Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A more detailed look at decyl glucoside: Some basics about it and the pH

Decyl glucoside is a very mild non-ionic cleanser that works well as both a primary or secondary surfactant as it is a good foamer. It has an alkaline pH - 7 to 11.5 - so you'll have to bring your pH down with citric acid or another acidic ingredient to ensure it reaches the right pH for skin and hair. It contains about 48% to 52% active ingredients in the surfactant, and the suggested use is 4% to 40%. This is a great ingredient for a conditioning shampoo or body wash as it improves the cationic conditioning in your products, as well as offer foam stabilization.

Part of the appeal of decyl glucoside is how it is manufactured, and its Ecocert status. "Decyl glucoside is produced by the reaction of glucose from corn starch with the fatty alcohol decanol which is derived from coconut." (Wikipedia) So you can say it is derived from sugar and coconut.

It is not thickened by salt, so you'll have to find another way to do it. You could use guar gum, xanthan gum, or carbomer (gelling agent). You can use Crothix, but it seems that Ritathix DOE is designed to work better with it.

Here's the problem with decyl glucoside - the pH level. It's high, so make sure you know the pH of the specific decyl glucoside you're buying. (Ask your supplier for this information.)

As a quick aside - why do we care about the pH? Because our hair and skin want things that are acidic or have a pH lower than 6. Decyl glucoside has an alkaline pH or one that is above 8. This can make our skin feel dry or scaly and can make the cuticle of our hair stick up, leading to damage. 

Related posts:
Chemistry of our skin: pH of our skin

As much as I'd love to say that you can use pH strips to test the pH, they aren't sensitive enough for this application and you can get false or pointless readings that won't offer enough information. If you are going to be using this surfactant quite a bit, invest in a good pH meter, and learn how to reduce the pH in your products. They tend to cost between $50 to $120, and I recommend you check the supplies necessary for your meter before buying.

I have a Jenco machine and it doesn't require me to replace the electrodes or other things, which is awesome! 

I'm afraid I can't offer any rules about how to adjust the pH because there are too many variables. For instance, if you add 10% decyl glucoside to water, you'll have a lower pH than adding 20% decyl glucoside or 30% decyl glucoside. It will depend upon the other ingredients in the product. If you have some ingredients with a lower pH - say lactic acid - then you'll have a lower pH than a product without those acids. And it will depend upon the initial pH of your product. If you have something that has a pH around 8, it'll be easier to get it to the acidic level you want than if you're starting with 11.5.

More information on pH meters
What pH meter should I get?
Adjusting the pH of our products
More about adjusting the pH of our products

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at using decyl glucoside as a substitution in a few products.

Friday, April 25, 2014

How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Lotionpro 165

Lotionpro 165 (INCI Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG 100 Stearate) an all-in-one non-ionic emulsifier based on the HLB system used in our heated oil phase to emulsify water and oil together to creation lotions and other emulsified products. It has an HLB value of about 11.2. (You don't need to know this in order to use it, but it's helpful information.)

It's known as an emulsifier that can emulsify large amounts of oil even when used in small amounts. The usage is 1% to 5%, with 2.5% to 5% suggested for 20% to 30%. It offers great stability with AHAs and BHAs (acids), so it would be a good choice for moisturizers. It comes in small white flakes, and we add it to the heated oil phase of your product. Its melting point is at 54˚C to 60 ˚C (129˚F to 140˚F), so make sure you heat and hold your oil phase at over that amount to ensure that it is completely melted when you combine the heated oil and heated water phase.

Lotionpro 165 tends to make thinner lotions, so if you want it to be the same thickness as your lotions with Polawax or e-wax, you'll want to add 2% or more thickeners like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, or stearic acid to your heated oil phase.

If we were to use it in place of Polawax, we would want to use less Lotionpro 165 in our heated oil phase. For instance, in this lotion recipe, I used 4% with 25% oils and it emulsified wonderfully. And in this body butter recipe, I reduced the emulsifier to 5% for 30% oils. (Polawax would require us to use 25% of the oil amount for 7.5% emulsifier.)

If we take a look at our basic 70% water lotion recipe, we would reduce the amount of emulsifier by 2% and increase the water amount by 2%.

HEATED WATER PHASE (68.5% of the lotion)
70.5% water

HEATED OIL PHASE (29% of the lotion)
16% oil
5% butter
3% thickener
4% Lotionpro 165

COOL DOWN PHASE (1.5% of the lotion)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)

Use the basic lotion making instructions for this product.

