Thursday, January 31, 2013

These are a few of my favourites things! Morning routine

I started thinking about the products I use every day when Lise asked me about my preferences, so I thought I would share my daily routine. What I use changes by season, weather, and whim, so this is what I'm loving on January 31st, a generally very wet time in south west BC. (I'm still a bit under the weather with the tail end of this flu, so I'll be posting a few of these posts until I can get into the workshop next week!)

MORNING!
The alarm goes off and I spend a minute or two trying to figure out how to turn it off so my husband isn't awoken again...Okay, I'm up now! Into the kitchen - turn on the kettle, let my Blondie dog out for a few minutes, grab the paper, and check my email. I send out e-books and read and respond to messages. If I'm up early enough, I can write a blog post!

I brush my teeth, then wash my face with foaming facial wash. (I love this version with grape seed, chamomile, and green tea extract, but the dissolved powders can clog up the small foamers I love at the moment.) I apply anti-perspirant. I get dressed and go to the gym (5 or 6 mornings a week. I tried going in the evening, but I'm too hyper when I'm done and there are too many people there! Morning works best!)

I work out - full workout with weights for 90 minutes or aquafit - then a shower. I don't like to wash my face again, so I have a quick spritz of this toner to make my skin feel clean. I've included a ton of extracts to reduce inflammation and redness, and I'm always red-faced after a good land workout!

I love my shampoo bar - although the next version will have some stuff to help with the pool chemicals - and I'm loving this conditioner! I reduced the Ritamulse BTMS-225 to 3.5% and increased the water by 3.5% to compensate.

Body wash is essential, and this version is the one I use almost year around. I love the water soluble Shea butter, but PEG-7 olivate or another water soluble ester works really well! And I find the cationic polymer is great for that post-shower conditioning.

If I shower at home, I need my sugar scrub - I love this one right now - and foot scrub bar. If I'm at the Y, I take my body scrub bar so I don't have to lug around my 16 ounce plastic jar. (There isn't point in putting my scrub in anything smaller because I tend to abuse this stuff, and 4 ounces wouldn't get me through a week!)

Finally, I spray my hair first with this leave in conditioner then the anti-frizz spray. I alter my leave in conditioner throughout the year to add a little more conditioning when I'm swimming more, a little more detangling in the summer when I sweat more and find huge knots just above my neck, and a little more Incroquat CR when the humidity is low and I need more anti-static action! I don't alter the anti-frizz spray: My my hair will absorb any water it can!

Can you spot the two things I didn't make in this story?

Join me tomorrow for the rest of my exciting day!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A few thoughts for Monday!

I've been fighting this flu all week and it hit me again today. Sorry for the short post! 

The facial cleanser/scrub recipes I've been posting lately are gentle enough to use very day, but a lot of skin types cannot handle every day exfoliation. Therefore, although I consider the surfactant based cleansers gentle enough for every day use, the versions containing exfoliants might not be. Figuring this out really is about trial and error.

If you use water or water like ingredients in a product - anything water soluble like water, hydrosols, aloe Vera, and so on, you MUST use a preservative. There are no exceptions to this rule. If you make an anhydrous product - a product that doesn't contain water - you don't need to use a preservative. You might want to use an anti-oxidant like Vitamin E, but you don't need a preservative. If you make an anhydrous product that might come into contact with water, like a salt or sugar scrub, you should include a preservative. Include an anti-oxidant if you wish. Remember to choose a suitable preservative, like Phenonip, designed to be used with anhydrous products. (Yes, it contains parabens because they work well in anhydrous environments.)

Thanks for your suggestions for epic book series. Keep them coming!

And avoid this flu! It is awful!



Sunday, January 27, 2013

A few non-bath & body related things for a lazy, dog dangling Sunday morning!

Hi to members of Pinterest! I really appreciate all the pinning you've been doing about this blog, and I'm suitably impressed by your choices of blog posts. I can't believe how many of you have been posting about the need for preservatives. (It feels like we're finally winning that battle!) Thanks so much for sharing this blog with others!

I've been really sick this week - really really sick! - and I had a lot of time to think. (I will be getting to e-mails and comments later today and tomorrow!)

Here are a few of my thoughts...

The word "tutorials" doesn't have an apostrophe. It's TUTORIALS not TUTORIAL'S. To know whether or not you need an apostrophe, ask yourself this question - does the tutorial own anything? If it doesn't, then it doesn't need an apostrophe. This is called a grocer's apostrophe - putting an apostrophe in a plural that doesn't need it.

The other rule is to ask yourself if what you are writing is a contraction. For instance, if you were to say "the tutorial is easy", you could write "the tutorial's easy" because the ' replaces the word is or was. This is a huge problem with its and it's. In this sentence - the dog loved its bone - the dog owns the bone, so it should have an apostrophe. But it doesn't with its! If you wanted to say - the dog loves its bone so much, it's almost embarassing - that last "it's" is a contraction of "it is". (It can also be "it was" or "it has".) So the apostrophe represents the verb! Ask yourself what this means when you write it next time. If I'm writing "It's not easy being this awesome", it's a contraction of "it is" and it needs the apostrophe! This is annoying, but it's something we need to think about when writing!

When did we start referring to people as "that" instead of "who"? For instance, the girl that went to my school. The boy that went shopping. The man that annoyed me by using that instead of who. People are who!

I still hate passive verbs being used as active ones. You can't grow your business! You can help, assist, or nurture your business to grow, but you can't actively grow it. I hate the way business bastardizes words!

I'm still in love with my iPad mini! It makes it easy to write blog posts when I'm taking a break at work, sitting at the coffee shop, lying in bed really sick, or just hanging out at the Y after my workout. (They have wifi now!) You can probably see the results of this increased ability to blog and respond in the last few weeks. I have the greatest husband ever, eh?

Does anyone who loved A Song of Ice and Fire have a suggestion for another book series? I tried reading the Dark Tower (Stephen King), but it's just not gripping me. (He's a good story teller, but I like the epic writing style of George RR Martin or Tolkein!) I want something with a world in which I can immerse myself, and I love both science fiction or fantasy. I just want something epic and awesome! I'm currently reading Robert J. Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax, but I'm almost done. (I have come to the conclusion that I might be a neanderthal as I love the cold, have lots of hair, and will be developing a huge wrinkle horizontally between my eyebrows as opposed to vertically!) I loved Sean Mullen's Souls in the Great Machine series - maybe I'll read that again? I'm ready to try anything!

And the idea for a dog dangling day comes from the Simpsons. I don't actually dangle my dog in any way!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Question: What's my favourite facial cleanser recipe?

