Thursday, December 31, 2009

Heat protecting hair care products - round up!

So what have we learned by taking a look at the ingredients in heat protecting hair care products?

What was the same? Each product contained dimethicone, water soluble or oil soluble, in differing amounts. Each contained conditioning agents, usually as a cationic quaternary polymer as opposed to an intense conditioner as a cationic quaternary compound (like BTMS). And each contained the things we're used to seeing in our conditioners - hydrolyzed proteins, panthenol, and preservatives.

The differences were interesting. Some contained water and looked more like a light leave in conditioner than a styling or heat protecting spray. Some had no water at all and looked more like a serum. And some contained alcohol.

Of course, after all this research I find this post from the Beauty Brains on this topic. I should have just gone there first!

Quote: Blow dry damage can be prevented by using products containing glycerin and propylene glycol because these actives retard water evaporation.

Quote: Iron damage can be reduced by using conditioners formulated with low molecular weight conditioners that can penetrate into the hair like cetrimonium chloride. Another study (see Reference 2) showed that exposing hair to heat in the presence of such a conditioning agent actually caused an increase in tensile strength (the force required to break a hair). This is because the heat reacts with the conditioning agents and cross links some of the protein chains inside the hair.

So what this means to use is the important ingredients in these products are the humectants - glycerin and propylene glycol - and the conditioners like cetrimonium chloride.

Does the dimethicone do anything? It does protect hair from heat and offers great gloss and shine as well as conditioning features.

So it looks like a good heat protecting hair care product should contain a goodly amount of humectants, some cationic quat compounds and polymers, and dimethicone.

If you wanted to make a water based product, I'd suggest trying a light leave in conditioner with cetrimonium chloride (3 to 5%) with a cationic polymer like honeyquat or condition-eze 7 (2 to 3%), panthenol (2%), hydrolyzed protein (2%), preservative (0.5% to 1%), water, and fragrance (0.5% to 1%). You'd want to include your humectants - glycerin, propylene glycol, honeyquat - at about 2 to 3% each. I'd add some water soluble dimethicone (I have to order that next time!) at about 3 to 5%.

Or you could try the anhydrous path with cyclomethicone and dimethicone, but then we're missing out on those lovely humectants and conditioners.

Please note: I make no assurances that the product I am suggesting above will protect your hair from heated styling appliances. This is a theoretical exercise in analysing ingredients in commercial products. As I say in craft group, if I say "don't eat that" and you eat that and you die, it's not my fault.

So which of these is the best product? I have no idea. I chose them randomly from a google search. There are hundreds of other products out there and everyone has her favourite. If I were to look for a product, I'd want something with those lovely cationic conditioners, some great humectants, and dimethicone.

Join me tomorrow (next year!) for more formulating fun!

Oil comparison chart - free download

Happy New Year's Eve! Please enjoy this oil comparison chart (PDF) as a Christmas-y treat! And these posts on carrier oils - avocado oil to jojoba oil here and macadamia nut to wheat germ oil here - in PDF format.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last year's New Year's Resolutions

I don't tend to make New Year's resolutions often, but I did last year and posted them here...Just for fun, let's see how I did!

Become more organized: Slightly better than this time last year as I have organized my sewing and jewellery making supplies pretty well, but the bath & body ingredients keep growing! And I am always behind on my paper work at work!

Stop brushing my teeth so hard: Success! I have a nice electric toothbrush, and the dentist was pleased with my enamel.

Blood sugar maintenance: Success!

Classes: I finished chemistry with an "A", but I had to re-do grade 11 math because it's been such a long time. I just finished with an "A". I would like to be done with Math 12, then possibly do physics, in time for classes in May!

Take singing lessons with Wanda: Did it!

Take more photographs: We bought a new camera and I've been taking tons of pictures!

My crafty goals...
Learn embroidery: Did it.
Learn silk screening: Haven't yet!
Learn jewellery making: Did it. Loving it!
Perfect our mascara recipe: Still a work in progress.
Perfect our foundation recipe: Powder: Done. Liquid: Done.
Perfect my butter cream recipe: Found a great icing recipe and love it!
Get my Christmas presents done in time: Didn't get it all done!
Finish at least two unfinished projects, sewing: Did it!


Marriage and honeymoon: Did it! Loved it! So much fun!

Camping with friends: Nope, everyone was busy again. Perhaps next year?

Did you accomplish your goals? Have any new ones? Join me tomorrow for fun with 2010's New Year's Resolutions!

Heat protecting hair care products - ghd Thermal Protector

Let's take a look at another heat protecting hair care product - ghd Thermal Protector. Like the Nexxus product yesterday, this is a water based product.

Ingredients: Water, SD Alcohol 40-B, Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Aminomethyl Propanol, AMP-Acrylates/Allyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Benzophenone-4, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Meadowfoamamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride, Panthenol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Sodium Hydroxide, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance.


SD-Alcohol 40-B: This is a specially denatured alcohol with the designation by the U.S. ATF 40-B to indicate it has been denatured by denatonium benzoate, the bitterest substance in existence.

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate: Made by National Starch and called Flexan 130, it is an anionic polymer that removes cationic build up in hair. It's normally put into shampoo, so I'm not sure why it's in this product!

Propylene Glycol: A humectant.

Polysorbate 20: A high HLB emulsifier.

Aminomethyl Propanol: An alkanolamine used to neutralize pH in cosmetic products. Usage rate up to 7%.

AMP-Acrylates/Allyl Methacrylate Copolymer: I just received some of this!
From the Personal Formulator...It controls the water solubility of the resin film in hair sprays, and makes the finished film more resistant to humidity. It forms a gel with long chain acrylic polymers...This is found in a lot of styling products because of the resistance to humidity.

Benzophenone-4: Sunscreen ingredient.

Butylene Glycol: A humectant

Citric Acid: Probably used as a pH adjuster in this recipe.

Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein: I found this data bulletin for the product sold as Vegequat (if you're interested, click here). It's a cationic quaternary polymer like condition-eze 7 or honeyquat derived from coconut fatty acids and hydrolyzed wheat proteins. It provides anti-static, conditioning, and hydrating properties to skin and hair care products. Use at 1 to 5%.

