Thursday, December 31, 2015

Some more thoughts on selling your products...

I saw a comment the other day on this post with my thoughts about selling products - which I deleted because I don't allow anonymous comments - where the person called me "conceited and grouchy". and said they wouldn't visit the blog again. If saying that I'm a good formulator  who makes good and safe products means that I'm conceited, then I guess the shoe fits! Grouchy? Yeah, I'll cop to that, too. I do get grouchy when I see people who have been making products for all of five minutes selling because it's a simply a bad idea.

If you learned how to sew today, would you put up an Etsy page next weekend offering to custom make dresses? If you learned how to make a cake, would you open a bakery in a few weeks? If you fixed your toilet, would you buy a van to promote your plumbing business? No, you wouldn't, because you recognize that it takes time to learn the skills to create an awesome business.

I honestly don't understand why it's different for bath and body products. I've taught classes to people who have never made lotions, only to see them selling them a few weeks later. I'm flattered that you like the recipe I've created so much that you want to sell it, and I'm excited that you caught the lotion making bug, but it really does take time to learn all the things that go into making a good product. You don't know how the emulsion, the preservative, the fragrance, the packaging, and everything else will stand up over time. Making mistakes is part of this process, and learning what you need to know isn't an overnight thing.

Making bath & body products is an experiential thing. Read, make, read some more, make, read, research, make, make, make. You need that bulk experience in making the products to know what can go right and wrong. And it's so much fun! Why would you miss out on all that fun? 

I've seen people say that people like me are trying to dissuade you from selling products because I'm scared of the competition. I don't sell things, so you're not competition. But let's say this was true, that I was worried about the competition, consider this - would I be handing out my recipes for free?

The answer is probably, because different hands create different products. Even if we both followed the recipe exactly, there'll always be something here or there that will create a slightly different product. 

If someone is offering you business advice, don't brush it off with "you're jealous" or "haters gonna hate". Listen, because that person could be offering you some very good constructive criticism that your ego is preventing you from hearing. You may not want to hear it, but often those are the things we need to hear the most.

To be truthful, it has no impact on me if you choose to sell what you make. What I care about is someone claiming that the separating, mouldy lotion they made a few weeks ago is "Swift's recipe". My name is on the recipes on this blog and in the e-books because I stand behind them being good and safe recipes, but that's only if someone makes it responsibly, following good manufacturing processes. Please don't sully my name.

If all of this doesn't convince you that it isn't wise to sell products when you're just starting out in this wonderful hobby, then please consider this: If you put out a terrible product, your name will be mud before your business has even started. Someone might not come back to you and tell you your product sucked, but it will get around. They'll tell their friends, and you will lose business without knowing why. (And think about what might come up in a Google search for your business...)

At the very least, even if you ignore everything I suggest, think about the impact putting out a poorly made product will have on your brand. All the work you've put into your logo, your website with the gorgeous photography and lovely fonts, your social media sites, and everything else is pointless if your products aren't also awesome!

Thus endeth the rant...

Monday, December 28, 2015

What products should I make next?

It's a Christmas miracle! After months of horrible back pain, I made it into my workshop! (Thank you to my lovely husband for cleaning it up this morning!) So far I've made a lovely body wash, liquid shampoo, 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner bars, and a few facial cleansers, which is fantastic because I've just about run out of all of those things! (Raymond and I were sharing one conditioner bar!) 

While playing in the workshop, I found I have way too many ingredients, so many lovely things that I need an incentive to use. I have loads of new emulsifiers, actives, and oils just sitting there begging to be part of something lovely. I have a box of surfactants perfect for products for all hair and skin types. I have all kinds of cosmeceuticals waiting to be in a gel, serum, or lotion. But my imagination has run dry! 

I'm asking you, my lovely readers, for ideas for products I could make over the next few months. 

I realize this would be easier if you knew what was in my workshop, but offering a list would take forever! 

I'd rather not duplicate a product, but if you have a link to an example of a product you have in mind with an ingredient list, that would be awesome! If you could be very specific about the product and include the hair or skin type it might work best for, that will make it easier to make a good product. I'm not guaranteeing I'll be able to make the product you suggest - please don't take offense if I don't - but I will do my best to make a dent in the list! 

Let the suggestions begin! 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! We hope you're having a lovely day filled with food and chocolate and too much fun! I hope your handmade presents are appreciated by those who receive them, and you are surrounded by happiness and joy! 

Thank you to all who donated to our youth programs this year! Your generosity allowed us to offer 99 different programs for youth for the school year 2014 to 2015, and we'll be able to offer more this year because you've been even more generous! Thank you so much! 

And thank you to everyone who reads this blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your experiences, your successes, and your failures with me. Thank you for your patience with the lack of daily posts, and thank you for your good thoughts, suggestions for treatment, and balms for my horrible back pain. 

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

On the lawsuit filed against WEN cleansing conditioners...

Having serious back pain means loads of time to surf the 'net. (Way too much time!) In my meanderings, I came across a few interesting things, like this article on the Daily Beast about a class action lawsuit against WEN hair products alleging that their cleansing conditioner made users' hair fall out or caused permanent damage to their hair or scalp. The writer doesn't always get the chemistry right - she claims that fatty alcohols, like cetyl alcohol, in hair products "can be drying", which is not the case - but it's an interesting read.

A few thoughts I had while reading this article...

The ingredient list from Amazon, which may differ slightly that one that came directly from the company or QVC: Water, Aloe Vera Gel, Glycerin, Chamomile Extract, Cherry Bark Extract, Calendula Extract, Rosemary Extract, Behentrimonium Chloride, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax, Panthenol, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Hydrolyzed Whole Wheat Protein, PEG-60, Almond Glycerides, Menthol, Essential Oils, Citric Acid, Methylchoroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance

WEN is a conditioner. They call it a cleansing conditioner, but because there's no definition for the words "cleansing conditioner", this really doesn't mean anything. Any conditioner could be called a cleansing conditioner. I think the no-shampoo concept suggests that you don't use anything with silicones in them, but there's no reason a conditioner with silicones can't call itself a cleansing conditioner. (This product does contain a silicone in the form of trimethylsilylamodimethicone.)

