Monday, May 31, 2010


Yep, it's that time of year again (at least in the Northern Hemisphere)! It's time to buy buckets of sunscreen and make sure Mr. Sun doesn't make us all red and unhappy! We definitely need to be wearing sunscreen!

There are two types of sunscreen ingredients - physical blockers and chemical blockers. The physical blockers are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, both of which work by preventing the sun's rays from reaching our skin by reflecting and dispersing them. The chemical sunscreens work by absorbing ultra-violet rays and keep them from penetrating the skin. They are great at blocking about 95% of the UVB rays, but very little UVA. The degree of absorption depends on the type and concentration of chemical sunscreen. Ideally, you'd have a combination of the two in your sunscreen.

To get maximum sunscreen-age, apply it about 15 to 30 minutes before going into the sun so it can penetrate the keratinous layer of your skin. Re-apply it regularly every 2 to 4 hours, and especially if you've been swimming or sweating a lot.

The physical sunscreens are unlikely to cause a reaction on our skin - any reaction you might have is thanks to the other ingredients in the sunscreen - so if you have sensitive skin, stick with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and be okay with looking a little ghostly (I like this on my face, not so much on my legs!) These sunscreens might feel a little draggy, but it's a small price to pay to avoid sunburns!

If you're out in the sun - meaning, if you ever go outside - don't forget to protect your nose and lips. Your nose gets the most sun exposure, so sunscreen it well. And our lips can be protected with as little as your lipstick on a cloudy day, or with a water resistant sunscreen or lip balm during a sunny day.

Don't forget to get a good pair of UV blocking sunglasses. They'll protect your retinas and they'll make you squint less - and less squinting means fewer wrinkles, so you're looking good as well as feeling good!

How does SPF work? It's all about you! Let's say you burn after 10 minutes in the sun. SPF 15 will get you 150 minutes in the sun. SPF 30 will get you 300 minutes in the sun. But you have to re-apply after about 2 hours with a non-water resistant sunscreen anyway, so what's the point if you take 20 minutes to burn and you have to re-apply it after about 120 minutes? Because SPF 15 will block out about 93% of the UV rays, and SPF 30 will block out about 97%. For very fair skinned people, going from SPF 30 to 50 might get them another 1% coverage. Might not be a big deal for someone who has dark skin, but if you're like my husband (more below), that 1% could mean the difference between a slight reddening of his skin and a burn.

So how do we make our own? We don't.

As you may or may not know, my husband has vitiligo, a condition that leaves him without melanin in big patches in his skin and hair. (This is what they say Michael Jackson had, the condition that was making him white. As Raymond is already quite fair skinned, you don't notice it much.) So we buy sunscreen by the bucketload in the summer to ensure he isn't at risk for burning, which can happen in a few minutes for him. If I could make sunscreen that I could guarantee would work for him, I'd make it. But there are so many factors that go into ensuring a sunscreen works, I don't feel confident that it will prevent him from agonizing pain.

If you're considering making your own sunscreen, there is a lot of chemistry to know. You have to worry not only about the pH of a sunscreen but the emulsification of our lotion when making a sunscreen. As well, how do you know how effective your chosen sunscreen might be? Only by going into the sun and seeing if it works, and anecdotal evidence is not data - it might have been a cloudier than normal day, you might have been under a tree, you might have really sun resistant skin that doesn't burn for 30 minutes or more! If you have a fair skinned friend, she might burn in 10 minutes, and the product that works well for you might mean sunburn for her! 

There are so many scary things out there on the 'net about sunscreen, and I won't give them any validity by putting them into this post. The way I see it? Sunscreens block out the sun's rays. Sun makes me burn. Anything that prevents unnecessary pain today and wrinkling tomorrow works for me. (Click here for a post on pigmented skin through sun exposure and here for a post on photo-aging.)

Yes, I know anecdotes aren't data and this last paragraph is my opinion, but I really haven't found any valid studies showing that sunscreen causes more harm than good. 

If you're worried about sunscreens, then don't use them. Or choose sunscreens containing only certain ingredients, but not others. I hope I've shown you why we shouldn't make our own...

Shampoo: Making a 2-in-1 conditioning shampoo (dry hair)

If you're a dry haired girl, a 2-in-1 shampoo is probably a bad idea. It simply won't offer all the conditioning and moisturizing you want in a product and might make your hair feel really awful. But it's not for me to judge what is right for your hair, so here's a modification to the above recipe for dry haired types! (This would make a fine daily use shampoo for dry hair, but I'd include more oils and moisturizers for your hair type.)

50% water
8% anionic surfactant
5% cocamidopropyl betaine
5% polyquat 7 or honeyquat
5% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% glycol distearate
3% PEG-7 olivate (water soluble oil) or PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate
10% aloe vera

4% dimethicone or water soluble dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance oil or essential oil

2% liquid Crothix

Yep, even with glycol distearate and/or PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate you might need the Crothix for thickening as this will be quite watery. You will likely need more than 2% Crothix, but let it sit overnight before adding any Crothix to the mixture.

There is an easy way to incorporate some serious conditioning into a 2-in-1 shampoo using our cationic compounds like BTMS and cetrimonium bromide, and we'll be looking at that tomorrow. How can we do this with something that isn't water soluble and will precipitate out of solution? Well, you'll just have to tune in tomorrow, won't you?

Question: Polysorbate 20 vs. polysorbate 80

Anonymous posted this question in this post: What's the difference between polysorbate 80 & 20?

Polysorbates are ethoxylates of fatty acids esterified with anhydrosorbitol. Polysorbate 20 is a polyoxyethylene derivative of sorbitan monolaurate whereas polysorbate 80 is a polyoxyethylene derivative of sorbitan and oleic acid. And as much as I love chemistry, I realize this really isn't all that helpful...

Polysorbates are emulsifiers, wetting agents, and solubilizers that we use to bring small amounts of fragrance, essential, or carrier oils into a watery environment. We can use them to emulsify an all oil ingredient in our bath, or to make a water based product with a tiny bit of oils in them. 

One difference between the two is their HLB value - polysorbate 20 has an HLB value of about 16.7, whereas polysorbate 80 has an HLB value of about 15. (Click here for a list of HLB values!) 

The other difference happens in our products. We generally use polysorbate 20 to emulsify fragrance or essential oils in water, whereas we generally use polysorbate 80 to emulsify carrier or more complicated oils in water. If I were to make a shampoo to which I wanted to add 2% fragrance oils, I'd use polysorbate 20. If I were to make a shampoo to which I wanted to add 2% olive oil, I'd use polysorbate 80. If I were to make a bath bomb or bath oil, I'd want to use polysorbate 80 to carry the heavier oils into the bath water and make them disperse. 

That's the long answer. The short answer is that we use polysorbate 20 to emulsify small amounts of lighter oils and polysorbate 80 to emulsify slighter larger amounts of heavier oils. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Question: Can you use cetrimonium chloride in a shampoo?

Lalla asks in this postCan I use cetrimonium chloride in a shampoo?

