Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oil free moisturizer

Leanne wrote to me asking for some tips on creating an oil free moisturizer. By definition a moisturizer contains oil, water, and emulsifier...so is it possible to make an oil free moisturizer? Yes!

When you see lotions in the stores with "oil free" emblazoned on the container, they still contain an oil phase. Generally the main moisturizer is a fatty acid or fatty alcohol (like stearic acid or cetyl alcohol or variations on those ingredients), so we can use that to build an oil free moisturizer.

What are we looking for in an oil free moisturizer? We want something moisturizing, conditioning, and occlusive, but not too occlusive. We want ingredients that will condition, moisturize, hydrate, and film form without oils, butters, or other comedogenic ingredients.

Where to start?

Water, aloe, hydrosols - We need to maximize every inch of a facial moisturizer because of the high levels of water based ingredients, so we can start with the water amount. You could use all aloe, all hydrosol, all water, a combination - choose what you like here. I'd think aloe vera would be a great main ingredient because it has such lovely components for your skin. I always like to include a little lavender hydrosol in my summer creations because it soothes inflamed skin. You could use another hydrosol - orange is good for oily skin, rose for all types - as the entire water amount if you want. (I know there are tons of hydrosols I've never used, so research what it is supposed to do first, then use if it at the suggested amounts.)

I should clarify here that I don't suggest using more than 10% aloe vera or 10% hydrosol. Water is a good ingredient - it's not a filler, but an actual ingredient - and consider the first time you make this recipe using mostly water. 

Humectants - Glycerin might make you break out, so sodium lactate is probably the better choice. It works well for acne and it's a good, non-sticky humectant. I'd suggest using it at 2% because 3% can make you sun sensitive. I'm including 2% panthenol because it is a great humectant that offers some soothing of inflamed or irritated skin.

Conditioning agents - I'm going to build this moisturizer with a cationic emulsifier, Incroquat BTMS. It's substantive, so it will attach to negatively charged skin and offers conditioning and moisturizing benefits. So it's three great things in one. As well, I'm going to add a cationic polymer - Condition-eze 7 or honeyquat or cationic guar gum - as a conditioning and moisturizing agent. And they're humectants, so again we see two great things in one!

If you use honeyquat, please put it in the cool down phase. It can smell bad when it is heated too much. 

As a note, I'm generally not a BTMS as emulsifier kind of girl. I find it feels really dry and powdery. I have oily skin, so a dry facial moisturizer feels nice to me. You can use emulsifying wax at 3 to 5% or an emulsifying system of your choice.

Cetyl alcohol - this will thicken the lotion, plus it works in conjunction with the BTMS to increase the conditioning and substantivity of BTMS. So let's use that at 2%.

Film formers - We like the film forming abilities of the hydrolyzed proteins, so 2% should work well. If you want some serious film forming and moisturizing from your proteins, you could add up to 4%. (I'd suggest using 2 different ones - like say, low molecular weight silk, which will penetrate the skin, and 2% oat protein, which will film form - or something like Phytokeratin, which is a mixture of soy, corn, and wheat in various molecular weights.)

Occlusive - Cocoa butter and dimethicone aren't appropriate occlusives for an oil free moisturizer, so we're using 1% allantoin to offer occlusive properties, as well as skin softening and moisture binding properties. It's an astringent, which is always a bonus for oily skin.

Extracts - If you want to add some powdered or liquid extracts, please do. I like honeysuckle and chamomile powdered extracts, but cucumber, papaya, and strawberry are all good choices for oily skin (although I can never get strawberry to preserve well in a lotion...and I am a good preserver!) If you have something like Multifruit BSC or Phytofruit or other water based extracts, use those at the appropriate levels. Consider using astringent extracts if you have really oily skin.

What about IPM? If it's a dry astringent and an ester, wouldn't this be a good inclusion? Yes and no. It would be because we could get some dry emolliency in there without using oils, but it is comedegenic. So if you have oily, acne prone skin, it's probably a very poor choice. If you aren't acne prone, and are the type of person who can slather straight shea butter on your skin, then give it a shot. But then again, why would you want to make an oil free moisturizer?

So let's get creating!

84.5% water (aloe vera, hydrosol of choice.)
3% honeyquat or condition-eze 7 or other cationic polymer of choice (like cationic guar gum)
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% allantoin
2% sodium lactate

2% cetyl alcohol

2% panthenol
0.5% - 1% powdered extract (optional)
0.5% -1% preservative

Weigh all the ingredients in your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.

Weigh all the ingredients in your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.

Heat both phases for 20 minutes at 70˚C. (You might want to use a small container for the oil phase as it is very small). When you have heated and held for 20 minutes, remove from the double boiler and pour the water phase into the oil phase and mix well with a hand mixer or stick blender.

When cooled to 45˚C, add your cool down phase and mix well. When the lotion has completely cooled, bottle and enjoy!

If you wish to add the powdered extract, remove up to 2% of your water phase after it been heated and held but before you add it to the oil phase, and mix with the powdered extract to dissolve.

As a note, you could add some PEG-7 olivate or olive oil esters to this recipe and still be oil free. (Click here for my post on this really cool ester!) It would give you the benefits of olive oil - it's a humectant, emollient, and mimics human sebum - without giving you the oiliness. Oh, what the heck, let's do a post on it Thursday!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Esters & water soluble oils - PEG-7 olivate

There are two ways to make water soluble oils - you can mix an oil with an emulsifier (usually polysorbate 80) to make an oil water soluble or you can esterify them (okay, you can't personally esterify them as you probably don't have the equipment at home, but oils can be esterified to make them more water soluble). Today we'll take a look at esters of vegetable oils, specifically PEG-7 olivate or water soluble olive oil.

PEG-7 Olivate (or olive oil PEG-7 esters) is a non-ionic, water soluble ester. It is actually a surface active agent or surfactant (but not a foamy, lathery one). It can behave as an emulsifier with an HLB of 11, so it can be put into water without the need for an emulsifier. It's an emollient, moisturizer, film former, and irritation mitigator in surfactant systems. In short, it can do all the things we've come to expect from an ester.

It's a solubilizer, which is why it is such an awesome ingredient for a water based, non-surfactant (the foamy kind) make-up remover like the amazingly wonderful Fruit & Flowers Make-Up Remover at the Herbarie. (For the love of all that is good, please try this recipe if you're in the market for a make-up remover! It's great. You can leave out the calendula if you don't have it.) How does the PEG-7 olivate work in this recipe? It's a solubilizer and emulsifier, so it is going to act as an emulsifier with the oils and waters on your face and in your make up to remove it. And it's non-sticky and only slightly greasy, so you don't need to wash it off.

This would be a great ingredient in a toner to give you some olive oil-y moisturizing without the need to turn it into a lotion. I'd add it at 4% in a toner and remove an equal amount of water. You can add it to your body washes or shampoos at up to 4% without a reduction in foam or lather, and it would offer the re-fatting or moisturizing properties to mitigate irritation and offer some conditioning. Again up to 4% works well. Or add it to a facial cleanser at up to 4% for the make-up removing, cleansing, and moisturizing qualities.

Wow, I'm obsessed with using it at 4%, eh? This just seems to be the optimal amount. You could use 2 to 4%, but 4% is the point where it won't interfere with foam, acts as a solubilizer and co-emulsifier, and it's an easy amount to remember. I'd suggest the usage at 1 to 5%.

For those of us who have oily skin, this kind of ingredient is a blessing! We can get all the goodness of olive oil without the fatty acids that might make us break out. We can get the phytosterols, the "it's like human sebum" goodness, and the moisturizing properties without fewer chances for break out. Woo hoo!

Oh, and because you don't have the fatty acids found in olive oil, it won't go rancid on you. It has a shelf life of 3 years (although I have seen a few thing on the 'net indicating it never goes rancid, everything will oxidize eventually. But 3 years? That's a long shelf life!)