In the article, one of the lawyers notes, "What we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser". This isn't some big secret: There isn't anything in there that anyone would consider a shampoo-like cleanser. (In fact, I think that's one of its selling points?) The lawyer also notes it's like "using lotion to wash your hair", but there's no "like" about it. When you wash your hair using only conditioner, you are using a lotion - which is to say water and oil brought together with an emulsifier - to clean your hair.

In the article, the writer notes that a customer said, “Not only did it not clean my hair, it made it look like I combed it out with a pork chop". I'm guessing this customer had oily hair and conditioner washing didn't agree with her. This problem isn't exclusive to WEN products, and all hair types can have this experience when washing only with conditioner.

In the interests of disclosure, I have very oily hair and had the same experience the few times I conditioner only washed my hair. Others swear by this method. Not judging no-shampoo, just noting my experiences. 

There are ways to "avoid sulfates" and still use a good foaming and lathery shampoo. There are loads of surfactants we can use that are mild and gently cleansing. Really, the only surfactant that might not be great is sodium lauryl sulfate because it's considered "harsh", but if we really wanted to use it, we can make it feel milder by reducing the concentration or including loads of ingredients to increase mildness.

The word "sulfate" itself tells you very very little about a surfactant. It doesn't tell you if it's mild or an effective cleanser or even if it's an appropriate for a shampoo. Take behentrimonium methosulfate. It's a great positively charged conditioning agent, the main ingredient in Incroquat BTMS-50 or Rita BTMS-25, that is used as a conditioner and emulsifier. It isn't a foaming, lathering surfactant or one that cleanses in a conventional sense. (When someone says to avoid sulfates, they don't mean this one.)

I appreciate that everyone is entitled to choose their ingredients as they wish, but I would like to encourage you to read a bit on a surfactants rather than just eliminating ones that contain the word "sulfate". I think you're missing out on some lovely surfactants like sodium laureth sulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate, both of which are considered mild detergents and pH balanced.

Related post: How to interpret surfactant names. 

Why is this happening to these customers? I don't know if anyone knows the answer to this. From the article: “WEN seems to be good for certain hair types, especially those that are coarse or frizzy,” says Kelsey Smart, a stylist at Fox & Jane salon in New York. “But for women with fine hair, it becomes more important for the scalp to stay really clean—otherwise, product can build up and lead to breakage.” Ironically, women who need a squeaky-clean scalp may be in most need of the sulfates that Dean has tried so diligently to avoid."

As a note, there are many ways to get a squeaky clean scalp without using sulfates, as there are many many lovely surfactants out there that will clean hair gently! You can see those recipes in the hair care section of this blog. 

I did do some surfing to read complaints about WEN, and this issue came up again and again. This whole situation is awful, and I'm so sorry anyone had to go through this. My heart breaks, and I hope those affected find some consolation. As someone who is a little hair obsessed, I can't imagine how they feel. I hope they find some answers...

Friday, December 18, 2015

What's your favourite thingie of the year?

What ingredient did you love the most this year? Did you try a new recipe and fall in love with it or discover a new product entirely? 

And what are you looking forward to in 2016? Have you set some goals for yourself? Any new products you want to make or ingredients you want to try?

I'll be sharing my favourite things of 2015 with you and my goals for 2016 shortly, but in the meantime, I'm excited to hear from you! 

Here's something new we made this year: Soy candles in tins! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What do you think about decyl glucoside?

In light of yesterday's post on sharing what you know, I'm posing a few questions to you, my lovely readers, and I can't wait to hear what you think!

Brandi wants to know what you think of decyl glucoside (from this post). I'd like to add a bit more and ask you to reflect on how you like it in a specific product, like a shampoo or body wash. Do you alter your pH or do you get a low pH decyl glucoside? How much are you using in your products? And finally, where do you get it? I get mine at Voyageur Soap & Candle, but I'd like to hear about other suppliers.

Share your thoughts about the use of corn starch in bath bombs in this thread!

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm looking to you to share your thoughts!

I had a thought today I'd like to share with you. When I'm writing responses to comments you've left during the week, I find myself saying "Let us know how it turns out!" quite a lot. Unfortunately, it's a rare treat to hear how it turned out, and that's a pity.

I admit I get a bit frustrated when I've spent quite a bit of time on a comment that is never acknowledged, but there's more to it than that. I can't try every variation of SCI in a shampoo bar or every emulsifier on the market, and I rely upon you, my lovely readers, to share your thoughts on these ingredients or recipe variations so we can all learn more together.

I learned how to make bath & body products thanks to the extreme generosity of spirit and knowledge I found on the Dish forum. It seemed like every question I had was answered there, and my curiosity grew until I had to get a few textbooks which lead to me taking chemistry classes! I started this blog because it seemed a pity to have all this stuff I'd learned trapped in a stack of notebooks that no one but me would see, and I figured it'd be fun to share what I could and learn from you, my lovely readers. I am so indebted to the people who took the time to share recipes, ideas, experiences, and reviews of ingredients on that forum because it has made such a huge impact in my life. I know I can never thank them enough, but I hope this blog will suffice in showing my gratitude.

So here's what I'm asking: Come back and share your thoughts. Add something to the community we're trying to build here. Consider that just as you learned from some random person who took the time to put out a recipe or share an idea, there's a random person out there who could learn from you. And you do have something to contribute, no matter if you're a still a beginner reading and waiting for that first batch of supplies or a grizzled veteran who lost an eye to lye, you've made something awesome, modified a recipe, learned a new technique, or discovered something the hard way that you won't do again. You have something interesting and important to say, and we really want to hear it!

