Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Newbie Tuesday: Learning how to read a recipe and convert it into weighted measurements

You cannot make good bath and body products using volume measurements. It is hard to scale the ingredients to make smaller or larger batches, and, in general, people assume that volume is the same as weight. It is not, and it is vital for the success of your recipes that you get this concept!

Just about every recipe on this site is done in weighted measurements. (Mineral make-up is an exception because I might be dealing with tiny tiny amounts and my scales aren't that great! I am working on changing those recipes!)) And when you visit a supplier's or manufacturer's sites or get textbooks on cosmetic chemistry, it is all done this way. A recipe should total 100%.

As an aside, when you see something that says "water q.s", it means add enough water to make the recipe total 100%. 

When you see a recipe in percentages, switch the % sign for the word grams. Do not switch the % for ml or liquid ounces or anything to do with volume. This is all about weight.

For those of you using ounces, do you not switch the % for weighted ounces. You will make 100 ounces by weight, which is freakin' huge! 6.25 pounds of product! Massive! And the math is annoying. If your scale can do grams, use grams. Please! 

PRETEND RECIPE - do not make this as it isn't workable! 
10% water
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% ACI
10% olive oil
10% rice bran oil
8% shea butter
10% Polawax
10% cetyl alcohol
1% essential oil
1% preservative

Convert the % sign for each ingredient into the word grams, and you will have a 100 gram or about 3.5 ounces by weight of product. It's hard to predict the volume of the recipe - is it 1/4 cup or 3/8 cup? - but it's easy to know the final weight because it should add up to 100 grams.

If you want to make more of a product - and I don't recommend making more than a double or triple batch the first time you make something - substitute the % sign for the word grams, then multiply the ingredients by 2 or 3 or whatever amount you want.

10% aloe vera becomes 10 grams aloe vera, which becomes 30 grams aloe vera if I want to make a triple batch.
10% cetyl alcohol becomes 10 grams cetyl alcohol, which becomes 30 grams cetyl alcohol if I want a triple batch.
1% preservative becomes 1 gram preservative, which becomes 3 grams preservative if I want a triple batch.
And so on...

Because it's more accurate and easier to use when we want to get into larger batches.

Let's say we get into our workshop today and we use 2 tsp Polawax in the recipe above (2 tsp = 10 ml). We love the lotion and make the same amount again next week. But it fails! Hmm...but we love it so much and it worked once, so let's make it for Christmas. We want to make at least 15 - 4 ounce bottles. So we figure we need 2 tsp x 15 emulsifying wax in this product. (30 tsp = 150 ml). The lotion fails again. Why?

Two reasons...The first is that you might not have used 150 ml emulsifying wax. You might have added more or less because it's not that easy to use measuring cups. Is it a level cup or a packed cup or a melted cup? There are just too many ways to mess up this kind of measurement. And you definitely didn't use 10% as required by the recipe.

But wait - I used 10% by volume. But our recipes are meant to be created by using weighted measurements. You didn't use 10% by weight. Why is that? Specific gravity! Specific gravity "is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density (mass of the same unit volume) of a reference substance." (Wikipedia)

This means that when we compare our ingredient to a similar amount of water, we'll come up with a number. If we have 1 ml of water, it weights 1 gram. Everything is compared to this. Water has a specific gravity of 1. If my aloe vera liquid has a specific gravity of 1, this means that 1 ml aloe vera weighs 1 gram. If my rosemary hydrosol has a specific gravity of 1, this means that 1 ml rosemary hydrosol weighs 1 gram. And so on.

But what about the volume measurement of something with a lower specific gravity? Rice bran oil has a specific gravity of 0.916 to 0.921 grams per millilitre. So let's say we want 10% rice bran oil in our product. If we use 10 ml or 2 tsp, we would actually have 9.16 grams of rice bran oil in our product. If we use 60 ml or 1/4 cup of rice bran oil in our product, we'd have 54.96 or 55 grams in our product, not 60 grams. And when we get to using larger amounts, 500 ml of rice bran oil isn't going to be 500 grams but 458 grams. We'll be using much less than we wanted!

Polawax has a specific gravity of about 0.8, meaning 1 ml weighs 0.8 grams. If we use volume measurements we'd end up having 8 grams Polawax instead of 10 grams. Too little emulsifier means the lotion fails. As well, this product is a solid - it comes in pellets. But it comes in pellets. Do we melt it before or after the volume measurement? If we use weighted measurements, we know we're using the same amount every time.

What if we wanted to add lactic acid at 10% to a recipe? If we add 10 ml (2 tsp) to the recipe above, have we added 10%? It has a specific gravity of 1.2, which means that 1 ml will weigh 1.2 grams. 10 ml would weigh 12 grams, which means we'd have 12% lactic acid by weight in the recipe! If the safe as used amount for lactic acid is 10% in a product, we've could be putting our skin at risk.

Or look at sodium lactate with a specific gravity of 1.32. The safe usage rate is no more than 3%. Going over that amount can result in sun sensitivity. If you used 3 ml (3/5 tsp) in a product, we'd have almost 4 grams going into the product. Too much!

As you can see, volume and weight measurements are not equal. Using volume measurements means that you aren't following the recipe correctly and things might fail or the consistency isn't right or you are going over suggested safe usage rates.

Plus, you always leave something behind in the measuring cup or spoon when we're done!

A bonus question for the morning: What about using drops for essential oil? I have never understood the rationale for measuring essential oils in this way. I encourage you to get a very small scale and learn how much those drops weigh.
Why? Let's say you make a 4 ounce bottle of something with 20 drops essential oil, but you want to make 15 bottles for Christmas. Do you want to stand there and add 300 drops of something?

And besides, what happens if you use 21 drops or 19 drops? I haven't found an essential oil that is so potent that you need to use teeny tiny amounts like drops. Can our essential oils enthusiasts chime in here as I'd love to learn more! 

And another bonus question: Why did the lotion in the example above work the first time using 10 ml of emulsifying wax? We were lucky! There are three ways we create an emulsion - heat, mixing, and emulsifiers. Sometimes we can heat something and mix it so well that it will work for a short period of time. If you make a lotion today and use it all up by next weekend, it might not have failed in that period of time. Give it ten days or ten weeks and it probably will.

This is one of the reasons I get upset when I see people selling products shortly after learning to make them! You need to take the time to watch how the product changes over time. (Click here for the post Give it time!)

