Saturday, February 28, 2015

A few administrative things: Deleting comments

There have been some allegations made that I delete comments on my blog. The case is that yes, I have. (Shock and horror! Gasps and fainting!) The reasons I might delete a comment are threefold...

1. If it is anonymous. I've made it clear repeatedly that I don't like anonymous comments. If you could at least put a nice "Bye, (name)" on the post. I'll leave it.

2. If it is abusive or mean. I used to leave these up because I believed I shouldn't delete anything, but it made me really sad when I saw them again, so I've started deleting these immediately. I have always deleted comments when they were cruel to other people.

3. If it contains scientific errors. So let's say you come along and claim that coffee enemas can cure cancer. I'm not leaving that up for someone to think that I endorse this position by leaving it on the blog. (Remember this - extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so you can't say something huge like that and not post a ton of valid links from reputable sources to support your position.)

I don't delete comments because someone has disagreed with me, as has been alleged. You can see evidence of this all over the blog. I welcome civil disagreement as it leads to discovery and learning!

If I recall correctly, I've deleted exactly three non-abusive, non-anonymous comments from one poster in the last year because they contained factual errors and I didn't want to leave those up and have others think I endorsed her or her statements.

As a note, I don't think that deleting three comments from one person is "always deleting comments". I'd hardly call three times "always". I mean, if you eat roast beef three times in your life, one would hardly say that person always eats roast beef. No, it would be a rare, nay, freak occurrence. (Rimmer, Red Dwarf) 

Here's the thing - and please don't take this the wrong way - you don't have an absolute right to comment on this blog. It's my blog and if I choose to edit the comments, I'm entitled to do so for various reasons. My goal is to create a kind and supportive community where we are free to ask questions, get answers, and share with others who might like to make bath & body products, and to create that community, I need to be able to remove comments that I think detract from that goal. I don't tolerate cruelty, I don't tolerate junk science, and I don't tolerate anonymity. I think those are more than reasonable standards and help create a safe environment we can all enjoy.

That being said, if you notice your comment isn't on the page where you posted it, ask me where it is. If you've put your name on it and you haven't been cruel, the overwhelming odds are that it ended up in the spam filter. I can put it back with a click of the mouse! (I do check the spam filter from time to time to make sure no one gets left behind!)

I hope this clarifies a few things.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Making a water in silicone serum with Lotioncrafter Serum SE

I love silicones! I think they are the silkiest feeling ingredients we can find, so I've always wanted to make a silicone serum like the No 7 one my mom uses or the Oil of Olay one my bestie likes so much. I found this ingredient at Lotioncrafter - Lotioncrafter Serum SE* - and thought I'd try it!

What is it?"Lotioncrafter Serum SE is a proprietary blend of self emulsifying silicone fluids designed to make the creation of water-in-silicone emulsions (or serums) simple. Along with Lotioncrafter Serum SE, serums are created and stabilized using a sodium chloride/sodium citrate buffer. This reduces interfacial tension and improves freeze-thaw stability, as does the addition of glycerin and/or glycols (dipropylene, propylene or butylene glycol). These also contribute to increased preservative efficacy."

So it's an emulsifier that has been designed to bring water and silicone together in a serum format. Why can't we just use Incroquat BTMS-50 to make a facial thingie with silicones? We could, but then we'd be making a lotion, not a serum. This creates more of a gel than a lotion, although it isn't clear.

This is a great way to get loads of cosmeceuticals or actives into your product, and it's fantastic to use underneath make-up. In fact, if you're looking to make an under make-up primer, this is a great product!

You'll want to add a sodium chloride (salt) and sodium citrate buffer to it, so don't forget to order the latter when you order this emulsifier. Oh, and get yourself some propylene glycol as well. I've tried it with 10% glycerin, and it was a bit sticky for my tastes!

How do we use it? You can get all your ingredients together and follow the instructions. The down side is that you have to mix it for 10 to 15 minutes with a hand mixer, so if you have a stand mixer, all the better! (Trust me, your arm will get tired!) It is made cold with no heating and holding, so make sure you are using distilled water and avoid using a lot of botanical ingredients to preserve it well.

I'm linking to a few sample recipes before I share what I've made with you tomorrow. The process is fairly similar for each one, so if you want to go nuts and make one tonight, just follow the easy to use instructions Jen from Lotioncrafter has included in this basic water in silicone serum recipe!