Re-visit a recipe and comment on what you liked or didn't like about it. Comment on a post about an ingredient and share where you found it, how it worked for you, and whether you'd use it again. Share your thoughts about a supplier whom you loved or hated and let us know why! Send me a picture of your workshop or crafting space and make me incredibly jealous! Think of something that only you know and let us all share in the epic nature of that.

Normally, I would offer an e-book or something similar as thanks for your contributions, but I'm not doing that this time. I'm asking you instead to think of this as a chance to pay it forward. Look at this as a chance to thank the people who influenced you and have a chance to influence others. This is an opportunity to inspire and share your love of this incredible craft with someone who might be considering trying it for the first time. Think about sharing the joy you had when you saw emulsification for the first time with someone who hasn't seen that yet or the happiness you had when you realized that thing you made was helping with your acne prone skin or dry hair.

I can't wait to see what you're going to share because I know it's going to be awesome!

If you'd like to see this in action, check out this post on using corn starch in bath bombs

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Using extracts?

In this post, McKenzie asks: I hadn't looked at many fruit extracts for my recipes before, but was recently intrigued by banana extract and a few other powdered yellow extracts that were described as pale yellow creamy powders by my supplier. The creamy texture and color with the obvious gaggle of benefits of each made me curious about mixing several together with a small percentage of opacifying agents etc, to make a face powder or the like to have a creamy, good-for-you color cosmetic. In the case of banana extract which is so moisturizing, that would even sound nice in theory applied neat to the undereyes!

My problem comes with the usage rates. Many do say not to exceed 0.5-5% final product, but they also usually call for it being a tincture first, so I'm not sure if this is a seperate usage rate from the rest. My questions are then:

1. Is it safe to use something like this applied directly to the skin, or in rates far above the usage rate? Or are the any avenues to research/how to know if the manufacturer's suggestion can be exceeded if it is not noted in the data sheet?

2. Would combining multiple extracts up to the level of their usage rates be harmful? For ex., if I combine 4 extracts that can be up to 5% in final formulation and the mixture comprises 20% of the final product, will so many active ingredients be troublesome even though their individual maximums were not exceeded? Particularly for cases were fruit enzymes and natural acids are present.

First off, I have never used a powder that calls for being turned into a tincture first. That would annoy me something silly and I wouldn't use them, so I can't speak to that. I get my powdered extracts from Voyageur Soap & Candle, and I just dissolve them in a little warm water before combining them in my products.

Secondly, would a powdered extract offer up its awesome powers in a powdered product like a facial powder? It would depend. I use allantoin in my face powders because I've read it may be able to protect from cold and wind chapping, two things I get a lot this time of year. But will banana extract work well in a powdered format? I'm not really sure.

I wouldn't use extracts above the suggested usage rate. They are suggested for usage at these rates for a reason. For some, it's because they have exfoliating properties and too much is not a good thing. For others, it's because they aren't soluble over certain levels and you'll end up with clumps or precipitation. Always check with your supplier and ask if they have data bulletins you can read. There are many different manufacturers of powdered extracts, so don't assume what you read about one version works with another one. Ask for all the help you can get from your supplier so you can make good choices.

As an aside, Cosmetics Info has loads of great information on how to use ingredients safely! 

When it comes to combining extracts, it depends on which ones you're using. If you are combining green tea, rosemary, and honeysuckle, no problem. If you're combining a few exfoliating extracts like papaya and pineapple, you might see some sensitivity. Knowing what each extract bring to the party means you can make good and healthy choices about your ingredients.

Having said this, you can exceed the suggested solubility rate easily, meaning that you'll see some precipitation in your products, like you see in this picture. I used the suggested amount of each one, but together they exceeded what the toner could handle.

I encourage you to check out this post on combining extracts, and hit "newer post" at the bottom of the comments section to see some examples of this process. 

As a note, more doesn't necessarily mean better. Most of our extracts are used in small amounts because that's all that's necessary. We don't necessarily get better results using 2% rosemary extract than we would with 0.5%. Again, knowing your ingredients and what each brings to the mix is the way to decide on what you'd like to use.

If you're new to making products, try one extract at a time and see how you like it. Keep good notes on how it dissolves, how it smells, what colour it turns the product, what it feels like on your skin, what it feels like on your skin after an hour or after rinse off, and so on. You may love the idea of including grapeseed extract in a facial cleanser, but if it turns out looking like this, maybe not so much!

Related posts: Extracts section of the blog

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Using corn starch in bath bombs?

In this post, Back to Basics: Bath bombs, Annie asks: I found your link when I was enquiring on Google as to why cornstarch is used. I really couldn't find a valid reason and didn't want to waste time and ingredients. I always go to you - my first place to enquire on anything technical as well. It's coming up Christmas time and, because I make soaps and cosmetics, my friends presented me with a challenge for bath bombs, of all things, so I'm lying in bed researching. 

I've never found a good reason for including corn starch, so I don't use it. Bath bombs are a chemical reaction between an acid - citric acid - and a base - baking soda. Add water and they fizz like crazy! I use an oil to bind it all together, and the fragrance and colour make the bath bomb fun and fragrant. Corn starch doesn't add to the reaction and doesn't seem to add anything to the hardness or cohesion of the bath bombs I make, so I don't bother with it.

But this is just my opinion, and I want to know what you have to say! If you do use corn starch in your bath bombs, why? How much? How do yours compare to those without? Give us some of your thoughts on this topic!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The search is working!

Woo! The search function is finally up and running! What a great way to start the weekend! 

And now, an adorable picture of my Blondie dog begging for Christmas gingerbread cookies! "Do you have some for an adorable dog?" 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's really looking a lot like Christmas! A few questions I've seen a lot in the last little while...

It's definitely looking like Christmas these days, and I'm so happy that you want to give bath & body products to those you like and love this holiday season! I thought we'd take a moment to look at a few questions I've been posed in the last few weeks...

As I mention in What you need to know about making any products (part one), water soluble ingredients are those that dissolve and mix well with water. This includes things like aloe vera, hydrosols, floral waters, and other water based ingredients.

