Monday, August 31, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - increasing mildness and viscosity

On Friday, we took a look at other ingredients we might use in a shampoo, and these are the ingredients that we would modify or leave out when considering about designing a shampoo to be used in a line with other products. Do we need conditioning agents in a shampoo if we're using a conditioner afterwards? Do we need to worry about moisturizing or using a humectant? Do we want to include extracts and such?

I have given this much thought and I would argue that yes, there are many reasons to use these ingredients in a shampoo to take it from okay to awesome even if you are following up with a conditioner. We'll take a look at a few of these ingredients over the next few days.

I encourage you to stop here and read this post on increasing mildness in our products, rather than having me re-copy everything here. The summary is this - we use different ingredients to increase mildness in our products and reduce the irritation or dryness that might come with only using surfactants on our skin and hair. This explains another concept we'll be discussing a lot in the near future, which is combining surfactants to get a milder blend.

I would also like to suggest that you stop here and read about how we can increase the viscosity of our products using ingredients like Crothix, Ritathix DOE, and glycol distearate

Welcome back! As you can see, although we might think of an ingredient like hydrolyzed oat protein as having one purpose - forming a film on a hair strand to increase moisturization - it can also increase the mildness of the product, increase the viscosity of the product, or make it a better a cleanser. This is why we should spend some time getting to know our ingredients and how they behave in a shampoo!

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at a few ingredients that we might include in a shampoo!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A few thoughts for the last Saturday in August...

If you have a very dark coloured oil, like sea buckthorn or unrefined hemp seed oil, test it out on your skin for a few days in the same spot before using it. Some paler skinned people might go a little orange when using these dark oils, and testing it before adding it to that wonderful creation may save you from looking like you abused the self-tanner!

Dark coloured oils will impact the colour of your product. When I made my first intense hair conditioner with sea buckthorn oil, we called it hair custard because it was so yellow! The colour had no impact on my hair, but it's something to think about!

And check out Ana's eye gel with cera bellina when you get a chance. It sounds so decadent!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Designing your product as a line: Shampoo - what's in it? Other ingredients

Yesterday we took a look at how to formulate a shampoo. Today, we'll take a look at the other ingredients you might add to a shampoo to take it from good to great.

In general, a shampoo contains surfactants, water, preservative, and thickener. Each one is a pretty obvious inclusion - the surfactants clean, the water thins the mixture, the preservative preserves, and the thickener thickens, but a shampoo is about more than just cleaning your hair. We want something that is bubbly and foamy, something that makes our hair feel and smell nice, and something conditioning. So let's take a look at the other ingredients you might include in a shampoo!

A little more on thickeners: From an aesthetic point of view, we need to include these to make the mixture more viscous, which imparts a nicer feeling than pouring something like water on your hands that you have to work hard get into your hair. Plus, most of the thickeners we use will make the surfactant mixture less irritating, which is always a bonus. 

Cationic polymers: Conditioning agents like polyquat 7honeyquat, and Celquat H-100 are water soluble and intended for surfactant mixes. We use up to 5% of these ingredients to leave our hair feeling conditioned. Some people can even use up to 5% as a 2-in-1 shampoo type product - but those people probably have short, virgin hair in good condition! (Celquat H-100 can create quite a gel at 0.5%, so you don't want to use it over 1%!) 

Silicones: We can use dimethicone in our shampoos to increase the feeling of conditioning. You can use water soluble or oil soluble dimethicone at about 2%. (You don't need to add an emulsifier if you're using it around 2% as most detergents are good solubilizers!) 

Film formers: We can add lovely hydrolyzed proteins like Cromoist (oat) or Phytokeratin to create a film over your hair strands, which will decrease the friction. You can use proteins like silk as well, but the lower molecular weight silks will penetrate the hair strand, which means it's a better moisturizer than a film former. Aloe vera works as a film former as well, as will other polysaccharides like cellulose or xanthan gum (which also work as thickeners or gel-formers). 

Moisturizers: Something like Crothix or glycol distearate does double duty in a shampoo, offering thickening as well as moisturizing. You can include many different ingredients to offer moisturizing. Ingredients like water soluble oils can offer oil based moisturizing, while something like glycerin offers oil-free moisturizing. You can use some of the alkyl glucosides (like PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate) or the ethanolamides like cocamide DEA to increase the re-fattening properties of the shampoo. And you can use the lower molecular weight proteins like silk as moisturizers. 

Panthenol: Panthenol is a fantastic ingredient that behaves as a humectant, moisturizer, film former, and shine improver! As little as 2% can decrease the impact of combing forces, and improve the body and texture of your hair as it moisturizes!