There are no special considerations when it comes to mixing, so use a hand mixer or stick blender to mix it. Add your cool down phase as normal.

Join me on Monday when we take a look at what we've learned about substituting our emulsifiers!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Incroquat BTMS-50

Incroquat BTMS-50 (INCI: Behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetyl alcohol (and) butylene glycol) is a great emulsifier, imparting a dryer, less greasy feel to our lotions. As it is cationic or positively charged, you'll be making a positively charged lotion. (Emulsifying wax NF and Polawax are non-ionic, meaning they carry no electrical charge, while Ritamulse SCG is slightly anionic in nature.) As a result, some preservatives may not work well with BTMS as the emulsifier - Tinosan, for one - so always check out how the other ingredients in your lotion will be affected by changing to a cationic emulsifier. And check how this might work with your ingredients! For the most part, there isn't much to worry about it, but you can't mix Ritamulse SCG and Incroquat BTMS-50 together. 

BTMS-50 will offer skin conditioning benefits to your lotions, which is always a good thing. And if you're using a lot of silicones, BTMS is the best emulsifier for the job. You can make lotions with up to 50% silicones with BTMS.

BTMS-50 is used by adding it to the heated oil phase of your products and melting it along with those ingredients. After heating and holding, pour the heated oil or water phase into the other container and mix well with a stick blender or hand mixer. 

How would we alter our basic lotion with 70% water recipe using Incroquat BTMS-50? In general, you can substitute it 1:1 for Polawax, meaning we could just leave this at 6% emulsifier. But you can go down a bit with BTMS-50 as it can emulsify more with less. How to know how much to reduce? That's up to you! To be honest, I stick with the 1:1 substitution as it's just easier when I'm modifying recipes on the fly in the workshop. I have found recipes with BTMS-50 are thicker and drier feeling than those with Polawax, which is fine with me. If you want to reduce the BTMS-50 in this recipe, I'd start by using 5% and see how you like that.  

HEATED WATER PHASE (68.5% of the lotion)
68.5% water

HEATED OIL PHASE (29% of the lotion)
16% oil
5% butter
3% thickener
6% Polawax

COOL DOWN PHASE (1.5% of the lotion)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)

Use the basic lotion making instructions for this product. 

As a note, check what you have in your workshop. You might have Incroquat BTMS-25 or Rita BTMS-225 instead of BTMS-50, which means you have less of the active ingredient behentrimonium methosulfate. Some people have found they can make awesome emulsions with BTMS-25 or BTMS-225 and others have found epic fails, and I haven't found any pattern as to when it works or doesn't. You'll have to give it a try. 

Related posts:

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at how we might modify this recipe using Lotionpro 165. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Ritamulse SCG

Ritamulse SCG (INCI: Glyceryl stearate (and) cetearyl alcohol (and) sodium stearoyl lactylate) is an Ecocert self-emulsifier that can be used at 2% to 10% to emulsify up to 25% oils in an oil in the water emulsion, although I've found that almost every sample recipe I've seen uses 8% or higher. It works best at pH 5 to 7.5, which means it isn't a great choice for moisturizers that might contain AHA or other acidic ingredients. It is plant derived, and claims to have a "silky, soft, talc-like feel". As you can see in the picture, it comes in off-white waxy flakes that must be used in the heated oil phase of your lotion. Its melting point is around 50˚C.

When using this ingredient, you want to heat and hold your water and oil phases, then add the water phase to the oil phase in a thin stream. They suggest mixing it until it reaches 30˚C. I have found that I can mix it for a few minutes after combining the two phases, leave it a bit, add my cool down phase, then mix it further and still have a really stable product.

Do not add your cool down phase until you reach 45˚C or lower. I tried adding my cool down at around 49˚C, and I had separation within a few minutes. It turned into a cottage cheese looking product! So gross! 

Ritamulse SCG doesn't play well with acidic ingredients, like AHA or lactic acids, and it's not great with cationic ingredients, so you don't want to include any cationic polymers or cationic compounds, like Incroquat CR, cetrimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, or Incroquat BTMS-50.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using this emulsifier.

1. I cannot stress enough how you don't want to go over 25% oils. It will result in a serious lotion fail, like the one you see here.

