Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Difference between carbomer vs. acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer? What conditioner can I use for very fine hair? What's the difference between dilution and ratio?

Still suffering from this horrible cold, although my throat is feeling better and my skin doesn't hurt so much. I keep drinking vast quantities of chicken soup and honey & lemon tea and spraying my throat with echinacea while sucking on zinc tablets, and I think it's all working. I'm sure the rest isn't hurting either!

In this post on Gels (2013), Aljonor writes: I want to know if there is a difference between Carbomer and Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer? I am in the process of making a gel to twist my hair with a soft hold. I have the c10-30, but did not know I had to thicken it, so I am going to re-visit that again after I purchase the TEA. But I don't know if I should add Carbomer to my cart. Thanks in advance. 

This ingredient you mention is noted as being Ultrez 20 from Lubrizol. However, it can also be Ultrez ETD 2020Ultrez 21, Carbopol 1342, or Carbopol 1382. So they aren't necessarily all the same. The difference is what they can thicken, how easy it is to use the ingredient, what they will tolerate, and what the final viscosity will be. For instance, ETD2020 is designed to thicken surfactant systems, Ultrez 20 is designed to give you better clarity. You can take a look at this comparison chart from Lubrizol and see the different ways these ingredients work. (Or look at this brochure on the entire carbomer line from this company.) Having said that, if you have carbomer, but you don't need this product and if you have this product, you don't need carbomer, if you only want to have one gelling agent. As usual, talk to your supplier about the differences between the ingredients they carry.

In this post, Solid conditioner bars - the recipe, Sarah asks: Thank you for generous and informative post. I made your solid conditioner recipe and used it on my hair, it has a very good de-tangling and anti static property and also I love the ease of use. The problem is, I have very fine and limp hair . I have read your other conditioner recipes but I couldn't find anything in a solid form which would be suitable for my hair. If you can find time could you please tell me what can I add to your recipe to give some volume or body to my lifeless hair.

There really isn't anything you can do for very fine hair except not condition too much. The last thing you need is to weigh down your hair. I find the conditioner bars work well because I can control where I put the conditioner. I'd suggest staying away from your scalp and above your ears because that's where you'll get weighed down. Instead, focus on the ends of your hair.

If my conditioner bars are too intense, you'll have to go to a liquid product. Consider creating a cream rinse for your hair using something like Incroquat CR instead of using anything heavier. And definitely stay away from anything with oils or butters in it. Instead, get whatever moisturizing you need from humectants like glycerin.

Related posts:
Chemistry of your hair: Fine hair
Cream rinses
Modifying cream rinses
Detanglers using cetrimonium chloride
Detanglers using Incroquat CR
Detanglers using Amaze XT

In this post, Chemistry Thursday: Chemical reactions, Kim asks: I was wondering if you could clear up some chemistry that's confusing to me. What is the difference when mixing for a dilution vs a ratio? For example, if I was mixing a dilution of 1:1 water and lye, how would that differ from a 1:1 ratio?

I think it's the same thing. For instance, if I told you to use one part water and one part alcohol, I would assume you would use something like 50 grams of water to 50 grams of alcohol, which would be a 1:1 ratio. If I told you to dilute 50 grams of water to a 1:1 dilution, I would assume you would add 50 grams of alcohol to create a 1:1 ratio. If you said to dilute that 50 grams of water by 100% I would add 50 grams of alcohol.

The key difference is that if you tell me to dilute something, my assumption is that I would put the first thing into a container then add the second one. If you want me to create a 1:1 dilution of water with oil (pretend this works), then I would put 50 grams of water into a container, then add the 50 grams of oil. If you told me to create a ratio, I would think that I could add it in any order I wished.

This are just my thoughts on the topic. Any other thoughts? I'd love to hear them!