Extracts: We can include extracts as functional additives. For instance, white willow bark and salicylic acid are good for dandruff prone hair, and rosemary is a great addition for oily hair. Chamomile and lavender might help calm an angry scalp, while allantoin might help exfoliate and offer some anti-irritancy. 

Fragrance or essential oils: Although you can make a shampoo without fragrance, why bother? The fragrance can be there to make it smell pretty, or you can use essential oils with specific properties (I use an oily hair blend with rosemary, cedarwood, lime or lemon, and sage! I love it!)

Colouring: Again, this isn't essential, but a colour that matches your fragrance can put the shampoo-er in a good frame of mind. I love the green I used in this lime-eucalyptus blend - it just says "I'm fresh! Use me in the morning!" Citrus-y yellow says the same thing to me! 

Wow, that's a lot of stuff! Do we need it all if we're planning on using a conditioner right after washing our hair? Yes...and no. Some of these ingredients do double duty. Some increase mildness, some increase viscosity, some boost conditioning - so let's take a look at these ingredients on Monday to see what we might leave out if we're designing this shampoo as the first step in a line of products.

If you simply can't wait until Monday, may I suggest a trip to the hair care section and the surfactant section of the blog where you can see the original posts these posts are based upon? 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - what's in it? Surfactants

In yesterday's post, Shampoo - how does it work?, we took a look at how a shampoo works to clean our hair. Today, let's take a look at how one would formulate a shampoo, then at the ingredients we might find in one.

So what makes a shampoo a shampoo? We want to formulate a shampoo that will remove sebum and soil from our hair and scalp, remove residue of styling products, leave hair in good condition, and deposit lovely things like panthenol, conditioning agents, and so on.

How do we achieve these goals? We want to include between 15% to 40% surfactants in our mix to remove soil, sebum, and styling product residue. To leave hair in good condition, we'll choose a surfactant mix that is mild to hair and scalp as well as add a few things that might help leave our hair conditioned. And we can use all kinds of lovely ingredients like conditioning agents, panthenol, extracts, and so on to make our hair feel nice when we've rinsed it off.

The concentration of your surfactants will vary, but I usually go for the higher amount (around 40%) because not only is it easier to thicken higher amounts of surfactants, but it's more concentrated, so I don't have to use a lot to get some serious lather!

A basic shampoo would look something like this...

15% to 40% surfactants (mix of anionic and cocamidopropyl betaine)
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil
up to 3% Crothix (liquid) to thicken or use salt at up to 3%
water to 100%

Why are we including each ingredient?

Water: Well, that's a given right? We need to include water in a shampoo to decrease the concentration of the surfactants and act as a solvent for the other ingredients.

Surfactants: We always want to include cocamidopropyl betaine in our mixtures to increase the mildness and thickening of the mix. We can choose surfactants suitable for our skin types - dry, normal, and oily - and use those for our hair types. Some good choices might be...

Dry hair: Amide ether sulfatestauratesSCI (with stearic acid), decyl glucosideacyl glutamate.
Oily hair: Sulfosuccinatesalkane sulfonates.
Normal hair: Whatever you like, lucky you!

All hair types might like the carboxylates (mild cleansing, conditioned feel), SLeS or ALeS, and SCI (without stearic acid for normal to oily hair, with stearic acid for dry hair).

Thickeners: You can use something like Crothix - which will thicken and increase mildness - or salt. (Click here for three posts on increasing viscosity in surfactant mixtures).

Preservative: I generally use liquid Germall Plus in my shampoos up to 0.5%, but you can choose another suitable preservative.

So yeah, I guess we have achieved our goals. Hmm, why do I feel strangely unfulfilled? Perhaps it's because I've left out all the good things that will really make our hair feel really conditioned and soft!

An aside...We could get away without using thickeners in our surfactant mixes - it's really only there for the aesthetics, but a thicker shampoo means less wasted product and will make us think it's more cleansing. Something like glycol distearate (EZ Pearl) is almost always used in shampoo for dry hair because we perceive a pearlized product as more creamy and, therefore, more moisturizing (which it is, actually). Doesn't this picture look like it should be a shampoo for dry hair? (It is, in fact, a bubble bath, but the point is made...)

We don't need to fragrance or colour our shampoo, but there's something about a yellow shampoo scented with citrus that makes us think of refreshing morning showers, a pink shampoo with Pink Sugar that makes us think we're being girly and fun, or a brown shampoo with Vanilla Oak that makes us feel manly and clean. 