My suggestion: Next time you're in your workshop, choose a few ingredients and check out the weighted measurement vs. the volume. You'll be quite surprised to see what you find!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Decyl glucoside alternatives, packaging, and weighed down hair

In this post, Lucy asks: Hi. Total addict to your blog :-) I'm a newbie to actually making, although I've done years of reading....! Just started experimenting with shampoo. I've really sensitive scalp so have stuck to decyl glucoside and cocamidopropyl betaine but find it's a bit slimy and hard to foam...What is the next in the mild surfactant stakes I could use..? Are there any foam boosters? Many thanks for any help, I know how busy you are. Thanks, Lucy. :-)

There is this impression that decyl glucoside is one of the only mild surfactants, but it's not. One of the really big problems with using it is the pH. Decyl glucoside is almost always found to be on the alkaline side of the pH scale - pH 8 or over - and this isn't always the best thing for our skin!

Click here for a body wash I made with alkaline surfactants. It wasn't an insignificant pH!

Alkaline products feel slippery or slimy on our skin. Think about how handmade soap feels on your skin. That's the feeling of alkalinity! (I'm referring to the slippery part for soap. That's what makes it feel great!) 

From this post: So for judging detergents, it's safe to assume that most - if not all - are considered mild cleansers when it comes to personal care products.

  • Gentle or very mild - this surfactant is unlikely to cause skin irritation when used at the suggested amount or lower. It is unlikely to bother your eyes.
  • Mild - this surfactant is unlikely to cause skin irritation when used at the suggested amount or lower, but don't get it in your eyes. It could cause irritation for people with very sensitive skin.
  • Not so mild - this surfactant may cause mild skin irritation when used at the suggested amount or lower, and it may cause eye irritation. It could cause irritation for people with sensitive to normal skin. The only one that falls definitely in this category is SLS.

All the surfactants I mention on this blog are considered gentle to mild. If they aren't, I'll note that.

I don't use SLS because I couldn't find it at my local suppliers, and by the time I did find it, I already knew which surfactants I loved most. 

We can increase the mildness of any surfactant mix by reducing the concentration of surfactants, by combining surfactants and including amphoteric (cocamidopropyl betaine or disodium cocoamphodiacetate) or non-ionic surfactants (like decyl glucoside or polysorbate 20 or PEG-7 cocoate), or by adding things like proteins, emollients, humectants, and anti-inflammatories. (Using something like Crothix to thicken our product does double duty - it's a thickener and an emollient!)

If you don't have a pH meter or good pH strips, I don't recommend using decyl glucoside. Alkaline products aren't great for our hair or skin. And consider this - most of our preservatives need an acidic environment in which to live. Otherwise, they're inactivated.

Liquid Germall Plus and Optiphen have no pH restrictions. Geogard Ultra is pH 3 to 7, Germaben II is pH 3.0 to 7.5, Mikrokill COS is pH 3 to 8, Cosmocil CQ is pH 4 to 10, and so on. Check the pH ranges of your favourite preservative in the preservatives section of the blog.

It's hard to recommend a replacement for a specific surfactant because it depends on what you want in a product. If you're looking at a shampoo, I love SCI or ACI because it's very mild and offers great foam and lather. Plus, your skin and hair will feel conditioned afterward! (I recommend ACI, the liquid form, when making a liquid shampoo!) Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate is considered quite gentle to mild, and it offers good foam. SMC or SMO taurate is also considered gentle to mild, but it has a pH of 7.5 to 8.5, and you might need to bring that down if you combine it with disodium cocoamphodiacetate.

As for foam boosting, decyl glucoside is terrible for lathering and foaming. Substituting just about any surfactant will result in better lather and foam, so you don't really need a foam booster.

Related posts:
Surfactants section of the blog
Hair care section of the blog
Surfactants: Basic, general information

In this same post, Ingrid asks: I only want to ask where you find all these wonderful bottles you picture on your blog? I have checked many websites and just can't seem to find them. Any hints?

I get my packaging from either Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C. or Aquarius Aroma & Soap in Mission, B.C. Both have lovely containers, although Aquarius definitely has some I've never found anywhere else, like the pump in this picture.

Does anyone have suggestions for where you find your packaging? (Please include links or URLs.) If you're a business, remember that this isn't about advertising your company but helping the readers of this blog! I will let you know if you're veering off into self promotion. 

Related posts:
All the packaging posts on the blog

In this post, Ghislaine said: Looove your extremely informative blog. I make a hair conditioner using Elements b&b flakes which contain cetearyl alcohol, PEG40 castor oil and stearalkonium chloride. I added 1% panthenol, 1%cyclomethicone and 1% avocado oil. It leaves my hair incredibly soft but has no body. What can i add to keep the body in my hair? Thanks. 

First, let's figure out the ingredient you are using as your main conditioning agent. You're using Incroquat CR, which means you're making more of a cream rinse instead of a conditioner. Nothing wrong with that, but we should know which ingredients we're using so we can figure out how to modify the recipe! (The CR stands for cream rinse.) Incroquat CR is an amazing softener and static reducer, and I include it in my products for those reasons. Incroquat CR isn't great with the substantivity or adhering to our hair strands, which means you should see your hair being weighed down less than if you used something like Incroquat BTMS-50 or Ritamulse BTMS-225.

I have a few thoughts on what might be causing this. One, the cetearyl alcohol in the Incroquat CR is a little waxier and heavier than cetyl alcohol, and it might be too much for your hair. Two, the oil might be unnecessary. And three, you may be using too much conditioning agent.

I did a little experiment in this post, and eventually found that I could reduce the amount of Incroquat BTMS-50 in the product by 50%! I didn't expect that result. But it did lead me to question the amount of conditioning and moisturizing we think we need in our hair. I encourage you to start low and work your way up because you probably need far less conditioning than you think. As well, really consider how much oil you're putting in a product. I see huge amounts of oils in conditioners, on par with body butters, and very few hair types need that kind of oil. If you have fine hair, I would avoid oils at all costs and find something lighter that offers moisturizing and smoothing, like dimethicone or an ester. 

I don't know your hair type or specific recipe and process so I can't help you modify your recipe, but I would remake your conditioner with only Incroquat CR, water, and preservative, and use it a few times to see how your hair feels. If your hair is still weighed down, reduce the amount of Incroquat CR. If it's still weighed down, consider that you might not need a conditioner and might be okay with just a cationic polymer or a detangler like cetrimonium chloride.

