Saturday, June 25, 2016

My thoughts on comments...

Update: After some serious thought, I've decided to answer questions and comments as best I can. Please click here to see some things you can do to make it more likely I'll be able to answer what you ask

As a note, as much as I love seeing your comments, I'm assessing whether or not I can continue to answer most of them individually in the near future. I've been keeping track of the amount of time I spend on the comments, and it's a lot. I mean a lot a lot!

I'm not kidding about how much time it takes to answer comments. I generally start writing around 11 am on Sunday, and I can take until 3 or 4 to answer comments. By then, I'm generally tired and need a break, then it's dinner, and my writing time is done for the week. This means no blog posts for the week. That's a big deal to me.

I do find it hard to get to your comments right away. I have a super busy life, and if you want an answer with more than a few lines, you generally have to wait until the weekend when I have more time and can be more thoughtful. This time is competing with time during which I could be writing blog posts and e-books, teaching, or doing more research. And in the end, maybe 5% of you come back to acknowledge that you've seen the comment, and even fewer return to share what happened to the recipes I helped you work out. It's a huge commitment of time for something it seems few people see or value.

I'll be monitoring the blog over the next month to see what I should do. If I choose not to answer comments individually, I will still answer unique or interesting ones or ones that could benefit the larger readership as a Weekend Wondering. The rest will go unanswered or they may be answered by a link to a place on the blog where you can find an answer, like the FAQ or newbie section. (I haven't really decided what I'll do because I'm hoping I don't have to make that decision...)

What can you do to keep me answering comments? Show me you're out there. Watch for me to answer by refreshing the page or by clicking the little box that sends you an e-mail when someone has posted in that thread. Say "hi" or "thanks" or "WTF, Swift?" or whatever to acknowledge that you've returned to the blog. When I say things like, "Let us know how it turned out!" come back and let us know how it turned out! Share a recipe you've made from the blog or share your modifications. In short, participate in the blog!

I get if you don't want to participate because you feel you don't have something to say. I'm sure you do, but I want to support my reticent and introverted readers by saying that you don't have to say anything if you're not comfortable doing so!

I'm part of a lot of Facebook groups and fora, and I see when you've posted here and there and the other place and that other site, so if I didn't answer your comment, it might be because you've had it answered in all those other places, and my opinion isn't required. Don't get me wrong: You don't need to post here and wait for me to answer. There are so many great sites, blogs, and groups where you can get information, and I encourage you to be part of all of them. Just don't get upset when I don't answer a question for which you've had half a dozen answers in other places. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Newbie Tuesday on Thursday: We're making facial products

I asked and you responded - let's do a Newbie Tuesday series on facial products! Here are the products I'd like to make!

- Facial cleanser
- Micellar water
- Creamy cleanser (like a lotion)
- Moisturizer
- Toner
- Gels of all kinds - toner, serum, eye gel
- Serum, including spot treatments

We'll work to create a base. Once we're happy with it, we'll start adding fancy things like extracts, cosmeceuticals, vitamins, and so on.

Where should we start? I'm thinking we start at the beginning with a facial cleanser then move into micellar water.

What do we need to buy for the series? I'll put together a list and share it here shortly. I'll offer a few choices based on your skin type. (Check out this section on skin chemistry and types.)

What about preservatives? Yes, you'll need to use preservatives. I will be using liquid Germall Plus in all my products and all the recipes are created with those in mind, but you're free to use any preservative that works with the product you're making. As we'll be making products with water, you'll want to choose something that is soluble in water. If I had to choose another preservative, I like Germaben II or PhenonipI'm not suggesting Optiphen as it can destabilize lotions for even the most experienced formulators, but you're welcome to use it. There are no "natural" preservatives I've seen that can stand alone or pass testing, so I'm not suggesting any of those at this time.

Check out the preservatives chart for more choices, or the preservatives section linked above to read more about all of them.

What do you think? Should we start with facial cleanser? Do you want me to outline a schedule we'll be following to give you time to order things? I'll put a shopping list up for all the products we'll be making over the next three months so you can get what you need.