In this post, Lise asked: Thanks for this series on cleansers which has me all curious about your own preferred face cleanser. I ask because I have personally never had any real success using surfactant based face cleansers. (not sure if it's sensitivity or just a dislike of the feeling of soap on my face). I have always been a bit curious as to how mild one can go with a surfactant based cleanser and still have it 'work'. I'd love to hear your thoughts in this.

This recipe is my favourite, my facial cleanser with a ton of extracts (modified) in the foamer bottle. I have altered it in the last few months because I can't get LSB any more - which is one of the reasons I suggest we use single surfactants or make our own blends when we can - so I've started using disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (10%) and C14-16 olefin sulfonate (5%) in its place. The powdered extracts can make the foamer bottle not work very well, so sometimes I leave out the extracts to have a clear product. (My mum hates the look of the did-you-add-blood-to-that? mess above, so she hides it on me, making it really hard for me to find my facial cleanser some days!)

I also love the mud cleanser recipe I posted earlier today as an exfoliating product for my oily, sensitive skin. I bought some BC Glacial clay to add to this product, and I'll post my results next week.

My favourite combination of surfactants for my oily, sensitive skin is disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, C14-16 olefin sulfonate, and cocamidopropyl betaine. For my friends with dry skin, I'm a big fan of polyglucose/lactylate blend and the taurates.

Unfortunately, this recipe wouldn't work as a surfactant based scrub recipe as it is really watery. You could increase the surfactants and add some Crothix at the end - I think it took 5% for me to thicken this into a pump bottle consistency - or you could just enjoy a more watery product! 

I get where you're coming from, Lise! Before I started making my own things, I never let soap or anything foamy touch my face. I used Spectro-Jel (click for a possible duplication here) for years becauase it seemed like surfactants dried out my skin too much.

If you want to try using a surfactant based product after years of avoiding them, I suggest starting at a low level of surfactants and putting the product in a foamer bottle so you don't have to mess around with thickeners. Try something like 20% maximum surfactants, depending upon your skin type, and compensate with lots of water or hydrosols. As usual, don't make a huge batch because your skin might not like it.

Where to start? With the recipe above. Or may I suggest this creamy exfoliating facial cleanser with jojoba beads for dry to normal skin? I'd make the substitution of polyglucose/lactylate blend in place of 10% of the SMC taurate as a really gentle cleanser that moisturizes well. My best friend - with normal skin - and I - with oily skin - both found this a little too moisturizing when we rinsed it off!

To answer another question I've seen lately - why do I use such high levels of surfactants in my products? When I use my surfactant based products, I tend to use small amounts, which is why I can use higher levels of surfactants. I put some on my hand, lather it up, then rinse. I find this way of washing my face means I don't have to rinse so much and I never get that tight feeling. Others might prefer to use lower levels of surfactants and use larger dollops while cleansing. (As we know, the most enjoyable part of this process is learning what our skin likes and doesn't like and how we can make our products well!)

As well, lower levels of surfactants are harder to thicken, so I avoid adding a ton of Crothix - which I love, but my skin doesn't at higher levels (5% and up) - by adding more surfactants or adding things like aloe vera, which help thicken our products for us!

Question: Are the preservatives found in our ingredients enough to preserve the product?

I see people asking if they need to include a preservative in their product when they are using ingredients that already contain preservatives, and the short answer is yes. The long answer is also yes with an explanation.

Let's say you want to make this toner (from this post on dry skin toners). How much preservative would we find in the ingredients? Is that enough to preserve the entire product?

MAXED OUT TONER FOR DRY SKIN
HEATED WATER PHASE
19% water
20% aloe vera
20% hydrosol of choice
20% another hydrosol of choice
0.5% allantoin
5% Cromollient SCE or water soluble shea or water soluble olive oil (PEG-7 olivate) or another water soluble emollient
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2% hydrolyzed silk protein
2.5% sodium lactate or sodium PCA
2% niacinamide

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% chamomile extract
0.5% banana extract (or another extract of choice)
3% honeyquat
0.5% preservative of choice (use as directed)

We will probably find preservatives in the aloe vera, hydrosols, proteins, sodium lactate, honeyquat, panthenol, and liquid extracts. They will be at the level required for that ingredient, which could range from the minimum to the maximum of the suggested preservative depending upon the difficulty in preserving that ingredient. Manufacturers are only going to use what they need in their product to save money, which means the preservative will likely be found in quite low quantities and might be specific only to that ingredient's needs without being a broad spectrum preservative.

What does this mean for us? If we relied only on the preservatives in our ingredients, we'd be short preservative for the product because our water isn't preserved! We don't know if the preservative used in an ingredient is suitable for the product we're making - for instance, is a surfactant as hard to preserve as a botanical? - and we don't know if we have enough. We also don't know if the preservatives are heat tolerant. I'm heating up a whole bunch of ingredients here, and most of our preservatives don't like to be heated and held, so how can I know if they survived the very necessary heated water phase intact?

In short, the preservatives found in our ingredients are not enough to preserve an entire product.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A facial cleanser with clay!

I found this recipe on Voyageur Soap & Candle's site a while ago - I can't seem to find it now on their site! - and I thought I'd share my tweaks for this product. We've made it with the craft group a few times, and the ingredients I chose were to help with the oily skin and acne the craft group teenagers experience! You can substitute your favourite surfactants, hydrosols, extracts, or any other ingredient you like. I always include a little chamomile hydrosol to help with redness and inflammation and I like to include aloe vera for the soothing qualities as well as its ability to slightly thicken products.

FOAMING MUD CLEANSER
HEATED WATER PHASE
29% water
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% aloe vera
20% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
10% disodium laureth sulfosuccinate
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
5% clay of choice
up to 2% Crothix

Weigh all the heated water phase ingredients in a heatproof container and heat and hold at 70˚C/158˚F for 20 minutes in a double boiler. (Note: Measure your container - jug and ingredients - before heating and holding so you can compensate for the loss of water.) Remove, then let it cool to 45˚C/113˚F before you add the cool down phase. I don't suggest using a fragrance here, but you might want to include an essential oil for its properties. Tea tree oil might be nice at 1% in the cool down phase.

I've used this recipe with Dead Sea mud and with green clay as well as pink Rhassoul. (I liked the Dead Sea mud the best.) I found we didn't really need liquid Crothix with this product, although its inclusion did mean the clay suspended a little bit better if the product was sitting for a while. You definitely want to put this in a bottle you can either pump or squeeze!

