what do you want to know post, Lynne asks: I'm just starting out and love your mix of both natural ingredients and the more confusing and acronym-laden chemical ingredients. But I am a little overwhelmed with all the possibilities. If you had to pick just 5 or 6 specialty ingredients that most of us had to order instead of buy at a grocery or craft store, what would you pick?
It depends upon what you want to make! I would suggest buying in small amounts at first - I know that litre of hazelnut oil is an amazing price, but you won't use a litre in a year, so it's wasted money - and print out the recipes you want to make with your receipt so you know what you were planning to make with those ingredients when they show up a few weeks later.
If you want to make lotions, then you definitely need an all-in-one emulsifier - Polawax, e-wax, Ritamulse SCG, or Incroquat BTMS-50 are a few I could name - and a thickener. If I had to choose, I'd go with cetyl alcohol over stearic acid as I like its glidiness and silkiness over the cream making abilities of stearic acid. Buy mango, shea, or cocoa butter and a broad spectrum preservative. Oh, and get a humectant. I think glycerin or sodium lactate are the best all around ones, but you can't use sodium lactate in a rinse off product like a facial cleanser or body wash, so if you want to make those as well, get the glycerin. You can get your oils from the grocery store, so those are the five things I'd suggest for a lotion.
As a note, if you want to make conditioner and like a slightly powdery feeling in your lotions, Incroquat BTMS-50 will do double duty as the emulsifier in a lotion and the conditioning agent in a conditioner!
Summary for lotions:
Cetyl alcohol or stearic acid
Humectant - glycerin or sodium lactate
Preservative - one suitable for water soluble products
If I had to pick five speciality ingredients, which ones would I choose?
allantoin. I put it in almost all my lotions at 0.5%. Allantoin, also called 5-ureidohydantoin or glyoxyldiureide, is a fantastic skin protectant that softens skin (it's a keratolytic, meaning it causes the keratin to soften), causes rapid cell regeneration and proliferation, and is approved by the FDA to temporarily prevent and protect chafed, chapped, cracked, or windburned skin by speeding up the natural processes of the skin and increasing the water content. I add it to my lotions to speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms and soothe my weather abused skin!
You don't need to order much - 57 grams is more than enough to last you quite some time if you're adding it at 0.5%! And it's not expensive. It's about $5.65 for 57 grams at Voyageur Soap & Candle.
behenyl alcohol for its glidy but powdery feeling. I generally don't like a powdery feeling in my products, but this fatty alcohol in a greasier feeling product can make the product feel slightly less greasy without feeling more waxy, as it would with cetearyl alcohol, or more draggy, as it would with stearic acid. I find it gives my product what the cosmetic industry calls an "elegant skin feel", which is that it feels silky and a bit cushioned.
babassu oil. I find it adds a silky and glidy but powdery feeling to products without feeling dry or draggy. I use it in place of the butters in my product, and it gives a silkiness that feels occlusive but not heavy.
Note, though, babassu melts at slightly above room temperature, so you can't use it as the sole butter in something like a whipped butter. Use it in combination with something that has a higher melting point, like shea or mango or cocoa (and so on) butters. Don't combine it with coconut oil in a whipped butter as they both melt around the same point!
Panthenol is just lovely for all kinds of things - improving stratum corneum hydration, reducing redness and inflammation, increasing wound healing, improving skin's barrier repair mechanicsms, mitigating itching and soothing irritation, and behaving as a humectant.
Panthenol can come in liquid or powder formats. Just follow the directions given to you by your supplier for use in your lotions!
hydrolyzed proteins, specifically oat protein. I suggest getting one for your creations as they form films and some can penetrate your skin to moisturize from the inside!
I'm still brainstorming on my five favourite more exotic ingredients, which you'll see early next week. It's so hard to choose when I have such wonderful options!
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at some ingredients we could use in hair care products!