Soothing & Clarifying Facial Serum (on Lotioncrafter's site)
Time Defy Facial Serum (on Lotioncrafter's site)

*Please note, I have not been paid or compensated in any way to write about this ingredient. I just really liked it! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence...

Wow! The number of people visiting my blog has gone up by 10% over the last few days. I think you're all here about the challenge Dr Dunn has put forth to soapmakers and the preceding discussion. I need to make something clear - I don't have anything against anyone. My goals are never to hurt or mock someone. My goal is always to learn more!

As you know, I strive to be all about the science around here, providing you with evidence and studies and all that other good stuff to back up why we're using the ingredients we're using. When I find something that makes a claim that I didn't expect or haven't seen before, I look for more evidence to back it up. Let's say shea butter claims to completely wipe out wrinkles. I would look for quite a few studies to back this up, not just one. I wouldn't use something anecdotal and I wouldn't use something that had only a few subjects. I would want something extraordinary because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Normal claims can use normal evidence - like the idea that shea butter moisturizes our skin or makes our skin feel greasier than not using it. But something extraordinary - that shea butter eliminates all wrinkles and crow's feet - would require pounds of paper to print all the studies I'd want to see before writing that on this blog.

If you are making a claim of any sort, you need to provide some evidence. Let's say you wanted to prove to me that you could do something, like make an oil-in-water lotion without using an emulsifier. I would ask you for a complete accounting of the recipe and the process with all the details as well as a video.  In fact, I would ask you for extraordinary evidence - such as showing me the lotion a month later, three months later, six months later, and so on because the problem here would be that the lotion would separate over time. Merely saying to me that you did this isn't considered evidence. (Okay, maybe to Lionel Hutz who says that "conjecture and hearsay are kinds of evidence".) I'm being skeptical about something that I have been taught is not going to work or not going to work well. My mind is open to learn more, but I need more evidence before I'm going to spend the time discussing it further. Asking you for that evidence isn't disrespectful or disparaging - it's a normal part of the process. If you choose not to provide what I've asked for, then you can't expect me to change my opinion that you can make a lotion without an emulsifier. You might be a lovely person, but one person's word does not change science!

I'm strive to be the first person to admit when I'm wrong. (If you find something on this blog you need to correct, check out this post on how to tell me that!) Learning is all about admitting you don't know something or that you're mistaken, and the first step is being okay with not knowing things all the time. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll see all kinds of corrections scattered around as I've learned more or read more or found more studies or been told by you, my wonderful readers, that I'm wrong. I know some use this against me, saying that "Swift is wrong all the time. She admits it on her blog." (Yes, I've actually seen this statement.) That's fine. I'd rather be wrong from time to time and keep learning than hold on to outdated or incorrect ideas. If you wish to see this as a failing in my character, I'm okay with that. (I think it says more about you than it does about me if you think that making mistakes is something to be ashamed of instead of something to embrace as part of the learning process...)

I'm excited to see what will come of Dr Dunn's challenge! Let me know if you enter into it so we can follow the process!

Related posts:
Where do I get my information?

Monday, February 23, 2015

A few random things for a lovely February morning...

I wanted to remind you how easy it is to make your own wax tarts (a la Scentsy's products)!  We just made them - and candles - with the kids in craft group, and it was great fun! You can get a little burner that uses a candle at your local big box retailer or dollar store for no more than a few dollars, and you've got yourself a lovely gift. We used the clam shell containers I bought at Voyageur Soap & Candle, but you can use silicone ice cube trays, chocolate molds, and other molds to make them as well!

Many of you have written to me about using apple cider vinegar in your hair. Although I haven't found it works for me, some of you really like it. Check out the Beauty Brains explanation as to why this might work.

I loved this post on polyquaternium on the Chemist's Corner. So in depth! If you've ever wanted to know more about our cationic polymers like polyquat 7 or honeyquat, check out this post!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kevin Dunn has an interesting challenge for all you liquid soap makers!

As you all know I don't make handmade soap, but I buy it and I'm fascinated by the chemistry of it. After a lengthy discussion that happened in this post, I wrote to Kevin Dunn of Scientific Soapmaking to ask him a question, and he responded!

