Sunday, June 16, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Troubleshooting lotion fails and formulating shampoo

In this post, Anonymous writes: I am really sad right now, though, because none of my lotions work. I have only made a lotion successfully a few times, and the rest are utter failures. It looks almost emulsified, but then it turns out to be the consistency of applesauce! I use BTMS-25. I heat and held, so I don't know what could have happened. 

Hi Anonymous. This is the last time I'm answering anything from an anonymous commenter. I think I've made it really clear that I don't like anonymous posts - it's too easy to be mean if you don't have to be accountable for it - and I've started deleting them regardless of topic.

You have a lotion fail going on with your product. If you check out this post on what can go wrong with lotions, you'll see this consistency isn't normal. Here's my post on how to figure out what went wrong - Trouble shooting a lotion fail. You're using BTMS-25, which must be used at double the amount of BTMS-50 to emulsify properly. (I know there are wonderful readers out there who have had great success with BTMS-25 as an emulsifier, but there are so many people who haven't!)

If you want me to review your recipe, please include the full recipe and process you followed so it's easier for me to see what you did! For the most part, I won't be able to help if you can't send me that information. E-mail or post a comment - either way, I need to see everything you did. And posting is probably a better idea because other readers can help out! 

Related posts:
Epic lotion fail with Natramulse
A few questions about lotion fails
Question: Why did this lotion fail?
Troubleshooting a lotion fail...
Can I save a failed lotion?

In the same post, the same commenter asks: Also, another question...I made a shampoo with 10% Cocamidopropyl betaine, 10% ACI, and 10% polyglucose/lactylate blend. I thought this would be great for dry hair, but for some reason, it was stripping. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!!

Making shampoo or using surfactants isn't just about the surfactants you use. This is a good start, but the extras are vital for taking something from good to great! What else did you include in it? Was it just these three surfactants, water, and preservative? There are so many ingredients we can include to increase the mildness of our products, and we rarely, if ever, make a product with just surfactants that will feel great on our skin. It could be that you have too high a concentration of surfactants in your product for dry hair. It could be that you aren't adding the things your hair might like, something like a protein or a humectant or an emollient. It could be these aren't the right surfactants for the job.

Polyglucose/lactylate blend is generally suggested for dry hair, and cocamidopropyl betaine is a great mildness enhancer. ACI is very much like SCI, which has what is called an elegant "skin feel". These should be a nice combination for dry hair (and would make a great body wash). In fact, my friends with oily skin and hair types find the polyglucose/lactylate blend too moisturizing! I'm not sure what to suggest other than maybe reducing the concentration and taking a look at your additives.

Check out the surfactants section of the blog to see all the posts on various surfactants, as well as information on increasing mildness in our products! And check out the hair care section for more information on shampoo formulating!

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