Yes! (Well, that was easy, eh?) But wait, there's more! Cetrimonium chloride plays well with surfactants, so it's a great inclusion in a conditioning shampoo (especially one for very tangly hair) and it removes silicones well, so it's a great inclusion in a clarifying shampoo (ironically).

If you're using in your shampoos, make sure it plays well with your thickening ingredients. I use Crothix at 1% to 2% in all my shampoos (that need them), and I have found that mixtures that would normally require something like 2% need only 1% because the cetrimonium chloride thickens it well. So for something like a conditioning shampoo for oily hair in which I've used the Froot Loops fragrance oil, I'd normally need 2% Crothix (even 2.5% when I don't use SCI because this thins out the surfactant mix) and I've found I only need 1%.

My suggestion is to make up your shampoo - of any sort - with the cetrimonium chloride (2% in the heated phase or cool down phase) and your fragrance or essential oil blend, and let it come to room temperature. Then test the viscosity. If you think it needs to be thicker, then use some liquid Crothix to get the viscosity you want.

So this probably isn't a good idea for those of you using glycol distearate or another thickener that requires heating until you've tried it a few times with your specific fragrance oil and see how it alters the viscosity. If you're using the heated kind of thickeners, make it up as normal with the cetrimonium chloride at 2% and make sure you use your fragrance oil. Keep really great notes, and don't stray from the amount or kind of fragrance oil you use!

Shampoo: Making a 2-in-1 conditioning shampoo (normal to oily hair)

I admit I'm not the biggest fan of the all in one kind of product - but then again, I have long, coarse hair that likes some serious conditioning without oils, so who am I to talk? - but we can make one by modifying yesterday's daily use shampoo with only a few tweaks!

Someone using a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner type product is probably washing his or her hair every day, so we want to reduce the surfactant concentration to 13% to 15% (similar to a daily use shampoo). We want to use anionic surfactants suitable for our hair type and add the 5% amphoteric surfactant (cocamidopropyl betaine) to increase mildness and thickening.

We'll increase the conditioning agents to 5% (polyquat 7 or honeyquat - Celquat H-100 at 5% would make a gel!) and increase the dimethicone to about 4%. Dry haired girls can increase some of the emollients - add a little PEG-7 cocoate or water soluble oil at up to 4% - to make their hair feel more moisturized. Oh, and we'll need to include our Crothix to thicken (up to 5% when the mixture has cooled) or up to 3% glycol distearate. I'm still including the aloe vera as a film former and because the extra electrolytes will help thicken what will be a very thin mixture! Oh, and don't forget the glycerin. This will behave as a lovely humectant. (If you're a frizzy haired girl, reduce this to 2% and increase your water amount.)

Ideally in this recipe we'd be using a water soluble dimethicone (click here for the raspberry water soluble dimethicone at the Herbarie) as it will deposit on your hair better than our regular dimethicone...but I don't have any. So I'll use our regular dimethicone with conditioning agents to make a 2 in 1. If you have water soluble dimethicone, use it at up to 4% in this shampoo.

A quick note: If you can get cetrimonium chloride, add it to this recipe at 2%. It will not only leave hair feeling really soft and detangled, but it can remove silicone build up from styling products! Chck out the post on this topic in about 45 minutes!

55% water
8% anionic surfactant
5% cocamidopropyl betaine
5% polyquat 7 or honeyquat
5% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein
10% aloe vera

4% dimethicone or water soluble dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance oil or essential oil

2% liquid Crothix

You can make this one cold, but let the mixture complete settle and the fragrance oil completely incorporate in your shampoo before adding the Crothix. Depending upon the fragrance oil, you may need more than 2% Crothix. This isn't a bad thing - it adds mildness to your creation.

You can turn any of your favourite shampoo recipes into a 2-in-1 by increasing the conditioning agents, reducing the surfactants, and adding more dimethicone. Give it a try!

Join me tomorrow to modify the conditioning shampoo for dry hair! 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Question: How does Lush use fresh fruit in their products?

Anonymous posted this comment: My interest in you replicating the lush bar is that I was hoping you could explain what exactly is implied when they list ingredients such as "fresh kiwi" or "fresh bananas". I've never understood how you could include fresh fruit in preservative free conditioner bar.

For a company that goes on and on about not using preservatives, how the heck can they use fresh ingredients in their products?

I have a few theories...
1. They have some super secret way of using fresh fruit in their products, and because it's proprietary technology we will never know;
2. They are using fresh fruit in their products and using a ton of preservatives plus refrigeration to keep them safe; or
3. They aren't being exactly truthful with us.

Let's take a look at how they might use "fresh fruit" in an unpreserved product like Jungle, the solid conditioner (I'm editing out the INCI information for ease of reading). I'm using the definition of fresh as being fruit shortly before adding it to the product, squished that very day.

Ingredients: Fair Trade Cocoa Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Fresh Avocado Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Perfume, Soya Lecithin, Fresh Figs, Fresh Bananas, Fresh Passion Fruit, Fresh Kumquat, Fresh Kiwi Fruit, Cetrimonium Bromide, Ylang Ylang Oil, Vetivert Oil, Cypress Oil, Sandalwood Oil, Chlorophyll, *Limonene, *Linalool.

As you can see, there are no preservatives listed for this product. Or are there?

Most of the time when we buy aloe vera, hydrosols, or surfactants containing water (for example), there are preservatives in those products. But if you made a spray completely out of aloe vera liquid, you'd probably put your ingredients list as 100% aloe vera without including the preservative, probably because you don't even realize it's in there. So is it possible that Lush is using preservatives in their "fresh" products without declaring it?

Or they could be using purees from this company, VegeTech, which are listed as being stable out of the fridge. (I don't see preservatives listed for these products, but their website is definitely lacking a certain something!) If they aren't using purees specifically from this company, they could be using the same technology.

Does that qualify as "fresh"? Well, it's not recently squished fruit, but I think it the definition might extend as far as using fruit purees from a fruit puree-ing company.

Or perhaps they're using powdered extracts? But then again, strawberry extract is notoriously hard to preserve, so powdered extracts have to be preserved when they meet water. This product - as an example - doesn't contain water, so perhaps it doesn't need to preserved until it enters your shower?

Or they could be calling things "fresh" under the logic that at one time they were fresh. (Which reminds me of a line from the Simpsons. "All the profits go to children." "Which children?" "Us - we're somebody's children!) I've seen this kind of interpretation used a lot, mostly on Etsy type pages, but I think you could get away with it under the pretty lax labelling laws we see in some parts of the world. This would just be deceitful, in my opinion. (Lest you doubt, I have seen silicones listed as "natural" ingredients because they're derived from sand. By this definition, everything is natural!)

Or they could also be using these ingredients at a really low level. I find this a very surprising conditioner bar as cetrimonium bromide - the conditioning ingredient - make an appearance at number 16, below perfume. What do we know about ingredient lists? We know that perfume isn't going to be at 10% - so anything in the area of perfume and below will likely be at 1% to 2% tops. Which means everything after perfume is at 2% or lower, which includes all but the fresh avocado extract. From what I can tell about readers' reviews on the Lush site, this is a very oily bar suitable for dry or curly haired types, which means it's mostly oils and butters. (Based on this, I'm guessing the "fresh avocado extract" is some kind of oil or butter.)

