Monday, November 30, 2009

Coconut oil in hair products!

Coconut oil is a great moisturizer for skin and hair, but especially for hair! This study showed that coconut oil reduces lost proteins for both damaged and undamaged hair when used pre-wash or in a post-wash grooming product. The fatty acid lauric acid has a high affinity for hair proteins, and because of its low molecular weight and linear chain structure it can actually penetrate the hair shaft! Try using it in a pre-wash treatment - melt and rub onto your hair (avoid the scalp), then wash. Or try using it in an intense conditioner, like this one, as the primary oil, or even a regular conditioner as your primary oil. You can use it in a conditioner bar as your oil, but will be a tad softer - but not too much! - than using a butter.

You can use coconut oil in a leave in conditioner - let's take a look at it! (If you want to see the original post, please click here.) This is going to be a little thicker than our usual leave in conditioner, so you might want to consider putting this in a pump or a disc top bottle for easier use.

3% Incroquat BTMS (increased to emulsify our oils better)
2% coconut oil

78% water
2% condition-eze 7 or celquat H-100 or honeyquat (cationic polymer)
2% cetrimonium chloride (for detangling)
4% glycerin (humectant, makes the mixture thicker, which is nice)
1% aloe vera (I don't know if this little makes a difference, but I use it anyway)
1% hydrolyzed protein (I use cromoist)

1% panthenol
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% fragrance oil
.5% to 1% preservative (I use liquid germall plus)

Weigh out then heat your water phase - water, glycerin, aloe vera, hydrolyzed protein, and cationic polymer - in a heat proof container or double boiler. Weigh out and weigh your oil phase - Incroquat BTMS and coconut oil - in a heat proof container or double boiler. Let both phases come to 70C and heat and hold for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, then mix together. Stir, then let sit until the mixture comes to 45C. Add the cool down phase. I would leave this to cool completely before bottling so you can see what kind of container you will need!

Join me tomorrow for modifying your products for winter and Wednesday for fun with fractionated coconut oil!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coconut oil!

There are different types of coconut oil - today I'm writing about regular old coconut oil with a melting point of 76F. You can find coconut oil with a melting point of 92F, virgin coconut oil, and fractionated coconut oil - those are all posts to come!

Coconut oil is composed of medium chain fatty acids - MCFA - containing 6 to 12 carbon atoms. Most of the oils we've been looking at are long chain fatty acids containing 16 or more carbon atoms (hence the C16 for palmitic acid or C18 for stearic acid). It contains a lot of saturated fats - those fats without double bonds - with 47.5% lauric acid (C12), and some unsaturated fats with 18.1% myristic acid (C14), 8.8% palmitic acid (C16), and a titch of stearic, oleic, linoleic, and arachidic acids. Because of this saturation, this is a very long lasting oil.

Coconut oil offers a ton of wonderful polyphenols such as ferulic acid, which you might remember from rice bran oil and borage oil. Ferulic acid is a very effective anti-oxidant, more powerful than Vitamin E, that can prevent skin aging, reduce age spots, and help repair light and radiation induced damage. It penetrates skin to soften and moisturize, soothes wind chapped and sun burned skin, and reduces itching and inflammation. Like mango butter, coconut oil contains caffeic acid, which is also a good anti-oxidant.

Coconut oil contains very little Vitamin E (36 ppm), but you really don't need to add it for anti-oxidizing purposes as this isn't an oil that goes bad quickly - you've got up to a 2 year life span! - and you've got all that ferulic acid!

Coconut oil also contains catechins, a polyphenol found in tea and chocolate that can offer antibiotic properties as they disrupt a stage of bacterial DNA replication. You can't use this as a preservative in your lotions, but it's a great benefit to your skin! Lauric acid can also act as an anti-bacterial, but again, not enough to be a preservative!

Here's the bad news - it's not only considered comedogenic but acnegenic as well, meaning not only can it clog pores, but it can make acne pustules worse! So this probably isn't the best choice for someone with very sensitive facial skin.

I find coconut oil to be a great addition in a lip balm (click here for my lip shimmer stick recipe) at 25% of the recipe (so it replaces most of the shea butter and some of the mango butter) as per the MMS suggested starting point recipe.

Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer with an up to 2 year shelf life. It is a fantastic oil you can use where you might want to use a butter at a fraction of the cost! Sugar scrubs, solid scrub bars, and other less liquidy-more solid products works well with coconut oil. It will go liquid at 76F - about 23C - so you might want to consider the 92 F - about 31C - if you want to use your products in the summer!

Join me tomorrow for coconut oil in hair care products!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Facial serum - for dry skin.

If you're a dry skin kind of person, you are definitely going to need different oils than your greasy skinned sisters! You'll want to choose a base oil filled with oleic acid and Vitamin E to increase the moisturization of your skin and the absorption of the oil. You'll also want something with linoleic acid to reduce your transepidermal water loss and offer barrier repair (so GLA is a good thing for you also!)

As a carrier oil, you can pretty much choose what you want! Sesame oil or rice bran oil are great oils for a balance of oleic acid and linoleic acid. You can try combining something like soybean oil (high linoleic, very moisturizing) and olive oil (a little thicker but very moisturizing and a great humectant). Or you could use a high linoleic oil combined with high oleic camellia oil to get the benefits of both types of fatty acids for a lighter, drier feeling serum. And squalane is always a welcome addition to a serum if you want something really light and well absorbed. Let's go with squalane, soybean, and camellia oils as our base for this serum.

Also consider using fractionated coconut oil as a base for your serum. It is very light, easy to spread, and offers great moisturization that will sink into your skin. It doesn't have all the fancy polyphenols and fatty acids offered by the other carrier oils, but it does offer fantastic moisturization in a colourless, odourless, very stable oil. (More about this oil in a few days...)

Borage or evening primrose oils, I think, would be essential for a dry skin serum. Both offer great barrier repair features and moisturization, as well as some anti-aging features. (If that's what you want in a serum!) I'm going with evening primrose as is it anti-oxidant in nature, and that's never a bad thing! Let's go with 10% for dry skin and 20% for very dry skin. And let's go with 10% borage oil for barrier repair.

One oil I haven't mentioned yet is sea buckthorn oil (see a blurb here, look for a post in a while on this topic). Sea buckthorn oil contains a ton of tocopherols - 2,470 ppm - which will offer great softening and moisturizing features for dry skin, and it is showing great promise in helping regenerate damaged skin. Consider using this at 10% in your serum.

Two other oils - carrot oil and rosehip oil (again, see blurb until I post!) - are great for dry skin. Rosehip oil can aggravate acne, but it contains high levels of GLA and retinoic acid. Carrot tissue oil is great for very dry skin. Considering using one of these oils in your serum.

20% squalane
20% soybean oil
20% camellia oil
10% evening primrose oil (20% for very dry skin, reduce the squalane by 10%)
10% borage oil
10% sea buckthorn oil
10% rosehip, carrot, or other oil that looks nice to you

Yes, I know this looks a lot like the oily skin version, but there are differences. We are going with more ingredients to moisturize and with oils containing a lot of Vitamin E for softening and moisturizing. We're also using a lot of GLA to help with barrier repair, because that can be an issue for people with dry skin, and to decrease the transepidermal water loss.

Feel free to play with a serum you like - heck, post it here so you can share it with others! - because everyone's skin is different. There is no one magic oil that works for everyone awesomely (is that a word?) I love borage and rice bran oil - it might make you break out. But try these things for at least 7 days to see if they work (although if you are irritated, stop!)

Join me tomorrow for fun with coconut oil!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Evolution of a product - update!

