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?


Jean Martinis said...

I know. I was trying to buy with a card that auto loads my correct email but PayPal took over and I can't figure out how to update it. My correct email is camp4..... instead of camo4. I'm excited to get the book!

melian1 said...

i just used a new ingredient (to me) recently. it is aristoflex avc from clariant. it is a copolymer and works like carbomer. except the skin feel is amazing. so much better. lighter. it will emulsify (well, not a true emulsification, it holds in suspension with such tiny droplets that it seems like an emulsion) up to 10% oils, and worked in both hot and cold process. tho it is sensitive to electrolytes, i have successfully incorporated 10% (of a 1% solution) of hyaluronic acid and due to its light, lovely feel on the skin, it made a great HA gel. i only needed 1% of the aristoflex to make a *very* thick gel, so it would be economical to use.

the downside is that it isn't available in our usual homecrafter's supply places yet. (i got a sample i was playing with). there is a place in europe that will stock it if there is interest, but i can't recall who that was. :(

i will poke around and see if i can find where i saw that mentioned and will post back in case anyone lives in europe and would like to express an interest.

melian1 said...

hm, i see now that i am re-reading my post that i need to edit, but i don't know how! so i'm going to post the correction in a new comment. the aristoflex works like a pre-neutralized carbomer. no neutralization is needed. it works a dream. throw the whole amount into the water/preservative, whiz with a stick blender and bam! you've got a crystal-clear gel.

melian1 said...

its (for anyone who wants to express their interest)

Jane said...

Melian, yes Aristoflex is a fab easy to use, great skin feel, cold process emulsifier and thickener !

It's the you were thinking of Melian. They are in the UK and hopefully will start selling Aristoflex AVC to homecrafters if enough people contact them to ask them to bring it in.

cycles said...

New ingredient use: After reading about lemon eucalypthus oil, and how it is as effective as DEET for repelling mosquitos at 30% concentration (according to the CDC among others: I tried making an anti-mosquito balm with it.

It was kinda wild to basically be using an essential oil as a carrier oil ... so decadent! I used shea butter and beeswax at 35% each, and lemon eucalyptus at 30%. The result was a very soft balm, almost an ointment, that smelled like Murphy's Oil Soap. I used it on a recent camping trip, and while it was in no way a controlled experiment, I was not absolutely devoured by insects, so ... jury is out.

One real, measurable benefit was that, if you have DEET on your hands and get them anywhere near your mouth for the next several hours, your taste buds are treated to a horrendously bitter shock. Washing hands doesn't always help. With the lemon eucalyptus balm, however, there was not this disgusting effect. I'm not saying to go eat spoonfuls of the stuff, but you definitely don't get punished harshly for accidentally wiping you hand on your lips when using the lemon eucalyptus. As a fan of better living through chemistry, I have no beef with DEET, but it is fun indeed to DIA at home sometimes.

Dc said...

Hi, I have just found your blog and am finding it most interesting. I am just starting out on the road to home made products, for my own use, and am trying to get to grips with the very basics.

I have just made this product: but found it went absolutely solid so it doesn't really seem to be a lotion. It also takes an age to stop being able to feel it on my skin (maybe better used as a body butter?)

I tweaked this recipe and halved the amount of essential aromatherapy oils (as I am a lot older than her) and also introduced 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerine.

I think perhaps that last addition probably means this product is no longer 100% oil based (which I think you said shouldn't need a preservative?) Have I messed up by adding it?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Dc! That's a whipped butter, it isn't a lotion. A lotion contains water, oil, emulsifier, and preservative. You can't add something water soluble to something oil soluble without adding an emulsifier and a preservative. Have you messed up? No, but you've included something that shouldn't be included in a whipped butter.

If you're interested in seeing more anhydrous or non-water containing recipes, please check out the Newbie section of the blog for whipped butter, lotion bars, balms, salves, and more!