Friday, May 30, 2014

Emulsifiers: Montanov 68

Montanov 68 (aka at Sugarmulse or Glucomulse, might be Vegetal 68) is another liquid crystal emulsifier we can find at our suppliers. The INCI is cetearyl alcohol and cetearyl glucoside. It is an ECOcert emulsifiers. Its suggested usage is 1% to 5% in the oil phase, and I've seen it noted that we want to use about 25% oil phase in the product for best results.

How do we use this emulsifier? Heat and hold your oil to 76˚C for 20 minutes, then pour the water phase into the oil phase and stick blend until the emulsion forms. Switch to a mixer or something that stirs instead of the stick blender after the emulsion forms. (I've seen a hand whisk suggested!)

This emulsifier can handle extreme pH ranges - I've seen pH 3 to 12 suggested - and it is fine with cationic ingredients, like cationic polymers. And it forms liquid crystal emulsion, as per this paper.

Now here's the down side of this emulsifier. It was hard to preserve. This is the lotion six months later. I know, right. Gross. If you are going to use this ingredient, make sure you are using your preservative at the maximum amount, and even then consider using a back up preservative. I used 0.5% liquid Germall Plus in this product, and it went off. I tried 1% Germaben II in a more recent batch and it was fine. This is not the place to use something like Leucidal or one of the more "natural" preservatives as they simply can't handle this product. You'll see in my recipe on Monday that I didn't use a ton of botanical ingredients in the lotion, like extracts and hydrosols, and I still had this result. Having said this, only this container went off. The others were fine.

Now that I have you all interested in this emulsifier, join me on Monday for my pumpkin seed oil recipe with Montanov 68!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Emulsifiers: Olivem 1000

Olivem 1000 is one of the easier to find liquid crystal emulsifiers. (Data bulletin can be found here.) Its INCI is cetearyl olivate and sorbitan olivate. It is an ECOcert ingredient.

The suggestion is to use 2% to 3% for light fluid lotions where the Olivem 1000 is the only emollient in the oil phase, 4% to 5% for 5% to 25% oils, and 6% to 8% to be a self emulsifying system. It's suggested that we use glyceryl stearate at 1% to 2% in the oil phase or xanthan gum at 0.2% or carbomer at up to 0.1% in the water phase to increase stability. It's also suggested to use cetearyl alcohol as the fatty alcohol in the oil phase.

Heat and hold your water phase at 70˚C and your oil phase to 70˚C to 75˚C. Add the oil phase to the water phase, then mix with high shear mixer, like a stick blender for this. Mix until the emulsion is formed, then a few minutes or so, then walk away until it reaches the cool down phase, then briefly mix again. I've seen it suggested that you mix the post-cool down phase lotion by hand as it is possible to overmix this lotion. It can take up to 24 hours for it to reach its final viscosity.

I've read that this emulsifier isn't a big fan of proteins and some hydrosols can cause clumping. You can use this emulsifier for lotions with pH 3 to 12, which is to say just about any lotion you can think of making!

I've seen suggestions that heating and holding your phases together - meaning we put all the heated ingredients into one container without consideration for an oil or water phase - then mixing in another container might increase stability.

Here's my thing with Olivem 1000 - I find it really unstable. I mean really unstable. I've tried quite a few recipes with cetearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol and xanthan gum and glyceryl stearate and not once has the recipe turned out stable. Each and every one has been unstable and separated. I contacted Jen at Lotioncrafter and she gave me the suggestions you see above, but even she notes it's really unstable. This study indicates that it doesn't form a lot of liquid crystal structures, which I thought interesting.

In light of this, rather than asking you to join me tomorrow to make a recipe using this emulsifier, I'm going to ask those of you who have made lotions with this emulsifier to offer your recipes and suggestions for stability. I would like very specific recipes, meaning it should include percentages or weights and the exact process you followed. I will draw names from this post for a copy of the e-book of your choice as a thank you for sharing your knowledge with the readers of this blog.

In the meantime, here are a few recipes I found at suppliers I trust...
Avena Oat Natural Lotion (The Herbarie)
Olive Tree Skin Renew Lotion (The Herbarie)

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What the heck are those? Liquid crystal emulsifiers

I recently tried some experimenting with a few new emulsifiers, Olivem 1000 and Montanov 68 (aka Sugarmulse at one supplier), and thought I'd share those experiences with you. These are new and interesting emulsifiers that create liquid crystal emulsions, which are quite different than the oil-and-water emulsions we're accustomed to making with something like Polawax, e-wax, or Incroquat BTMS-50. So let's take a look at what the heck this liquid crystal emulsion thingie means!

What the heck is a liquid crystal emulsion and why should I care?

These new emulsifiers are still non-ionic and based on the HLB system. A high HLB emulsifier and a low HLB emulsifier are combined to create an emulsifier that will help bring the oil and water together. This is what we do with every other lotion, so how is a liquid crystal emulsion different?