If you've been following along, you'll know Petra and I have been trying different recipes in an attempt to replicate Lush's Sugar Babe Sugar Scrub. (You can find the posts here...) I have never used this product, but I'm hoping to buy one this weekend to see if I'm getting close.

I admit I'm still not happy with the moisturization level of this product, but I know I'm picky and I think I expect too much from one tiny bar. I haven't tried either coconut oil or virgin coconut oil in this product yet - I have bought some coconut oil and will try it this weekend - so perhaps that's the difference? (Although if either is more moisturizing than shea or mango butter, I'd be surprised!)

I will say that it's not a wise idea to use a vanilla based fragrance oil (like Cream Cheese Frosting) in a product like this without using vanilla stabilizer. The lovely whiteness of this bar was no more after about a week - it was a lovely brown. Not an issue for me, but someone else using might think something was wrong! I will change the fragrance oil to something less vanilla-y for the next batch so we can keep the beautiful whiteness (and I think a titch of titanium dioxide would probably help with the colour as well).

If you're playing along at home, send your recipes and pictures to me (Swift!) so we can share with others. We're hoping to have a few versions of this posted before Christmas!

And if you've got an idea for the next challenge, post it here! I have two weeks off at Christmas, and I'm dying to get into the workshop and play mad cosmetic scientician!

Having said this, I did get a challenge to replicate Dove's Intense Moisture Conditioner - a conditioner with the only cationic quat being cetrimonium chloride, and I do have a ton of that on its way to my house! - but since I've never used it and it's not on the market any more, it's probably not something I can honestly say I've replicated!

Facial serum - for oily, break out prone skin

What exactly is a facial serum? The definition I'm going with today is anhydrous product made up of lighter oils intended to hold active ingredients against the skin for better penetration. It is considered a treatment rather than a moisturizer - although I'd never say any product is intended to treat a condition! (I think this definition is from a facial serum class from Southern Soapers...)

You'll want to pick a carrier oil that suits your skin type as the base of your serum. Then you'll add oils and oil soluble ingredients that do what you want them to do.

Consider your skin type. I have oily skin with a tendency to break out and a lot of redness. My chief concerns are always not breaking out, having soft skin, keeping the barrier function of my skin at maximum awesomeness, and reducing redness. I'm not really working on an anti-aging kind of product - I'm going age anyway! - so my focus is on my skin that's prone to breakouts!

I'm going to consider using a carrier oil like squalane as my skin will soak it up quickly. I had been considering using hazelnut oil - it's light and dry feeling - but sesame oil has low comedogenicity and is well balanced between the linoleic and oleic acids. It offers anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and studies are showing great promise with acne prone skin. It may also help with sebum regulation, and I need to be less oily, if possible! It is a medium weight oil, so balancing it with squalane is a good idea. So I have my two carrier oils - squalane and sesame oil.

As a quick note - apparently a polyphenol called sesamol has been found in sesame oil at 0.4 to 1.1%. It is a very effective anti-oxidant with capabilities on par with BHT (a food preservative) as anti-oxidant! Wow!

Another quick note: Jojoba is also a great oil for people worried about comedogenicity - it is considered non-comedogenic!

As for the redness in my skin and barrier function, this is where the fancier, more expensive oils make an appearance.

Calendula oil contains a ton of Vitamin E - good for skin softening - and is an anti-inflammatory. Camellia oil offers anti-inflammatory properties with a drier feel. Pomegranate oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and has some possible anti-aging features. The phytosterols in this oil reduce redness and inflammation very well, so this looks like a must for my skin!

Evening primrose and borage oil offer GLA, which is great for barrier repair and moisture retention. Although evening primrose would feel drier on my skin, it has a high comedogenicity (3 out of 4), so I'm going with borage oil. And 20% borage oil is showing promise in combatting redness!

So what do I have so far? I have my carrier oils - squalane and sesame oils - and my exotic oils. Are there any oil soluble ingredients I want to add? At the moment, I can't think of anything extra, so let's get to the recipe!

As a note, if you're not sure what will make you break out, try using an oil neat in a small patch on your skin - somewhere you're likely to break out - for at least a week, as it will take this long for an actual break out to happen. This way you'll know what makes you break out without adding other confounding factors.

25% squalane
25% sesame oil
20% borage oil
10% calendula oil
20% pomegranate oil

Mix together. Use a few drops on your face at a time.

To summarize - in making a serum...
1. Consider your skin type. What problems do you have?
2. Consider your carrier oil. Consider the weight, the comedogenicity, the
3. Consider your exotic oils. What properties do you seek?

Join me tomorrow for a facial serum recipe suitable for dry skin!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jojoba oil - not really an oil!

Jojoba oil (INCI: Simmonsia Chinensis Oil) isn't actually an oil - it's a wax ester with 40 to 42 atoms! Its fatty profile is all about the weird and wacky fatty acids we rarely see in other oils - 2% palmitic acid (C16), around 7% stearic acid (C18), 14% oleic acid, 57% gadoleic acid (C20:1), and 20% erucic acid (C22:1).

Oleic acid tends to be well absorbed by our skin, helping to moisturize and soften it. It offers anti-inflammatory properties as well. Stearic acid offers improved moisture retention, flexibility of the skin, and skin repair. But what do those other fatty acids bring to the mix?

Erucic acid - found in my least favourite family of vegetables, the brassica family - is used as an anti-slip agent in industry because it is a very grippy fatty acid. It doesn't offer slip and glide to your products - quite the opposite in fact! Gadoleic acid is found in cod liver oil - but I have no idea what it does in jojoba oil. (I have found nothing on this fatty acid and its benefits for skin and hair in all my research - and I've done a ton.)

Jojoba oil sinks quickly into the skin in an interesting way - it penetrates through hair follicles - but it does not block those follicles. And jojoba actually mixes with the sebum on our bodies to create a thin non-occlusive layer of jojoba oil and sebum. This is one of the reasons it is said jojoba allows our skin to "breathe" - it isn't occlusive, and mixes with the sebum. Because of this feature, jojoba can help with scalp problems - it can penetrate the hair follicles and loosen oils, which can be washed away.

It contains only a titch of Vitamin E (in the form of tocopherols) at 50 ppm (compare to about 400 ppm in hazelnut oil or 700 ppm in soybean oil), so it's not a great oil for those looking for maximum Vitamin E! We don't really need to add extra Vitamin E to a jojoba oil creation as it does have a very long shelf life - possibly up to 24 months!

Jojoba contains some lovely polyphenols - about 3% tannins - which accounts for the dry feeling of jojoba oil when used neat. And it contains about 0.5% phytosterols, which penetrate into the skin, rather than occluding it, which can reduce inflammation and itching, as well as moisturizing.

Studies of jojoba oil - of which there have been few, it seems! - show it might alleviate the effects of psoriasis and acne, but there is no indication of how much to use or how to use it (in a lotion, neat, and so on.) Studies have also shown jojoba oil can significantly soften skin.

Jojoba oil has a shelf life of about 2 years, and a HLB value of 6. It is used in hair and skin care at up to 25% - because it is considered a dry emollient, it might feel too dry at higher levels. It is considered non-comedogenic and non-allergic. It is, despite its weight, a non-occlusive oil that will sink into skin and hair follicles for extra moisturization. And it is considered an excellent emollient.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

When lotions go wrong - an example!

You may remember my experiment with Olivem 800, an emulsifier suitable for very light lotions or body milk (if you don't, here's the link!)


