Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A few things for an overly warm July morning...

If you ever consider getting me a present - and why wouldn't you? - this periodic table of the elements blanket would be just perfect! How is this only $30? And if you're really in the mood to get me a present, consider this lovely atomic necklace! Yeah, I'm subtle! (ThinkGeek)

To everyone who keeps asking about hyaluronic acid sera, unfortunately, formulating with HA isn't in my future. It's really expensive stuff - $15 for 5 grams - so I haven't had a chance to play with it. I think I've mentioned this before, but I buy everything I play with from my wages (unless otherwise noted), so if I want hyaluronic acid, I have to buy it, and it's not something I can afford right now.

Having said that, I have so many interesting things I can play with, which you'll be seeing over the coming weeks! I have a four day weekend this weekend - thank you, BC Day! - so if the weather isn't super hot, I'll be able to get into the workshop and do some playing! Woo!

Check out this fantastic video about chemical reactions! I thought it was simply fascinating!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More questions about preservatives! Is citric acid a preservative? And how much preservative should I use?

There are loads of you with loads of questions about preservatives, so let's take a look at some of those comments now!

In this post, Question: Why would you leave preservatives out for sensitive skin?, Mariena asks: I use Phenonip in my lotions and emulsified scrubs and was wondering about the 0.5 to 1% usage rate. How do I know when to use just 0.5 and when to use 1.0% Perhaps in an anhydrous product, I could use 0.5 and in a lotion containing water, use 1%? What do you think?

When it comes to preservatives, I tend to err on the side of caution and use the maximum allowed because I can't be sterile in my workshop (but I do my best to be very clean). You'll notice in my recipes I always use the maximum allowed for Liquid Germall Plus because I don't know how you will make the products at home, and I'm hoping that using the maximum will cover you for all possible problems.

Having said this, like Liquid Germall Plus, Phenonip is a very good broad spectrum preservative, so it will do a great job at protecting your products at lower levels. If you're using hard to preserve ingredients - like our botanicals - then I'd go with the higher levels. If you aren't using a lot of botanical ingredients, then consider using a lower level. It really is up to your judgement how much you wish to use.

As an aside, you do not need to preserve products that are anhydrous - meaning they don't contain water - that won't be coming into contact with water. Products like whipped butters, lip balms, balms, sera, and so on don't need preservatives. You could use an anti-oxidant like Vitamin E to retard the rancidity of the oils, if you wish. Sugar and salt scrubs require preservatives because they are coming into contact with water when you put your wet hand into them when using them at the sink or in the tub or shower.

Related posts:
Preservatives section of the blog
Water activity and sugar or salt scrubs

In the same post, La Prairie Lady asks: I saw a lot of recipes with citric acid in water. that help ?? or just a light preservative for 1 month in the fridge.

Citric acid (or 2-hydroxy-1, 2, 3-propanetricarboxylic acid) is a chelating, anti-oxidizing, and pH altering ingredient that can bind metal ions, help prevent rancidity, and alter the pH of our lotions and surfactant mixtures. It is not a preservative that can prevent contamination from mold, yeast, and bacteria in our products. 

Rancidity is a natural process in which our oil based ingredients degrade over time by being exposed to heat, light, and oxygen. It is inevitable, and while we can add anti-oxidants to our products to slow down the process, but we can't stop it completely. Citric acid can behave as a water soluble anti-oxidant in our products.  

When citric acid is used as a chelating ingredient, it binds metal ions like calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, nickel, and cobalt to keep our products from experiencing auto-oxidation. By binding these metals, it also keeps surfactant mixes nice and clear, and it helps to boost the efficacy of your preservative.

As an aside, you may see citric acid listed as a "natural preservative" for foods. This does not mean it is an effective preservative for cosmetics, and it is not approved as a broad spectrum preservative for our products. You might see it in combination with other preservatives, but generally it's being used as a chelating or anti-oxidizing ingredient. 

If you're going to use a preservative, use it at the proper usage levels. As you can see from Liquid Germall Plus, the suggested usage rate ranges from 0.1% to 0.5%. Find something like this and use the lower level. If you use the lower level, you don't need to put it in the fridge - you can leave it out and use it like you would any other product. 

In this post, Formulating for your skin type: Emulsified scrubs for dry skin, Candice asks: When calculating the amount of preservative, should the weight of the sugar be included? If I make 100gr of scrub and add 140gr of sugar, do I include my preservative (1% optiphen in my case) as 1% of 240gr or 1% of 100% (only the emsulsion part, pre-sugar)?

You don't need to preserve the sugar or salt in a scrub, just the base of oils and other ingredients. 

Join me tomorrow for more formulating fun! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract - introduction

I was amazed to see that the most popular post on the blog this month was the post on cucumber extract. In light of that, it makes sense that we should take a closer look at this ingredient and formulate with it for a bit!

Cucumber extract (INCI: Cucumis sativa (cucumber) extract) can be found as a powdered extract or a liquid extract, but both are water soluble. The liquid extract may be found in water, glycerin, alcohol, or a combination of two or three of those. The general suggested usage of the powder is 0.5% to 1%, and the general suggested usage of the liquid can vary, so check with your supplier.

As a note, you can find cucumber seed oil at some suppliers, but it is incredibly expensive at around $10 or more per ounce (30 ml or 2 tbsp), so I haven't tried it. 