Once I put up the shopping list, I figure we'll need four weeks for you to get the ingredients at your home - possibly longer in Canada as we have a postal strike looming in the future - before posting the first facial cleanser. Let's choose a about Tuesday, July 26th for the first recipe to create a facial cleanser? (The new date is Tuesday, September 13th!)


As a note, we have a postal strike looming in Canada, so I may have to move that date for the cleanser back so people can get supplies in time!

UPDATE: Do you want a supply list for all the products we will be making - for instance, cleanser, micellar water, lotion, toner - or should we concentrate solely on the facial cleanser to start? What do you think?

UPDATE: I've posted the shopping list in this post!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Using solubilizers to produce fragrance or room sprays

Sorry for the silence. It's been a difficult week as my mom's health isn't great at the moment, and it's kept me away from the computer. Thanks for your patience!

In this post, Caprol Micro Express, Sandra asks: I made a spray by using CMB but I found the spray was turned cloudy when the room temperature increased. Did you experience it? Is it fine to use such cloudy product? Or, it turns bad already!? Is there any way to enhance its stability? Thanks a lot! :)

The short answer is yes, you can use it when it's cloudy.

The longer answer is still yes, with an explanation of how solubilizers work. When it's cloudy it means you've done some solubilizing, which is a good thing. It means some of the oil is being solubilized by the Caprol Micro Express (in this case). You can get to a point where your product will not be cloudy - check out these room sprays I made using PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil below.

There are so many different solubilizers - you can see below all the different experiments I've done with them - and some produce clear products and others don't. You have to get the ratio right to get a clear product, and not all of them produce a clear product!

Some are a 1:1 ratio of solubilizer to fragrance/essential oil and some are higher. This is really a place where you need to experiment with your ingredients to see what works best.

Take a look at my experiments in the links below. You'll see all the ways I tried to get some of these things to work and what I had to do to get them clear.

Related posts:
Chemistry Thursday: Solubilizers, emulsifiers, and dispersers
The difference between solubilizers and emulsifiers redux
Solubilizers: A comparison
More thoughts about solubilizers
Surfactants and fragrance/essential oils 

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil
Preparing for my experiments with this ingredient
Experiments with different fragrance and essential oils (part one)
Experiments with different fragrance oils (part two)

Esters: Polysorbates
Using polysorbates in our products
It's all about the polysorbates, baby!
How to use polysorbates in our products

Caprylyl/capryl glucoside (overview)
Making fragrance sprays with caprylyl/capryl glucoside
Caprylyl/capryl glucoside, part two

Cromollient SCE in our products (overview)
Cromollient SCE in our hair care products
Cromollient SCE in a body wash
Cromollient SCE in a clear body wash
Using Cromollient SCE in other products

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Newbie Tuesday: Facial products?

I was thinking about resuming Newbie Tuesday in the near future to make facial products, like a moisturizer, toner, or cleanser. I thought we could develop a base recipe, then add some cool extras to it, like cosmeceuticals, extracts, botanicals, and more. 

What would you think of this idea? Or would you prefer to work on something else for a newbie series of tutorials? (Check the newbie section below to see what we've already covered.) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Related posts:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why do conditioning agents smell fishy?

Have you ever caught a whiff of a positively charged conditioner like Incroquat BTMS-50 or honeyquat and wondered why it smelled fishy? There's nothing wrong with the product: You're smelling the ammonium salt in the cationic quaternary compound! (That N in the molecule above...) Some people can smell it, some can't. It's hard to know if you'll be a smeller or not until you get a nose full of the ingredient. 

It shouldn't remain in the finished product, although there are some very sensitive noses that might still notice it. If you do, consider scenting the product at 0.5% to 1% to mask it. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Can I use magnesium oil in my lotions?

In this post, Pumpkin seed: Making a light lotion, Anamaria asked, I would like to know if I could ever make this same lotion adding magnesium chloride oil? Would it survive to the heat? Thanks

Magnesium oil isn't an oil. It's a solution of water and magnesium flakes, so it's a water soluble ingredient, not an oil. It could handle the heat well, so you could add it to the heated water phase of a lotion. Magnesium chloride is a salt or an electrolyte, and a lot of our ingredients really don't like electrolytes much, so check before you add it to your product.