WATER PHASE (you can use 78% water if you don't have the hydrosols!)
56% water
20% lavender water (my aloe went bad! eek!)
2% sodium lactate

4% fractionated coconut oil
4% olive oil
2% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM
4% Olivem 800

0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance (key lime pie - my best friend's blend!)
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2% cyclomethicone

As you can see, it separated. I made it around October 4th, and I finally noticed the separation this weekend - 7 weeks later. I divided this batch into two bottles - I took one upstairs so I could use it before bed, and left the other in the very cold workshop. (I always do this with new products - I leave one in the workshop and check on it, and the other I use. I have to check both the skin feel and stability!)

Why did it separate? (As a note, I think this looks like sedimentation. Learn more about the fun of epic lotion fails in this post!) I've made this recipe many times before with Polawax and with cetereath-20 and glycol distearate.

When considering why a lotion separated, consider a few things - did you heat and hold? did you mix well? which emulsifier did you use? did you allow it to cool properly before adding the cool down ingredients?

In this case, I heated and held, mixed it well, and I always allow my lotions to cool to room temperature before bottling. The two differences were the fragrance oil and the emulsifier.

I used key lime essential oil combined with vanilla fragrance oil (we call it key lime pie!) in this lotion, while the other two were cream cheese frosting fragrance oil. But I've used the key lime pie fragrance many times before without separation.

So it must be the emulsifier. I have two data sheets for this product. One is very poorly written and quite clearly has been translated from another language (The header on every page calls is an "emulifier" - no "s"). It recommends 2 to 4% emulsifier for up to 10% oil phase. I have a 15% oil phase. So there's the problem. Or is it? Their two example recipes contain up to a 22% oil phase. The other data sheet states you can use 1 to 5% for up to 30% oil phase.

I admit, I found the information this emulsifier really irritating. There doesn't seem to be any clear formula on how to use it best. The phrase didn't fill me with hope: "Studies are still on progress in order to enlarge our own background and experience on the use of this innovative functional ingredient for skin-care. Apart from the stability the aim of the study is to evaluate the moisturizing effect and the sensoriality profile." In other words, the company isn't really sure about the stability of the product?

So what will I do differently next time? Two things - up the emulsifier and check on the polarity of the oils (the poorly translated brochure went on and on about polarity of oils, so I will look into it).

In all honesty, I won't bother with this emulsifier again - apart from the challenge of making a stable lotion with it. I only have this as a sample and can't find it locally, and it felt much drier than the versions made with other emulsifiers. I don't need the headache of reformulating my recipes and considering oil polarity when I need a little moisturizing!

As a final thought, this lotion is a good example of why rushing into selling your products is a bad idea. If you are considering selling your products, you need time to evaluate what you've made, especially if it's something new! Don't make your first lotion this week and sell it next week - if it separates in the hands of your customers, you aren't going to get a lot of repeat business!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Camellia oil

Camellia oil, known as "tea oil" or "tea seed oil" (INCI: Camellia sinensis seed oil), is a light, non-greasy, really affordable oil filled with oleic acid, polyphenols, and vitamins! It is generally cold pressed and comes from the seed of the tea plant, not the leaves. You can even cook with it (the smoke point is 485F)! But don't confuse it with tea tree oil - they aren't even remotely the same thing.

Camellia oil is different from different suppliers. Some suppliers advertise their camellia oil is high oleic - 79% or higher - and some advertise it is well balanced between oleic and linoleic fatty acids - 42% and 36% respectively. This will affect the shelf life of your oil - between 18 to 24 months - so ask your supplier which oil you are purchasing from them. I am going to work with the figures from my supplier, which is a high oleic version.

Camellia oil contains 8% palmitic acid (C16), 2% stearic acid (C18), 79% oleic acid (C18:1), and 7% linoleic acid (C18:2). The oleic acid contained in camellia oil is as high or higher than olive oil (up to 83%) and avocado oil (up to 80%) without being as heavy an oil as those others. Camellia oil offers all the great stuff we want from oleic acid - it is well absorbed by the skin, offering softening, moisturizing, and regenerating properties, and it offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Considering using it where you use olive oil but want a lighter lotion or product!

Camellia oil contains a lot of polyphenols in the form of tannins and catechins. The catechins offer antibiotic properties and research into green tea polyphenols is showing some promise in preventing UV related skin damage (although preliminary studies show that camellia oil doesn't seem to have a suppressive effect on skin cancer induced on mice). The tannins in camellia oil make it an astringent oil with a dry feel, so it's good for hair care products or other creations where you want a light, dry feel.

Although camellia sinensis contains caffeine, it's a water soluble alkaloid we don't find in the oil. We do, however, find it in green tea extract (more about this amazingly cool extract in a while!)

You'll want to use camellia oil at up to 10% in your creations. You can use it at higher levels, even neat on your nails and hair, but this will impart a drier feeling to your products. It has a 12 to 24 month shelf life - check with your supplier - if you keep it in a cool, dark place. It is absorbed well by your skin, is non-tacky, and is a good addition to a massage oil. I like it in manicure and hair care products.

I have to admit, I found researching this oil really frustrating. Everyone is passing on the same information as if it were gospel - it's high in Vitamin E and phytosterols - with no numbers or studies cited. Stated that it has been used in Asia for centuries - Japanese people have been using this oil for centuries, Sumo wrestlers use it on their hair, the most beautiful women in China use it - means nothing. The touch of a monarch was thought to cure scrofula - but then again, have you ever met anyone diagnosed with this? So it must work!

Camellia oil WILL NOT make your hair or nails grow faster. No oils can do this. It can, however, make your nails and hair feel very nice!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Calendula oil!

Calendula oil is made up of about 2% palmitic acid (C16), 2% stearic acid (C18), 3.1% oleic acid (C18:1), 27.5% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 64% conjugated linolenic acid (C18:3). It's high in tocopherols at 1,937 ppm!

With all this conjugated linolenic acid (or CLnA), calendula oil is effective at reducing inflammation and improving epidermal differentiation. With all those double bonds, though, it is going to be more prone to oxidation, so make sure you add some Vitamin E when using calendula oil. (And yes, there is a ton in there naturally, but a little more won't be a bad thing!)

Calendic acid is considered an omega-6 fatty acid (meaning the first double bond is 6 from the end or omega) and is a known drying agent, so it's an astringent or dry oil.

It contains 0.3% to 0.8% flavonoids, which work as anti-oxidizing agents in the oil. The tocopherols offer skin softening and moisturizing as well as anti-oxidizing properties. Calendula oil contains carotenoids, the pre-cursors to Vitamin A. Carotenoids are free radical scavengers and behave as anti-oxidants on our skin. (The carotenoid gives calendula oil its yellow colour!)

Calendula oil offers anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and possible wound healing qualities. It can soothe inflamed and irritated skin, and helps regenerate new skin cells. It may also be anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, but it's not enough to preserve your products. There are some studies showing the CLnA in calendula oil may help with visible effects of photo-aging, but these are still preliminary studies.

If you're someone who has problems with red skin or acne, calendula may be a good choice for you. It's also a good choice for anyone wanting to increase the anti-oxidants in a product - the tocopherol level is very high and the carotenoids offer free radical scavenging - as well as the skin softening benefits of Vitamin E.

As calendula oil is made from infusing the petals of the flower into a carrier oil, the shelf life will vary. Those made with longer shelf life oils - like sweet almond oil - may have a shelf life up to 1 year. Those made with shorter shelf life oils - like sunflower oil - will have shelf lives as short as 6 months. Ask your supplier for their recommended shelf life.

Join me tomorrow for fun with camellia oil!

Pomegranate oil!

Pomegranate oil is a new one we're seeing on our suppliers' shelves, but what does it offer over other oils?