Related posts:
Hair care section of the blog
Basic cream rinse recipes and information
Modifying cream rinses
Detanglers using cetrimonium chloride

Have a question? Visit this post and add your thoughts for future Weekend Wonderings! I will be checking there first, then the comments and e-mail messages for topics.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Mixing small amounts of oil with water, separation of oils in a serum, and heating and holding the phases together

In this post on witch hazel, Anonymous asks: I am working on an insect repellent using 90% Witch hazel and 10% EO. Will the two ever blend or will it have to be shaken each time?

They won't blend and they will need to be shaken every time.  Oil and water don't mix. To get them to mix, we need to add a solubilizer or emulsifier. When we make something like this spray - mostly water with a bit of oil - we add a solubilizer.

Water is polar and oil is non-polar. And in solubility, like dissolves like. Polar things dissolve or mix with polar things well, and non-polar things dissolve or mix with non-polar things well. Oil doesn't mix well with water for that reason. 

If you're curious about whether two things will mix, ask yourself a few questions. Does it seem like an oily ingredient or a watery ingredient? In which phase would we normally use them (oil or water phase)? Is there an indicator of its solubility in the name, like calling something an oil or an ester or a water soluble extract?

Consult the data sheet or supplier's website to see about its miscibility or ability to mix with other ingredients. For most ingredients, its solubility is pretty obvious. It should say "soluble in water" or "add to heated water phase" or "oil soluble". If you don't have this information, visit your supplier's site and see what they recommend. If they don't, write to them!

As a quick note, you really can't make claims about your products. You could call your product a fragrance spray - it contains essential oils - but you can't say it repel insects. Those kinds of claims require testing and you won't be able to test them. (And as someone who is a serious mosquito and biting insect magnet, I would be upset if I had a product that claimed to be an insect repellant and wasn't on my camping trips! It would ruin everything if I were to be bitten as often as those little buggers land on me.)

And I don't think 10% essential oils is recommended for a leave on product like this. I'm not an essential oils expert, but it does seem really high. (Anyone else have suggestions?

As an aside, anyone please note your name somewhere in your comments as I'm not a fan of anonymity. It adds nothing to a community, but it can seriously detract from it! Let us know who you are! 

Please visit last week's post to see more about specific solubilizers. And remember, you will have to play around with your solubilizers to see which one solubilizes the essential oils you're using. Some will work well with a 1:1 ratio, others it might take 5:1. It all depends on the essential oils!

Related posts:
Fun with chemistry: Solubility
Solubilizers: How do are they different from emulsifiers?
Esters: Using solubilizers in our products
Surfactants - fragrances & clarity
Men's products: Fragrance and body sprays

In this post, Leila Wood asks: I have made several small batches of hair serum, dimethicone and cyclomethicone based. I add about 2-3% argan oil, 0.5% vitamin E, .5% rosemary extract, and 1-2% Co2 extracts. The additives separate out of the hair serum...annoying! I look at the ingredient lists of hair serums sold at hair salons and I don't know what their trick is to keep them from separating. I understand there is an HLB system for silicones too but I am struggling to figure it out for my formulas. Any Ideas?

I address this question in this post, but the quick summary is this: Oil will form into layers if left long enough as they will have different specific gravities. The easist way to solve this problem is to capitalize upon an urge we all have when we pick up a container - shake before using!

If you aren't using water soluble ingredients, you aren't creating an emulsion, so you don't need to use an emulsifier. If you are using water soluble ingredients, you can use something like this ingredient - Lotioncrafter Serum SE - to emulsify your ingredients. You might consider doing this if you really hate the separation, but shaking it really will work well.

Again in this post, Sara writes: I'm stumped by a recent (and shocking) discovery whilst using Ecomulse in your under eye lotion formula. I've had a number of issues with Ecomulse (overcoming waxiness, cottage cheese-y emulsions etc.) and when I came across a blog that suggested heating and holding the water and oil phases TOGETHER (gasp!!), I figured what the heck, I'll give it a try. Well....it worked! I've not had a creamier final product using Ecomulse before, although I'm still trying to overcome the waxiness. Is there some reason why heating and holding the water/oil phases separately is necessary? Might this emulsion eventually break because of the phases being heated together?

Hi Sarah! How is the product doing? We'd love to hear!

I can't predict if the emulsion will break or not, but heating and holding the lotion together won't necessarily lead to a broken lotion! I know, shocking, right? I go into greater detail in this post, but the main reason we don't heat and hold the phases together is that it means the emulsifier has to do more work.

Things don't like to change their state of being unless it's easy to change - they're lazy. They hate expending energy, and will always go for the thing that makes them expend the smallest amount. When we create a lotion, we're asking our ingredients to do a lot and expend a ton of energy, which they hate doing. (This is why we heat our ingredients and mix them together. Adding heat to something generally increases solubility and it makes the molecules more energetic. And mixing means we make it easier for the ingredients to blend together.)

Separating the two phases asks less of the emulsifier, which makes the emulsion more stable. As well, heating and holding in the same container means that the emulsion can start to happen before the phase inversion temperature.

Should we add the water to the oil phase or the oil to the water phase? Yes! Either way works! Read more in this post! 

You can make lotions that don't separate by heating and holding in the same container, by not heating and holding at all, by only heating long enough to have the ingredients melt and so on, but heating and holding gives us the best odds of making a product that won't separate. And given how much work and expense it takes to make a lotion - deciding on supplies, buying supplies, waiting for supplies to come in the mail, finding a day you can get into the workshop, and so on - heating and holding for 20 minutes seems like a small annoyance to make something that is more likely to create something awesome!

Related posts:
Phase inversion
Chemistry: Anionic, cationic, and non-ionic. 
Why we heat and hold our ingredients
Why we heat and hold our ingredients separately

Do you have a Weekend Wondering? Visit this post and share! I'm going through the comments and email messages every weekend to see what interests you! 

Join me tomorrow for more Weekend Wonderings!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm working on...

Those posts on slip and glide in conditioners...
Those posts on physical exfoliants in our facial scrubs...
A recipe for a foaming facial cleanser using foaming silk surfactant...
A recipe for a leave in conditioner with volumizing complex...
Research on and recipes playing with ingredients like mallow, ginger, and pomegranate extracts...
Stuff about substituting ACI and decyl glucoside in surfactant blends...
All kinds of stuff on altering pH in our products...
Your e-mails and comments...