Cucumber is considered emollient, soothing, astringent, and hydrating. It's generally suggested for normal to oily skin because of the astringency. It's also considered an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. We also find astringent and analgesic properties in cucumber. So let's take a look at cucumber to see if it can live up to all these expectations!

Cucumber extract contains tons of polysaccharides, polyphenols, glycosides, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, all of which offer awesome qualities to our products.

We find polysaccharides in aloe vera, too. They offer hydration, emolliency, and anti-inflammatory properties by creating a light gel barrier on the skin. In cucumber extract, they will behave the same way, offering an increase in hydration on the skin and moisturizing.

We find tons of polyphenols in cucumber in the form of gallic acid, coumaric acid, caffeic acid, and trans-cinnamic acid, amongst others. As we know, all of these are fabulous anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. Gallic acid also offers speedier wound and burn healing. Coumaric acid offers anti-bacterial and anti-fungal features, as well as possible UV protection. Caffeic acid offers fungicidal and post-sun exposure properties. Cinnamic acid good post-sun exposure and possible AHA-like properties. We also find p-hydroxybenzoic acid, which is very closely related to salicylic acid, and behaves like a very effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

Cucumber extract contains triterpene glucosides called cucurbitacins. These are found in squashes like pumpkins and melons. These glucosides are amongst the most bitter substances found in the world, but they have been bred out of a lot of these fruits. Cucurbitacins are highly oxygenated triterpenoid compounds that might cause some sensitivity to some people. The one found most commonly in cucumbers is cucurbitacin C. It behaves as a very effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

Is cucumber extract a good addition to our products? Does it live up to the claims? Yep, it does! Cucumber extract contains some awesome anti-inflammatory and analgesic ingredients, all of which will reduce redness and inflammation, so it can be considered soothing. It contains astringent ingredients, which will make our skin feel tightened after use. And it contains polysaccharides to create a light gel like layer on our skin that keeps water in and offers a lovely feeling of emolliency.

You'll want to use powdered cucumber extract at 0.5% to 1% in the cool down phase of your creations. Add a little warm water to a small container with your extract, let it dissolve, then add at 45˚C or lower (when you add your preservative or fragrance oil). If you are using the liquid extract, follow the suggested usage rate and add to the cool down phase of your product.

Please note, cucumber extract is water soluble, so you can't use it in oil soluble things like whipped butters, lotion bars, or balms. If you wish to get all the awesome power of cucumber in an anhydrous or non-water containing product, you should consider using cucumber seed oil. (Do a Google search to find a supplier near you.)

Are you worried if cucumber extract is safe for you? This recent review by the Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel notes that it is generally recognized as safe.* They also note that 5% extract in a product didn't result in sensitization or phototoxicity, which is higher than is found in commercial products and higher than what you'd find in our products, so it sounds like you'd have to use an awful lot before you'd get irritated!

*The term generally recognized as safe means "the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive." Eager to learn more? Check out the FDA FAQ on GRAS. 

Before you ask, yes, you can use fresh cucumbers for body care...but stick to using the slices on your eyes after a long night on the town! Including the pulp, seeds, or fresh, unpreserved juice in your creations can result in serious contamination, especially if you fail to use preservatives. If you are using fresh cucumber, consider the shelf life to be the same day. 

Why are you interested in this extract? What appeals to you? Let me know and that can shape the recipes we make with cucumber extract! Comment below!

And why am I only making five products with cucumber extract? Because...that's what I managed to make with this extract before the series started!

Join me tomorrow as we have fun formulating with cucumber extract!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Question: Why would you leave out preservatives for sensitive skin? What do I mean by "water"?

Sarah asks in this post, Lotions: Making a cream: I made an unscented cream yesterday for my friend with very sensitive skin. I left the cream in the bowl over night with a stainless steel spoon in it. Today I noticed on one side of the spoon the cream has been discoloured (purple in colour). From the beginning the cream smelt like metal (before discolouration), so I had to add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Whenever I use rose water in my formulas it always has a metallic smell.
The ingredients were: 
Rose water, 64%
Glycerine, 3%...
No water and preservative added because my friend has super sensitive skin.

I have two thoughts about this today...

1. Where did we get the idea that someone with sensitive skin shouldn't use preservatives? This implies somehow that preservatives are harsh ingredients that can hurt someone with sensitive skin instead of ingredients that can keep icky things out of a lotion that could hurt someone with sensitive skin. Exposing oneself to all the contaminants that can grow in a lotion is a bad idea for all skin types!

I notice in the unabridged recipe, Sarah is using grapefruit seed extract. Please note that this is NOT a preservative. It might act as an anti-oxidant in our products, which means it retards rancidity in our oils, but it is not a preservative. The only preserving power it might offer comes from the preservatives put into the GSE to keep it from going off.

I have to point something else out when it comes to not using preservatives - it doesn't take long for contamination to happen. You could have something growing in the product hours after you've made it. Keeping it in the fridge isn't going to stop the bacteria and other stuff from growing; it only slows it down. A lotion has maybe a few days in the fridge - certainly not a week or longer. And who wants to make lotion every other day?

Yes, I know I have said in the past that a lotion might be good for a week in the fridge, but I've learned a lot since then and now consider it good for only a few days. If you come across a mention where I say that it is good in the fridge for a week, please let me know and I'll correct it. As well, there's an e-book in it for you! 