The product at the top of this post is made with BC glacial clay. And to your left you'll see a version done with pink Rhassoul clay. If you make it with Dead Sea mud, it'll look a lot like the one with glacial clay, quite dark and almost brown-black.

As a bonus, if you go to the Voyageur Soap & Candle site, check out this this recipe for the detoxifying mineral mask. It's really nice, although I didn't use the wheatgrass extract or the Optiphen (I used liquid Germall Plus instead).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Facial scrubs: Adding physical exfoliants to the surfactant base

The first step in turning our surfactant based facial cleanser into a scrub is to choose our physical exfoliants. Some will be great choices, some will be terrible, and some will be all about your preferences and your budget! (Please visit this post and this post to see the complete and detailed list about these ingredients!) When considering your exfoliant consider its scrubbiness level, its water solublity, and potential sogginess.

To see how much exfoliant you think you'd like, remove about 100 grams of the product you've made and add 5% or 5 grams exfoliant to the product. Mix, then try. If you like it, leave it. If not, add 5% more at a time until you reach a level you like. If you're making a facial product, try it on your face. I have found my hand can take a lot more exfoliation than my face, and that has led to a little too much scrubbiness! Keep really great notes, then do the math on what your skin might like. For instance, if I used 4 grams of jojoba beads in 100 grams of product, I would use about 4% in my recipe. (I realize if you divide 4 by 104 you get 3.85% in the product, but my scale just doesn't have that level of accuracy!)

LEVEL OF SCRUBBINESS
I think we can all agree that pumice probably isn't the first choice for a facial product. Even fine pumice is quite harsh and most skin types couldn't handle it. 

WATER SOLUBILITY
Sugar is such a nice exfoliant - it's cheap and comes in so many different grades. But sugar is very water soluble, and adding it to a surfactant blend will create a very sugary surfactant mix as it dissolves quickly. 

Salt is another nice exfoliant - it's cheap and comes in many grades, types, and colours. But it too is very water soluble, and you'll end up with a very salty surfactant blend as it dissolves quickly. As well, salt thickens our products, which means you will end up thickening your product pretty dramatically at first, but as it reaches the apex of the salt curve, you'll end up with a really watery product! 

Baking soda is another inexpensive and effective exfoliant, but it also dissolves quickly in water. 


SOGGINESS
Some exfoliants like corn meal, loofah, seeds, and shells can get soggy in scrubs that contain water. If you really want to use those ingredients, making a small tester batch and let them soak for a week or so. If they are soggy, consider figuring out the ideal amount and add them right before using the product! 

What's left from the list of physical exfoliants? Jojoba beads, clay, dermabrasion crystals, and possibly bamboo and vanilla. 

USING JOJOBA BEADS
I've found that using the 60/100 size jojoba beads at 2% to 4% is enough for my skin in surfactant based products. If your supplier doesn't list the size of their beads, ask as there really is such a big difference between the larger beads and the smaller. I really don't like the larger beads and I find they don't wash off easily, whereas these smaller ones are easily rinsed away! 


USING DERMABRASION CRYSTALS
I've found that using 4% of these crystals in my cleanser was more than enough! 

USING CLAY
I think I'd like to write more about this shortly as there are a number of different clays we could use, but I've found that 5% in a product feels quite nice whereas 10% was a bit more than I could handle for my oily, not that sensitive skin. 



As a note, odds are pretty good your chosen exfoliant will sink to the bottom or float to the top of the container and you'll have to stir it or shake it to get it to incorporate again. You can work really hard to make it suspend, but I've honestly found that it's not really that vital. We naturally want to stir or shake our containers, so it's not a big deal. If you're selling your products, that might be an issue. 

You can see the tiny jojoba beads in this product are lighter than the water soluble ingredients so they have floated to the top. I just make sure I leave some room for shaking the bottle before using! I left this picture large so you could really see the floating bits! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Facial scrubs: Tweaking the surfactant base recipe!

If you feel lost reading this post, please check out the previous posts on working on our surfactant base recipe part onepart twopart three, and part four

I think we've come up with a few ideas for surfactant bases that will work for various skin types.  As with any product you want to make, learning about the ingredients that might work well with your skin type is always a good idea, and it will help you make decisions about what ingredients to buy and what combinations to try to create something awesome!

As you read this consider this: Are you going to use another product after using this facial cleanser? I generally wash my face and don't use a moisturizer, so I want to put all kinds of things in this product that might be left behind after rinsing. If you are planning to use a toner and/or a moisturizer, it might be that you just want to use a cleanser to clean your skin and you'll get those other lovely things from using your leave on products.

I just wanted to remind you to use caution about adding essential oils to our products. Here's a post on the topic

For dry skin, I suggest including humectants, conditioners, mildness enhancers, re-fatteners, and thickeners. (I really encourage you to visit this post on creating skin cleansers for dry skin as I don't want to go over it again here as this post will be long enough as it is! Visit this post or this post for more ideas on what ingredients dry skin might love! And visit here for a foamer bottle recipe you could use as the base of a facial scrub.) Feel free to modify this with AHA at up to 10% in the heated water phase. Remove an equal amount of water.

SURFACTANT BASE FOR DRY SKIN TO WHICH WE'LL ADD PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice (consider polyglucose/lactylate blend or SMC taurate)
15% cocamidopropyl betaine

44.5% distilled water
3% polyquat 7
3% glycerin
5% water soluble ester
2% glycol distearate

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

AFTER THE PRODUCT HAS REACHED ROOM TEMPERATURE BUT BEFORE YOU ADD YOUR PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
up to 2% liquid Crothix

For oily skin, I suggest including humectants, conditioners, mildness enhancers, and thickeners. We'll leave out the re-fatteners as our skin type generally doesn't benefit from having extra oil added to it. You can use any chemical exfoliants you prefer in this recipe. 3% to 5% Multifruit BSC has worked well for me!

SURFACTANT BASE FOR OILY SKIN TO WHICH WE'LL ADD PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice (consider C14-16 olefin sulfonate or disodium laureth sulfosuccinate)
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
51.5% distilled water
3% polyquat 7 or other cationic polymer
3% glycerin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or preservative of choice)

AFTER THE PRODUCT HAS ROOM TEMPERATURE BUT BEFORE YOU ADD YOUR PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
up to 2% liquid Crothix

For those of you wondering why I'm leaving out my normal things like hydrolyzed proteins and panthenol, I thought I'd try formulating differently, which is why I started working on this product from scratch. I admit it's hard to get out of my comfort zone because I like the ingredients I like, and in the end, I don't think I've strayed that far from something I would normally make, but it's an interesting challenge! As well, that's kinda what this post is about! 