Kevin Dunn has put forth this challenge. (To learn more, click here!) "In the Sep/Oct 2014 issue of the, I discussed the prospect of lowering the pH of liquid soap to pH 7. I remain skeptical that such a thing can be done, but claims to the contrary persist. So I am issuing a friendly challenge to the handcrafted soap community. Send me an 8 oz bottle of your pH 7 liquid soap."

He goes on to specify what the soap must consist of and the awesome way he will be testing the results. If you have brought your soap down to pH 7 AND your soap doesn't contain anything other than water, soap, glycerin, any combination of fatty acids, and citric acid or vinegar, you can send your results to him. I'm dying to see what happens!

I can't encourage you enough to read his page. He explains the chemistry of soap making in such an interesting way!

The soaps above are from Corry. I don't have a link for her page yet! If you're reading this, please send me an email! 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: What's that whitening effect with lotions?

In this post on Lotionpro 165, Michelle asks: I had some whitening when using Lotionpro (at 4%) and it was suggested that it was reacting with my fatty alcohols (2% behenyl, 1% cetyl). Have you noticed this?

I haven't noticed it with this emulsifier, but I admit that I'm not that bothered by what's called the soaping effect. The fatty acids in the lotion, combined with an alkaline ingredient like triethanolamine or potassium hydroxide, create a soap, which acts as the emulsifier in your lotion. (A common combination is triethanolamine and stearic acid.) If you're using a stearate or oleate based emulsifier, you are bringing the water and oil together in your lotion by creating a soap, which is going to leave those white streaks when you apply it. In the case of Lotionpro 165, you're using Glyceryl Stearate and PEG 100 Stearate to create an emulsion.

How can you get rid of this? You can add some dimethicone or change emulsifiers! Or just accept it!

Related posts:
What is the "soaping effect"?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why are preservatives considered a "necessary evil"?

Surfing around the 'net the last few days, I keep coming upon people commenting that "Preservatives are a necessary evil..." or "I don't like preservatives, but I'm using them..." (I guess I should be happy you're using them!)

What's not to like? Preservatives make it possible for us to make lotions that last longer than a week. They keep our products looking and smelling pretty. They keep you from getting horrible infections and diseases. They keep mold and other gross things from making your lotion look like that horrible picture to your left. They keep the people you love safe! How they a "necessary evil" or unlikeable?

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, if someone from the middle ages travelled through time and saw all the stuff we have to keep ourselves safe and healthy that we are choosing not to use, they'd beat us to death with scythes. 

I freakin' love preservatives! Using 0.5% of something like liquid Germall Plus gives one such peace of mind compared to the wishing and hoping things will remain uncontaminated that comes with not using that tiny amount. Want your product to stay mostly natural? 0.5% preservative keeps that lovely and botanically laden product safe for months to come!

When should you use preservatives? When you're making a product that contains water or might come in contact with water, like a sugar scrub.

Just a few thoughts for the day...

Related posts:
Why use a preservative?
Choosing a preservative

Monday, February 16, 2015

A few thoughts about conditioners for an extremely warm Monday in February...

If you are making rinse off or leave in conditioners, you want to use an emulsifier that is positively charged or cationic. This means using ingredients like Polawax, polysorbate 20, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil or Caprol Micro Express as the main ingredient isn't the best idea. Why? We use positively charged or cationic ingredients in a conditioner as the emulsifier so it will adsorb or form a film on our hair. This process is called substantivity. (Click here for a longer description on how conditioners work!) These ingredients are non-ionic or neutrally charged, and anything you make using them will be more like a lotion than a conditioner. This means you might get some moisturization from the emollients, but you won't get any conditioning.

Instead, you'll want to use cationic emulsifiers like like Incroquat BTMS-50, Rita BTMS-225, Incroquat CR, or cetrimonium bromide as your main ingredient in a conditioner. You can add loads of non-ionic or neutrally charged ingredients into the conditioner - things like panthenol or aloe vera or glycerin and so on - but you want the main emulsifier to positively charged.

You don't need to lower the pH of a conditioner when you've made it. Conditioners made with the positively charged ingredients I mention above will be a pH 6 or lower.

Can you substitute BTMS-25 for BTMS-50? Yes, most of the time. Check out this post for more information!