If you've made lotion without preservative and it looks okay, remember that it only looks okay. You have no idea what is lurking below the surface of the product. My lotion in the container looked just fine until it grew the green stuff! Or you might have gotten lucky this time around. Or the preservatives in your water soluble ingredients - yep, just about everything that contains water is sold with preservatives! - might have been enough to keep the rest of the lotion preserved. But don't take those chances!

If you are making lotion, use preservatives! For using such a tiny bit - say 0.5% to 1%, check the suggested usage rate - you get so much protection for your products and your skin!

If you are giving away your product, I believe you have an obligation to let the giftee know what is in and what isn't in your product. If you aren't using preservatives, you have an obligation to let the person know that you aren't using one and what could grow in your product. I don't think it is fair or right to give something to someone when you are aware that there could be contamination in it. 

Related posts:
Preservatives section of the blog
What contaminants can get into our products?
How preservatives work
Why grapefruit seed extract (GSE) isn't a preservative
Choosing a preservative

As a side question, is this a common thought - that water isn't good for sensitive skin? I've never heard it before, so I thought I would put it out to you, my lovely readers. Have you heard of this before?

Related posts:
Skin chemistry and types
Sensitive or resistant skin type - acne type
Sensitive skin type - stinging
Sensitive skin type - allergic

2. What exactly do we consider water? We know that when we have water in a recipe, we have to use a suitable preservative because things can grow in our products, but what exactly do we consider water? "Water" in a recipe is anything that is water soluble. Something like the rose water and glycerin Sarah puts into her recipe is considered water. Any of our hydrosols, hydrolyzed proteins, cationic polymers, and anything else that is water soluble is considered water in our product.

Anything that is water soluble is considered "water". 

If you have rose water and glycerin, you have water in your lotion. In this case, you have 67% water in your product. When we have water in a lotion, you require a preservative, so take a look at the links above to find one that you like.

Related posts:
Learning to formulate: The water phase
Weekend Wonderings: Adding and removing from the water amount

As for why your lotion discoloured...there are a few reasons. One, the lotion could have reacted with the metallic spoon. Two, you could have contamination in your product, which, as I note, can start right away with lotions.

You mention in the original comment that your rose water had a metallic smell - I think you might have a problem there as rose water should smell faintly (or strongly) of roses. I would throw out that bottle and order another one. If this smell has happened more than once, consider ordering from a different supplier. And for the love of everything good and holy, please get yourself a good preservative and use it at the suggested usage rate so you don't have this kind of thing happening again!

Have a question? Want to suggest an ingredient for the one ingredient, ten posts series? Then make a comment! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil - the summary

What have we learned over the last little while about using sunflower oil in our products?

We've learned that sunflower oil contains linoleic acid, which helps repair skin's barrier mechanisms and helps prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL); oleic acid, which softens and moisturizes skin; and phytosterols, which reduce inflammation and itching as well as TEWL.We've learned sunflower oil feels light but a bit greasy, it has no taste or smell, and it is inexpensive.

Because it's an oil, it's oil soluble, which means it can be used in any anhydrous or non-water containing product, like a body oil, whipped butter, balm, or bath oil. It can be incorporated into an oil-in-water lotion or any other emulsified product using an emulsifier, like Polawax, e-wax, Incroquat BTMS-50, and so on. You can't incorporate it into a water only product like a toner or cleanser unless you use some kind of solubilizer, like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, polysorbate 80, Caprol Micro Express, or caprylyl/capryl glucoside, to name a few.

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in body oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in blooming or dispersing bath oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in lotion bars
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in emulsified scrubs
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a zinc oxide cream
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a whipped butter
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in an oil based scrub
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a body butter

Monday, July 21, 2014

One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in solid perfume

As we saw on Friday, sunflower oil is a great addition to a lip balm. And it's a great addition to a solid perfume because it offers no odour and is light in colour and skin feel.

Solid perfumes are very basic in nature because the main goal is to keep them solid in all kinds of weather by putting together a wax, a butter, and an oil. It's effectively a lotion bar with a bit more oil to make it melt on your skin a little easier.

Sunflower oil is a great choice here because it's inexpensive, has no odour or taste, and will keep your bars a light colour, if that's what you want. It doesn't matter that it's greasy feeling because you're only putting a dab on your skin in strategic locations, so it won't end up on your hands.

Check out my SnapGuide visual tutorial for creating solid perfumes! 

30% beeswax
30% butter of choice
37% oil
3% fragrance or essential oils*

Before using any essential oils, check the safe usage rates. 3% is a lot, and I really recommend you use fragrance oils if you're new to bath and body stuff!

Heat all but the fragrance oils until the mixture has turned to liquid. Add the fragrance oils, then pour into your containers of choice. Let set until completely cooled. I like to put mine in the fridge or freezer until set. Label and rejoice!

Feel free to use any containers you like. Because they contain no water, you can use metal or plastic containers. I love lip balm tubes as they come in so many different sizes and looks, but you can use pots as well. There are so many cute containers for balms, lip balms, and solid perfumes, you might go a little crazy ordering them! (I felt a warning was needed!)

And don't forget to create some cute labels for these products with awesome names. That's one of the most fun bits about making bath & body products!

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in body oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in blooming or dispersing bath oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in lotion bars
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in emulsified scrubs
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a zinc oxide cream
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a whipped butter
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in an oil based scrub
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a body butter
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in balms
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in lip balms

Join me tomorrow as we wrap up this series and consider what we've learned! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Why can't I use Germaben II with an emulsifed scrub? Can I use the deodorant additive in a solid scrub bar?

