Saturday, June 1, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Professional infusions, SCI vs. ACI, and shampoo in foamer bottles?

The post I wrote about not making our own teas or infusions caused quite the controversy earlier this week. In that post, MsClogs asks: What would you say a professional cosmetic scientist would do to make a "safe" botanical oil infusion that the home crafter would potentially not do or be able to do? If botanical material is completely dry and from a reputable source would that be sufficient? Would you consider that a botanical oil infusion would require preservation too? Just interested in your thoughts.

We don't have access to all those testing things the professionals do. We can't make our environment, our equipment, our containers, and so on completely sterile. We can't test the infusions we make, before or after. We lack so much that someone who was really dedicated to making infusions have that we can't guarantee the safety of the end product. I think that's what a professional chemist or infuser can bring to the mix that we can't.

I can't endorse the idea of making our own infusions at home because there is always a risk of contamination. If I say, sure go ahead but make sure you do these things...someone will forget a step or take the quote out of context and the risk is there again. I'm not an expert on making infusions of any sort, so I can't speak with any authority on the topic other than to suggest that you seek out an experienced infuser who will take you under their wing and show you all the steps you need to take to make sure you create a safe product.

Please consider this...Everything we do is a craft that takes time to learn. As newbies (and as veterans) are going to make mistakes and create products that aren't great. When it comes to making something like a lip balm, we know it isn't great because it feels or tastes funny, and we'll throw it away. It's obvious when something has gone wrong. With something like an infusion, it's harder to tell if something is off, and we might use it in a product and have things not go well. My goal isn't to dissuade  you from making something, it's to encourage you to be as safe as possible when making it, and I'm not sure how to make safe infusions.

(Sort of) related post: A few thoughts on starting a business

In this post on substituting ACI for SCI, Zenobiah writes: I have tried using ACI instead of SCI substituting 1:1 and had very little success. No bubbles and very thin product. But I recently read on the Dish that ACI Jordapon has less active ingredients than SCI, ACI has 30% instead of 80% or something along those lines. So do I need to triple my amount of ACI then? 

Are you talking about liquid SCI vs. liquid ACI or solid SCI vs. liquid ACI? I'm going to assume you mean solid SCI versus liquid ACI because I can't find anywhere that sells liquid SCI! For more information on the difference between the two, click here, and for the data sheet on Jordapon ACI and SCI, click here.

Liquid ACI is about 30% active ingredient, while Jordapon appears to be 54% to 65% active ingredient depending upon which resource you read. All SCI contains some free fatty acids, which will thicken up a product. So ACI will leave you with half the active surfactant and no fatty acids, which would explain why the product is less bubbly and thinner. You could use double the amount of ACI in your products, but you still won't get that thickening we expect with SCI type products.

In the referenced post, I had to use 4% Crothix to get the product to thicken, which is quite a lot when you consider that I had only 1% in the original product with SCI. You could add something like glycol distearate at up to 2% in the heated water phase or double the amount of ACI you're using in the product. You could also put the product in a foamer and be okay with it being thinner, which is what I'm doing with loads of products lately! (See the picture below? It's the orange coloured product!)

Related posts:
Iron Chemist: SCI - syndet cleansing bar and possible foaming bath butter
Experiments in the workshop: Using ACI in place of SCI
Experiments in the workshop: Body wash with esters
A 3-in-1 that might be great for swimmers

Speaking of foamer bottles, in this post on decyl glucoside, LaKenda asks: My current question: what do you think about making a shampoo for a foamer bottle. We are so used to something more substantial but what about a foamy cleanser for our hair?

It's an interesting idea! I think it could work for some hair types and preferences. If you have thick, oily hair like me or like a lot of foam and lather, it might not be for you, but if you don't mind less lather, I think it could be quite interesting. I think it could definitely work for fine hair types or children's hair, or for people who really want to concentrate on the scalp.

Weird aside: I tend to shower before the gym because the showers there don't clean my hair well, and I've been using this facial cleanser as my body wash post-workout, and it's working well for me! I miss my lovely fragrance and I'd like a bit more moisturizing, but it's surprisingly good to clean up the sweat and stuff.

Why not try it? One of the biggest annoyances in working with surfactants can be the thickening, and using foamer bottles is a way of cheating the need to thicken!

Have a question? Ask away!

1 comment:

Jen said...

It is so interesting that this subject was brought up because I literally just asked my DH if he thought either a spray-on or former bottle shampoo sounded nuts!