Oil soluble ingredients are those that dissolve and mix well with oils, butters, esters, and other oily ingredients.

The only way to bring the two together is to include an emulsifier. No emulsifier, no coming together, and we end up with the oil floating on top of the water or end up with water seeping out of the oil.

You cannot dissolve water soluble powders into oil based products. For instance, you can't mix something like chamomile powder into an oil because it simply won't mix. This powder is designed to work with water soluble things, and the only way to incorporate that powder into this oil is to make a product that contains water so you can dissolve the powder. If you really want to use an extract in your anhydrous product, consider some of the oil based extracts you can get at shops like Brambleberry or Formulator Sample Shop.

Related posts:
Back to the very basics: Lotions
It's time to make a lotion!
Creating a whipped anhydrous butter

Also from the post What you need to know about making any products (part one), if you are using water in your product or if your product will be exposed to water, you must use a preservative. There are no exceptions to this rule. None. Nada. Nil. Zip. Zero. Zilch. No exceptions.

Oh wait, there's one exception...Nope, there isn't. That was a trick. There are no exceptions.

If you'd like to learn more about preservatives, check out this post - what you need to know about making any products (part two) - as a starting point. I have an entire section devoted to this topic because preservatives are so important in our products, and you can learn more about each preservative there.

Related posts:
Newbies' section of the blog

Have fun formulating!

P.S. Have I mentioned lately how addicting making bath & body products can be? I better mention it now. It is very addicting. You will find yourself drooling over new butters, trying out new oils, and ordering a little bit of everything off suppliers' web sites just to give it a try. Do not worry: This is normal. You're just falling in love with the best darned hobby in the world! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo recipe for oily hair

Yesterday we modified a dry hair recipe to include fewer ingredients. Let's look at an oily hair recipe today. We can base it on this recipe for a conditioning shampoo for oily hair that you can find in the hair care section of the blog.

52% distilled water
15% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
15% DLS mild
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
2% cationic polymer of choice
0.5% extract - grapeseed or rosemary
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or other preservative at suggested usage rate)
up to 2% Crothix

Please use the general shampoo making instructions for this recipe.

As with yesterday's recipe, I took out quite a few things that we'll be using in our conditioner. I removed the protein, panthenol, dimethicone, and film formers. No point in using them if we're getting them in the conditioner.

And remember, when you remove something from the product, always increase the water amount to make sure the recipe totals 100%. If you want to add 1% fragrance or essential oils to this product, you can do so without worrying about using an emulsifier. Just remove 1% from the distilled water amount. If you want to learn more, check out this post - how do I modify a product when adding or subtracting ingredients - for more information.

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids
Shampoo - Thickeners
Shampoo - Panthenol and other humectants
Shampoo - Extracts

Monday, December 7, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo recipe for dry hair

As we saw last week (and in August!), we can alter the ingredients in our products when we're designing a line of things to be used together. If we're using a conditioner after shampoo, we could make something very basic that contains only surfactants, water, and preservatives that would cleanse our hair, but it wouldn't feel very nice when we rinsed. Let's take a look at what we could use and leave out given the review we've done in the last week. (Check out the posts below if you don't know what I'm talking about!)

Let's say you want to make a shampoo for someone with dry hair who will be using an intense conditioner afterwards. You don't necessarily need to use a cationic polymer, but it would make one's hair feel nicer in between shampoo and conditioning, so I'm suggesting it. Glycerin is a great moisturizer, so let's include that. I'm thinking we can leave out the panthenol because we'll use it in a conditioner, and and I'll leave out the protein. I think I'll include some chamomile extract to help with transepidermal water loss on the scalp in the cool down phase.

I'll base this recipe on this conditioning shampoo for dry hair recipe I've made in the past. If you don't have the glycol distearate, leave it out and thicken with Crothix. If you scroll down in that post, you'll see a recipe there for moisturizing using water soluble oils that doesn't use the glycol distearate.  The big difference between that recipe and this one are the changes I noted above.

62.5% distilled water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
15% SMC taurate or decyl glucoside (or a combination your hair likes)
2% glycol distearate
5% glycerin

3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% fragrance or essential oils
(up to 2% Crothix - when cooled down - optional)

Heat the heated phase to 65˚C and mix together well until the glycol distearate is incorporated. (I have found that heating the glycol distearate in one container, the other ingredients in another until the glycol distearate has melted, then incorporating the two containers works well). Make sure you are not seeing any little shards of glycol distearate in the mix.

When the mixture has cooled to 45C or lower, add the cool down ingredients.

You may need to include up to 2% Crothix if you are using fragrance oils that include vanilla or other surfactant thinning fragrances. Add this when the product has cooled completely and can sit for at least 24 hours (preferably longer).

Not a huge difference between the original recipe and this one, except I've left out the aloe vera, protein, dimethicone, and panthenol. We're relying upon our glycol distearate to be both a moisturizing and a thickener in this product. If you don't use the glycol distearate, it is a very thin product. If you don't want to thicken it with Crothix, then put it in a pump bottle and use it that way. I'm not joking; this product is like water!

It's easy to modify any of the recipes you're currently using with the ideas of making a line in mind. Remove what you want, and increase the water by that percentage. Leaving out 2% dimethicone, add 2% to your distilled water amount. Removing 3% protein? Add 3% to the water amount.

Related post:
How do I modify the recipe when I add or substract an ingredient? 

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids
Shampoo - Thickeners
Shampoo - Panthenol and other humectants
Shampoo - Extracts

Join me tomorrow where we take a look at modifying an oily hair shampoo!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Upsizing your recipes!

In this post, Troubleshooting an epic lotion fail, Lisa asks: I have been making and selling my lovely lotion for 5 years. Due to higher demand I went from a 5 gallon batch to a 25 gallon batch, done in an oil melter. Exact same proportions/percentages. The lotion turned out totally watery! Not thick and creamy. Is this normal? Is there a trick to upsizing lotion recipes? I know food recipes can need some drastic shifts when upsizing...