The micelle on the right hand side of this picture is what we normally make. The oil is surrounded by droplets of water and this creates what is called a micelle. In the picture on the left hand side, the actual lamellar structure or bilayered structure is composed of layers of oil and water instead of that circular formation.

Studies have shown that conventional emulsifiers can cause irritation to our skin by disrupting the skin's lipid barrier, while the liquid crystal emulsions mimic the lipid bilayers in our stratum corneum, which means more actives or lipids from the lotions can penetrate into our skin.* Studies have shown there is a reduction in transepidermal water loss when using a liquid crystal emulsifier and an increase in moisturization of our skin as the lotions hold more water in contact with the skin for a longer period of time.

As a note, take a look at this paper. The author notes "the efficacy of liquid crystal emulsions deep in the skin is a matter of reasonable theorizing substantiated with little or no clinical data." In this paper, the author notes that "it is hoped that the emulsion components will interact with the natural lipids of the skin". So it sounds like it hasn't been proven that it can deliver actives better to the skin? 

Liquid crystal emulsifiers really like to work with fatty alcohols to help increase the formation of the liquid crystal structure. It seems like cetearyl alcohol is used quite a bit, but you can use cetyl alcohol as well. I haven't seen behenyl alcohol in any recipes, and I did see a note that called for C16-18 fatty alcohols, so that would rule that one out.

The skin feel of these emulsifiers is described as being lighter and more moisturizing than our traditional emulsifiers.

I have to admit that I didn't notice a big difference between the various versions of the moisturizers I made with these emulsifiers. I think they felt a little lighter than something made with Polawax, but I really couldn't tell the difference between the one with Montanov 68 and Lotionpro 165.

So a liquid crystal emulsifier is one that helps to create a liquid crystal emulsion, which is a bilayered structure instead of one shaped like that micelle. It causes less disruption to our stratum corneum, decreases transepidermal water loss, and may help actives penetrate our skin better.

Features: Surfactants 2005
Trends in emulsifiers
Liquid crystal emulsifiers
Cosmetics & Toiletries paper 
Micelles, micro-emulsions, liquid crystals, and the structure of stratum corneum lipids
Liquid crystals and the skin

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at Olivem 1000, one of these liquid crystal emulsifiers.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A few thoughts on supplies...

Someone commented the other day that they don't have a full workshop of supplies like I do, and asked for suggestions for substitutions for those I used in a recipe.

I think you'd be surprised by my supplies. I don't think I have much more than you have in your workshop. I do buy supplies that don't really interest me at first - for instance, an emulsifier like Olivem 1000 or different preservatives - so I can share my thoughts with you on the blog. If I only bought the things that I use regularly, I'd have a few plastic boxes of stuff.

I buy all but a few of my supplies with my own wages from work - it's not like I'm getting tons of stuff for free. (Having said this, Voyageur Soap & Candle gives me a discount for the groups, and the Formulator Sample Shop has sent me quite a few interesting ingredients to try out for free.) Wouldn't it be lovely to get all kinds of stuff for free? But I do worry it would compromise my objectivity, so I guess it's a good thing.

My goal isn't to get to you to buy things you don't need; my goal is to teach you how to modify recipes for what you have. For instance, you'll notice my basic lotion recipes say things like "oil" and "butter", not this or that oil or this or that butter. That's because I want you to learn what your ingredients bring to the mix so you can modify my recipes or other recipes you find out there in the world. I want you to learn that when you combine macadamia nut oil and babassu oil you'll get a drier, less greasy feeling oil than if you combined soy bean oil and shea butter together. And although I can tell you those things, what does it mean to be less greasy or more greasy feeling? The only way you know that is by learning about your ingredients.

If you are going to make products with surfactants, I want you to find the two or three surfactants you love so you don't end up like me with tons of different ones in a box, only a few of which you love now and use regularly. (I admit it. I'm a surfactant junkie!) I want you to find one or two emulsifiers you really love. You will have to experiment to find out what those things are, and yes, that costs money and takes time. And it is totally worth it!

Don't buy huge quantities of things if you're using them for the first time. Think for a minute how much oil you'll use in a lotion. Let's say the recipe calls for 15% lotion. In a 100 gram batch, that's 15 grams. If you buy something like 250 ml or 8 ounces of oil, you're buying enough for 16.7 - 100 gram batches of lotion or something like 10 to 15 - 4 ounce or 120 ml bottles of lotion. If you've never used that oil, why would you invest so much money into it?

Or consider something like an emulsifier. If you buy a pound of it - 454 grams - and you generally use no more than 6% in a lotion, then buying 454 grams or a pound means you will be able to make 75 - 100 gram batches of that lotion! 75! Can you use 75 bottles of lotion in a year? I can give some away to my friends and family, but that's still quite a bit of lotion using only one type of emulsifier.