Related posts:
Hair care section of the blog
Conditioner: What's that then?
Conditioner: Defining our conditioners
Conditioner: The basic recipes
What's important in a conditioner? Part one
What's important in a conditioner? Part two
Back to the very basics: Conditioner
Leave-in conditioner with kera straightening and lycopene
Coconut oil and pisum satvum rinse off conditioner

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Random thoughts for a way too warm February Saturday morning...

Jenna! If you are reading this, please send me another e-mail to which I can send your e-book. I've been trying for two days, and I keep getting the message "550 Mailbox quota exceeded"! 

There is no hard and fast rule about when you should add an extract. There are some that can withstand heat, and there are some that can't. You need to check whether or not your extract can handle heat or not! When you see me using an extract in the heated phase, that's because that extract can handle it. That doesn't mean your version will do so.

If you have a few moments, please pause and review the use of it's versus its. It's is a contraction. It means it is, it was, it has. The apostrophe is taking the place of letters that are not being used. Its - this is the possessive, like "the dog loved its bone". To figure out which one you want to use, ask yourself if it can be broken down into it is, it was, it has or if it owns something. If you wanted to say "It's the dog who loves its bone", you'd break down the first it's into "it is" and the second its into...well, nothing, because it is the possessive. Lest you think this isn't important, think about how using the wrong version looks to someone in the know. Being able to write well is so important these days, what with the Internet being so popular, and knowing the difference between these two words is a lot more important than you think!

Lest you think spelling isn't important, spend a few minutes perusing the horrible horrible tattoo fail blog and see how much you'd like to have "no regerts" on your body forever!

Hope you're having a great day! I'm hoping to get some workshop time in today so I'll have more to write about tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Creating a body butter for the colder, drier winter months

We might not be getting snow this year, but it's still dry outside! (The lack of snow is so bad, local mountains are calling the ski season over!) Raymond's skin needs some serious moisturizing and hydrating, and I thought I'd make him a lovely body butter to help his skin get back to normal!

If you've never made a body butter, check out this Newbie Tuesday post on making one with a recipe and process! 

The goal of a body butter is to be thick and luxurious with loads of moisturizing and hydrating ingredients. My first thought is to include at least two humectants to draw water from the atmosphere to the skin. My choices were sodium lactate at 2% and glycerin at 2%. I could have chosen others, but these are handy, inexpensive, and effective. You could include something else, like hyaluronic acid at a lower rate - say 0.5% - or honeyquat in the cool down phase at up to 3% (and this would substitute for the polyquat 7, too). I'm adding panthenol to the cool down phase to help with wound healing and improving skin's barrier mechanisms.

I'm adding chamomile hydrosol and aloe vera to the mix as they both offer great soothing and moisturizing properties, as well as anti-itching properties.

In a product like this, I want a good barrier ingredient. The approved ones are cocoa butter, dimethicone, and allantoin. I wanted to use shea butter in this product because I like the features it offers - increased softening of the skin, increased wound healing, reduced irritation - so cocoa butter doesn't really have a place. I mentioned that I substituted the dimethicone I would normally use with the bamboo isoflavones, so there's no place for dimethicone here. I will keep my allantoin, though, because it offers so much for such a tiny amount!

I thought I'd try using baobab oil, a new oil they're carrying at Voyageur Soap & Candle, and bamboo isoflavones, which is a substitute for dimethicone.

Bamboo isoflavones* (INCI: Lactobacillus/Arundinaria gigantea Leaf Ferment Filtrate) is considered a natural substitute for dimethicone as well as an anti-oxidant. It is added to the cool down phase to products with a pH of 4 to 7, so it is suitable for our lotions, moisturizers, and hair care products. Bamboo isoflavones are water soluble, so you can add this to products like toners or cleansers where you don't want to include an emulsifier, but want the silky smoothness of dimethicone! Substitute it 1:1 for dimethicone.

One down side I noted - the colour was strong enough to make my body butter a slight shade of beige. I don't mind much, but some might want a whiter product! You can see this in the picture above. Again, not a big deal, but something to think about when you're worried about appearances.

Baobab oil contains a lot of unsaponifiables, which is where we find our lovely phytosterols. They behave as anti-inflammatories, something I really like to have in a body butter for my husband's itchy skin. It contains squalane, which our skin recognizes as being something it contains, so it's absorbed quickly. It's a thicker feeling oil, which is something I don't mind in a body butter.

