Sunday, July 1, 2012

Question: Is it cheaper to make your own products? Part two

We asked the question the other day, is it cheaper to make your own products? and I think we're all feeling like it is. (Although the shipping is crazy...more on that tomorrow!) It might not be cheaper to make our own conditioner compared to buying Suave at the drug store, but it's certainly cheaper than buying that salon conditioner with the added bonus that we can tweak our products and use our own fragrances. (Do you know how many cupcake fragranced products I've found? None!) And the joy of pointing at something and saying, "I made that!" is wonderful.

I encourage you to look at making other products with the ingredients that you have. I know I harp on and on about it, but knowing your ingredients will save you money and time because you'll know how to substitute those that you don't have for those you have. If you bought the ingredients for body wash from the other day - cocamidopropyl betaine, decyl glucoside or ACI or C14-16 olefin sulfonate or DLS mild, aloe vera, glycerin, calendula extract (optional), panthenol, preservative, and allantoin - you can make a nice shampoo, a facial wash, a hand cleanser, and a bubble bath using those ingredients.

If you don't have the surfactant listed in a recipe, visit the surfactants section of the blog to learn about that surfactant then make a substitution! 

The difference between a shampoo, body wash, facial cleanser, and bubble bath is the concentration and type of surfactant. My three go to surfactants are cocamidopropyl betaine, C14-16 olefin sulfonate, and sodium cocoyl isethionate (prilled) or ammonium cocoyl isethionate (liquid), although I have many others. I've chosen these because I like to have something for oily hair and skin - C14-16 olefin sulfonate - and I like to have something that lathers really well and feels moisturizing afterwards - the SCI or ACI. (Click here to learn more about the role of the betaines in creating mildness in our products.) I have many other surfactants because I'm a bit of a surfactant junkie, but you can get three or four surfactants and make any product you want by learning what each brings to the party.

The main difference between these surfactant based products is the concentration of the surfactants. For a body wash, I prefer to use about 40% surfactants because I only need a little on my scrubby poofy thing and I get great lather and foam. For a bubble bath, I tend to go with 40% to 50% surfactants because I want lots of foam. For a facial cleanser, I want cleansing, not foaming, so I generally go with 10% to 15% surfactants and put it in a foamy bottle. And for a shampoo, I'll go with 25% to 40% depending upon hair type, conditioning level, and usage (daily vs. normal use). For my oily hair and skin, I use C14-16 olefin sulfonate as the main surfactants with lower levels of ACI and cocamidopropyl betaine.

You'll want to include some goodies here and there in the different products - I like to use cationic polymers like polyquat 7 or honeyquat in body wash to offer moisturizing, and I'm sure you all know of my love for hydrolyzed proteins - but the surfactants are always the starting points for these kinds of products.

I hope I've given you some ideas on how to use those things you have at home rather than spending more money. The more you learn about the ingredients you have, the less you'll spend and the more fun you'll have. I know it doesn't seem like a festival to do research, but if it means you make more awesome products and save more money, then it's a good use of your time (although for some of us it is like a trip to Disneyland)! 

Related posts:
Surfactants (section of the blog)
Surfactant based products that aren't hair care (section of the blog)
Hair care products (section of the blog)

1 comment:

Frances said...

If you have a good grasp of what you are doing, I think it can be comparatively more affordable to make your own products.