I think this basic recipe is a good start - and a great place to start learning about making a shampoo - but what takes a shampoo from okay to awesome are those film forming, moisturizing, and conditioning ingredients. Join me tomorrow as we take a look at those ingredients.

Related posts:
Formulating a basic shampoo

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why cold process soap doesn't work as a shampoo (for most people)

I've been getting a lot of questions about this topic lately, so I thought I should highlight it again. Most people cannot use cold process soap as a shampoo. Shampoos are generally at pH 6.0 or lower, whereas soaps are alkaline, over pH 8.0. This means CP soaps are not pH balanced for our hair. After shampooing with products out of the right pH range, the cuticle of our hair doesn't lie down, and this can lead to abrasion between the hairs. This is a serious cause of mechanical hair damage, and once you have damage, it's hard to repair it, even with the most intense conditioners.

As a note, you cannot get a soap to pH 6 because it'll stop being soap!  

CP soaps aren't as soluble in hard water as most surfactants. Soap molecules in hard water are converted by double decomposition to form insoluble non-foaming salts like lime, calcium, or magnesium salts of fatty acids. This isn't a big deal on your skin, but it can lead to build up on your hair, leaving it looking dull and feeling kinda crunchy. They won't foam well if there are metal ions in your water - and most water contains metal ions - and they won't foam well in the presence of sebum. Given these properties, CP soap isn't going to remove all the stuff you've put on your hair and you won't get a feeling of being clean (or, ironically, your hair might feel too squeaky clean, which isn't a good thing).

What I make as a shampoo bar is what is called a syndet or synthetic detergent bar, using surfactants. If you're interested in learning more, click the links! 

There are some people in the world who use soap as shampoo and like it, and to them I say "yay"! But most of us will have results that are less than stellar. If you are one of those people, now you know something!

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - how does it work?

The post, Should we design our recipes as lines of products?, put forth the idea that maybe we should be consider what we use together when we are making our products. Can we leave ingredients out or reduce the concentration of ingredients when we know what might be coming next? To that end, let's take a look at the first product most of us use when we're washing our hair - shampoo!

How does shampoo remove sebum, dir, skin cells, and so on from our hair?

The main ingredients in a shampoo are the foamy, bubbly, and lathery ingredients we call surfactants. Surfactants are wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing easier spreading, and lower the interfacial tension between two liquids. (In other words, a surfactant makes it possible to mix oil and water or for lathery things to remove oil or dirt from your skin or clothes.) (From Wikipedia.)

Surfactants have a hydrophilic (or water-loving) head and a lipophilic (or fat-loving) tail. The hydrophilic head clings onto watery stuff - say the water phase of our lotion - and the lipophilic tail creates a ball around the oily stuff - the oil phase of our lotion.

When it comes to making a shampoo, our focus will be the lathery, foamy types of surfactants or surfactants that exhibit detergency - meaning something that wets and solubilizes oils, soils, and proteins, and removes them from surfaces, clothes, and people. They tend to be bubbly, foamy, and lathery. 

Yes, the emulsifiers we use like Polawax or BTMS are surfactants! 

We know that surfactants lower surface tension, but they're also effective at deflocculating soil and dirt clumps in our hair. (Deflocculating means "to disperse an agglomerate into fine particles and form a colloid" - in other words, to disperse a clump of something into finer particles. You might remember flocculation from the epic lotion fail post - this means for finer particles to clump together!) The shampoo keeps the fine particles in suspension so they can be washed away and not go back onto your hair or scalp.

Detergents work in a few different ways...
  • "Roll-up mechanism": Causes a rapid detachment of oils from your hair, scalp, body, and/or clothes, which are displaced by the surfactant. 
  • Micellular solubilization mechanism: The soils are solubilized into the micelles and washed away (this is dependent upon micelle concentration). It's all about displacing the oils in your hair and scalp with the detergent solution. 
  • Dispersion and emulsification: Soil particles are emulsified into the solution. Sebum might actually help this process. 
What are the goals of a shampoo? Our goal is to clean our hair...which means what? We want to create a lovely lathery, bubbly, non-toxic and non-irritating, fresh smelling shampoo that will...
  • remove sebum and soil from our hair and scalp
  • remove residue of styling products
  • leave hair in good condition after rinsing, meaning it can be combed or brushed when wet or dry
  • deposit lovely things like panthenol, conditioning agents, and so on
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at what ingredients we might find in a shampoo!

Related posts:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Should we be designing our recipes as a line of products?

Kneeley asked a great question: If we were to make say, a shampoo and a conditioner, and maybe a leave in all for the same person or same hair type that are meant to be used together, would we need to make alterations to the recipes for things such as glycerin, proteins etc due to either something like protein build up or stickiness? 