This ingredient plays well with gels, so you can make a gel based moisturizer or gel based eye moisturizer with it. Ah heck, let's do some playing!

Make up your gel - you might want to reduce the recipe if you're making an under eye gel because you are going to have 10 years' worth!

Point of interest - this is the equivalent of the 242 grams water, 3 grams Ultrez 20, 4 grams lye, preservative in previous posts...I finally got around to changing it to a percentage recipe!

96.7% water or hydrosol
1.2% Ultrez 20 or ETD 2020 (1.6% for a thicker gel)
1.6% lye solution, 18% to neutralize
0.5% preservative (if you're using Liquid Germall Plus, otherwise use the recommended amounts)

Measure out your water. Add the Ultrez 20 or ETD2020 flakes. Stir to make sure the powder gets wet. Wait 3 to 10 minutes, then add the 18% lye solution to neutralize the gel. Stir very well with a big fork. It's gel!!!

80% gel mixture
10% aloe vera or hydrosol
4% olive oil esters
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
2% cationic polymer (honequat or condition-eze 7) - this is the humectant because sodium lactate might mess with gelling and glycerin will be a little sticky
0.5% extract (optional)
(We aren't including preservative as it is in the gel...)

Add the ingredients in order and mix well. Dissolve the extract in aloe vera or hydrosol before including in the mix.

Feel free to play with this recipe to include your favourite extracts, botanicals, and the like. I wouldn't include a ton of oil based ingredients - like essential oils - because gels don't tend to play well with oils and the olive oil esters can only emulsify so much! I'd keep it at 0.5% to 1% essential oil, and mix it with the olive oil esters before adding. (It will act like polysorbate 20 to emulsify the essential oils in this mixture.)

You can include AHA, BHA, or salicylic acid in this recipe, but please consult my posts and the links for how to formulate safely with these ingredients.

If you want an under eye gel, you could use this same recipe but use the thicker gel. Again, feel free to play with the ingredients.

As we're about to enter summer - yes, we do get summer in Canada, and it can get to 35C where I live near Vancouver!!! - join me tomorrow for another oil free moisturizer idea.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Emulsification - phase inversion

I just learned the most interesting thing from Liz at the Dish and I have to share it!

Have you ever considered whether you should pour the water into the oil or the oil into the water when you're making lotions? I usually add the water to the oil because the water phase is always the largest phase. I'm using my larger container for the water phase, so it just makes sense I'll continue the lotion making process in that jug!

So which should it be - oil into water or water into oil? The emulsion - both mechanical and chemical - are going to work in any order, right? No!

When you're making an emulsion, pouring the water into the oil phase forces an inversion, which makes the emulsification more stable!

This is huge! This can make all the difference between a great lotion and a watery, annoying mess! I've been fortunate in that I've had exactly three batches of lotion fail to emulsify, and the reasons were very clear in each case - I didn't heat the water and oil to the same temperatures, I included a very acidic ingredient, and I was using e-wax instead of Polawax - so I've never really researched emulsification much. This, however, changes everything!

I'm out of hand lotion - I know what I'm doing this morning!

For more information on this topic, check out this link at Lotioncrafters!

Better crafting through chemistry: Esters - thickeners (part 2, Crothix)

Yes, Crothix is an ester - in fact, it's a complex ester! The INCI is PEG-150 pentaerythrityl tetrastearate (and) PEG-6 caprylic/capric trigylcerides (and) water. It's derived from and composed mostly of stearic acid. It's non-ionic and it will create clear thickened surfactant systems, as opposed to the pearlized systems created with the EZ Pearl (yesterday's post). Crothix is tolerant to electrolytes and cationic salts, so you can use as much aloe vera and salt as you wish!

A side note...Crothix is very like PEG-150 distearate used to thicken as well, but it is a complex ester, whereas PEG-150 distearate is not a complex ester. It's not a big difference, and I understand you can substitute one for the other. I've never used PEG-150 distearate, so I can't confirm this, but they do appear to be interchangeable. So feel free to experiment using PEg-150 distearate in place of Crothix and let me know what happens!

As a bonus, liquid Crothix contains PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides (coconut based), which offer superfatting and emollient properties.

So to sum it up - Crothix is a thickener, irritant mitigator, foam stabilizer, and emollient for surfactant systems. (Feel free to insert your own jokes about irritation mitigation here...I have a ton of them referring to my neighbours.)

How to use it...I generally use Crothix at 1 to 2% surfactant mixture. You can use it up to 8%, but this will result in goo, so I don't suggest it. (Although you can always make a jar of bubble slime in green for your kids! They love it!) Always add Crothix when your mixture has been fragranced, preserved, and everything else and when it has completely cooled. I mean really cool. I mean the next day kind of cool. You will never know how thick it is going to be until it is completely cooled (I think I've made the point).

Let's say I want to make a body wash with Jewelled Citrus in it. (And I've apparently illustrated this little story with a green body wash in Pearberry scent!) I know Jewelled Citrus will thicken the mixture at first but will eventually thin out to be only slightly thicker than water. I make the body wash with all the ingredients - EXCEPT CROTHIX - then let it sit overnight in a well covered Pyrex jug. Do not bottle it yet! The next morning I check the viscosity, then add 1% Crothix. Check. Is it okay? Usually it is, but sometimes I might have to add up to 0.5% more and perhaps another 0.5% more, but never ever more than 2% (my personal preference).

For more information on the effects of fragrances on viscosity of surfactant systems, please check out the post on fragrances and viscosity from March 7th and fragrances and clarity from March 6th.

Yes, you can get Crothix pastilles that are a tiny bit cheaper than the liquid, but this is just a bad idea. I can make exactly the same body wash recipe five times in a row with the same fragrance oil and 2% Crothix might result in a thin liquid or body wash Jell-O! Using the pastilles means you have to add them at the beginning and heat your surfactant mixture then wait for it to cool completely before finding out if it is thick enough. And you can't really go back and heat it up without compromising the preservative system. And it doesn't contain the PEG-6, so you're lacking an emollient there. So I always suggest you pay the extra $1 or so for the liquid!

Please visit these posts for recipes including Crothix!
Join me tomorrow for esters - water soluble oils!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Esters - thickeners (part 1)

Esters are well known to be efficient thickeners. You'll have encountered a few on your bath and body adventures - glycol stearate, glycol distearate (or EZ Pearl), Crothix - when making surfactant systems or looking for options for emulsifiers. (Crothix isn't an emulsifier, the others are!)

These are all PEG esters or polyethylene glycol based esters. The process of creating these esters is called ethyloxylation. Ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol and stearic acid are brought together with potassium hydroxide as a catalyst to create these PEG esters. Why mess with stearic acid? It's a perfectly wonderful ingredient! By ethyloxidating stearic acid (or other fatty acids, like vegetable oils) with ethylene glycol, you can create water soluble emollients, oils, waxes, fats, and other ingredients we couldn't normally use with surfactant systems or water based ingredients. (I'll be writing more about PEG oils tomorrow...)

Why would we want to include these ingredients in a body wash, for example? Because it's a great way to reduce the irritation of surfactants! All surfactants are inherently irritating and annoy your skin. You want to re-fat (that's their term, not mine) your skin with emollients after using a surfactant thingie like bubble bath or body wash. You could add some oils....but they aren't water soluble. They'll need an emulsifier and the oil and emulsifier are going to ruin the latheriness and bubbles. By adding one of these PEG based thickeners (or water soluble oil - tomorrow!), you can add water soluble emolliency without destroying your lather or foam!

Glycol distearate or EZ Pearl is a great thickener that also pearlizes your surfactant systems, or you can use it as a very low HLB (1) emulsifier in combination with something like Ceteareth-20 (15.2) to create your own emulsification system. Glycol stearate is also a great thickener that can be used for pearlizing, and it is a low HLB emulsifier (2.9) that can be used with Ceteareth-20. (For purposes of surfactant systems, these two products can be used interchangeably.)

