the hydrolyzed proteins to your water phase and heating and holding it will not result in the destruction of the goodness that is found therein, so add your percentage to your water phase while warm and avoid the pains and suffering of icky lotions and potions!

So when you're reading past posts, please put your proteins in the water phase, not the cool down phase. And yes, I've been doing it this way for years...which just goes to show we are always learning, eh? And no, I haven't had any visibly contaminated creations yet, but not all contamination is visible.

So let's take a look at some of my favourite proteins tomorrow!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Panthenol in your creations!

For thick, luscious, bouncing, and behaving hair try panthenol!

As I mentioned yesterday, I love panthenol in most of my products. I've got it in my toner because it helps with skin elasticity and damaged skin. I've got it in my various hair care products because it's awesome for hair. I've even thrown it into my water based make up remover (and you can include it in the surfactant one as well).

In this post, we'll check out how to include it in an apres sun spray for super happy fun summer time excitement!

What are my goals with this product? I want to soothe, heal, and moisturize. I also want a cool feeling on my skin, so the witch hazel will fit that requirement. I don't want to add oils to this - I'm not making an occlusive spray, and I don't feel like adding emulsifiers that will make my mixture sticky - so I need to get my moisturizing and water retention through conditioning agents (cationic polymers) and humectants.

I am not making any claims this product will heal your skin as I have not had the product analyzed and tested. I am making this statement based on the inherent qualities of the ingredients. Please do not claim this product can heal anything (and I think the word "soothe" is also forbidden!)

20% witch hazel
25% lavender hydrosol or rose hydrosol
22% water
20% aloe vera liquid
2% sodium lactate

3% honeyquat
5% panthenol (I've increased this from 2 to 5% in this recipe)
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% extract (I use chamomile)
0.5% preservative (I use Germall Plus)
(Optional: 1% lavender essential oil plus 1% polysorbate 20. Remove 2% from the water amount, leaving 20% water. This may be a tad sticky for your tastes, but the lavender is good for soothing!)

Heat and hold the water phase for 20 minutes at 70C. (You can heat and hold this in a container with a very small opening so you don't lose a lot to condensation!) Remove from your double boiler and allow to cool to 45C. Then add the cool down phase, including the essential oils, if you wish. Package in a spray bottle and use liberally over the summer time.

As a note, if you want a nice cooling spray, you can substitute the 1% lavender essential oil for peppermint or spearmint essential oil. Or even put 3% menthol into the mixture - remove from the water amount. (This is going to be very cooling...try 1% menthol and see how you like it.) This spray is great for feet in the summer as well - mints do a great job here!