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract: Sunflower oil extract. Probably water soluble.

Meadowfoamamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride: Sold under the name Meadowquat GL, it is a "mild quat that attaches humectant moiety directly to hair and skin to provide sustained moisturization". In other words, it is a cationic quaternary polymer that attaches to your hair and moisturizes it.

Panthenol: It builds a thin moisture film on the surface of your hair (film former) and makes it shine without oil or greasiness. In addition, it can penetrate the cuticle of your hair and brings moisture to the cortex! This means you get good manageability and pliability of your hair, and it is better able to cope with brushing, wind, and other non-hair friendly things. Finally, it could give your hair more body!

PEG-12 Dimethicone: A water soluble dimethicone.

Sodium Hydroxide: pH adjuster and thickening for the gel.

Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben: Preservative. Looks like Germaben.


The main ingredients in this product are conditioners (sodium polystyrene, vegequat, sunflower seed extract, and the meadowfoam thingie), humectants (propylene glycol and butylene glycol), styling and film forming (AMP and panthenol), and pH adjusters (aminomethyl propanol, citric acid, and sodium hydroxide). We also see some PEG-12 dimethicone (way down the list), preservatives, emulsifier (polysorbate 20), and sunscreen in small amounts.

This is a very different product compared to the last three in that the focus of this product is not the silicone but the conditioning agents and styling properties. It is water based and it seems like all the ingredients - save the fragrance oil - are water based as well. It uses some interesting conditioning agents - I've never seen sodium polystyrene used in this way, and I had to research the other three - but I couldn't tell you if this product is more or less conditioning than another product.

Could you make this? Most certainly! Gather up your light conditioning agents - honeyquat, polyquat-7, cetrimonium chloride - and your usual conditioning ingredients - water, preservative, panthenol, fragrance, propylene glycol or glycerin - and make a leave in conditioner. As for the styling parts, if you want to add the alcohol and AMP to make a more humidity resistant product, that's great. Oh, don't forget the water soluble dimethicone and you're set.

Butter comparison chart - download

I've put together a short chart for all the various properties of butters - mango, shea, and cocoa butter - in a PDF download. And here's a PDF for the specific posts for those butters. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Want free advertising on this blog? Well, here it is!

I have a very strict policy about advertising and this blog - I don't want it and I wouldn't accept it if offered - but a few posters have decided to ignore my wishes and post links to their products in the comments. I know they say that any publicity is good publicity, so here's the free publicity you were seeking by posting here!

The first culprit is Vernette Mullins, who posted a comment about her multi-level marketing company Synaura. I think, based on the website, it is a drink filled with anti-oxidants from the maqui berry, a so-called superfruit with tons of anti-oxidants and flavonoids. What I find interesting about the promotion of this site is the complete lack of information on it! What is this product? I think it's a drink - I'm not sure - yet have no idea where to buy it, how much it costs, and so on! Kudos to you, Vernette! You're well on your way to fulfilling your dream of financial freedom, and I personally thank you for giving us the opportunity to jump on board at the ground level, before the product is actually ready to be sold or marketed in a meaningful way.

The second culprit is someone promoting this FaceDoctor line of products containing seabuckthorn oil. Although they market soaps and hair care products, the only meaningful ingredient list I could find was for this product - the Beauty Cream: Seabuckthorn Oil, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Glyceryl Monostearate, Bee wax. That's it? Huh. At $26.95 for 30 grams, will it do what it promises?
The products work by effectively destroying the infestation of the human demodex parasite, they also help to replenish and revitalize the important elements that make up healthy skin. The active ingredient Seabuckthornoil will help speed up the healing process as well as repair the damage done by scarring.
We know seabuckthorn oil is a pretty awesome oil with tons of phytosterols, polyphenols, tocopherols, and carotenoids, as well as palmitoleic acid, which is the building block of our skin that helps heal wounds and scratches as well as being anti-microbial. But can it do all these amazing things?

What is the human demodex parasite? According to this site...
Demodex parasitic infection of hair follicles is one of the common infectious diseases that affects the scalp. It can infect any hair follicle but it particularly prefers face and scalp hair follicles. Individuals affected by acne or seborrhea oleosa are more prone to be attacked by this particular parasite...The demodex parasite feeds on dead skin and oils, so it particularly likes to live in hair follicles where there are lots of both and that usually means the follicles of the face and scalp.

It might play a role in those little bumps on the back of your arms and legs (keratosis pilaris) and it might play a role in acne. It may or may not play a role in rosacea: I only found one reference source, a press release from - you guessed it! - the Face Doctor company.

So seabuckthorn oil could help with either of these conditions by attacking the demodex parasite? Again, the only source of information I could find about sea buckthorn and this parasite was a press release from this company. So I have to call this unfounded at this point until I get some proper studies. I invite the representative from this company to send me information - I always keep an open mind!

If you want to duplicate this cream, then I'd suggest using some sea buckthorn oil, glycerin, cetyl alcohol (much nicer glide than stearic acid), emulsifying wax or BTMS, and a titch of beeswax. I'm not sure how much - start off with about 60% sea buckthorn oil, 5% emulsifiers, and so on and see how it goes. Or you could make a nice whipped butter with shea or mango with the sea buckthorn in it. It won't be as humectant-y as one with glycerin, but I'm sure it will be nice. Or make yourself a balm or lotion bar with sea buckthorn oil.

I hope I've offered the publicity the two posters were seeking!

Heat protecting hair care products - Analysing Nexxus Heat Protexx Heat Protection Styling Spray

This is a change from the last two products in that the Nexxus (etc.) is water based! Let's take a look at the ingredient list. (Be warned, it's huge!)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Amodimethicone, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, PEG 12 Dimethicone, PVP, Fragrance (Parfum), Polysorbate 20, Cetylpyridinium Chloride, DMDM Hydantoin, Trideceth 12, Cetrimonium Chloride, Benzophenone 4, Triethanolamine, Hexylcinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Silk, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3 Cyclohexene, Carboxaldehyde, Polyglyceryl 3 Distearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Ascorbic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Myristic Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Triticum Vulgare Flour Lipids (Wheat), Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Glycine Soja Sterols (Soybean), Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide, Ceramide 3, Ethylehexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Niacinamide, Biotin

Water: Okay, that's obvious, right?