I know it seems tempting to buy greater quantities because it's cheaper, but if you buy 250 ml of oil and only use 50 of it, is it really cheaper than buying 100 ml? Think about the shelf life. If you buy something like a pound of cetyl alcohol, you can have it up to five years. Yeah, I think I can use 454 grams of cetyl alcohol in five years (90 grams per year). But oils can have short short shelf lives, some as short as three months. Will you use that ingredient in that period of time? (Having said this, you can freeze oils easily!)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Creating a facial cleanser: A foaming rice protein based cleanser

When I get new ingredients, I like to shake things up and try making something I've made before with the ingredient to see how it changes the way the product feels. I have a few new ingredients from the Formulator Sample Shop*, and I thought I'd try them in my low surfactant foaming cleanser recipe. I always suggest trying a new ingredient one at a time because this way we can get a sense of what feels different. If you change a whole lotta things, you'll end up not knowing what did what, and that's a waste of your money and energy!

What new ingredients did I get? I got an ingredient called ProRevive Blemish Balm Complex and foaming rice protein.

I admit I'm a big fan of foaming oat protein and foaming silk protein, so the idea of making a facial cleanser using foaming rice protein sounded awesome to me! What's the deal with this ingredient? Foaming rice protein has an INCI of Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Rice Protein and can be used at 1% to 10% in your product. It is a water soluble ingredient that foams and lathers like our normal surfactants, and offers skin conditioning properties. It's considered a gentle to mild surfactant.

Could it be used as the only surfactant in a product? Definitely. But I like to combine it with cocamidopropyl betaine to increase the viscosity and increase the mildness.
The Blemish Balm complex has an INCI of Lactobacillus/Salix Alba Bark Ferment Filtrate, which is willow bark extract, that can be used at 1% to 10% in the cooling phase of your product. It is supposed to help generate new collagen, enhance cellular renewal, behave as a humectant to draw water to your skin to increase hydration, and behave as an anti-microbial. I can't find out much about the generation of new collagen and behaving as a humectant, other than the company's own materials and testing, but I can say that there's a lot out there about how willow bark can help with acne and enhance cell renewal. This sounds like something I would like to use in place of the willow bark extract (liquid) I normally use, so let's try it at 2% in the product.

Can you use another version of willow bark extract, say the powder or a liquid here? Sure! Why not? Just use it at the suggested rate. I think the liquid I had suggested up to 5% and the powder was up to 0.5%, but it's best to talk to your supplier to find out what they suggest for the particular brand they carry.

37.5% distilled water
20% chamomile hydrosol
15% witch hazel (without alcohol)
11% foaming rice protein
4% cocamidopropyl betaine
5% honey matte
5% water soluble calendula extract
2% ProRevive blemish balm complex
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or preferred water soluble preservative)

Mix all the ingredients in a container well. Pour into a foamer bottle. You're done.

As a note, this recipe if made exactly as I have done it has a pH of 6.48. If you want to lower it, I found that 0.3% citric acid into a 100 gram batch of this product brough the pH down to 4.93, which is turning out to be a good pH for my skin. Your experience will vary. You don't have to reduce it - it's a little closer to 7 than I like, but it won't hurt your skin or do bad things - but you can if you have the ability to test pH.

I know, I know, I didn't heat and hold this recipe. But having said that, all the ingredients in this product are preserved, so I am not worried about contamination. Make sure if you don't heat and hold, you are using distilled water only! 

I did change something from the last recipe in that I left the decyl glucoside out. I wanted to see what would happen if I used only the foaming rice protein as the surfactant. And I left out the liquid apple extract as I didn't have any.

So what do I think of this recipe? I really like it. I find my skin doesn't feel dry or tight afterwards (which is an indication that the surfactants haven't washed off well). I've also found that it doesn't feel greasy, which shows something is working! I'm not the biggest fan of the smell of chamomile, but I really like that it reduces redness, so I endure. It doesn't foam as much as the version that contained decyl glucoside, which is an indication that you wouldn't want to make a body wash or something with the foaming rice - besides, it's not the cheapest surfactant you've ever used - but it foams enough to spread over my face, which is a good thing. In short, I'm a fan of this product!

What should you do if you don't have some of the ingredients in this recipe? Substitute them for something you have! Check out the links in the related posts below to see some ideas for substitution. There are so many ways to make a foaming facial cleanser and so many different surfactants you could use. Get out there and try a few things to see what you like. Just 'cause I like it doesn't mean you will!

*Disclaimer: The Formulator Sample Shop sent me a whole bunch of really interesting ingredients for free, and I've been playing with them in the workshop. I have made it really clear to them - and they accept - that I will share my honest opinion of these ingredients with you, my awesome readers. I will not say something is great if it isn't, and I'm not getting any payment except for these free ingredients. I just want to let you know this. I will tell you when I get something for free - everything else is purchased with my wages. 