Lush has been known to hide their preservative listing as "perfume". Based on where "perfume" falls in this list, and based on the other essential oils included, I'm thinking that's the preservative. 

So what can we tell about this bar? It's not chock full of conditioning agents - I like to use at least 60% conditioners in my bar, and I'd be surprised if we found 10% in this bar - and it's chock full of butters, oils, and emollients. But this isn't a review of their bar as a conditioner...

Do I think there's fresh fruit in there? By my definition - recently squished - I doubt it.

Shampoo: Strengthening shampoos

I am noticing a real trend in advertising shampoos as "strengthening" your hair. (I'm looking at you L'Oreal and Herbal Essences). What exactly does this mean?

How does a shampoo strengthen? Well, it doesn't. (I kinda of covered this topic in my post on L'Oreal's EverStrong shampoo...) Using the right kinds of surfactants in the right proportions can not weaken our hair. We can also use all kinds of lovely conditioning, moisturizing, film forming, and hygroscopic ingredients to help our hair stay in good condition. (You'll generally see these claims made for products that don't contain sulfates or don't contain SLS, and you'll generally see them for conditioning shampoos, those that contain cationic polymers and dimethicone).

So really, the name of these shampoos should be "non-weakening" shampoos really, but I don't think those'd sell all that well.

Ingredient list for Break's Over by Herbal Essences:

water: The solvent for the rest of the ingredients.

ammonium lauryl sulfate: Interesting - variation on sodium lauryl sulfate that has an ammonium ion instead of a sodium ion as the cationic part.

ammonium laureth sulfate: A gentle surfactant; a variation on SLeS.

sodium chloride: Salt, generally used to thicken (and it's weird to see it this high up the ingredient this in the right order or is every ingredient below this on the list only included at 3% or lower - because we know that more than 3% can thin a surfactant mix thanks to the salt curve!)

cocamide mea: This is a variation on cocamide DEA, with monoethanolamine instead of diethanolamine. It is safe up to 10%, and is generally used at a 4:1 to ratio with the surfactants. It is a foam booster and stabilizer.

glycol distearate: We know this as EZ Pearl, a good pearlizer, thickener, and emollient generally found in moisturizing shampoo. Generally used at around 2% or so.

dimethicone: Our silicone - it offers conditioning and anti-friction and anti-frizz benefits.

ammonium xylenesulfonate (from A hydrotrope, a compound that makes it easier for water to dissolve other molecules. It is added as a thickener, and to help keep some of the odd ingredients added for marketing effect in solution, including perfumes.

cocos nucifera (coconut) milk: We know coconut oil is good for our hair, so is coconut milk good as well? Considering it contains a ton of lauric acid, this might be a good choice for our hair.

mangifera indica (mango) fruit extract: Mango fruit extract? I found it here at NDA, so here's their description..."It is often used in formulations to prevent the formation of wrinkles and the drying of skin. By preventing the degeneration of skin cells, flexibility of the skin is restored. Usage rate 0.5%." I'm not sure why this is in a hair care product.

pearl powder: Not really sure why this is here. It's used in mineral make-up as a protein type ingredient that is supposed to be good for bone development and healthy skin, but these have not been confirmed by the FDA. So it might be valid as a protein, but it's not hydrolyzed so it might not deposit on your hair. It could also be used to pearlize the product.

fragrance: Pretty smell.

cetyl alcohol: Used in conjunction with cationic conditioning agents to boost substantivity. It also offers emolliency.

polyquaternium-10: A cationic conditioning polymer, like polyquat 7 or honeyquat.

sodium citrate: A pH adjuster and chelating ingredient.

sodium benzoate: Preservative.

citric acid: pH adjuster, anti-oxidant, and chelating ingredient.

disodium edta: A chelating ingredient. Used at up to 0.20% in a formula.

peg-7m: I can't figure out what this is because many things can be "PEG-7" include water soluble oils and thickeners for our surfactants. It could be a water soluble oil - so it's moisturizing - and it could be the PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate that acts as a moisturizing and thickener.

propylene glycol: A humectant and possible solvent.

methylchloroisothiazolinone & methylisothiazolinone: Preservatives.

ext. violet 2: colour

If you want to see my logic in how to replicate products, please click here

What's interesting here is what not's in this. There's no cocamidopropyl betaine - good for thickening and making the mixture milder - no proteins, and no panthenol or other vitamins. (Yes, the pearl powder can be considered a protein, but as it isn't approved by the FDA for this purpose, I can't consider it as a protein.) And the humectants are so low, they might as well not be in here. This is a really basic shampoo that would suit the needs of those looking to avoid those ingredients.

Okay, let's find our percentages in this list...

Anything below salt on the ingredient list has to be at 3% because we know if we use salt at more than 3%, it starts to thin rather than thicken. So the only things over 3% in this recipe will be the surfactants and water. With such low levels of surfactants and without cocamidopropyl betaine (really?) we'll need to thicken this a lot more than usual. I don't see Crothix on this list, so we know the salt and the glycol distearate will be the thickeners. Oh, and the cocamide MEA - I don't have that, so I will be using cocamide DEA.

Since I think this is probably considered a daily use shampoo, I know I'll have lower levels of surfactants - 15% or lower - so I have an idea of what to include in the shampoo now. (I don't have ALS, so I'm substituting a milder surfactant in the form of C14-16 olefin sulfonate, suitable for oily hair. You can substitute your preferred surfactant. I do have ALeS, so I'll use that as the other surfactant.)

I don't have coconut milk, so I'll use coconut oil. I need to use it in lower levels because I don't have a huge emulsifier in this mix. I'm thinking 2%. And extracts are generally used at 0.5%, so let's use the mango fruit extract powder in the cool down phase at that amount.

68.8% water
7.5% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
7.5% ammonium laureth sulfate
2% cocamide DEA
2% glycol distearate
1% cetyl alcohol (or lower - 0.5%?)
1% propylene glycol
0.2% EDTA
2% coconut oil
2% protein of choice

2% dimethicone
2% polyquat 7
0.5% mango fruit powder extract
0.5% preservative
1% fragrance oil

This is a good daily use shampoo for various hair types. If you want, substitute a hydrosol or aloe vera for part of the water amount (10% aloe vera will give you more thickening) and substitute the extract for something else you might like (rosemary for oily hair, green tea for other hair types). Leave out the oil if you have oily hair or don't like oils. Substitute glycerin or another humectant for the propylene glycol, nd feel free to boost up the surfactants by adding up to 10% cocamidopropyl betaine to thicken and increase mildness. I haven't done those things, as I'm going for replication here!

Shampoo: Creating a daily use shampoo

How does a daily use shampoo differ from a not-daily use shampoo? A daily use shampoo is intended to be used every day, whereas a regular shampoo would be used every 3 to 4 days. It will contain about half the amount of surfactants in a normal shampoo because we don't want to strip away too much sebum, which would lead to dry hair and scalp. (You will recall one way of increasing mildness is to reduce the amount of surfactants in our products!)