Amodimethicone: We met this ingredient in the John Frieda product. This is an amino functionalized silicone that is water soluble in products, but not water soluble in hair. It is an inorganic cationic polymer. (Our normal cationic polymers like honeyquat and polyquat 7 are organic polymers.) They behave like this polyquats in that they are attracted to the negative charge on the hair, but they offer higher shine for your hair. They also seal in moisture better than polyquats, and offer better wet and dry combing. It offers such properties as deep conditioning, increased colour retention, protection from thermal damage, and increased gloss and shine.

Glycerin: This is a humectant.

Propylene glycol: Another humectant.

PEG 12 dimethicone: This is a water soluble dimethicone.

PVP: A film former and styling agent.

Fragrance (parfum): I'm surprised to see this so high in the list!

Polysorbate 20: A high HLB emulsifier generally used for fragrance oils.

Cetylpyridinium Chloride: A cationic quaternary compound added to products as an anti-septic.

DMDM hydantoin: A preservative sold under the name Glydant.

Trideceth 12: An ethoxylated emulsifier used to emulsify amodimethicone.

Cetrimonium Chloride: We all know how much I love this stuff! A water soluble, cationic quaternary compound that offers good detangling to conditioning products. It can also be anti-septic.

Benzophenone 4: A sun screen ingredient.

Triethanolamine: An emulsifier and pH balancer, as well as a chelator when used with EDTA. (Which we find later on down the ingredient list as disodium EDTA). Chelators bind metal ions in our products to prevent oxidation and microbial infection.

Hydrolyzed Silk: Added as a film former and moisture retainer.

Polyglyceryl 3 Distearate: Natramulse from the Herbarie with an HLB of 12. It is an emulsifier that can be used at up to 3% in lotions and conditioners. It is supposed to have a conditioned afterfeel.

Hexylcinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3 Cyclohexene, Carboxaldehyde: These are all fragrance elements.

Tocopheryl Acetate: Vitamin E.
Panthenol: It builds a thin moisture film on the surface of your hair (film former) and makes it shine without oil or greasiness. In addition, it can penetrate the cuticle of your hair and brings moisture to the cortex! This means you get good manageability and pliability of your hair, and it is better able to cope with brushing, wind, and other non-hair friendly things. Finally, it could give your hair more body!

Ascorbic Acid: Vitamin C. An anti-oxidant.

Polysorbate 60: A high HLB emulsifier.

Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Myristic Acid: These are fatty acids used for emolliency, thickening, and co-emulsification.

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: Also known as cationic guar. It is a cationic polymer that offers conditioning and thickening to the product. It works with surfactants well. Used at 0.2% to 1.0%.

Triticum Vulgare Flour Lipids (Wheat): This is likely wheat germ oil, although it could be wheat germ oil wax as a viscosity increaser.

Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado): Avocado oil.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate: An oil soluble Vitamin C ester. Acts an anti-oxidant and may mitigate UV damage.

Glycine Soja Sterols (Soybean): Soybean oil.

Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide: An emollient with water binding properties - a humectant.

Ceramide 3: A lipid that increases water binding in the skin and improves skin's barrier functions. It may penetrate hair strands. It is a humectant.

Ethylehexyl Methoxycinnamate: A sun screen ingredient.

Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane: Another sunscreen ingredient known as Parsol 1789 or Avobenzone.

Niacinamide: Vitamin B3 or niacin. Prevents UV related damage, regulates sebum, helps with water retention and hydration.

Biotin: Vitamin B8. Offers increased cell regeneration and skin barrier repair. Its efficacy is boosted by Vitamin C. Studies have shown benefits using biotin in nail and hair care. It might prevent hair loss, and improves the quality of both hair and nails.

So what we have in this product is dimethicone, a ton of humectants (glycerin, propylene glycol, alpha glucan, ceramide 3), some cationic compounds (cetrimonium chloride and guar), some moisturizers (the fatty acids), hydrolyzed silk, some oils, UV protectors, and some vitamin-y goodness.

This differs from the other products we've analyzed in that it's a water based product, which means it needs to have emulsifiers, which we find in the form of polysorbate 20, polysorbate 80, and polyglyceryl 3 distearate, and some co-emulsifiers in the stearic, myristic, and palmitic acids. It also needs preservatives, anti-oxidants, and chelators, which we find in the preservatives, Vitamin E, disodium EDTA, and TEA.

Could we make a product like this? I think we could quite easily. You'd need some water soluble dimethicone (we find this at the Herbarie as raspberry dimethicone WS), some cationic guar and cetrimonium chloride, some humectants - glycerin, propylene glycol, or something like honeyquat that would be both a cationic polymer and a humectant - and a few water soluble oils or oils mixed with polysorbate 20 or 80.

Having said this, I think you could do a nice job with a leave in conditioner with cetrimonium chloride as your primary conditioning ingredient, some water soluble dimethicone, and some water soluble oils. I made up a very light detangling spray for my best friend with 3% cetrimonium chloride, 2% hydrolyzed oat protein, 2% panthenol, 3% PEG-7 olive oil esters, 1% fragrance, and 0.5% preservative. You could add up to 4% (max) water soluble dimethicone and you'd have a a nice detangling spray that would offer some heat protection from the silicone.

Or make up a leave in conditioner with BTMS as the emulsifier and conditioner and add panthenol, hydrolyzed protein, regular dimethicone, cetrimonium chloride, and oils. Hey, where have I seen that before? (Just make up this recipe with more dimethicone - say 10% or so - and leave out the cyclomethicone). Add a bit of Vitamin E and other vitamins and you might have yourself a very nice conditioning spray.

This isn't to say these suggestions will work as heat protecting sprays as I haven't been able to test it out. These are just ideas of how I would duplicate this product.

Join me tomorrow for another analysis of heat protecting hair care products with ghd Thermal Protector.