I just need quiet time to write! I am only able to get it in snippets right now, and I need a few hours to get into the flow of it. (I admit I've been doing things like sending out the e-books while waiting in line for steeped tea at a Tim Horton's or answering comments while doing floor exercises at the gym! I can blog and do the bridge - why not?) I have at least fifteen unfinished posts waiting for things like pictures, reviews from testers, or data sheet links.

I should get some time tomorrow or Friday, I hope. If you have written to me in the last two weeks, I ask for your patience. I have received your messages and I will respond to them in chronological order. In the meantime, here are a few pictures of upcoming projects...and one of my dog in the workshop!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blame Michele for enabling you: Ideas for new ingredients

In this post, Michele writes: I wonder what I can purchase next to try. I like to buy an ingredient I would use in more than one type of product. 

I want to put this out there before I even think about responding to this question...You asked for it. When you read about a few of these ingredients I would like to suggest and want to buy them, remember that you specifically asked me to make some suggestions. I am not responsible for your maxed out credit card!

Please note: I'm suggesting these ingredients because I like them. I have not been paid to like them. I buy almost all my ingredients with my wages from suppliers I like. I do receive free ingredients from time to time, and I will tell you when those ingredients are given to me. I make it clear to the companies that send me these items that I will be completely honest about my opinion.

One ingredient I really love right now is polyquat 44, a cationic polymer that can be used in quite small amounts in hair care and body care products. I'm using it at 0.5% in my leave in conditioner, 0.5% in my rinse off conditioner, and 0.5% in my body wash and I notice when it's not there. My hair feels a little softer and easier to manage with it in those products, and I think my skin feels more moisturized. (It's hard to say when my skin feels more moisturized, but it's easy to notice soft hair!) This can be used in facial cleansers, facial toners, moisturizers (not with Ritamulse SCG, though), body washes, make-up removers, and any and all hair products.

The only place I've found this ingredient is at the Personal Formulator. Do you have other suggestions?

Related posts:
Workshop! Workshop! Workshop! (Leave in conditioner recipe)
Experiments in the workshop: Hand soap with SCI and polyquats
Question: Can we make a clear leave in conditioner?
Formulating for dry skin: What else could we include in a body wash?
Experiments in the workshop: Facial cleanser with a ton of extracts - modified
Men's products: Recipes for a 3-in-1 body wash and shampoo
Summer products: Aloe vera apres sun spray
Experiments in the workshop: Intense conditioner with all my conditioning agents
Do a search for polyquat 44 for more recipes...There are quite a few!

Another ingredient I'm enjoying is behenyl alcohol. It is incredibly multi-functional and can be used in hair care products as a booster to the cationic quaternary compound, as a thickener in our lotions, as a thickener in anhydrous products like whipped butters or lotion bars, and as the sole "oil free" moisturizer in a number of lotion or moisturizer recipes. Use it anywhere you might use cetyl or cetearyl alcohol.

Try it in something like this attempt to make a shea butter without using shea butter as the thickener!

I bought my behenyl alcohol at the Herbarie, but you should be able to buy it in other places 

Related posts:
Experiments in the workshop: Behenyl alcohol in a lotion
Experiments in the workshop: Behenyl alcohol in a conditioner
Experiments in the workshop: Behenyl alcohol in an intense conditioner with butters
Experiments in the workshop: Behenyl alcohol in my Ritamulse emulsified scrub
Experiments in the workshop: Using behenyl alcohol in sugar scrubs (Polawax)
Fun in the workshop: Modifying the rice bran oil hand protector
Making an eye cream: Part one
Making an eye cream: Tweaking the oils
Making an eye cream: Tweaking it with other emulsifiers

Finally, I think I'm having a serious love affair with ACI (ammonium cocoyl isethionate). It's a liquid version of SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate) that is easy to mix into my creations and offers that same elegent conditioned skin feel. I think I'm using it as a surfactant in just about every product I'm making these days, from body wash to facial cleanser to shampoo bars!

I bought my ACI at Aquarius Aroma & Soap, but you can buy it in other places. 

This body wash is slightly brownish thanks for the powdered white willow bark I add at 0.5% in the cool down phase. It might not be the prettiest thing you've ever seen, but it is wonderful in the shower! I based it on this body wash recipe, changing the SCI for ACI and the Cromollient SCE and Crodamol STS for 5% water soluble shea and using only 0.5% white willow bark. It really is my favourite recipe!

Any suggestions for multi-functional ingredients? And there will be more posts of this nature!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend wonderings: Solubilizers, herbs in shampoo bars, and modifying lip balms

In this post, Steve wrote: Thank you very much for your generosity in sharing the magical world of fragrances. I'm still doing my research and tonight have been studying the whole solubilizer thing; and if you please, I have a question.Let's say I may making up a hypothetical formula of a mix of distilled water and (Everclear or 94 proof Vodka or such) alcoholo and my proportions within this (1 OZ total formula) are  2/3 alcohol, 1/3 water with this EO fragrant concoction i.e., 20 drops sandalwood; 20 cedarwood; 12 bergamot; 1 Carapan Plateau; and 5 drops of Cypress...then my question is how much solubilizer (solubilizer 30?) Do I put into this mix in order to force everything to blend and stay blended? Also, finally at one point do I add the solubilizer? At the end? Or to the blend of alcohol and water at the very beginning even before I add my EO?

Hi Steve! Let's talk about solublizers! (I'm excited about this topic because I just bought some PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil from Voyageur Soap & Candle and I get to play next week with it!)

What are solubilizers? Solubilizers are ingredients that allow us to mix two things that might normally not mix, like oil and water. For instance, polysorbate 20 allows us to incorporate a small amount of oil into a water soluble thing - for instance, putting some fragrance or essential oil into water to create a fragrance spray - while we might use something like polysorbate 80 or Caprol Micro Express to incorporate a carrier oil or ester. (Click on the link in the related posts for more information...too long to recap here!)

How to choose which one to use? It depends. There are some limits on the chemistry front - for instance, polysorbate 20 isn't great with even small amounts of carrier oils - but for the most part it's about the product, personal preference, cost, and skin feel. Also consider if you want your product to be clear or not. As a homecrafter, I really don't mind either way, but you might. (This will also have to do with your chosen fragrance/essential oil.)

