Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Where to get cetrimonium bromide? What can you substitute for fatty alcohols?

I'm sorry I haven't been writing much lately. Every weekend morning I get up, make a cup of tea, and fire up the laptop intending to write a bunch of blog posts for the week. Then the dog looks so cute and wants to play or I decide to make breakfast or one of a number of distracting things happen and I'm off doing something else for the day! It's not that the blog isn't a priority - it is, and I love writing it! - it's just that my week is so busy, it's nice to have unstructured time on the weekend to lie on the couch cuddling a dog while I drink a lovely cup of Earl Grey cream tea or to spend time with my husband playing games or watching videos!

This past week was so much fun! It included the Vancouver concert by Faith No More! One word: Epic! This upcoming week will be great fun with more Dungeons & Dragons with kids, cookie & cupcake decorating in craft group, and Rated T for Teen video game club before our weekend in Vancouver for the Nightwish concert. (I can't wait to see Floor Jansen again!!!) May will be just as busy as I'm teaching a few classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle on May 2nd and May 16th, but I'm hoping to get more writing time on the weekends.

As a note, if you want to take a class at Voyageur but find that it's booked, let them know you'd be interested in being on a waiting list as we could add more classes! 

What's the point of all of this? It's to let you know that I generally don't get to emails and comments until the weekend as I simply don't have time during my working week, but I try to answer each and every one on Saturday or Sunday morning! (The e-books are sent out as soon as I receive the donation, just so you know!)

In this post, What do you want to know?, Morbo asks: Do you have any recommendations for substitutions for fatty alcohols? Fatty alcohols irritate and break my skin out terribly but I'm not seeing much info out there about other options. 

In a lotion or other emulsified product, you can generally substitute a fatty alcohol - like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, or behenyl alcohol - with stearic acid. Substituting one for the other may change the vicosity and skin feel of the product. Products made with cetyl alcohol will be slicker and thinner than those made with stearic acid. Cetearyl alcohol adds a little waxiness and behenyl alcohol offers a little dryness, neither of which you'll feel in a lotion with stearic acid. As an interesting aside, lotions made with stearic acid will feel a bit cooler! 

If you don't have stearic acid or don't want to use it, you can always leave the cetyl alcohol out and substitute it for some butter. The butter will help thicken the product slightly. 

To those of you looking for cetrimonium bromide, The Personal Formulator in the States is carrying it again! 

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating! 


Dev said...

A fair warning to those purchasing CETAB from the Personal Formulator, it's 90-99% active. It is not cut with with cetearyl or cetyl alcohol. Though some of Susan's formulas can still utilize this version, many that use it as the main conditioning emulsifier will not because it doesn't emulsify very well. It comes in a powdered form not a flake.

Morbo said...

Thank you so much for answering my fatty alcohol question! Now I feel like I can play with all the lovely recipes I've found but couldn't use.

Christopher said...

I saw their opening of Endless Forms Most Beautiful tour and it was absolutely amazing. Wish I'd been there.

Josie Williams said...

Thanks for answering my question about the cetrimonium bromide - the last time I had looked on Personal Formulator, they didn't have it, so glad it is back!

Thanks Dev for your comments - so if I were to make this recipe for example: - I take it I can still use CETAB at 4%?

Dev said...

Hi Josie!

That would be fine because you have the BTMS to emulsify everything.
You could probably exactly use less because it's 100%. That seems a bit overkill to me unless you have really damaged, chipped hair. I guess the more you have (within safe levels) faster penetration. From the references I've read after 30 minutes of exposure the rate of penetration decreases significantly for CETAB.

Josie Williams said...

Thanks Dev. Just found out though that Personal Formulator won't ship CETAB internationally, so I will have to resort to purchasing from