Fatty acids and other things you'll find in oil - download

Another Christmas download - a PDF summary of all I've written about fatty acids, polyphenols, tocopherols, and phytosterols! Fatty acids and other things you'll find in oils and butters. Enjoy!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Heat protecting hair care products - Analysing BioSilk Silk Therapy

Let's take a look at another heat protecting hair care product.

Bio Silk's Silk Therapy contains...
Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, SD Alcohol 40-B, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethyl Ester of Hydrolyzed Silk, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol,Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance). Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Gamma Methyl Ionone, Citronellol, Lilial, Hydroxy Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol

We know about cyclomethicone and dimethicone. (See yesterday's post...)

SD Alcohol 40-B: This is a specially denatured alcohol with the designation by the U.S. ATF 40-B to indicate it has been denatured by denatonium benzoate, the bitterest substance in existence.

C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate: This is a light, emollient ester good for very light lotions and body mists. It's odourless and colourless. Use at 1 to 15%.

Ethyl ester of hydrolyzed silk: This is an esterified version of a hydrolyzed protein (in this case, silk). Hydrolyzed proteins are film formers and skin conditioners, and great for hair care products. Esters are more oil soluble than their non-esterified beginnings, which means this is a way to get a hydrolyzed protein into a non-water based product! Regular esters are amphoteric - they can be positive or negative in our products - whereas these esters are always positive, or cationic, which means they have a high affinity to our negatively charged hair or skin.

Panthenol: You know I love this stuff. It builds a thin moisture film on the surface of your hair (film former) and makes it shine without oil or greasiness. In addition, it can penetrate the cuticle of your hair and brings moisture to the cortex! This means you get good manageability and pliability of your hair, and it is better able to cope with brushing, wind, and other non-hair friendly things. Finally, it could give your hair more body!

Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben: These are preservatives.

Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Gamma Methyl Ionone, Citronellol, Lilial, Hydroxy Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol: These are all aroma fixatives. (Click on the links if you want to read more).

What I don't get about this product is the inclusion of the alcohol as this appears to be an anhydrous product...but I have a theory. The two versions of the ethyl ester of hydrolyzed silk I found were under the brand names Silkpro AS and Promois Silk-A. The latter comes as a 20% solution in alcohol. I have a feeling that is the medium for the ethyl ester and probably not in huge quantities in this product. If we had 5 ml of the ester, we'd have 1 ml of silk protein. So you'd have to list alcohol higher on the list than the ester because you'd simply have more of it.

So what we have in this product are the silicones to protect our hair, C12-15 alkyl benzoate as an emollient, the silk as a conditioning agent and film former, panthenol for shine and strengthening, some preservatives, some fragrance thingies, and alcohol (which I suspect is a side ingredient).

How does this compare to the John Frieda product from yesterday? (Note: I haven't used either of them, so I'm commenting purely on the ingredient list.) I think the John Frieda product has more ingredients intended to condition your hair - the amodimethicone behaves like a cationic polymer - and more ingredients for the strength of your hair - the phytantriol - but leaves out the panthenol, which we know is great for healthy hair. Both have hydrolyzed silk, which is always a good thing. Both add emollients - John Frieda uses mineral oil, BioSilk uses C12-15 alkyl benzoate - and both will give your hair shine. And both are effectively anhydrous products, although there are preservatives in the BioSilk product, which confuses me a little (you don't need it for anhydrous products!) but pleases me in that I'm a fan of preserving well.

Could we make this at home? Again, the big issue is the hydrolyzed silk. I have no idea where to get ethyl esters of hydrolyzed silk, so how do we add this to our products? We can get all the other ingredients, except maybe oil soluble panthenol, to make this product.

If my theory is correct about the alcohol being there only for the silk, then we know there are tons of silicones in this - I'd try 20% dimethicone, 75% cyclomethicone, and 5% other things like panthenol, hydrolyzed silk, and emollients. (I'd go with 2% panthenol, 2% silk, 1% emollient) if I could find oil soluble versions of the panthenol and hydrolyzed silk.

Join me tomorrow for another heat protecting hair care product analysis and download!

Oil chemistry tutorial thingie - free download

As another Christmas treat, I've put together all the posts on the chemistry of oils, rancidity, chelators, and anti-oxidants in a PDF format. Join me tomorrow for the first of a few PDF downloads on oils!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quick note!

I'll be back with more oil related stuff on January 2nd. I'm experimenting with recipes for various oils, HLB related stuff, and my giant box of new ingredients, so look for those posts next week!

And if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Heat protecting hair care products - Analysing John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum

As per the suggestion from Kemi and Hoshishi in the conditioner tutorial thingie post...

Heat protecting hair sprays and sera are an interesting group of products - there doesn't seem to be a basic formula to follow like you would for a shampoo or conditioner. Some offer heat protection alone, while others offer styling or conditioning as well. I've chosen a few at random (did a google search and saw what came up first) and I'll take a look at them over the next few days...

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum, Thermal Protection Formula
Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Benzophenone 3, Polysilicone 15, Bis (C13 15 Alkoxy), PG Amodimethicone, Phytantriol, Mineral Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Silk, Fragrance

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

Dimethiconol is dimethicone, another silicone added to hair and skin care products to offer conditioning and emolliency. In hair care, it improves wet and dry combing, helps with shine, improves hair feel (softness), reduces static charge, and works as a humidity resistor. And in colour cosmetics, like foundations, it is a lubricant, spreading agent, emollient, and diluent/carrier ingredient.

Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is a sunscreen, a cinnamic acid ester used in UV protective products.

Benzophenone 3 is another sunscreen.

Polysilicone 15 absorbs UV rays.

Hmm, I'm seeing a theme here about sunscreen stuff. (I'm going somewhere with this...bear with me)

Bis (C13 15 Alkoxy), PG Amodimethicone (all one name), the INCI for Dow Corning's 8500 Conditioning Agent. This is an amino functionalized silicone that is water soluble in products, but not water soluble in hair. It is an inorganic cationic polymer. (Our normal cationic polymers like honeyquat and polyquat 7 are organic polymers.) They behave like this polyquats in that they are attracted to the negative charge on the hair, but they offer higher shine for your hair. They also seal in moisture better than polyquats, and offer better wet and dry combing. It offers such properties as deep conditioning, increased colour retention, protection from thermal damage, and increased gloss and shine.