2. Do not add your cool down phase before you reach 45˚C. It will result in a serious lotion fail.

3. Do not use really acidic ingredients like AHAs or lactic acids as you will result in a lotion fail. This isn't the emulsifier for things like fancy moisturizers with loads of AHAs.

4. Do not use cationic ingredients in this product.

How would we alter a recipe like basic lotion we created the other day using Polawax? First, check to make sure the oil phase is less than 25%. Make sure you don't have cationic or really acidic ingredients. Then substitute the amount of Ritamulse SCG for the Polawax amount at the suggested rate. I have found the most stability with 8% Ritamulse SCG in my lotions with 25% oils. (Your mileage may vary...) So I'm going to substitute the 6% Polawax from the basic recipe with 8% Ritamulse SCG. This means that I will have to remove 2% from the water phase to make the recipe balance out.

HEATED WATER PHASE (68.5% of the lotion)
66.5% water

HEATED OIL PHASE (29% of the lotion)
16% oil
5% butter
3% thickener
8% Ritamulse SCG

COOL DOWN PHASE (1.5% of the lotion)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)

Another consideration here. Ritamulse SCG contains cetearyl alcohol, which I have found can feel a little waxier than using something like Polawax. I wouldn't suggest using cetearyl alcohol as your thickener as it can get a bit much, but that's a personal choice.

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at using Incroquat BTMS-50 as our emulsifier!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Emulsifying wax NF

As I mentioned the other day, Polawax has an INCI of emulsifying wax NF, but that doesn't mean that something with an INCI of emulsifying wax NF is Polawax. There are many different versions of e-wax, so check what you are getting before buying! Check the INCI name to see what's in it. And make sure it is a complete emulsifier before buying, that is to say something that doesn't require the addition of something else before it will work. (Click here for a related post on all in one emulsifiers and a post on check what you're getting!)

Comes in pellet or flake form and must be heated and held to use. Much like Polawax, add the flakes to the heated oil phase and heat and hold that separately from the heated water phase. When both phases have reached 70˚C and have held for 20 minutes, remove from the double boiler and pour the oil or water phase into the other container. You can mix it with a hand mixer or stick blender.

For instance, at Lotioncrafter, emulsifying wax NF is listed as cetearyl alcohol and polysorbate 60, at Voyageur Soap & Candle as emulsifying wax NF without any specifics, and From Nature with Love as emulsifying wax (vegetable based) as Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Polysorbate 60 (and) PEG-150 Stearate (and) Steareth-20. Every supplier can be different, so keep notes as to what you've bought from whom and how it works in your product.

To substitute e-wax NF for Polawax, the general rule is to add 1% more to the emulsifier. So if Polawax has a usage rate of 25% of the oil phase, your rule for e-wax NF would be 25% of the oil phase, plus an extra 1%. If you have an oil phase of 20%, you'll be using 6% e-wax NF in the heated oil phase of your product. (20% x 0.25 = 5% + 1% = 6%). So how can we alter the recipe found in yesterday's post using Polawax to include e-wax NF? 

HEATED WATER PHASE (68.5% of the lotion)
67.5% water

HEATED OIL PHASE (29% of the lotion)
16% oil
5% butter
3% thickener
7% emulsifying wax 

COOL DOWN PHASE (1.5% of the lotion)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)

We have an oil phase of 24%, so we are using 7% e-wax NF. (24% x 0.25 = 6% +1% = 7%). And when we add something to the recipe, we remove that amount from the water phase to keep the recipe adding up to 100%, so I removed 1% from the water phase.

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at how to alter this recipe using Ritamulse SCG.

Monday, April 21, 2014

How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Polawax

I like Polawax (INCI: Emulsifying wax NF). It's a fairly fool proof non-ionic (neutrally charged) emulsifier that works well with even large amounts of oils in things like body butters or creams. (For a technical data sheet on Polawax, please click here.)

In my humble opinion, Polawax is the easiest of the emulsifiers for lotion making. We add it to the heated oil phase and let it melt with our oils, butters, and other oil soluble ingredients. When we're done heating and holding, we can add the heated oil phase to the heated water phase or vice versa - either way works. Mix with a stick blender or hand mixer or other mechanized method. And

We generally use Polawax at 25% of the oil phase of our lotions. So if you have 20% oils, you would use it at 5% (20 x 0.25 = 5). If you have 30% oils, you would use it at 7.5% (30 x 0.25 = 7.5). And so on.

