Sunday, January 31, 2010

E-mail question: Hydrogenated vegetable oil

More Cowbell poses this question...What timing! I was just looking at this on another site and wondering what the "hydrogenated vegetable oil" is. Do you know? Are we talking Crisco??? :) It seems to also have sweet almond oil, so what hydrogenated oil is so firm that it can incorporate that and still qualify as a butter? And why am I obsessing over this?

The short answer is yes, this product is similar to Crisco, but it probably isn't Crisco. The long answer...yes, this product is similar to Crisco, and here's how it's done!

When we hydrogenate an oil, we break the double bond in an unsaturated fatty acid and insert a hydrogen in its place. It is now a saturated fatty acid - it won't go rancid as quickly as the unsaturated fats and it's likely to be a thicker oil or butter because the fatty acids can lay side by side instead of being all kinky and more liquid.

If you took an oleic fatty acid molecule - C18:1, meaning it has 18 carbon atoms and 1 double bond - and hydrogenated it, we'd end up with stearic acid. As you can see, oleic acid has a kink in it, so it won't lie straight, so we get a more liquidy oil. Stearic acid lies straight, so you can pack them together more tightly, and it will be a thicker butter instead of an oil. You can do the same with any of the unsaturated fatty acids to produce a hydrogenated fatty acid that will pack together better and be a butter instead of an oil.

Here's the link to the larger post on hydrogenation. And here's the link on trans and cis formations in fatty acids.

If we look at the fatty acid profile of shea butter - for instance - we see it has 3 to 7% palmitic acid (C16), 35 to 45% stearic acid (C18), 40 to 55% oleic acid (C18:1), and 3 to 8% linoleic acid (C18:2). Although it is chock full of saturated fatty acids - 38% to 52%, it contains anywhere from 48% to 62% unsaturated fatty acids.

Take a look at sweet almond oil with a fatty acid profile containing 3 to 9% palmitic acid (C16), 2% palmitoleic acid (C16:1), 3% stearic acid (C18), 60 to 78% oleic acid (C18:1), 10 to 30% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 2% linolenic acid (C18:3). It already has between 8% and 14% hydrogenated fatty acids. If we hydrogenated just the oleic acid, that would make a very very hard butter now with 68% to 92% saturated fatty acids - it would contain more saturation than cocoa butter, which is a very very hard butter. So we wouldn't have to saturate a lot of the fatty acids to make it thick and buttery.

We saw a product like this in the green tea butter post - the INCI is hydrogenated vegetable oil, sweet almond oil, and green tea extract. Sweet almond is often chosen as it has a nice long shelf life and won't add any extra smell to the final product. The vegetable oil could be soybean, corn, or canola oil, amongst others. And of course, the extract. This is done to give us a butter for something that wouldn't naturally be a butter, like green tea extract.

As for why you are obsessing about this, I can only say I feel your pain! Things like this drive me crazy - that's why I started the blog! Hope I've managed to be some help here!

Polyphenols: Caffeic acid and its derivatives

So we know polyphenols are good things to have in our extracts and oils, so let's begin - in no particular order - with the derivatives of caffeic acid. I'm putting these in separate posts every day to make it easier to link back as we discuss extracts!

We discussed cinnamic acid, the precursor to caffeic acid, the other day. So let's take a look at caffeic acid and its derivatives today!

Caffeic acid is a powerful anti-oxidant, out-performing almost every other anti-oxidant when tested. It is a possible fungicide, good anti-inflammatory, and may protect skin if applied after sun exposure. It also has anti-mitogenic properties, which is why scientists are studying it as a possible cancer fighter. (A mitogen is a chemical substance that encourages a cell to divide. An anti-mitogenic chemical will discourage a cell from dividing.)

A derivative of chlorogenic acid (composed of esters of caffeic acid and quinic acid), it acts as a low level anti-viral and anti-fungal addition to our creations. It offers anti-bacterial properties, which is one of the reasons it is suggested for acne related products. It's a good anti-inflammatory. And, of course, it is a great anti-oxidant. It is found in blueberry, honeysuckle, and green coffee beans.

Another derivative of chlorogenic acid, it is found in great quantities in sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and peppermint. It has been considered a tannin, so oils and extracts containing rosmarinic acid tend to feel drier on the skin.

It is a great anti-inflammatory ingredient, and can behave like AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) on our skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (Although it can lead to thinning of the skin and a slight increase in transepidermal water loss, if we compensate with lots of good moisturizing ingredients, we're fine!) A glycolic extract of rosemarinic acid at about 5% in hair and skin products can help reduce sebum production, and it is considered a fantastic anti-oxidant.

Polyphenols: Cinnamic acid

Cinnamic acid is a precursor of a group of polyphenols called hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, such as p-coumaric acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and sinapic acid. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, and offers UV protection as well as a reduction in inflammation, redness, and water retention. It is found in great quantities in shea butter and cinnamon.

As an UV protector, you can find it as octylmethoxycinnamate or Tinosorb OMC used to up to 10%. It is an oil soluble sunscreen that works to protect skin from UVB rays. It's generally found in anhydrous products like lip sticks or sports sunscreens. The cinnamic acid we find in shea butter, for instance, can behave as a mild sunscreen, but I wouldn't trust it for that purpose without testing!

Cinnamic acid can behave like an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid), which means it can penetrate the skin and help with cell regeneration under the skin (more on AHAs in the future). Some call it anti-aging as it can help to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles through this mechanism, but it can lead to slightly thinned skin and a slight increase in transepidermal water loss with use over time. But the wonderful and moisturizing fatty acids we find in something like shea butter are more than enough to compensate for these concerns!

Cinnamic acid and cinnamic aldehyde can cause contact urticaria, which is a skin irritation syndrome which results in an immediate type reaction of the skin or mucous membrane. It can be as subtle as itching and redness or as severe as weals or flares on the skin. As little as 0.01% cinnamic aldehyde can produce this result in sensitive people. (This may be one of the reasons someone is sensitive to shea butter.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Polyphenols: Hydroxybenzoic acids

Benzoic acid is the simplest aromatic carboxylic acid on which so many of our wonderful polyphenols are based. It differs from the phenolic moiety we saw earlier today (click here) with the addition of that double bonded oxygen before the -OH. This means it becomes a carboxylic acid (which isn't that relevant at the moment unless you're an organic chemistry geek like me!).

Benzoic acid can inhibit the growth of mold , yeast, and some bacteria, is it regularly used as a preservative in food (anyone recognize sodium benzoate?) It is used as a treatment for fungal skin conditions.

It's found in various berries like raspberries, cranberries, pomegranate, and strawberries.

Hydroxybenzoic acids differ from benzoic acid by the inclusion of the -OH funcational group (you can see the addition at the bottom of this molecule, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid or 4-HBA). This family includes salicylic acid, protocatechuic acid, gallic acid, vanillic acid, and syringic acid. They are good anti-oxidants and fantastic anti-inflammatories, reducing redness and water retention as well.

We've learned gallic acid is a great wound and burn healer, as well as a good anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Vanillic acid is a great anti-oxidant. Syringic acid is found mostly in red wine and whisky - not common ingredients in our products - and behaves as an anti-oxidant.

Salicylic acid is an interesting hydroxybenzoic acid. (You can see how it differs from a standard hydroxybenzoic acid - it has the -OH on the side instead of the bottom!) We know it from aspirin and acne medications as an anti-inflammatory and anti-acne medication, but how does it work? (I'll be doing a longer post on this topic shortly, but here's a summary). Salicylic acid induces exfoliation of our skin by reducing the adhesion between the cells so our skin can slough them off and expose new cells to the outside world. It enters our pores and removes the dirt, fatty acids, bacteria, and other things that might dwell within. It works from the top layers of our skin down, so it can lead to some sensitivity when the new skin is exposed. It can improve skin colour and texture, and remove ingrown hairs and debris from pores. (If you want to use this in your lotions in a powdered form, please read this post and the links on it for more information on safety.)