Pomegranate oil has an interesting fatty acid profile - 2% palmitic acid (C16), 1.3 to 2% stearic acid (C18), 5.7% oleic acid (C18:1), 7% linoleic acid (C18:2), 70 to 76% punicic acid (C18:3, n-5), and a titch of gadoleic acid.

Punicic acid is a conjugated linolenic acid called "omega-5" because the first double bond is on the fifth bond from the end (omega meaning end). Also known as trichosanic acid, punicic acid is showing great promise in lab rats in fighting prostate cancer! In humans pomegranate oil is regenerating to skin, offering anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It can help with sunburned or chapped skin and improves skin's elasticity, and can stimulate regeneration in skin cells!

The polyphenols found in pomegranate oil are simply fantastic for our skin! It contains gallic acid, which is being studied as a burn and wound healer, and ellagic acid, which is being studied for a number of benefits (also found in mango butter and borage oil). A recent study found that using ellagic acid reduced the destruction of collagen and the inflammatory response, both of which are partially responsible for aging skin. It also shows promise in helping regenerate skin cells and helping to thicken skin. The conclusions from this study are that pomegranate oil may prevent wrinkle formation and photo-aging caused by the UV destruction of collagen. Wow, that's amazing!

Pomegranate oil contains a lot of phytosterols - between 4000 and 6000 mg per kilogram. This is about 4 times higher than soybean oil! It's mostly found as sitosterol and stigmasterol, both of which behave like cortisone, reducing redness and inflammation and helping soothe itchy skin.

Pomegranate oil has a shelf life of about 12 months if kept in a cool, dark place. Definitely add some Vitamin E to any creation with pomegranate oil as it has all those double and triple bonded fatty acids. If you see a CO2 extraction of pomegranate oil, it will have a shelf life of up to 24 months.

Pomegranate oil is not cheap, but it's worth it to add 5 to 10% to a really special facial serum or lotion.

Join me tomorrow for fun with calendula oil!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Conjugated linoleic and conjugated linolenic acids!

What the heck is a CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) or CLnA (aka CLN or conjugated linolenic acid)?

From Wikipedia, a conjugated molecule is an organic compound is one where atoms covalently bond alternating single and double bonds that influence each other to produce a region called the electron delocalization. In this region, electrons do not belong to a single bond or atom but to a group.

Very nice but what the heck does this mean for us? A conjugated linoleic acid is like linoleic acid in that it has 18 carbons with two double bonds, but we see the trans and cis configurations in there making the fatty acid all twisted instead of a nice straight line. The trans configuration means the molecules won't lie down nicely, so this oil is going to be slightly thicker than one filled with nice straight molecules. (See the molecule above!)

A conjugated linolenic acid is like linolenic acid in that it has 18 molecules with three double bonds, but it has the trans and cis configurations, making it all twisty. Again, this is going to be a thicker oil than one with normal linolenic acid.

Why do we care, other than the fact that chemistry is awesome? CLA has been found to be very effective at reducing inflammation, lightening skin, and improving epidermal differentiation. (Epidermal differentiation - The epidermis consists of cells that specialize or differentiate to provide the protective barrier between our skin and the outside world, keeping moisture in and keeping nasty things out!) There are some studies showing improvement in signs of photo-aging, skin tone, and dry skin using CLA.

CLnA has also been found to be regenerating, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial. Studies of CLnA are showing it may increase elasticity to our skin.

These fatty acids will oxidize more quickly than their non-conjugated versions of linoleic and linolenic acids, so you'll want to include anti-oxidant and chelating ingredients into products containing lots of CLA and CLnA heavy oils.

Join me tomorrow for fun with pomegranate oil!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Borage oil

Much like our friend evening primrose oil, borage oil contains a lot of GLA, more, in fact, than any other oil we can find on our suppliers' shelves. With 4% palmitic acid (C16), 11% stearic acid (C18), 17% oleic acid (C18:1), 36% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 23% GLA (C18:3), borage oil offers us a well balanced speciality oil to be used at up to 20% in our creations.

The stearic acid in borage oil can help with moisture retention, flexibility of the skin, and skin repair. The oleic acid offers moisturizing, cell regenerating, and softening to our skin. And the linoleic acid will help restore barrier function of our skin, and acts as an anti-inflammatory that can soothe dry skin and itchiness. GLA helps with inflamed skin, and helps restore barrier function faster than linoleic acid.

Studies have shown that 20% borage oil can help with reducing redness, and animal studies have shown borage oil is more effective than evening primrose oil in reversing epidermal hyperproliferation and increasing ceramide synthesis in guinea pigs. (Epidermal hyperproliferation is when our skin cells generate too quickly!) Unlike evening primrose oil, borage has not been shown to be effective for eczema.

Borage oil contains a few other fatty acids with 4% gadoleic acid (C20:1), 2% erucic acid (C22:1), and 2% nervonic acid (C24:1).

The main polyphenolic found in borage oil is ferulic acid (which you might remember from rice bran oil), which makes up about 50% of the total phenolic content. Ferulic acid is a very effective anti-oxidant, more powerful than Vitamin E, that can prevent skin aging, reducing age spots, and helps repair light and radiation induced damage. It penetrates skin to soften and moisturize, soothes wind chapped and sun burned skin, and reduces itching and inflammation. The tannins found in borage oil make it a more astringent oil than something like sunflower oil, so borage oil will feel a bit drier on our skin.

Borage oil contains about 400 ppm tocopherols, which, combined with the anti-oxidant ferulic acid gives borage oil a shelf life of about 6 months. You can increase this time by adding Vitamin E or chelating ingredients to your products.

Borage oil makes a great addition to your facial moisturizers or lotions intended for the winter months to help with dry, chapped, or inflamed skin. You can add it to a facial serum (again, this is coming up) or use it in something like an after bath oil spray. Use at up to 20% - the only reason we don't use it at higher levels is due to the cost!

Have fun formulating!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Evening primrose oil

Evening primrose contains about 6% palmitic acid (C16), a titch of stearic acid (C18), 11% oleic acid (C18:1), 70% linoleic acid (C18:2), and between 9 to 12% GLA (C18:3). With so much linoleic acid we can expect evening primrose oil to help restore skin's barrier functions, act as an anti-inflammatory, reduce scaling, and soothe dry skin and itchiness. The oleic acid will contribute some moisturizing and softening benefits, but the real star attraction here is the GLA! The high levels of GLA in evening primrose oil will help restore the skin's barrier functions quicker than linoleic acid containing oils, reduce TEWL, increase skin's hydration, and offer increased skin flexibility as it is absorbed quickly.

We find anti-oxidants in the form of tocopherols in evening primrose oil, but a surprisingly low amount at 211 ppm (compare this to sunflower oil with up to 700 ppm). Interestingly enough, evening primrose doesn't oxidize as quickly as you'd think given all those double and triple bonds! Evening primrose is "antioxidative in nature", meaning it quenches free radicals and chelates metal ions through mechanisms other than tocopherols! (Scienticians are still studying this to figure out why this is!) It has a shelf life of about 6 months, which is far higher than you'd expect with up to 93% double and triple bonded fatty acids!

The polyphenols in evening primrose are about 300 mg per kg of oil, found mainly as catechins, which may act as an anti-bacterial agent on our skin. This means evening primrose is going to feel a little drier than something like sunflower oil on your skin. Evening primrose contains gallic acid, which has been studied as a burn and wound healer that might prevent infection during the healing process (you might remember gallic acid from mango butter!). Studies have found evening primrose used at 20% offers a statistically significant effect on the skin barrier of those suffering with atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema).

Evening primrose is a fantastic addition in your lotions and other creations at up to 10% - mainly because of cost - but you can use at up to 20% if you are having real difficulties with dry skin.