Polawax can handle up to 50% oils in the oil phase, and it can be used as low as 2% and as high as 10%, although I've found 4% or higher is more stable.

I use Polawax as my default emulsifier when I'm creating recipes, which means I figure out my oil phase, then add 25% of that in Polawax. Let's take a look at a sample recipe today and figure out how we can adjust it for the other emulsifiers we might use. I'm using an oil phase of 24%, and I'm basing it on my basic 70% water recipe, which is the base recipe I tend to use when I'm formulating something from scratch.

HEATED WATER PHASE (68.5% of the lotion)
68.5% water

HEATED OIL PHASE (29% of the lotion)
16% oil
5% butter
3% thickener
6% Polawax

COOL DOWN PHASE (1.5% of the lotion)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)

Use the basic lotion making instructions for this product.

As you can see, if we are using Polawax, we figure out how much oil is in the oil phase - this would include everything oil soluble in the heated oil phase and the cool down phase - and figure out how much 25% of that might be. (This would include things like silicones in the cool down phase.)

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at emulsifying wax NF and how to use it!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: What's in Polawax?

What exactly is in Polawax? This question has come up a few times lately and the answer is that we don't know what is in Polawax. It's a trade secret. But if this is the case, why has New Directions Aromatics posted this in their listing for Polawax? "Emulsifying Wax NF consists of four ingredients. These are Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-150 Stearate, Polysorbate 60, and Steareth-20. It mirrors the properties of Cetyl Alcohol while promoting the thickening features of Stearyl Alcohol." Where did they get this information?

I think it might have come the Wikipedia site for emulsifying wax NF or WiseGeek's entry on emulsifying wax NF (which is word for word what you see on the NDA site). But here's the thing...the INCI for Polawax is emulsifying wax NF, but emulsifying wax NF isn't necessarily Polawax. So you can't say that the ingredients for Polawax are the same as e-wax NF.

What is in Polawax? As I mentioned above, we don't know. There has been some speculation that it's cetearyl alcohol and polysorbate 60, but nothing has been confirmed.

Let's take a look at some of our emulsifiers again over the next few days! Join me tomorrow for more fun with emulsifiers!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: What to substitute for lecithin in a nail product?

In this post on the Chemistry of our nails: lotion bars with lecithin, Laura asks: What can I substitute lecithin with? Beeswax, more lanolin, exotic butter (which sounds fantastic for my 'gardening without gloves' hands? ;)

When we're trying to figure out what we can use as a substitute, the first thing I do is refer to the post on the oil, butter, or ingredient to see what it brings to the party. In this case, I'll go to the emollients section of the blog and see what lecithin brings to this product. Lecithin is used in this lotion bar for our nails because it contains phospholipids, which are also found in our nails. It can behave as an emulsifier when combined with a high HLB emulsifier and it can behave as a humectant, which means it draws water from the atmosphere to our skin. It is a great emollient, meaning it makes our skin feel softer, and it behaves as an anti-oxidant. It is a thicker feeling, slightly sticky oil, much thicker than any of the oils that we would normally use.

What can we use as a substitute? In a lotion bar, we have to ask if this product is keeping the product solid, because we wouldn't want to make a bar that remained liquid! Nope, it's just another liquid oil, which means we can use another liquid oil in its place, more beeswax, or more butters. We could choose an oil like raspberry oil to get some phospholipids. We could choose an oil like avocado oil to get the thickness, or we could use an oil like olive oil as a humectant. Something like meadowfoamseed oil would add some serious anti-oxidants to the mix as well. Or you could choose your favourite oil or something you have in your workshop as any oil will add some emolliency to the product.

When it comes to adding more solid ingredients like beeswax or a butter to this product, I would caution against it. This is already a solid product, and adding a solid ingredient might make it too stiff or waxy.

To sum it up, the short answer is that you can use any liquid oil as a substitution in this product, but you might want to choose that liquid oil based on the goal of the product and the skin feel of the various ingredients.

Join me tomorrow for more formulating fun!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Is there a general rule about increasing/decreasing beeswax in lotion bars?