Related posts:
Facial cleansers: Creating a low surfactant foaming cleanser (foaming silk)
What the heck is this and what can I do with it? Foaming silk
Modifying the low surfactant foaming cleanser with foaming oat
Modifying the low surfactant foaming cleanser: Substituting surfactants
Modifying the low surfactant foaming cleanser: Substituting hydrosols
Modifying the low surfactant foraming cleanser: A few sample recipes with substitutions

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: How do I figure out if I can use some ingredients as emulsifiers? Why add cetyl alcohol to a recipe with e-wax?

In this post, How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers, Mette asks: I have some questions which I hope you can help me with. I am trying to make a baby lotion and I have Sucrose Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate and Cetearyl Alcohol on my hands. As far as I understand (I'm a total beginner of making skin care products) Cetearyl Alcohol is mostly used as a thickener? Would I be able to make a stable emulsion of Sucrose Stearate and Glyceryl Stearate?

The first thing I do when I want to figure out if I can use something as an emulsifier is this - check out this PDF on the HLB system (Lotioncrafter link). If we take a look at this list we see that glyceryl stearate has an HLB value of 3.8. But I don't see the sucrose stearate listed here. What do do then?

The second thing to do is ask your supplier for the HLB value or consult the internet. (Always ask your supplier first!) Since the supplier option isn't available, I'll check the 'net for the HLB value of sucrose stearate? From this site I see it is listed as 13. (For this particular brand. Your brand may vary.) So we can make a HLB emulsifier out of these two ingredients.

Now we consult the post on the HLB system to figure out how to use these an emulsifier. The quick version is this...Figure out the required HLB value of the oils phase. Then calculate the amount of each emulsifier you'll need to use to get to that value. Then make the lotion! (Check this post for all the information on how to do this bit!)

Related posts:
The HLB section of the blog

To address your second question, yes, cetearyl alcohol will offer thickening to your product. I recommend checking out the right hand side of the blog under the heading "bath and body guides to ingredients" to see the post on cetearyl alcohol (and all the other ingredients I discuss on the blog).

Yeah, I know this is a picture of behenyl alcohol, but I'm out of cetearyl alcohol and I wanted something to go with this paragraph!

Sophia commented in this post on facial scrubs - template recipeI have a question, if you are already using E-Wax, why do you need to add the cetyl/cetearyl alcohol as well because isn't it already in E-wax? I have used this recipe many times and love it but was wondering what it does adding more than what is already in the ewax.

What does cetyl alcohol bring to a product? Again, let's take a look at the entry on cetyl alcohol (the listing for which is found to your right in the bath & body guide to ingredients). The short summary: Cetyl alcohol is a thickener that brings slip and glide to our products. It gives a creamy feeling to the product, and it's a great emollient. As well, if you choose to use a cationic emulsifier like Rita BTMS-225 or Incroquat BTMS-50, the cetyl alcohol will boost the conditioning power of the product.

In the case of this recipe. I'm using Rita BTMS-225, which contains cetearyl alcohol. I want the thickening and emollient properties of cetyl alcohol in this product, so I'm going to add it to the mix.

If I were to use another emulsifier - let's say Incroquat BTMS-50 - I'd still add the cetyl alcohol. Yes, it contains cetyl alcohol, but how much? No more than 25% or so, which means if I use 10% Incroquat BTMS-50, I have 2.5% cetyl alcohol. I want more thickening and more emolliency in the product, so adding 10% cetyl alcohol ensures I have some great thickening, slip and glide, and emolliency.

No emulsifier is going to contain as much cetyl alcohol as I'd like in the product, so I'm always going to add it to the mix!

Related posts:
Cetyl alcohol
How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Polawax
How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? E-wax
How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Ritamulse SCG
How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Incroquat BTMS-50
How do we make substitutions with our emulsifiers? Lotionpro 165

Join me tomorrow for more Weekend Wonderings!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Question: Can I add glycerin to a lotion bar?

In this post on lotion bars, anonymous asks: How can you get glycerin to mix in a lotion bar? Do I heat to a certain temperature? Mix the wax and glycerin first before I put in my heated oils? Help I love glycerin in all my products.

If you are wondering if you can mix two things, may I suggest a visit to the newbie section to learn more about what exactly our products are about in two posts I call what you need to know about making any product (part one) or (part two)? I've worked hard to create a section with all the basics you might want to know about our products, and I think it might be helpful for this question.

Lotion bars are what we call anhydrous products. Anhydrous means "without water". "An" means without and "hydrous" means water. Anhydrous products are those that contain only oil soluble ingredients and no water or water soluble ingredients.

What are water soluble ingredients? They are ingredients that contain water or mix well with water to form solutions. They are things that will dissolve or mix in water to create a uniform looking product. These would include things like water, alcohol, hydrosols, water soluble extracts (hydrolyzed proteins, vitamins, minerals, plant based things), powdered water soluble extracts (like green tea extract), and humectants (glycerin, sodium lactate, honey), to name a few.