Considering using it in a facial serum (more about this coming soon) at 10 to 20%. It does have a comedogenicity rating of 3 (out of 4), so although it works really well for people who are prone to acne, it might not be the best idea for those of us who are prone to clogged pores!

I like to use it in an after bath spray during the winter to increase the amount of linoleic acid and GLA to help with dry chapped or reddened skin. I'm tweaking this anhydrous after bath oil spray to include 20% evening primrose oil - which will offer us a lot of linoleic acid and GLA to help with skin barrier repair - 48% sesame oil, because it is non-staining and has a lot of linoleic and oleic acids. I'm adding 10% cyclomethicone to help with the glide of the product and 10% dimethicone to help protect our skin as it repairs itself, as is is an approved barrier ingredient. I like to add IPM to my bath oil sprays as it makes the product feel a little less oily, as does the cyclomethicone as it evaporates. I'm including Vitamin E in here because the evening primrose oil has a short shelf life - no more than 6 months - so we need some great anti-oxidants in here.

Note: Feel free to leave out the silicones and increase the oils and feel free to play with any oils you really like in this recipe!

20% evening primrose oil
48% sesame oil
10% cyclomethicone
10% dimethicone
10% IPM
1% Vitamin E
1% fragrance or essential oil

Mix your oils together, then pour into a spray bottle for apres bath or shower use.

Join me tomorrow for fun with borage oil!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gamma linolenic acid

Gamma linolenic acid (C18:3) is another essential fatty acid, one our bodies can't produce. It has three double bonds, meaning it is a fatty acid that is going to oxidize quickly, so we need to combine it with some good anti-oxidants or use it quickly in our lotions. It is found in small quantities in the ceramides in our skin.

GLA can have anti-inflammatory effects on our body and skin. It helps with the conversion of linoleic acid into arachidonic acid (if you want to know more about this, check out the Wikipedia entry) and helps with the anti-inflammatory and immune systems in our bodies. In animal studies, GLA in the form of borage oil was effective in reversing epidermal hyperproliferation (skin cells proliferating too quickly) and increasing ceramide synthesis in guinea pigs (although they ate it, rather than slathering on a decadent lotion!) Evening primrose was not as effective. Ironically, in human studies, ingesting evening primrose oil shows good signs of treating eczema and skin irritation, although similar studies of borage with eczema didn't show the same results.

Applied to our skin, GLA can be a great anti-inflammatory, improving skin's protective qualities and helping repair the skin barrier faster than linoleic acid. Like the oils containing linoleic acid, GLA will help with itchy dry skin, act as a moisture retainer, and helps with acne prone skin. And GLA containing oils are absorbed quickly into the skin, increasing skin's flexibility and suppleness.

Evening primrose oil specifically has been found to reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and increase stratum corneum hydration in normal skin, but it doesn't seem to help as much as borage oil with atopic dermatitis (chronic inflammation of the skin that causes an itchy, swollen, red rash).

GLA is found mostly in what I have called exotic oils - oils we don't tend to use in great quantities like we do the carrier oils mainly because they are freakin' expensive! Evening primrose, borage, rosehip, and blackcurrant oils are filled have good levels of GLA from 15 to 23%.

How much GLA should we use in our products? Unfortunately, this information is sketchy at best with no consensus. We have suggestions from manufacturers to use up to 10% evening primrose and 10% borage oil, but the studies just aren't there to suggest these amounts are correct.

Join me tomorrow for a few ideas on how to use GLA in your lotion recipes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chocolate making in Abbotsford!

I hope you had fun last night, despite the melting mess ups with the microwave! But there are no such things as mistakes, just things we know don't work! Remember the techniques we learned last night can be applied to dark and milk chocolate - we used white so we could have fun with colours - and can be used with Callebut and Guittard chocolates, as long as they are described as "melting" wafters or "melting chocolate".

For information on chocolate making basics, please click here!

If you want to get more elaborate, painting the chocolates in different colours or adding fillings, please click here!

If you're looking for molds, lollipop sticks, colours and so on, you can get supplies at Michael's, Scoop & Save in Langley, or Dickins in Chilliwack. The dollar stores are great for cellophane bags and twist ties, as is that party store next to A Great Notion on George Ferguson way.

Oh, and the colours you'll find at Michael's are likely oil based colours - they are more expensive and tend to be less intense than the powdered colours. Bring your 40% off coupon to save! And if you have some silicone ice cube trays, you can use those as molds.

Have fun making chocolate!

Bath bomb making machine!

Well, you have to love this! For $40 you too can have a home bath bomb making machine perfect for aspiring cosmetic chemist in your life! It comes with enough citric acid and baking soda to get started with fizzy bathtub fun, and I'm sure we know where to get more when the initial supply runs out. I wonder how well it makes round ones, and what kind of punishment we can put it through before it gives out?

You know, I do have a birthday and Christmas coming up if you want to buy me a present!

Cocoa butter in a body butter!

I love cocoa butter in a body butter. It will make the recipe thicker, but it will also offer more occlusion and barrier protection against the elements as winter approaches! If you're an outdoorsy type of person who likes to spend time in the cold and snow, you're going to want something with serious barrier protection while you're out there, and something to make your skin feel lovely when you come in from the cold.

In this recipe, I'm going to crank up the barrier ingredients - allantoin, cocoa butter, and dimethicone - and the emollients. I'm choosing cocoa butter as both an emollient and a barrier ingredient, and I'm adding some high linoleic acid oils to replenish the linoleic acid we lose on our skin in winter months, which can lead to dry, itchy skin (if you use sunflower and soy bean, your recipe will be lighter than choosing sesame or rice bran oil). I'm using aloe vera as part of my water phase because it contains allantoin and other skin soothing ingredients, and I'm using lavender or chamomile hydrosol because both are soothing to skin. I'm using two humectants in this recipe - glycerin at 3% and sodium lactate at 2% - because we need all the moisture we can get in the winter! And I'm adding dimethicone as a barrier ingredient and cyclomethicone to give me some extra slip and glide because this is going to be a bit heavier than if I'd used shea or mango butter. (If you don't want to use silicones, then add another oil or increase the water amount by 4%).

This will be a very thick body butter, so make sure you have some jars on hand for storage. This will not be the kind of lotion you can put into a pump or tottle bottle!

WINTER BODY BUTTER FOR WITH INCREASED BARRIER INGREDIENTS (modified April 14th, 2010, as I messed up the figures for the e-wax!)
27.5% water
10% aloe vera liquid
10% lavender or chamomile hydrosol
2% sodium lactate
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% allantoin

10% rice bran, sesame, soybean or sunflower oils (all high linoleic oils)
15% cocoa butter
8.5% 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. Mix well when this is heating to dissolve the allantoin.

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.

As a quick note, I previously had this listed at 6% Polawax. I've been making this recipe this way without separation for a while now, and I hope you had the same results. I've modified it to be at 25% of the oil phase, which is the correct amount.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cocoa butter!

Cocoa butter is a staple in bath and body creations with 25 to 30% palmitic acid (C16), 31 to 35% stearic acid (C18), 34 to 36% oleic acid (C18:1), and 3% linoleic acid. It is filled with wonderful polyphenols and phytosterols that may benefit your skin! (And you can eat it in the event of a zombie apocalypse that sees you run out of food. Sorry, it's been a zombie filled week around our house!)

Cocoa butter contains tocopherols of between 100 to 300 mg per kilogram - the amount depends upon the region in which the cacao is grown - and phytosterols of about 0.3% to 0.4%. The Vitamin E is fantastic for softening skin. We find polyphenols in the form of catechins - a lot of tannins, which makes the cocoa butter a little astringent and dry (but only a little) - and procyandins - in lab studies, these have shown they might have offer some anti-inflammatory benefits to skin. Cocoa butter also has caffeine, which some lab studies have shown might have some effect on skin, but has not been shown in human studies yet.