What is an electrolyte? "An electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that make the substance electrically conductive. The most typical electrolyte is an ionic solution, but molten electrolytes and solid electrolytes are also possible. Commonly, electrolytes are solutions of acids, bases or salts." (From Wikipedia).

The most common electrolyte we'll meet as bath and body makers is salt (external link), found as magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts), sodium chloride (table salt), dendritic salts (sodium chloride), and so on. (Magnesium chloride in magnesium oil is a salt.)

How much salt a product can handle will depend on the product. Surfactant blends like shampoo, body wash, or bubble bath can generally handle about 3% before they go really watery. (In fact, we can thicken some surfactant mixes with salt - it's called the salt curve.) Surfactants aren't a great place to use electrolytes.

If you want to put it into a lotion, check to see what your emulsifier can handle. Polawax is electrolyte tolerant, Natragem EW can handle up to 10% salt, but Aristoflex AVC will fall apart. Lotionpro 165 (aka Simulsol 165) is supposed to handle electrolytes well.

If you want to put it into a gel, check to see what you can use. Ultrez 20, my favourite carbomer, works very well with electrolytes, but if you use more than a titch, you'll start to lose viscosity. I'm working with Sepimax ZEN and Sepimax EMT 10 this week, two gel creating polymers that have good resistance to electrolytes, so those might work for a magnesium oil gel.

Xanthan gum is tolerant to high levels of electrolytes, and salts could actually help thicken it further. Guar gum is "uncommonly resistant" to electrolytes, and can be used in combination with xanthan gum to thicken it further.

If you want to use it in a product, try it at a low amount - let's say 3% - and see how it turns out. Make a small batch of the product to see what you think of it, and keep really good notes. Then add 1% every time you make it to see what you think. And come back to tell us what you think so we can share your experiences with other people who might like to make products with this magnesium oil.

A guide to magnesium oil
Ancient Minerals

Magnesium picture above By Romain Behar, Public Domain

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: What do I do when a friend is selling my recipes?

I thought I'd share as a quick note that I'm finally on Twitter. You can find me there as @SwiftCraftyM and subscribe or like or whatever one does to follow someone. (Funnily enough, I couldn't get my whole real name or my silly nickname in there as there were too many characters!)

In this post, There are no old posts, Febe asks: I have a question about copy write of recipes. My neighbor is using my skincare recipes and "selling to friends and family." I spent two years working on my formulations and testing. I asked her to test and she asked for the recipes to make for herself. Lesson learned - I should not have shared. But, I thought she was my friend. Anyway. She changed some amounts but not the ingredients. Are there any guideline that govern this kind of activity? How does all that work if someone copies your recipe and sells the produce? 

That's really unfortunate that a friend would do that to you. I'm so sorry you've experienced this kind of betrayal. What's she has done is completely unethical and just plain mean. 

I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know much about trademark or copyright, but my feeling is that I don't think there's anything you can do about this without spending a lot of money. And in the end, I suspect, she can say that it's her recipe because she altered the amount of this thing, increased the amount of that thing, and took this other thing out altogether for another thing. 

Are you comfortable bringing this up with her? Do you think talking to her will help? She might not stop selling things, but you might feel better sharing your feelings with her? 

I could be completely wrong here. I'd love to hear from someone more knowledgeable about the law than I am. I'm guessing from the spelling of "neighbour" as "neighbor", the original commenter is in America?

Links to my e-books

Someone asked if I could post a link to all my e-books. (The permanent link is in the right hand side column of the blog.) As you know, all the proceeds from these e-books go to our youth programs, collectively called Rated T for Teen. The pictures you see here are from our recent groups.