In this post on making a black cocoa emulsified scrub, Sophia asks: Oh no, I can't use germaben II? I thought because there is e-wax in it I could use it? So what will happen? I watched a lady use it in her e-sugar scrub and it worked for her... now I'm worried! I had been using phenonip but Wholesale Supplies Plus ran out!

When you're considering what preservative to use, you'll want to know what type of product you have. An emulsified scrub is an anhydrous product, which means it doesn't contain water.

Take a look at the preservatives comparison chart. So what does Germaben II require to work? Most of the ingredients in Germaben II require water to dissolve, so it won't work in an emulsified scrub that contains no water. You need to find something that works with anhydrous products, like Liquipar Oil, Phenonip, or Optiphen.

I don't think it did work for the woman who made an emulsified sugar scrub because using a water soluble preservative in the anhydrous product is on par with using no preservative at all in the product. Again, Germaben II is a preservative that requires water to work, and without water, it's a fail.

Related posts:
Preservatives section of the blog
Preservatives: Choosing a preservative
Preservatives: Water activity and sugar scrubs

In this post, Road Trip Essentials: Scrub bars (part two) Honey Lady asks: I am wondering as I read this several years after it's been posted if I could make this with the Deodorant Additive available from Brambleberry? I use it in a deodorant soap I make, and like it. But I know several people who could use 1.) foot scrubs, AND 2.) deodorants for stinky toes!

The deodorant additive at Brambleberry has an INCI of Saccharomyces Ferment, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate. The last two things are preservatives, which we know work only in water soluble products, so we can conclude that this is a water soluble ingredient. Can we add it to a solid scrub bar? We can add it to an emulsified scrub bar because it contains an emulsifier that will allow us to add some water soluble ingredients. I regularly use water soluble sodium lactate as a bar hardener, and I occasionally throw in some proteins or other additives in the mix when I feel I need them.

As a secondary note, you can make a nice spray for stinky feet using a few ingredients! You could make it with 2% to 3% deodorant additive with maybe 1% peppermint essential oil, 0.5% to 2% preservative of choice, and water to make 100%.

Here's another idea! Note that pretty much all this stuff is optional because you can make a perfectly good spray with distilled water, preservative, peppermint essential oil, and the solubilizer for the oil. But I'm adding these things because they offer some great features for your feet! (Should those be feet-ures?) I'm adding the allantoin because it's good at skin softening and protecting, the peppermint hydrosol and peppermint essential oil because they're good at masking odours and increasing circulation, aloe vera to offer moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties,

67% distilled water
20% peppermint hydrosol
10% aloe vera
0.5% allantoin

1% polysorbate 20 or other solubilizer
1% peppermint essential oil
0.5% to 2% preservative

Mix the polysorbate 20 (or other solubilizer) with the peppermint essential oil. Put aside. In a heatproof container like a Pyrex jug, weigh out the the distilled water, peppermint hydrosol, aloe vera, and allantoin and put into a double boiler and heat until 70˚C. Hold at that temperature for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool to 45˚C before adding the cool down phase ingredients.

Add some of the deodorant additive 2% to 3% in the cool down phase and remove 2% to 3% from the water phase to keep the total at 100%. (I'm adding it in the cool down as I don't know if it's heat sensitive!)

And as a note, as I mention on the side bar of the blog, there are no old posts. I get notifications for every single comment, so the earliest post is as relevant as the newest one when it comes to getting my attention! 

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at using sunflower oil in solid perfumes before wrapping up the series on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Adding and removing from the water amount

When we're adding or removing water soluble ingredients from a recipe, we tend to remove or add to the amount of water in the product.

Let's say we have a recipe that looks like this....

74% water

20% oil
5% emulsifier

1% preservative

...and we want to add 0.5% allantoin, how do we modify the recipe? We add the allantoin and remove some of the water.

73.5% water
0.5% allantoin

What do we do if we want to add glycerin at 3%?

70.5% water
0.5% allantoin
3% glycerin

What if we want to add 2% hydrolyzed protein, 1% fragrance oil, 0.5% green tea extract, and 2% panthenol, as well as the 3% glycerin and 0.5% allantoin? (2+1+0.5+2+3+0.5=9).

65% water
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% allantoin

1% fragrance oil
2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
1% preservative

When we add or remove water soluble ingredients into a recipe, we remove water from the water amount. Why do we do that?

We want our recipes to total 100%. It makes it easier to add and remove things, to see how much we should be using of things, and to modify the recipe. (If the recipe is over 100%, it's not the end of the world, but it's not the best idea!) Let's say we know we can use up to 0.5% of something in a recipe; having the recipe in percentages totalling 100% makes it easier to add that ingredient to the product. Just add it at 0.5%. (If your recipe totals 120%, how much do you add now? See, it's easier to use 100%.)

Related posts:
How do I modify the recipe when I remove or add something?
Learning to formulate: The water phase
Learning to formulate: A note about percentages
What happens if the recipe totals more than 100%?

This rule is for water soluble ingredients. So what do we do if we want to include more oil soluble stuff? Well, that's a bit trickier, but you can do it!