(A great post on this ingredient can be found at CurlChemist at!)

Phytantriol is an interesting ingredient. It is a poly-alcohol that is insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol, mineral oil, corn oil, IPP, and propylene glycol, and disperses in dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and glycerin. Added to the oil phase at less than 80˚C, it improves the performance of UV protecting ingredients and panthenol. Adding 0.1 to 0.2% phyantriol to a product with 1% panthenol increased the deposition of the panthenol on the hair and nails, which indirectly increased moisture retention and flexibility. It is helpful for hair strengthening in that it increased the deposition of amino acids and hydrolyzed proteins, and it increases hair's ability to withstand the ravages of the sun and heated styling devices.

Mineral oil is generally an emollient added for increased shine and lubricity of hair.

Tocopheryl acetate is generally added as an anti-oxidant.

Hydrolyzed silk is a hydrolyzed protein that is added to hair care products as a film former and moisture retainer.

Fragrance...well, I guess that's obvious.

So if we break this product down we have...
  • silicones - intended to condition, protect against heat damage, increase moisturization of the hair shaft.
  • UV protectors - intended to repel heat and sun.
  • Phytantriol - boosts the UV protection qualities (there's no panthenol in here to boost)
  • emollients - silicones and mineral oil
  • hydrolyzed proteins - increase moisture retention, can penetrate hair shaft, forms a film
The silicones really are the key to a heat protecting hair care product. They provide conditioning, emolliency, shine, and heat protection. The UV protectors found in this product are found in other products, but not all. This specific product is an anhydrous creation, but there are some with water.

Could you recreate this at home? Possibly. Certainly the cyclomethicone and dimethicone, hydrolyzed silk, mineral oil, fragrance, and tocopheryl acetate are easily obtainable. The UV protectors may or may not be necessary, but we can get Parsol and a few others (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are not options!) so we could try using those. The amodimethicone seems like an essential bit, and I haven't found this yet. We could substitute a cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7, but those are water soluble, so they wouldn't work in a hair serum like this. And I know I don't have access to oil soluble hydrolyzed silk proteins (actually, by definition hydrolyzed proteins are hydrolyzed to be more water soluble as proteins are normally not the most water soluble ingredients out there!), so I'm not sure how one would get that ingredient into the mix.

You could try making a serum with the silicones alone and leave the hydrolyzed silk and cationic polymers in a leave in conditioner. The dimethicone is the key to protecting against heat, so you could try something like 25% dimethicone, 75% cyclomethicone and see how it works for you. (I would try using 1000 cs dimethicone if you can get it. It's much thicker and serum-like. If not, then 350 cs works as well).

Join me tomorrow for another download and another analysis of a heat protecting hair care product.

Facial product tutorial thingie - free download

I hope you enjoy this holiday treat - another compilation of posts I've written in the past on facial products in PDF format. I've included my favourite facial toner, cleanser, foaming cleanser, moisturizer, and oil-free moisturizers for your formulating fun!

If for some reason you can't download the above PDF, click here.

Join me tomorrow for more Christmas season downloadable treats!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Surfactant tutorial thingie - free download

Happy Boxing Day! You know I love surfactants, so I thought I'd put together the posts on bubble bath, body wash, liquid shampoo, and solid shampoo in a PDF to share the holiday joy! These are PDFs of the original posts in an easier to read format!

In case you missed it, here's the conditioner tutorial thingie post!

If the download above doesn't work, try this link for the surfactant post!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I wish you a very merry Christmas Day filled with pies, chocolate, laughter, presents, and much merriment! As you can see, my beautiful furbaby Blondie enjoys her presents as much as we do!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Conditioner tutorial thingie - free download

Merry Christmas! I'm taking a break from the oil research to post what I hope you will consider a few Christmas treats!

Today's is a conditioner tutorial thingie in PDF format, which contains all the posts on conditioners from this blog. It contains information on how conditioners work, some stuff on BTMS, and recipes for liquid, solid, leave in, and intense conditioners, as well as a beard conditioner and shaving bar! Enjoy!

If you can't download the package from the link above, try this one from 4 shared...

If you download this package, you'll note on the back page I do a little mooching. (I hope this isn't considered is for a good cause!) I run youth groups at our two local libraries - Chilliwack and Yarrow - with my husband, best friend, and mother. We have two craft groups, two video game clubs, two card and board game clubs, and a Japanese pop culture group. We provide all the supplies, games, and treats for the programs. We did have some funding from the Friends of the Library, but that ends this month. We do have some funding for three more months thanks to a friend who collected donations at her wedding - thank you so much! And I am trying to apply for grants, but there isn't a lot of money out there for non-profit groups right now. So we've been doing most of it from our own supplies or buying supplies with our own money. Each weekly program costs about $75 and we do six every month at the Chilliwack library, and two per month at the Yarrow library (with the games club every other month there due to cost). (The library does fund two of our programs, but video games and card games night have exceeded these costs.) We've had over 7,000 kids attend our programs since 2005, and we'd love to keep them going.

If you have a little to spare, please consider donating a few dollars to our groups. You can reach me (Susan) at Hyperwallet or PayPal at If you live in the Chilliwack area and have some spare bottles lying around, we have an account set up at the Chilliwack bottle depot under account #81, youth library programs. You can return bottles to the depot, then give us the receipt so we can put it towards our supplies! (I am hoping to get an account set up soon at the Sardis location.)

You aren't obligated to donate anything to download the package. Download it, play with the recipes, let me know how they turned out for you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Carrot tissue oil

Carrot tissue oil - INCI Helianthus annus (and) beta-carotene - should not be confused with carrot seed oil, an essential oil. The carrot tissue oil is beta carotene infused into sunflower oil, so we get all the goodness of carrot tissue oil with the awesome power of sunflower oil!