The skin feel is really vital in any body care product. I tried using capryl/caprylyl glucoside and I hated the skin feel. Very very sticky. I'm not the biggest fan of using the polysorbates in something like a toner or body spray, but I really love Caprol Micro Express and Cromollient SCE in those capacities. You may have to play with a few to see what you like!

I have a lot of this - anyone want it? You have to live within driving distance of me - say Surrey to Agassiz, B.C. - or be willing to meet me in that area. We can go for coffee and talk about bath & body stuff! Beth and I had a lovely time a few weeks ago!

How much to use? It depends upon your solubilizer, your oil soluble ingredient, your water soluble part (water, alcohol, glycerin, etc.), and your product. Read the suggested usage rates and do some experimenting. For instance, I've found that I can use equal parts polysorbate 20 and d-Limonene together, but I couldn't get Clementine Cupcake fragrance oil (Brambleberry and awesome!) to solubilize with even large quantities of capryl/caprylyl glucoside. (Click here for those experiments!) But a 1:1 ratio of polysorbate 20 and Yuzu fragrance oil (again, Brambleberry) produced that incredibly clear product you see below. You will likely to have to buy a few and do some experimenting. And you might have to add a little more or less to get it to be clear, if that's what you want.

How to use them? First, choose the right solubilizer. If you're adding fragrance or essential oil, polysorbate 20 is always a good choice. I've found that mixing the right amount of solubilizer with your oil soluble thing in a small container before adding it to the product is the best idea. Keep really good notes and label your experiments well because you really want to know what worked!

So the summary of this is pretty much this - pick one that seems like it will work for your product, including considerations for cost, skin feel, and clarity, then try it at various percentages until you get the result you want. This really is the way it is because something that works for a small amount of essential oil in a toner might not work for a fragrance oil in a fragrance spray. (It always comes down to the "get into your workshop and play", doesn't it?)

As a side note, Steve, we really encourage you to use percentages in our recipes and weighted measurements for our products. It makes duplication easier and means you are less likely to go over the suggested usage rates of our ingredients! It's hard to increase the size of your batch - for instance, to go from 100 ml to 1000 ml - when you're using drops! 

Related posts:
Solublizers: How are they different from emulsifiers?
Why did I buy that? Caprol Micro Express

Related recipe posts:
Men's products: Scented body sprays
Handmade Christmas presents: Love your pets (water based fragrance spray)
Update for a wonderful Thursday! (Water based fragrance spray)
Formulating with oils - body wash
Solubilizers: Making fragrance sprays with capryl/caprylyl glucoside

In this post, Mariah asks: I love your blog so much! I was wondering if I could put dried herbs in my syndet shampoo bar? I am using a preservative but don't know if I should use that actual dried herbs or make an infusion of some sort and incorporate that.

Hi Mariah! Although this sounds like a great idea, I think you'd end up with soggy herbs that offer nothing to the bar. I don't know if you've ever seen Lush's bath bombs with flowers. They look like a great idea, but when the bath bomb finishes fizzing, you're left with a ton of soggy flowers in the tub that look really sad. (Same thing with glitter in a bath bomb. It seems neat, but you're left in the tub covered in glitter that takes a shower to remove!) I tried this with rose petals and lavender buds when I started making bath and body products, and it was just awful! I could see this happening in a shampoo bar.

What about making an infusion? (Click here for a post on this topic!) I'm never a big fan of this idea because I worry that the product will be under preserved and cause problems! If you are an experienced formulator, you might feel comfortable doing this and adding maximum levels of a broad spectrum preservative. Otherwise, I would caution against it. There are just too many opportunities for contamination!

The short answer is that I would be wary about using dried or infused herbs in a shampoo bar.

In this post, Anonymous asks: Thanks for the lip balm recipe! It looks good, I will try it. I do have a question: It says to use 15% hard butter. But I don't like the smell of my cocoa butter (and can't quickly come up with the deodorized version). Could I increase my wax instead? I'm planning on using:
Beeswax, mango and shea butter, Calendula infused SAO and Castor oil. I'm just not sure how this would change the percentages. Thank you in advance. I really enjoy reading your blog!!!

Hi Anonymous! No, I wouldn't use beeswax as a substitute for cocoa butter as it is in the recipe for two reasons. One, you want something that will melt at body temperature when you apply it, and beeswax won't do that. Two, you want something that makes the lip balm more pliable, and beeswax will make it brittle. You want to substitute another butter for cocoa butter - click here for a list of other butters, and consider using illipe, mowrah, or sal if you want to have the same melting point as cocoa butter. Try using shea butter - which will make it slightly softer, so add a bit more wax - or mango butter, which should have a similiar consistency but feel a bit drier.

I have found kokum butter makes it much harder than I would like, but it is a very nice feeling product. It did make the product slightly brown, as you can see from the picture of my lotion bar.  

I've written a few posts since that one on lip balm type products and how to add colour to them, which you can find in the mineral make-up section of the blog! (Look to your right, then to the labels section near the bottom and click on mineral make-up or MMU!) Or look at the links to lists to the right (higher up) and see all the posts on this topic! My favourite one is this recipe for what I'm calling lip shimmers, and it doesn't include any cocoa butter at all!

8% candellia wax
9% beeswax (I was going to use carnauba, but I ran out!)
18% shea butter
12% mango butter
52% liquid oils (28% castor oil, 10% fractionated coconut oil, 7% squalene, and 7% jojoba)
1% Vitamin E

I have altered this slightly as I have tried a few other butters - babassu was too melty and very shiny - and I have eliminated the jojoba oil as it's really expensive. Last time I used kukui oil and it was fantastic! And I admit I'm not the biggest fan of castor oil. I feel like it makes my lips feel dry. I don't know if this is scientifically backed, but I'm not a big fan of it. Use whatever oils you want, although I suggest lighter feeling ones that don't have much of a flavour. Olive oil was a bit weird tasting, though. (I should have thrown in some balsamic vinegar!)

If you want to use all beeswax, you'll want to use about 25% and drop 8% out of the oil phase. (We generally use double the amount of beeswax than candellia or carnuaba wax.)

25% beeswax
18% shea butter
12% mango butter
46% oils
1% Vitamin E

You can leave out the Vitamin E. It's there as an anti-oxidant. Increase the oil amount by 1%. Melt everything in one container in a double boiler or microwave. Remove. Pour into lip balm tubes or containers. Let cool - put in the fridge or freezer if you can. Rejoice!