In this post on lotion bars, Tina asks: I'm trying to figure out if there's a general rule for tweaking the basic recipe (33/33/33/1 -beeswax/butter/oil/fragrance). You said that, for example, with cocoa butter, you'd use less beeswax. So if I use beeswax at 25%, what's the rule for altering the butter and oil? Does that now available 8% (freed up by reducing the beeswax by 8%) get split between the oil and butter equally, resulting in 25/37/37/1 ? Or does that 8% get added to the oil, resulting in 25/33/41/1 ? I'm looking for a general rule about what ingredients should be increased when the beeswax is decreased. I hope this question makes sense, I just realized it's midnight and I'm a bit sleepy! I got completely absorbed (again) by your blog this evening :)

Unfortunately, there isn't a rule about how to alter the beeswax and butter: It's all about how you want it to look and feel when it has hardened. For instance, I have found that I generally do 28% to 30% beeswax to 28% to 30% mango butter, but that's only my experience with the ingredients I get from my local suppliers. I find 33% shea butter to 33% beewax works best, but that's only if it's refined or ultra refined shea butter.

That's the thing about our ingredients: Because so many of them are botanical in nature, we can get differences between batches. I can get a batch of refined shea butter that feels quite squishy to the touch and other times can be a little harder. Switch to a less refined shea butter, and you're likely to see bigger differences between batches. I found this golden shea butter to be quite dry feeling and crumbly, almost like mango butter!

As a note, this is one of the reasons the big companies tend to use things like mineral oil. They can guarantee each batch of mineral oil will be the same every time they order it. You can't guarantee that with something like sunflower oil or mango butter. 

So if you have 28% beeswax to 28% mango butter, what do we do with the left over 44%? You generally add that much in oil. So I would have a recipe that 28% mango butter, 28% beeswax, 42% liquid oil, 1% fragrance or essential oil, and 1% Vitamin E (optional). However - and you know there's always a however - if you have a mango butter that is a little softer than the last batch, you might need to add a little more beeswax. I've found that what I can do is take a bit of my batch and put it in some kind of small mold and put it into the freezer. Take it out, and see if it's the hardness and skin feel you want. If you like it, then pour it into the molds or tins or containers. If you don't, then modify it by adding more of something to make it harder or softer.

So the short answer to your question, Tina, is that there isn't a general rule about how to modify your lotion bars, except that the left over amount can be added in liquid oils. Keep really great records when you're modifying these recipes so you can make that awesome thing again!

Related posts:
Newbie Tuesday: Let's make lotion bars! 

If you want to learn more about lotion bars, here are a few post ideas...
Back to basics: The basic recipe
Back to basics: Lotion bars - tweaking the waxes
Back to basics: Lotion bars - tweaking the butters and oils
Back to basics: Lotion bars - let's get complicated
Back to basics: Lotion bars - wrap up and link-o-rama
The chemistry of our nails: Lotion bar with lecithin and lanolin

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Learning to make substitutions for ingredients and using decyl glucoside as a surfactant

I have to ask this question as well - if you are a beginner, why are you trying to make products from scratch? I've been getting quite a few e-mails and comments from people who are creating their own recipes and wondering why they won't work. Please please please find a tried and true recipe that has worked for others and try that if you want to make a product of that nature. I get that you don't want to spend money on ingredients, but it's the only way you will learn (and it might turn out you really love what you've made)! And I get that you want to customize your own products, but if you don't know what each ingredient brings to the party, how can you know how to switch it for another ingredient or leave it out?

When I do my lotion making and anhydrous product classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle, we always play at the oil bar, which is a table of every oil in the shop, so we can figure out what each brings to the mix. We can figure out which ones are dry or greasy, light or heavy, clear or coloured, and make decisions about which we want to use in specific applications. By learning about our ingredients, we can learn how to substitute one for another in our products. This is one of the reasons we did the newbie series - learning about the skin feel of our oils.

Everyone seems to want to substitute any surfactant with decyl glucoside, but it's not as easy as doing a 1-to-1 substitution. Decyl glucoside has a higher pH, is thinner, and doesn't thicken with salt. If you are eliminating SCI and cocamidopropyl betaine for decyl glucoside, you're completely changing the recipe. You'll have a higher pH, much lower viscosity, a less mild cleanser, and the inability to thicken with salt. Those are huge differences, and you'll be making something that isn't at all like the product I had in mind. If you're making a bubble bath with this ingredient, you'll end up with fewer bubbles, less foam, and less lather than the original ingredients I use.