Pure carrot tissue oil contains about 16% palmitic acid (C16), 1.8% stearic acid (C18), 11.6% C18:1 fatty acids (more below on this), 60% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 4.9% linolenic acid. The C18:1 fatty acid isn't all oleic acid - up to 73% of the C18:1 is in fact petroselinic or 6-octadecenoic acid, which has the double bond on the 6th carbon from the end (making it an omega-6 molecule), as opposed to oleic acid (9-octadecenoic acid), which is an omega-9 molecule with the double bond on the 9th carbon from the end. So what's the big deal? The melting point of petroselinic acid is 33˚ C versus oleic acid's 12˚ C melting point, so this is a thicker oil than something with a similar amount of oleic acid. (It's also thicker because of all that wonderful palmitic acid!)

How much ß-carotene is in carrot tissue oil? I have no idea. I have searched and read and searched some more, but no one will tell me how much carrot tissue oil is infused in the sunflower oil or how much ß-carotene is in this oil. I'm going to guess there's a least a bit in there due to the bright orange colour, but I can't give you any hard figures.

ß-carotene is a great anti-oxidant that offers photo-protective benefits and can behave as a precursor to Vitamin A. Vitamin A can help improve skin's barrier functions, increase cell proliferation and thickening of the skin, and increase collagen production.

The linoleic acid contained in the sunflower oil helps to improve skin's barrier function and prevent transepidermal water loss. The oleic acid offers skin softening and moisturizing, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

Carrot tissue oil is a medium weight, bright orange oil, with a 12 months shelf life, and it can be used for colouring soaps and other bath and body products. You don't want to use too much - urban legend has it you could make your skin a little darker! - so 2 to 5% in a leave in product will be enough. ß-carotene and Vitamin A can be irritants to sensitive skin, so try it if you are in doubt.

Some people enjoy using carrot tissue oil in a facial serum (dry skin here, oily skin here) to get the maximum goodness of the ß-carotene and Vitamin A. Similarly, it's good in a facial moisturizer for the same reasons!

Join me later today for a downloadable Christmas treat!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Carotenoids are tetraterpenoids, which are a large and varied class of hydrocarbons produced by plants, particularly conifers (wow, that sounded text-booky, eh?) They are either carotenes (oil soluble) or xanthophylls (more polar, water soluble with oxygen functional groups) with 40 carbon atoms.

I'll be going into more detail about terpenes and terpenoids in the near future, so let's just say for now they are the primary constituents of of essential oils, the major building blocks for every living thing in the form of steroids (which are derivatives of squalene), and are closely related to phytosterols and Vitamin E. I'll also go more into xanthophylls when we get to the posts on extracts.

There are three major groups of carotenes - lycopene, lutein, and ß-carotene - but we find ß-carotene mostly in the oils and other ingredients we use. ß-carotene is oil soluble, and is the pre-cursor to Vitamin A. The body will convert ß-carotene into Vitamin A if it needs it: If it doesn't need it, then it just roams around as an anti-oxidant, free radical scavenging and preventing lipid peroxidation in our bodies and on our skin.

Carotenes are strong anti-oxidants. They either quench the anti-oxidizing process or chemically react with free radicals to form a carotenoid radical.

Carotenes have been shown to have photo-protective effects when we're exposed to the sun. Studies have shown a reduction in thiobarbituric acid (shows up when we're in the sun!) if our skin is pre-treated with creams including ß-carotene! Lycopene is the strongest in the carotenoid photo-protective sweepstakes, with lutein and ß-carotene less effective.

So what do carotenes offer to bath and body products? The pre-Vitamin A stuff is pretty awesome, considering Vitamin A has such a great effect on our skin, and this is one of the main reasons to seek out carotenes!

It also helps protect from UVB damage and behaves as an anti-oxidant to retard rancidity! The one down side? The strong colour from ß-carotene containing oils might your products a little on the yellow or orange side.

Where can we find these wonderful tetraterpenoids? You can find it in cranberry oil, rosehip oil, wheat germ oil (which also contains xanthophylls, which have many of the same qualities as the carotenes), calendula oil, and sea buckthorn oil.

Join me tomorrow for something fun!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vitamin A

Vitamin A - what is it good for in bath & body products? It's an oil soluble molecule that can improve skin barrier function, increase cell proliferation, increase thickening of the skin, and increase collagen production. It can also help increase skin's water retention, and it may be effective in preventing, retarding, or restoring changes associated with the aging process. It is also effective in wound healing. It is the most abundant vitamin in our skin (in the form of ester retinyl palmitate), which is hydrolyzed to form Vitamin A, which is then oxidized to produce retinoic acid (the active form).

There are several forms of Vitamin A - the retinoids - we can use in bath and body products - retinol, retinyl esters (retinyl propionate, retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate), and retinaldehyde. Each of these is ultimately converted into trans-retinoic acid, the active form of Vitamin A in our skin, but the retinyl esters are less effective than retinol, and are less stable in our products. We can find retinoic acid (tretinoin) in some of our oils.

Vitamin A is measured in International Units or IU. An IU of Vitamin A equals 0.3 µg retinol, 0.34 µg Vitamin A acetate, or 0.55 µg Vitamin A palmitate. It is classified as a drug by the FDA, so please don't make any claims about including Vitamin A in your products!

Retinyl palmitate specifically has been found to help maintain skin's barrier properties by stimulating the epidermal cells to produce glycolipids, which are important for the formation of the intercellular lipid lamellar structure in skin.

In a study on hairless mice, a cream with 0.1% Vitamin A administered over 14 days increased collagen content of the mice's skins by 88%. 0.5% Vitamin A palmitate uncreased the collagen content by 10%. And in a study on rats, 10 µg Vitamin A acetate suspended in 0.2 ml water lead to an increase in cell proliferation four hours after usage. In a study on human volunteers, aged 40 to 60, the application of Vitamin A palmitate to the temples showed an increase in skin thickness of 14% in two weeks and 22% over 6 weeks. Unfortunately, once you stop using products with Vitamin A, you return to your previous pre-Vitamin A skin condition. (But this is the case for most things - stop using it, you don't get the benefits!)

Retinol is the most effective form of Vitamin A in bath and body products. The effects of retinol usage can be very quick - epidermal thickening can in a matter of a few hours, take place in days, reduction of fine lines in a couple of weeks, and reduction of wrinkles in weeks to months. And you only need to use 1%!