We find gallic acid in many of our ingredients - green tea, mango butter, pomegranate oil, and evening primrose oil - and we find salicylic acid in aloe vera and other extracts and hydrosols.

Cinnamon bark contains a lot of hydroxybenzoic acids in the form of protocatechuic acid (23 to 27 ppm), salicyclic acid (7 ppm), and syringic acid. Clove contains alot of gallic acid (175 ppm), with a bit of protocatechuic acid (10 ppm), genistic acid or 4-HBA (7 ppm), and syringic acid (8 ppm). Oats are chock full of hydroxybenzoic acids, which might explain why they are fantastic anti-inflammatory ingredients, whether in their full oaty form or hydrolyzed as a protein.

Polyphenols: It's chemistry time!

Since I'm investigating the awesome power of extracts, I thought we'd take a closer look at polyphenols. I know I've done a post on polyphenols in the past, but let's get a little more in depth!

So what exactly is a polyphenol? A polyphenol is defined as a compound that possesses a phenolic moiety. Okay, so what's a phenolic moiety? For our purposes, we'll define a moiety as a functional group - the atoms within the molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of the molecule (this isn't exactly what a moiety is, but it works for now). So the OH part of an alcohol would be the functional group that defines it as an alcohol.

A phenolic is a functional group. It has a benzene ring (a ring of carbon that has 3 double bonds within it) and a hydroxyl group (the -OH). (The actual definition is a class of chemical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl group (OH) bonded directly to an aromatic hydrocarbon group - the benzene ring part.) Although they have the -OH of the alcohol group, they don't behave like alcohols because they are attached to the ring, not a nice straight line of carbon atoms. They have higher pH levels than alcohol - 10 to 12 - and they can be called a carbolic acid.

Phenols can have extra functional groups or can connect with other phenols to create all kinds of interesting polyphenols (the word "poly-" means many). This is hydroquinone - you can see a hydroxyl group has been added to the ring (at the bottom) to create a new compound.

So why do we care? Because polyphenols offer all kinds of amazing benefits to cosmetic products! The major categories are flavonoids, catechins, and lignans, each of which brings something great for our skin! (I'll be mainly focusing on the flavonoids over the next few days!) Flavonoids are classified by their biosynthetic origin - those that are intermediates and end products of biosynthesis, and those that are only end products.

Flavonoids behave as anti-oxidants on our skin and in our bodies by scavenging the free radicals produced at our cell membranes. It is thought (meaning there aren't enough studies or nothing conclusive) the flavonoids offer anti-inflammatory benefits by inhibiting pro-inflammation mediators in our bodies, such as prostaglandins. Some flavonoids have anti-biotic, anti-fungal, and anti-reddening qualities.

For the purposes of our discussions on extracts, I'm going to call them all polyphenols, as it's simply easier that breaking it down into flavones, flavonols, flavanols, and so on.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Extracts - need your ideas!

As you can tell, the next series I'm moving on to researching extracts, and I wondered which ones interested you, my amazing readers! Here's what I've got planned so far...
  • cucumber
  • grapeseed
  • wheat grass
  • chamomile
  • chyrsanthemum
  • green tea
  • guava fruit
  • honeysuckle
  • papaya
  • rosemary
  • seaweed
  • strawberry
I know there are others, but my brain is drawing a blank! What hydrosols and extracts interest you? Let me know!

Green tea extract: Formulating with camellia oil and green tea butter

We've taken a look at camellia oil, so let's start by taking a quick look at green tea butter. What exactly is it?

Green tea butter is not a true butter - it is the extract mixed with a hydrogenated vegetable oil and/or oils to give it a butter type consistency. For instance, at, Karen carries matcha green tea butter (INCI: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil (and) Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil) and Camellia Sinensis Leaf Powder). This seems to be the most common INCI for green tea butter...I think it is Biochemica's matcha green tea butter (click here for data sheet). The suggested use is up to 10% in our various creations.

Green tea butter contains all the goodness we've come to expect from green tea - the caffeine, the proanthocyanins, the tannins, the anti-oxidants - in a butter form. You'll also get the benefits of using an oil like sweet almond oil, with all its fatty acid goodness, and a hydrogenated butter, giving us lovely moisturizing and softening.

So why use green tea butter? Because it's a fantastic way to get the goodness of green tea into an anhydrous creation like a lotion bar or whipped butter! For a lotion bar, you can just add 10% green tea butter in place of the mango or shea or whatever you'd normally use, or you can substitute it for some of the oil at 10% (which will give you a harder bar because you're removing some of the liquidy bits...)

28% beeswax
10% fractionated coconut oil
25% sunflower oil
3% rice bran oil
20% mango butter
10% green tea butter
2% IPM
2% cyclomethicone
2% vitamin E
1% fragrance or essential oil

I've removed 10% of the mango butter and added 10% green tea butter. This will be a slightly drier bar than if I used shea butter. If you want it more greasy, use shea and add 10% green tea butter to that. You could get all green tea happy and substitute 10% of the sunflower oil for camellia oil. Camellia oil is a drier feeling oil than sunflower oil, so you'll get a drier bar!

For a whipped butter, you can start with a basic recipe and just substitute 10% of the butter with green tea butter. Add 10% camellia oil to the oil portion and you have a green tea polyphenol extravaganza going on!

Let's take a look at using these butters and oils in hair care products! Why use it for hair? We love the fatty acids found in camellia oil and green tea butter for our hair - oleic acid is very softening - and we love the polyphenols found in those products for anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and UV protection. First, an intense conditioner then a conditioner bar....

7% Incroquat BTMS
3% Incroquat CR
4% camellia oil
4% green tea butter
3% cetyl alcohol
2% panthenol
2% humectant - honeyquat, glycerin, sodium lactate
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% hydrolyzed protein
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
67.5% water
(optional: 2% cetrimonium chloride - add to the oils phase, remove 2% in the water phase)
If you don't like silicones, then add 4% more water to this recipe or add more light weight oils.

Weigh out the BTMS, CR, oils, and cetyl alcohol in a heat proof container, then put into a double boiler. Weigh out the water and humectant in a heat proof container, and put that into the double boiler. Heat and hold at 70C for 20 minutes. Pour the contents of one container into the other, and mix well with a hand mixer or stick blender. When the temperature reaches below 45C, add the silicones, protein, essential or fragrance oil, and preservative. Spoon into a jar and let cool with the lid off so we don't get condensation.

60% Incroquat BTMS
10% cetyl alcohol (you can use stearic if you want a harder bar, but it's going to be draggy!)
10% green tea butter
5% camellia oil
3% condition-eze 7, honeyquat, or other cationic polymer
2% hydrolyzed protein (I'm using cromoist)

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% cetrimonium chloride
2% fragrance or essential oil (I'm using my oily hair blend of equal parts cedarwood, sage, rosemary, and lime)

If you like this recipe, consider modifying a shaving bar to include 10% green tea butter. I wouldn't include camellia oil in this recipe - it's far too dry for this application, and we need glide here!

Hope you've had fun formulating with green tea. Join me tomorrow for more fun with polyphenols!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Green tea extract: Formulating with liquid extract

You can add liquid green tea extract to pretty much every product we saw yesterday, with the exception of the mineral make-up powders. The liquid extract can vary between suppliers, so check with your favourite shop to find out how they suggest you use it. I am using the liquid green tea extract from the Personal Formulator, suggested use of 5% to 10% in the cool down phase of my creations. When you are using the liquid version of this ingredient, make sure you compensate by removing 5% to 10% from the water phase of your creation! (Other extracts have other suggestions - the Herbarie is green tea extract and water, and can be used at 1 to 50%, whereas Lotioncrafter's is green tea extract, water, glycerin, and preservatives, and can be used at 0.1% to 2%. Follow the suppliers' suggestions!)