20% oil
5% emulsifier

Let's say we want to add 3% cetyl alcohol to the product to thicken it up. Then we would add 3% cetyl alcohol and remove 3% from the water amount...WAIT! STOP! Don't we have to do something else? Why yes, yes we do! We have to increase the amount of emulsifier in the product as well. So let's say we're using Polawax, which has a suggested usage rate of 25% of the oil phase.* We have to increase the emulsifier by 0.25% for every extra 1% of oil soluble ingredient we add. In this case, it means we have to increase the Polawax by 0.75%. We are adding 3.75% to the oil phase (3% cetyl alcohol and 0.75% emulsifier), so we need to remove 3.75% from the water phase.

*This is only a rule for Polawax. Every other wax has its own usage rules. For instance, e-wax NF is generally used at 1% more than Polawax. In this case, you'd be using 6.75% e-wax NF.

70.25% distilled water

20% oil
5.75% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol

Let's say you wanted to add 2% dimethicone and 2% cyclomethicone to the cool down phase, along with 1% Vitamin E and 1% fragrance or essential oil. We have a total of 6% oils that are to be added to the product. If we are using Polawax at 25% of the oil phase (0.25% for every 1% of oil used), then we have to add 1.5% Polawax to the mix, for a total of 7.5% extra oil to the product. We would remove 7.5% from the water.

62.75% distilled water

20% oil
7.25% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol

2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
1% Vitamin E
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% preservative

Yep, when we add things like fragrance or essential oils, we have to increase the emulsifier. I don't generally do this as the increase of 0.25% emulsifier when I'm adding 1% fragrance or essential oils isn't going to make a huge difference. Besides, given that I'm measuring in 1 gram increments, I'm sure I have a little extra in there any way!

Join me tomorrow for more Weekend Wonderings!

Friday, July 18, 2014

One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in lip balms

As we saw yesterday, sunflower oil is a great addition in a balm. So what about lip balms? Yep, it's a great addition there, too! As a light feeling, tasteless, and odourless oil, it's a great addition that offers a bit of shine.

8% candellia wax
9% beeswax
18% shea butter
12% mango butter
52% liquid oils
1% Vitamin E (optional)

Melt everything except the Vitamin E in a double boiler until melted. Remove from the heat, then add the Vitamin E. Mix well. Remove a tablespoon at a time to make 2 lip balm tubes.

Can you use all beeswax in this recipe? Yes, you can! We generally use candellia wax at half the amount of beeswax, so if you want to change the recipe to include all beeswax, we'd use about 25%  (8 x 2 = 16 + 9% beeswax = 25%). Remove 8% liquid oils from the recipe for a total of 44% liquid oils.

What if you want to use all mango butter or all shea butter? You can do that if you wish. If you use all shea butter, the product will be less stiff and you might need to increase the beeswax to 30%. If you use all mango butter, the product will be stiffer and a bit drier feeling. See the anhydrous primer recipe below for more information on using mango butter.

What if you want to use coconut oil? You can, but don't use it as a substitute for the butters. Substitute up to 20% of the liquid oils with coconut oil. Why can't you use all coconut oil? Because it has a melting point of 76˚F or about 24˚C, which isn't very high if you're leaving it in your car or your pocket on a hot day or in your bathroom after a warm shower!

Note: You can get coconut oil with higher melting points. If you do this, you can substitute it for some of the butters instead. Take a look at this example from Penny Lane Organics. Ask your local supplier if she has it in stock! 

A lip balm container will hold about 7.5 ml or 1.5 tsp - check with your supplier for the actual amount it will hold - so if you mix up 1 tbsp of lip balm, you should get 2 tubes - one for you, one for your giftee! (Do a little more than 15 ml or 1 tbsp because some will stay in the container when you pour it out. But you get the idea...)

Would you like to add a colour? I find between 5 small scoops (0.15 cc or 1/32 tsp) and 8 small  scoops of mica will create a really lovely colour that will leave a light shine on the lips. If you have a colour you really like for a blush, for instance, you can use that colour blend to make your lip shimmer. Make up the colour, then add between 5 and 8 small scoops to 1 tbsp of lip balm! (See below for more recipes with colour!)

I've created another recipe that I use as the base for my anhydrous eye shadow primer with titanium dioxide that is a bit stiffer and uses all beeswax as the base. (Check out the visual tutorial I created at SnapGuide.)

20% beeswax
25% mango butter
40% oils of choice

15% oil soluble titanium dioxide or zinc oxide
0.5% Vitamin E (optional)

If you want to make this into a lip balm, just leave out the titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. To be honest, I don't think sunflower oil would be a good addition for a primer as you don't want something really greasy. But converting this recipe into a lip balm with up to 40% sunflower oil works really well. It's also a great base for a fragrance stick!

Lip balm posts:
Lip balms & lipsticks
Lipsticks: Modifying lip balms with iron oxides
Lipsticks: Modifying lip balms with titanium dioxide
Lipsticks: Modifying lip balms with boron nitride
Lipsticks: Modifying lip balms with Ronaspheres
Iron Chemist results: Sodium lactate
Visual tutorial on SnapGuide for making coloured lip balms
Duplicating products: Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers
Christmas presents: Lip shimmers & body glitter

One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in balms

Join me Monday as we meet the final product in this series - solid perfume. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in balms

Why should you choose sunflower oil for an oil based balm? Because...oh, I'll just let you read this post on sunflower oil to find out more as I'm sure you're sick of hearing me go on about the linoleic acid, oleic acid, and phytosterols already!