What can we do here to tweak these recipes? Let's take a look at a few hydrosols we could use to alter the water part of the recipes. Keep in mind that some things might be more awesome in a leave on product than a rinse off product!

All of these tweaks are suitable for all skin types, so it's up to you to decide if you want to use them or not! I suggest you open these posts or sections of the blog as we work through this post...
I like aloe vera. I like that it offers moisturizing and soothing, and I like to use it at 10% in my products. I have gone as high as 30%, but I think 10% should work for us in this product. 

I've been using witch hazel a lot lately as it seems to work well to reduce redness on my skin, as well as keeping me from getting oily quickly. (Having said that, I'm getting older, and I'm finding I'm less oily than I was even a year ago!)

And I'm a huge fan of chamomile. You can add this as a hydrosol at up to 20% in the heated water phase, as a powder at 0.5% in the cool down phase, or as an essential oil at up to 1% in the cool down phase. (The essential oil does have a fragrance, if only slight, but it's enough that I couldn't use it in a facial product! It's mildly earthy!)

If I wanted to include these ingredients in my product, I'd add 10% aloe vera, 20% witch hazel, 10% chamomile hydrosol into the heated water phase and 0.5% powdered chamomile extract in the cool down phase. I would remove 40.5% from the distilled water amount to make room for these ingredients.



SAMPLE SURFACTANT BASE FOR OILY SKIN TO WHICH WE'LL ADD PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS WITH LOADS OF CHAMOMILE, ALOE VERA, AND WITCH HAZEL
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice (consider C14-16 olefin sulfonate or disodium laureth sulfosuccinate)
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
11% distilled water
20% witch hazel
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
3% polyquat 7 or other cationic polymer
3% glycerin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or preservative of choice)
up to 2% liquid Crothix

Let's say you're a big fan of chemical exfoliants - we could add up to 10% AHA in the heated water phase. I'm going to add Multifruit BSC at 5% in the heated water phase because I know from experience that using that amount won't mess up my pH much.

If we want to reduce irritation and increase a silky feeling in our product, a hydrolyzed protein works well here. Let's add hydrolyzed silk protein at up to 5% in the heated water phase.

Remember when we added oil based extracts into our oil based scrubs? We can add those extracts into our surfactant blends because most of our surfactants work well as solubilizers for oil based things. That's one of the reasons we can add fragrance or essential oils to shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, and so on without worrying too much about it coming out of the solution. I am having a love affair with the mallow extract lately, so I'm going to add 5% into the cool down phase to offer some refattening and slipperiness. I'm really enjoying it in my body wash, and I think people with dry skin will like it in a facial product!


SURFACTANT BASE FOR DRY SKIN WITH CHEMICAL EXFOLIANTS, OIL SOLUBLE EXTRACTS, GLYCOL DISTEARATE, AND CATIONIC POLYMERS
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% polyglucose/lactylate blend
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
31.5% distilled water
3% polyquat 7
3% glycerin
5% water soluble ester
2% glycol distearate
5% Multifruit BSC
3% hydrolyzed silk protein

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
5% oil soluble mallow extract
up to 2% liquid Crothix

As a note, facial cleansers are great products into which we can add extracts that we might not want to leave on our skin like grapeseed extract or rosemary extract due to their extreme colour!


After all of this, if you just want a facial scrub that foams, stick with the base recipe. It contains all the stuff you need for a gentle to mild cleanser that should rinse off cleanly!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at adding the exfoliants! Finally!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Question: Can you use castille soap as a facial cleanser?

I've had quite a few comments or e-mails about this topic - can you use your hand made soap as a facial cleanser? - and yes, you can use castille soap as a facial cleanser. It's lovely stuff and cleans nicely! However...

Our skin has a pH between 4.7 and 5.5, and we generally formulate our products to be around that pH level. Our surfactants tend to have an acidic pH of 6 or lower and CP soap generally has a pH of over 8, making it an alkaline product.

Some people can handle CP soap on their faces, some can't. This doesn't mean that CP soap isn't good - it's just what some people experience when using this product.

Castille soap is soap made with 100% olive oil. As Beth pointed out the other day, Anne-Marie of Soap Queen fame uses the term "bastille" to refer to soap that has 70% or more olive oil, but includes other butters or oils. Soaps made with any other oil are not called castille! 

Is castille the only CP soap we can use as a facial cleanser? No, you can use all manner of CP soaps as your facial cleansers if your skin can handle it. And if you want to use it to make a facial scrub, add your scrubbies and have fun! (And please comment below with your recipe and process so others can learn!)

I really recommend you read the posts below and the comments that go with them if you want to debate or consider this issue further! They make for fascinating reading and it's fun to hear what others have to say. If you are planning to comment, share your experiences but be nice about it. If someone disagrees with you, take the comment as an invitation to a friendly and polite debate!

After much thought and research, it seems to me that the key to using CP soap is to use something superfatted that has a goodly amount of glycerin. But I'm a noob at soap stuff, so my opinion is all based on theory and no experience! 

Related posts:
Chemistry of our skin: pH and our skin's acid mantle

Chemistry of our skin: pH of our skin (interesting studies)
Chemistry of our skin: pH and skin care products

Facial scrubs: Working on our surfactant base recipe - part 4 (thickening!)

If you feel lost reading this post, please check out the previous posts on working on our surfactant base recipe part one and part two and part three

One of the other things to consider for this facial scrub is thickening as it is going to be quite watery with 40% surfactants! We took a look at using glycol distearate yesterday, but there are many ways to thicken surfactant based products!

My favourite way to thicken a surfactant based product is to add Crothix (INCI: PEG-150 pentaerythrityl tetrastearate (and) PEG-6 caprylic/capric trigylcerides (and) water), which is an ester that not only thickens our product quite well, but it increases mildness and offers moisturizing! What a great addition to a facial scrub!

I like to use liquid Crothix as it is easier to work with than the pastilles because I can add the liquid to the product cold days after I've made it! I tend to make my product, add the fragrance oil, mix well, and allow it to cool until it reaches room temperature (or warm up if it's been in the unheated workshop for too long!). I generally add 0.5%, mix well (remembering that it will fall to the bottom of the container), add a little more, and so on until it reaches the viscosity I like.

Liquid Crothix is my preferred method of thickening, and it is the ingredient with which I have the most experience.