When I make products with surfactants, you'll probably notice I will use two or three different surfactants in a product. This is because each ingredient brings something different to the mix, and generally increases mildness and viscosity of the product. For instance, cocamidopropyl betaine is something we use as a secondary surfactant, something we add to increase viscosity and increase mildness. It increases our foam and lather and reduces irritation. To take this ingredient out of the mix means you are creating a product that will be more irritating and less mild, which is a pretty big deal.

I'm not sure why everyone wants to use decyl glucoside - I guess because it's an Ecocert ingredient, but that doesn't mean it's better or more gentle for your hair or skin than a non-Ecocert ingredient. Being Ecocert is about how the ingredient is made, not how it will behave on your hair or skin.

I think we're in need of a few posts on this ingredient. Look for that soon! 

Related post:
Surfactants section of the blog
Why doesn't my hair feel nice when I use decyl glucoside?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday Wonderings: Why won't my hair feel nice and the shampoo thicken when I use glucosides?

In this post, It's not easy to being green, Sandra asks: I made a shampoo recently that became an epic fail. It is extremely thin, makes my hair feel like straw when I wash it (it's really nice afterwards when it dries but I need loads of conditioner to get the straw feeling away) and it has separated in the bottle.

This is what I used:

Water 53,3% 
Coco glucoside 17,5% 
Lauryl Glucoside 17,5%
Guar gum 5 %
D-panthenol 2%
Hydrolized oat protein 2% 
Optiphen 1.2% 
Polyquat-7 1% 
Salt 0,3 %
Citric acid 0,2%

It seems as if the guar gum is all settled on the bottle of the jar and I have to shake it alot before I use it. I don't wanna use silicones or any quaterniums over 7, nothing really that would leave a film on my hair - but I'm desperate to make the shampoo feel soft and glidy when I use it. Do you know any other alternatives? And should I use an emulsifyer? I see alot of people using salt as thickening agents in their shampoos too, but it didn't have any effect what so ever on the density, even after I upped the salt and guar gum percentage to 2% and 10%..

As I mentioned in the original post, glucosides generally have a higher pH - 8 or higher - in the alkaline range. We know that using alkaline ingredients on our hair can lead to damage and cuticle lifting and that horrible feeling of your hair being stripped and tangled, so we need to bring down the pH quite substantially to use it. In my experience, in 100 grams of shampoo using 0.2 grams of citric acid brings the pH down by about 1 pH. But that's only my experience with that one product. If you aren't testing the pH of the product with a meter, how do you know where you started and where you will finish. Let's say that 0.2 grams brings the pH down by 1 pH every time, if you start with a pH of 10, you're only down to 9 with that 0.2 grams. If you start with a pH of 8, you'll get it down to 7, which is still not acidic enough. You really want to invest in a pH meter if you're going to be using loads of glucosides or other ingredients not in the acidic range.

Secondly, as I note in the surfactant comparison chart, glucosides don't thicken using salt. (This concept is called the salt curve, and you don't want to use salt at over 3% as makes the product thinner after that.) Guar gum is used in the pH range of 5 to 7, so if you don't have that pH down enough, it won't work.

So, to sum it up...for the product to feel good and for the guar gum to thicken it, the measured pH should be acidic from 5 to 6. To do this, you need a pH meter to measure where the product starts and how it changes with the addition of 0.2% citric acid.

May I ask a follow up question? Why not using any quats over 7? Honeyquat is polyquat 50 and it is derived from honey, so you know it has to be good. The number at the end of the polyquaternium nmae only indicates what it is derived from, and they are in no particular order. And why no film forming? Loads of things form films - panthenol, aloe vera, allantoin, any oils or butters, and so on - and it's good to trap moisture into your hair so you don't get too dry!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Game of Thrones themed products

In this post, I'm still around, Royce poses this question: I'm a Game of Thrones geek myself, and also a home-brewer. A few weeks ago I created a new beer recipe that was my interpretation of what would be brewed at the wall for Jon Snow and the rest of the Night's Watch. It was a porter-like beer with debittered roasted wheat and dried tangerine peel, since those exotic kind of ingredients might find their way up to the wall along side fresh recruits. Maybe you're not a geeky as me, but if you were to craft a Game of Thrones inspired skin care product, what would it be? What lotion would Daenerys use? What shampoo would Sansa use?

You insult me, ser! "Maybe you're not as geeky as me..." I am the mother of geeks! (And your beer sounds awesome!)