From the post on lotion bars:
What happens if you mix a water based thing into an oil based thing? You will get separation. Oil and water don't like each other (check your salad dressing to see this in action). If you add a water based thing - glycerin - to an oil based thing - shea butter - it will eventually seep out as the water and oil repel each other (this isn't exactly true, but it's easier to explain it this way...) If you really want to include glycerin into your product, you'll need an emulsifier.

Related posts:
Emulsification: What's that then?
Emulsification: A more in depth

The quick answer is that you can't add glycerin to an oil soluble lotion bar without an emulsifier.

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

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Making a cooling spray - part 3

Thanks for joining me for part three of making a cooling spray! On Monday (part one), we took a look at some liquids we might use and on Tuesday (part two), we took a look at adding humectants. Let's put the recipe together now!

30.5% distilled water
30% witch hazel hydrosol
20% peppermint hydrosol
10% ginger mint extract
5% Moisture Plex Advanced
2% sodium lactate
2% panthenol
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Mix all the ingredients together well. Pour into a bottle.

I didn't heat and hold. Do we need to in this case? I'm using a fresh bottle of distilled water and all my ingredients are preserved in some way. I'm adding a preservative to the product as well. In this case, it's okay not to heat and hold. I know, it's scandalous, isn't it? 

What do I think of this recipe? So far it hasn't been hot enough to really need it, but I have been playing with it nevertheless. It feels very nice on my skin, a tiny weeny bit sticky, but not enough to be annoying, and it feels moisturizing, as if there's a light layer of something nice on my skin. I am worried that it feels less cooling than the version with peppermint essential oil, but it doesn't smel, which is a bonus. Do I like it more than my previous versions? To be honest, I'm not sure yet. I will report in a few weeks when we get the annoying heat of summer!

If you don't have the ingredients I've used, what can you do? (Check out this post to see some of the other ideas I've had!) If you don't have the ginger mint extract, try using some peppermint essential oil! I suggest using 1% with an equal amount (or thereabouts) of a solubilizer like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil or polysorbate 20. You can use any grouping of humectants you like - I like 2% sodium lactate and 3% sodium PCA, but you can use a little glycerin or a little sorbitol or a little hyaluronic acid and so on. You can be really minimalist and use 1% peppermint essential oil, 1% solubilizer, 0.5% to 1% preservative, and up to 100% distilled to make a nice spray, or you can do what LiseLise does and put some hydrosol in a spray bottle and use that! There's no right or wrong way to making a cooling spray, and there are loads of variations you can make! Just make sure you keep cool this summer!

Join me tomorrow for more formulating fun!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Making a cooling spray - part 2

Yesterday we took a look at reinventing the cooling spray with some new ingredients. Today, we'll continue that adventure by looking at some of the other hydrosols or liquids we might include.

Witch hazel is always something I consider when I'm looking for cooling. We use it a lot for its astringency, but it has so much more to offer! It offers a cooling feeling as well as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Ensure what you are getting is witch hazel without added alcohol as that can dry out your skin and witch hazel is astringent enough without additional help! I've been using this ingredient at 30% in my previous cooling sprays and I like it at that level, so I'll continue to use it here.

So where are we with this recipe? Right now I have 10% ginger mint extract, 20% peppermint hydrosol, and 30% witch hazel. What else do I want in this product?

I want humectants! Those lovely ingredients that draw water from the atmosphere to our skin! I generally choose glycerin first because it's inexpensive and really effective, but in this application, it could feel quite sticky, so I need to consider something else. I love sodium lactate, and I think I'll use it here, but I have to be careful as it can be sun sensitizing at 3% or higher, so I don't want to use it at more than 2% to be on the safe side. I like panthenol as a humectant as well, so I'm going to use that at 2% in the cool down phase.

The Formulator Sample Shop sent me a new ingredient called Moisture Plex Advanced that sounded interesting. Its INCI is Glycerin & Water & Sodium PCA & Urea & Trehalose & Polyquaternium-51 & Sodium Hyaluronate, which means it contains a ton of humectants - glycerin, sodium PCA, urea, trehalose, and sodium hyaluronate - as well as a conditioning agent - the polyquaternium 51 - so I thought it sounded like a good fit for this product. It's a water soluble ingredient to be used at 1% to 10%, so it sounded like a good fit. I tried it neat, and it was a little on the sticky side, which is something I'm trying to avoid in this product, so I thought I'd use it at 5% in this product.

Do we have all our ingredients? Let's see...we have some cooling ingredients and some humectants. I generally put things like skin conditioners like polyquat 7 or honeyquat in my products, but those can be sticky, and I'm trying to avoid that. And I generally put some proteins in, but again, those make things feel sticky. I think I'm happy with my ingredients!

All right! Join me tomorrow as we take a look at putting these ingredients together to make a cooling spray!