If you're interested in the heart shaped locket with solid perfume below, check out this link

Back to Basics is a 122 page e-book that includes over 50 recipes and explanations for making lotion bars, whipped butters, balms, oil based scrubs, bath melts, bath oils, oil based sprays, solid scrubs, and facial sera, as well as all the carrier oil, exotic oil, and butter profiles and everything I've gathered about the chemistry of our oils including fatty acids, mechanisms of rancidity, phytosterols, and polyphenols.

Formulating facial products This 399 page e-book is filled with recipes for facial products, including moisturizers, sera, cleansers (oil and surfactant based), scrubs, gels, and more, as well as entries for ingredients like botanical extracts, cosmeceuticals, emulsifiers, thickeners, essential oil, and more, as well as a large appendix about our oils.

Lotion Making 101 This 305 page book includes everything you wanted to know about the basics of making lotions, including the chemistry of our lotions, ingredients we use, keeping your lotions safe, equipment you might need, and more recipes than I could count! For those of you who don't have the Back to Basics book, I've included all the carrier oil, exotic oil, and butter profiles.

Formulating lotions & creams This 224 page e-book is perfect for those of you familiar with lotion making and ready to start creating your own recipes! I've included all the information I know about the HLB system, as well as my base recipes for lotions, creams, body butters, and moisturizers!

Hair care products: Shampoos & Conditioners is a 194 page e-book dedicated to all the ingredients you need to make your own products as well as loads of recipes.

My goal is to have a few more to add to this list shortly! Thank you for your amazing and wonderful support!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Summer's almost here - don't make your own sunscreen, please

The strawberries are out and the raspberries are ready early. It's almost summer, and I thought I'd offer you a few thoughts about summer products!

Please please please please please don't make your own sunscreen. I say this every year, and I'll continue to say it this year. You simply can't be sure that what you've made works, and if it fails, you risk sunburn and possible future skin cancers. It's not as easy as adding some titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to a lotion and calling it a sunscreen. There are tons of variables required to make a sunscreen, then test if it works. That's why it's classified as a drug in Canada. If you'd like to know more about why I am begging you not to do this, check out these links...

Related posts:
Blast from the past: Sunscreens
Please don't make your own sunscreens and other summer thoughts
Adding SPF to moisturizers

Here's a post on adapting your products for summer. You might want to make them feel lighter, add more humectants, or make them more sprayable! Check out the post for more ideas.

I'll be going into my air conditioned cave for the next three months for my sumner hibernation as I hate this weather so much. Anyone living in Greenland or somewhere equally chilly feel like hosting me, my husband, and my adorable dog until September? I'll teach you how to make lotions and all kinds of fun things!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: How do you combine preservatives?

I wanted to thank all of you so much for subscribing to the blog through Patreon! If you sign up between now and June 30th, your subscription starts on July 1st. But I'll be doing the live Q&A and the duplicated recipe this month as my thank you for signing up early and believing in me! (Have any questions? Post them here or write to me at

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here to learn how you can support the blog

In this post, Weekday Wonderings, ingenting writes: In this post you write about pairing potassium sorbate with another preservative...I was wondering (not just for this case, but in general), when pairing preservatives, how much should you add of each? Would you need to adjust the recommended usage rate in some way? Or can you use each preservative at their own recommended usage rate?

E.g. (I'm totally making this combo up, btw), if you want to combine LGP with Germaben II, would you use 0.5% LGP and 1% Germaben II, for a total of 1.5% preservative... or would you dial it down to, say, 0.3% LGP and 0.5% Germaben II?

Yes, you'd want to use their recommended usage rate for things like sorbic acid or potassium sorbate when combining them together. So you'd want to use sodium benzoate at up to 1% as your bacteria killer and potassium sorbate at up to 0.39%.

As for using two broad spectrum preservatives like Germaben II and liquid Germall Plus together, we generally wouldn't. I've combined them at their maximum usage rate in a toner than contained strawberry extract as I couldn't stop the darned stuff from going mouldy. This combination didn't help either, so I gave up on powdered strawberry extract and moved to the liquid version.