Green tea extract - powdered and liquid - can be used in hair care products. There are some studies showing this extract might help with hair growth (so far only proven in lab animals) and keratinocyte differentiation. Consider adding it to your conditioners as an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and UV protectant ingredient. Consider it for a leave in conditioner as well at up to 5%.

Click here for a 14 page PDF tutorial on conditioners.

Because of all the anti-inflammatory and anti-redness qualities of green tea extract, it makes a perfect addition to a shaving lotion! (Original can be found here...) Since I've learned so much about the awesome power of aloe vera, I've increased that to 20% (from 5%), and I've included 5% liquid green tea extract in the cool down phase. If you want to use powdered extract, add it at 0.5% to 1% in the cool down phase and increase the water amount by 4% to 4.5%. If I wanted to increase the awesome power of green tea, I could substitute camellia oil for the jojoba or shea oil, but this would make it slightly drier, which isn't necessarily a good thing for a shaving lotion (which we want to be glidy and silky).

61.7% water
20% aloe vera
2% phytokeratin (or other hydrolyzed protein like oat, soy, corn, wheat, etc.)
1% hydrovance (or another humectant of choice, like sodium lactate)
1.1% hydrolyzed silk protein

3% Incroquat BTMS
2% cetyl alcohol
2.1% jojoba oil
2.6% shea oil

2% panthenol
5% liquid green tea extract
.5% preservative (Liquid Germall Plus at 0.5%, 1% for Germaben II)

Weigh the BTMS, cetyl alcohol, jojoba oil, and shea oil into a Pyrex jug. Weigh the water and aloe vera into another container. Put both containers into a double boiler, melt, and heat until the temperature reaches 70C. Hold for 20 minutes at 70˚C, then remove from the heat and blend the two containers together, mixing well. Leave for a bit, then mix again. When the temperature reaches 45˚C, add the phytokeratin, panthenol, hydrovance, silk, preservative, liquid green tea extract, and fragrance oil (up to 1%). Bottle when the mixture reaches room temperature. You can use a pump, disc top, or turret cap bottle.

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with green tea butter and camellia oil.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

E-mail question: Grainy products when using butters?

Caroline wrote to ask about graininess in lip balm. She's using mango and cocoa butter and wants to know how to get rid of the grains...

The first thing I'd try is changing butters - but that isn't going to make a difference because the inherent problem is with the cooling down of the lip balms, and every butter will go grainy if it isn't cooled properly.

Butters have different fatty acids with different solidification points. If we make lip balm (or other creations with butters) and leave it on the counter to solidify, the butter will go through those temperatures slowly, which can cause grains. If we put the creation in the fridge or freezer, they will cool down more quickly, which doesn't give the fatty acids a chance to crystallize, and we shouldn't get grains.

Some of us are cursed with graininess: There isn't an easy way to tell which of us will be plagued with little gritty bits in our lip balms and which won't. But a quick cool down of your lip balms, lotion bars, and other anhydrous creations like sugar scrubs or whipped butter should ensure fewer grains and more butter-y goodness.

Green tea extract: Formulating with powdered extract

There are a few ways we can get the awesome power of green tea extract into our creations - powdered green tea extract, liquid green tea extract, and green tea butter or camellia oil. Today we'll take a look at using the powdered extract!

You can add green tea extract to any creation containing water. To use the powdered extract, we need to first dissolve it in warm water. You can take a little bit of water out of the water phase, mix in the extract, then add it back during the cool down phase. Typical use is 0.5% to 1% in the cool down phase.

It's very simple to add green tea extract to a very watery creation like a toner, summer spray, and so on. Dissolve it and add to the cool down phase. (Click here for my recipe for toner, winter itchy leg spray, and summer fun spray.)

Adding green tea extract to your lotions is just as simple - 0.5% to 1% in the cool down phase after you've dissolved the extract. Try it in a facial moisturizer, an oil free facial moisturizer, body lotion, or hand lotion.

If you're a fan of mineral make-up, you can include it at 0.5% to 1% in foundations (translucent and opaque base), blushes, and other powdered creations, like finishing powders or concealers. I generally add it at the same amount as the allantoin. As these are dry products, you can just add the extract in and grind it with the rest of the ingredients. If you are making something like a liquid foundation (oil free, light coverage, and medium coverage), add it as you would for a lotion.

3 tbsp treated serecite mica
1 tsp micronospheres
3/16 tsp or 6 scoops calcium carbonate or kaolin clay (for oil control, optional)
3/16 tsp or 6 scoops powdered silk
1/16 tsp or 2 scoops allantoin
1/16 tsp or 2 scoops powdered green tea extract

Place all the ingredients in a grinder (except the micronospheres) or all the ingredients in a bag (including the micronospheres). If you are using a grinder, blend together until all the ingredients are well mixed, then add the micronospheres and blend together in a bag or other non-grinding mixing device. If you are using a bag, squish until the ingredients are well blended. Put into container. Use. Enjoy.

There really is no limit to adding powdered green tea to your products. Join me tomorrow for formulating fun with liquid green tea extract!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Green tea extract: Some other stuff!

After three days of information about green tea, surely we've covered everything? What more could we include? We've covered caffeine, proanthocyanins, and tannins and catechins. Are there still more interesting things to be found in green tea?

We find selenium behaving as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory in green tea. It is a co-factor in the formation of an important protective enzyme (gluathione peroxidase) and it inhibits inflammation after UV exposure.

We also find methyl salicylate at about 0.6%. This is both an anti-inflammatory and a warming agent (it's found in wintergreen as well).

Quite a few studies have shown that the application of green tea extract before exposure to the sun will produce less damage to the skin, less redness, and less inflammation compared to the control group. Other studies have shown the application of green tea extract to the skin for 10 minutes, 3 times per day, could help people with skin damaged by radiation (improvement was seen in 16 to 22 days). The anti-oxidants in green tea may help with the symptoms of rosacea and may prevent retinoid dermatitis. One study showed it might help with pigmentation disorders, like vitiligo.

So what does all of this mean for us as formulators? Well, I think we can see that green tea is awesome, but how specifically awesome is it and how can we get that awesomeness into our creations?

Powdered green tea extract is easy to find from our suppliers. Use it at 0.5% to 1% in the cool down phase of your recipe. Get a little warm water, mix the green tea extract into it, and dissolve well before adding. You can also get liquid green tea extract, which is pre-dissolved into something like glycerin or propylene glycol, which you'd add at 5% to 10% in your creations. As liquid green tea extract can differ between suppliers, check to see their suggested usage rates.

You can add green tea extract into any of our water based creations. I like it in a toner, summer spray, lotion...well, just about anything! Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with green tea extract.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Green tea extract: Tannins and catechins

Yep, I'm still going on about the awesome power of green tea extract, but it really does deserve four posts! We've already looked at caffeine and proanthocyanins, and tomorrow we'll take a look at the other things found in green tea. Today - tannins and catechins!

Green tea extract is filled to the brim with polyphenolic goodness - up to 30% of the dry weight - so let's turn our attention to the flavonoids that make green tea so incredible!

Flavonoids behave as anti-oxidants on our skin and in our bodies by scavenging the free radicals produced at our cell membranes. It is thought (meaning there aren't enough studies or nothing conclusive) the flavonoids offer anti-inflammatory benefits by inhibiting pro-inflammation mediators in our bodies, such as prostaglandins.