22.5% distilled water
11% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
5% liquid cucumber extract
2% sodium lactate
2% glycerin
2% niacinamide
2% oat extract beta (protein)
0.5% allantoin

10% shea butter
10% baobab oil
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM
7.5% Polawax

5% bamboo isoflavones
2% panthenol
2% polyquat 7
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil

Use the general lotion making instructions for this product.

As usual, if you don't want to use the hydrosols, just switch them out for distilled water. If you want to learn more about how to modify this recipe, please click here for the Newbie Tuesday post on body butters.

What do I think of this recipe? Wow! Do I ever love this! It's thinner than I expected - and that's because for some reason I used 10% shea butter instead of 15% - but very rich and moisturizing. I put it into a tottle bottle, and it squeezes out nicely. It goes on the skin nicely and feels like it sinks in a bit, but you know there's a layer of oil on your skin offering moisturizing and hydrating. This is not suitable as a hand lotion - it is greasier than you'd like for that application - and probably way too heavy for a facial moisturizer, but it's suitable for all other lotion applications.

Raymond reports that he really likes it. It isn't too greasy, and feels nice. He does note that he can still get itchy in the night, something he didn't feel happened when I was using the hand protectant on him. (He also notes, though, that it's really hard to scratch when he's covered in the hand protectant because it is so occlusive!) I think next time I need to up the shea butter to 15% (and alter the emulsifier accordingly) and think of a few more ingredients to help with itching. Maybe more humectants? Hmm...

There is one down side to this recipe - it goes on quite white and stays that way for a few minutes. This is called the soaping effect, and the normal way to get rid of it is to include dimethicone. If you really dislike this feature, then substitute the bamboo isoflavones for dimethicone in the cool down phase.

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating!

Friday, February 6, 2015

What hair type do you have?

Do you have oily hair? Dry? Normal? How do you know? 

If you have to wash your hair every day or every other day because of oil build up, you have oily hair. If you wash your hair with a very mild shampoo and you still feel you have an oily scalp, you have oily hair. If you have very very dry ends to the point of them breaking off, but you have to wash your hair every day because of a greasy build upon your scalp, you have oily hair with dry ends. In short, when you're looking at recipes on this blog with an eye to making something for your hair type, consider the state of your scalp, not the state of your ends. 

Almost all of us with longer than shoulder length hair will have dry ends. If you've dyed, permed, straightened, or treated your hair in some way, you'll have dry ends. If you regularly straighten or blow dry your hair, you probably have dry ends. If you have oily hair and dry ends, and you make products thinking you have dry hair, you will never have a clean feeling scalp. 

If you have oily roots, create your shampoo for that hair type, not for the dry ends. Make awesome products for the ends of your hair, like conditioners and leave in conditioners, and use those only below the scalp.

What ingredients can you include for oily hair? Check out this surfactant chart to see which ones might be good for your hair type. I like DLS and C14-16 olefin sulfonate for my oily hair, but there are other choices. Something like niacinamide, MSM, or honey matte might help to reduce oil if you have quite a lot of it, but otherwise, just choose your surfactants wisely. 

What ingredients can you include for dry hair? Make sure you're using a daily use type of shampoo with some mild surfactants, like SMO taurate or polyglucose/lactylate blend. Add loads of re-fattening ingredients, like glycol distearate or water soluble oils. 

Related posts:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chemistry Thursday: All about acids!

What is an acid? From Wikipedia: An acid is a chemical substance whose aqueous solutions are characterized by a sour taste, the ability to turn blue litmus red, and the ability to react with bases and certain metals (like calcium) to form salts. Aqueous solutions of acids have a pH of less than 7. A lower pH means a higher acidity, and thus a higher concentration of positive hydrogen ions in the solution. 

An acid is something that registers as lower than 7 on the pH scale. There are a few different definitions of acids, but we'll go with the one that says that an acid is something that donates a proton or H+ to a base (Bronsted-Lowry definition). The strength of the acid depends upon its tendency to lose a proton. If it easily loses a proton, it's a strong acid. If it doesn't, it's a weak acid. Most of the acids we encounter in bath & body products and in life are weak acids. Vinegar, citric acid, salicylic acid, AHAs, and fatty acids, like stearic acid, are weak acids. Strong acids are things like gastric acid and sulfuric acid, things we don't want in on our hands or in our products! 