This type of shampoo is suitable for dry hair types as a not-daily-use shampoo and for normal to oily hair types as a daily use shampoo. This would be a great choice for people with very fine hair as a not-daily-use shampoo.

A disclaimer here...I don't believe in washing your hair every day, unless you're using a ton of styling products that will make your hair stick to your pillow. A little sebum is good for your hair and scalp, and there's nothing wrong with going a few days or more without washing, especially if you're a dry haired girl. If you're worried about your hair getting messed up at night, I suggest looking into a snood or hair net. It really will keep your hair in one place throughout the night and reduce the friction, which reduces damage. If you're worried about your hair smelling oily - it'll take more than a few days for that to happen. But you can use a scented oil absorbing dry shampoo or mister (more on this shortly) to take out bad odours. (We really need Febreeze for people!) But if you want to wash your hair every day - let's say you're a really oily girl - a daily use shampoo is the best way to go.

So what's different here? My goal here is to increase the mildness, so I'm reducing all the cleansing type stuff in this shampoo, but I'm keeping the conditioners, hydrolyzed proteins, film formers, and panthenol the same as we want to keep our hair healthy and these ingredients will also help increase mildness. Since you're likely putting your hair through some potential damage - brushing, blow drying, straightening or curling - you will want to follow this up with a really good conditioner. (You can use an intense conditioner, regardless of hair type as you're not really worried about it being greasy tomorrow!)

We'll want to use about 8% to 10% anionic surfactants and up to 5% amphoteric surfactants. (I have some suggestions for surfactant choices after the recipe...)

64% water
8% anionic surfactant
5% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% polyquat 7 or honeyquat
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein
10% aloe vera

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

Use the general shampoo making instructions for this recipe.

Point of interest: I've heard back from readers of this blog and I have to warn you, this will be a very thin concoction. You need a thickener of some type, and there aren't enough surfactants in here to use the salt curve. You will want to use a minimum of 2% glycol distearate in the heated phase or 2% to 5% Crothix after it has cooled. If you choose a vanilla or citrus based fragrance oil, it will become even thinner, so choose something that won't thin your surfactant mix. If you leave out the aloe vera, you'll have even more trouble thickening it as the aloe vera adds extra salt to the mix.

If you find this isn't as lathery as you'd like, increase the anionic surfactant up to 15% and reduce the water by up to 7%. If you're using SCI with stearic acid, remember it will thicken more than the SCI without stearic acid.

Substitute your favourite surfactant for the anionic surfactant listed in the recipe...
  • For dry haired girls, consider using 8% SCI (with stearic acid), decyl glucoside, or SMC or SMO taurate as your anionic surfactant. BSB or a baby blend concentrate would also be a very nice choice. 
  • For normal haired girls, use whichever surfactants you like. ALeS or SLeS is a good choice, as is pretty much every other surfactant. 
  • For oily haired girls, use DLS mild (sulfosuccinate), SCI (without stearic acid), or C14-16 olefin sulfonate. LSB (with sulfosuccinate) would be a nice choice as well. 
If you like oils in your shampoo, may I suggest using up to 4% with a 1:1 ratio of solubilizer - like polysorbate 80 - or a water soluble oil (like PEG-7 olivate).

You can modify your favourite shampoo recipe by decreasing the surfactants and increasing the water and thickeners. So if you have something you really love, just water it down! 

Join me tomorrow for making a 2-in-1 conditioning shampoo! 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Question: Can you substitute laureth-3 for laureth-4?

Anonymous asked...Can i replace Laureth-4 for Laureth-3? I'm trying to do up a oil shower gel & i'm using MIPA –Laureth Sulfate as the suractant...

Great question! Let's take a look at what laureth-4 is, then figure out if it can be substituted by laureth-3.

Laureth-3 and -4 are ethers, subcategory alkoxylated alcohols. They are non-ionic surfactants and are ethoxylated alcohols. They may sometimes be called polyethylene glycol ethers or PEG ethers. These are produced by a reaction of a fatty alcohol with ethylene oxide. The name comes from the root of the fatty acid (laur, which comes from lauric acid), "eth" to indicate it has been ethoxylated, and the degree of ethoxylation (-3 or -4). You may see ingredients like oleth-5 (from oleic acid) or myristeth-7 (from myristic acid).

You might see other PEG ethers with names like laneth-16 (lanolin) or ceteareth-20 (cetyl and stearyl alcohol). These names are derived from the fat itself (lanolin) or the fatty acid. 

We know these PEG ethers are emulsifiers, but the low ethoxylated ones tend to be solubilizers rather than emulsifiers. The higher the level of ethoxylation, the better they'll emulsify.

A solubilizer is something that makes an oil soluble in water. So when we use an emulsifying type ingredient in something like a shampoo, we're using it to make the oil dispersible in the water. Think of mixing polysorbate 20 with an essential oil to make a water based fragrance spray. We aren't expecting a lotion-type emulsification for this product, we merely want the oil to stay suspended in the water without forming a greasy mess at the top of the bottle.

So what is laureth-4? It's a non-ionic solubilizer with an HLB of 9.7. It's used at 1 to 5%. This is mostly for surfactants, but it can be used in lotions in combination with a low HLB emulsifier. Laureth-3 is also a non-ionic solubilizer with an HLB of 7.9 or 8.1 (depending where you find your information) that should be used at 0.5% to 5%. Both of these are able to thicken our surfactant mixtures.

Emulsifiers with an HLB of 8 to 10 will produce "stable milky dispersions" when not coupled with a low HLB emulsifier in an emulsion. In other words, if we use laureth-3 or laureth-4 in a surfactant mixture, it will solubilize our oils and possibly create a milky type consistency (not necessarily a milky

So can we substitute laureth-3 for laureth-4? Probably. They have the same kind of profile - they are both solubilizers (they are used to make oil dispersible in water), they will produce milky consistency emulsions, and they're intended for use in anionic surfactant products. Laureth-4 has more ethoxylation so it will be a better emulsifier, but if you're not using a ton of oils, laureth-3 will likely do the job!

Hope this answer helped!

Shampoo: A conditioning shampoo with SCI for normal to oily hair.

I did mention my love of SCI, right? With a few small modifications, we can alter the recipe intended for dry hair for normal to oily haired girls who love SCI as much as I do!

First off, make sure you are using the SCI without stearic acid - the granules like Jordapon prilled contain no stearic acid - if you are an oily haired or normal-to-oily haired girl. Although we love the moisturizing offered by stearic acid, this is a sure way to find yourself greasy in a really short period of time. (And if you're washing your hair every day, you really want to use a daily use shampoo, which we'll cover tomorrow! This recipe kinda straddles the surfactant amounts for daily use vs. twice to thrice weekly use shampoo...)

We're also reducing the amount of glycerin (our humectant) because we don't need as much moisturizing as the dry haired girls. And you might want to choose something like hydrolyzed oat protein or another high molecular weight protein instead of silk for its film forming characteristics.