This is a theobromide molecule. It won't do anything for your skin, but it looks very nice.

As an interesting aside, a lot of websites will state cocoa butter has something called cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP) - I have not found anything about this outside of health food or nutritional sites. It didn't show up in any of the textbooks I consult. If you want more information, google "cocoa mass polyphenol" and see what comes up!

Cocoa butter has a general melting point of about 38C (or 100F), which is almost our body temperature. If you've ever enjoyed chocolate making, you'll know that chocolates left to cool in the kitchen look dull, whereas chocolates put in the freezer have a nice shine to them. This is due to the various melting and crystallization points of the fats in the chocolate - the melting points are 17C, 23C, 26C, and 35 to 37C. Cooling it quickly means there's little chance for crystals to form as we pass through the different melting points. (Ironically, we don't tend to find our cocoa butter going grainy - that's usually a problem for shea butter!) And cooling quickly also avoids the problem of bloom, that dusty looking coating that shows up on chocolate bars and lotion bars. (You can also get bloom on chocolates from the introduction of water or sugar crystallization - neither of those are issues for us.)

Can cocoa butter reduce or eliminate stretch marks? No. In the largest study done in 2008, the researchers found no difference in women who used cocoa butter over a placebo (click here for the PubMed citation).

Cocoa butter is one of three ingredients approved by the FDA as a barrier ingredient that provides an occlusive layer on our skin (the other two are dimethicone and allantoin). This means it sets up a protective layer of cocoa butter on our skin better than shea or mango butter.

Cocoa butter will make anything in which you use it a little thicker or stiffer. If you use it in a whipped butter, it will be lovely and soft at first, but will eventually stiffen up quite a bit! This is good if you're making bars (conditioner bars with cocoa butter will be harder) or lotions you want to be a bit thicker without adding stearic acid (because you've got a ton of it in the cocoa butter!).

Cocoa butter is a hard butter at 20C (room temperature) with a melting point of 37C. It has a shelf life of 2 to 5 years, just about the longest lived butter we can use in our creations. You can use it up to 100% in any product, but that would probably be a bad idea as it is very hard! The Vitamin E found in the form of tocopherol and tocotrienol offers skin softening benefits. The oleic acid is easily absorbed by our skin, offering us great moisturizing and cell regenerating benefits, as well as anti-inflammatory effects. The stearic acid offers improved moisture retention, increased flexibility of our skin, and skin repair. And the occlusive nature of cocoa butter reduces the amount of water lost from our skin and protects it from the elements.

What's not to love about cocoa butter? Join me tomorrow for some formulating fun with this exciting butter!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Modifying lotion recipes: That powdery feeling!

If you've been reading this blog, you'll know I like my lotions to be a bit oily - I hate that word, but it fits! - with lots of slip and glide. If you're a non-oily lotion kind of person, there are a few things you can try to reduce that feeling and make a powdery type of lotion.

Change your emulsifier - Incroquat BTMS produces a lotion with a drier, powdery feel than those made with Polawax. You can substitute it for emulsifying wax at the same amount. Remember, if you're using BTMS as your emulsifier you are creating a cationic lotion, so you can't use Tinosan as your preservative!

Add IPM - Adding IPM at up to 5% will reduce the feeling of greasiness and increase the level of powderiness. You can use this as your primary emollient as well, replacing something light like fractionated coconut oil with IPM. You'll have quite the dry feeling lotion then!

Use esters instead of oils - If you choose cetyl or alkyl esters, you'll find your lotion feels much lighter and slightly drier than if you'd used something like sunflower or olive oil.

Change your oils - Oils like hazelnut (light) and avocado (medium) can be used in place of pretty much any other oils in your recipes. And for your butters, consider using avocado or mango butter - both are considered astringent butters and will give you that feeling of dryness.

Add a little silicone - Cyclomethicone is a volatile silicone, meaning it evaporates quickly from your skin. It will stick around long enough to give you some slip and glide, but eventually it is gone, leaving a silky, powdery feeling on your skin.

Change your water phase - Aloe vera, witch hazel, and astringent hydrosols will make your lotion feel drier than using plain old water in a recipe.

So let's modify an oily feeling recipe into a powdery feeling recipe!

BASIC LOTION RECIPE (original post found here...)
70% water
15% oil (sunflower, soy bean, rice bran, or olive oil)
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
5% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
(This doesn't total 100% because of the difference in preservatives!)

To make this more powdery, I would modify it thusly...

70% water - or you could do 35% water, 35% hydrosol (lavender and orange are good choices here)
15% oils - hazelnut (7%) and avocado (8%)
5% mango or avocado butter
3% cetyl alcohol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative

This will give you a medium weight lotion with a powdery after feel. But where are the humectants and proteins and everything else we love in a lotion? After all, winter is fast approaching!!!

20% water
38% hydrosols or aloe vera
2% hydrolyzed protein (added because it's awesome!)
2% sodium lactate (won't make it feel drier, just thought we needed some humectants)
3% glycerin (again, we need humectants going into winter!)

15% oil - hazelnut (7%) and avocado (8%)
5% mango or avocado butter
3% cetyl alcohol
3% IPM

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

This is going to make your lotion feel very dry and powdery. If you like that kind of after feel, then try it out and see how you like it. If you want it even drier, you can substitute the oils for alkyl or cetyl esters!

Have fun playing!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Formulating with mango butter - whipped butter and lotion bars

You can whip mango butter the way you'd whip shea butter, but you might want to consider mixing the mango with shea or another soft butter. It feels very nice, but some people find it astringent and a bit drying. I wouldn't consider using avocado butter here - the two together will feel very powdery and dry.

40% mango butter
40% other soft butter, like shea or olive butter
18% oil - consider a high linoleic oil like sesame or sunflower or rice bran or soybean
1% fragrance oil
1% Vitamin E (for extending the shelf life of short life oils)

Weigh the mango butter, other butter, and oil in a heat proof container and melt slightly in a double boiler or microwave. Remove from the heat, add the fragrance oil and Vitamin E and whip. Whip until it reaches a lovely Cool Whip kind of consistency, then spoon into containers. If you want to make this fancy, get out a piping bag with a 1M tip and pipe it into a jar.

A lotion bar is traditionally 1/3 wax, 1/3 butter, and 1/3 oil. You can use all mango butter for the 1/3 butter part if you want.

If you want to get a bit more complicated, consider trying my favourite lotion bar recipe (click here for the reasons for including the various ingredients!)

28% beeswax
10% fractionated coconut oil
25% sunflower oil
3% rice bran oil
30% mango butter
2% IPM
2% cyclomethicone
2% vitamin E
1% fragrance oil or essential oil

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

I use mango butter in this recipe because it has a very lovely colour - a kind of off white but creamy looking colour - and the mango butter melts at body temperature, so it feels very nice. You can adapt this to use any butters or oils you prefer!

Join me tomorrow for fun with cocoa butter!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Formulating with mango butter - solid scrub bars

I love using mango butter in a solid scrub bar in the shower. It melts at body temperature, and it keeps its shape nicely. (For the original post on the solid scrub, click here.) If you have normal to oily skin, feel free to use 20% mango butter - if you have dry skin, consider using 10% mango and 10% shea or other butter (not cocoa as we already have a ton in here!)

Because we already have cocoa butter and another butter - both of which are going to be high in oleic and stearic acids - consider using a high linoleic oil in this recipe, like sesame or sunflower or soy bean oil so you can get those awesome qualities in here as well.