Lip balms are a lot like lotion bars. They are an oil soluble product with an oil, a wax, and a butter. I really suggest checking out these posts on lotion bars for ideas on how to alter a lip balm! Or check out the posts on balms, listed below...

Related posts:
Back to basics: Lotion bars - the basic recipe! 
Back to basics: Lotion bars - tweaking the waxes! 
Back to basics: Lotion bars - tweaking the oils and butters! 
Back to basics: Link-o-rama (click on balms to see more about this!)

A quick aside: Those of you who don't have a Google account, please sign off with your name or an alias. I'm not a fan of anonymity as it's too easy to be mean when we're anonymous, and it doesn't feel like a proper community if we don't know each others' names! 

Have a Weekend Wondering? Click here to add your question or comment!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekend wonderings: Using CP soap as shampoo, making products and scenting them later, daily use conditioners, and damage to our hair!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week! I was doing research - aka having great fun - in the workshop, and I wanted to do just that little bit more, and that ate into my post writing time. Plus I have a ton of products out for testing, so that's going to take another week or so to get those results. I do have some neat hair and facial care recipes coming up once I get those reviews! Plus, I have three physics assignments due on Monday and a mid-term for which I have to study, so life got busy this week! I will be getting to the slip and glide in conditioners post this week and the comparison of various esters as well! 

In this post, Puntacoco Soaps said: I want to make shampoo. I already make liquid soaps out of virgin coconut oil. can i make shampoo with this liquid soap instead of using a surfactant?

I wouldn't make shampoo out of CP soap. In this post, I go into great detail as to why this isn't a good idea, but I'll summarize it here. Our hair likes things that have a pH below 6.5, things that are acidic. CP soap is alkaline - over pH 8 - and our hair doesn't like that kind of pH. (Soap is slippery feeling because alkaline things feel slippery!) Using something out of the pH range of what our hair likes can lead to all kinds of damage due to the cuticle scales not lying down flat and getting tangled. You might also have less shiny or dull looking hair. Once we damage our hair, we can't undamage it. We can mitigate it with awesome conditioners and moisturizers, but the damage remains done!

Before you write, I know some people love CP soap as shampoo. The biology of our hair says that we shouldn't, so your preference puts you in the minority. I love hearing about your experiences and hope you share, but I don't want this to turn into a post filled with insults and generally mean things because I don't agree with the way you wash your hair! 

Related posts:
Chemistry of our skin: pH and the acid mantle (explains pH and adjusting it)

In this post, Yvonne said: You comment on how you left some unscented, that you will scent later...I did not realize you could do this...could you explain how you scent it later and can this also be done with lotion? Thanks.

Yes, you can! I go into great detail in this post - can I make up batches of product to scent later? - but I'll summarize it here. I'll make up a large batch of lotion with all the ingredients, except the fragrance oils, and store them in a clean ice cream container with a tight lid. When I'm in the mood for smelling more like Christmas than a cupcake, I remove the amount I want (generally 125 ml) and add the correct amount of fragrance (I like to use around 1% but you can go slightly higher or lower). I mix it with my stick blender, then funnel or pipe into my bottle. Ta-da!

I like to buy giant bottles - HDPE, usually as they are inexpensive - and store my products in those so I can squish some out when it's time to share or use in the shower! Always write the name of your product and any other details, like the date, on the bottle with an indelible marker so you know what it is and when you made it. I know this sounds very elementary but you would be surprised at how many things I throw away because I think it might be body wash but I'm not sure if it is or how long it has been there.

If you don't like the look of this, get some cheap labels from store, put them on the bottle and cover them in packing tape to prevent them from getting damp and unreadable.

Related posts:
Creating products: Packaging - too many choices

In this same post, Rosi asks: Is BTMS 50, BTMS 25 and BTMS 255 gentle enought to use as i everyday leave in, as i have frizzy dry hair i need to apply a lot of leave in every other day to keep it down. Another question is what causes the tips of certain hair to be lighter than the rest of the hair ( brown hair).

Question the first: The quick answer is yes, they are gentle enough for every day leave in - it's all about concentration. When you take a look at conditioner recipes, you'll see that there are different amounts of the cationic emulsifier (Incroquat BTMS-50, Ritamulse BTMS-225, cetrimonium bromide, BTMS-25, and so on) depending upon the purpose. An intense conditioner will generally have more cationic emulsifier than an every day conditioner, which will have more than a leave in conditioner. The amount you use will also depend upon what needs emulsifying. For instance, if you're using a ton of oils, you'll need more emulsifier than if you're using a bit or none.

Yes, making a conditioner means you are making a lotion! It is an oil in water product, which makes it a lotion! You will notice it has all the properties of a lotion - a heated water phase, a heated oil phase, and a cool down phase - and you have an emulsifier in the form of your cationic quaternary compound or the Incroquat BTMS-50, etc. A lotion is something with an oil phase and a water phase that we bring together through the process of emulsification. If you've been scared of making a lotion but like making conditioners, you've already made lotions! So make some more! I have lots on the blog using BTMS-50 as the emulsifier, so you don't even need to buy anything new! What's your excuse now? :-)

For instance, for my frizzy, oily hair, I like to use no more than 7% in a rinse off product and generally no more than 2% in a leave in product (although I often use 1%). This is because at over 7%, I notice my hair gets oily very quickly. I'm finding that I like 3.5% BTMS-50 or BTMS-225 these days. And my hair is way too oily to handle more than 1% BTMS-50 or BTMS-22 in a leave in conditioner.

If you have really dry hair, you might find that 10% BTMS-50 isn't enough and 5% in a leave in conditioner is barely making a dent. If you can handle using a leave in conditioner every day, then use it! Just make sure that you wash your hair well when you get into the shower again!

There are always concerns about build up of conditioner on our hair. If you are using a good shampoo, this isn't an issue. If you aren't using shampoo or a surfactant based cleanser on your hair, this can be an issue. If you aren't using shampoo, consult the website of the procedure you're following to learn more. 

