Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Do we need preservatives in anhydrous products? How do we use glycerin as a silicone substitute? And how to do I add water soluble things to anti-frizz sprays?

In this Newbie Tuesday post on lotion bars, AZ asks: Do we need to add any preservative to them? Or all oil only creations do not need preservatives?

No, we don't need to add preservatives to oil only products. We add preservatives to water containing products because the beasties that grow in our products will need water to live, so those that don't contain water don't need preservatives. You can add anti-oxidants to your anhydrous or oil only products in the form of rosemary oleo resin or Vitamin E, but you don't need to add preservatives if they are not going to be near or contain water.

Can I point out how happy I am that you want to preserve your products? Yay! 

Related posts:
When do we add a preservative?
Back to the very basics: What we need to know about making any product, part 1

Someone asked me how to do this in an e-mail I can't find at the moment. You don't. Glycerin is a water soluble ingredient that draws water from the atmosphere to your skin or hair. Silicones are oil soluble ingredients that create a layer of emolliency on your hair or skin and keeps water out. Using glycerin in the place of silicones will do the exact opposite of what you want and will make your hair feel really sticky and horrible.

If you want a substitute for silicones, you can use various oils to get that emolliency or you can use a silicone substitute, depending upon your goal. I've heard that broccoli oil is a good subtitute, but it has a broccoli smell to it, which means it won't even make it through the front door of my house so I won't be testing it out in my workshop!

In this post on anti-frizz sprays, Marjolein asks: I really like this frizz spray but now am looking to add silk to it... And there my knowledge stops. Liquid silk is waterbased so i guess i have to use an emulsifier now...BTMS with silicones as i learned from your blog. How would you reccomend for me to adjust the silicon spray to incorporate a bit of waterbased ingredient? Thank you in advance!!!

You're right. To add a water based ingredient to an oil soluble product, you have to add an emulsifier. But the moment you add BTMS to this product, you've turned it into a conditioner, not an anti-frizz spray, so my suggestion is to leave this one alone and get yourself a good leave in conditioner recipe you like and add your silk to that.

How do you add an emulsifier to this product? I wouldn't. I'm not saying you can't, but by the time you add the emulsifier, add some water, add the silk and preservative, and so on, you have a leave in conditioner with a ton of silicones and you don't have a silicone spray any more.

Join me tomorrow for more Weekend Wonderings!


marjolein said...

thank you for sharing your knowledge once again!!!:)

Mich said...

Thanks for sharing this helpful information! I have noticed that most products make my hair feel oily.

Jodi said...

Thank you for continually posting about the proper use and importance of preservatives!

My friend just showed me a high-end spa “Lotion” she purchased a few months ago. It had separated, was lumpy and did not look appealing. I read the ingredients and found no preservatives. The ingredients are typical of what we would use, e.g., aloe juice, shea butter, emulsifying wax, vitamin E and essential oils, to name a few. No mention of preservatives.

I was hoping that the preservatives were added at less than 1% - until a visit to the website confirmed otherwise. This is what is written:
“…I make small quantities and use only the freshest ingredients... No chemical preservatives are used in any of the products I create...“

No preservatives! How can people remain in business when they don’t seem to fully understand the ingredients and chemistry?

robyn m said...

A question regarding salicylic acid. Since it is oil soluble do you think I could mix it with polysorbate 80 before adding it to aloe juice? I know I could just use aspen bark or willow bark instead but was just wondering if this would work.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Robyn. Salicylic acid isn't oil soluble, it's water and alcohol soluble. I've written more about this in today's Weekend Wonderings.

Hi Jodi. What a great conversation starter! I've put it into today's Weekend Wonderings!

Anonymous said...

Glycerin is an excellent leave in product for very curly and natural hair in humid climates. We curlies have been using it for years. As it catches humidity from the air, it keeps curls hidrated and well formed, without frizz. Curly hair is very dry so glycerin is a miracle product. It is a must in every curly routine. Only it should not used in very dry weather because it would drive water out of your hair. When you say it´s a bad idea to use it directly on your hair you may be talking about straight hair, but that is not everybodys type of hair.

Anonymous said...

I am the same anonymous from the previous comment. As you state that yoy don´t like anonymous comments, I add that my name is SofĂ­a. Thanks

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sofia. I didn't say that glycerin wasn't good for your hair - it's great for normal to dry hair! - but that it isn't a substitute for silicones because they don't serve the same purpose. I've written many times that glycerin is great for dry hair to moisturize, much better than oils are! Does it drive water out of your hair in dry weather? Check out this post.