What a great question! This got me thinking about how our products work together and the idea of creating recipes for a line of products. I generally make products as a one-off, never assuming you'll be using another recipe from this blog in tandem with something else. But what if you're using a cleanser, toner, moisturizer combination or a shampoo, conditioner, leave in, anti-frizz combination every day? Are you getting too much of something by piling one on top of the other?

If I may ask you for a moment of your time, could you please give me an idea as to what products you might use together? This will help me design some recipes to go with this series!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: If Vitamin C doesn't penetrate the skin, what is the benefit of it?

In this post, Weekend Wonderings: Adding Vitamin C to a product, Rosi asks: If vitamin C does not penetrate the skin, what is the benefit of it?

Good question! We use a lot of ingredients that don't penetrate the skin well, like hydrolyzed oat protein, carionic polymers, and oils, to name a few, and we know they offer great benefits. 

I think we need to talk about what it means for an ingredient to penetrate our skin. Most ingredients will penetrate a layer or two of the stratum corneum, or the upper layer of our skin. Ingredients and products will mix with the natural moisturizing factor or the stratum corneum lipids to enhance moisturizing and hydration, assist with exfoliation, or create an occlusive layer. We can add ingredients to our products to help increase the possibility of penetration, called penetration enhancers. (Never ever do a search for that on Google!!!)
Molecules have to be very small to penetrate your skin - if I recall correctly, it's around 500 Daltons, which is very small - and very few of the ingredients we're using are that small. 

But does Vitamin C have to penetrate our skin beyond the stratum corneum to do its magic? Vitamin C is a water soluble anti-oxidant has been proven in studies to be an anti-inflammatory that can stimulate collagen formation, lighten skin, treat hyperpigmentation, and heal wounds. It's water soluble ingredient that works best in creations with a pH of less than 3 (now that's acidic!) and concentrations up to 5% are well tolerated by our skin. It's present in every layer of our stratum corneum and it's essential for stimulating collage synthesis and the formation of the barrier lipids. Applying a lotion with a concentration of 5% over 6 months have been shown to improve the appearance of skin with photo-damage (and this isn't the "improve the appearance" like the cosmetic companies use this phrase - this was an actual study!) and it's been shown to reduce sunburn cell formation and reddening in humans. And it has been shown that it can influence the synthesis of specific ceramides, which can improve the water retaining properties - well, at least in vitro. (This hasn't been confirmed in living human skin yet.)

To answer your question, there are loads of benefits to using Vitamin C in a product. Very few of our ingredients offer any penetration beyond the stratum corneum, and that's okay! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekday Wonderings: Is this ingredient oil free?

In this post on olive oil unsaponifiables, Kim asks: Would olive oil unsaponifiables be ok for oily skin versus other oils or be considered oil free?

Technically, olive oil unsaponifiables would be considered oil free because it isn't an oil. (I've seen someone claim that a lotion with shea butter was "oil free" because shea is a butter, not an oil, but that seems like a stretch.)

Is it okay for oily skin? I don't know the answer to that question because everyone's skin is different and everyone will react differently. The only way to know that an ingredient is right for you is to try it and keep a record.

Please note that if an ingredient is causing pimples, it won't happen overnight. It can take up to a week for a pimple to erupt from the skin, so if you use something today and you've broken out tomorrow, it likely isn't the ingredient's fault. You were brewing up something under your skin and it's simply a coincidence! You may break out with something if you're having an allergic reaction, but that isn't the same as a full blown pimple!

Related posts:
Only you know what your skin can handle
A couple of notes on breakouts, acne, and comedogenicity

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Adding Vitamin C to a product

In this post, A few thoughts for a lazy Saturday, Fuchia asks: A bit off topic but I'm curious about making a Vitamin C cream. I have a face cream recipe I make now and love (it does not contain Vitamin C but uses Optiphen Plus as a preservative) and keep reading online that you can just add a small amount of L Asorbic acid to it and it will keep for a few weeks. Why can't it keep for longer then that (ie 6 months to a year) and is there another step involved in making Vitamin C cream or is it that easy?

(From this post on Vitamin C.) It isn't easy to add Vitamin C to a product.  Because it's really unstable in water and it doesn't easily penetrate our skin. Plus pH 3 is really acidic and that's not a great pH for our lotions or serums to be. And it degrades easily when exposed to oxygen.