I'm not going into emulsification with glycol distearate as I haven't done enough experimenting to feel comfortable sharing what I've learned so far, so let's take a look at modifying a body wash to include it! Oh, and feel free to use up to 3% in your shampoo as well. They are a great "oil free" way to moisturize!

(As an aside, when you see moisturizers or other products with "oil free" it usually means they have a PEG ingredient, stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, or other modified fatty acid that isn't truly an oil - with the glycerin backbone and three fatty acids attached!)

This body wash uses glycol distearate to act as an emollient, to pearlize the body wash so it's pretty, and to thicken your mixture.

The original body wash recipe can be found in this March 4th post.
37.5% water
15% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
15% Amphosol AS-90 or SLeS
15% BSB or LSB
5% aloe vera
3% glycerin
3% Condition-eze 7
2% cromoist or other hydrolyzed protein
1.5% glycol stearate or glycol distearate (EZ Pearl) - you can go up to 3%, but try 1.5% first

2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative
Colouring, if wanted

Heat the heated ingredients to 65C and mix together well until the EZ Pearl is incorporated. (I have found that heating the EZ Pearl in 1 container, the other ingredients in another until the EZ Pearl has melted, then incorporating the two containers works well). Make sure you are not seeing any little shards of glycol distearate in the mix.

When the mixture has cooled to 45C or lower, add the cool down ingredients.

You may need to include up to 1% Crothix if you are using fragrance oils that include vanilla or other surfactant thinning fragrances. Add this when the product has cooled completely and can sit for at least 24 hours (preferably longer).

A WARNING: These ingredients may not play well with your fragrance system. I made a beautiful batch of Black Raspberry Vanilla body wash that turned into very water surfactants with a layer of white glycol distearate at the bottom. It still worked, but it wasn't something I would want to give to someone as a gift as they would run away in horror. So I suggest making a small batch with the fragrance or essential oil of your choice, then making very sure it doesn't separate. Give it a few days. If it works, then you're good. Why does this happen? I have no freakin' idea! My current theories...
  • polar vs. non-polar fragrance oils
  • the role of vanilla or other fragrance oils that might thin out the surfactant mixture
  • too much glycol distearate, which messes with the foam too much and actually destroys the foaminess in bottle
(You know, I realized I haven't done any posts on stearic acid or cetyl alcohol...I guess I have some ideas for next week!)

Join me tomorrow for more ester-ific fun with Crothix!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Esters - IPM

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm a fan of isopropyl myristate or IPM. I use it primarily as a dry or astringent emollient to reduce the greasy feeling of other oils in a lotion or lotion bar. You can use it in large quantities as the primary emollient to give a really dry feeling, but I tend to use it in small amounts - usually no more than 5% because I like my products to have a slick feeling, and too much IPM can make it feel really dry. (BTMS and tons of IPM is not a good combination for me - too powdery, and dry, but a little of each is a lovely thing indeed!)

IPM is an ester of isopropanol (the alcohol) and myristic acid (the carboxylic acid), so it's called an isopropyl ester. It has only one fatty acid chain - as compared to something like olive oil (a triglyceride), which has a glycerin backbone and three fatty acid chains. The length of the chains is an important feature with esters: The shorter chains, like IPM, feel drier and have less impact on foam in surfactant products. The longer chains (like glycol stearate or glycol distearate) tend to be greasier and have more impact on foam.

It is used as a light penetration enhancer, bringing your lovely ingredients deeper into the skin, and you'll find it in many medical applications for this reason. It reduces residue in things like anti-perspirant, so if you've got a lotion that just won't sink in or leaves behind a white mess, IPM at 2% is perfect for you!

So why would we use IPM in our creations?
  • To impart a less greasy feel
  • To act as a dry, astringent emollient
  • To bring ingredients deeper into the skin
  • To reduce residue from other ingredients
So I'm going to contradict myself here...I mentioned above I wouldn't use it at more than 5% or so because it imparts a dry feeling, but I want this in my anhydrous body oil. I was asked to make this as an after bath oil with ingredients that were non-staining and very emollient. I added a lot of IPM to reduce the greasy feeling of straight sesame and fractionated coconut oil because it was simply way too oily. And it's also non-staining, so it fit in well with my creation.

66% sesame or fractionated coconut oil - I used 33% of each
33% IPM
1% fragrance or essential oil

Pour all the ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake well. You're done.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with esters - thickeners!

Gels: Hair styling products

In my excitement about esters, I totally forgot about hair styling gels! I don't use them much myself - my hair doesn't really do "style" that well - but I do like to make them for my mom, who has really spiky hair.

Gels are a perfect vehicle for conditioning agents. Sure, you can make a perfectly good gel with the gelling ingredients, fixative, preservative, and a little colour and fragrance, but why not make it do double duty by adding some cationic ingredients to add a little conditioning in the form of cationic polymers or dimethicone? You can use the cationic polymers of your choice, but I don't suggest using cationic quat compounds like BTMS or cetrimonium bromide. (Having said that, cetrimonium chloride is a cationic compound, but it's not a hydrophobic one like BTMS). And Incroquat CR simply doesn't work here.

We would like a humectant in here, but a lot of our normal humectants aren't going to play well here. The glycerin is too sticky, sodium lacate won't be effective, most people shy away from propylene glycol (although you can include it at 1 to 2% and reduce the water amount) - so condition-eze 7 (polyquat 7) or honeyquat would be great choices here.

Please do not use hydrovance as a possible humectant in this recipe. It will throw the pH out of whack completely. And if you don't have a pH meter (if someone wants to buy me one for Christmas, I'd be a happy girl...) then it's too hard to try to get the pH back down.

A little word about fixatives...I use Fixate G-100 Styling Resin because this is what I can get locally at Voyageur. (INCI: AMP-Acrylates/Ally Methacrylate Copolymer). This one is apparently specially designed to work with Carbopol gelling agents, but you can use it with any kind of gelling system, like cellulose. I have not tried this as I like working with Carbopol. It is pre-neutralized with a pH of 6.0, and the suggested use is 1.9 to 11.5% (but I wouldn't go over 3% because this is sticky stuff). A little bit will go a long way...and it's great for using in mascaras and eye liners (which I'm still working on...it's coming, I promise!)

68.2% water
1.2% ultrez 20 or ETD 2020
3% Fixative G-100 (or other fixative product)
1.6% 18% lye solution (neutralizer)

10% water
2% cationic polymer or cetac
2% dimethicone

1% fragrance (if desired)
0.5% - 1% preservative
Colour, if desired.

As a note, if you have some Celquat H-100, add it at 0.5%. This is the perfect application for it! It helps gel liquids, so you're getting two gelling agents in this mix. It is going to be thicker, so play around with the water amounts to make it perfect!

Weigh out the water, then sprinkle the polymer on top. Let wet, then agitate.
Add the fixative, mix well. Now add the neutralizer.
Add the extra water, cationic polymer, and dimethicone and mix well.
Add preservative, and fragrance and colour (optional).
Mix well. Package in a jar for ease of use.

Feel free to add your favourite conditioning agents to this gel and see how it works for you! If you feel it is too thick, increase the water. If it's too fixative-y, reduce the amount of fixative. If it's not fixative-y enough, add a little more (increase in 0.5% amounts). You can include hydrolyzed proteins (2%) or panthenol (2%) if you aren't going to use leave in conditioner before using the gel.

Play with this recipe - gels are a very particular thing for most people, so you're going to have to do some experimenting to find what you really like!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sushi soap!

The Soap Queen has done it again - SUSHI SOAP! (Yes, I am obsessed with sushi. I like to eat it and craft various things either looking like it or using sushi fabric! This is a picture from my new sunglasses case. The tutorial will be posted in a couple of weeks...) Click on the link for her tutorial. I think we have an idea for a class in the autumn!

I love this Flexy Fast stuff! Is it wrong that I'm thinking of various things to putty up as a mould? Wii controllers, a small blue police box, my puppy - okay, not the last one, but the possibilities are endless! Geeky soap this Christmas for everyone!

