Friday, July 3, 2009

Adapting your products for summer

You probably change your fragrances for the summer months, so why not tweak your ingredients to suit the climate? (In fact, you probably already do this in adding humectants and the like, so think of it as a possible selling feature if you're in business?) I'm not a fan of hot weather, humid or not, so I like to re-formulate my products to maximize my cooling and moisturizing.

What are my summer needs? I don't really get out into the sun that much as Raymond has vitiligo and we have to be very careful with his sun exposure (although we do use more than our fair share of sun screen!) I don't tan - I go straight to burn, so I want something to soothe my skin when I have been silly enough to spend time outside without sun screen. (In my defence, I am an outreach family counsellor, so I go to people's homes and other places all day long. I might end up going for a long walk and my sun screen might not be effective a few hours after application. I do need to be more vigilant, but I never know what's going to happen!) I get warm very quickly, so I want to feel as cool as possible. And my hair gets very oily very quickly, so I want maximum degreasing power in my shampoo! Keeping these needs in mind, how can I modify my products for maximum summer awesomeness?

Hair products: I notice my hair gets oilier faster in the summer months so I modify my shampoo bars for maximum degreasing. I switch to all DLS mild and Bioterge 804 and leave out the Amphosol CG, and switch from cocoa butter to orange butter for its wonderful degreasing properties. For the conditioner, I skip the intense conditioning - only on the ends - and go for more detangling properties. (I usually have to keep my hair up in the summer, and it gets really really tangled!)

If you're the swimming type, you might find your hair is drier than normal. Tweak your favourite conditioner by adding more BTMS and cetyl alcohol or add more oils.

Body products...
Oil choices: I switch out to lighter oils that are very moisturizing or good for post-sun exposure. I also use a lot more olive oil in the summer - I like the resemblance to human sebum, but the humectant-y qualities are a big bonus! For my summer sugar scrub, I like to go from about half sunflower, half olive oil to about 90% olive oil, again for the moisture retention.

Butter choices: I like to use a lot of aloe butter in my summer body butter. And I generally use fewer butters in my day time moisturizing lotions so they're less occlusive.

Hydrosols (scroll down a bit if you click the link): I like to switch a lot of my water portion to aloe or lavender for anti-inflammation, cell regeneration, and soothing. Oh, and Voyageur just came out with a few more hydrosols - peppermint, chamomile, and rosemary - so you know I'm going to use the peppermint in my new summer cooling spray! The chamomile will be great combined with the lavender in a toner, and the rosemary will offer extra goodness to a liquid shampoo or conditioner!

Humectants (here and here): I live in a humid area, so the more humectants, the better. For moisturizing lotions or sprays, I go for maximum humectancy! I go nuts combining various humectants - hydrovance, honeyquat, glycerin, and sodium lactate in this spray, condition-eze 7, cromoist, and propylene glycol in another. Go wild with humectants! (But remember that over 3% sodium lactate can make you sun sensitive, so it's always a good idea to stay at 2% or lower!)

Hydrolyzed proteins: I like my hydrolyzed proteins, and I include them in everything to begin with, but in the summer I use them as film formers and moisturizers in place of heavier, more occlusive oils or butters. My summer spray uses the proteins in place of oils and I find it very moisturizing.

Body wash: I like to increase the conditioning agents in my body wash to act as a moisturizer throughout the day. So I'll include up to 5% condition-eze 7 or honeyquat, and I increase the proteins in it to about 4%.

For a light lotion suitable for summer, please check this post from April 6: Make a light lotion. (I am working on another one right now, but it's not ready for prime time yet!)

Join me tomorrow for ideas on how to adapt a body butter for the summer months!

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