I have made some Game of Thrones related crafts, like my A Song of Ice and Fire eye shadows - my favourite is still Winter is Coming - and my bracelet, which you can see above. This lip balm is called Hodor, but it can be used as a perfume stick for the Odour of Hodor.

So what kind of products would our favourite characters use? I thnk Daenerys might enjoy a mare's milk bath or anything with tons of sunscreen, which she could share with the Martell family in Dorne. Margery and Ser Loras might like some floral scented perfume sticks or fragrance sprays to remind them of their home in Highgarden. Brienne might enjoy something that helps with the chafing that must be happening with all that heavy armour. Jon Snow and his brothers in the Night's Watch might like some intense conditioner with coconut oil and a facial moisturizer with all three occlusive ingredients - dimethicone, cocoa butter, and allantoin - to protect their faces from the wind and snow beyond or at the Wall. Arya might not appreciate the offer of a degreasing shampoo and detangling conditioner after a long day of riding with the Hound, but I think her sister, Sansa, would love some really bubbly bubble bath and fairy dust. I think little Shereen Baratheon could benefit from a softening lotion with loads of shea butter and Vitamin E to help her with that greyscale. And little Rickon might enjoy Rickon's Smashed Walnut Exfoliating Scrub after a long day of walking or being carried by Osha.

What products could you see your favourite show's characters enjoying? I've been thinking about all kinds of products characters from Buffy or Firefly might enjoy! Share your thoughts! 

As much as I love the show, I have to admit that I haven't been able to watch the last five episodes of last season. I've read the books. I surf the 'net. I know what's coming and I haven't been ready to face it! So today I gathered up some lemon cookies and (root) beer and I'm spending the day with Raymond watching the rest of season 3. I will try not to weep like a little girl!  Greywind!

As an aside, you're interested in some Game of Thrones themed music, check out Blind Guardian's album At the Edge of Time for War of the Thrones and Voice in the Dark. Other bands have related songs, like Hammerfall, but these two are my favourites! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Check out my new video on how to make conditioners on YouTube!

I've created a video on how to make a rinse off conditioner that I've just posted on YouTube! I've chosen to focus on the process as opposed to the actual recipe so you can choose any recipe you wish, but I'm using this recipe for making a liquid conditioner with coconut oil. I hope you find it useful!

As a note, you don't see me on this video as I'm wearing my trashed-in-the-workshop-only tank top and didn't wash my hair that morning, so all you see is my hands and sometimes my stomach in that terrible shirt! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blackberry seed oil

Blackberries are one of those berries that you can only really seem to get from picking them fresh from the bush yourself. We have so many bushes growing around our house, but they seem to be filled with thorns intent on protecting those luscious berries from my grasp! But I shall endure the pokes and stings to get my berries!

Blackberry seed oil (INCI: Rubus Fruticosus (blackberry) seed oil or Rubus Villosus (blackberry) seed oil) has an interesting fatty acid make up with around 3% in palmitic acid (C16:0), around 2% in stearic acid (C18:0), 14% to 17% in oleic acid (C18:1), a whopping 61% to 70% linoleic acid (C18:1), and around 17% in linolenic acid (C18:3). All this linoleic acid means it can oxidize quickly and has a shelf life of 6 months, possibly up to 9 months. It would be great for skin that needs some help repairing skin's barrier mechanisms thanks to all that linoleic acid!

Blackberry seed oil has some great levels of tocopherols (Vitamin E) at 1639 ppm, which is why it might have a slightly longer shelf life than all that linoleic and linolenic acid might indicate. It has tons of phytosterols at 4037 ppm. (Remember that phytosterols do all kinds of great things for your skin. Click here to read more.) It contains about 170 ppm squalene, which will penetrate the skin to offer moisturizing and softening.  It contains some polyphenols in the form of ellagic acid (see the post on raspberry oil for more on this...) and

In all the listings about blackberry seed oil, I see things about it having high levels of Vitamin C. Unfortunately, I couldn't confirm this with any studies I could find. This doesn't mean it isn't true, it just means none of the studies or information I found mentioned the Vitamin C levels of this oil. It does contains carotenoids at 33 ppm, which is evident by the yellow colour of the oil.

What do I think of this oil?

