Sunday, July 15, 2012
A few quick note about formulating or tweaking recipes!
If you find a recipe you like that has an oil or ingredient you don't have, learn about that ingredient to see if you can leave it out. You can substitute oils for other oils, for the most part, and butters for other butters.
I suggest reading the learning to formulate series if you really want to make products of your own. And if you've never made anything, check out the newbies link below or come back in a week or two when we start the newbies posts again!
Why are you trying to make your own recipes when you're a newbie?
The newbie Tuesday series...
Learning to formulate series...
Frequently asked questions section
Secondly, it's feeling a little insulting when you find a recipe on another site and ask me to help you make it work after it fails for you. I realize I might seem a little petty of me because I know I'm not your only blog, that you'll visit other blogs and sites you like, but when you write to me and ask, "I love this recipe, but I don't have these ingredients, so can you rewrite it for the ingredients I have?" I feel a bit irked. I'm not sure why - I think it's probably because I don't have a lot of time to answer e-mails, and it feels like you should be writing to the person who wrote the recipe instead of me. If you do have a non-blog recipe you want to tweak or need help figuring out, please consult the appropriate sections of the blog for more information. I'm sure you can find what you want there? I don't mind answering a question like - why didn't this work? or what did I do wrong? - but to send me a recipe and ask me to analyze it and rewrite it, I just don't have the time...
I suggest you write to the person who wrote that recipe and ask them for help. You'll get help and you'll be letting them know that their recipe isn't working well. They need to know this to alter it on their blog or site! The same goes for ingredients. If you need information on an ingredient, the best person to ask is your supplier. They sold it to you - they should have more information on the product that you can access.
I say it all the time - learn about your ingredients so you can learn how to tweak your products! - and I'm saying it again. I really recommend that you spend the time figuring out which ingredients fit into your philosophy, then figure out how to tweak the products you can make.
For instance, if you want to use Ritamulse SCG instead of Polawax, learn what the differences are, the rates of usage, the skin feel, the ingredients you can't use with it, and so on. If you really want to be natural or green or Ecocert, it's up to you to learn what ingredients you can and can't use.
When I started this blog, people were always asking me how to replace this ingredient or leave out that one - generally silicones - and I tried so hard to accommodate every perspective. I don't have time to do that any more - heck, I barely have time to get into the workshop these days - so I'm putting the onus upon you to create a solid philosophy built upon good information, then learn about the ingredients you can and can't use. You need to figure out what ingredients you will use in your products and how to switch them out for ones you won't. If you don't like sodium lactate, find out what it brings to the product - it's a humectant and a bar hardener - and figure out what you can use in its place.
If you want to put liquid soap in my shampoo recipes, I'll advise you against it - read this post - and I'm not going to modify it to help you make what I think is a bad choice. If you want to leave out the preservative in something, please don't ask me how you'd alter the product because that's also a bad choice.
Instead of asking if you can use olive oil in place of the hazelnut oil in a recipe, why not get into the workshop and try it! You'll learn so much more than just listening to my opinion. You'll get a different viscosity of the lotion, a different skin feel from the oils and possibly hygroscopicity, a different way it pumps through a bottle, a different colour, a different smell, and so on. The best way to learn is by reading a bit, then trying your idea. It's amazing how much you'll discover in a few hours in the workshop! And making mistakes is a great idea to learn what not to do!
(You can substitute one oil for another oil quite easily. Check out the frequently asked questions for more information on substitutions!)
I think I've told this story but bear with me...When I was first learning to make products, I wanted to turn everything into bars. I had my shampoo bar, my conditioner bar, my scrub bar - now I just needed a body wash bar. I thought of every ingredient I could use to make a body wash bar while taking a shower, and I triumphantly declared my recipe to Raymond...who said, "Isn't that just soap?" D'oh! I'm not sure how this fits into this post, but it was what sparked the idea!