Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What do you want to know? Making hair spray and using tea in our products

In the What do you want to know post, Nicole asks: 1) I'm interested in making teas to put in lotions for the water portion but i'm not sure if there are things to watch out for with this replacement or if you have to do anything different with preservatives. 2) Have you ever made or thought about making hair sprays? 

To answer the second question, yes, I have thought about it...but then I get sleepy and forget to write it down on my list. (It's on the list now!) A hair spray is a combination of a holding agent - something like PVP or AMP - and some liquid, like water or maybe alcohol. If you want to try making one, you could try this recipe for hair gel without the carbomer or lye and see if it holds the way you like. Put it in a mister bottle and you've got yourself a hair spray! (And if you let us know how it turns out, I'll send you a free e-book!)

Related posts:
Conditioners and detanglers using Amaze XT
Gels (revised for 2013)
Gels: Making a hair styling gel

To answer the first question, please don't ever use tea in your products as it's just an invitation for serious contamination. (I've addressed the question in this post, but I'll recap it here.) Botanical ingredients, like powdered extracts or hydrosols, are hard to preserve because they're botanical in nature, but these have been treated and preserved by the manufacturers of the products. Tea that we make in our own homes is botanical in nature, and will contain loads of little bits of botanical material that is a huge invitation to bacteria and mould to create a home in our products.

I'm sure you've seen other people making teas and adding them to their products instead of the water phase, and those people are either experienced formulators who know how to make these products safely or they're foolhardy individuals who know not the risks of their behaviour. Either way, most of us shouldn't be using infusions we've made at home to make products.

Related posts:
Infusions, teas, and vinegar as a preservative

Do you have a burning question? Join us in the What do you want to know post and ask your question!


Jennifer said...

Regarding using teas/infusions. I'm not convinced it can't be done by a home formulator. I'd like to see an actual side by side with a boiled, chunky bits filtered out, say, using a coffee filter, tea vs distilled water in a product that was adequately preserved with a broad spectrum preservative at the time of formulation. You can boil water for 5 minutes to sterilize it. Why would this not be possible with an infusion (not withstanding the loss of botanically active goodies from the high temp)? Make just enough for your particular recipe and use it immediately. Black and green tea infuse in 4 minutes. Not much time to attract bugs. Why could you not heat and hold this tea, shortly after making it, which would essentially pasteurize it, and assume that if a preservative were immediately added at max allowable use, it would not maintain its "clean" status? Anecdotal stories of unpreserved teas (sun tea etc.) going bad aren't doing it for me. Sure, tea brewed and left out on the counter for a couple of days will get yucky. That's probably true of distilled water with a purchased powdered or liquid botanical added to it (green tea extract for instance), if no preservative were added. Not trying to be contrary or risk any one's safety. I LOVE what you do. Just want a bit more science behind the "don't do this - you can't ever make it sterile enough" approach.

Diane said...

The issue(s)is(are) not the sterility of the water -
I believe the science that you are wanting to see is readily available in textbooks and on Google.

I have tried to use green tea in an emulsion twice and it didn't work either time; a clear enough indication for me.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Diane. Can you share a little bit more? How didn't the green tea not work for you?

Hi Jennifer. It isn't about the four minutes when we steep the tea; it's about the amount of time it's in the lotion or other creation as that's when it attracts contamination. I'm not sure what other information I can provide, to be honest. If you feel you can make an infusion and use it in a product, then by all means use it.

I really don't have time to run tests on something like this because I have so little time to actually create nice things and because I think there's enough information out there to show that it's a bad idea. Besides, any information I gather from that kind of experiment is really only anecdotal.

Let us know how your experiments turn out!

Diane said...

Hi Susan,
I once used the actual tea in the water stage and once the powder from a couple of green tea extract capsules - used them in a recipe that was historically successful and each time there was a problem with the emulsion - water in the bottom of the bottle.

I generally try to stay on the minimum level of emulsion in that I think is an attempt to minimize the whitening of a recipe and maybe that is a problem.

On a different thread, I wonder if you could shed some light on this situation: I only make 300 or 500 g in a batch and change up the ingredients or proportions each time. Recently I got a batch of emulsifying wax from Brambleberry and they described it as equivalent to Polawax. I have made two batches but neither time was the emulsion stable - my latest recipe is as follows. Am I using enough emulsifier? The Polawax did the job with similar ingredients.

H2O 84%
allantoin 1

Polawax BBrry 3.5
CaraBellina 1
Olive butter 4

Honeyquat 2.3
Germall + .7

It's a lovely consissency but I have to shake it up a couple of times before it mixes completely. In my previous recipe I used 3% Polawax BB and it didn't ever come together. I never had a probelm with the brand name.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Susan


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Diane!

As for the lotion, I've answered it in today's Weekend Wonderings (on Monday!). The short answer is that when you use generic e-wax, increase the amount you'd use for Polawax by 1%.

Maria said...

I've used teas in place of water in a shampoo recipe. I used a ginger tea (I used fresh ginger steeped in hot water). No problems.

I do make small batches. I've considered doing it for lotion, but I'm not convinced the tea extracts do all that much and I have sensitive skin--I generally use the essential oils of the tea in lotions if I want some property or other.

I'd certainly try it though in just about any recipe. I make lotion about once a month and keep the majority in the fridge, keeping out a small container for daily use.

If you want the benefit of a particular tea on your hair, you can always use a tea as a rinse. Chamomile tea rinse is a great clarifier and can be left in or rinse out after.

Dr. LenaJeanne said...

The problem with using Water to "infuse" teas and so on is that it actually causes inactivation of major antioxidants found in teas AND many of the compounds that you actually want to extract generally uses a methanol or another non-water based method of extraction; therefore, using water isn't even giving you the desired results.

I do use extractions myself, but they are non-water based extractions and I'm a PhD biochemist. It is DEFINITELY not for the home formulator. I'm sure home formulators do not agree with me, but it's my professional opinion.

Besides that I've actually started buying my extracts instead of making them. WHY? Cost of time. And generally you can get these extracts from manufacturers for very little cost and they use the correct extraction protocols.

Most of the protocols can be found on google under patented procedures. Many are also published and can be found in journals like ACS.


Dr. Smith