I would consider this to be an exotic oil based on the cost. The Formulator Sample Shop offers it at $9.00 for 80 ml, Lotioncrafter at $6.75 for 30 ml, and From Nature With Love at $10.01 for 15 ml. Gracefruit in the UK offers it for 4 pounds for 30 ml.

Summary for blackberry seed oil:
INCI: Rubus Fruticosus (blackberry) seed oil or Rubus Villosus (blackberry) seed oil
Suggested usage: 1% to 5%
Shelf life: 6 months to 9 months
Tocopherols: 1639 ppm
Phytosterols: 4037 ppm
Free fatty acids (FFA): 3.5%
HLB: 7

References for the fruit oil series:
Table 4.1, this textbook
Value-adding factors in cold pressed edible seed oils and flours
Journal of Food Lipids. Mar2009, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p33-49. 17p. 4 Charts.
Food Chemistry. Aug2011, Vol. 127 Issue 4, p1848-1855. 8p.
This study

As a note, I was given this blackberry seed oil to play with by the Formulator Sample Shop. They gave me the oils for free and I have been playing with them in the workshop. I am not paid for my opinion and they were advised that I would be sharing my opinion, good or bad, on my blog. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blueberry seed oil

Blueberries are my favourite fruit - I can eat them by the handful in the summer until my tongue and lips are purple and we freeze over 20 pounds to make sure I can make it through the year! It's also gained a reputation as a superfood, something filled with anti-oxidants. Does it stand up to the hype?

Blueberry seed oil (INCI: Vaccinium corymbosum (blueberry) seed oil) contains some interesting compounds and fatty acids! It has 1% to 5% palmitic acid (C16:0) and 1% to 3% stearic acid (C18:0), around 12% to 22% oleic acid (C18:1), 43% to 53% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 29% to 32% linolenic acid (C18:3). It has a shelf life of 6 months to a year - I wasn't able to confirm this, but it seems more likely with all that oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids that it will be more like 6 months.

Blueberry oil contains quite a lot of phytosterols - 580 mg per 100 grams or 5800 ppm - which behave as anti-inflammatories, help our skin repair after damage, reduce trans epidermal water loss, and offer moisturizing. This is a ton of phytosterols, and is amongst the highest of the oils. (Higher than soybean oil, which is considered to have a lot of them, but not as high as sesame oil, which is really high.) It also contains about 110 ppm tocopherols, which isn't very high. The anti-oxidizing power of this oil comes from the polyphenolic compounds like anthocyanins. And check out the squalene in this oil! With 1781 ppm, it's got quite a lot, which might help chapped and cracked skin, prevent UV damage to skin, and offer cell regenerating properties.

Blueberry oil has about 1.3 ppm carotenoids, which isn't very high, and we can see that from the very light colour of the oil. (Raspberries have 230 ppm and we see that in the yellow colour of the oil.)

How does it feel and appear? I thought it felt like a very light oil going on - I'd compare it to being slightly heavier than fractionated coconut oil or more on par with our esters - but it was a little draggy on my skin. I expected it to feel like the other light oils, so it'd go on quite smoothly, but I found it seemed to sink in really quickly but was a little harder to apply. Weird. An hour later, it feels like the oil has been absorbed quite well with no greasy after feel. There is no odour, unfortunately.

I'd consider blueberry seed oil an exotic oil due to its price, which varies from supplier to supplier quite a bit. Formulator Sample Shop carries it for $9.00 for 2 ounces. Lotioncrafter has it for $5.95 per ounce. From Nature with Love carries it for $16.25 for 1/2 ounce.

Summary of blueberry seed oil:
INCI: Vaccinium corymbosum (blueberry) seed oil
Suggested usage rate: 1% to 10%
Shelf life: 6 months, possibly up to a year
Tocopherols: 110 ppm
Phytosterols: 5800 ppm
Squalene: 1781 ppm
HLB: 7

References for the fruit oil series:
Table 4.1, this textbook
Value-adding factors in cold pressed edible seed oils and flours
Journal of Food Lipids. Mar2009, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p33-49. 17p. 4 Charts.
Food Chemistry. Aug2011, Vol. 127 Issue 4, p1848-1855. 8p.

As a note, I was given this blueberry seed oil to play with by the Formulator Sample Shop. They gave me the oils for free and I have been playing with them in the workshop. I am not paid for my opinion and they were advised that I would be sharing my opinion, good or bad, on my blog. I also received a small sample of it from Suds & Scents