Some acids will lower pH in a significant way and others will not. It depends upon the strength of the acid and the concentration. For instance, a weak acid like citric acid could lower a product by 1 pH at 0.2% strength. If you use more, it'll reduce it more. If you use less, it'll reduce it less. Something like salicylic acid can reduce it as well, but a fatty acid like stearic acid or a humectant like hyaluronic acid will produce no change.*

*Attention soapmakers! There is a (former) reader of this blog who is trying to convince me that the fatty acid, lauric acid, will reduce the pH of a a liquid alkaline soap to pH 7 or neutral. I do not believe this is possible. If you have a video of you reducing the pH of your soap by using ONLY lauric acid or stearic acid, then please send me the link. I will accept no evidence of an anecdotal sort - because I've already been offered that - only a video of the process from start to finish with a pH meter will suffice. Thanks in advance!  

When you're considering changing the pH of something, make sure you have a good meter. Those strips are fine and dandy for soap, but they aren't as effective for lotions, body washes, and other liquid products as a pH meter might be. I know it's asking a lot for you to buy a pH meter if you're making products, but if you are using alkaline ingredients, like decyl glucoside, or very acidic ingredients, like AHAs, a pH meter is essential. 

To those in the know, I am aware the picture at the top is showing phenolphthalein, which is a base indicator for things that are above pH 7, but it is a such a pretty pink and I wanted to use it! The middle flask does contain an acid. I know because this is from an experiment we did in class! 

Related posts:
pH & our skin
Adjusting the pH of our products
How to measure pH

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Debate: Water soluble or oil soluble preservatives in a scrub

There is quite a lively debate ongoing in the bath & body community about what kind of preservatives to use in an oil or emulsified scrub. (Heck, there's a debate about whether we need to use a preservative in a scrub, but I'm firmly on the side of "yes" for that one!) The question is this - do we use a water soluble or an oil soluble preservative in the product?

A scrub - emulsified or not - is an anhydrous or non-water containing product. We don't normally preserve anhydrous products as beasties need water to grow. A scrub, however, will come into contact with water as we dip our hands into it when in the shower or at the sink - no matter how much you think you've dried your hands, you'll still have some beading down your arm when you're in the tub! - so it needs a preservative to prevent anything in the water from contaminating the product. Which kind of preservative? It's an anhydrous product, so we would need an oil soluble preservative so it'll mix in, but the water that is introduced into the product is water soluble, so we would need something water soluble.

Here's the argument from the Making Skincare Facebook page (which I copied from a public forum):
If water may be introduced to the product or the product used in a humid bathroom then a preservative is advisable. An expert microbiologist advises that if trying to preserve an anhydrous product (including all oil+sugar/salt scrub) the oil soluble preservative will get locked in the oils so will not reach any water, if water was introduced into the product. So if you added an oil soluble preservative then that preservative will stay in the oils and not move over to where the water is located to protect that water against bacteria and mould so would be useless. So contrary to what you may have read, we should really use a water soluble preservative in an anhydrous product which means we’d need to add an emulsifier to get that preservative mixed in properly with the oils.
What does this argument mean to us? The argument is that we should be using a water soluble preservative with an emulsifier in an anhydrous scrub to ensure the preservative is not locked in the oils. I've read that the water soluble preservative should be mixed with an emulsifier to make it more available for the water that might enter the scrub.

Having said this, we are generally talking about emulsified scrubs on this blog, which means there's already an emulsifier in the mix. You wouldn't need to add another emulsifier to the mix. 

There are many arguments for and against this position. Liz on the Dish forum wrote this...
Seems possible, if concerned use a preservative blend that is water soluble and oil soluble. Or use a water soluble one and add an emulsifier. However if you have an emulsifier in the mix anyway, I don't see why an oil soluble preservative wouldn't work and even better. I mean you already have it fully soluble in the oils ready to go with the emulsifier if water is introduced, unlike the water soluble preservative as it's not soluble in the formula until water is introduced. This seems to me we'd get highly concentrated spurts of preservative instead of a homogenous mixture. Anyone else?
Phenonip is one of the standards in the industry as the go to preservative for anhydrous products, even though it's not highly water soluble it does have some water solubility. But again the question of, "Is the preservative available?" a good one, but we wouldn't know for sure unless we test for either type. 
My guru from the Dish forum, LabRat, suggested that for an emulsified scrub, "I would use 0.3% to 0.4% Phenonip. Phenonip contains Phenoxyethanol (and) Methylparaben (and) Ethylparaben (and) Butylparaben (and) Propylparaben (and) Isobutylparaben). All of these ingredients are soluble in oil." He repeats this suggestion again and again when asked what preservative should be used in an anhydrous or emulsified scrub. He also suggested, "I would use 0.3% to 0.4% Phenonip, LiquaPar PE or LiquaPar Optima."