In the same post, Jodi asks: After washing my face I'm about to put my homemade "anti-aging" facial serum on my face. A wonderful idea occurs to me and I squirt about an equal amount of pure glycerin into the serum in the palm of my hand, mix it around, and rub it all over my face. ...Wow! After about 30 seconds my facial skin is very warm, almost tingling. What happened? Soon after, the warmth had subsided and there was no visible red spots or damage to my skin. Phew! Do you know what chemical reaction happened with that mixture? And, is this a good finding or my skin or a bad finding for my skin?
P.S. The ingredients in my facial serum are: 
Black Currant Seed Oil
Meadowfoam Seed Oil
Macadamia Seed Oil
Borage Seed Oil
Evening Primrose Oil
Rosehip Fruit Oil
Kukui Seed Oil
Pomegranate Seed Oil
Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil
Calendula Extract
Chamomile Extract
Green Tea Extract
Lavender EO

When glycerin and water come together, it's an exothermic or heat releasing reaction. If you've ever used a bit of glycerin on dry skin, you can feel that slight warming. (It's one of the reasons glycerin is used in personal enjoyment type products. Plus, it's a good lubricant.) When you increase the concentration of one - the water - and the concentration of the other - the glycerin, in the form of "lots" - you end up with a stronger reaction over a larger surface area, hence the tingling warmness.

Should you do this again? No. I'm not a skin care professional or doctor, but it seems that really warm tingling skin that concerns you is a sign not to do something again. But who am I to say?

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating when we take a look at thickening with Crothix and Ritathix!


Alexis said...


The acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylates name is also used to represent the Pemulen emulsifiers which have a different end use from the Carbomer, Ultrez or ETD family of polymer gels.

I've experimented with Carbomer 940, ETD 2020, Ultrez 10 and Pemulen TR-2. I consider everything I've made with these as still being in the experimental stage; so my advice is only from my small batches made only for me.

I find AMP 95 works well for neutralizing gels meant for hair. I looked at a study that compared TEA, Amp 95 and NaOH as neutralizers for Lubrizol Fixate, which means extrapolating their findings to the gels we can buy doesn't necessarily apply, but....their findings were AMP 95 changed the characteristics of the polymer the least, NaOH caused the polymer to be more brittle, and TEA let the polymer become too flexible, to the point of losing its holding power as a hair gel.

If you want your hair gel to be non-crunchy, add a small amount of propylene glycol (1,2-propanediol) or 1,3-propanediol to the gel after it is neutralized. Adjusting the amount controls how much stickiness and crunchiness the gel has. It also gives a silky feel to hair - well, at least my hair! So for a formula that had 0.1% ETD 2020, 0.1% Ultrez 10 and 0.8% PVP, I used 1% 1,3-propanediol to get rid of the crunchy, stiff curl look. I used both polymers because I like the cushiony feel of ETD 2020 but find too much of it can build up in my hair.

PVP is a hair styling aid ingredient and must be added after the gel is neutralized or else super yuckiness happens.

An ingredient I haven't tried yet is VP/VA copolymer, but I used to use a product that had it as the only styling aid ingredient with no other gels added.

Robert said...

For me, the comparison chart from Lubrizol has been a study in itself as some of the differences are very subtle. To formulate a basic gel either carbomer (such as Ultrez 10) or acrylates C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer (such as Ultrez 20) should be suitable. You probably don’t need both.

As an aside, the exothermic reaction of glycerin with water was used as the basis many years ago in a very popular sexual enhancement product known as ‘Emotion Lotion’.

Aljonor said...

Thank you for all the information I am currently experimenting now. Susan, thank you for the detail information, I did return to Personalformulator and found the correct name for my ingredient: it was the ETD 2020. Therefore, I am going to use the c10-30 first.

Alexis I am going to try your suggestion but I don't have PVP. I do however have VP/VA and I used it with PEG 8 for softness. I did think it may my hair more defined, but I just could not get the gel to thicken. I too experimented with Pemulen TR-2 and use it as a hair moisturizer with oils in it. Robert I am going to try the C10-30 and check the results. Thanks again