Vitamin A is touted as a great ingredient for after sun exposure. Our blood levels of Vitamin A decrease when we are exposed to the sun for a short period of time, and the levels keep dropping the longer we stay in the sun. (Isn't that fascinating? No, seriously. Why have I never heard of this before?) A similar effect is noticed in our skin. So by adding Vitamin A to our products (or using oils high in the retinoids or ß-carotene) we can increase the Vitamin A content of our skin. Interestingly enough, scienticians still aren't sure of the exact mechanism by which Vitamin A actually works on sun exposed or photo-aged skin!

Why do we care about how much Vitamin A is in our skin? Vitamin A diminishes the appearance of fine lines due to increased skin cell production, which leads to increased epidermal thickness. The thicker our skin, the less likely we are to see fine lines!

It increases the production of epidermal ground substance (glycosaminoglycans or GAGs), which bind water in the skin. This results in increased hydration of skin and moisture retention. But we don't want too much GAGs in our skin, and Vitamin A inhibits production of too much ground substance! (Did that make sense? It increases the production but inhibits the production, both of which are good things?) The GAGs are required in our skin for normal collagen structure and function, but too much can lead to wrinkling in photo-damaged skin. (Shar pei dogs have too many GAGs, hence the wrinkled look!) Water retention is a great thing for skin - we want maximum moisturization!

It helps with wound healing by increasing the rate of cell proliferation so new cells can come to the surface of our skin quicker. And it helps with skin thickening in this way as well.

An increase in collagen production is a mighty fine thing indeed. As we age, we lose about 1% of our collage per year, which leads to reduced elasticity of our skin. With the reduction in the GAGs in our skin, we will appear less wrinkled.

Vitamin A is a good treatment for acne - it acts on the primary pre-acne lesion - and offers anti-inflammatory benefits. You'll often find Retinol prescribed for acne. (Although this makes me wonder why rose hip oil - with possible retinoic acid - is counter-indicated for acne. Hmm....)

Retinoids can be irritating to the skin! (Just ask someone like me who used Retinol prescription cream for years! When I cried or my eyes watered, it actually stung my cheeks!) Retinol and retinyl acetate are less irritating than retinoic acid, and retinyl palmitate is the least irritating. Use retinol at less than 1%. Retinaldehyde at 0.05% up to 1% - it's as irritating as retinol - but use retinyl palmitate at up to 2% in your products!

Most of the retinoids come from our oils in the form of carotenoids or pre-cursors to Vitamin A. So join me tomorrow for fun with carotenoids!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cranberry seed oil

Cranberry oil - INCI: Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil - is an interesting oil. With 3 to 6% palimitic acid (C16), up to 2% stearic acid (C18), 22 to 26% oleic acid (C18:1), 30 to 38% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 20 to 38% linolenic acid (C18:3), you'd expect it to have a short shelf life with all those unsaturated fats. But it has a 2 year shelf life thanks to all the amazing anti-oxidants contained therein (if kept in a cool, dark place).

Cranberry oil contains one of the highest levels of Vitamin E in the form of tocotrienols (1000 ppm) and tocopherols (between 200 to 450 ppm).

The polyphenols - in the form of anthocyanidins, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidin - contribute more anti-oxidizing awesomeness. Cranberry oil contains quercetin, a fantastic anti-oxidant also found in mango butter, and peonidin, a good anti-oxidant.

Cranberry oil contains tannins - which give it an astringent taste and feel - that have anti-bacterial and anti-clotting properties (which is why the juice works for urinary tract infections!), and it is rich in carotenoids, including ß-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A. (More about carotenoids and Vitamin A tomorrow...)

When you see all the polyphenols in this oil, it's little wonder cranberries and cranberry seed oil have the highest number of total free phenols of all the fruits (grapes are second!)

But wait! There's more. Cranberry seed oil contains lovely phytosterols like ß-sitosterol at about 1300 ppm, which is slightly less than macadamia nut oil, and a lot less than soy bean or pomegranate oil, but more than the lighter carrier oils like sweet almond, apricot kernel, or grapeseed oil. Phytosterols offer anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties, as well as helping to repair damaged skin.

So what can cranberry seed oil offer to one of our mighty creations? Linoleic acid repairs skin's barrier abilities, reduces transepidermal water loss, and offers anti-inflammatory properties. Oleic acid is a moisturizing and softening ingredient that is well absorbed to increase cell regeneration and offers anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E is a great softening and moisturizer, as well as an anti-oxidant. We get more anti-oxidizing power from the quercetin, peonidin, and the other anthocyanidins, and anti-bacterial properties from the tannins. ß-carotene can offer some sun protective qualities and reduced redness in skin. Finally, the ß-sitosterol behaves like cortisone, reducing inflammation and itching.

This is an expensive oil, up there with sea buckthorn oil, at $10 to $20 per ounce! And it isn't easy to find. None of my regular suppliers carry it, and none of the on-line sites I frequent have it. (Oh, I found it at Lotioncrafter and From Nature with Love!)

Join me tomorrow for fun with cartenoids and Vitamin A!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil - INCI Curcubita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil - is a high linoleic acid oil with 12 to 18% palmitic acid (C16), 5 to 8% stearic acid (C18), 24 to 41% oleic acid (C18:1), and 18 to 62% linoleic acid (C18:2), with an average of 50% or so.

Pumpkin seed oil contains tocopherols, but the amount can differ with the time of year the pumpkins grew, where the pumpkins grew, and how the oil processed. It can range from as low as 150 ppm - not much - to 1575 ppm, which is quite a lot!

The darker colour of pumpkin seed oil comes from the carotenoids - a type of flavonoid - at about 15 ppm. It isn't a lot, but it behaves as a Vitamin A precursor and free radical scavenger. We also find caffeic acid, also found in coconut oil and mango butter, which is a great anti-oxidant.

The phytosterols in pumpkin seed oil - ß-sitosterol at about 249 milligrams per kilogram of oil - offer help with reducing redness and inflammation as well as soothing dry and itching skin.

The oleic acid in pumpkin seed oil offers skin softening and moisturizing properties, as well as cell regenerating and anti-inflammatory benefits. The linoleic acid helps with skin's barrier repair and reduction of transepidermal water loss. The tocopherols offer anti-oxidizing effects with softening, and the carotenoids offer free radical scavenging. And the phytosterols can help with dry and itchy skin, as well as anti-inflammatory features.