Related posts:
Organic acids & sodium benzoate

In the same post, ingenting also asks: request...I was wondering if one day you could do a post on recommended books to teach yourself diy cosmetics, or the books that have helped you get to here ( chemistry books included:) ). 

Click here to see the references I use when researching ingredients! (From the FAQ) I also have a few blogs I like, which you can find down a bit on the right hand side of this blog.

Related posts:
Where to get good information? 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Using potassium sorbate alone isn't a good idea! How to add things to the cool down phase? Can you fully replace the water in a lotion with something else?

I've noticed a lot of people using potassium sorbate and sorbic acid as the only preservatives in a product. Neither of these are what we call broad spectrum preservatives, ones that will take care of bacteria, fungus, yeast, and mold, so you have to pair them with another one. Neither of these are good with bacteria, so pairing them with phenoxyethanol or Optiphen or another effective bacteria beater is a great idea!

In this post, How do you know when to add an ingredient?, Tiffany asks: My first question is about the cool down phase. The stuff you add in this phase do you just add it when the temperature is right or do you dilute it with water or oil first then set it aside? Then add it when the lotion has cooled? I really may be nuking this but I can't seem to find anything on the subject?

Second question. Can you fully replace the water in a lotion with aloe vera juice or a hydrosol? I have been trying to find an answer for this but have come up empty handed.

Yes, you just add the cool down phase into the container when the temperature reaches 45˚C. You don't need to mess around with it. Just weigh it like you would the other ingredients directly into the container. Something that needs to be diluted, like a powdered extract or preservative, can be mixed with a titch of warm water to get the process going, but you could just put it into the container and let the warm water dilute it.

Related posts:
Newbie section
Creating products: The cool down phase
How do you know when to add things?
Learning to formulate: The cool down phase

As for your second question, no, you don't want to replace all the water with something else. Water is an important part of our lotions - it's not just filler. Plus all those lovely things you want to use instead of water contain electrolytes, which can throw off the emulsion or the preservative. Better to use no more than 10% aloe vera or 10% hydrosol and add distilled water for the rest.

Related posts:
Water isn't just filler

Monday, June 6, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: How to use preservatives in our products?

Thanks for continuing to comment on all kinds of posts on the blog! The spam is abating, but it's still there, so I need to moderate comments for a while longer.

Please keep the comments coming for your suggestions for the one ingredient, five products posts! I let Raymond choose the next next ingredient, which will be xanthan gum, but I still need to choose other ones. (I won't be doing xanthan gum until July at the earliest as I need to experiment a bit more with it, so I'm looking for something to write about next!)

There have been a few questions about how to figure out how much preservative to use in a product. First, find out the suggested usage rate for your preservative of choice. My favourite, liquid Germall Plus, calls for 0.1% to 0.5%. I generally use the higher rate as I can't be completely sterile in my workshop. Find out into which phase you add it, then add it at that percentage to your product.

All recipes should total 100%, so everything in the recipe is included in that 100%. They shouldn't be 101% or 105% and so on. The total we want is 100%.

Before you correct me by showing me examples of where I didn't total 100%, I am well aware of my sometimes not-so-great adding skills and have recipes all over this blog that are over and under. I make mistakes all the time! When I write recipes that could use up to 1% preservative instead of my usual 0.5% preservative, I note that it might not add up to 100%. 

Let's look at this lotion recipe from the newbie section of the blog. Let's pretend that it doesn't contain any preservative. (This is killing me to write a recipe without preservatives!)

70% distilled water

15% oil (sunflower, soy bean, rice bran, or olive oil)
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
6% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)

1% fragrance or essential oil

If you want to add liquid Germall Plus to the mix, you would add 0.5% to the cool down phase and remove 0.5% of the distilled water so the recipe continues to add up to 100%. Notice the difference in the distilled water amount.

69.5% distilled water

15% oil (sunflower, soy bean, rice bran, or olive oil)
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
6% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)

1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

If you wanted to use Germaben II, which has a suggested usage rate of up to 1%, then you would add that 1% to the cool down phase and remove 1% from the distilled water so the recipe continues to add up to 100%.