As a thought, for the sushi veggies inside, could I use the long silicone ice cube tray moulds we got from Ikea for making ice to put in bottles? And would Raymond notice they've migrated to the workshop? If so, would he miss them?

I think I have a morning project!

Better crafting through chemistry: Esters

So what the heck is an ester and how or why would I want to use them in our bath and body creations?

An ester is a molecule that has undergone esterification. (Wow, that was clear, eh?) Esterification is a chemical reaction - for our purposes between a carboxylic acid (like a fatty acid from vegetable oils) and an alcohol - that leads to the creation of an ester and water (as a by-product).

The carboxylic acid loses its H - hydrogen - and the alcohol loses its OH, so we have H20! See below for a nice picture of this process!

So what does this all mean to us as bath and body creators? Esters are everywhere! They're fragrances and flavours, thickeners, protective emollients, non-occlusive emollients, dry and astringent emollients (like IPM), and more! So let's take an in-depth look at esters and how we use them in our amazing products!

Yep, these are esters. In fact, the word ester refers to their fragrant - but not always lovely - scent. They are found in nature, and are the key chemicals we associate with certain fruits or flowers. Ethyl butyrate (pineapple), butyl acetate (apples), and methyl trans-cinnamate (strawberry) can be naturally found in those fruits or created in a lab. (So what a lot of what we're loving in the hydrosols and essential oils are esters!)

Oil of wintergreen is synthesized from salicylic acid and methyl alcohol to create methylsalicylate. (The illustration shows salicylic acid - the carboxylic acid - reacting with methyl alcohol to create methyl salicylate and water, the by product of the esterification process.)

So what does this mean in our creations? Honestly, nothing when it comes to fragrance or flavour oils. It's not like we can run out and get some carboxylic acid, alcohol, and a catalyst and make our own - well, none I'd trust using in a product, anyway - but it's an interesting thing to know...

What I'm really more interested in are the emollient, thickening, and dry or astringent esters that can change the way our products feel, thicken lotions or surfactants, and add some emolliency without adding oils.

Join me tomorrow for fun with dry and astringent emollients - isopropyl myristate or IPM!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lovely scientist loves science - web link

Take a few moments today to check out Joanne's science site - Lovely Scientist Loves Science - for the science of beauty section. Learn about the science of mascara and why hair turns grey. She appears to have a thing for Ben Goldacre...and who wouldn't? He's my future nominee for Geek Man of the Month. Her science books section is filled with great ideas for reading material, and she has some interesting videos. In short, bookmark this site!

Mineral make-up: Part 15: Green with chromium hydroxide green

Chromium hydroxide green is a minty green, perfect for creating your minty green eye shadows.

Basic chromium hydroxide green
1 part eye shadow base
1 part chromium hydroxide green

You can use this as the base for many eye shadows. Add 1 part mica - silver, yellow, gold, and so on - and see what you create!

Make shamrock green mica!
If you don't have shamrock green mica (from June 10th's post), make your own!
1 scoop chromium hydroxide green
3 to 5 scoops silver (if you use arctic silver, you'll get a blue-y tinge...adjust to your shininess preference)

Now use this wherever you need shamrock green.

Fluid with chromium hydroxide green
1/2 tsp your shamrock green mica
5 scoops arctic silver
1/2 tsp basic eye shadow base

Join me next week - July 1st - to create more greens in the earth tones post!

Substitutions: What to use when you can't wait to create!

You've been looking forward to having the house to yourself for a few hours on Saturday morning, and the workshop beckons! ARGH! I'm out of something essential (for me, it's usually aloe vera). Substitution to the rescue!

I have BTMS-25 not BTMS-50 and I want to make a liquid conditioner!

BTMS is INCI Name: Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol.
BTMS-50 is INCI Name: Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetyl Alcohol (and) Butylene Glycol. This is the one I refer to as "Incroquat BTMS" in my recipese

The key difference is the amount of behentrimonium methosulfate - the cationic quat. It's about 25% in BTMS and 50% in BTMS 50. Which means you are going to increase the amount of BTMS you use in a recipe to get the same conditioning level.

You'll want to modify your liquid conditioner this way...
  • add cetyl alcohol to the BTMS at 25% the amount of BTMS (normally you'd add 50% to match the amount of cationic quat);
  • up the amount of BTMS in a recipe. If you want 6%, you'll want to increase that amount by 50% to ensure you have enough cationic quat to 9%; and
  • add a humectant like glycerin or something else to compensate for the lack of butylene glycol. (If you are adding honeyquat, you've got another humectant in there.)

For a solid conditioner, you're fine with just using the BTMS-25 as per the recipe.

I want to make a conditioner, but I don't have cetrimonium chloride.

Leave it out. I know of one place to get it - The Personal Formulator. If you don't have access to this ingredient, try a conditioner without it. Just because I love it doesn't mean you will!

I want to make a lotion, but I'm out of emulsifying wax!

Then use BTMS at the same amount. It is going to make your lotion less greasy and more powdery, but perhaps you like it that way! Or take this as an opportunity to learn more about the HLB system and come up with your own emulsifying system!

I'm dying to make a lotion or cream, but I'm out of stearic acid!

Then substitute cetyl alcohol or vice versa. (I will have more about these two ingredients in the next little while...) Although these products are not the same, they serve the pretty much same function. They thicken your lotion and provide some co-emulsifying. The end feel is different - I liken my body butter with stearic acid to whipped butter, with cetyl alcohol to Cool Whip - but you'll get all the thickening you need from either. I find the stearic acid can be a bit draggy on my skin, but I love the way it keeps cream on my feet and elbows.

I'm out of glycerin!

Try another humectant. Unless glycerin is vital to the chemistry of the recipe - and I can't think of one off the top of my head - then you have a world of humectants waiting to be used! Hydrovance, sodium lactate, olive oil, honeyquat - you'll never know if you like them if you don't try them!

I know I keep harping on and on about knowing your end goal and your ingredients but it gives us more freedom to play when we can substitute on the fly. When you get a new oil or butter, try it neat on your arm. How does it feel? Greasy, glidy, dry, silky, heavy, light, occlusive? Write down your thoughts so you can switch out the oils to suit your needs. Try your favourite lotion with another humectant or cationic polymer, or make a body wash with other surfactants. You may hate the new creation or it may become your new Saturday night thing. I was incredibly surprised to learn my hair hated silk protein, love oat protein, and was fairly indifferent to soy protein!

It doesn't serve us well to grow too dependent upon an ingredient or blend from a company as they might discontinue it and we'll be searching everywhere to find it! Anyone remember Croda's threat to stop selling to the public? We'd lose Incroquat CR, Incroquat BTMS, Polawax and more! It didn't come to pass, but I took it as a call to learn more about the HLB system! (Although I have yet to find a substitute for BTMS. I did try cetrimonium bromide as my primary cationic, and it was okay but not great!)

Always know the INCI of the product you are purchasing: A lot of suppliers change the name of the ingredient and you can get it elsewhere. And if you can't, then figure out what it brings to the recipe and put together something else.

What ingredients are you lacking? Post 'em here and we'll brain storm some substitutions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gels: Surfactant-y fun!

As I mentioned in the first gel post, carbomers and surfactants don't tend to play well together. But we're going to force them to be the bestest of friends by choosing our surfactants wisely and putting the ingredients together in the proper order.

I made up this recipe - the Gardener's Hand Scrub - for my post-formulating fun in the workshop. I've included these surfactants - BSB and SLeS (anonics) and Amphosol CG (coco betaine, amphoteric) - for mildness and foaminess. You can choose other surfactants you like - DSL Mild, LSB, Bioterge 804, Amphosol AS-40, and so on - but do leave in the coco betaine as your amphoteric surfactant. BSB is a very thick surfactant, and it works well with this gel recipe - if you choose a thinner surfactant, you might want to increase your gel amount to 3 grams to make it thicker. I have no idea how polyglucoside works with gels as the pH for this surfactant is very high, but why not try it and see how it works out?