Related posts:
Conditioner: What's that then?
Conditioners: Defining our conditioners
Hair care section of the blog

Question the second: I have this issue! My hair is light brown above my shoulders, but it gets blonder towards the ends, around my waist. The colour of our hair comes from the melanin found in the cortex or shaft of our hair that surrounds the medulla. As our hair sustains more damage, including normal wear and tear as it grows longer, the colour gets lighter. This can be because we're damaging the cuticle! It doesn't matter how well you've taken care of your hair, daily friction from hair strand rubbing against hair strand can leave your cortex a little less protected, resulting in the loss of some melanin. Some of this has to do with refraction of light  as well - how the light bounces off our hair to make our hair look shinier, for instance - but the key culprit is the wear and tear on longer hairs!

If you really want to grow your hair long, please use a good conditioner. What you do to your hair today might be living with you seven years from now! Your hair might be short and not need it, but every single day your hair is experiencing friction from your hair strands rubbing against each other or the hair band you're wearing or a million other reasons, and we reduce that friction by using a nice conditioner. It doesn't have to be a major one - if your hair is fine, try a 1% BTMS-50 or 1% BTMS-225 or a 1% Incroquat CR cream rinse to reduce that friction. I really do know what it means to be living with the damage I caused years and years ago! I know some people say you only need to condition below your ears, but there's a whole lot of hair above those ears that are experiencing damage through styling, dying, perming, straightening, and rubbing that you want to be healthy by the time they get to your shoulders!

I have some serious first hand experience with hair damage. The front bit of my hair was caught in a Dremel drill a few years ago, and it is very very spiral curled and extremely blond at the end. You don't need to lecture me about putting my hair back when I craft - I know to do this, but I can't due to muscle spasms in my head that cause me great pain when I put on a hair net, put it in a pony tail, etc. But thank you for worrying about me! The point is that once damaged, that section of hair will never ever be the same! Which is why I worry so much about damaging our hair! 

Related posts:
An overview of the chemistry of our hair
Chemistry of our hair: Medulla and cortex
Chemistry of our hair: The cuticle! 
Chemistry of our hair: Straight, curly, or frizzy!
Chemistry of our hair: Good condition
Chemistry of our hair: Quick summary of damaged hair

Have a question you'd like answered? Click here for the weekend wonderings wonderings post and comment there!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Question: What's the deal with coco-caprylate caprate?

In this post, Aesthete asks: Based on your experience with Coco-Caprylate Caprate, how is it compared to C12-15 alkyl benzoate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate and dimethicone? Occlusive? Spreading? After-feel? Is it comedogenic?

Great question, Aesthete! I decided to do a little test by comparing coco-caprylate caprate against fractionated coconut oil (INCI caprylic/capric triglycerides), C12-15 alkyl benzoate, and cetearyl ethylhexanoate. I poured each one into a small shot glass and tested a few things: colour, clarity, viscosity, skin feel upon contact, play time, skin feel after 20 minutes, and skin feel after two hours.

Clarity: All of them were clear.

Colour: I would call of them uncoloured.The coco-caprylate caprate claims to be yellowy in colour, but it looked clear to me.

Viscosity: Coco-caprylate caprate was about the same viscosity as the fractionated coconut oil. I found the cetearyl ethylhexanoate was the same or slightly thicker. C12-15 alkyl benzoate was definitely the thickest of the four.

Skin feel: Fractionated coconut oil and coco-caprylate caprate went onto my skin very easily and I spent quite a bit of time rubbing each into my skin. They felt nice and silky on my skin. Cetearyl ethylhexanoate went onto my skin very easily, but I couldn't rub it in as long as I could the others. (This is called "play time". So cetearyl ethylhexanoate has a shorter play time than fractionated coconut oil and coco-caprylate caprate.) C12-15 alkyl benzoate felt slightly thicker than the others, but it too went onto my skin easily. It had less play time than the other three, and it felt like there was a slightly thicker coating of the ester on my skin, but it was a nice feeling.

Play time: Fractionated coconut oil and coco-caprylate caprate definitely had a longer play time than cetearyl ethylhexanoate and C12-15 alkyl benzoate.

Skin feel after 20 minutes: All four felt quite dry and silky on my skin, but the cetearyl ethylhexanoate and C12-15 alkyl benzoate definitely felt like there was a slightly heavier layer, which felt more moisturizing.

Skin feel after two hours: I can still feel the C12-15 alkyl benzoate on my arm, but the others feel gone. It feels as if there's a light layer of occlusive oil on my skin offer moisturizing. I can still kind of tell where the cetearyl ethylhexanoate was on my arm, but if I didn't know where I'd applied the fractionated coconut oil and coco-caprylate caprate, I wouldn't know where to find it. (Which really shows I should have done some kind of blind test, but everyone else in the house was busy when I had some workshop time!)

In all honestly, I couldn't really tell the difference between fractionated coconut oil and coco-caprylate caprate. They looked the same colour and had the same viscosity. They felt the same going onto my skin and felt the same in the 20 minute and two hour test. Again, if this had been a blind test, I don't think I would have felt a difference as they seem really really close in nature.

Next step: Test it against dimethicone and ethylhexyl palmitate as Aesthete suggests. Join me tomorrow for that comparison!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Conditioners: Adding slip and glide to a conditioner - introduction

Here's how many bottles I made out of that huge batch of 3.5% Ritamulse BTMS-225 conditioner I made earlier this week! The tall bottle at the back is 1 litre (32 ounces), three - 500 ml (16 ounce) bottles, one - 180 ml (6 ounce bottle), and three - 4 ounce (120 ml) bottles. I scented a lot of it in white chocolate fragrance oil (Voyageur Soap & Candle), but a few got a dose of Sweet Meyer Lemon fragrance oil (Brambleberry), and some will be scented just before using them. I'm giving a bunch of these away, but I still think I'm good for a while...

The most popular question this week is about adding slip and glide to our conditioners. I had originally intended to link to the posts I wrote in 2009 about adding slip and glide to conditioners in various ways, but I realized that there is so much more to add to this topic, so we'll take a few days to take a look at various ingredients we use in conditioners and what each brings to the mix, including their ability to contribute slip and glide. 

As an aside, I find my conditioners to be quite slippery to the point of having to clean up the tiled floor at the swimming pool after using it so others won't fall down after I've finished with the leave in! I think the silicones, cyclomethicone and dimethicone, play a big part in that. (Click here for a post on using silicones in your rinse off conditioners.) 

Join me tomorrow for more fun with conditioners! 

Facial scrubs: Out for testing, more soon!