So let's say you want to use Vitamin C in your creations. Is it possible? It is. The ideal product would be a non-ionic anhydrous product or emulsion in an air tight container (so a lotion or serum not including any cationic ingredients - like BTMS or cationic polymers -  or anionic ingredients - like our bubbly surfactants - is right out). You can use it with silicones or oils as an anhydrous creation. But Vitamin C is water soluble, so how the heck would we get it into a creation with little to no water?

You can use an ester like ascorbyl palmitate in a serum or lotion as your source of Vitamin C, for instance. You can use the water soluble Vitamin C in an emulsion, but you will see some degradation of the ingredient, so don't choose a pump bottle but something like a malibu/tottle or disc cap to keep it less exposed to the air. (As I note, I found tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate at Lotioncrafter's site. This is another ester with Vitamin C and very stable. I also found VitaC Stable at the Herbarie, which is Vitamin C with a phosphate added for stability. Or MAP at the Formulator Sample Shop.)

Or you could dissolve it in water and create an emulsion, although this will be less effective than using the ester. And it can oxidize quickly, making your products an orange/brown colour (that's when you know it's oxidized!), which isn't great. So it's looking like using one of the esters is the best choice.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A quick note for those of you seeking cetrimonium bromide

Back by popular demand, the Personal Formulator (US) is selling cetrimonium bromide again! I'm putting in an order as I really want to play with this ingredient much much more!

Please note, I am not affiliated in any way with the Personal Formulator - other than as a paying customer - so I provide this information to you as a public service, not as a way to make money! 

Weekend Wonderings: Substituting one oil for another

I've had a few questions this week about substituting one oil for another. In general, you can substitute any oil for another oil in most recipes. You will change the skin feel, viscosity, colour, and other features, but you won't change the chemistry of the product. (Meaning that your lotion will still emulsify well...)  For instance, if you were previously using meadowfoam seed oil - a very light, less greasy feeling oil - for olive oil - a heavier, medium greasinesss oil - your lotion may feel slightly heavier and greasier. If you were to substitute the other way, you'd have a less greasy, lighter feeling oil.

There is an exception to what I've just said. Castor oil and beeswax have a neat way of interacting that makes the product more plastic, which is why this combination is used a lot in lipsticks. If you see castor and beeswax being used together, it's probably a wise idea not to alter the recipe unless you know they aren't working together in this way. (See this recipe at Voyageur for making non-petroleum jelly with castor oil and beeswax. You cannot substitute the castor oil for another oil in this recipe!) 

I encourage you to play with your oils! When I started out making products, I followed every recipe to a T. I'd find one - say, sweet almond & chamomile - and I'd run down to get a bottle of that oil. Then I'd see another one - let's say aloe & olive oil - and I'd have to have a bottle of that, too. In a few months, I had dozens of bottles of oil that only have a short shelf life - a year is short to me these days! - and I wasted so much money. This is why I write a lot of my recipes saying "oil" because you can use the oils you know and love instead of my favourites.

And yes, you can freeze your oils

I encourage you to get to know your oils by playing with them. When I do my lotion making, facial products, and anhydrous classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle, we set up an oil bar where people can play with the oils to get to know the skin feel before we make our products. I think this helps to make more educated choices about the oils you're planning to use, and I think it saves you money because you don't need to buy tons of different oils when four or five will do. (The picture above is of our oil bar!)

On a secondary note, when substituting one oil for another, there are many ways to determine how to do it. You could compare fatty acids, greasiness level, viscosity, cost - there is no right way to compare oils. It's about what you want and the application in which you'll be using it. I encourage you to visit the emollients section of the blog to see detailed posts about loads of different oils and to see the comparison charts I've written.

Related posts:
Getting to know your oils - scroll down to see the start of the series

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What? What? What?

A few people have asked me lately about new e-books, so I'd like to ask you, my wonderful readers, about the topics that would interest you. What would you like to see in a new e-book? More lotion ideas? Cosmeceutical profiles? Mineral make-up? Or...what? Give me some ideas!!! 

As well, I'd love to hear about what interests you at the moment! What recipes would you like to see? Profiles of ingredients? Revisions of older recipes? Random thoughts about making products? Again, the field is wide open and I'd love your feedback! 

Finally, I thought I'd throw open the floor and invite you to ask me anything you want about...well, anything, although it'd probably be about making bath and body products. What are the questions that vex you? 

This blog can only be as good as the readers who follow it and participate through comments and messages, so I'm looking for your feedback to help me shape what we'll be doing for the next few months around here!!

And this food monstrosity is a BBQ bacon mac & cheese poutine we foolishly ordered in Vancouver last week! We only made it about half way through between the two of us! Thought it made a good picture! 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A few thoughts for a lazy Saturday when I will probably end up lying on the couch cuddling a small dog...