Catechins are a type of flavonoid, also called condensed tannins, making up 10% to 18% of the polyphenols in green tea. (We also find hydrolyzable tannins like procyanidins, which we investigated yesterday.) They offer anti-oxidizing features - they have been shown to be more effective than BHT, which is incredibly effective - as well as anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. There are 6 main catechins found in green tea, but the most exciting is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg or EGCG), which is probably the most studied and the most active polyphenolic. (The others are catechin, gallocatechin, epicatechin, epigallcatechin, and epicatechingallate).

EGCg seems to be a wonder ingredient. It is an anti-inflammatory that provides protection from photo-damage. One study showed it could inhibit an essential bacterial enzyme by binding to it, thereby behaving as an anti-bacterial. Another, albeit small, study showed EGCg s effective against tooth decay! It is a very powerful anti-oxidant, up to 200 times more powerful than Vitamin E in in vitro studies.

As a note, tannins are very large molecules - if a catechin has 20 or more hydroxyl groups (-OH) groups, it's considered a tannin. Look at the size of that molecule!

Chlorogenic acid offers anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial benefits. Kaempferol is a very strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that can prevent oxidative damage on our skin. You might remember gallic acid from evening primrose, pomegranate, and mango posts - it is being studied as a burn and wound healer. Quercetin - also found in mango butter - is a powerful anti-oxidant. Rutin is both a powerful anti-oxidant and good anti-inflammatory ingredient. It is being studied for the treatment of varicose veins and other circulation issues, and it can prevent water retention.

Join me tomorrow to look at more awesomeness found in green tea before a few posts in using green tea extract in your creations!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why you must label everything!

I know I go on about labelling things, but there's a good reason. Look at the picture to the left. Look at the picture to the right. If the sun wasn't shining through the window and you were using the same bottles, the products would look very much the same. The one on the left is leave in conditioner. The one on the right is summer time peppermint spray.

So in my eagerness to be more organized this morning, I decided to add the tiny bit of leave in conditioner in one bottle with the larger bottle. It wasn't until I smelled mint after my shower that I realized what I had done!

In this case, the mint spray has many of the same ingredients I would put into a leave in conditioner - panthenol, hydrosols, hydrolyzed proteins - so really the only down side is the fresh scent of mint that follows me instead of oatmeal, milk & honey (which smells a lot like marzipan to me - and I love marzipan!).

Again, I can't stress this enough - label everything!

Green tea extract: Proanthocyanidins and procyanidins

Green tea is so chock full of awesomeness, I had to write a second post (and there'll be a third and fourth post) to get all the awesome stuff in!

Green tea contains up to 30% polyphenolic compounds (of the dry weight) in the form of proanthocyanidins, tannins, catechins, and so on. Let's take a look at the hydrolyzable tannins - also known as proanthocyanidins (polymer chains of flavonoids) - and the subgroup called procyanidins.

A quick reminder about flavonoids: Flavonoids behave as anti-oxidants on our skin and in our bodies by scavenging the free radicals produced at our cell membranes. It is thought (meaning there aren't enough studies or nothing conclusive) the flavonoids offer anti-inflammatory benefits by inhibiting pro-inflammation mediators in our bodies, such as prostaglandins.

Proanthocyanidins are colourless molecules also called oligoflavonoids, condensed polyphenols, or hydrolyzable tannins. They called the latter because they can be hydrolyzed (the molecule is split by water into different compounds) in an acidic environment to produce anthocyanidins, which are coloured.

They play a role in the stabilization of collagen and maintenance of elastin in the skin. They are being studied as water retention reducers, and capillary protectors. They can help the body to produce histamine to prevent allergic reactions. And they are powerful anti-oxidants - they are about 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E.

Procyanidins are part of the proanthocyanidins group, and occur as esters of gallic acid in green and black tea and grapes. They are quite unstable, reacting chemically in acid or base solutions, reacting thermally, and oxidizing easily. They are considered to have anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-HIV properties, as well as anti-oxidizing through free radical scavenging.

So what does this all mean for us as formulators? Green tea's polyphenols are awesome! (I've used that word too many times today!) They offer lots of great anti-oxidants. They may help with inflammation and water retention. They provide increased wound and burn healing, as well as the maintenance of collagen and elastin in our skin.

We need to add green tea to our cool down phase so we don't mess with the thermal stability of the procyanidins, whether we're using a liquid or powdered extract. You also don't want to put green tea extract in something incredibly acidic (something with a ton of AHAs or other acids) or something incredibly basic (a solution made of lye...which would be an insane product!).

It seems obvious this is an ingredient we want in our lotions and other creations, but it could be beneficial for things like foot care products with all the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities. We can use it in a powdered form for a foundation or finishing powder to offer anti-inflammatory and anti-reddening products. Or put it in a toner for those same qualities (as well as the astringency, which we'll see tomorrow).

Join me tomorrow for more fun with green tea extract!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yarrow craft group: Bath bombs & bath salts

Click here for the handout from today's class!
These are super easy if you follow the instructions properly. Bath bombs are made with citric acid and baking soda. When you add them to the bath, they fizz up when they touch the water. (It's like the volcanoes we made for school as kids with vinegar and baking soda. Only in this case, the vinegar has been replaced with citric acid. When it touches the water, it starts an acid-base reaction, causing the fizz!)

Ideally, you won't use any water based ingredients in bath bombs. Stick with fragrance oils and powdered or oil based colours. Having said this, we did use water soluble colours in our class today. If you put the drops of colour into the little puddle of fragrance oil or soybean oil, you won't set off the fizz. Only use a titch or two of colour - one or two drops for the recipe below - and you won't get fizz!

Finally, bath bombs are humidity sensitive. The citric acid is a humectant - it draws water from the atmosphere to it - so the higher the humidity, the higher the possibility you will get "warty" bombs that react to the moisture. I solve this problem by making bath cupcakes - the liner for the cupcake and the icing on top hides the warts!

My recipe:
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
1 to 2 tbsp oil of your choice (I like soy bean oil, but olive oil is awesome also)
3 to 5 ml (3/5 to 1 tsp fragrance oil)

Mix together your baking soda and citric acid. Then add the oil, a few drops of colour, and your fragrance oil. Mix together well. Press into a mold - a silicone ice cube tray or a silicone cupcake tray lined with cute decorated liners - and let set. You can try them about 20 to 30 minutes later. If you go to press it out and it doesn't pop out, it's not done! I tend to let my bath cupcakes sit overnight if I have the time.

Note: This is a 2:1 ratio of baking soda to citric acid. The recipe we did today - the one in the handout - is a 3:1 ratio of baking soda to citric acid. I wouldn't go with 1:1 or 4:1, but the other ratios work well. Why would you use the lower ratio - so you can make more with a craft group!

Click here for today's handout on bath salts.

These are even easier than bath bombs! You can use water based colourants and fragrances for this project.

My bath salt recipe - should do two baths!
1/2 cup epsom salts
colour (use food colouring here if you like)
2 to 3 ml fragrance oil of your choice
Put the epsom salts into a cup. Add your colour. Add your scent. Stir. Package in a cellophane bag or glass container. Label and give to your favourite person who needs a hot, relaxing bath!

Note: Do not package these in plastic sandwich bags. The plastic in those bags will suck out the scent. Store in a glass container or cellophane bag to retain the smell.

Please join me May 1st for another parent-child class - we're making melt & pour soap!

Green tea extract: Caffeine

I admit I've been a bit wary writing this post. There are so many studies into the benefits of green tea, every time I go to post this, there's something new! And there's just so much about green tea to cover, it will take a few days to go ever everything!