What is a balm? (From this post: Back to Basics: Balms) It is a "medicated topical preparation for application to the skin...(that is) rubbed in" (from Wikipedia). Obviously I won't be making any claims for the products we'll be making - we make cosmetic products, not drugs around here! - but we can consider a balm to be a product that includes ingredients we have chosen to change the appearance of our skin or hair, and that might help with a specific condition that's bugging us. Conditions like dry, itchy, sun exposed, or annoyed skin might be helped with a balm we might make. (A lip balm is intended to moisturize dry lips or provide sun protection, so it falls into this category.)

Balms can come in a variety of containers - deodorant sticks, lip balm tubes, tins, plastic containers, and so on. Because they don't contain water, you can put them in metal containers. (There are some really cute ones, like these sliding containers from Voyageur Soap & Candle!) You'll have to test your version to see which container works best!

20% beeswax or soy wax
25% shea or mango butter
54% liquid oil
1% fragrance or essential oil

Weigh the wax, butter, and oil in a heatproof container and put into a double boiler. Melt until the solids are liquid. Remove and let cool to 45˚C before adding your fragrance or essential oil. Pour into your container or let sit in the Pyrex jug until cooled, then spoon into your container. Rejoice.

If you want to use cocoa butter, you'll want to reduce the beeswax to about 15% and up the liquid oil amount by 5%. If you want to use oils with a 6 months or less shelf life, add up to 1% Vitamin E.

My favourite recipe for balms is my manicure balm with lanolin and lecithin. Substitute the sunflower oil for the soy bean oil and you've got yourself a lovely balm for your fingers and nails! I cannot stress enough how much I love this balm!!! Give it a try!

Related posts:
Balms: Choosing the oils and butters
Balms: A new recipe idea
Balms: Tweaking the new recipe idea
Balms: Let's get complicated
Chemistry of our nails: A manicure balm

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in body oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in blooming or dispersing bath oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in lotion bars
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in emulsified scrubs
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a zinc oxide cream
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a whipped butter
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in an oil based scrub
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a body butter

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with sunflower oil! Two products to go!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in body butters

Sunflower oil is a great addition to a body butter thanks to the - oh no, she's going to mention it again!!! - linoleic acid, which helps speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms and reduces transepidermal water lossoleic acid, which moisturizes and softens; and phytosterols, which reduce inflammation and itching.

As I've just covered this subject in the One ingredient, ten products: Incroquat BTMS-50 series, I won't go into graphic detail about making body butters. I will, however, offer a few suggestions for how to modify this recipe!

I like to make a body butter with all sunflower oil and shea butter, but this will result in a more greasy feeling product. You could reduce the greasiness with 2% IPP or IPM, or choose another butter, like mango butter. Having said this, if you make this product with either Incroquat BTMS-50 or Ritamulse SCG, you will have a more powdery, less greasy feeling product

If you want more information on how to make this product, please check out the Newbie Tuesday body butter post with instructions and general information.

61.5% water
3% humectant

10% oils
15% butter
3% cetyl alcohol
6% Incroquat BTMS-50 or 7% Polawax or 8% e-wax

0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil

Check out this very detailed post on how to make this product!

As a note, for any recipe you find calling for another emulsifier - Polawax, e-wax, Ritamulse SCG, and so on - you can substitute Incroquat BTMS-50 at the same amount. You can even reduce it, but that takes a bit of knowledge of how thick the product is in the first place. For any emulsifier - except Ritamulse SCG - just substitute it 1:1 for the emulsifier. So if you see 6.5% emulsifier in the recipe, use 6.5% Incroquat BTMS-50. I generally use Ritamulse SCG at 8% of a recipe, but that's a bit high for Incroquat BTMS-50 and will leave you with a really really thick product. You might like that, so keep that level if you wish, but my suggestion is to go with 6% and add 2% to the distilled water amount to compensate.

Related posts:
Lotions: Body butter with speciality ingredients
Formulating with oils: Body butter
Lotions: Body butter creams
Newbie Tuesday: You made a body butter! Questions?
Cocoa butter in a body butter
Formulating for your skin type: Body butter
Formulating for your skin type: Body butter for dry skin
Formulating for your skin type: Body butter for oily skin
Formulating for your skin type: Body butter for wrinkled skin
Formulating for dry skin: Making a body butter
Duplicating products: Boots Organic Rich Body Butter
More fun with the HLB system: Making a body butter
Adapting your products for summer: Making a body butter
Using cationic quats in other products: Making a body butter
Fun with hydrolyzed protein: A body butter recipe
Learning to formulate: Lotion with minimally processed ingredients

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in body oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in blooming or dispersing bath oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in lotion bars
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in emulsified scrubs
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a zinc oxide cream
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a whipped butter
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in an oil based scrub

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with sunflower oil!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in oil based scrubs

Making an oil based scrub is incredibly simple - it doesn't require heating, just pouring and mixing - and sunflower oil is a fantastic choice for such an appplication. Yeah, I know, I keep going on about the awesome linoleic acid and how it is great for repairing skin's barrier mechanisms and reducing transepidermal water loss, the fantastic oleic acid that moisturizes and softens, and the fabulous phytosterols that reduce inflammation and itching, but these are really fantastic features in an inexpensive and plentiful oil!