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin, polyquat 7, Caprol Micro Express, and liquid Crothix
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
46.5% distilled water
3% polyquat 7
3% glycerin
5% Caprol Micro express

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

AFTER THE PRODUCT HAS REACHED ROOM TEMPERATURE BUT BEFORE YOU ADD YOUR PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
up to 2% liquid Crothix

You can use a variety of thickeners - some will offer moisturizing and conditioning, and some might not. You can use gums like xanthan gum or guar gum or use thickeners like HPMC to thicken your products. Gelling agents - carbomers like ETD2020 or Ultrez 20 - can thicken our products very nicely as can products like Amaze XT.

Note: I have used carbomers and Amaze XT extensively. I have limited experience with the other three thickeners. As with just about everything else, you'll have to play with the amounts to see what works best for you. 

With xanthan gum, use it at 0.1% to 0.3% in the heated water phase of the product.

With guar gum, we need to hydrate it before using it in our products, so it's suggested that you sprinkle the guar gum over your room temperature water phase, stick blend or mix well, then leave to sit for about 15 minutes or so or until it is well hydrated (you'll be able to tell because it creates a gel). Then you can add your other water phase ingredients like aloe vera, hydrosols, proteins, and so on and heat and hold as usual. The usage suggested ranges between 0.3% to 5%, so you'll have to do some playing to figure out the best usage for your product.

With HPMC, you can thicken surfactants that would normally not thicken with with salt - things like decyl glucoside - and it's recommended that you sprinkle it into cold distilled water and add it at the end of the process with the cool down ingredients. (Make sure it is distilled water because we don't want beasties or other contaminants in our products!) Use it at 0.2% to 0.5% in surfactant based products.

With carbomers, please read the post as the process is quite important!

With Amaze XT, use it at 1% to 2% in the heated water part of the product. It is soluble in water and alcohol for creating gels. You can't use paraben based preservatives with Amaze XT based gels, which means Phenonip and Germaben II are right out. You can use liquid Germall Plus, Optiphen ND, and Tinosan SDC without problems.

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH CHEMICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin, polyquat 7, Caprol Micro Express, and Amaze XT
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
41.5% distilled water
3% polyquat 7
3% glycerin
5% Caprol Micro express
2% Amaze XT
5% AHA

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Note: Amaze XT likes to be between pH 4.5 and 6, so if you are using AHAs in the product, make sure you have a way of testing the pH and alter it to be in that range!

Wow! We really have a recipe going here! I think we have a nice base here that contains humectants, surfactants, moisturizers, thickeners, and re-fatteners. And I think we've gone over a number of ways we could alter the recipe to include ingredients you really like! So what's next? I think we need to consider what extracts, hydrosols, proteins, and other things we could add to the facial scrub tomorrow! Join me then!

Related posts:
Summary on building viscosity in surfactant based products
Surfactants and how they react with fragrances

Monday, January 21, 2013

Facial scrubs: Working on our surfactant base - part 3

If you feel lost reading this post, please check out the previous posts on working on our surfactant base recipe part one and part two

As I mentioned in this post, no one wants to have that horrible tight and dry feeling after we've washed our skin, and we need to make sure we're keeping that goal in our minds. Let's check! We're using a concentration of our surfactants at 40% or less and we're using surfactants that rinse off cleanly, so the final component is to add ingredients that will increase the rinse-off-ability of the product. We will also also consider re-fattening the skin by introducing an oil soluble ingredient like glycol distearate and water soluble esters! Most of these ingredients do double duty as mildness enhancers, humectants, conditioners, thickeners, or moisturizers, so they are most welcome in a facial product!

INGREDIENTS THAT INCREASE THE RINSE-OFF-ABILITY OF THE FACIAL CLEANSER
By adding cationic or non-ionic ingredients - cationic polymers like polyquat 7honeyquat, or cationic guar gum or non-ionic ingredients like PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate or polysorbate 80 - which also increase mildness. We can include non-ionic water soluble esters - like water soluble shea butter, PEG-7 olivateCromollient SCE, or Caprol Micro Express - as emollients and mildness enhancers that will help our products rinse off more cleanly!

I admit it, I love cationic polymers! Adding 2% polyquat 7 in the heated oil phase or honeyquat at 3% in the cool down phase seems to make quite a big difference in how my skin feels after rinsing. (As someone with oily skin, I'm always looking for ways to condition or moisturize my skin without oils, and the cationic polymers are such a great way to do both!) I encourage all skin types to try one of these in your facial cleanser. I'm going to choose 2% polyquat 7 in my heated water phase because it's cheaper than honeyquat and I'm out in the workshop! If you want to use honeyquat - it works as a humectant and skin conditioner - remember to use it in the cool down phase of your product!

Related post: How do you know into which phase we should add an ingredient?

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin and polyquat 7
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
54.5% distilled water
3% glycerin
2% polyquat 7

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin, polyquat 7, and PEG-7 olivate
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
48.5% distilled water
3% glycerin
5% PEG-7 olivate (or another water soluble oil)

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
3% honeyquat

INGREDIENTS THAT RE-FATTEN THE SKIN
The esters mentioned above will also re-fatten your skin after washing, although people with oily skin might want to give them a miss as they can make our skin feel oily after rinsing. I like to use water soluble shea butter in my body washes for this purpose at up to 5%, but I find that is way too much for my oily skin when it comes to facial cleansers. The great thing about using water soluble esters or solubilizers like Cromollient SCE or Caprol Micro Express is that they beheave as rinse off enhancers, mildness increasers, and moisturizers!

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin, polyquat 7, and Caprol Micro Express
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
48.5% distilled water
3% polyquat 7
3% glycerin
5% Caprol Micro express

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Consider using glycol distearate in our facial scrub. It gives the product a lovely pearlized effect - something that just screams "I'm moisturizing!" - and it thickens the scrub, both of which are awesome features! We use this at up to 3% in our heated water phase, but I suggest starting at 1% and working your way up from there.

You can use glycol distearate with physical exfoliants, but I thought I'd show you how to use it with AHAs in this sample recipe. 

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH CHEMICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin, honeyquat, panthenol, and glycol distearate
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
47.5% distilled water
3% glycerin
5% AHA
1% glycol distearate

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
3% honeyquat
3% panthenol

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at increasing viscosity of our products by using ingredients like Crothix or gums!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Facial scrubs: Working on our surfactant base recipe - part 2

We created a really basic recipe yesterday for a surfactant based facial scrub, and I think we need to take a bit of time to modify it so we can include mildness enhancers, thickeners, and lovely extracts our skin will like. This post will be about including humectants, then we'll take a look at including mildness enhancers and rinse off increasers before we take a look at using extracts and cosmeceuticals.