That's a lot of lotion! I thought I was pushing the boat out with a few kilograms, but 25 gallons! Wow!

No, as far as I know, you don't need to make radical changes when making larger batches. But you might need to use a different mixer. When I made a 4 kilogram (about 8.5 pounds) batch of lotion, I had to move to using a paint mixer on the end of a drill to do the mixing as my hand mixer and stand mixer couldn't handle the capacity. I'm assuming you're already do this, so I'm not sure what else to suggest.

Having said this, I have never made 25 gallons of lotion, so I'll turn to my awesome readers and pose this question: Do you scale your recipes when you are making huge amounts like 25 gallons?

Friday, December 4, 2015

The search function is down!

The search box in the right hand column isn't working. I have no way to fix this as it's a Blogger thing. In the meantime, please try the search in the upper left hand corner of the blog, or check out the sections of the blog that contain links. (Trust me, it's messing me up too as that's how I find old posts!)

As I like to have photos in my posts, check out these melt & pour soaps we made in craft group two weeks ago! Your donations for the e-books go to support the programs my husband and I offer to the youth of Chilliwack. This is a small example of what we do there! 

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - a few notes about oils

I'm asked a lot about including oils in shampoo, and I have to admit I'm not a fan of the idea. It's not just because I'm an oily haired girl, but because there are a ton of ways of increasing moisturizing and hydrating in a shampoo that isn't about the hassle of oils.

The goal of a shampoo is to clean our hair of oil, dirt, and other nasty things, leaving it feeling in good condition. I expect we will be using a conditioner afterwards, so we can get most of our conditioning and moisturizing from that product. Adding oils will reduce the foam, lather, and bubbles in our shampoo. It can also leave your product cloudy, which can bug some people.

There are other ways to get moisturizing into a shampoo that isn't oil based. For instance, something like Crothix behaves as a moisturizer and thickener without reducing the foam and lather. We could use a thickener like glycol distearate to do the same thing with a more moisturizing. We could use a water soluble oil like PEG-7 olivate or water soluble shea or try a humectant like glycerin.

If you want to include an oil in your shampoo, use a small amount like 2% to 4%. Ensure your surfactants are able to emulsify the oil, or use a solubilizer like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil to ensure it stays in the mix. (As a note, solubilizers will reduce the foam, lather, and bubbles, too.)

Join me on Monday when we create a few formulations knowing what we know about designing our products as a line!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - extracts

There are so many amazing extracts out there for our hair. Should we put them into our shampoo or leave them for conditioners?

It's hard to cover all the possible extracts in one post - heck, it's hard to cover them all on one blog! - so I'll go over some general concepts instead of getting all specific. 

Extracts can offer loads of different things, so I tend to choose ones that help my scalp. For instance, chamomile can reduce transepidermal water loss or honeysuckle might help with acne, so those might be good choices. Rosemary and grapeseed can help with oily hair and scalp, and white willow bark might help with dandruff. Some of them are great exfoliators, like papaya, and some are great soothers, like cucumber.

Are these better in your shampoo or conditioner? I think you can use these in either, but don't bother using them in both. It depends on what is touching your scalp. I don't put conditioner on my scalp as I have really oily hair, so I put my extracts into my shampoo. If you plan to condition your scalp, then put the extracts in there.

Extracts have great label value. How many times have you been attracted to something called "chamomile and honey" or "papaya and strawberry" shampoo? They sound lovely, right? They offer a lot of bang for the buck as well: You can get powdered extracts at very reasonable prices and you only need a titch to make a difference.

The down side is that they can change the colour of your product. Check out this cleanser I made with green tea and grapeseed extract. Not very nice, eh? You can get extracts that are almost clear, so if the colour worries you, look into those.

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids
Shampoo - Thickeners
Shampoo - Panthenol and other humectants

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - panthenol and other humectants

Again, I admit I'm biased towards panthenol as it's such a great ingredient for our hair, but do we need it in a shampoo if we're including it in a conditioner?

What does it bring to our hair? It offers moisturizing without oils, it can swell the hair shaft in a good way to moisturize and make it thicker, it film forms and increases shine, and it makes our hair more pliable. All great things, right?

If you're using a conditioner with panthenol, do we need it in the shampoo? Probably not. The goal is to leave it on for about two minutes, and we don't generally do that with a shampoo. Save it for your conditioner or leave in conditioner.

What about other humectants like glycerin? Glycerin is a great way of moisturizing your hair and scalp without using oils. It thickens the product and increases bubbles and lather. It's a great moisturizer for your scalp and will resist rinse off. I'd include it at up to 5% for those of us not worried about frizz. It's a great inclusion for all hair types, especially those with dry hair.

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids
Shampoo - Thickeners

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Designing your product as a line: Shampoo - thickeners

A shampoo should have a certain viscosity to it. Not too thick so it won't come out of the bottle, and not too thin that it spills out like water all over the tub. We want to to be like the porridge that horrible Goldilocks stole from the adorable baby bear - just right. We can get this kind of viscosity from using thickeners like Crothix, Ritathix DOE, and glycol distearate.

I encourage you to read the links in this post about increasing mildness and viscosity for more details on this topic. 

You definitely want to include a thickener in your product as pretty much everything I make from surfactants on this site is about as thick as water before adding one. I prefer to use Crothix in my products, and it offers a thickening as well as a moisturizing feature.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of Ritathix DOE. It felt sticky on my skin. You can also use regular old salt to thicken, but's a picky process and some surfactants will not thicken this way. Check before using.

Glycol distearate is interesting because it's a thickener that also pearlizes your product, like this one in the picture. The up side is that it looks lovely and moisturizes well. The downside is that you have to use glycol distearate in the heated phase, so it's hard to get the thickening just right and it isn't great for people with oily hair like me as it's so moisturizing.

So do we need thickeners? A resounding yes! They thicken the product, offer moisturizing, and increase mildness.