I can't stress enough this idea - make a small batch of a product you're making for the first or second time or when you're changing something major in the recipe! You don't want to have a kilogram of failed lotion on your hands!

Susanna Originals has put up a few variations on the body butter recipe that I encourage you to read! Wow! Those sound nice and decadent! Susan - get in touch with me at and let me know which e-book I can send you!

Want to win a copy of one of my e-books? Write a review of a recipe you've written and share it with the readers of Point of Interest! Check out all the details here

Please reconsider the way you're using the word "safe". It doesn't mean that it won't make you break out or that people with allergies will not have a reaction. It means that you can use it at the level that is suggested without ill effects. And again, I must re-iterate that every ingredient I use on this blog is safe as used! (As for comedogenicity, you'll have to see how you react to ingredients and keep a record, because the comedogenicity ratings really aren't that accurate.)

Please note, you cannot thicken your oil based product with a gum. Gums are water soluble, while oils are oil soluble.

Want to know more about the chemistry of moisturizers? Check out this great infographic at Compound Interest!

And finally, check out this article at the Telegraph! A study is suggesting that free radicals might be essential for keeping skin young by encouraging regeneration! Which means we could be doing damage by using too many anti-oxidizing products! Eeek! Now, this is only a study on mice, so it might not be applicable to human skin, but it is something to think about, eh? (I have to point out that this article isn't well written and has some science wrongness to it, but I think the idea is interesting...)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

These are a few of my favourite things: Dimethicone in facial products

Dimethicone shows up a lot in facial products because it has a silky, dry feeling that doesn't feel too heavy. We find it in moisturizers, sera, and primers for this very reason.

I made a lovely water-in-silicone serum recently using Lotioncrafter's serum SE. If this idea interests you, I cannot stress enough how easy it was to make this serum and how much you could modify it to your skin type! Check out this version I made with niacinamide and NAG! I'm

Want to know the basics of making a moisturizer? Click here for the basic recipe and break down! You can add dimethicone instead of any oil. I suggest putting it in the cool down phase instead of the heated oil phase because dimethicone isn't the most heat tolerant ingredient.

Want to make an oil and dimethicone moisturizer? Click here for one with Incroquat BTMS-50 as the emulsifier or this one!

Check out this green tea & bamboo moisturizer. Just substitute dimethicone for the bamboo isoflavones and you've got yourself a light, dry feeling moisturizer!

Please note, I am not affiliated with any company and receive absolutely no compensation from anyone for writing on this blog. When I make a suggestion about a supplier, it's because I've used that supplier and like them and their ingredients. I may receive free ingredients from time to time, but I take no advertising and make no endorsements for any company. What I say is how I feel. Just wanted to make sure you know that, my wonderful readers! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

These are a few of my favourite things: Dimethicone in body butter

Dimethicone has a lot to offer in our body care products. In body care products, it works as a barrier ingredient, emollient, lubricant, carrier/diluent detackifier, and and skin protectant (one of three approved by the FDA). You can use it in products as diverse as body lotion and lip balm to offer shine, glide, and protection from the elements.

What does it mean to be a skin protectant? It means it is an occlusive ingredient prevents transepidermal water loss (TEWL) from our skin. We want to trap in that water and prevent it from evaporating from our skin, and protect our skin from further damage while it repairs itself from physical assaults of the day. Barrier ingredients set up a barrier between your skin and the outside world. You can use them to help prevent wind or cold chapping, and to protect skin so it can heal from the assaults of the day. Dimethicone is one of three of these barrier ingredients approved by the FDA. (The others are cocoa butter and allantoin.)

If you'd like to learn more about making body butters, please check out this post here - Newbie Tuesday: Let's make body butter! 

I like my body butters to have loads of humectants to draw water to my skin, lovely butters and oils to help moisturize, and great occlusive ingredients to trap it all in. You can modify this water amount as you wish, adding aloe vera or chamomile hydrosol or any distillate or floral water. I don't recommend going over 20% non-water ingredients as it can start to feel sticky and because it can be harder to preserve. Remember, when you add something to a recipe, you need to take the equal amount out of the distilled water portion. So if you add 10% aloe vera, remove 10% water. If you add 0.5% powdered extract, remove 0.5% water. We always want our lotion percentages to total 100%.