*Disclaimer: The Formulator Sample Shop sent me a whole bunch of really interesting ingredients for free, and I've been playing with them in the workshop. I have made it really clear to them - and they accept - that I will share my honest opinion of these ingredients with you, my awesome readers. I will not say something is great if it isn't, and I'm not getting any payment except for these free ingredients. I just want to let you know this. I will tell you when I get something for free - everything else is purchased with my wages. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Making a cooling spray - part 1

I am not a fan of warmer weather. I'm content around 16˚C to 20˚C, maybe a little warmer when I'm camping, so I get a little cranky when the temperature gets up around 30˚C. Yeah, I have an air conditioner, but that doesn't help when I'm sweating at the library for the groups or in the incredibly warm office I tend to visit now and then! I consider two things essential in the summer - a cooling spray and cool ties. (You can find the pattern for my cool ties here. My dog is modelling one for you!)

So what goes into a cooling spray? I've made them before - click here - but I thought I'd rethink the whole thing to see if there are other ingredients I might be able to include or that might help with extra cooling.

Whenever I start messing around with a new product, I ask myself this - what's the point of this product? What do I want it to do? What's the goal in making it? - and I find that's a great place to start. I want a cooling spray. I want to spray something on my skin that will make me feel cooler. I wouldn't mind if it had some skin loving ingredients like proteins or conditioners or moisturizers, but the main goal is to make my skin feel cooler. And I'd like something that won't feel sticky when I start to sweat or when the humectants I put in it draw water to my skin. So where should I start?

Peppermint essential oil is great at making one's skin feel cooler as the menthol in it is a thermoreceptor agonist or something that makes our skin warmer or colder. (Click here to learn a little more about this topic.) In the case of peppermint, it makes our skin feel colder. The problem is that I don't know if I want to smell like peppermint all day long. I'm not a huge fan of the taste or smell of peppermint, to be honest - I even use anise flavoured toothpaste to avoid the flavour - so it's not necessarily my first choice. As well, if I use an essential oil in a water based product, I'll have to find some kind of solubilizer like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil or polysorbate 20, which can feel a bit sticky. I've been using 1% peppermint essential oil with 1% polysorbate 20 in my products for years, but I think I'd like to see if there's something else I could use.

What about peppermint hydrosol? I've been using that for a while and I really like it in the cooling spray. It isn't as cooling as the essential oil, but it doesn't make me smell like I've been overdosing on gum all day long, which is a bonus.

As a thought, I could use eucalyptus essential oil to help with cooling, but it smells very medicinal, and I worry that anyone within a ten foot radius might think I've been overdosing on Vicks!

The Formulator Sample Shop* has been sending me free samples of things, and one of the products they sent me was a ginger mint extract that is supposed to be a cooling ingredient. It's a water soluble ingredient used at 1% to 10% to offer a sense of cooling. The product is a little sticky on its own, but I have found it to be not too sticky when used at up to 10% in the final product.

We know the awesome power of peppermint already, but for some reason, I haven't written much about ginger root, despite the fact that I've used in a few products, like this low surfactant foaming face cleanser. Ginger root has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the gingerols in it, and anti-oxidant properties that might help with maintaining protein levels in our skin. The anti-inflammatory properties might add something to the cooling properties.

I figured I'd use this ingredient in my product as it doesn't smell at all like mint, which, to me, is a good thing! Because I don't have peppermint essential oil in the product, I can handle some peppermint hydrosol, which I'm using at 20%.

Okay, so where are we so far? We're using 10% ginger mint extract and 20% peppermint hydrosol. What else can we use? Witch hazel! Yeah, I know that sounds like a strange choice, but it's got some great cooling properties we can use!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at some other cooling ingredients we can use in our cooling spray!

*Disclaimer: The Formulator Sample Shop sent me a whole bunch of really interesting ingredients for free, and I've been playing with them in the workshop. I have made it really clear to them - and they accept - that I will share my honest opinion of these ingredients with you, my awesome readers. I will not say something is great if it isn't, and I'm not getting any payment except for these free ingredients. I just want to let you know this. I will tell you when I get something for free - everything else is purchased with my wages. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: How do companies use fresh fruit in their products? How does Lush make their water containing products preservative free?

In an e-mail, Breanna asks: I have seen a lot of companies claim that they put actual "food" in their products. For example an oil based scrub with lime zest, real coco powder, actual avocado, and even real strawberries. How can you put it in your products without it going rancid? I know strawberries go bad really fast even with a preservative. Maybe you can shed some light on this?

When it comes to fresh products, I get a little scared thinking about all the things than can grow in our products when we use fresh things, things like bacteria and mould. (Rancidity is a concept that relates to oil going off or oxidizing, so we're not worried about that in these products as the ingredients you mention are water soluble.) Consider what happens when a strawberry goes bad, which seems to happen overnight! Now imagine that happening in our products! Ick! Our preservatives aren't intended to preserve food stuffs - they preserve our cosmetic ingredients - so even with the best preservation, you're looking at having problems.