Green tea extract (INCI: Camelia sinensis) is manufactured by steaming and drying the leaves at a high temperature to ensure the phenolic compounds do not oxidize. It contains about 2 to 4% caffeine, 0.15% to 0.25% Vitamin C, a whole bunch of polyphenolic compounds - with tannins, proanthocyanidins, and other flavonoids - at about 10 to 25% or 30%. It also contains minerals like zinc, magnesium, selenium, and chromium. And it contains some polyphenols we've met before like quercetin and rutin.

Oh, how we love caffeine, found as theophylline and theobromine in green tea. It behaves as an anti-oxidant on our skin, and can offer anti-inflammatory properties. Let's take a look at the claims made about this wondrous alkaloid for our skin!

Cellulite reduction: There have been many studies about caffeine in the role of reducing cellulite. One study showed that a cream with caffeine used twice a day on the 55 subjects' hips and thighs for 28 days did result in a decrease in cellulite. Another study showed a cream with caffeine used once a day by 27 female subjects on their thighs showed a reduction in the thickness of subcutaneous fat beneath the skin.

However, it seems that these studies are countered by the myriad studies showing the benefits of anti-cellulite treatments containing caffeine may come from massaging in the cream, not the cream itself. Caffeine might penetrate our skin through the hair follicles - as demonstrated by a small study of six male volunteers who had a solution of 70% propylene glycol and 30% alcohol with 2.5% caffeine dissolved therein applied to their arms - but it cannot go very far. Certainly not far enough to the fatty layer under our skin!

Anti-inflammatory: Caffeine has been demonstrated to be a good anti-inflammatory, encouraging blood vessels to constrict and, therefore, appear smaller. Studies have shown it works well for acne and rosacea prone skin to reduce the redness, and it is effective for post-sun exposure creams (more about this in a moment).

Anti-aging: Caffeine is an anti-oxidant, which means it will fight free radicals on our skin. In addition, it is showing great promise in fighting UVB radiation damage when applied 30 minutes before sun exposure and immediately after exposure, killing off the damaged cells but keeping the undamaged skin cells alive. (These studies were on rats, but scientists are happily replicating these effects on human volunteers.)

Sun exposure: I did see a claim that caffeine can have an SPF of 50, but I did not see any evidence for this, indications of how much we should use or how we should use it, so I would take this claim with a grain of salt. You can see, however, there are studies showing how awesome it is for damaged cells, so don't use it in place of a sunscreen, but consider using it in a lotion for during or post sun exposure.

Hair growth: Some in lab studies show caffeine applied topically can increase hair growth, but there is no evidence of this in humans.

Psoriasis: There have been a few studies showing a lotion with 10% caffeine can help improve psoriasis. This cream, applied three times a day for 28 days, showed it was more effective than a placebo at reducing psoriasis symptoms. There was the annoying side effect of mild itching.

The downside of using green tea extract solely for the caffeine content is the large amount you'd have to use to get the required amounts. To get 10 grams of caffeine in 100 grams of lotion, you'd have to include 200 grams of green tea extract or more. To get 2.5 grams in 100 grams of lotion, you'd have to include at least 100 grams of green tea extract! Obviously, this isn't an option.

But you can get the goodness of caffeine using low levels of green tea for anti-inflammatory purposes. This is one of the reasons I use it in my toner and like to use it in my face moisturizers. I have Northern European skin - I don't tan, I burn, and I get red easily - so an anti-inflammatory containing caffeine is a nice bonus for me. You also get the benefits of a lovely anti-oxidant!

But there's more to green tea than just the caffeine! Join me tomorrow for fun with green tea's polyphenols!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A few other butters...

Since I've decided to try different things in my creations this year, let's take a look at a few other butters. In the food and cosmetic industry, six butters are considered substitutes for cocoa butter - palm, illipe, kokum, sal, shea, and mango - but they do offer different qualities and fatty acid profiles for cosmetic formulators. (I'm not going over palm today and we've already seen shea and mango...)

ILLIPE BUTTER (INCI: Shorea stenoptera)
With a fatty acid profile of 20% palmitic acid (C16), 42% stearic acid (C18), 36% oleic acid (C18:1), and less than 1% linoleic acid (C18:2), illipe has a melting point of 28 to 37˚C. It is considered the best substitute for cocoa butter with similar melting points - 28˚C to 37˚C - and similar fatty acid profiles. Unlike cocoa butter, it contains about 900 ppm tocopherols and some nice phytosterol levels (about 1200 ppm with ß-stigmasterol making up about 900 ppm and avenasterol at 281 ppm). It also provides barrier protection, and offers good moisturization in the form of palmitic and stearic acid. It has a shelf life of about two years.

Try using this in a body butter in place of cocoa butter.

MOWRAH BUTTER (INCI: Madhuca longifolia)
With a fatty acid profile of 28% palmitic acid (C16), 14% stearic acid (C18), 49% oleic acid (C18:1), and about 9% linoleic acid (C18:2), it is considered another substitute for cocoa butter, but it's closer to shea butter with a melting point of 24˚C to 28˚C. It is considered a butter with strong free radical scavenging properties, although I can't find the tocopherol, phytosterol, or polyphenol amounts!

Consider using this where you might use shea butter - try whipping it or using it in a lotion bar.

Illipe and mowrah butter are often sold as the other butter, so check the INCI before buying! Either can be called Borneo tallow or Tengkaway.

KOKUM BUTTER (INCI: Garcinia indica - the picture above is of the seeds and fruit)
This butter has a much high melting point than other butters - 38˚C to 40˚C - and will make your lotions or other creations much thicker than with other butters. The fatty acid profile is similar to the other butters - 5 to 8% palmitic acid (C16), 40 to 45% stearic acid (C18), 40 to 50% oleic acid (C18:1), and 2 to 4% linoleic acid (C18:2) - but it is considered an astringent butter, on par with mango butter. Its shelf life is listed as between 1 to 2 years.

Consider using kokum butter in a lotion bar and reducing the amount of wax you include in it. I'd try 25% wax with 33% kokum butter - use even less wax with more kokum for a slightly softer bar!

SAL BUTTER (INCI: Shorea robusta)
This butter as a melting point on par with cocoa butter - 34˚C to 38˚C - but the fatty acid profile is different. With 2% to 8% palmitic acid (C16), 35% to 48% stearic acid (C18), 35 to 42% oleic acid (C18:1), and 2% to 3% linoleic acid (C18:2), it has a fatty acid profile closest to kokum or shea butter. Sal butter also contains 6% to 11% arachidic acid (C20, also known as eicosanoic acid), which you'll also find in coconut and sesame seed oils to far lesser extents. The interesting thing about arachidic or eicosanoic acid is the role it plays in hair care.

Our hair has a fatty layer on the shaft and 18-methyl eicosanoic acid (18-MEA) makes up about 40% of that layer. Can adding something with eicosanoic acid help this layer? I have no idea, but it can't hurt to try it in a conditioner and see if you like it!

MURUMURU BUTTER (INCI: Astrocarya murumuru)
Murumuru butter has a an interesting fatty acid profile with 1.85% caprylic acid (C8), 1.85% capric (C10), 47.5% lauric acid (C12), 26% myristic acid (C14), 6% palmitic acid (C16), 2.5% stearic acid (C18), 12.5% oleic acid (C18:1), and 3% linoleic acid (C18:2). It has a melting point of 25˚C to 37˚C, making it more like coconut oil than cocoa butter. (Actually it has almost the same lauric acid level as coconut oil, and almost the same melting point.)

You can substitute murumuru butter anywhere you would use coconut oil - and you'll be adding a little oleic acid as well for extra moisturizing. Lauric acid is a fantastic fatty acid for hair - it has a high affinity for hair proteins, and because of its low molecular weight and linear chain structure, it can actually penetrate the hair shaft - so try this butter in a hair care product like an intense conditioner and enjoy some awesome moisturizing benefits.