In this recipe, I'm going to use borage oil as it contains a load of GLA (gamma-linoleic acid), a fatty acid that can help speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms, which can be an issue for dry or chapped skin. You could substitute any oil for this one, including evening primrose oil, which also contains GLA. I'm using cocoa butter because it is another barrier ingredient, and shea butter because I like the greasier feeling it brings. You can make this recipe with all one butter or another, and substitute any butter you wish. As a note, changing the butter may change the skin feel and viscosity, which isn't really a big deal!

Again, if you want to alter things in this recipe, I can't stress enough how much visiting the Newbie Tuesday post on body butters will help! 

In the water phase, I'm using chamomile hydrosol because it will offer some soothing and reduction of redness and inflammation. I could use a powdered extract at 0.5% in the cool down phase, but this will add a little yellow or beige tinge to the final product. Not a huge deal, but some people might worry about this. You could also use up to 1% chamomile essential oil in the cool down phase. I don't like the smell, so that's not an option for me. I'm adding both sodium lactate and glycerin as my humectants as I like to have loads of hydrating ingredients in my body butters. You could use all glycerin if you want. I find it feels a bit sticky at over 3% for me, so the sodium lactate is a way of getting a little extra humectant in without that feeling. And finally, I'm using allantoin because it's another approved barrier protectant that can speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms and increase its water content.

I like to add a hydrolyzed protein as a film former and hydrator, and I could choose from a number of them. As I'm designing this recipe for dry skin, I think hydrolyzed silk protein would be a nice inclusion.

42.5% distilled water
10% chamomile hydrosol
2% sodium lactate
2% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice
0.5% allantoin

10% borage oil
5% cocoa butter
8% shea butter (or other butter of choice)
7% Polawax
3% cetyl alcohol

2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil

Use the general lotion making instructions for this product.

As a note, I know that according to the 25% rule for Polawax, I should have 6.5% Polawax in this recipe. I didn't feel like working in small percentages, and it doesn't make a real difference in the skin feel.

Do you like the idea of this recipe but have another emulsifier? Check out this body butter post using Lotionpro 165, or this base recipe using Incroquat BTMS-50!

Join me tomorrow for more fun with dimethicone in facial care products!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

These are a few of my favourite things: Dimethicone in hair care products

Dimethicone is a great addition in any hair care product as it offers conditioning, film forming, and de-frizzing. It increases hair's softness and shine. You can use it in shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, cream rinse, or anti-frizz sprays.

The easiest recipe I make is this one for an anti-frizz spray.

90% cyclomethicone
10% dimethicone

Weigh each ingredient into a spray bottle. Close lid. Shake. Use. Rejoice.

See, so easy!

I love to include dimethicone into my hair conditioner because it increases the shine and decreases my frizz! This specific conditioner recipe contains coconut oil for moisturization, glycerin for hydration, and cetyl alcohol as an oil free emollient. If you want to increase the detangling abilities of this conditioner, add up to 2% cetrimonium chloride into the heated oil phase and remove 2% water from the water phase to compensate.

61.5% water
10% aloe vera
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice
3% glycerin

3.5% cetyl alcohol
5% coconut oil

1% fragrance or essential oil blend
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
2% panthenol

Please use the general conditioner making instructions for this recipe!

Want to know why I'm using what I'm using in this recipe? Check out the posts on conditioner in the hair care section of the blog, starting with what is a conditioner and working your way forward by hitting "newer post" at the bottom of the page! 

Feel free to add up to 5% dimethicone in any conditioner to increase the amount of shine in your hair or to help with frizziness. If you do this, remember that when we increase one ingredient, we have to decrease the water phase to keep the recipe totalling 100%. So if you like a recipe that doesn't contain dimethicone, feel free to add it and remove the same percentage from your distilled water!

Related recipes:
Hair care section of the blog - scroll down for more conditioner recipes

Join me tomorrow for a few more dimethicone recipes!

Monday, August 3, 2015

These are a few of my favourite things: Dimethicone

I'm a huge fan of silicones in just about any application in which you can put an oil. Dimethicone is my favourite by far. It adds slip and glide to a lotion, offers oil free moisturizing in a moisturizer, helps to defrizz my hair in a conditioner, offers conditioning in a shampoo, and more!

What is dimethicone? Dimethicone is a non-volatile silicone you can add to your hair and body care ingredients. It mixes well with oils, and if you want to add it to something that contains water, you have to add an emulsifier to make it mix well.

In body care products, it works as a barrier ingredient, emollient, lubricant, carrier/diluent detackifier, and and skin protectant (one of three approved by the FDA). You can use it in products as diverse as body lotion and lip balm to offer shine, glide, and protection from the elements.