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)

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

For a solid scrub bar for your feet, consider using heavier oils in place of the lighter ones, and consider using pumice as your scrubby part at up to 50%.

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.

As an aside, this is an older version of this recipe. I really do suggest adding 1% phenonip preservative to the product to keep it from growing beasties 

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating other things with mango butter!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mango butter!

Isn't this mangiferin molecule beautiful?

Mango butter (from the seed) is composed of 6% palmitic acid (C16), 42% stearic acid (C18), 46% oleic acid (C18:1), and 3% linoleic acid (C18:2). It contains Vitamins A, B, and C.

We know oleic acid offers great moisturizing and softening of our skin by being well absorbed by the skin. It offers anti-inflammatory benefits as well. And stearic acid is another fatty acid that is well absorbed by the skin to increase moisture retention and flexibility of our skin. So in mango butter we find a lovely butter that melts a little above our body temperature that offers moisturizing and occlusion to our products.

Mango butter contains some great polyphenols! Quercetin and caffeic acid are good anti-oxidants. Mangiferin, a xanthone, is a very powerful anti-oxidant with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

The tannins in mango butter offer some fantastic qualities to any product! Although they make the butter astringent, they offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial benefits. Gallic acid has been studied as a burn and wound healer that may prevent infection during the healing process. Caffeic acid is being studied as a strong anti-viral for herpes and HIV (obviously we aren't using in this capacity as a cosmetic!)

Mango butter has a shelf life of up to three years (although I'd call it two!). Because of its astringent qualities, it is a butter best suited for normal to oily skin and hair. It isn't necessarily the best butter to use as the only ingredient in something like a lotion bar - it can feel very dry to some people. The amount you want to use is really up to you based on skin feel and desired characteristics of your product. It has a melting point of 34˚C to 38˚C (86 - 98.6˚F). 

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with mango butter!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Formulating with shea butter - intense hair conditioner

It's winter and that means subjecting your hair and skin to the ravages of cold, snow, ice, and wind! Lovely oils and emollients to the rescue!

Shea butter is an incredible ingredient to add to an intense conditioner. Many aspects help moisturize your scalp, and the occlusive ingredients offer a layer of moisturizing to protect it from further assaults!

Avocado oil is a great addition to any intense conditioner. It is easily absorbed by the hair and moisturizes the scalp.

Want to know more about which oils and butters are great for your hair? Click here! As you will see, I love coconut oil, and there's great science to support it in hair care products! 

Warning: This is not a conditioner for anyone with fine, normal, or oily hair - it may leave these hair types limp and lifeless. If you're a long haired girl with a very oily scalp and very dry ends (like me!), confine this conditioner to the really dry bits and keep away from your scalp. If you have fine hair, just give this product a miss entirely. This is the kind of conditioner you might want to use once or twice a month as an intense conditioner.

WINTER HAIR CUSTARD (intense conditioning)
65.5% water
7% Incroquat BTMS
3% Incroquat CR (detangling, softening)
5% avocado oil
5% shea butter
3% cetyl alcohol (synergistic effect with the cationic quats)
2% humectant - honeyquat, glycerin, sodium lactate
2% cetrimonium chloride (optional)
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice (silk is great in this recipe!)

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
If you don't like silicones, then add 4% water to this recipe.

Weight out the heated ingredients in a heat proof container, then put into a double boiler. (I recommend boiling distilled water, then adding it to the solid ingredients. It seems to take forever for the water to melt the BTMS and cetyl alcohol if you add it cold or at room temperature). Heat and hold at 70C for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix well. When the mixture reaches 45C, add the cool down ingredients and mix well. Allow to cool further before pouring into jars (this is not suitable for a bottle! Way too thick!)

Join me tomorrow for fun with mango butter!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Evolution of a product...Petra's attempt #3

From Petra on her third attempt...

I started on this quest because I loved the concept… have a scrub that does not need a preservative, is single use, isn’t oily so it won’t clog the drain, softens reasonably well so that it can be used, nice consistency, and does a good job of scrubbing.

I think I am close. I have one more final tweak I want to try, but honestly, I am happy with the way it works right now. Did it turn out like the ones at Lush? No, I don’t think so. Mine are not as hard and still have a different consistency, but based on what I have read, the Lush scrubs vary depending on how long they have been sitting around and that the “fresh” ones are better.

Here is what I used for batch #3:
Sugar 29%,
Baking soda 26%,
Cream of Tartar 18%,
SLSa 16%
VCO 10%
fragrance (I used a cellulite EO blend)

I love the virgin coconut oil in this. I think it is the nature of this oil to not feel super moisturizing, I am OK with that. I think we have come to expect our scrubs to do everything. I only need my scrub to do it primary job well.
I used SLSa (Sodium Laureth sulfoacetate) because that is what I had on hand. I would have preferred to use some of my CP soap as a surfactant instead, but I have yet to figure out how to get it to a nice fine powder. I don’t want to leave it out, since I do believe that it helps with the use of the scrub.

I used a lot more cream of tartar than Susan, and honestly, I’m not sure this was necessary. According to info I found, “it is the acidic ingredient in some brands of baking powder. It is also used to produce a creamier texture in sugary desserts such as candy and frosting, because it inhibits the formation of crystals.” Maybe it needs to be there to keep the scrub at a consistent texture?

I used regular store brand white sugar for the last 2 batches. Raw sugar was all I had on hand for batch #1, so I used it, but it was way too scrubby and I believe drew in moisture making it a bit of a rogue as time went on. Combined with the baking soda, which acts as a supplemental exfoliator, I think it has the right degree of scrubbiness.

One deviation I allowed myself is that I like mine molded into smaller pieces. The original was a very large clump, that was too big for one use , but needed to be cut or broken into smaller pieces to be used. Might as well start smaller.

For my last batch, I am going to try
White sugar 33%
Baking soda 28%
Cream of Tartar 13%
VCO 12% (I might use just a little butter, maybe 10/2 split)
SLSa 12%
Fragrance (I had been using lemon verbena EO blend, the last batch I used an EO blend for cellulite that I blended many moons ago - might as well make these suckers work for me!)

Thanks, Petra! We're getting close!

If you've been playing along, send your recipe and a picture (please!) to Swift (aka Susan) and share your thoughts!

Formulating with shea butter - whipped shea butter

I do love shea butter in most of my creations, primarily because it offers great softening and moisturizing qualities and adds slip and glide to pretty much anything!

I love shea butter in a whipped body butter. I have tried making whipped butters with with mango - nice, but a little dry - and cocoa butter - very hard in the container - but I find I have the greatest success with shea butter. The recipe is simple enough, but you can play with the oils to find the perfect combination!

80% shea butter
18% oil of choice
1% fragrance oil
1% Vitamin E (optional - include for oils with shorter shelf lives)

The life span of this butter will depend on the shelf life of your oils.

You can use the shea butter with or without melting. I like to melt it slightly so it will be easier to whip. I use refined shea butter - you can choose your favourite shea butter for this recipe.

Melt the shea butter slightly, then add the oil, fragrance oil, and Vitamin E to the container. Whip until it looks lovely and whipped. You're done!

80% refined shea butter
17% rice bran oil
2% IPM
1% fragrance oil (Cream Cheese Frosting - I told you I was obsessed!)

Directions as above.

If you're on a quest for a winter time whipped butter to help restore barrier function in your skin, then add an oil high in linoleic fatty acids like sunflower, soy bean, or sesame oil. If you need something to reduce inflammation and sink in quickly, then you'll want something with a lot of oleic acid, like rice bran or olive oil, oils that feel heavier than the lighter, high linoleic acid oils. Or choose it by feel. If you want something that isn't too greasy (and the shea butter is going to be greasy), you can use avocado or hazelnut oil, or add up to 2% IPM to reduce the greasy feeling. Any oil combined with shea butter will help reduce transepidermal water loss, so really the oil part is just a bonus for any other qualities you want in a whipped butter.