Join me tomorrow for a closer look at green tea extract!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Body butter becomes foot cream

This is a bit of a cheating example because I've already formulated something from the body butter that I think would work great for really damaged husband's very itchy body butter recipe. Many of the issues I addressed in that post would work wonders for Wanda's feet (don't you love a good alliteration?), but let's formulate something from scratch!

60% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin

10% oils
15% shea butter
6% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

Okay, first things first - I want that 3% menthol in there, as well as the 0.5% each of camphor and eucalyptus because Wanda loves those. And I'll need more humectants in there. I need to take a look at the oils and butters to see if they work well, and I want to add some goodies to the water and cool down phase.

Humectants: Need more! So let's add 3% glycerin to this mix. I'll 2% sodium lactate as well because I like it, and I'm not worried about sun sensitizing for a foot lotion.

Allantoin: I like it at 0.5% for barrier protection.

Hydrolyzed protein: Again, I like this at 2% for film forming and moisturizing. I think I'll go with silk amino acids since I have some and since they will actually penetrate skin.

Panthenol: Love this stuff and it works well for damaged skin. 2% in the cool down phase for sure!

Water phase: I like aloe and lavender in a foot care product. Since I won't have a huge water phase, I think I'll leave the water out entirely and just go with equal parts of these liquids instead. I can't decide on the amounts until I see what my oil phase let's move on for a moment.

Oils and butters: I've been going with rice bran oil and mango butter, but would something else work? What about calendula oil? It has good levels of linoleic acid (27.5%) but contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is fantastic for reducing inflammation. It is also anti-septic, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial, with healing properties for wounds. It's a light dry oil, and might be a good addition. Cranberry oil might be a fine choice with the nice levels of linoleic acid, good Vitamin E levels, and tons of phytosterols that will help reduce inflammation, redness, and itching? Or pomegranate oil with the punicic acid that offers cell regenerating, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties? It increases skin elasticity, as well. And the the other polyphenols can help with wound and burn healing, increase skin regeneration, thicken the skin, and offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Or sea buckthorn oil with its high levels of Vitamin E, palmitoleic acid that can help with wounds and scratches, and high phytosterol levels to help with anti-inflammatory benefits?

Okay, let's back up a second. Which butter should I choose? If I go with mango butter, I might consider using greasier oils. If I go with shea butter, dryness might be a bonus. Hmm, which one works well? Let's be honest...either are great choices. I think I'll go with mango butter because I do have a ton of it in the house and it does offer anti-fungicidal and anti-microbial properties. Although shea does contain allantoin - bonus! - I'm adding it to the water phase any way, so let's choose mango butter.

We have our butter. Does this change our oil choice? Possibly. Let's take a look at some carrier oils we could use first, then add exotic oils if we feel like it. (I feel a bit like John Cleese yelling at his students in the "Meaning of Life"! Do we need to go stampeding towards the exotic oils when we have less expensive but similarly awesome carrier oils at our disposal?)

What about avocado oil? It's a heavier feeling dry oil with all kinds of wonderful phytosterols to help with moisturizing and inflammation, and it is well absorbed by the skin. It is a high oleic oil, so we'd want something with linoleic oil to help with barrier protection. Sunflower oil is a light, greasy feeling oil with high levels of linoleic acid - this might be a great choice - or soy bean oil with a longer shelf life and nice levels of phytosterols for moisturizing and anti-inflammation. (We could also use all sesame or rice bran oil for a nice balance of fatty acids!)

I think I'll go with a mixture of mango butter, avocado oil, and soybean oil for this application. Let's leave the exotic oils for another time. In the original version of this body butter we used 10% oils and 15% butters. I really want the linoleic acid contribution of the soybean oil for repairing the skin's barrier protection, so I think I'll switch those amounts around and use 15% oils (10% soy bean oil, 5% avocado oil) and 10% butters.

Silicones: 2% dimethicone offers good barrier protection, so that's going into the cool down phase.

Emulsifiers: Our oil phase is now 32% of our recipe - 25% oils and butters, 2% dimethicone, 3% menthol, and 1% essential oils. I want to include some cetyl alcohol in here for the thickening and glide, so let's do that at 3%. Our total is now 35% oil phase. At 1/4 for Polawax, we need to use 8.75% emulsifier. Round it up to 9% (I'm not a fan of fractions!) and we have our emulsifier amount.

Okay, so what do we have so far? Our ingredients make up 53%!
Water phase - 7.5% of the recipe
Oil phase - 40.0% of the recipe
Cool down phase - 5.5% of the recipe
We'll go with 30% aloe vera, 23% lavender hydrosol for this application and leave out the water entirely!

30% aloe vera
23% lavender hydrosol
3% glycerin
2% sodium lactate
0.5% allantoin
2% silk amino acids

10% soybean oil
5% avocado oil
10% mango butter
3% menthol
9% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol

2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% camphor essential oil
0.5% eucalyptus essential oil

So we have a lovely foot lotion to soothe the dry skin of my bestest friend made with all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff. How is this different than modifying a lotion? Honestly, not a lot different. If you compare yesterday's post and today's post, you'll see we end up at almost the same point. Part of this are my preferences as a formulator, part of this is because there are only so many variations on lotions you can make!

Join me tomorrow for more formulating fun!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Free way.

Okay, apparently the message "don't make comments on my site looking for free advertising" isn't clear to some people. So here it is want free advertising, here's an entire post on your product! (For previous posts please click here or here.) And as for you, the person who calls him/herself "seabuckthorn oil" on the comments, I can understand once, but three times?

Thank you, Arlene Chase (who lists her profession as "on line selling"), for letting us know all about this product - Make Spa Products at Home - downloadable for the low price of $27 (an additional candle making e-book is available). From the site..."Sure, you can find soap and spa product recipes for "free" on the Internet, but you'll NEVER find anything like this rich collection of hand-picked recipes and original ideas that has taken years of experience and dozens of hours to compile and edit." (I will disagree with this. I think the Dish is the single most important place on the 'net and recommend it to everyone!) When I read the list of what they're offering - how to be clean, how to label to comply with FDA regulations, how to handle ingredients - it sounds like a very promising e-book.

Okay, a few thoughts...I'm all for paying for a book. I'm all for supporting authors directly and I'm all for learning from people more expert than myself. But how do I know this is a good resource? I know the first books I took out of the library on the subject were filled with erroneous information about preservatives and shelf lives and so on, and had I continued making products that way, I'd have a lot of angry friends and family members who had moldy lotions or microbe filled shampoos.

I can't comment about this actual book - I can't see snippets of it, although the one water based recipe I saw on the blog didn't recommend preservatives, which worries me - but I don't appreciate the way it is being promoted, especially on my blog! I don't know much about business, but I do know a little about psychology and marketing. When you use dubious promotion techniques, you create a dubious brand identity. (Creating a brand identity and learning free promotional techniques are listed in the table of contents, and I'd like to suggest if this is one of the techniques, well, think again.)

Think of those products ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS TV OFFER! ACT NOW! Even products with good qualities - the Shamwow, the Magic Bullet, the Snugglee thingie - are slightly tainted by their promotional techniques (and don't get me started on the Slap Chop! Am I the only person who think the guy promoting this thing is about 15 minutes out of rehab and on really shaky ground with his sobriety? And the Graty? It sounds like a product I would get to name - The Thingie, The Slicey, The Sharpie Knife of Awesomeness!) The over the top promotion of these products get our attention, but we're still slightly embarrassed to buy or own one of these products. (Okay, not the Magic Bullet. It's awesome!)