I am adding glycerin as the humectant as the cleanser is meant to be washed off, and sodium lactate washes off too easily. I've included d-Limonene as a degreaser, and tea tree oil and poly 20 because someone mentioned to me it might be a nice addition (it does add a nice smell in the mixture). The hydrolyzed oat protein is a must for me - I need some moisturizing when I've been playing all day! - and I always like to add a little cationic polymer for the same purpose.

We have to change the order from the previous recipes because we are adding surfactants to the mix. If we made up gel, then added the ingredients, the gel would turn into a liquidy mess, so we need to add the ingredients in the correct order!

So let's get formulating! (And I apologize in advance that this recipe is really messed up in terms of weights - my brain just isn't into re-calculating this morning!)

85 grams water
13 grams aloe vera liquid
2 grams Ultrez 20 or ETD 2020
16 grams BSB surfactant
5 grams SLeS surfactant
2 grams lye solution
0.5 grams Liquid Germall Plus

Mix the water and polymer flakes together in a bowl, making sure the flakes are wet. Leave for 3 to 5 minutes, then add the surfactants and mix well. Then add the lye solution and mix well again. You should have a nice, medium weight gel.

3 grams glycerin
2 grams Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
5 grams fine grain pumice
1 gram d-Limonene
0.2 grams tea tree oil
1.5 grams polysorbate 20
1 gram hydrolyzed protein (I like cromoist, but any will do well)
2 grams condition-eze 7, honeyquat, or other cationic polymer

Mix the d-Limonene, tea tree oil, and polysorbate 20 in a small container, then add to the gel. Add these ingredients and mix well. You aren't adding preservative to this because it is in the gel at the proper proportion. Bottle this in a malibu tube for easier use!

Join me on Thursday for a series of posts on esters!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gels: Make a gel based toner

I know you're probably sick of this recipe for toner, but it works well in a gel format. You can also use this as an under eye application with a few tweaks, and it does feel nice and cool for the summer. (Can you tell I'm not a fan of being warm?)

So why make a toner into a gel format? I use this as a moisturizer - it has all kinds of humectants, film formers, and conditioners in it, so it behaves like an oil free moisturizer for my really really oily skin.

If you wanted to be bold, you could try using 1 to 2% salicylic acid (for acne prone skin) in a gel toner like this. (Please read this post and the links for salicylic acid before trying this.)

Please visit this posting for the original toner recipe...

As always with gel, make up the gel first...
Make up your gel as follows...
242 grams of water
4 grams ultrez 20
4 grams of 18% lye solution
1.25 grams preservative (Liquid Germall Plus)

Note: I've made this a thicker gel by increasing the Ultrez 20 to 4 grams with the lye solution remaining the same.

Put the gel flakes into the water and stir well to wet the flakes. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes (5 minutes is preferable) then add your 18% lye solution and preservative. Stir until thickened.

Now create your toner...

35% gel
20% witch hazel hydrosol
25% lavender hydrosol (or another hydrosol of your choice)
10% aloe vera liquid
2% sodium lactate (supposed to be good for acne prone skin and a humectant)
3% honeyquat
2% panthenol
2% cromoist (or another hydrolyzed protein like soy or wheat...I just like oat protein!)
0.5% extract (I use chamomile)

Make your gel, then add the ingredients in order. I have upped the thickness of this gel because there are a lot of ingredients here gels don't normally like - sodium lactate, aloe vera, honeyquat, panthenol - and I want to make sure I keep it thick. You'll notice I have left out the preservative in the toner - the preservative is in the gel, so we don't need to add it twice.

If you want to make this into a lovely under eye soothing gel, here are a few suggestions...
  • replace the extract with cucumber extract
  • replace the hydrosol with another of your choice
  • add even more gel - take it to 45% and reduce the witch hazel by 10%
Join me tomorrow for surfactanty-fun with gels!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gels: Aloe vera

Adding aloe vera to gels can be tricky because gels don't tend to like ingredients filled with lovely salts and electrolytes. We like a good challenge, so let's figure out how to make an aloe vera gel with cationic polymers and moisturizers!

For the aloe vera gel, we'd ideally like a ton of aloe vera to soothe burned or annoyed skin...but this is going to end in tears as the gel goes all liquidy over a short period of time. So how do we make a lovely aloe vera gel?

Well, we're going to include aloe vera, but at a lower amount, then compensate by throwing in other wonderful things that make your skin feel nice, like witch hazel (cooling feeling) and lavender hydrosol (soothing). We're adding our hydrolyzed proteins to offer film forming and moisturizing without oils and we're adding the cationic polymer as a film former, conditioner, humectant, and moisturizer. Finally, I'm adding some chamomile extract - it's optional, but 0.5% goes a long way in soothing inflamed skin, so if you can add it, it's a good thing.

You can add fragrance or essential oil to this, but I would suggest waiting until the second time you make it to do this. Primarily because it can make your gel go all white on you, but also because I think this recipe is really nice without it.

Make up your gel as follows...
242 grams of water
3 grams ultrez 20
4 grams of 18% lye solution
1.25 grams preservative (Liquid Germall Plus)

Put the gel flakes into the water and stir well to wet the flakes. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes (5 minutes is preferable) then add your 18% lye solution and preservative. Stir until thickened.

60% gel
15% aloe vera liquid
10% witch hazel
10% lavender hydrosol
2% cationic polymer like honeyquat, condition-eze 7
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% chamomile extract (optional)
0.5% fragrance or essential oil (optional)
Colour, if desired.

Put all the ingredients into a container and mix until well blended. You'll want to dissolve the chamomile extract in a tiny bit of water, alcohol, or propylene glycol before adding to this mixture.

Join me tomorrow for formulating with gels to make a thickened toner!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gels: Ooey gooey fun!

I love making gels - they aren't hard to create and they have so many uses. There are a few ways to make gels - with a polymer like Ultrez 20 or with cellulose - but I'm going to concentrate on the polymer method as I haven't had a chance to play with cellulose yet (hey, there's only so much I can get done in a day!).

I'm going to be referring to Carbopol Ultrez 20 Polymer (Ultrez 20, INCI: Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer) because this is what I'm using as the polymer for making gels. You can also find ETD 2020 - they're virtually the same, although the ETD 2020 requires longer to get wet.

So what is this exciting polymer that makes ooey gooey fun? From Lubrizol: "A self-wetting rheology modifier designed to impart moderate-to-high viscosity as well as stabilizing and suspending properties to personal care applications." In other words, it's a white powdery thingie that you add to water to create a gel that will thicken your creations. It's great for making hair gels or thickening up your toner to make a gel or to make an aloe vera gel or to use instead of something like Crothix.

Sounds awesome, but there's always a down side, eh? Gels don't tend to like electrolytes, cationics, or salts - three things we want to include in a gel in the form of aloe vera, surfactants, conditioners, and the like. So how do we do this? We add them in small amounts to something like Ultrez 20, which is specially formulated to work with these difficult ingredients, and we add them in the right order.

Ultrez 20 notes that it can handle up to 10 to 12% surfactants, which isn't a lot, so this isn't the thing to thicken up a body wash or bubble bath (although I have tried it and it will work well for a few months, so if you're going to use it quickly or want to make something like bubble goo for the kids, have fun!)

What do I mean by "it won't work well" - if the gel doesn't like your ingredients, it'll stop being a gel. It's not the worst thing in the world as the product will still work, but it won't be a gel any more.

Here's the basic way to make a gel as recommended by the manfacturer (with my notes).

1. Add your Ultrez 20 to water and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon how much powder you have used. (0.5% takes 3 minutes, up to 3% takes 5 minutes). This allows the gel powder to wet and get ready for the other ingredients. If you're using ETD 2020, wait up to 20 minutes.

2. Add your anionic surfactants (check the information on your surfactant - for instance, coco betaine is an amphoteric.)