The one down side of using sunflower oil in a scrub is that it is a greasy feeling oil, and some of us like a slightly less greasy feel. But that's easy to fix! Just choose some less greasy oils for your product and consider using a citrus essential oil to help reduce that feeling even further. I like to use sunflower oil at no more than 50% of my oils, and I choose things like hazelnut oil, evening primrose oil, or macadamia nut oil for the other half for things I might use for my hands. (For my body, I like a greasier feeling product, so I use olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, or soy bean oil for the other half!) Experiment with various oils to see how you like the combinations before making huge batches of this product.

96% liquid oil of choice (or combination of oils)
2% fragrance or essential oil
1% Vitamin E (optional)
1% Phenonip, Optiphen, or Liquipar Oil preservative

Mix your oils together well. Into a clean jar add 100% salt. Pour the oils over top, mix, and you've got yourself a lovely scrub! This will need to be mixed every time you use it as the oils migrate to the top of the jar. (Buy a few little spatulae from your local supply store, like Voyageur, to ensure you aren't contaminating it!) If you are using this in the tub, please buy some plastic jars - glass and slippery surfaces aren't a winning combination (unlike alcohol and night swimming, according to Lenny from the Simpsons!)

If you want to make a completely saturated oil scrub that won't need much stirring, you can put salt up to the top of the jar, then pour your oil over it. Let it sit overnight and see how much oil comes to the top. If it doesn't rise up and form a layer (or at least a significant layer), you have a saturated oil based scrub that won't need much stirring. It will feel drier than a scrub that has more oil available to it.

You can modify your oil scrub to contain specific ingredients for specific applications. I have a series of posts on creating an oil based facial scrub in the "related posts" section below, and you'll see that we use different oils for facial products than we do for other body parts.

For a manicure scrub, I like lecithin and lanolin in my scrub. As well, I think the orange or citrus essential oil is really necessary to give the product a less greasy feeling on my hands.

30% sunflower oil
30% hazelnut oil
15% camellia oil, fractionated coconut oil, or other light oil
10% lanolin
10% lecithin
2% IPM
1% orange or other citrus essential oil
1% mint based essential oil
1% Phenonip or other oil soluble preservative

Weigh all the ingredients except the essential oils into a heatproof container and put into a double boiler. Heat until the lanolin has melted. Get a 125 ml clean jar, add 100 grams of salt, then pour over the amount of oil you want into the container. Mix as you add - you can stop and mix, then add more. Rejoice for you are done!

When it comes to the salts, I like to use 20% Dead Sea salts and 80% fine sea salts. Don't use all Dead Sea salts as they are hygroscopic and will draw water to your container if you leave it open, which can result in a block of salts in your scrub.

Related posts:
Back to Basics: Oil based scrubs 
Chemistry of our nails: Oil based scrubs
What makes people think Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish is so great? (Recipe included...)
Facial scrubs: Creating the base of a facial scrub
Facial scrubs: Creating the base of a facial scrub - dry or normal skin
Facial scrubs: Creating the base of a facial scrub - oily or acne prone skin
Facial scrubs: Adding exfoliants to the base facial scrub
Facial scrubs: Adding oil based extracts
Facial scrubs: Adding essential oils

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in body oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in blooming or dispersing bath oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in lotion bars
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in emulsified scrubs
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a zinc oxide cream
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a whipped butter

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with sunflower oil!

Monday, July 14, 2014

One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in whipped butters

I love using sunflower oil in whipped butters because it offers a really light skin feel that takes a while to sink into my skin. It offers me tons of lovely linoleic acid to help repair skin's barrier mechanisms and reduce transepidermal water loss, oleic acid to soften and moisturizer, and the phystosterols help reduce itching and inflammation.

As you can see from the related posts below, I've written a lot about whipped butters, including a detailed Newbie Tuesday series, a Back to Basics post, and a visual tutorial at SnapGuide, so I won't go into a ton of detail about the making of whipped butters here, I'll just share a few thoughts along with the basic recipe.

80% butter of choice - shea or mango, not cocoa as it's too hard
18% oils of choice
1% Vitamin E (optional)
1% fragrance or essential oil (optional)

Melt the oils and butter in a double boiler until just melted. Put into the freezer until it gets a layer of solid oils on top. Remove, and add your fragrance or essential oils. Mix with a whisk attachment until it almost doubles in size. Put into a container. Rejoice.

If you're new to making bath & body products, whipped butters are one of the easiest products you can make. (I think you will be genuinely shocked when you see how easy it is!) You need two ingredients - the butter and the oil - and three steps - melt, cool in the fridge or freezer, whip - to make this awesome product. You can play with all kinds of oils and butters, and you can play with the ratios. If you want something less stiff, reduce the butters and up the oils. If you want something stiffer, increase the butters and reduce the oil. With mango butter, I suggest starting at 70% butters and 28% oils and with shea butter I suggest starting at 80% butters and 18% oils and see how you like it.

If you are experimenting, keep detailed notes and keep your batches small. You can even make 50 gram batches to see how you like them!

As an aside, if you like the idea of whipped sunflower butter, meaning making a butter out of sunflower oil, check out Lipidthix (INCI: Hydrogenated vegetable oil)! This powdered ingredient is added to your product in the heated stage, and enables you to make awesome butters from oils! I found 25% Lipidthix to 75% oil makes for a lovely butter (see picture), which you can then use as the base of a whipped butter, lotion bar, and other anhydrous products.