An aside, I was the Sea Monkey Lady, an enthusiastic promoter of Sea Monkeys. I didn't work for the company; I just liked Sea Monkeys. (Did I mention I'm a geek?) I had a website, wrote a book, toured around talking about the joys of the genetically altered brine shrimp. They are wonderful pets - great for kids to teach them about responsibility and science, great for adults who are busy and need a pet that isn't high maintenance - but they carry the taint of the product found only in a comic book. (And yes, they really come to life when you add water! But X-Ray Specs don't work!) It's something the company who distributes them still can't overcome, and they've been in stores for 20 years!

So what the heck am I trying to say here? Consider your brand. You are selling more than a product - you're selling hopes and dreams, a lifestyle, an identity. As a very small business owner or crafter, you're selling yourself as well - your expertise, your commitment, your philosophy. It is very difficult to create a positive brand identity - why would you ruin it?

This could be the most awesome book in the history of books (although it would have to be ultra mega supremely awesome to beat Neuromancer, but I'll pretend for a moment it's possible...) but I'd still think twice before buying. I don't know if this Arlene Chase is connected with the author, but I know she has done more damage than good in my mind...

Thus endeth the rant...

Foot lotion becomes foot cream

Wanda's operation might have been a success in fixing her feet, but it did quite a number on her skin! Yesterday's foot lotion is a great product for someone with normal to slightly damaged feet, but when you've got peeling skin, you know you need some serious help! (As a belly dancer, Wanda usually takes very good care of her feet, so we need something quick and intense!)

What could we make for her? An anhydrous mixture full of really intense oils and butters with exotic oils and extracts thrown in - maybe something whipped? - might sound like a good idea, but we need the water content of a cream because her feet are really really trashed. So a cream or lotion is the way to go here. I'm thinking a cream might be our best choice.

So what's the difference between a lotion and a cream? A lotion tends to have more water than a cream, and I usually use stearic acid instead of cetyl alcohol so it feels thicker and stays on the skin longer. I will increase the amount of oils we've been using and decrease the amount of water.

Let's take two approaches to this - today we'll modify our lotion to be more like a cream, tomorrow we'll look at modifying our basic body butter to be more foot friendly!

Here's our recipe from yesterday...
35.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% peppermint hydrosol
3% glycerin
2% sodium lactate, sodium PCA, hydrovance
2% hydrolyzed silk protein
0.5% allantoin

15% rice bran oil
5% mango butter
3% stearic acid
6.5% emulsifier (I like Polawax in this recipe)
3% menthol

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
0.5% eucalyptus essential oil
0.5% camphor essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% Vitamin E

So how do we make this more cream-y and less lotion-y? And how do we do it keeping the goal of making Wanda a very intense, very moisturizing foot lotion?

We want a few things in here for sure. We need barrier protection, repair of skin's barrier protection, and serious moisturizing. A little conditioning wouldn't hurt, so I think I'm going to add a bunch of really nice conditioning agents to this. And to make it more of a cream, we want to reduce the water based ingredients.

Humectants: We live in south-western B.C., which can be a very humid place, so humectants are our friends! I want to increase the glycerin in this recipe to 5%, keep the sodium lactate at 2 to 3%, and add some honeyquat or condition-eze 7 at 3% for more humectant-y goodness and to condition.

As a note, if you live in less humid climates - like Arizona - humectants might not be your best friend. Some people report feeling less moisturized when using large amounts of glycerin. You'll have to figure out how you like your lotions - I am formulating for a very humid climate and those are the weather conditions I consider when I'm creating something new.

Oils and butters: I like yesterday's choices of rice bran oil and mango butter, but we want to increase the oil and butter amount to make it more of a cream. So let's add 5% more butter to make it 10%. Should we increase the mango butter or add another one? Originally I was thinking about aloe butter, but I can always increase the amount of aloe in the water phase, so what about a little shea butter? It's nice and moisturizing, and has occlusive properties. It might feel a little greasy, but a good foot lotion should feel like it's working for you!

And what about adding something like evening primrose or borage oil? The GLA is a great skin barrier repair ingredient and can increase skin hydration and flexibility as well as reducing transepidermal water loss. Borage oil contains ferulic acid - a great anti-oxidant with soothing and moisturizing qualities - which reduces itching and inflammation. The ellagic acid can help increase skin cell regeneration and thickening of the skin, both of which are good things for damaged feet. Borage is a drier oil, so it might compensate for the greasiness of the shea and rice bran oil. (I know it's not a cheap oil, but this is for my best friend!!!)

So let's reduce the rice bran oil to 7.5%, add borage oil at 7.5%, keep the mango, and add 5% shea butter for a total of 25% oils or butters.

Emulsifiers: We've increased our oil phase to 36% of the total recipe (increase of 10% from the oils and butters), so we need to modify our emulsifier. We want to use 25% or 1/4 the amount of emulsifier as the oil phase, so we'll need 9% emulsifier in here! Which one to use. Polawax seems obvious, but why not use BTMS for a more conditioning, slightly drier feeling? So let's use that at 9%. (If you make conditioners, you know 7% makes for a thick conditioner. This will make a very thick mixture.)

If BTMS is so awesome - adding all that conditioning stuff - then why don't I use it all the time? Because of the powdery feeling. I'm not a fan of it in a body lotion, but in a foot lotion I'm not that worried about it. Besides, we have quite a lot of oils and butters in here, and I don't notice the dryness.

But wait! BTMS contains cetyl alcohol already and it's going to thicken up very well, so I think I can leave out the stearic acid amount. Which means I've reduced my oil phase to 33%, so I can reduce the BTMS to 8% of the recipe. So I'll have two conditioning agents - 3% honeyquat and 8% BTMS. Remember, if you use Tinosan to preserve your products, you'll have to find another preservative as this is now a cationic (positively charged) lotion. (Normally lotions are non-ionic or neutrally charged.)

Water based ingredients: I'm keeping the aloe vera - heck, I think I'll increase it to 20% of the water phase - but I'll get rid of the peppermint as it's probably a waste with all that menthol in there! I like the cromoist at 2% and I like the allantoin at 0.5%, so both of those remain the same. But we'll reduce the water level to compensate for the extra oils, butters, and humectants we've added. So we only need 25% water for a total of 45% water (aloe at 20%, water at 25%).

Hold on! We have 45% water? Doesn't that make it a water in oil lotion instead of an oil in water lotion? Yeah, kinda sorta, not. Although we have a low amount of actual water in our water phase, our actual water phase is 59.5% (57.5% in the water phase, 2% panthenol), which means we still have more water based ingredients than oil based ingredients. So it's still an oil in water emulsion. So we can use our regular emulsifiers for this application!

So let's take a look at this recipe now...

25% water
20% aloe vera
5% glycerin
2% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed protein (I like cromoist)
0.5% allantoin
3% honeyquat

15% oils - 7.5% rice bran oil, 7.5% borage oil
10% butters - 5% mango butter, 5% shea butter
8% Incroquat BTMS
3% menthol crystals

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
0.5% camphor essential oil
0.5% eucalyptus essential oil
1% Vitamin E

I'll throw in a lovely package of minty foot salts and a foot scrub bar, and send her good foot healing thoughts!

100 grams Epsom salts
20 grams baking soda
10 grams citric acid
1 to 2 ml peppermint essential oil

Mix. Package. Rejoice.

As a disclaimer, my best friend makes all this stuff with me, so instead of packaging it all up and giving it to her, we'd actually go have a super happy fun girly afternoon eating chocolate covered cherries and singing at the top of our lungs while marvelling at the wonders of emulsification. But when she was hobbling around, I had to create on my own. Sigh.

Join me tomorrow for modifying a body butter to be a foot cream.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Body lotion becomes foot lotion

My best friend shows off her exciting foot operation. When the bandages came off, we realized she needed something pretty intense for her feet!

We saw the differences between a hand lotion and body lotion, now let's make a foot lotion! We'll base it on the body lotion from the other day.

