I have a pot of Earl Grey steeping beside me, a dog curled up at my feet, and some great tunes on the iPod! Let's get wondering! (And if you have something you'd like me to wonder about, click here and add your question to the list!)
In this post, Anonymous asks: Hello, I have found your blog very, very, helpful, thank you. I am wondering if you can help me with this question please? Can I use rice bran wax successfully as an emulsifier in my skin care products, facial and body creams and lotions, instead of other emulsifying waxes that you have mentioned? If so would it be at the same pecentages or would it alter?
Rice bran wax isn't a replacement for emulsifying wax, and it cannot be used in that way.
Waxes aren't inherently emulsifying, which means we can't substitute any wax for emulsifying wax. (Beeswax is not an emulsifier unless it is combined with borax.) To be able to emulsify something, an ingredient has to have a hydrophilic (or water loving head) and a lipophilic (or fat loving) tail that can bring our oil and water together. Rice bran wax doesn't have those qualities, so it can't be used as an emulsifier.
You might see the hydrophilic head listed as a polar head and the lipophilic tail listed as a non-polar tail. Water is polar, fat is non-polar. Take a look at this post to learn more about this topic. Or click here to learn more of the chemistry of polarity! And please click here for a really in depth post on emulsification!
I hate the name emulsifying wax as it causes so many problems! The important word is emulsifying - you can't substitute a wax for an emulsifier!
In an e-mail, Sabine asks: I was making the Brambleberry easy Whipped Shea butter with sucess last year. Then all of a sudden the Shea butter I was getting from WSP somehow changed, it's harder now, and I can't seem to re-create the fluffy kind of whipped lotion. If you have a suggestion that would be neat.
You can use either shea butter in our creations, but it might change the viscosity and skin feel of the product. I always use ultra refined in my products because I have a lot of trouble with earthy smells, so if you make the same recipe with another version, it will probably be stiffer or thicker. And you will notice a big difference with something like a whipped butter where shea is the star attraction. I made a whipped golden shea butter and found it felt lovely on my skin, but it went grainy easily and I had to work to rub it onto my skin. (Having said that, I really do love it!)
This variability in natural ingredients like oils and butters is one of the reasons big companies use mineral oil in their products. These ingredients are different depending upon region, processing, climate, season, and so on, which means there can be differences each time they make products! I like that my products can differ every time I make them!
Emollients: Shea butter
Experiments in the workshop: Whipped golden shea butter
Experiments in the workshop: Golden shea butter sugar scrub
ARE THERE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WHITE AND BLACK WILLOW BARK EXTRACTS?
In this post, Michele asked: What is the difference between white and black willow bark as for benefits to the skin/hair?
Great question! I can't find any differences between the two when it comes to our hair or skin. White willow bark comes from the Salix alba tree, native to Europe and Asia, whereas black willow bark comes from the Salix nigra tree, native to North America. They both contain all that lovely salicylic acid we want, as well as tannins and other astringent things that can contribute to its anti-inflammatory and keratolytic properties. (Click here for the original post on white willow bark!)