Related posts:
Newbie Tuesday: Let's make a whipped butter
Newbie Tuesday: Whipped butters - choosing your butters
Newbie Tuesday: What did you think of your whipped butters?
Back to Basics: Whipped butters
My visual tutorial for making whipped butters on SnapGuide
Whipped butters with esters
Weekend Wonderings: Texture and feeling of whipped mango butter?
Formulating with mango butter: Lotion bars & whipped butters
Pumpkin seed oil: A whipped butter
Whipped babassu, sal & hemp seed butter
Formulating with oils: Whipped butters for itchy skin
Newbie Tuesday: Creating Christmas presents
Chemistry of our nails: Whipped butters for manicures
Experiments in the workshop: A whipped butter for my aching back
What do you want to know? What makes a whipped butter remain whipped?
Experiments in the workshop: Whipped golden shea butter
What do you want to know? How to add preservatives to whipped butters?
What do you want to know? Adding starches to whipped butters?
Experiments in the workshop: Whipped butter modifications
Formulating on a budget: Anhydrous products and ingredients
E-mail question: Grainy products and butters?

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in body oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in blooming or dispersing bath oils
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in lotion bars
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in emulsified scrubs
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil in a zinc oxide cream

Join me tomorrow as we have fun formulating more products with sunflower oil!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Should cationic guar smell fishy?

In this post, Thickeners: Cationic guar gum, Anonymous asks: Should cationic guar gum have a fishy smell? I think I have some that is gone bad. How do you store it?

Hi Anonymous. I'll have to delete your comment as I don't allow anonymous comments on the blog, but I thought it was a good question, so I'll answer it. 

Cationic guar gum - INCI Name: Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride
- is a positively charged version of guar gum that has been modified to be a conditioner by being substantive to your hair and skin. This means the positively charged guar gum is attracted to the negatively charged hair strand, and creates a thin film on it that makes it feel conditioned, increases combability, and reduces fly-aways. 

If you look at the INCI name, the "trimonium" part means that it has an ammonium salt attached to it. Ammonium can have a fishy smell, so this is the odour emanating from the product. Not everyone can smell it, and you if you can smell that, you'll probably detect it in other cationic quaternary compounds, like Incroquat BTMS-50 and Rita BTMS-225, amongst others. I can smell it in those ingredients, but I don't smell it in the finished product. If you do, a little fragrance will make it go away. 

Please please please, dear readers, put a name on your comments. I don't mind if it comes up as "unknown" or "anonymous", as long as we know who you are with a friendly "Bye for now, (name)" or "See ya, (name)", and so on. Anonymity makes it easier to be mean, and I've had enough of that for a lifetime. I'm applying this policy to every anonymous message because I'm a firm believer in applying to one what I will apply to all. Your comment might be lovely, but I don't want make it seem that I am playing favourites or only deleting that which I don't like. 

As a note, if you don't have a Google identity, you can't subscribe to the post, which means you won't see my comments. And often, it's pointless to answer an anonymous question because the writer never returns to see it. So that's another reason I'd encourage you to sign up for a Gmail account. You might only use it for the odd blog, but it's nice to be able to sign up for stuff. 

In this post, Using hydrolyzed proteins, Brandi asks: I have hydrolyzed wheat protein. Is it best for oily or dry hair?

This study came to this conclusion after noticing that it appears that use of hydrolyzed wheat protein impeded the loss of water during the drying of wet hair. The study concluded, "The absorption of hydrolyzed wheat proteins will increase the plasticity of hair in general by dint of their ability to retain moisture for long periods. We predict that their specific incorporation into the very components that are damaged by sunlight exposure will render the hair less susceptible to the formation of split ends." In other words, using hydrolyzed wheat protein could help hair retain moisture. Pretty awesome, eh? This study noted that the penetration of the hydrolyzed wheat protein was "extensive". So we know it can penetrate the hair strand and help the hair retain moisture. 

After all of this, I think the answer to your question is that all hair types appear to be candidates for the use of wheat protein. It seems like all hair types would benefit from retaining moisture and keeping the hair more plastic, so I'll put forth that any and all hair types could benefit from it. Having said that, it really is about what your hair likes, so I'll suggest that you use it in a small batch of a recipe - shampoo or conditioner - and see what your hair likes before you go adding it to everything you own! 

What about the gluten? If this is something that worries you, please read this paper from the Cosmetics Ingredient Review board for more information. (I'm not weighing in on this topic as I don't want to suggest anything to anyone with those kinds of sensitivities. That's for you to decide based on your knowledge of your body.) 

As a note to those of you avoiding proteins, I would encourage you to try different types as they all have their features. Some are good for film forming - like oat - and others are good for penetrating - like wheat and silk. If you don't like one, another might be a good thing. I won't make you a money back guarantee that you'll find something you like, but I do think that if you tried a few different kinds, you'd find that your hair likes protein and that it offers you something special in your homemade products! 

Please don't write mean things in the comments because you disagree with me. By all means comment, but keep it civil. Don't say anything you'd be ashamed to see your kids say online! 

For some reason, conversations about hair get very heated and I'm the one who ends up feeling pretty hurt by the names I'm being called. Lest you think I'm overreacting, the reason for the "no anonymous comments" policy above came from some seriously horrible things said to me in a post on washing one's hair with baking soda. I deleted some of the more horrible comments, I was actually called what I think is the worst swear not once, but twice, and more on top of that. There's something about hair posts that get people very upset. 

Related posts:

Join me tomorrow as we resume our series on making products with sunflower oil!