We can keep the water amounts relatively the same, although I wonder if I shouldn't leave in the hydrosol or aloe, or should we go for straight water? Lavender hydrosol can soothe irritation and redness, and we saw the wonderful things aloe vera can do the other day, so I'm going to leave it in. I could go with some peppermint hydrosol - it's new at Voyageur, so you know I have to play with it! - as it will impart a cooling feeling. Hmm, I'm not sure which one I'll use yet!

During the winter, feet don't tend to be exposed to the air or sun much, so we don't have to worry about our humectants causing sun sensitivity. Because I want something very moisturizing, I'm going to increase the humectants in this recipe - I want 2% sodium PCA or up 3% sodium lactate - and I'll include glycerin at 3% as well, because I don't mind if it is sticky or not. (The sodium lactate will improve the barrier properties of our skin by stimulating ceramide synthesis and increases the plasticity of our skin, as well as being a good, inexpensive humectant.) You can use hydrovance as a humectant or even throw in a little cationic polymer, if you like.

I'll keep the allantoin - it protects and softens skin, both of which are great for foot products! - and the hydrolyzed protein - I think I'll use silk amino acids here as it will penetrate the skin to offer extra moisturizing - at the same levels.

For the oil phase...well, this is the fun stuff, isn't it? Do I want a butter in here? A resounding yes! Mango butter is a great addition for a foot cream. Mangiferin and caffeic acid are effective anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory ingredients. The palmitic acid will help form a barrier, and the stearic and oleic acids are very moisturizing and softening.

Which oils would go nicely with mango butter? For feet, we want oils that soften, protect, and increase water retention. Because we don't have a lot of Vitamin E in the butter, ideally we'd choose something with some lovely levels of tocopherols and tocotrienols. We could also consider some oils with high levels of phytosterols to help with inflammation and reddening, if these are issues.

Avocado oil might be a very nice choice here as it is absorbed by our skin and contains a lot of phytosterols. Castor oil might be an interesting choice - it is very thick, but it contains ricinoleic acid, which is a humectant that offers anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and analgesic properties. Macadamia nut oil might be a great choice with the palmitoleic acid that can help heal scratches, burns, and wounds - if you have chapped feet, you have wounds! - and it is anti-microbial.

Unfortunately, none of the oils above have great levels of Vitamin E. You can add it yourself at 1% in the cool down phase, if you wish. And all of the above oils are considered dry. Couple this with mango butter, and you'll have quite a dryish feeling foot lotion.

So what could we add that isn't a drying oil? Hempseed oil contains GLA, which would be great for barrier repair and moisturizing benefits, but the short shelf life could be an issue if you are gifting this to someone. Rice bran oil contains a nice level of Vitamin E - 400 ppm - with ferulic acid - an anti-oxidant - and oryzanol, which is is a great softening, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory phytosterol. It also contains squalane, which is a fantastic softening ingredient. As usual, sunflower, sesame seed, and soybean oil would be great additions for the linoleic acid and Vitamin E content, but they also contain a ton of phytosterols that would help with inflammation and itching.

So what to choose? If you wanted to include rice bran oil alone, you'd have a great combination of all the various things we seek in an oil - Vitamin E, squalane, linoleic and oleic acids, phytosterols, and polyphenols. It's a medium weight oil, and it would go nicely with the dryness of the mango butter. I think I might try formulating with just the one oil today!

I'll switch to stearic acid as I want this to be a thick cream and quite tenacious!

As for cool down phase, I'll keep the dimethicone, panthenol, and preservative the same. I don't really need the cyclomethicone right now - this will be a thick cream, so 1% isn't going to make a huge difference to the spreading or detackification features. For the fragrance oil, however, I'll use 3% menthol in the oil phase with 0.5% eucalyptus and 0.5% camphor in the cool down phase.

Oh, and I think I'll go with peppermint hydrosol because it's new to me and because it will add some lovely cooling to this mixture. Honestly, I don't think I need any more cooling because I have 3% menthol, but I figure why not? If you don't have the hydrosols and aloe, just use distilled water.

Oh, and as a last check - my emulsifier? My oil phase is 26% (the oil phase, plus the dimethicone and essential oils), so my Polawax should be at 25% that amount, meaning I need 6.5% emulsifier. Check!

35.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% peppermint hydrosol
3% glycerin
2% sodium lactate, sodium PCA, hydrovance
2% hydrolyzed silk protein
0.5% allantoin

15% rice bran oil
5% mango butter
3% stearic acid
6.5% emulsifier (I like Polawax in this recipe)
3% menthol

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
0.5% eucalyptus essential oil
0.5% camphor essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% Vitamin E

1. Weigh your water phase into a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Sprinkle the allantoin into the water as it heats, and mix until it is fully dissolved.

2. Weigh your oil phase into a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.

3. Heat both phases to 70˚C and hold for 20 minutes.

4. When both phases reach 70˚C, pour the water phase into the oil phase and mix very well with a stick blender or hand mixer Mix periodically as it cools.

5. When you reach 45˚C, add your cool down ingredients and mix very well.

6. Allow the lotion to come to room temperature before bottling. I have found a pump or a tottle bottle works best for this lotion.

Join me tomorrow for more tweaking foot lotions!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tweaking body lotions!

So yesterday we took a look at how to make a winter time body lotion for my weather exposed skin - let's take a look at another skin concern? What about aging, really dry skin in the winter? What are the goals for something like this?

You'll want lots of oily oils. As we age, our sebum production is reduced drastically, eventually reaching the levels we saw in pre-pubescence, so we need some oil in there! We want oils with high levels of linoleic acid to help improve the skin's barrier functions, behave as an anti-inflammatory, and retain moisture. We want oils that offer moisturization and cell regeneration. And we want something to help with skin's barrier functions. Oh, and, of course, Vitamin E.

We'll want a butter in there as well to offer occlusion and moisturizing. Shea butter is occlusive and is supposed to be great for aging skin thanks to all the stearic acid that offers flexibility and elasticity to skin. I think I'll increase this to 10% in this recipe as this butter offers a lot of features I like!

With shea butter offering us great phytosterols, occlusion, and fatty acids to help with skin flexibility and protection, we can consider using lower amounts of less greasy oils. High GLA oils are a great inclusion for older skin, so why not consider either evening primrose or borage. Cranberry oil offers high levels of Vitamin E (moisturizing, softening) and phytosterols and will help increase skin's barrier functions. Pomegranate oil can offer an increase in the regeneration of skin cells, an increase in skin thickness, and a reduction in the destruction of collagen. But it doesn't have a lot of Vitamin E, so I'll have to add 1% to the lotion.

I think I'll go with 10% pomegranate oil, although any of those oils would be a great choice. (Remember my comment about using something because it's new - well, this one is new to me, so I'm including it in everything!)

I'm adding green tea extract to this mix as the polyphenols are great for older skin!

29% water
10% aloe vera
10% lavender or chamomile hydrosol
3% glycerin or other humectant
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% allantoin

10% oil combination of choice - 10% pomegranate
10% butter of choice - shea butter
3% cetyl alcohol
7.5% emulsifier (I like Polawax in this recipe)
2% IPM

2% panthenol
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
0.5% powdered green tea extract
1% Vitamin E
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative

So what really changed? The water amount has decreased because I've included 1% Vitamin E and 0.5% powdered green tea extract, so I took 1.5% out of the water phase. The oil phase remains pretty much the same, so the emulsifier can remain the same.

This will be a thicker lotion than the previous lotions as we have included more butters in the mix, which thickens it up. It will be a greasier lotion, but I think we've compensated enough with the dry oil and the IPM, so it won't be too ridiculously oily.

Join me tomorrow for more tweaking!