If you'd like to see thickening in action, check out this video on my YouTube channel!

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids

Monday, November 30, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids

I love including hydrolyzed proteins in my shampoo, but is there a point in using it if you're including  it in your conditioner?

I admit that I have a huge weakness when it comes to proteins in my products. I kinda collect them - I've used many different ones, including hydrolyzed oat protein, hydrolyzed silk protein, Phyokeratin, keratin hydrolysate, pisum sativum, lupine amino acids, and more - so I'm a bit biased when asked if they should go into a shampoo. Keep that in mind as you read this post...

Proteins, amino acids, and their like offer film forming and moisturizing for our hair strands and our scalp, both of which are a good thing. They increase mildness in a surfactant product like shampoo, They offer conditioning because they are slightly positively charged, and they make the product feel slightly silkier or softer. They can counteract the feeling of dryness we can get after using a surfactant, and they might slightly thicken the product.

Is there a point to using a protein in a shampoo when you're planning to use a conditioner afterwards that contains it? In my products, I'd use a protein. Why? Because I've tried my shampoos without them and I think I feel a difference. (Remember, this is only my opinion!)

Having said this, proteins are not the cheapest ingredients you'll use, although you only need a little to make a big difference. Can we get the qualities proteins offer in another way? Yes, we can. There are other ways to moisturize our hair and scalp without oils by using humectants. There are other ways to increase mildness,by using things like Crothix or cationic polymers. And there are other ways to film form by using things like aloe vera.

So do we have to use proteins if we'll be using them in a conditioner or if we prefer not to use them at all? No, leave it out if you wish. I'd include them because I like them, but you can leave them out if you wish. You won't be making a terrible product, and you can get benefits from using it in your conditioner only.

As a note, we'll be putting together a bunch of different recipes at the end of this series, but you can feel free to drop things and add them in any recipes you find on this site! 

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Twenty-six days until Christmas? Wow!

Making and giving handmade presents for the holidays is an awesome way to show someone you care about them. That you've taken the time to consider what product they might like, what fragrances they love or hate, and how they might use them. With that in mind, here are a few considerations when you're making products as presents...

Start with a good recipe. There are so many recipes floating around, it's hard to know what's good and what's not. A good recipe will be measured by weight, not volume, so it's more accurate. A good lotion recipe contains oil, water, a proper emulsifier, and a preservative, for example.

Want to know more about that product you want to make? Check out the newbie section for information on what you should find in each product! 

Related posts:
Avoid these types of recipes you might find on Pinterest
How to make a successful lotion! 

Please use weighted measurements. When we make bath and body products, we always do it by weight as it's more accurate than a cup of this or a tablespoon of that. It ensures that all the ratios are in order - we're using enough emulsifier, preservative, or fragrances - and that we are making the same product every single time.

When we go by volume, it's highly inaccurate. Did you use a heaped tablespoon? Is that shea butter measured before or after it's melted? When you measure by volume, you run the risk of an epic lotion fail, which is a waste of your time and money!

Weighing your ingredients is also less messy! You don't have to wash all those cups and spoons as we measure directly into the container. Now there's a great reason to get a scale!

Consider the container you are using. We don't recommend using anything glass around the bath tub as it could break and cause serious problems! I know those containers are adorable, but we want our giftees to be safe and happy with our products! There are loads of adorable plastic containers that'll work well for our bath oils and scrubs!

You should label everything! Let your giftees know what they are getting. Use proper names for things so they can look things up instead of generic terms like "surfactant" or "oil".

The name you see at the supplier is called the INCI name, and it is the correct name for your label. Having said that, you don't need to get into using the Latin for shea butter as it's obvious what that is on a label, but do get more specific for things like your preservative or surfactants. 

Plus, making labels really makes the product feel special! You can personalize each one for the giftee, and make up cute names for the product!

Project ideas:
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Detailed instructions in the newbie section of the blog
Loads of Christmas ideas! 

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - dimethicones

Sorry for the long delay in posts - has it really been three months? Let's resume our discussion about designing products as part of a series. Please check out this posts below to read from the start about shampoo!

Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents

Silicones like dimethicone or amodimethicone can be used in your shampoo at a low level - up to 2% - to increase conditioning. You don't need to use a solubilizer or emulsifier as the surfactants will help keep it in the mix, which is a great thing!

As an aside, amodimethicone can cause more build up than dimethicone. I encourage you to take a look at this post, if that interests you. 

When I'm making something for my husband and know he might not use conditioner afterwards, I always include dimethicone in his shampoo as I want the maximum conditioning and shine I can get out of that product. When I'm making something for myself and I know I'll be using silicones in my conditioner, I don't. It's not that I worry it'll build up - my experience is such that in the past nine years of making things, my hair has never felt weighed down because of products - it's just I don't want to use something if it's pointless.

Dimethicone doesn't increase the mildness in the product or offer thickening, so there's no reason to include it for those reasons. It's purely for the conditioning feeling it leaves behind, so if you're using a conditioner after washing, feel free to leave it out.

Join me tomorrow to take a look at using proteins in our shampoo!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Last Saturday of November is always great fun!

It has been an incredibly busy few weeks around our house! An epic Blind Guardian concert, a night out at karaoke, and quite a few excellent craft groups, including bath bombs, soaps, and these lovely soy candles have all kept us really busy! (Thanks to Nicole at Voyageur Soap & Candle for teaching us this project! To learn more, click here!)

A quick reminder that registration for the 2016 Canadian Soapmakers' Guild convention is open now! Kevin Dunn will be speaking, which will be awesome. I'm presenting two classes - facial products and lotion making - which will be great fun. To learn more, visit them at

Thank you for your kind wishes for my back. It's never been this bad before, and I'm having good days and bad days, sometimes on the same days! I'm working out, getting massages, and following not one but two doctors' orders. Here's to hoping it'll be better soon with some new things we're trying! 

I've really dropped the ball on men's products this month, and I hope to resume that idea along with the series I started in September about designing your products as a line around Christmas when I get my time off. 