3. Add the neutralizer. (You can use TEA or you can use an 18% lye solution. I have tried both and prefer the 18% lye solution. Weigh 82% water into a container, then add 18% lye to it. Mix well. Make sure it is a glass container as the lye will heat up for a while. When it has cooled, put into a clean bottle with the words "THIS IS LYE. DO NOT DRINK. IF YOU DO, AND YOU DIE, IT'S NOT MY FAULT. I DID WARN YOU" on it and store in a safe place.)

4. Add amphoteric surfactants, silicones, cationics, salts, etc. in that order.

5. Add pearlizing ingredients like mica, glycol distearate and so on.

6. Add fragrance, dye, and preservative (you don't need to add preservative if you've done it in the gel).

So basically what you are doing is adding these gel flakes to water, getting them wet, then neutralizing the process with 18% lye solution or TEA to create a gel.

And here's what I have found works to make a medium thickness gel. (I believe I found these instructions originally on a supplier site. I'm afraid I can't remember which one!)

242 grams of water
3 grams of Ultrez 20
4 grams of 18% lye solution
1.25 grams preservative (at 0.5%) or 2.5 grams preservative (at 1.0%)

Measure out the water. Add 3 grams of Ultrez 20 flakes. Stir to make sure the powder gets wet. Wait about 3 minutes - you could wait as long as 10 if you wish - then add 4 grams 18% lye solution. Stir well. It's gel! Awesome! (Note: I like to use a big fork to stir it. There's no need for blenders or mixers here.) Store in a sealed container for a bit and use it as you want.

As a note, you can use 4 grams Ultrez 20 to make a thick gel or 2 grams Ultrez 20 to make a thin gel.

Now you've got your ooey gooey mess, let's make something! How about a hand sanitizer? (I'm not making any guarantees here, but at 60% alcohol, it should work okay for this purpose.)

Make your gel as above to get a medium weight gel.
39% gel by weight
0.50% honeyquat, condition-eze 7, or other cationic polymer
60% ethanol or other alcohol (like denatured perfuming alcohol)
0.5% fragrance
Colour is optional

Mix the ingredients into your gel and stir well. Bottle. You're done.
The fragrance and colour are optional, but this will smell of alcohol. 0.5% fragrance isn't really going to make the smell, but it's worth a shot, eh?

You can add 1% d-Limonene with 1% polysorbate 20 to this mixture to make a waterless hand cleaner that will remove grease. Take 2% out of the gel amount or 2% out of the alcohol amount.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with gels and how to incorporate aloe vera!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mineral make-up: Yellow

I just loved this colour so much, I had to include it this week. We're calling it "(Everything's) A-OK" because Wanda shouted, "I made Big Bird!" when she saw the final results.

I love this colour. It's yellow, it's sparkly, and it's yellow. Yellow isn't a colour we think about a lot when making mineral make-up, but it's a lovely complement to greens. (My favourite eye shadow combination as a teenager was yellow and green.)

A-OK (sparkly yellow fun!)
4 parts yellow pop mica
1 part tangerine pop mica
2 parts basic eye shadow base

Mix together in a bag until you get the colour you want. If you want to increase this to fill a container (you need 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp, and this is 7/32 tsp), you'll want to increase it as follows...

16 parts yellow pop mica
4 parts tangerine pop mica
8 parts basic eye shadow base

...for a total of 28/32 tsp.

If you want a similar colour but can't get the pop micas, use iron oxide...

2 parts basic eye shadow base
2 parts yellow iron oxide
4 parts silver or white mica (satin or sparkly, not matte)

Mix together. Multiply the parts by 4 to make a full container. Now wear it and yell "Everything's A-OK!"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

There's a new element in town...

And it's name is ununbium, number 112 nestled between Uub and Uuq . It's super-heavy - the heaviest, in fact - made from fusing zinc and lead.

While I'm pleased for the new element and all that, I need an E element for my mental periodic table of the elements Scrabble! (From the category of "really freakin' obvious" I'm a geek...) My name (Susan) and my internet name (Swift) are right out, as are Raymond and Wanda. But I can spell Wanda's husband's name...Cameron (carbon, americium, erbium, oxygen, nitrogen). And he doesn't appreciate it. Sigh.

Although we can spell "think" - thorium, iodine, nitrogen, potassium - nerd and geek are right out! (Wanna play along, then check out this alphabetical list of elements!)

So please, chemists of the world, please find something you can name with an E on its own so I can stencil some funky shirts!

Creepy Cute Crochet: Book review

Loretta kindly gave me a copy of this book as a bridal shower present, and I've been having great fun making little creatures to scatter all over Raymond's desk! (He especially loves the little Cthulu, but I worry he will upset the elder Gods by saying "Who's a little evil cutie?" and tickling it under the tentacles!)

I wanted to bring this book to craft group - the little creatures are too perfect! - but I fear it will be too frustrating! At first I thought I was not doing well - I'm not the most experienced crocheter - but I see others have had so many questions the author has posted a series of tutorials on her site at NeedleNoodles.com.

My verdict: If you are an intermediate crocheter and can adapt patterns on the fly, this is a book for you. Novice crocheters will need to bookmark the author's site to double check their stitches and placements. Prepare to be a little frustrated at times. Having said this, the dolls are really cute and you will love them once they are made. It's worth buying if you simply must have an Amazon warrior or Ninja doll!

Mineral make-up: Part 14 - Green with chromium oxide green (grass green)

I love green, and there are so many variations on the colour, you can go nuts! Let's make a few eye shadows using our chromium oxide green (grass green)

Matte green base
1/4 tsp chrominum oxide green
1/4 tsp base

This is going to give you a yellow-green base.

Make your matte green base...
1 scoop matte green base
1 scoop yellow iron oxide
a titch of paradise gold (about 1/4 scoop)
1 scoop base.

Lime green (my personal favourite!!!)
3/4 tsp base
3 scoops yellow iron oxide
3 scoops chromium green oxide
1 scoop majestic green (or Egyptian green) mica
2 scoops sunpearl silver (optional)

This may look like a dull colour, but it's full of wonderful sparkle. I'm just a terrible photographer!

Join me on June 24th for more greens - this time with chromium hydroxide green (or mint green).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jewellery making links for Yarrow craft group

This is a very poorly photographed picture of my favourite bracelet - the hydrogen cyanide and oxygen bracelet. If you have too much HCN, you won't have enough O2!

Welcome Yarrow craftsters! I hope you enjoyed the group yesterday. If you're interested in making more jewellery or want copies of the handouts, please click here for the list of jewellery making tutorials on this blog!

See you July 7th at 2:00 for the hair products group! If you wish to register - and I'd really appreciate it if you did! - then please calls (604) 823-4664. All classes are free!

If you want to download a pdf of our super summer groups, please click here.

Mineral make-up: Part 13(a) - Green with micas

As I may have mentioned previously, I love green! So here are a couple of my new green recipes!

From these posts onwards, please check to see which eye shadow base I am recommending - the basic eye shadow base or the alternate eye shadow base. You can use either for any recipe, but the alternate eye shadow base will make the colours more vibrant.

SUB-LIME (lime green - bright with sparkles)
2 scoops basic eye shadow base
3 scoops apple green pop mica
6 scoops lemon drop pop mica
1 scoop strawberry pop mica

Put all ingredients in a bag and squish together until you're happy with the colour. If you want a less green colour - and why would you? - you can reduce the apple green to 1 or 2 scoops.

A regular eye shadow container will require 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp of eye shadow, and the recipe above makes 12/32 - so triple the recipe to make a full container.

OSCAR (dark green with sparkles - named to go with Wanda's A-OK that looks like Big Bird, which will be posted on Friday.)
2 scoops blackstar green (not a pop mica, but very nice)
2 scoops apple green pop
2 scoops alternate eye shadow base

Put all ingredients into a bag and squish together until you're happy with the colour.

To make a full container of this colour, use 1/4 tsp of each to make 3/4 tsp.