53% water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% SCI (without stearic acid)
5% surfactant of choice (SLeS, SMC Taurate, a blend, and so on)
10% aloe vera
2% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein

3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% fragrance or essential oils
(up to 2% Crothix - when cooled down - optional)

For oily hair, I'd suggest using 5% SCI (without stearic acid) and 10% surfactant of choice (C14-16 olefin sulfonate or a sulfosuccinate like DLS mild) for more oil removal. As well, oily haired girls might want to leave out the dimethicone and conditioning agents if you're finding your hair doesn't feel squeaky clean after washing: Save those for your conditioner (this also means it's now a clarifying shampoo).

As a quick point of interest, this is fragranced with Froot Loops, a fragrance oil designed by Melissa. It's equal parts Cream Cheese Frosting (Brambleberry or Soapcraft) and Lemon Curd! Delicious! 

Join me tomorrow for making a daily use shampoo for all hair types! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shampoo: A conditioning shampoo with SCI for dry hair.

I love SCI - as if you hadn't noticed yet! - and we can make moisturizing and conditioning shampoos for dry or normal to oily hair by using either the type with stearic acid or the type without. Today we'll be using the type with stearic acid (check with your supplier, but if you have the flakes or noodles you likely have stearic acid type SCI), and tomorrow we'll take a look at using the stuff without for oily hair types!

Yesterday, we took a look at a conditioning shampoo for dry hair. If we add a little SCI with stearic acid, we can make this a creamy feeling shampoo that makes our hair feel conditioned afterwards. You can use the glycol distearate at 2% in this recipe to give it a more pearlized look! If you include both the SCI and glycol distearate, you shouldn't need to include any extra Crothix (although if you're using citrus or vanilla based fragrance or essential oils, you might thin the mixture enough to need just a titch!)

50% water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% SCI (with stearic acid)
5% SMC taurate or decyl glucoside
10% aloe vera
2% glycol distearate
5% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein

3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% fragrance or essential oils
(up to 2% Crothix - when cooled down - optional)

Remember to melt your SCI with your cocamidopropyl betaine first while heating the other ingredients in a separate container. Then add them together and heat until they mix together well. Don't heat the cool down phase - add it when the mixture has been removed from the heat and allowed to come to 45˚C. 

This may end up being very thick - too thick for your taste - so feel free to reduce the SCI to 5% and increase the liquid surfactant (SMC taurate or decyl glucoside) to 10%. You can also increase the water amount, if you wish. Also, feel free to remove the glycol distearate - we already have some nice emollients in the form of stearic acid in the SCI, so the glycol distearate may be too moisturizing for some.

If you want to make this as a clarifying shampoo, take out the 3% cationic polymer and 2% dimethicone and increase the water amount by 5%. That was easy, eh?

Can we make this lovely conditioned-feeling concoction for normal to oily hair? Yes! Join me tomorrow for that recipe!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shampoo: A conditioning shampoo for dry hair.

Making a conditioning shampoo for dry hair is a little harder than making shampoo for normal or oily hair. For dry hair, we want to focus on mild surfactants, increasing the mildness of those surfactants, and increasing the emolliency. Dry haired girls should never ever shampoo without conditioning, and we'll increase the conditioning power of the shampoo through the use of the various cationic polymers. (Click here for an idea for an intense conditioner...)

We'll start by decreasing the surfactant concentration in this shampoo as we know this is a way of increasing mildness. Normally I like to use 40% or so, but in this case let's go for 25%. We'll keep our cocamidopropyl betaine at 10% (thickening, increase in mildness) and we'll choose some dry hair friendly surfactants like SMC or SMO taurate or decyl glucoside. (I'll work with SCI with stearic acid in a future post). Since I am not a fan of having to play around with the pH of my shampoo, I'll choose SMC taurate over decyl glucoside. (Although realistically, the amount of decyl glucoside in this recipe won't raise the pH too much, I really hate working with pH levels with my strips! I need a pH meter!)

We'll also start by adding emollients to the mix. We can use something like glycol distearate (EZ Pearl) at 2% to increase the emolliency (as well as thickening). We can also include something like cocamide DEA or PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate to increase the emolliency and thickening. You can use a water soluble oil if you wish (at up to 4%) or make an oil soluble by mixing it at a 1:1 ratio with polysorbate 80 or another suitable solubilizer. (This will create a more opaque creation.)

And we'll increase the conditioning power of this shampoo by adding our honeyquat or polyquat 7.

Dry hair likes humectants, so we'll want to include some glycerin at 5% (good humectant, increases lather and bubbles). Panthenol is always good, so let's include that at 2% (if you have fine dry hair, you can increase this to 5% but it is better used in our conditioners at that level). I'd also recommend using low molecular weight silk proteins that will penetrate the hair shaft to increase the moisturization of your hair. You can use something like Phyotkeratin - which includes a mix of high and low molecular proteins - to penetrate your hair shaft and film form at the same time. Oh, and 10% aloe vera will help with film forming and thickening the mixture through the extra salts!

Finally, we can add some dimethicone at 2% to our mixture to help with conditioning. If you don't like silicone, leave it out, or use a silicone alternative.

So let's take a look at our conditioning shampoo for dry hair!

47% water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
15% SMC taurate or decyl glucoside (or a combination your hair likes)
10% aloe vera
2% glycol distearate
5% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein

3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% fragrance or essential oils
(up to 2% Crothix - when cooled down - optional)

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

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

You may need to include up to 2% Crothix if you are using fragrance oils that include vanilla or other surfactant thinning fragrances. Add this when the product has cooled completely and can sit for at least 24 hours (preferably longer).

Let's say you're not a fan of the pearlized look or you don't want to heat your ingredients for a long time - we could moisturize hair through the use of emollients like the PEG-7 cocoate or cocamide DEA. You could even use something like a water soluble oil - PEG-7 olivate is a nice choice, but any water soluble oil will do! How would this formula look?

46% water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
15% SMC taurate or decyl glucoside
10% aloe vera
3% PEG-7 cocoate or cocamide DEA or water soluble oils
5% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein

3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7 
2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% fragrance or essential oils
(up to 2% Crothix - when cooled down - optional)

Notice there's really no heated phase here, so you can make this shampoo cold using distilled water. (Click here for the link.) If you have especially dry hair, you can increase the water soluble oils to up to 10% and reduce the water amount accordingly. 

Join me tomorrow for making a conditioning shampoo for dry hair with SCI!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A couple of thoughts about our hair...

As I was singing in the shower this morning ("Evidence" by Faith No More), I started thinking about the nature of washing our hair. Here are my thoughts...

Do we need to rinse and repeat? Not usually. If your hair is especially greasy, yes, but otherwise, no. (Although I'm contradicting Homer who said, "Always repeat".)

When should we rinse and repeat? If your hair is especially greasy, either from sebum or oils you've added to your hair.

Why does the second shampooing feel more lathery than the first? Because some surfactants don't foam or lather well in the presence of sebum. The second shampooing always feels more lathery because you've removed the sebum with the first washing!

What's the best way to wash your hair? I can't really answer this as everyone has their own definition of "best", but I find if I wash my just my scalp with the first shampooing, then the scalp and ends the second shampooing, this works best for me. Don't pile your hair on top of your hair - just bring the shampoo to the ends of your hair and massage lightly. The ends of your hair really don't get that dirty.