For now, let's talk about products! What're you making? What questions do you have about the things you either wish to make or are making? Do you need some troubleshooting for problems you've had? Do you have a product you'd like to try? What's on your mind? I'd love to hear from you! I need a bit of inspiration to figure out what to write about next, and I'd love to hear what interests you!

I am going back to some open posts to see what interests you, but I'd like to hear more from you now! 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A couple of updates for a November Saturday...

The best laid plans of mice and Susan are easily waylaid by back pain...but things are getting better with the help of some lovely pharmaceuticals, some intense weight workouts, a couple of lovely back balms, and a weekly massage. This is the first week that I didn't come home from work earlier than normal because of pain, and I managed to stand and headbang for a few hours at the Blind Guardian show on Monday night - which was epic!!! - so I'm holding out hope this healing continues! Thanks to all of you who have sent me good thoughts and healing balms!

Just a reminder about the 2016 Canadian Guild of Soapmakers, Chandlers, and Cosmetic Makers' conference in Niagara Falls the weekend of April 21st to 24th! Kevin Dunn is the headliner - you might remember him from the pH 7 soap challenge* - and is offering not one, but two, chances to hear him speak!

*As an aside, it looks like one person has entered this challenge as of this date, which is weird considering all the claims that people have made about getting soap down to a pH 7. I can't wait to see those results! 

I'm offering four hands-on workshops - two - 2 hour facial product workshops when we'll be making a facial cleanser, eye gel, and toner, and two - 3 hour lotion making workshops when we'll be making a body & hand lotion, body butter, and facial moisturizer.

I know there's an early bird discount, so I encourage you to take a look at the page if you're thinking about attending.

A reminder that November is actually Movember, a month to increase awareness about men's health issues. My husband - the always adorable Raymond - has been growing his 'stache all month. If you want to see pictures or donate to the cause, please check out his Movember page here.

He calls this one "you can always tell a Milford man..." 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Updates galore!

Sorry for the silence, but this back pain of mine is really getting in the way of my life/ I'm really struggling to do much more than go to work and my youth programs, which means when I have down time, I'm resting in bed with a cuddly dog and a whole lot of muscle relaxants instead of playing in the workshop, researching ingredients, or writing the blog. Yes, I'm under a doctor's care - two, in fact - and I'm following all of their advice.

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent me lovely balms, in particular Kathleen Broughton and Gina of Scentsible Mama! These balms feel absolutely lovely on my skin, and I enjoy the tingle! You have been very kind to me, and I can only repay that kindness by saying thank you publicly on the blog!

Raymond is enjoying Movember! He's growing a moustache - I do really miss his beard! - and he's moving every day for 30 minutes. If you have a few extra bucks and want to support the Movember movement, check out his Movember page! I love that we are bringing awareness of men's health issues to the forefront of our minds for at least one month a year, and I'm happy to support it!

If you're new to this wonderful hobby of cosmetic crafting, please visit the Newbie page to see all the recipes you could try! I've tried to create a section that gives you loads of information and recipes for those of you starting out! There are tons of ideas for things you could make for Christmas, and there are loads of questions that I know you have answered! I encourage you to make that your first stop when you're searching this blog for stuff!

Registration is open for the 2016 Canadian Soap Makers, Chandlers, and Cosmetic Makers' national conference in April 2016 in Niagara Falls, Ontario! I'll be there offering two workshops. One will be on facial products, including an eye gel, toner, and facial cleanser, while the other is a lotion making class that will include a hand & body lotion, body butter, and facial moisturizer. (Note: The site is down for some reason, but I'll link it shortly!)

That's about it for now. It's back to lying in bed with my adorable pup and a gorgeous husband!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Formulating an under eye gel: Raymond's creation

Last Sunday, Raymond and I made it into the workshop to make some eye gel. He's been using it for a week now, and it's time to share the recipe!

We started by establishing our goals. What did Raymond want from an eye gel? He is getting worried about having dark circles under his eyes and about puffiness. He isn't worried about moisturizing or hydrating the under eye area all that much. And he wants something that doesn't feel heavy or greasy.

Sounds to me like Raymond would like an eye gel.

We started by making a thick gel. You can use a pre-made gel and skip right to the recipe, or make your own gel. (I encourage you to make your own gel as it is surprisingly easy and fun!)

97% distilled water
1.2% carbomer (Ultrez 21)
0.9% TEA
1.6% liquid panthenol
0.5% liquid Germall plus

Weigh the carbomer into the distilled water and allow it to be wetted before to move on. For Ultrez 21, you can wait about three minutes before neutralizing the gel with the TEA. Check your suppliers' suggestions for the type of carbomer you have if it isn't Ultrez 21.

Once you neutralize the gel with the TEA, add the other ingredients and mix well. It should thicken up in less than a minute. Yay! You have gel!

Please note that I do not know how to make a gel with flaxseed, so I can't give you advice on that. I don't like gums, so I haven't used any to make gels before either. I have always used one carbomer or another, and they've worked for me. If you use another type of gel, please share so others can learn how to do that too! 

We removed 20 grams of gel and added our ingredients to it. (You really want to use a tiny scale that can weigh down to 0.1 grams for this recipe.)

20 grams gel
1 gram organic eye bright
1 gram Revital-eyes
1 gram white tea
1 gram horsetail extract
1 gram Dark eyes

(To put into percentages, multiply everything by 4!)

Mix together. Put into bottle. Label, and rejoice.

Why these ingredients?

I thought I'd use Revital-Eyes, a cosmeceutical sent to me by the Formulator Sample Shop. (I encourage you to check out the post I've already written to learn more.) It is supposed to help with dark under eye circles, so I thought I'd include it at up to 5% in my product. You can substitute it with water soluble green tea extract or caffeine extract at the suggested usage rates. *

Eyebright(INCI: Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract & Water & Euphrasia Officinalis Extract) comes in two forms - an oil soluble and water soluble, and I'm using the water soluble in this product. Eyebright is supposed to be good for sensitive skin, and offers anti-inflammatory, astringent, and soothing properties to our products. It's supposed to be good for puffy eyes, which sounds like a perfect match for an eye gel! (Click here for a data bulletin on eyebright.) Eyebright is used in traditional medicine for swelling around the eyes, eyestrain, and inflammation related to coughs and fever (Wikipedia).