So to sum it all up, when it comes to preserving scrubs, we have the following positions...
1. We don't need to preserve a salt or sugar scrub because the salt or sugar bind the water so there's no chance of contamination.
2. We need to preserve an anhydrous scrub with a water soluble preservative combined with an emulsifier so it is more available to the water when it enters the scrub when we use it.
3. We need to preserve an anhydrous scrub with an oil soluble preservative.
4. We can preserve an emulsified scrub with an oil soluble preservative because it's emulsified by the emulsifier, like Polawax or Incoquat BTMS-50.
5. We need to preserve an emulsified scrub with a water soluble preservative.

Have I changed the way I preserve my emulsified sugar scrubs? No. I've been using Phenonip, a preservative that is both oil and water soluble, for eight years, and it appears* to be working.  I've read that because of these varying levels of solubility, a paraben mix would be a good preserver of oil based scrubs, so I feel pretty happy with my choice.

*I say "appears" because I've never had any growth or visible contamination in any of my emulsified scrubs. I have not had my products challenged tested as I can't afford it, although it would be very interesting to see the results! 

I've said in the past that I wouldn't use Germaben II in a sugar scrub. Have I changed my mind? Kinda...sorta...maybe? I don't think I have, although I'm always open to learning more. The parabens we find in this preservative are less oil soluble than the combination we find in Phenonip, and I haven't seen information that says that Germaben II is a better choice than Phenonip in an emulsified scrub yet.

I've written this post to open up the debate and encourage a discussion. If you have some thoughts, please share them. If you have some links, please include them. I think this is a great topic and all opinions are welcome. (As usual, be nice!)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekday Wonderings: What can we put into the cool down phase?

In this post, Learning to formulate: The cool down phase,  MSC asks: What is the maximum percentage of ingredients, specifically oils, that I can add in my cool down phase? I recently read that it is better not to heat Argan oil, which I would like to use. If I wanted 4% of my oil to be Argan could I add that during cool down, at the same time as my preservative and essential oils, or would that not work?

You're asking two questions here, so let's tackle each one individually.

Is it okay to heat argan oil? (Answer is originally from this post.) Yes. There is no reason not to put it in the heated phase of our products. There's a perception out there that some carrier or exotic oils are fragile creatures, that they can't handle heating and holding at 70˚C/158˚F. They can. The smoke point on these oils is much much higher than the heating and holding temperature, and you are doing them no harm by heating them.

Related posts:
Does heating and holding damage our oils?
Heating, holding, freezing, and thawing our oils
Why we heat & hold ingredients
Why we heat & hold our ingredient separately

The second question is how much can we put into our cool down phase? The cool down phase is generally under 45˚C/113˚F, and we put all the oil soluble and water soluble ingredients that can't handle heat into this phase. This is where we put our volatile ingredients, heat sensitive ingredients, and fragrance or essential oils. How much can we put into it? We want to put as little as possible into this phase in emulsified products. There isn't a hard and fast rule about adding no more than x% of the recipe into this phase, but the goal is to add as little as possible.

Why? Because these ingredients don't get the benefit of the heating and holding phase, and we really want that process to happen as it's an essential part of creating a stable emulsion. (Yes, you can create an emulsion by putting your ingredients in the microwave long enough to melt, but it isn't going to be stable, and runs the risk of separating or failing!) If you have a ton of oil soluble ingredients in the cool down phase, you aren't heating and holding them, which means they might not emulsify as well.

So to answer the question - argan oil should go into the heated oil phase with your other oils and your cool down phase should be as small as you can make it!

Related posts:
How do you know into which phase we should add an ingredient?
How do you know how much of each ingredient to add to a product?