How long should I leave conditioner on my hair? According to the Beauty Brains, just long enough for it to work, which is just about instantly. The key is to cover as much of your hair as possible. I tend to leave my conditioner on as long as it takes to sugar scrub and exfoliate my feet, but that's just because I'm kinda lazy.

Should I comb the conditioner through my hair? Yes and no. Remember that our hair is most fragile when it's wet, so if you encounter a tangle, let it be! Get the conditioner all over your hair, then use a really wide mouthed comb. If you can't comb your hair in the shower, leave it be and wait until you use your leave-in conditioner.

What questions do you have about the process of washing, conditioning, or styling your hair? Let me know!

E-mail question: What makes a hair product "colour safe"?

Mich writes to ask: A lot of shampoos and conditioners are labeled "safe for color-treated hair".  What makes them color safe?  Are there ingredients that make color fade faster which those of us with colored hair should avoid?  Or is it just marketing?

The colour on our hair fades in a few different ways - from sunlight, environmental oxygen, friction, washing, and perspiration. 

Shampoos labelled as colour safe tend to have a lot of gentle surfactants in them, and they increase the mildness by using lots of moisturizers and anti-irritant products. They can include anti-oxidants (like citric acid, which also helps to balance the pH, or extracts) and UV protectants in the products as well. You can reduce the friction while washing by not piling your hair on top of your hair and massaging gently instead of scrubbing the heck out of your scalp! 

Shampoos containing SLS are by definition not mild, so any shampoo with mild surfactants will be fine for colour treated hair. If you want to make your own, choose a daily use conditioning shampoo even if you're washing only a few times a week. Since I always formulate with gentle surfactants and increase the mildness, you can use any of the conditioning shampoo recipes on this blog. Reduce the surfactants to between 15% to 2% for a daily use shampoo (more on this later this week). 

Conditioners are almost always, by definition, safe for our colour as conditioners help reduce the friction and form a film to make our hair more lubricated. Since dyed hair is almost always considered damaged, we want to use a good conditioner filled with cationic quaternary compounds, film formers, and silicones to reduce the friction caused by combing, sleeping, and other daily life kind of things. If you find your colour is still fading more quickly than you'd like, then use a leave in conditioner to protect your hair further, and finish up with a silicone spray (90% cyclomethicone, 10% dimethicone in a spray bottle). 

You can add anti-oxidants to your products in the form of 1% Vitamin E, or in the form of various extracts like green tea, rosemary, grapeseed, or chamomile (to name a few) or hydrosols. 

As for UV protectors, you can add a little Parsol or other sunscreen ingredient into your conditioner, but this is a really specific process and takes a ton of work to make it a successful product, and you still won't know if it is working. You could add some oils with potential UV protection like sesame seed, avocado, or raspberry oil, but again, there's no guarantee these will work. 

To summarize: There is a bit of marketing hype here as all gentle to mild shampoo products can be considered colour-safe. As for the conditioners, those with good conditioning agents, film formers, silicones, and oils will reduce the friction that can cause hair colour fading. 

As usual, great question, Mich! 

Shampoo: A conditioning shampoo for oily hair

How do we modify a conditioning shampoo to be more suitable for oily hair?

What's the goal for an oily hair shampoo? To remove the sebum and other stuff in your hair without stripping it. We could use some really harsh detergents to accomplish this goal - SLS, for instance - but this will only cause the oil to come back quicker, so we want to remove enough oil to make our hair look and smell nice without stripping it dry.

So we want to use mild cleansers suitable for oily hair, which include the sulfosuccinates or C14-16 olefin sulfonate. (We won't be changing the cocamidopropyl betaine as it is awesome for all hair types and increases mildness and thickening.) We don't want to increase the oils, so you won't want to put water soluble oils in this mix, but dimethicone can make our hair feel conditioned and nice.

As a quick aside, jojoba oil actually penetrates into our skin through hair strands, so if you're a really really oily girl, it might actually help remove the sebum from your scalp and make it feel cleaner. Try it at something like 3% to start in your shampoo. You don't need to worry too much about emulsifying it - most detergent type surfactants are really good solubilizers so the low amount of jojoba oil will remain in suspension. If you want to use more, try a 1:1 ratio of polysorbate 80 or other solubilizer with the jojoba oil and mix well. This will have an impact on your your foam and lather, but it won't make it less cleansing. 

If you're a frizzy haired girl, you'll want to use high molecular weight proteins - like Cromoist, which is oat protein. If you have straight hair, use any weight protein you like. Lower molecular weight proteins like silk are good for moisturizing from within, so you might consider that.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned my favourite essential oil blend for oily hair, so I'll do it now. I have found that 2% of an equal parts blend of rosemary, cedarwood, sage, and lemon or lime is great for my oily hair (this is anecdotal; sorry, no links here!) and it makes my hair smell amazing. Consider adding something like this to a shampoo or conditioner.

And don't forget your extracts! Rosemary is a great ingredient to include in products for oily hair. You can add it as a hydrosol (my favourite way) at up to 10% or you can add it at 0.5% in the powdered form. If you have seriously oily hair, you might want to consider using something like witch hazel in your product at up to 10% for the astringency. Grapeseed extract is also good for increasing astringency.

A few other hydrosols to consider would be clary sage, orange or neroli, or lavender. I like peppermint in a shampoo to give me a nice scent and slight tingly feeling, but you can choose something you like. (Although if you're using 2% essential oil in your product, you won't smell the hydrosol!)

Okay, so what do we do with all this information? We make an oily hair shampoo, of course!

15% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
15% DLS mild
26% water
10% aloe vera or witch hazel
10% lovely hydrosol like orange blossom, peppermint, or rosemary
10% Amphosol CG
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein (silk for non-frizzy hair, Cromoist for frizzy hair)
2% panthenol
2% dimethicone or condition-eze 7
2% essential oil blend
(optional) 0.5% extract - grapeseed or rosemary
up to 2% Crothix
0.5% Germall Plus or 1.0% Germaben II
Colour, if desired

Note: Feel free to leave out the aloe vera and hydrosol and use all water!

Use the general instructions for shampoo making for this recipe.

Wow, this isn't really all that different from the normal hair shampoo we made yesterday! We use pretty much the same ingredients - our film formers, proteins, dimethicone, panthenol, and humectants - and we use them in just about the same proportions. 

And there's the secret to shampoo making (insert dramatic chord here)! As we saw in the series on body and facial cleansers, if you find a basic recipe you like, you can tweak it to your heart's content by changing the type of ingredients used and keeping the proportions the same. By switching the surfactants to those suitable for oily hair, we've made a product more suitable for those of us who want to chase away the greasies! 

So let's take a look at a conditioning shampoo suitable for dry hair tomorrow! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shampoo: Extended instructions for making shampoo

As per the comment on this post, here are some expanded instructions on how to make shampoo. (I'm expanding on this post - instructions for making shampoo - so I might repeat myself here.)

Instructions for making a heated surfactant mix (this applies to all surfactant based products, including facial cleansers, body washes, bubble baths, and shampoos).