Horsetail extract is supposed to be good for inflammation. Reducing inflammation may reduce the look of dark circles under the eyes. It's recommended as an astringent and anti-oxidant that offers increased wound healing, improved circulation, and retention of connective tissue like collagen and elastin. The main component of horsetail extract is silica, making up 5% to 7% of the extract. This is believed to help improve nail and hair quality, and help retain collagen and elastin. Horsetail extract also contains an unique mixed-linkage glucan (which can be called ß-glucan or beta-glucan, which is also found in oats), a polysaccharide that forms a thin gel like layer that offers hydration, emolliency, and anti-inflammatory features like those found in aloe vera. (Link to the Formulator Sample Shop version we used.)

Dark eye complex is not an inexpensive ingredient, but the claims it makes are pretty awesome. It claims to help strengthen the capillaries around the eye area, which may diminish the look of dark circles.

White tea extract contains a lot of anti-oxidants, and it sounds lovely on the label!

*Please note: The Formulator Sample Shop sent me these ingredients for free. I am not being compensated in any way for using their ingredients, except that I get them for free. I use them because I like them.

What does Raymond think of the eye gel? He admits that he's not accustomed to having things on his skin, so it does feel a bit weird to have this gel under his eyes. He notes there's a slight tightness as it dries, which he likes. It isn't shiny upon application, and he doesn't notice it during the day. He thinks his eyes are looking better, which he likes.

What do you do if you don't have these ingredients? Check out the other posts I've written on making under eye products! There are so many ways you could address these goals using other ingredients like caffeine, green tea, various proteins, aloe vera, and more, so I encourage you to do some experimenting with the ingredients you have at hand!

Related posts:
One ingredient, five products: Gels
One ingredient, five products: Gels - making an aloe vera gel

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Movember!

It's Movember, the month men grow their facial hair or get moving for 30 minutes a day to bring awareness of men's health issues, and to celebrate, my wonderful Raymond shaving his face clean and starting all over again!

Men's products aren't that different from women's. They contain the same ingredients and may be exactly the same formulations, but they tend to have different names - for instance, "skin hydrator" instead of "body wash" and "shower tool" instead of "shower poof" - and different fragrances.

I wrote my first post on men's products in 2010, and things have changed since then! Men are oiling beards, waxing moustaches, and pomading hair, in addition to washing and hydrating and moisturizing. They're using as many products as we are in a day, and they are loving it!

Men's skin is different. Men's skin tends to be thicker than women's skin and they experience more gradual thinning of the skin over their lifetime, whereas women's skin thins quickly after menopause. Men have about 20% more elastin and collagen than women, and they have less subcutaneous fat than women (they tend to gain fat under their muscle, which explains why they don't tend to get cellulite). Because the ratio of skin collagen to skin thickness is higher, they seem to age less quickly than women. Men's skin is more resistant to sun exposure, but you still need to use sunscreen!

And because they tend to have higher levels of sebum over their lifetimes, they are more prone to acne and pimples, larger pores, and blackheads. (Although this sebum production drops after 40, like it does with women, men tend to have higher sebum production at all ages). This might sound like a hardship, but oily skin tends to experience aging slower than dry skin, so again they appear to age more slowly than women!

Men tend to sweat more than women, which can increase the hydration of the skin, but it can also encourage skin cells to remain on the skin instead of shedding.

When we're formulating for men's skin, we'll want to lean towards ingredients for oily skin and hair. (This isn't to say that all men have oily skin and hair, but if you don't know his skin or hair type, oily is your best bet!) Surfactants like C14-16 olefin sulfonate and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS mild) are good choices for gentle removal of sebum.

Men will likely want to exfoliate their skin more to help with the removal of skin cells and reduce acne (when skin cells don't desquamate, they can build up and cause more pimple problems). This can be done with a poofy scrubby thing in the shower or by using ingredients like salicylic acidwhite willow bark, or AHAs. You don't want to go overboard with the exfoliation - scrubbing skin until it's stingy and pink is a bad idea - but you will want to do it regularly.

And finally, consider the impact of shaving on a man's face. Men's faces tend to be dehydrated because of all that shaving and they can experience increased transepidermal water loss because of the nicks and cuts daily shaving can cause. Although an astringent after shave splash - much like a toner - might feel good, using ingredients that will last longer on the face is a better idea. Humectants and cationic polymers are your friend in this situation! And an after shave lotion is an even better idea, and one filled with oils with loads of linoleic acid or gamma linoleic acid, like sunflower, soy bean, borage, or evening primrose oil will help increase skin's barrier repair abilities.

When it comes to hair, there are no biological differences between men's hair and women's. They're less likely to alter it chemically - straightening or dying - and physically - straightening and curling - so they will likely need less conditioning. And, as I mentioned above, they will tend towards oilier hair and scalp.

If they're using oil based products like pomades, they may need more concentrated shampoos designed to remove a lot of that oil and but leave hair feeling soft and manageable. Some prefer not to use conditioner as an extra step, so 2-in-1 products might be a better choice than not having any conditioning at all.

Join me this month as we celebrate manly products for the month of Movember!

I must warn you in advance that I don't have any oil based products like moustache wax or pomade or beard oils as I don't have any men in my life who use these kinds of products. If you have a killer recipe you'd like to share with the readers of this blog, please write to me at and let us know about it with a recipe, a picture, and your review. I'll thank you with a copy of the e-book of your choice! (Sorry I can't afford to pay you, but as I'm not making any money from the posts, I don't have any money to share out! I believe that content creators deserve to be paid!)