When it comes to big companies, the odds are they are using things like powdered extracts, concentrates, liquid extracts, infusions, or purees meant for cosmetics. (To see more about this, check out this post How does Lush use fresh fruit in their products, part one or part two!) I haven't been able to find out if there is a legal definition of the word "fresh" when it comes to cosmetic products, so I wonder if they are stretching the word "fresh" to mean "anything we want it to mean".

When it comes to home crafters, I've seen people listing all kinds of food stuffs in their products on selling sites like Etsy. They really are using fresh products, and you only have to think of the worst case scenario to imagine what those products are like. I've seen someone selling a mashed up avocado and some kind of exfoliant as a scrub, and I remember someone on a crafting site talking about making a lip balm with sugar, lime juice, and petroleum jelly. She signed off the post with "Now I sell lip balm!" Think about this for a moment...would you want to use that product?

I guess the question I have is why would we want to include fresh ingredients in our products? What does real cocoa powder bring to the product that cocoa butter or black cocoa butter can't bring to the product? What does a fresh strawberry bring that strawberry extract can't offer?

On a related note, in this post, Sandra asks: I have a feeling you have written about this topic before, so I automatically thought of you when I read that Lush has a new innovative way of formulating products without any preservatives.

Take Charity Pot as an example, with water as a first ingredient: Water (Aqua), Fair Trade Olive Oil, Glycerine, Organic Jojoba Oil, Moringa Oil, Fair Trade Organic Colombian Cocoa Butter, Stearic Acid, Fresh Aloe Gel, Fair Trade Shea Butter, Triethanolamine, Geranium Oil, Rosewood Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Cetearyl Alcohol, Citronellol*, Coumarin*, Geraniol, Linalool*, Limonene*, Perfume

What do you think about this? Can this actually work or are they hiding something?

As we know, when we use water, we have to have a preservative involved. So this product has to have a preservative somewhere in the mix. There was a guy who visited my blog regularly to advertise his preservative that could be listed as "perfume" or "parfum" in an ingredient list, so my first thought is that they are hiding something in the perfume listing. My second thought is that they are using ingredients with preservatives already in them, like that aloe gel. My third thought is that they aren't being 100% truthful about this ingredient list.

And here's why I say point three is the likely answer. Take a look at the ingredient list for the Charity Pot on the Canadian siteAmerican site, Austrian site, and the Australian site. Note the last two ingredients are parabens, a type of preservative.  (On the New Zealand site, they list only propylparaben as a preservative and have a few other things thrown in.) Why aren't they listed in the ingredient list for the UK site? I don't think they would create some amazing way to make water containing products without preservatives and not share it with the rest of the world. This leads me to conclude that the labelling for the UK product isn't including every ingredient in the product or is hiding it behind perfume.

What I do think interesting is that they are relying on the stearic acid - TEA emulsifier for this product, something that creates a type of soap. I find it interesting that people who aren't okay with parabens and "unnatural" preservatives would be okay with triethanolamine. There's no way that can be considered natural.

As a side note, I have a lot of trouble with Lush's philosophy at times. Look at this article about using parabens where the writer for Lush says "Since we don't particularly love preservatives at LUSH in general..." Why not? Saying this negates a lot of the good comments that follow - things like wanting to keep customers safe, wanting to use ingredients with a lot of science behind it, wanting to use low levels of preservatives, and so on - but they lose their credibility by saying they don't like preservatievs. Why? You've just said they offer a lot of good to your products!

So the short answer to your question is that the label on that product appears to be missing a few key ingredients, like the parabens.

Related posts:
Preservative section of the blog
Why do we have to use preservatives with water containing products?
Why don't we have to use preservatives with anhydrous products?
When should we use a preservative?
Preservative levels - how much to use?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: What is the HLB of butylene glycol? Is glycerin water soluble? Are essential oils water soluble?

In this post, Humectants: Propylene glycol & dipropylene glycol, Tyler asks: What is the HLB value of butylene glycol?

Butylene glycol doesn't have an HLB value because it isn't oil soluble. HLB values are assigned to emulsifiers and oil soluble ingredients. Since butylene glycol is water soluble and doesn't need an emulsifier to mix with water, it doesn't have an HLB value. 

Related posts on the HLB system: 

I'm not sure where the idea that glycerin is oil soluble arose, but it really isn't. In fact, glycerin is completely water soluble, meaning it mixes completely with water. 

In the area of solubility, "like dissolves like" means that something polar will dissolve something polar. Water is polar and glycerin is polar, so we should expect that glycerin will dissolve in water. If something dissolves in water, we call it water soluble. As its solublity is really high in water - it's called "completely soluble" so add as much as you want - we can call this water soluble.

Related post:

In this post, Why did I buy that again? Cera bellina - an anhydrous eye gel, Matilida asks: I'm wondering, do you think a couple drops of Lavender Essential Oil would work in this formula? I'm not sure if an EO counts as water based. I love the texture, but am walking around thinking I smell oil on my face, so thought the lavender EO may be gentle enough to use for the smell.