1. Get your supplies ready, including distilled water. Have two Pyrex jugs ready for your ingredients.

Always choose a Pyrex jug much larger than you think you need. You'll be adding a lot of water to your mixtures, and this way you don't have to switch containers. I make sure I have a spoon and a fork at the ready, and have a spatula ready for those stubborn bits that stick to the sides.

2. Weigh out your surfactants into one container and put it into the double boiler to heat until they are easily mixed. You can add the hydrolyzed proteins, aloe vera, and every other ingredient (except the water) in the heated phase at this time.

I use an electric fondue pot from Rival as my double boiler (I put water in the fondue pot - hence, the double boiler part). I like that I can adjust the heat quickly and know the temperature. But once you've used it for making B&B, you can't use it for anything else. (I thought it was possible, but you will spill things into the pot that will cling to the sides, and those things don't go well with melted cheese products!)

You can use a double boiler of your choice - a pot with a Pyrex jug can work well, just make sure you put down some kind of little metal thing so the pot isn't touching the bottom. I bought mine at the dollar store. Nothing sucks more than hearing your Pyrex jug filled with exotic oils and butters go "crack" when you're making lotion!

3. Weigh out enough water, plus a little more, into a kettle. The reason we don't put the water in with the other ingredients is that there's simply so much of it and we'd have to wait a really long time for it to heat up!

4. When your water boils, add to the surfactant mixture in the double boiler and mix really well. You can remove it from the heat to mix well.

I like using forks to mix the surfactant mix. If you have access to a dollar store or a Daiso, they should have big wooden forks that can work very well for larger batches. Mixing might take a while - you do not want to get tons of bubbles. Some bubbles are inevitable. Ingredients like cocamide DEA are pretty unforgiving about adding tons of bubbles to the mix - they may never go down - while others will eventually go clear.

5. Let the mixture cool to 45˚C, then add your cool down ingredients, which include your preservatives, fragrance oils, silicones, and so on.

Different fragrance oils can thin your mixture, but it doesn't matter when you add it! If you use fragrance or essential oils containing vanilla, you'll probably see some thinning. Fragrance or essential oils with citrus and lavender tend to thicken the mixture. Some fragrances seize the mixture, then thin it, and others thin it, then thicken it.

If you're using another thickener, especially one that requires addition to the heated phase, you really want to keep a record of how the various fragrances change the viscosity. If you're using an after-room-temperature thickener like Crothix, you can adjust the viscosity as you wish - if you're using glycol distearate, you really don't have that choice.

I like to keep a chart on my recipe sheet for each product - I put the date, the fragrance oil, and the amount used (for bubble baths I like to use 2%) then how the mixture reacts the day I make it, the morning after, and how much thickener it required. (Click here for a short post on this topic.)

For instance, Pink Sugar and Black Raspberry Vanilla thin my surfactant based products, whereas Black Amber Lavender, Lemon Curd, Hello Sweet Thang, and Jewelled Citrus all thicken (Brambleberry, Soapcraft). And remember to include the supplier for each fragrance oil - BRV from Soapcraft and Nature's Natural Solutions, while BRV from Voyageur doesn't.

Also keep a record of the clarity of your products (check out this post for more information) as some fragrance oils can make your products cloudy. When I'm using Cedar & Saffron (Brambleberry) I use cocamide DEA or glycol distearate because I won't be getting a clear product anyway!

6. Leave the mixture to come to room temperature before adding Crothix so you can see the impact of the fragrance or essential oils on the viscosity. Add it at 0.5% at a time - unless it's really watery, then start at 1%. Add at 0.5% at a time, mixing really really well before you add the next amount. 2% is generally enough to thicken any surfactant mixture, especially if you're adding aloe vera (thanks to the electrolytes).

7. When you're bottling, always put out more bottles than you think you need with the lids nearby. Use a funnel - if you're having trouble getting it into the bottle, squish the bottle until a bubble pops up. This will suck more into the bottle.

If you're using weirdly shaped bottles, like tottles, put it into a Pyrex jug or cup to stabilize it. And buy tons of funnels - you can usually get 3 for $1.00 at the dollar or bargain store - as you'll need them for different fragrances. And throw them out the moment you can smell something on them.

8. Label your bottles with information on the batch, the fragrance, and the purpose of the ingredient. This sounds obvious, but when you've used foot lotion as facial moisturizer or bubble bath as shampoo, you'll realize it isn't easy to tell what you've made a few weeks later (especially if you have tons of bottles of different things in the bathroom!).

Spray your bottle with rubbing alcohol and wipe it off well before affixing the labels. This will make it stick better. Even though most ink jet printers offer water proof printing, the labels themselves aren't waterproof. You can spray them with that Krylon stuff (I get it at Michael's) or you can put packing tape over it.

I hope this provides you with a little more information on how I make surfactant based products.

E-mail question: Using oils in your hair

Laura posed this question:

I would also be very interested to know what happens to the hair when we treat it with an oil mask for a few hours or even overnight and then wash the oil away with a shampoo. If the oil does not penetrate the hair cuticle, is there any benefit from this type of oil treatments? To the hair? To the scalp? Any tips to make these masks more beneficial?

Some oils can penetrate the hair cuticle - those with low molecular weights or shorter fatty acid chains like fractionated coconut oil, coconut oil, babassu oil, and murumuru butter - and some coat the hair strand to offer an increase in slip, softness, and shine. Jojoba oil can penetrate the hair follicles to remove stubborn sebum, and we know coconut oil has a great affinity for the proteins on our hair. (Links to these oil posts can be found on the general oils page.) So oils do have some lovely benefits for our hair.

I want to amend this post by saying that there is no evidence that avocado and camellia oil can penetrate the hair shaft, although they will coat your hair strand and help your scalp. 

The goal of using oils on our hair is to equalize the moisture levels in our hair as they create humidity and moisture barriers, which can prevent frizz, and we see a reduction of 10% to 20% in the combing forces on our wet hair when we use high molecular emollients (the ones that don't penetrate, like the butters or silicones) in our conditioners. (Effectively, they coat the hair strand.)

How can we make these oil masks more beneficial? Using coconut oil would be a great place to start. We know this stuff is great for our hair (heat it to melt it slightly before using). Leaving it on our hair overnight might have some benefits for increasing the penetration in our hair (if they're able to do so) and they will definitely offer moisturizing benefits for your scalp. Some oils have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that might offer some relief to people with scalp conditions. And you want to use this on dry hair - having water on the hair will only repel the oils without an emulsifier.

Does heating it help? We know heating something can increase the solubility, so does this hold true for our hair? If something will penetrate your hair, heating it can increase the rate of penetration. If something won't penetrate your hair, heating won't help you. So if you choose oils that will penetrate your hair or scalp, then heating it a little bit will help it penetrate faster.

Oiling your hair has benefits for certain hair types - dry hair types as well as dry African hair types will definitely benefit - if your goal is to increase the moisture levels inside your hair. Oily hair won't benefit much from oils as it will increase our oiliness, which we're trying to reduce, but you can use it on the dry ends of longer hair.

