Sunday, March 22, 2015

A few notes for the day...

I had great fun at Voyageur Soap & Candle to teaching a hair care class yesterday! If you're interested in taking a class with me or in learning anything to do with bath & body products, including cold process soap, check out their spring class schedule to see when you can attend!

This is what we made yesterday in the hair care products class! So much stuff! 

Just a quick note about conditioner recipes on this blog...they are all pH balanced. You don't need to make the conditioners more acidic. Just leave them be and use them the way you made them. Some could be as high as 6.0, but that's fine. As long as they are on the acidic side of things, you're just fine. Please don't go altering the recipes with vinegar or citric acid when you don't have a pH meter. Just leave them be!

I'm off to have a quiet day. It's been a crazy week and it looks like it'll be crazier as spring break is starting up in our town, and we have a few activities we're doing with the kids, like going to Granville Island tomorrow, making sushi on Thursday, and playing video games on Saturday.


Sharon said...

I just wanted to say "thank you" for teaching me how to make my own hair products yesterday. You made the class alot of fun and very exciting. You are a great teacher with an amazing amount of knowledge!

Nancy said...

Sue, I really enjoyed your class yesterday. You're so knowledgeable! I tried the moisturizing shampoo and loved it as a shampoo and body wash. I'd like to try a lotion for dry, aging, sensitive skin that could work for face, body and as a shaving cream. Any suggestions from your many recipes that might be a good one to try?

Jane Askin said...

Hi Susan,
I have been reading up on your amazing conditioner posts. I finally tried my own d.c recipe, but am having a slight issue with the consistency at the end :( It's the tiniest bit curdled with almost imperceptible pockets of oil and I wonder if it's the base liquid I used (coconut milk) or something else.
*ps I do have a pH meter.

7% BTMS 25
9% Oils
2% Panthenol
82% Liquid - Coconut Milk
1.23% Opti Plus
0.85% Citric Acid
A touch of essentials

Please help!

Thanks so much.

Bunny said...

Jane, I think the answer is pretty obvious: coconut milk curdles when you add acids or cook it at too high of a temperature! Do you NEED the citric acid? Maybe try a lower fat milk? Or don't use it for the entire water phase...?

Jane Askin said...

Hi Bunny,
I thought that as well at first, but the milk had a curdled appearance right out of the can! It's a brand that has no gum or additives in it.

I tried it at 50% and 100% of the liquid phase, both times same drama. All milks I think curdle with acid added but I've seen other types in lotions and shampoos e.g. goat milk shampoo and conditioner that have a smooth finish,therefore I think it may be something else.

I could be wrong of course.

Elisabeth said...

My two Eurocents on the coconut milk issue: Dairy milk is a natural emulsion and often homogenized to break up the fat globules in smaller sizes. Nut milks are neither, AFAIK, and tend to separate. As to how to handle it, maybe note down the fat content in your coconut milk and make that percentage count as a part of the oil phase?

Susan, I've been thinking about conditioners and pH values for some time. My itchy, scaly scalp likes acidic ingredients (Multifruit BSC or lactic acid) in shampoos, and I'd love to use them in conditioners. Which of course is going to affect the pH value. So while it isn't *necessary* to adjust the pH level in a conditioner, will the conditioning properties change after my favorite active ingredients have made the environment more acidic?

melian1 said...

just my own 2 cents here - if your preservative is optiphen plus, that may be your trouble right there. it doesn't play well with cationics. another thing, did you check how acidic you are making it with .85% citric acid? iirc from swift's post on citric acid, .2% will take it down a whole point. which means you are taking it down 4 points. the conditioner without the citric is probably pH 6 or so and i think the citric is turning it into 2 or 3. that much acidity could cause a problem. i don't think it is the coconut milk, at least not on its own. i look forward to swift's analysis.

Jane Askin said...

Thanks guys
The original pH was 7.2 .I'm aiming for 4-5. I'd really like to stay away from parabens, etc. which emulsifier may work that matches that? I will try discounting for the fat content though.

B. said...

Well, if the milk looked curdled already out of the can, then obviously nothing you did to it caused it. Have you tried other brands or coconut milk/cream with different fat content?

Jane Askin said...

Thanks B.
To be honest, I don't think I would even mind if the emulsion is not completely smooth (if that's a thing and emulsion can be) I'm more concerned about the pockets of oil that would make application uneven and makes it runny and not like a deep conditioner which I though a 7% of BTMS would give.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sharon! Thank you for your kind words. Let me know how you like the products!

Hi Nancy! Thank you as well. I'm glad the class went well! I have a few that might work - I'm guessing you'd like to use BTMS-50 as your emulsifier? Try this basic light lotion as a starter point for using BTMS as an emulsifier. See if you like the skin feel, and only make a small batch. This works great as a moisturizer and a shaving lotion. For your body, I'd suggest something a little thicker - like this body butter. There's a series I did on using BTMS-50 - start here and work your way forward by hitting "newer post" at the bottom of the page.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Jane. There are some great suggestions here. My two cents...

Reduce the citric acid. Try using 0.1% if you want.

Try other preservatives. You don't have to use parabens, if you don't want, although they are fantastic preservatives. My favourite is liquid Germall Plus. It works well in just about every product I make.

Why use coconut milk? What does it bring to the product? What does it bring to your hair? We know what coconut oil does - loads of great things - but what does the water soluble milk bring? Is it necessary to use it at 100% of the water phase, or can it be effective at lower levels? (I bet if you checked those other products, you'd see it's used at a really small percentage for label appeal.) And I think you'd notice the pH was lower if you didn't use it.

A non-smooth emulsion is one that is breaking or separated, so to work, it must be smooth.

Just a few thoughts for the day. Let us know what you do next and how it turns out!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Elisabeth! No, the conditioning properties shouldn't change with lower pH levels. It's just that lower pH levels can be irritating to our scalp. And some ingredients don't like lower pH levels. But adding some Multifruit or Vital Scalp and Hair won't be a bad thing!

Jane Askin said...

Hi Susan et al,
I will be trying again tonight.

I did some research and it seems Opti Plus may really be the issue as it does not go well with cationics and surfactants!However, regular Optiphen or Optiphen ND were recommended so since I have the ND in stock, I'll try it (any thoughts?). I will also reduce the acid. It's common in my island to include coconut milk, even coconut water in beauty routines...but I also read this paper among one other:
Of course, coconut oil is in the mix as well:)

Jane Askin said...

Update :) Success!
I adjusted a few things: like the citric acid and % of coconut milk. Research showed that cationics can inactivate Optiphen ND, so that was out. I kept the Optiphen Plus but I think what really worked was that I added it long after emulsification, when everything had totally cooled to room temperature, I then added it slowly while whipping. It's been about 12 hours and all is well.

Thanks so much guys, now to test if it works o_0

VanessaM said...

Are you ever going to teach in the United States? I have been trying to make shampoo forever and it just isn't right. I need help lol.


PS -- Thanks so much for this site!! It has created my new addiction.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi VanessaM! I'd love to travel to teach, but I can't afford it. If you can find someone to sponsor a trip there, I'd love to teach! :-)