As a note, remember that this is a rinse off product, so we need to keep in mind a few things, including whether there's any point to include the ingredient if we're rinsing it off and whether it will resist rinse off!

My goal is to create something every skin type can handle in this post and the next, then we'll get into modifying it. Having said that, my goal is that I've offered you enough information in these posts and the linked posts that you can create a product you love and make those modifications. 

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
59.5% distilled water

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

ADDING HUMECTANTS!
Everybody doesn't like something, but nobody doesn't like humectants! Every skin type can benefit from using a humectant in a facial cleanser. As much as I like sodium lactate, it rinses off, so there's no point in using it. My first choice is generally glycerin as it's inexpensive and plentiful and I always have some in the workshop. It also helps increase bubble-age in our products, but that isn't generally something I want in a facial product, but it's kind of nice to know that. If you don't like the potential stickiness of glycerin - something I haven't noticed when it's lower than 5% in a facial cleanser - then check out the link above for other options!

I know there's some concern about it pulling water out of your skin, and I encourage you to read this post if you're worried about it! 

Some of our humectants offer double duty - honeyquat is a cationic polymer that offers conditioning and panthenol has some amazing properties for our skin (please click on the link for more information!), so spend some time reading up on humectants to choose one you will love! I'm going to add glycerin at 3% in the heated water phase, and you can quite easily substitute your humectant for it in the recipe without too many changes.

And yes, you can use honey as a humectant, but remember to use a really good preservative that specializes in hard to preserve ingredients, such as Germaben II at 1% in the cool down phase.


SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
56.5% distilled water
3% glycerin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Note that when I added 3% glycerin to the recipe, I removed 3% water, going from 59.5% water to 56.5% to compensate.


SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin and honeyquat
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
56.5% distilled water
3% glycerin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
3% honeyquat

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER WITH CHEMICAL EXFOLIANTS modified to include glycerin, honeyquat, panthenol, and AHA
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% surfactant of choice
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
48.5% distilled water
3% glycerin
5% AHA

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
3% honeyquat
3% panthenol

Note: This contains 5% AHA, so we probably don't want to include the physical exfoliants as it might be a little much for our more sensitive facial skin! 

And so on...

If you have dry skin, I really encourage you to start on this post and work your way forward as I did go into great detail for your skin type during this series! This is another post on foaming bottle cleansers that can easily to modified for exfoliants! 

Join me tomorrow for fun modifying this recipe further!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Facial scrubs: Working on our surfactant base recipe - part 1

We covered step one - choosing our surfactants - in this post. We took a look at how to make our product rinse off more cleanly in this post. I touched a little bit on pH in surfactant based products in this post. So it feels like time to create the basics of our base before looking at increasing mildness and adding exfoliants!

What do we need in a surfactant based scrub? We need surfactants, water, preservative, scrubbies. Yes, it really is that basic!

SURFACTANTS
For the dry skin version, I think I'll work with SMC/SMO taurate and cocamidopropyl betaine. (Although the polyglucose/lactylate blend would be awesome for someone with really dry skin!)

For the oily skin version, I think I'll work with DLS mild and cocamidopropyl betaine.
For the normal skin version, I think I'll work with ACI and cocamidopropyl betaine.

Why cocamidopropyl betaine? Because reduces irritation (increases mildness), offers good flash foam, and can behave as a humectant. It thickens our products and it is a gentle detergent. It is generally used as a secondary surfactant, meaning it isn't great on its own but works to make the other surfactants more awesome. You could use it on its own, but it is really really gentle and might not cleanse as much as you would like for even the most delicate or sensitive skin.

How much of each surfactant should we use? I generally go for 40% surfactants in my product...and what I mean is that I put something like 25% DLS mild and 15% cocamidopropyl betaine, which gives me 40% of those ingredients. But am I really getting 40% surfactants?

Why 40% surfactants? When I read through various cosmetic chemistry books I own and searched through countless recipes, it seemed to me that 40% was a good level that would offer good cleansing but not too much detergency. It meant I could use a lot less of product x than I had been using from store bought products - they might be as low as 10% - and I never made a product that had been irritating to my skin on paper or in the shower! As you'll see in the next section, I'm not really using 40% surfactant but a percentage of that amount. You are free to use other levels...

My cocamidopropyl betaine is 30% active ingredients, meaning that using 15% cocamidopropyl betaine in my product will give me 4.5% active cocamidopropyl betaine. My DLS mild is 32% active, so using 20% in my product will give me 6.4% active disodium laureth sulfosuccinate. My total is 10.9% active surfactant, which is a lot lower than it seems in our original recipe!

How did I figure this out? Uncomfortable about math? If you'd like to learn more about percentages and such, click here to see the Frequently Asked Questions section and scroll down to calculations! 


You can find the safe as used table from the Cosmetics Ingredient Review here. Do a search through the document to find your ingredient.


WATER AMOUNT
Why do we use water at all? Isn't it just a waste of space in the bottle? No. Every ingredient has a safe as used amount, and we can look to see that cocamidopropyl betaine starts to get irritating at levels of 35% or so (although I can't find anything for DLS mild except the comment that it is "gentle even up to higher concentrations"). If we used 90% surfactants - assuming we are using 10% something else like glycerin or preservatives - we would exceed those safe as used rates quite easily and cause irritation. As well, we don't want something really foamy for our face, and 90% surfactants would be like a bubble bath in the sink every morning...and we want stuff that will rinse off easily to prevent that tight and dry feeling after cleansing! Finally, it saves us money. Distilled water costs maybe $2.00 for a gallon or 4 litres, which is way cheaper than a surfactant that might be upwards of $20 a litre!

Should we use just water in our recipe? In this base recipe, I will be using all water, but I really do recommend you alter it to include wonderful things like hydrosols, extracts, humectants, and everything else that is water soluble in the product. We will be making all kinds of alterations to the product once we get the base recipe finished, but I really like to keep it simple when I'm creating a recipe template because the more things we add, the harder it is to see what is causing problems or being awesome when we make it for first time!

How much water to use? Whatever isn't being used by the surfactant and the preservative is the water amount. As I've mentioned before in lotion making recipes, the water amount can be played with - reduced, replaced, or increased - so it becomes "water q.s", which means to add water so the recipe equals 100%. We'll figure out the water amount when we've done the other things.