Oils on their own are not conditioners, but they are great moisturizers we can use to trap moisture into our hair and reduce frizz, and they can help reduce combing forces on our hair up to 20%. Not bad at all, eh?

Shampoo: Modifying the basic shampoo recipe to be more conditioning!

What makes a conditioning shampoo conditioning? The conditioners, of course! A shampoo without conditioners is called a clarifying shampoo and it's intended to remove styling products (although I used it when my hair was extremely oily as they don't tend to contain moisturizers, either). The shampoo we made yesterday would be considered a clarifying shampoo as it only contained surfactants, water, thickeners, hair goodies, and preservatives.

Why put conditioner in a shampoo? If you remember the posts on damaged hair, friction is our enemy, and we want to do everything in our power to reduce the combing forces and friction our hair experiences. By including conditioning agents, we decrease the friction caused by washing, conditioning, and wet combing.

As a quick note, do not try including something like BTMS or cetrimonium bromide in a shampoo. These are cationic compounds and they do not play well with surfactants as they aren't water soluble and will just precipitate out into a gooey mess. For conditioning in a surfactant based creation, you'll want to use the cationic polymers like polyquat 7, honeyquat, or Celquat H-100.

So let's make a conditioning shampoo suitable for normal hair to demonstrate how to use the various ingredients from yesterday's post. The goals of creating a shampoo for normal hair is to cleanse the hair (surfactants), offer some conditioning (conditioning polymers), and some film forming (aloe vera and cromoist), and panthenol. We'll also want a thickener - I'll use Crothix here - and a nice fragrance or essential oil. I'm including glycerin as both a humectant and a bubble improver!

I'll be using some surfactants good for normal hair - SLeS or ALeS, SMC or SMO taurate, and cocamidopropyl betaine. I also like using BSB or LSB in place of the SMC taurate (as it's hard for me to get in Canada). Choose any combination of surfactants you like.

15% SLeS
15% SMC or SMO taurate (or BSB or LSB)
36% water
10% aloe vera
10% Amphosol CG
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2% panthenol
2% dimethicone or condition-eze 7
2% essential oils
(optional) 0.5% extract
up to 2% Crothix
0.5% Germall Plus or 1.0% Germaben II
Colour, if desired

This will make a nice conditioning shampoo that should be followed up with a conditioner!

Let's say you're not a fan of silicones - include some water soluble oils at up to 4% (like PEG-7 olivate) and leave out the dimethicone. Or say you don't like aloe vera because it can act as a humectant, leave it out, or include another hydrosol you like. This is an easily modified recipe - you saw how we built on the basic recipe from the other day - so include or exclude various ingredients that you feel will benefit your hair.

If you're a normal haired girl with frizzy hair, make sure you are using high molecular weight proteins like oat (I use Cromoist) because you don't need the internal moisturizing. If you have curly hair, you might want to consider the higher molecular weight proteins for more internal moisturizing.

If you're an oily or dry haired girl, a few small modifications to this recipe will work well for you (for instance, if you use LSB, you're getting your sulfosuccinates good for mildly oily hair, so this recipe will work well untweaked!)

Tune in tomorrow for more fun with conditioning shampoos for oily hair, then Wednesday for dry hair!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shampoo: Modifying your clarifying shampoo (or any shampoo) for hair with tons of styling products!

Clarifying shampoos are generally used to remove build up and not condition our hair. They'll help remove styling product build up and cleanse your hair well. Ironically, one of the best ways to remove above normal levels of silicone build up (from anti-frizz and heat protecting sprays) is to use cetrimonium chloride, a cationic conditioning agent. You can include it in your shampoo at up to 2%, or include it in a conditioner or leave-in conditioner at the same amount. This will help remove extreme build up from silicones!

By definition, a shampoo with cetrimonium chloride means it's not a clarifying shampoo, but it's probably more clarifying than a shampoo without it! Don't you love irony?

Shampoo: Clarifying shampoo for all hair types

If you want to make a basic or clarifying shampoo, just leave out the dimethicone and conditioning agents. That's really what defines a clarifying shampoo. You can leave in all the lovely film formers - proteins, aloe vera - and the moisturizers, but you leave out the conditioning agents. (I tend to do this as I know I'll be using a lovely conditioner afterwards, but if you know people in your life who might not condition or if you sell your products, then a conditioning or 2-in-1 shampoo might be a better idea.)

15% to 40% surfactants (mix of anionic and cocamidopropyl betaine)
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil
up to 3% Crothix (liquid) to thicken or use salt at up to 3%
water to 100%

We know all the fun things we can include in a shampoo - except our conditioning agents and dimethicone - so let's tweak this for the different hair types.

Start at about 40% mild surfactants for a not-every-day shampoo. (If you're planning to use this as a daily shampoo either reduce the surfactants to about 15% (5% one, 5% the other, 5% cocamidopropyl betaine) or wait until I get to those posts!) As I've mentioned before - with a little envy, I might add - normal haired girls can choose whatever surfactants they like. As we're sticking to the liquid ones for now, you might consider using SLeS or ALeS as they are good all around gentle surfactants, SMC or SMO taurate if you lean towards the dry or a sulfosuccinate or C14-16 olefin sulfonate if you lean towards the oily, or something like a baby blend concentrate if you lean towards the very fine hair. (Click here for surfactant posts here, for the surfactant chart download here...)

We also want some humectants, film formers, and thickeners in this mix. I like liquid Crothix, so I'll include that, but you can use salt or another thickener you prefer. I like aloe vera as a humectant and scalp soother (as well as an electrolyte contributor to the thickening process), but you can feel free to include any hydrosol you like in place of the aloe vera or some of the water amount (if you lean towards oily, rosemary is very nice, and all hair types can appreciate the lovely smell and tingle of peppermint!)

Click here for information on things other than surfactants you'll find in shampoos! 

15% SLeS
15% other surfactant of choice
39% water
10% aloe vera (or other hydrosol)
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice
2% panthenol
1% essential or fragrance oils
(optional) 0.5% extract
up to 2% Crothix
0.5% Germall Plus or 1.0% Germaben II or other preservative at suggested amount
Colour, if desired

If you're an oily girl, you can use this recipe and substitute your preferred surfactants in place of the suggestions I make above.

If you're a dry haired girl, we have a tweak it a bit. Reduce your surfactants to about 25% - 10% cocamidopropyl betaine, 5% one surfactant (probably the SMC taurate), and 10% another surfactant (decyl glucoside would be a good choice). Switch your hydrolyzed protein to something like silk to penetrate your hair, and add some moisturizing ingredients. You'll have to increase your thickening to up to 5% Crothix because of the reduced surfactant amount.

Oh, let's just write this out, shall we?

51.5% water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
5% SMC or SMO taurate
10% decyl glucoside
2% hydrolyzed silk protein (or another low molecular weight protein)
up to 5% emollient ingredient like PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, cocamide DEA, or water soluble oil
3% glycerin
10% aloe vera or hydrosol of choice
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative
up to 5% Crothix when the mixture has cooled

Join me tomorrow for making conditioning shampoos!