In hair care, it improves wet and dry combing, helps with shine, improves hair feel (softness), reduces static charge, and works as a humidity resistor. And in colour cosmetics, like foundations, it is a lubricant, spreading agent, emollient, and diluent/carrier ingredient.

Dimethicone tends to migrate to the surface of your hair or skin, forming a nice film that not only protects your skin, but keeps all the good stuff you've put into your lotion or conditioner to your skin or hair.

Dimethicone is rated by c.s. or centistrokes. The higher the c.s., the thicker you'll find your dimethicone. 350 c.s. is considered as thick as mineral oil (so thicker than shampoo, but not as thick as ketchup), whereas dimethicone 1000 c.s. is going to be as thick as motor oil (so thicker than ketchup, but not as thick as molasses). So why should you care about the centistrokes? The lower the centistrokes, the quicker surface if you have the 350 c.s., it is going to spread quicker than the 1000 c.s.

How can we use dimethicone in our products? I use it the same way I'd use an oil, meaning it can be mixed with other oil soluble things in an anhydrous product like a lotion bar, or mixed in with an emulsifier for water containing products. I use it in the cool down phase as that's the way I see it used in my textbooks, but I understand it can be used in the heated phase of a product as well. (I plan to continue using it in the cool down phase as it works for me, but you can try it in either!)

Let's take a look at dimethicone over the next few days with a few of my favourite recipes!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Beards, water, and workshop time!

If your name is Jean and you donated for a facial products e-book today, please send me an address at which I can contact you! The one you sent me doesn't work! 

It's too hot to think around here lately. I know it's not that incredibly hot city in Iran, which reached an almost record breaking heat index of 70˚C - which is hot enough to make lotion on a counter - but it's far too warm for my tastes! I can't get into the workshop because it's too warm and I can't do much around the house in rooms where there isn't an air conditioner. I feel like summer brings out Grumpy Swift, who might be slightly amusing in her cantakerousness but can get quite annoying to the people around her, I suspect!

As a quick note, all the ingredients on this blog are safe for us to use at the suggested usage rates. I would ask you to think about this for a moment. Would I use ingredients that weren't safe on people I love? Would I give these products to co-workers, friends, and family if I thought I was putting them at risk? Would I bring them to my youth programs and let the kids use them if they could be bad for them?

If you want to know more about ingredient safety, I encourage you to check out Cosmetics Ingredient Review for studies, reports, and more! 

I've been seeing loads of beard conditioners around lately, and wanted to remind you of this recipe I call "Hey Beardo" that I made a few years ago on the blog. It's a version of a leave in conditioner with linoleic acid containing oils that would be good for skin and hair. You can substitute any oil you like here.

Here's another version of a beard conditioner in this post, and you can find some links to other shaving and beard related products in this post.

I've been seeing a lot of people using a lot of aloe vera or hydrosols in place of most or all of the water phase of a product. You really don't need that much of those ingredients to get the benefits! You might get a feeling of stickiness, you are messing with the chemistry with high levels of electrolytes from things like aloe vera, and you are inviting problems with contamination when you have loads of botanicals.

Water is a great ingredient in our products! It isn't a filler - it's a moisturizer! It's a necessity to keeping our skin elastic and reduce transepidermal water loss.

As well, it reduces the cost of making our products. If you ever want to sit down at a spreadsheet and do a little math, compare the cost of making a body butter with water versus a whipped butter without! It's quite a large difference, and it might make you a little woozy, so make sure you're sitting down when you work it all out! Water is a great ingredient that also saves us money!

Related posts:
Is water important or just a filler?
Water as filler! 

I have a message for those of you who have yet to make your first product: Stop reading and get into your workshop! Print out that recipe, get the supplies off the shelves, heat up that double boiler, and make something! I'm a big fan of knowing one's ingredients, but how can you know them if you haven't touched them? How can you know about the skin feel, the hair feel, the after effects, how they rinse off, and more if you haven't made something with them in your workshop? How can you know that neem oil smells so bad you don't want to use it, or that virgin coconut oil smells so good you want to bath in it if you haven't formulated with either of them?

I know it's worrisome to think about "wasting supplies", but it's part of what we do. We get into the workshop, we try something, we figure out what we like and don't like, then we either make it again or chalk it up to experience. You've learned something from those wasted supplies - you learned what you like and what you don't like. You've learned how to make a new product or how to follow a process.

Related posts:
What's making you nervous about making a lotion?

This leads me to today's question - What have you made for the first time recently? I'd love to hear stories of what you've tried lately! For those of you who are more experienced, modify this question as you wish. Have you tried a new ingredient or technique that inspired you?