Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend wonderings: Powdered vs. liquid extracts, substituting BTMS-25 for BTMS-50, and surfactants for baby shampoo

Wow, you have me wondering about so many things this weekend! We might need a long weekend wondering for tomorrow to catch up on everything! I wonder if they'd notice I was away from work and school tomorrow? Do you have a wondering? Click here and post your question or thoughts in the comments! 

And in an e-mail, Carol asks: [For willow bark extract...] do you recommend the power over the liquid? The blog post Feb 21, 2010 says the usage rate for the powder is 0.1 to 1% for the liquid the usage rate is 2.5 to 5% so that would mean the powder is more concentrated. Am I right. Which one is better? I'm a newbie and just made my 1st anhydrous whipped body butter. I'm thrilled. Went to Voyageur for supplies they are great!

Congratulations, Carol! Are you addicted yet? And Voyageur is awesome. (They don't pay me to say that!).

Yes, the powders are more concentrated and I have found that they seem to be cheaper. I would use 0.5% of my powdered green tea extract and 5% of the liquid in my products, so you can see that we use more of the liquid in our products, which will cost more.

There are a few really good reasons to use liquid extracts...
1. They are easier to use. You won't end up with little bits of chamomile or green tea extract floating around your lotion because it didn't dissolve properly. Generally, they are added to the cool down phase of the product.

2. They are generally less intensely coloured than their powdered equivalent. This green tea extract is clear (as is the water soluble stuff I have), whereas the powder is a browny-green colour that will transfer to your product. Take a look at this foamy facial cleanser! My mom won't even consider using it because it looks a little like blood, but that's what I get for using green tea, white willow bark, and grapeseed extracts in it. Had I used the liquid versions, I might have had a better colour in the end.

This is not to say that every liquid extract is uncoloured. My experience has been that most are uncoloured. The ones in the picture at the top of this post are ginger and green tea liquid extracts, and they are slightly and darkly coloured respectively. 

Which ones should you use? Whichever ones work best for your products! If you are worried about changing the colour of your product or finding little undissolved bits, the liquid extracts are a great choice. If you are worried about cost, don't mind colour, and find you can dissolve things well, then go for the powdered extracts.

I thought I had addressed this issue recently, but maybe not? Please don't make your own liquid extracts from your powdered extracts in large quantities. It seems like a great idea - make them in advance and use them as you need it - but there are reasons to avoid this!

Related posts:
Extracts section of the blog
How do we use powdered extracts in our products?

In this post, Unknown asked: I was reviewing the file you have Introductions to lotion/cream recipes, which I am so anxious to try. I finally got the BTMS but it is the 25% will it work for the recipes you have posted? OMG I hope so since I bought it specifically for this and did not realize there are various percentages available. If not what do you suggest?

On this blog, I deal mainly with two versions of BTMS (behentrimonium methosulfate) - Rita BTMS-225 with 25% BTMS and Incroquat BTMS-50 with 50% BTMS. (There is also a version of Incroquat BTMS-25 with 25% BTMS, but I don't use that one.) I always use Incroquat BTMS-50 in my lotion recipes as I have found that Incroquat BTMS-25 just doesn't emulsify as well as I would like.

I know many readers of this blog have had great success with BTMS-25, but when I formulate my recipes, I need to ensure they are fairly foolproof if someone follows the recipe and directions as written. There are many things I can get to work in my workshop, but I don't want to set my lovely readers up to fail! Having said that, I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments! 

What can you do if you have BTMS-25 instead of BTMS-50? I've gone into great detail about how to use it in a conditioner in this post, so I'll direct you there for that topic. (And I really encourage you to try it at a 1:1 switch because I think we all use more conditioner than we need, unless you have a ton of oils in your conditioner.)

But for a's not as simple. Yoou can try doubling it, but it isn't a sure fire thing. Follow every single direction to the letter - heat and hold, mix etc. - to ensure a better outcome. This isn't to say you won't be successful using BTMS-25 or BTMS-225, it's just a little pickier than using the BTMS-50. Your lotion will be much thicker than expected, so I also suggest removing some of the fatty alcohols or acids completely or you'll get something that can only live in a jar!

For the love of all that is good and wonderful, memorize or write down the INCI name of Incroquat BTMS-50 when you are looking to buy this ingredient! So many of our suppliers change the name to something like "emulsifying conditioner" or "conditioning emulsifier" or "(store name here)'s conditioning emulsifier" and you may end up buying the wrong thing or the same thing two or three times!

Incroquat BTMS-50 is behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetyl alcohol (and) butylene glycol.
Incroquat BTMS-25 and Rita BTMS-225 are behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetearyl alcohol.