Join me tomorrow to continue the series of greens with chromium oxide.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mineral make-up - Alternate eye shadow base

I couldn't resist trying out some of the micas from TKB Trading - specifically the pop and colour shifting micas - so I'm adding a few extra mineral make-up posts this week. (We are also making MMU on Thursday in craft group, so that justifies my playing around with it this weekend instead of writing that grant proposal.)

The Pop micas are interesting in that they follow the colour wheel, so, in theory, you can make any colour you want from the 7 colours in the sampler, including brown. So we decided to give this a try.

Another interesting thing I've noticed from the TKB order is that many of the micas already contain various oxides, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, that I would add myself. This means I need to change my eye shadow base so the colours remain vibrant.

The base I currently use will change the colours a little bit - the micas aren't quite as sparkly, but I like that because although I'm a sparkly girl, I don't want an all mica eye shadow to blind everyone I meet! But if I want to show off the sparkle, I'll need another base!

I need a base that offers glide, keeps the eye shadow on my eyes, and won't change colours during the day. I can't use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as it will change the colours, so what can I use?

3 tbsp treated serecite mica
1 tsp micronospheres
1 small scoop calcium carbonate

These three ingredients will help keep the eyeshadow on, will give it the staying power I want, and will still feel silky and glidy on my eyes. (You can leave out the calcium carbonate if you wish - I just have really oily skin that needs it. You can substitute this with kaolin clay.)

Join me tomorrow to learn more about the fun and excitement of working with these Pop micas!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Silicones - environmental impact

Thanks for your responses to last week's question - Why do you avoid silicones?

There are four major reasons...
1. Environmental impact of silicones;
2. Environmental impact of the manufacturing process;
3. Dislike skin or hair feel; and
4. Unavailability of products.

I didn't think about the environmental impact point, so here's a little research I've done...

From the Polymeric Materials Encyclopedia: "A generally accepted conclusion is that methyl silicates and silicone polymers have no known negative environmental impact." (I'll summarize it briefly here, but I suggest you read the article as it is really interesting!) The low molecular weight silicones are so volatile they undergo an oxidative degradation in the atmosphere, completely degrading into water, silicic acid, and carbon dioxide. The higher weight silicones will end up as sludge in waste water treatment plants, but will degrade when used as fertilizers to water, silicic acid, and carbon dioxide.

From The Principles of Polymer Science in Cosmetics and Personal Care: (Summary) Due to extremely low water solubility and high vapour pressure, silicones are not found in any appreciable extent in soil or water, and they may actually reduce the creation of ground ozone. They don't contribute appreciably to the creation of greenhouse gases. Toxicity to water creatures is limited and the corresponding risk is low (they really don't define what these words mean...)

I found a press release from Dow Corning talking about the environmental impact of silicones, but I'm excluding this one because it is going to be self-serving.

From Silicone Surfactants: I swear they read and summarized the Polymeric Materials Encyclopedia, but they pretty much say the same thing as that book...which apparently came from a study entitled "Final Report from Statewide Air Pollution Research Center, University of California, Riverside, to Dow Corning Corp., November 1992.)

So on the surface it would appear that silicones are considered safe for the environment.

What about how they are manufactured? So far I've found nothing...apparently it's a proprietary process and no one will share the information.

Not brought up here, but something I noticed on other sites...Silicones are occlusive, and they are using this word as a pejorative. (Please visit the post on occlusives for more information). I like occlusives - I like to trap in the goodies next to my skin. This does not mean my skin isn't breathing - skin doesn't breathe! - and I don't see the same comments made about cocoa butter or allantoin. Perhaps because the sites I found that make these statements are trying to sell you on their version of all natural. My opinion - yes, dimethicone can be an occlusive and is approved by the FDA as same, but I like this feature!

Yes, they can weigh down your hair, and I've noticed (anecdotally) that too much cyclomethicone makes my hair feel greasy, so really that's a personal choice that comes down to skin or hair feel.

If you can't get them, then that's going to limit your use! I know there are so many surfactants or exciting water soluble oils I want, but ordering from the States just costs too much with the high minimum orders, the shipping, the duties, and the like.

The lovely thing about making our own products is we can choose whatever philosophy we want and we shouldn't have to explain ourselves as long as our products are preserved well, protected from rancidity, and formulated with our ingredients used in safe levels. (If you're selling things and making claims, then I'm going to demand an explanation!) I ask the questions I do because I'm interested in the philosophical bent of others - I can't learn if I don't ask. So thanks so much for your contributions to this question - it made me think! And I love thinking (little girl likes brain!)

My quote of the week from Alex Trebek (courtesy of A.J. Jacobs in "The Know It All") - "I'm curious about everything. Even things that don't interest me." From me...how can I know I'm interested in something if I don't ask?

What's the next question? Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Super extra aloe-y apres sun spray

I had the idea for this recipe after seeing my best friend's husband (and Raymond's best man) burn himself in the summer sun every year. He could use sun screen, but he usually doesn't, and he won't use aloe vera gel because it's too sticky, so this spray would work well for him. (I'm fairly sure he still won't use it, but that doesn't change the reasons I formulated this!)

I'm going to get into make gels in the next few days, but aloe and gel really don't like each other very much. The salts in the aloe vera juice mess with the gelling abilities of the carbomer, so we have to work hard to make sure the gelling occurs.

For now, let's make an aloe vera spray!

What are the essentials for something like this?
  • Aloe vera! We want its healing goodies, so it's the major component in the recipe.
  • Humectants! We want to draw water from the atmosphere to moisturize the burned skin, so I'm including sodium lactate and honeyquat, but you could include hydrovance. I wouldn't suggest glycerin as we're going for non-sticky but you can use if it's your favourite!
  • Film forming! Panthenol is great at healing burns, so we're using it in a large amount, and it acts as a humectant and film former. And we'll include hydrolyzed protein for the film forming as well.
  • Moisturizing! We want to moisturize without occluding the skin, so we'll include hydrolyzed proteins as both film formers and moisturizers.
  • Conditioning! Honeyquat or condition-eze 7 are cationic polymers that will be substantive to skin, let's include that as a moisturizer and conditioner.
(What's with all the exclamation marks? I guess I'm excited today!)

The one down side is that this is a spray and not a gel or lotion, so you will need to apply it more frequently.

87% aloe vera liquid
2% sodium lactate

3% honeyquat
5% panthenol
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% preservative (I use Liquid Germall Plus)

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 as you wish. (Keep it in the fridge if you want an extra cooling sensation).

As a note, you could include some lovely essential oils in here like lavender. Just remember oils need emulsifying, so you'll want to include equal parts essential oil to polysorbate 20 - don't go over 1% of each. And you can substitute some lavender hydrosol for the aloe vera if you want the lovely qualities of the lavender without adding oils.

I think it's gel time...let's get gooey!

I'm trying to finish some math work and write a grant proposal for Thursday morning, so how about Friday for gels?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

After shave lotion

I love this after shave lotion as a moisturizer as well - it's light and filled with humectants. I've left out the butters as I don't want it to be too heavy to use on Raymond's face, so I've added allantoin as an occlusive to protect him from the elements, and I've included some lovely hydrolyzed proteins as film formers.

When choosing your oils, remember that men tend to keep things for a long time, so choose light oils with a shelf life of at least 9 months - preferably a year or longer (jojoba and fractionated coconut oil have incredibly long shelf lives). I'm adding 1% Vitamin E to this recipe to prolong the shelf life of the oils and because it's face friendly!

Consider adding a cationic to this recipe - you could substitute the e-wax for BTMS to make a conditioning after shave lotion, or take out 2% of the water amount and substitute it for a cationic polymer like honeyquat (extra humectant-y)!

Why have I included IPM in this recipe? IPM is an ester that will reduce the feeling of greasiness in a lotion, and I think it's a good addition to this recipe because a lot of men will shy away from the concept of using a lotion because of the perceived greasiness, so we want to make this appealing to them!