You could add an essential oil to any anhydrous or non-water containing product or any emulsified product easily by adding it at the suggested usage level. (As always, check to see if you can use that essential oil in that capacity and at the level you wish.) Essential oils are oil soluble, so you can add it to those products as it will mix well. 

Having said all of this, because the original recipe for the eye gel is anhydrous, you could mix a few drops of lavender essential oil into it if you wish. I don't like fragrances on my face, but you might, and that's really the decision you have to make. 

And please don't measure essential oils in drops. It's way too easy to go over the recommended usage rate - how many drops makes up 0.5%? 1%? - and it's hard to replicate that in your recipe if you increase or decrease it! 

Related posts on essential oils:
Essential oils (section of the blog)

As a quick aside, if you want some of the awesome qualities of essential oils in a water soluble product, you can add your essential oils using solublizers like polysorbate 20 or PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil. Do a search for "solubilizer" or look at the label solubilizer or solubilizers to see the experiments I've done with these solubilizers. 

In a water soluble product into which you don't wish to add a solubilizer, consider using a hydrosol, which contains the water soluble ingredient of the plant from which the essential oil was derived. 

If you want to test if something is water or oil soluble, ask your supplier. If that doesn't help, then get a glass of water and add your ingredient. Mix. Let it sit for a bit at room temperature and see what happens. If it floats to the top or sinks to the bottom and you can see it's a different thing from the water - for instance, it's a white solid or a yellow liquid - that means it didn't mix in and isn't soluble. Do the same for something being oil soluble.

In this picture, you can see the fragrance oil is floating on top of the water in the test tube. This means the fragrance oil is not water soluble. (Oil floats on top of the water as it has a lower specific gravity and is lighter than water. ) If you see this result, you know what you have isn't water soluble! 

Related posts:

Join me tomorrow for more fun looking at your comments over the last few weeks! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

I made it into the workshop

And I've had time to research new ingredients! Hooray! I am hoping to get a few posts written this weekend, and get to some comments. Thank goodness for long weekends, eh? Thanks for your patience and support! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: A few things I've noticed in looking through messages and comments...

As I go through the comments and messages you've sent me in the last few weeks, a few thoughts arise. I thought I should probably link to these posts...

Why are you making products from scratch when you're new to bath & body products? If you've never made anything, find a recipe that you know will work and try that out, then make your changes. I liken this to cooking. If you've never made a cake, would you find a recipe that works or would you throw ingredients into a bowl and hope for the best? I can't stress this enough - find a good recipe and use that.

Beeswax is NOT an emulsifier. It isn't. There is nothing about beeswax that makes it an emulsifier. It can be combined with borax for a water-in-oil recipe, but you cannot use it on its own as an emulsifier.

If you're thinking about starting a business, think about what you need to know. Here are my thoughts in a post I called Would you start a bakery with a Duncan Hines recipe?

Back to the very basics: Anhydrous products. The reason you can't mix glycerin or other water soluble ingredients into non-water containing products is because they don't contain water. You'll need an emulsifier to use a water soluble ingredient in an anhydrous product!

If you look to the right, you'll see I've tried to organize parts of the blog into categories. You may find the recipe or answer your seek in one of those categories.

And two administrative things...

1. Please put your name on your comments. All you have to do is write "Bye, (name)" - you don't need to have a Google account. It's sad that I've had to delete some really great questions lately, but I feel it important to apply this policy to every comment without at least a name in the body of the comment. If you want an answer to your question, please be courteous and sign off with your name so we know who you are!

2. When it comes to writing to me please don't write to me two days after your first e-mail to see if I received it. I can't stress enough that I answer the e-mail in the order in which it is received, and I haven't had much time lately to respond to anything (see this post...). Please remember that I do not have time to consult for your business, and this includes doing any detailed analysis of your recipes. I'm happy to answer questions for businesses if the answer isn't found on the blog, but I need to reserve the limited time I have for homecrafters.

The picture of the puzzle pieces above is from our Yarrow melt & pour group earlier this week! I love that unfortunately now unavailable silicone ice cube tray mold! 

Join me tomorrow as I take a look at some comments you've been making lately!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chemistry Thursday: Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids

I continue to see oils listed as having essential fatty acids or containing omega 3, 6, or 9. What does this all mean?

An omega 3, 6, or 9 bond means the fatty acid contains a double bond between carbon atoms that is 3, 6, or 9 atoms from the end of the molecule, as you can see from the picture above. When the bond is 3 atoms from the end of the chain, it's an omega 3. If it's 6 atoms away from the end of the chain, it's an omega 6. If it's 9 atoms away from the end of the chain, it's an omega 9.

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids, which is to say they are essential for human life. Omega 9 is not an essential fatty acid.