Related posts:
Substitutions: What to use when you can't wait to create!

Also in this post, Amanda said: I have been wondering about tear free baby shampoo/body wash. I love making stuff for myself, but I'm still stuck buying for my toddler. All of my favorites for him seem to center around decyl glucoside, but I'm a bit nervous about dealing with the pH issue. Are there any similarly mild alternatives? Is there any way to test its tear free status besides rubbing it in my own eyes? Do you have any recipes you would be willing to share? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

I'm always wary about making anything for a baby as they can't tell us that something hurts or stings or feels great, but I can tell you about the theory. A toddler is a slightly different story, but I'm still on guard, to be honest.

In general, baby shampoo is pH 7, neutral, so it won't bother our eyes. But even if you get the product to 7, the only real way to test it is to rub it on your own yes to know it really is tear free. (My mom uses Johnson's & Johnson's baby shampoo as a make-up remover, and it really is tear free!) Decyl glucoside has a very high pH sometimes, but we can bring that down with citric acid to create something around pH 7.

You'll see surfactant baby blends at our suppliers' and these should be mild enough for a baby's skin. The Herbarie sells a baby blend concentrate that is pH balanced, and Voyageur's BSB blend (Stepan) is recommended as well. You could start with those as you don't have to balance the pH, which can be a pain in the bum!

I don't have any recipes to share, sorry. I don't have any young children in my life, so I haven't had occasion to make products. And I admit that I'm a bit apprehensive about ti. You could make a basic body wash or shampoo and water it down quite a bit until it is at a foamer consistency and try that. I found a few recipes at Voyageur Soap & Candle that might work for you, but they seem to be based on soap. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful!

Related posts:
Surfactants section of the blog
Surfactant recipes (not including shampoo)


catherine said...

Hi again. Re making liquid extracts from powders...I do this in small amounts with vitamins (niacinamide etc). Always w distilled water (or propanediol for salicylic acid) and preservative. Easier for experimenting in small amounts. Do you see any safety issues here?

Ps. The extracts for experimenting only, not for 'sale' (actually I haven't sold anything). Also, this works only for things that are way more soluble than a % you would need in a recipe. Then when I finalize a recipe I work backwards from my concentrated extracts to the proper %.


catherine said...

Re botanical extracts...I say spend the extra $ on liquid extracts! I remember when I first started, buying lots of powdered extracts, noting the liquid ones were basically fco or water with a little exract.

But I've had too many gummy, yucky lotions using powdered, even at only half the reco amount, etc...

Liquid extracts very well priced on brambleberry...

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, want to thank you for your great blog and all the great information you provide! I was wondering if using liquid oil soluble extracts would they be included as part of the oil % phase or water phase?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Catherine! Sorry I missed your question. I don't see any safety issues with what you're doing! Yay on using preservatives!

Hi Karen! Ask yourself if the liquid extract is oil soluble or water soluble. If it's oil soluble, then in the oil phase it goes! And ask your supplier if it's heat sensitive. If it is, into the cool down phase it goes!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I've answered your question, Karen, in today's Weekend Wonderings!

Simone said...

Hi Susan,
Re: Powdered Extracts
I have some powdered extracts; Acerola AKA Barbados Cherry and Cranberry to name 2. The problem I have is that when I received the Acerola it was already a shiny solid mass and in the following 2 months the Cranberry has done the same. I mostly make oil in water cream/butter products so, can I in future, when I receive powdered extracts dissolve them in something (like jojba oil or perhaps propyl glycol) that then I can use in my recipes? I find that some of the extracts I want to use are not available in solution. I note that in your last paragraph relating to extracts you were quite definite in your opinion as to NOT making powdered extracts into solutions. Do you or your readers have any suggestions as to how to keep the powders in their dry state if making a solution is really not a good idea.
Thank you for your fantastic blog.


Melissa Grindle said...

I had something interesting happen when I used BTMS 25 in my lotion. In my first batch of lotion this week, I accidentally let the temperature to both water and oil get down to 45C. When I added the water to the oil, it immediately thickened up to a cool whip consistency. I SB, then added preservative and FO. In my subsequent batches, I mixed water to oil at the proper temperature. I find it interesting that all have the exact same ingredients and percentages yet the first Emulsion seems thicker and waxier while the others feel more water-based if I could use that term.
Do you think that the mix at improper temp will effect the overall integrity of the product?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Melissa! I'm sorry it has taken so long to get back to you about your question. You'll be pleased to know I've written an entire lengthy post about it, which you can find on Saturday, June 24th, 2017. The short answer is yes, I definitely think that mixing at an improper temperature can affect the overall integrity of the product.

How did your lotion stand up over time? Just curious! Thanks for the great question!