As this might go on someone's face, consider using some exotic oils that are face friendly! (Click here for the post on exciting facial moisturizer additives!)

AFTER SHAVE LOTION (for men & women)

51% water
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
2% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed protein (I like oat protein)
1% allantoin

19% oil - I like 4% jojoba oil, 5% sunflower, 5% safflower, and 5% soy bean oil but 4% jojoba and 10% FCO would be awesome!
2.5% cetyl alcohol
5% e-wax (I like Polawax)
1% IPM

1% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil (consider some face friendly essential oils at safe levels).
1% Vitamin E

Weigh out the water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. You will need to agitate it well to get the allantoin to dissolve. Weigh out the oil phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Heat and hold both containers at 70C for at least 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, mix together well with an electric mixer, then allow to cool to 45 to 50C. (I would mix it a few times during the cooling phase).

When it has cooled, add the cool down phase and let cool before bottling.

I like to package this in a pump bottle to make it easier to use in the mornings, but you could use a malibu or any other container you like.

Join me tomorrow for a super happy fun aloe vera spray!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Solid conditioner bar becomes shaving bar.

Shaving bars are an awesome combination of shaving lotion and after shave, perfect for faces or anywhere else you might like to shave. When we rinse it off, you'll have a lovely moisturized feel. My husband's skin is so soft and he doesn't mind shaving as much as he did pre-bar.

How do we modify this? Again, what is our goal? We want something glidy that will rinse off and leave moisturizers behind. So we need to think about moisturizing.

I don't need some of the ingredients in the original bar - the cetrimonium chloride is pointless for skin - and I want to increase the glide. So I'm going to take out the cetac (2%) and substitute hydrolyzed silk protein (2%) in its place. I know I already have 2% hydrolyzed proteins (I like Phytokeratin in a shaving bar, which is hydrolyzed corn, wheat, and soy protein), but the extra silk protein makes it feel really lovely.

I'm going to modify the oils to be more glidy, so I want to change the 5% oils to shea oil (2.5%) and fractionated coconut oil (2.5%) - or choose something like sunflower, safflower, rice bran, or olive oil. Don't choose a dry oil like grapeseed or hazelnut as we want some serious glide here!

And I'm leaving in the cationic polymer because we want a nice humectant that will condition our skin afterwards.

60% Incroquat BTMS (or 30% BTMS, 30% Incroquat CR)
10% cetyl alcohol
10% butter of choice - 5% cocoa butter, 5% something else, if you wish
3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or condition-eze 7 (polyquat 10)
5% oils - I 'd suggest shea oil (2.5%) and fractionated coconut oil (2.5%)
2% hydrolyzed silk protein
2% another hydrolyzed protein of choice

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% fragrance or essential oil

Weigh into a heat proof container the Incroquat BTMS, cetyl alcohol, butter, cationic polymer, oils, silk protein, and hydrolyzed protein and place into a double boiler until they melt. Add the panthenol, dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and essential oil, mix well, then put into a mould and pop into the freezer or fridge until solid.

As a note, these are best made in 33 gram (1 ounce) to 45 gram moulds. They last forever, and making them larger only makes it annoying to swipe across your face!

This recipe is a great example of how changing 2 to 5% of a product changes its purpose and skin feel! It is still a good hair conditioner - although not one I'd use because I love my cetac too much! - but we've made it more glidy, more silky so it will feel lovely on our body parts and leave a silky feel behind. Cationics - like the Incroquat BTMS and polymers - are intended to be substantive, meaning they attach to negatively charged hair or skin to offer moisturizing and conditioning. So this bar is perfect for shaving - we get the glide when we're using it, and we get the substantivity when we are done.

What else might men like? How about an after shave lotion? Or an aloe spray for those men who refuse to put on sunscreen - yeah, 'cause being red and burned to the point of pain is very manly!!! Let's start with the after shave lotion tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Solid conditioner bar - the recipe

Thanks for waiting! School ends today, and I had some assignments to get in at the last moment...But I got 100% on my assignment, so that's good, eh?

So we've figured out what we need for the solid conditioner bar - see the formulating post from Tuesday - so let's get to it!


60% Incroquat BTMS
10% cetyl alcohol (you can use stearic if you want a harder bar, but it's going to be draggy!)
10% butter of your choice - preferably 5% cocoa butter plus 5% something else
5% oils of your choice
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice

3% condition-eze 7, honeyquat, or other cationic polymer
2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% cetrimonium chloride
2% fragrance or essential oil

Weigh the heated ingredients in a heat proof container and put in a double boiler to melt. When it has melted, add the cool down phase and stir really well. Pour into a mould and put said mould into a fridge or freezer to set. When you take the bars out of the mould, lay on a table on top of a paper towel to sweat a little. (I like to let them sit for at least 24 hours before using because they'll harden up and won't smoosh when you drop them in the shower. But if you can't wait to use them, then choose a sacrificial one you can use right away, and accept it will be funny shaped!)

I like to make my bars at least 100 grams, but you can make them smaller or larger as you wish. It is easier to hold a larger bar in your hand for gliding over your hair as you enjoy a shower!

As for substitutions...
  • if you don't like silicones, then substitute a silicone substitute like Crodomol STS or SR-5 or add more oils or cationic polymer...
  • if you don't have cetrimonium chloride (cetac) leave it out. But if you can get it - get it! It's incredible stuff! Just 2% in this bar makes me able to wet comb my hair with ease (and you've seen how much I have!)
  • the originator of this bar, Cathy MB, suggested using 1/2 Incroquat BTMS and 1/2 Incroquat Cr for the conditioning agent. This is a good idea as the Incroquat CR is cheaper. Feel free to do this. Do not use cetrimonium bromide in its place - it will not harden well.
Join me tomorrow to learn how to modify this bar into a shaving bar that will make your legs, face, and other body parts say "thank you"!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mineral make-up: Part 13 - Green with micas

Greens! From top left, counter clockwise - Fluid, Patina Green, Green Sheen, and Lime Green. You have to love the variety! As a note, the Green Sheen is very shiny, but I am not a good photographer, so it looks a little dull here.

I am so shocked that I have yet to include a post on greens! I love greens! I started making mineral make up because I was on the quest for the perfect green. I love lime green - it's my favourite colour for clothes, shoes, jewellery, and coats - but I wanted a green. A green green! We're going to be making greens with chromium oxide green (green grass) or chromium hydroxide green (mint green) in the next two weeks, but let's enjoy some green sheens with micas!

For my recipe for eye shadow base, click here.

Green Sheen - This one's easy! It's a simple recipe using equal parts green mica of your choice and eye shadow base. I like to use majestic green, but any green mica would work well. The goal is here is to be really shiny, so we aren't including any iron oxides.

To make 1 container of Green Sheen...
3/8 tsp majestic green or Egyptian mica
3/8 tsp eye shadow base

Shiny shiny green - This one is very very shiny, and is really meant as a light sweep over your eyes because it is very very shiny. (It really is shiny!)

1 tsp base
1/4 tsp and 1/16 tsp shamrock green mica
1/8 tsp sunpearl silver

Fluid - I love this colour!
1/2 tsp eye shadow base
10 scoops shamrock green mica
5 scoops arctic silver or regular silver
(the arctic silver is going to give it a blue-y tinge; regular mica will make it shiny).

If this colour is too intense for you - and it is an intense colour - you can increase the eye shadow base to 1 tsp. This will give you a lighter shade with the shininess that can be used as a base.

Patina green - This is a beautiful green that looks grey on the surface, but really shows up as green when you mix it with the base. This is a great one to use as a liner or darker colour or a highlighter. And it's super easy to make!

1 part eye shadow base
2 parts patina green mica

To increase this for your eye shadow container...
1/4 tsp eye shadow base
1/2 tsp patina green mica

To make this a little darker, you can add a titch of black mica (to keep it shiny) or black iron oxide (brown tones).

Join me on June 17th for green eye shadows with chromium oxide green (grass green)!