And if you're going to present this to someone, you could make it very pretty with an icing bag and a 1M tip for a lovely swirl at the top!

Join me for fun formulating with shea butter in hair care products!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Evolution of a product...Swift's attempt #3

Okay, so attempt #2 held up well, but it didn't moisturize enough. So my goal is to increase the moisturization of the product - but it needs to remain hard outside the shower and crumble when used under water.

Here's attempt #3...

40% berry sugar (finer grain than white sugar)
30% baking soda (Arm & Hammer brand)
9% shea butter
9% mango
8% SCI
2% cream of tartar
2% fragrance oil (Cream cheese frosting - what else?)

Why the changes?
  • I chose the berry sugar because it's finer than white sugar. I found the other versions too scrubby but I need a high sugar content to keep the bar together.
  • I switched to Arm & Hammer baking soda because it is finer than generic baking soda.
  • I chose shea and mango because they are both lovely moisturizing butters. I had planned to use cocoa butter, but at the last minute I switched to these two butters as they will melt at body temperature, and the meltiness in the shower is vital!
  • I'm using SCI in place of the melt & pour soap. I thought the melt & pour might be drying, and I'm really obsessed with moisturizing right now. It's got a creamy after feeling, and I figured having the SCI hold it all together might not be a bad thing.
  • I reduced the cream of tartar because it's expensive and I wanted to see if I could reduce it and still have it remain hard.
I cut a piece off for my shower yesterday morning...Here are my thoughts.

Pre-shower: I think the bar has held up well. I managed to cut it with a moderately sharp knife and it didn't crumble away. It looks nice - I can see some sugar crystals on the top of the bar and it does look like a sugar cube.

In the shower: I like the level of scrubbiness in this. I can feel a nice layer of oil on my arm. The tiny bit of bar has completely melted away. I needed to use a larger bit for the shower - I managed to scrub one arm completely and my forearm.

Post-shower: I can feel moistness on my arm. It feels very nice.

Half an hour post-shower and on-wards: I can feel some moisturization, but not enough. I don't think I'm being unrealistic - I get all day moisturization with my sugar scrub or an apres glow bar - so I have to figure out how to do this without making the bar soft!

I admit I'm pretty happy with this version. I still want more butters and oils, but I worry that will make the bar softer. I think the reduction in the cream of tartar wasn't a bad thing - it seems to be holding up well. I have to include some vanilla stabilizer with the fragrance oil or try another one - it is going brown quite quickly. I think the SCI worked out well - I think it is helping deposit oils on my skin better than the melt & pour did, so that's a keeper. (Petra has been using SLSa, but the concept is the same!)

So what shall I try next? I admit I'm not completely sure right now. I think I'm reaching the goals we set out - must remain hard out of the shower but melt in the shower - and it does offer a decent level of moisturization. It does look like a sugar cube with the bits of sugar on the top looking all sparkly and pretty, so I think I've accomplished that goal. I think I need to buy one of these from the shop and see what it feels like.

Honestly, the key problem I'm facing now is the moisturization level. Right now I think it needs one of three things - an emulsifier to deposit the oils on my skin, a humectant to keep the moisturization going throughout the day, or a conditioning agent to make my skin feel soft - but none of these things are in the original product, so including them would be unfair!

My plan? I'll buy one from the store - I think I'm going to be near a Lush today - then try it. It's hard to know if I'm accomplishing my goals if I have no idea of the skin feel!

Watch for Petra's latest attempts coming soon!

Shea butter!

Shea butter is composed of 3 to 7% palmitic acid (C16), 35 to 45% stearic acid (C18), 40 to 55% oleic acid (C18:1), and 3 to 8% linoleic acid (C18:2). With all these saturated fatty acids and a ton of anti-oxidants, we get a soft butter with a great shelf life! (Please note, the region and climate in which shea butter is grown can affect the fatty acid profile and amount of polyphenols!)

You'll read all kinds of things shea butter can do - reduce irritation, reduce redness, protect skin, regenerate cells, heal wounds, moisturize skin, prevent premature aging, and act as a sun screen - but how much of it is true and how does it do it?

Shea butter contains a ton of Vitamin E in the form of tocopherol (100 to 150 ppm) and tocotrienols (110 to 175 ppm) that acts as a natural anti-oxidant for your skin and the butter, so it's softening to our skin. It contains at least 8 various catechin compounds, which offer anti-bacterial properties to shea butter.

The phytosterols in shea butter contain cinnamic acid esters (that's the pretty molecule above), which can act as a UV protectant (I've seen it said that 15% shea butter has an SPF of 3, although I don't recommend using it in this capacity). This offers some of the healing properties associated with shea butter because these esters can reduce superficial irritation and redness of the skin.

Shea butter contains allantoin, which is approved by the FDA as a barrier ingredient 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.

We find a lot of oleic acid in shea butter - 40 to 55% - which offers moisturizing and regenerating, anti-inflammatory, and softening properties. It is well absorbed by the skin.

We also find a lot of stearic acid in shea butter - 35 to 45% - which offers improved moisture retention, flexibility of the skin, and skin repair.

Shea butter melts at 29˚C to 34˚C. The more refined, the softer it is, and the lower the melting point. It acts as an occlusive to keep water in and prevent the elements from destroying our skin!

So does shea butter live up to the claims? Which ingredients contribute to the amazing qualities attributed to shea butter?
  • Reducing redness - Cinnamic acid esters.
  • Protecting skin - Allantoin, mechanism of occlusion.
  • Regenerating cells - Allantoin, oleic fatty acid, stearic fatty acid.
  • Healing wounds - Allantoin.
  • Moisturizing skin - Mechanism of occlusive, polyphenols, oleic fatty acid, stearic fatty acid.
  • Sunscreen - Cinnamic acid esters
  • Softening - Polyphenols (tocopherols and tocotrienols), oleic fatty acid.
  • Anti-bacterial - Polyphenols (catechins).
  • Irritation - Cinnamic acid esters.
  • Anti-inflammatory - Oleic fatty acid, cinnamic acid esters,
  • Flexibility of the skin - Stearic fatty acid.
Preventing premature aging is definitely a hard one to prove. I don't like this claim - it's subjective and can't really be measured the way we'd measure how much moisture leaves our skin or how long it would take for a wound to heal. So I'm going to call that one unprove-able (is that a word?) and leave it there.

Shea butter has about a two year life span - thank the tocopherols and saturated fatty acids for that! - and can be used at up to 100% in your creations. It is a greasy feeling butter, so if you're not a fan of the very oily feel, you might want to consider using it at lower levels. If you love an oily feeling butter, then shea butter is a great choice! Shea butter can be used in most - if not all - bath & body applications from lotions to hair care to bath bombs to anything you want, with the possible exception of surfactant based things like bubble bath or body wash as it will reduce the foam. (Or you can use fractionated shea oil...more about this soon!)

And why does shea butter go grainy in some creations? Shea butter fractionates when heated, meaning the various fatty acids separate. Given these fatty acids have different cooling points, some will harden more quickly than others, resulting in some fatty acids being solid while others remain liquid! This means we want anything containing shea butter to cool very quickly to ensure the various fatty acids solidify at the same time. So an ice bath, popping it into the fridge or freezer, or not melting it at all is generally a good thing for shea butter.

Join me tomorrow for some super happy fun formulating with shea butter!