Pumpkin seed oil can have a shelf life of 6 to 12 months. I would stay on the safe side and call it 6 months unless you add up to 0.5% Vitamin E to the bottle the moment you open it.

I'd compare pumpkin seed oil to rice bran oil or sesame oil. It's a medium weight oil with a nice balance of oleic and linoleic acids. Try using it where you might use those two oils. As well, try it in a facial moisturizer or serum, anywhere you want some Vitamin A free radical scavenging.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with oils!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is what I'd call an exotic oil, something you don't use as the main base of a lotion or other creation but as a wonderful addition. Its fatty acid composition is interesting - 3.8% palmitic acid (C16), 1.9% stearic acid (C18), 15% oleic acid (C18:1), 43.5% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 33% linolenic acid (C18:3). Rosehip oil can come from a number of different rosehip species, so check the INCI from your supplier.

Rosehip oil is believed to contain trans-retinoic acid or tretinoin, a form of Vitamin A. You'll see this on every site about rosehip oil. But a recent study failed to find this compound, which is odd considering every write up you see on this oil mentions it, and the oil shows the ability to reduce scarring and reduce hyper pigmentation of them. It is believed to be the very active ingredient in rosehip oil, so I guess more studies need to be done.

It looks like we found it! Check out this post and the links Colin shares on his blog! 

Rosehip oil has been used for quite some time in traditional medicine as a cell regenerating, wound healing, and scar lessening ingredient, and studies are bearing this out. Studies on photo-aging and scar repair show rosehip oil - used at as little as 6% of a formula - can reduce fine wrinkles causes by UV damage and reduce hyperpigmentation of scars. Why is this? It was thought these wondrous powers were due to the trans-retinoic acid - it is likely from all the free radical scavengers, anti-oxidants, tannins, and carotenoids!

Rosehip oil does contain beta-carotene (the precursor to Vitamin A), which is an anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger. The beta-carotene gives the oil a yellow-ish colour. And rosehip oil feels a little dry because of all those tannins, making it a more astringent or non-greasy oil when compared to something like sunflower oil.

Despite all these wonderful polyphenols, phytosterols, and fatty acids, rosehip oil is not a good choice for people with breakout prone skin. It is known to make acne worse, and can cause breakouts! Sorry!

It would appear that using a CO2 extract of rosehip oil has its benefits. One study showed higher levels of linoleic and linolenic fatty acids, with a reduction of oleic acids, in a CO2 extracted oil. The oil is also a darker colour, which seems to indicate the presence of more carotenoids.

Because of all those wonderful unsaturated bonds, rosehip oil has a shelf life of about 6 months. Keep it in the fridge or freezer, and make a note of the "best before" date for your products.

So what does rosehip oil offer? Some great anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers, lovely moisturizing and softening from oleic acid, skin barrier repair and anti-inflammatory properties from linoleic and linolenic acid, the possibility of some reduction of fine lines and signs of photo-aging, and scar reduction. Sounds pretty good to me! Add 0.5% Vitamin E to your creations to extend the life of the oil.

Apparently the ideal amount for rosehip oil in a facial product is 6%. Try it in a facial serum at up to 10% (I've already included in the dry skin serum recipe!) Or try it in a facial moisturizer like this one at 6%. You could substitute it for the hempseed oil and still get all that lovely linoleic acid.

Join me tomorrow for more oil related merriment!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wheat germ oil

It's hard to find a standard fatty acid profile for wheat germ oil (INCI Triticum aestivum oil or Tricium vulgare oil) as it depends upon the strain of wheat, the climate in which it is grown, and so on. A general profile looks something like this - with a fatty acid profile - 1 to 16% palmitic acid (C16), 1 to 6% stearic acid (C18), 8 to 30% oleic acid (C18:1), 44 to 65% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 4 to 10% linolenic acid (C18:3).

It's very high in Vitamin E - about 2540 ppm - just about the highest in any carrier oil we use (I'm saying "just about" because I haven't found anything higher, but my research is not done!) All this lovely tocopherol content can actually help to prevent other oils from becoming rancid, which is always a good thing, while softening your skin.

About 5% of wheat germ oil are those wonderful phytosterols - about 67% ß-sitosterol, 22% campesterol, and 10% others. Phytosterols help our skin barrier mechanisms recover by penetrating into skin, reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and they can help with sun damaged or harmed by the elements, as well as reducing inflammation and itching.

We also find ferulic acid in wheat germ oil (it's starting to look a lot like rice bran oil!), which is very effective anti-oxidant - more powerful than Vitamin E - that can prevent skin aging, reduce age spots, 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.

And don't forget those wonderful polyphenols! Wheat germ oil is filled with carotenoids like xanthophyll and beta carotene, both of which are precursors to Vitamin A. And the squalene! Wheat germ contains about 0.1% to 0.7% squalene, which is soaked quickly into our skin to soften and moisturize.

There is a fatty alcohol in wheat germ oil called octacosanol, a long chain fatty alcohol with 28 carbons! Although it has been debunked as a wonder ingredient for athletes, it has been studied as a possible treatment for very dry skin or skin suffering from an inflammation disease.

To sum it up, wheat germ oil has a shelf life of up to 6 months, but you'll want to keep it in your fridge or a very cool, dark place - treat it like you would hemp seed oil. It offers softening and moisturizing through the oleic acid and Vitamin E. It may help with skin barrier repair through the linoleic acid. The phytosterols offer anti-inflammatory and anti-iching benefits. The polyphenols offer free radical scavenging and anti-oxiding properties. And the octacosanol may help with inflamed or very dry skin!

Wheat germ oil is a great addition to a lotion for extremes of weather, like summer and winter, because it helps with wind chapping and sun burn. Although it seems like a great addition to a facial product, it does have a comedgenicity level of 5 - 5 being the highest on the scale - and an irritation index of 2, which means it is slightly irritating. It is possible someone with a wheat allergy may be sensitive or even allergic to wheat germ oil, so try it out before using it all over your body and show caution when sharing your products with others.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with oils!