A thought about using tap water: Please don't. You can boil it and do other things to it, but if you have metals in your water they can mess up the preservation and other ingredients (click here for more information on metals and oils) You can use a chelating ingredient like EDTA or citric acid to bind those metals so they can't wreak havoc on our products, but it really is easier to get distilled water or reverse osmosis water or another water that doesn't contain those metals rather than spending money on chelating ingredients! I like chelating ingredients and use them, but I start with distilled water every time. And yes, you should heat and hold distilled water because the heating and holding process isn't just about killing bacteria, it's about getting your ingredients to the right temperature and same temperature if you have two phases.

PRESERVATIVES
If you've read more than a few posts on this blog, you will know that preservatives are not optional when you are making water containing products. Choose one that works well within your budget and philosophy, but use one. I generally use Liquid Germall Plus at up to 0.5% in my products, but if I'm planning to use a lot of botanical ingredients - and I do like to do that with my facial products - I might consider using Germaben II at up to 1% in the cool down phase. Click on the preservatives link to see all the posts on that topic and the chart.

If you aren't completely sure about what you're planning to do with this recipe, hold off on choosing a preservative until you see what things you might add that could conflict with your choice. For instance, Tinosan can't be used in a clear container and can't be used with cationic ingredients, while Advanced Aloe Leucidal doesn't like anonic or negatively charged ingredients, so it won't play well with any facial cleansers containing anionic surfactants.

SCRUBBIES
We've gone over the physical exfoliants (part one and part two) and chemical exfoliants we could use in other posts, and since this is already getting pretty long, I'll direct you over there for more information. If I'm going to use something like AHA, I need to ensure I am adding it at the correct safe usage level and in the correct phase. For AHA, it's generally up to 10% in the heated water phase. I would start with a simple recipe and a lower amount to see how my skin can tolerate it. In our sample recipe, we'll be using 5%.

If I'm using physical exfoliants, I tend to create my recipe, then add the scrubby amount afterward as it can be a game of measuring, weighing, and adding more each time depending upon the time of year and sensitivity of my skin. Choose an exfoliant that plays well with your facial skin - so pumice is right out - and doesn't get soggy in water - some seeds, loofah, and shells might not be the best choice here.

A side note...Substitute the surfactant of your choice for the DLS mild in this recipe. Remember that surfactants that are outside the pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 - like decyl glucoside or disodium cocoamphodiacetate might have to be altered with the inclusion of 0.2% citric acid or another acidic ingredient. AHAs will work well for this! And remember to take a look at the active part of your surfactant. This recipe as written has about 11% surfactant concentration, whereas adding 25% of polyglucose/lactylate blend with its 54% to 59% active concentration means you have 14.75% of that surfactant alone, leading to a total of 19% active surfactants. Not a big deal, but if you have sensitive skin or really dry skin, you might be getting too much surfactant. Just remove some of the surfactant and increase the water by that amount.

SAMPLE BASE FOR A FACIAL CLEANSER FOR OILY SKIN WITH PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS
HEATED WATER PHASE
25% DLS mild
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
59.5% distilled water

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Weigh the heated water phase in a heatproof container so you can place it in the double boiler. Before putting in the double boiler, please record the weight of all the ingredients and the container as you'll want to replace the evaporated water when you remove it from the double boiler. (Click for more details on evaporation.)

Heat until the ingredients reach 70˚C or 158˚C and hold for 20 minutes. Stir while you're waiting to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Remove the container from the double boiler, weigh, add hot distilled water to reach the original weight, then stir and allow to cool until it reaches 45˚C or the temperature suggested by your preservative. Allow to cool. Then add your physical exfoliants.

Remove 100 grams of this product and put into another container. Add 5% of your chosen physical exfoliant to the product and stir. Try. Not scrubby enough? Add another 5% and stir. Continue until you're happy with the exfoliation level. Keep really good notes, and make sure you choose a container that can handle all that extra stuff - a jar is always good whereas a foamer bottle is a terrible idea!

If you simply can't wait until tomorrow, you can remove 5% of the water and include 5% AHA in the heated water phase, but you will have a very thin product. 

As much as I think this sample recipe will offer some nice gentle cleansing, there are so many other things we could add to a facial cleanser to give it some serious oomph! At the very least, we should consider adding some thickeners to the product and some mildness enhancers. What about some nice water soluble oils for moisturizing and extracts for their anti-oxidizing properties? Join me tomorrow as we work a little more on this base recipe!

Please comment on old posts!

Every few days I see someone commenting on a post from a few years ago starting their comment with this, "I know this is an old post..." and it might be, but isn't the point to get as much information into one place? So please, comment away! It means we can gather information and opinions spanning the four years, and I think that's an awesome way to learn!

As well, it draws my attention to inconsistencies and generally unattractive posts that need more pictures, so I can take a few minutes and correct or pretty them up!

This is a jar of apple chutney made from a recipe we found in Put 'Em Up stored in a Weck jar. This is one of my favourite - if not my favourite - canning, jamming, and pickling books. It has nothing to do with the nature of this post, but I thought it was a nice looking product! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

A few things for a freezing Friday! iPad cases, facial scrub pH, and bacon pancakes!

Sorry for the last few days - life and work have become insanely busy, and I'm trying to figure out how I can use my new iPad to blog on the go!

Don't you love this case? It's a pattern by Whistlepig Creek Productions, the e-Cozy Palooza for the iPad mini. It was super easy to make and fits the iPad mini perfectly.  I love it! My iPad's name is Bran - and if you know Game of Thrones, you'll realize that makes me Hodor! - and the fabric words are all about cupcakes!

To follow up on the facial scrubs stuff, here are a few links on the importance of getting the pH right in our products. As I mentioned in this post, I'm not a fan of decyl glucoside as the pH can be too high, but you can reduce it by adding a little citric acid (see post below) to bring it down. If you're using AHAs, this is also an issue. You don't have to have a pH meter, but it is pretty cool to whip it out when you're drinking orange juice on a Sunday morning to share the pH of that beverage with your fellow brunchers. We will be addressing this further with a visual tutorial when we get to making a surfactant based scrub with AHAs late next week!