As a quick note, I have my surfactant based facial scrub products out for testing with a few people, so I need time to let them play with the products then write me a few reviews. When I hear from them - I hope it'll be early next week - I'll post their comments and the various recipes.

I used this base recipe with a few modifications, including rosemary, chamomile, and grape seed powdered extracts and 2% Crothix. (Scroll down to the SAMPLE SURFACTANT BASE FOR OILY SKIN TO WHICH WE'LL ADD PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS WITH LOADS OF CHAMOMILE, ALOE VERA, AND WITCH HAZEL, which is the second recipe from the bottom.)

This is a picture of my facial scrub base with pink Rhassoul clay in it. I've tried it with BC glacial clay, dermabrasion crystals, jojoba beads (orange, so it wasn't that pretty!), cranberry seeds, and ground luffah. More when I hear from my testers!

Have you been trying out any scrub recipes? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekend wonderings: Hydrolyzed proteins, all in one emulsifiers, and preservatives for anhydrous products

In this post on hydrolyzed oat protein, Marjo commented: I love the benefits described and tried today a testbatch.. But indeed i have real issue with the smell too... Wow it is really smelly! I think I will stick to silk and elastine.

It's interesting how we react differently to different ingredients! As I've mentioned quite a few times, I can't stand really earthy or musty smells. (If you wanted to make a Swift repellant, throw a few drops of patchouli with chamomile and I'd avoid you like broccoli!) I find hydrolyzed proteins tend to smell a bit musty, but when combined with other ingredients, I don't notice. I do notice slightly it in a toner or a facial cleanser, things that don't get fragranced. Do you notice the smell of the silk? (And what is elastine? Just curious!)

What ingredients do you avoid because of the smell? What do you use, but kinda don't like? 

In this post, Kate Melton said: Hi, I like your blog, because it's very informative. Little question: Is it true that when you use an ''all in one kind'' emulsifier like the e-wax/polawax/BTMS, you don't need look at the HLB of your oil phase etc. (like you do in this post). I really hope you want to give me some clarification about this:D!

Thanks for the kind words, Kate! Yes, it is true that you don't need to look at the HLB value of the oil phase if you're using an all-in-one emulsifier. That's the point of using them. When we use Polawax, Ritamulse SCG, or Incroquat BTMS-50, we total up the oil phase - all the oil soluble things in the heated oil phase and the cool down phase - and figure out the emulsifier. For Polawax, the rule of thumb is 25% of the oil phase. For Ritamulse SCG, really don't go over 25% oils. (I generally use 8% Ritamulse SCG regardless of size of oil phase because I've found it is really particular stuff! I think it was Tara who said she finds 6% works for her!) For Incroquat BTMS-50...there isn't a rule of thumb. For other emulsifiers, check with your supplier to make sure it's an all in one product before you buy it and contact them for more information if you aren't sure! Make sure you ask them how much you should use!

I know this sounds like a silly suggestion, but you'd be surprised how many people write to me asking about the usage rates and phases for the ingredients because the suppliers either don't know or won't respond! 

Related posts:
Emulsifiers: E-wax, Polawax, and Incroquat BTMS-50
Emulsifiers: Check what you've got! 
Learning to formulate: The oil phase

In this post, Sanziene writes: What is your favourite preservative for water free products? I am planning to make some solid cream bars to giveaway to friends and family (nothing fancy, just emulsifying wax, oils and butters, some mica and perhaps fragrance) but I am worried about preservation. I only have LGP and Microkill COS at home. Planning to place a lotioncrafter order soon, so I was wondering if I should choose Phenonip or some other oil soluble preservative? 

Also, is there a paraben-free oil soluble preservative that you would endorse? I have nothing against parabens, but I have a hard time convincing my relatives that they are safe :). So, if possible, I would love to add a broad spectrum preservative, oil soluble and paraben free (Phenonip is actually in my cart already, but I am just wondering if there might be something else.... maybe on a different supplier?)

Ok, now you mention there that one could use Optiphen. Mikrokill COS is phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol and chlorphenesin. It is not water soluble, so that means for me oil soluble, is this correct? I could use it in the solid shower cream, but I ... I'd like to hear first your opinion (in the meantime I am doing additional research :)

As you noted in your comment, I addressed this issue in this post about adding preservatives to your anhydrous hair care products, but I think we should re-visit it here! My favourite preservative for anhydrous products is Phenonip. I have no issue with parabens as they are effective and very easy to use preservatives for anhydrous products. I find it works very well at 0.5% to 1% in my products.

Taking a look at the preservative comparision chart, I can see that Liquipar Oil, Liquipar Optima, Liquipar PE, and Phenonip are all suitable for anhydrous products. The Optiphen products might be good for your products as well. I can't fully endorse any of them as I haven't tested them, but I have heard great feedback from so many people about them that I think they'd be great choices.

The data sheet for Mikrokill COS is a little vague, but I think we can interpret it as being an oil soluble preservative. (Phenoxyethanol and chlorphenesin are oil soluble, so it stands to reason the preservativec would be oil soluble.) So yes, it sounds like a good choice. Again, I haven't used this preservative - there's only so much time in the day! - but using the data sheets and tiny bit of research I've done, it sounds like a good choice.

Before you write to me about the evils of parabens, please take a moment read this blog post by Dr Joe Schwarz. His conclusions: The studies were not good ones and the conclusions can't be trusted. While you're out there, check out this post on argan oil. His conclusion: Meh. 

If you want to read more of Dr Joe Schwarcz, I recommend his books, or check out the cosmetic section of Chemically Speaking, or check out his blog at CJAD. I love this guy! Oh, and read this speech he gave to Parliament. Fantastic! Finally, check out the blog at the Office of Science & Society. It's great!

Related posts:
Preservatives section of the blog
Preservatives: Choosing a preservative

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekend wonderings: Have a question?

As I plan to make this a regular thing, I'm wondering what has you wondering? When you're making a lotion, when you're creating a conditioner, when you're whipping that shea butter, what dances through your brain? What has you stumped? I will continue to check out your comments and e-mail messages, but I would love to hear other things that you've always wondered but haven't asked. Remember, the only stupid question is the one you didn't ask!

Confused as to why I have a picture of Professor Farnsworth from Futurama to illustrate this post? One, I like chemistry! Two, I like Futurama. Three, because I quoted his comment about stupid questions in this post I wrote previously