Adjusting the pH of our products 
Chemistry of our skin: pH and the acid mantle
Chemistry of our skin: pH of our skin
Chemistry of our skin: pH and our skin care products

Finally, if you have some time and want some awesome food, I suggest you check out Joy the Baker's blog! I received the cookbook for Christmas and we've tried a few recipes so far, all of which were fantastic! This is my version of the bacon pancakes - we don't have a waffle maker, so we made pancakes - and they were great. The oatmeal cookie pancakes were similarly fantastic! And I'm not the most pancake loving woman in the world, but I'm actually about to make another batch of the bacon ones as they were delicious! Fluffy and cake-y and bacon-y. Try these. Even hardcore vegans won't be able to resist the lure of the bacon pancake!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Facial scrubs: Creating a surfactant based scrub - rinsing off cleanly

Yep, that tight feeling you get after washing isn't about removing oils from your skin - although that can be an issue with repeated washings - but about the surfactant rinsing off cleanly! What has been shown to be an essential component of skin tightness is the film left on your skin after rinsing off the surfactants. The worst culprits for this are the alkyl sulfates (like sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS) and the alkyl benzene sulfonates (also known as the alkyl aryl sulfonates like linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, which are mostly used in household cleaning products). (From this post)

We can avoid this feeling in a few different ways...

1. By using surfactants that rinse off cleanly, meaning SLS is probably not an ingredient we wish to include in our facial cleansers.

2. By using lower concentrations of surfactants - no more than 50%, but preferably lower.

3. By adding cationic or non-ionic ingredients - cationic polymers like polyquat 7, honeyquat, or cationic guar gum or non-ionic ingredients like PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate or polysorbate 80 - which also increase mildness. We can include non-ionic water soluble esters - like water soluble shea butter, PEG-7 olivate, Cromollient SCE, or Caprol Micro Express - as emollients and mildness enhancers that will help our products rinse off more cleanly!

Now that we've chosen our surfactants and we've figured out a few ingredients we'd like to include, let's take a quick look at how pH affects our products before we create a sample recipe and add some physical and chemical exfoliants.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Facial scrubs: Creating a surfactant based scrub - introduction and choosing our surfactants

Why choose a surfactant based scrub over an oil based or emulsified one? A few reasons! Some of us can't tolerate loads of oils, and a surfactant based scrub is less likely to be comedogenic or acnegenic. Secondly, you clean while you exfoliate, so it does two jobs in one! (Some would argue that the oils clean your skin, some of us won't feel that way!) And third? You can add those wonderful chemical exfoliants that we can't in anhydrous (non-water containing) products, as well as the physical exfoliants we've come to love! (Click here for part one and part two of the physical exfoliants!)

The first thing we should do is create a surfactant base our skin loves, then we can add the exfoliants. If you already have a base you love, then add the exfoliants as you wish! 

What is the goal of this surfactant based scrub? We want something that gently cleans our skin, something with a decent viscosity to keep the scrubbie bits suspended, and something that washes off cleanly so our skin doesn't feel tight or dry. We want gentle exfoliation to remove those dead skin cells and we want to make sure the product is in the right pH range. 

The first step is to find the right combination of surfactants to gently cleanse your skin according to your skin type. 

These are the sections of the blog to which I will refer regularly as we create this product. If you aren't familiar with these sections, I encourage you to click on the links as it would take weeks to get to the point if I had to review all of this information and I'm pretty long winded as it is!

You'll want to consider a few things when looking for surfactants for a facial product. Consider the skin type for which you are formulating and what surfactants are available at a supplier near you. I always choose at least one anionic surfactant (negatively charged) and one amphoteric surfactant (could be negative, could be positive) for a product. For the anionic ingredient, we have tons of choices. For the amphoteric surfactant, you'll want to choose between cocamidopropyl betaine and disodium cocoamphodiacetate. (More about these surfactants later in the post!) 

Click here for more information on charges of our ingredients. The quick summary is that our skin and hair are negatively charged, so we use negatively charged ingredients - anionic surfactants - to clean our skin and hair. 

We're planning to create a gentle to mild product, so we'll choose gentle to mild surfacants - which most of them are! - but there are surfactants that work better for different skin types. For my oily skin, I'd suggest C14-16 olefin sulfonate (Bioterge AS-40 or AS-90 in powder form) or disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS mild). For dry skin, I'd suggest sodium methyl cocoyl taurate (SMC taurate) or sodium methyl oleoyl taurate (SMO taurate) or polyglucoside/lactylate blend. (It leaves behind a really moisturized feel, too moisturized for my oily skin!) There are some surfactants that work with all skin types like SCI or ACI (sodium or ammonium cocoyl isethionate), which leave behind a lovely conditioned feel, or sodium laureth sulfate (SLeS), which is mild and cleans nicely. 

If you have dry skin, I encourage you to click on these posts as I've covered most of the information you'll want there...

For the dry skin version, I think I'll work with SMC/SMO taurate and cocamidopropyl betaine. 
For the oily skin version, I think I'll work with DLS mild and cocamidopropyl betaine. 
For the normal skin version, I think I'll work with ACI and cocamidopropyl betaine. 
You can choose the surfactants you like and play along, even if you can't access these. There might be differences in how thick your product is compared to mine, but the cleansing and scrubbing properties will be quite similar! 

I'm often asked about decyl glucoside, which is a non-ionic or neutrally charged surfactant that is considered to be a greener surfactant. I know it's really popular these days, but the pH can be really high and we have to add some acidic ingredients to get the pH down to a good level for our skin, between 4 and 6.5, depending upon the ingredients and your skin type. (Having said that, Voyageur Soap & Candle lists their product as having a pH of 3 to 5, very acidic!) It's hard to do that without a pH meter, and I assume very few of you will have those. you can purchase pH strips, but I find they don't tend to work well for me, showing everything at around 6. Perhaps everything is around 6, but I don't feel comfortable making those assumptions. 

As a note, you don't need to know all of this to use the recipe we'll eventually create, but knowing our ingredients and what they bring to the mix is the first step to modifying products to create things you love and to be able to create products from scratch! 

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at the idea of having our product wash off cleanly! 

Related posts: 

Friday, January 11, 2013

List of facial scrub products

Since I have to run out the door this morning, I thought I'd put up these links for scrubs in anticipation of the posts for the next week on surfactant based and lotion based scrubs! We will get into more detail and analyze them further over the next few days!

SURFACTANT BASED
Surfactants: Formulating facial cleansers
Formulating a cream cleanser for dry skin
Modifying the cream cleanser for normal to oily skin
Formulating for your skin type: Creamy exfoliating cleanser with jojoba beads
Formulating for you skin type: Cream exfoliating cleanser with jojoba beads for oily or sensitive skin
Formulating for dry skin: Facial cleansers

LOTION BASED
Learning to formulate: Facial moisturizers

Note: The pictures are of the creamy exfoliating cleanser with jojoba beads (top) and the cream cleanser for dry skin or normal to oily skin. I didn't get a good picture of my lotion based facial scrub!