If you wanted to use Phenonip, which has a suggested usage rate of 0.25% to 1% in a lotion, you'd add 0.5% to the heated water phase and 0.5% to the heated oil phase, then remove 1% from the distilled water amount to keep the recipe at 100% total.

And so on...

If you find a recipe that doesn't contain a preservative, make sure you add one! There are so many out there that tell you to put the product in the fridge for a week. Don't. Add a preservative and feel happy that you've kept your product safe!

Related posts:
Preservatives section of the blog
FAQ - check out the calculating section
How do I modify a recipe when adding or subtracting something?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Crazy yellow lotions and digital scales!

Thank you all so much for your lovely support of the blog through Patreon. If you'd like to learn more about how to subscribe to the blog to keep it free and get some exclusive Patreon stuff, please click here!

Check out the products we made in the first ever advanced lotion making class at Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C. yesterday!

If you're interested in knowing when my classes are offered, please email me and I can put your on my e-mail notification list. I won't bug you constantly with e-mail and I won't sell your address, I promise! Or you can get in touch with Voyageur and get on the waiting list for the next class. I hope we can do some in the summer in another location as it's far too warm in the loft. It was horrible in May and almost sickening yesterday with the outside temperature at 30 ˚C. I can't imagine what July would be like! 

I love these pictures taken by Emily for so many reasons, but I wanted to address the colour of this lotion. It's a 5% sea buckthorn oil lotion that is incredibly yellow and awesome looking! It goes on yellow for a second, then turns white on your skin. Just wanted to remind you to be aware of the colour of the ingredients you use. They might just colour your product. They might colour your skin!

Also, consider your scale! Digital scales do not like to measure little amounts. For instance, if you have a 1 gram scale, anything under about 5 grams isn't going to be that accurate. If I have a 100 gram lotion I'm making, adding that 1 gram fragrance oil is likely to be off. So I put my jug on the scale and calculate one gram from the higher amount. It doesn't matter what it is. If my jug and lotion weigh 200 grams together, just add 1 gram of fragrance oil to make it 201. If it weighs 500 grams, just add 1 gram to make it 501 grams. And so on.

Sorry for the shortened post today, but it's incredibly hot and I am not in the right head space to write when I'm warm like this. My air conditioning died on my way home from class yesterday, so I couldn't cool down then either! I do have an air conditioner in my computer room and I'm sitting right next to it, but it's still warmer than I like. I really need to move to Greenland for the summer every year!!! (Anyone from Greenland want a visitor for a few months? I'll teach you how to make lotions and such!) 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Have an idea for a one ingredient, five products series?

Do you have an idea for a one ingredient, five products series? It has to be something versatile and easily available at most suppliers' stores. It has to be something I can play with in my workshop and something I can get relatively inexpensively with my new part-time wages.

It could be an emulsifier, but not Polawax, e-wax, Incroquat BTMS-50, or Ritamulse SCG as I have dozens if not hundreds of recipes for those ingredients. It can be an extract, oil, butter, humectant, and so on.

Previous one ingredient, five products series:
Stearic acid
Cucumber extract
Sunflower oil (10 products)
Incroquat BTMS-50 (10 products)

I can't wait to see what you say!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

My new Patreon page

As you may or may not know, I work a day job as a family support worker, and my hours have gone from five days a week to three. It's a bit of a shock to our family budget and to my brain, which is accustomed to working every hour I'm given.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to take some time to create more content for the blog by researching and working with new ingredients in the workshop so I can write more informational posts and create more new recipes! I've also set out a plan to create a monthly e-zine and new e-books, including an ingredient encyclopedia, as well as the possibility of doing some video classes. (Don't get too excited yet. The videos are definitely in the "wouldn't it be awesome if..." category for now!)

To that end, I've set up a Patreon page where you can offer support to me and the blog through a small one-off donation or through a monthly subscription that gets you some awesome things, like the chance to suggest a duplication recipe, and a monthly e-zine. I'll be offering some exclusive content over there on the Patreon feed as well as a monthly Q&A that I hope will become a live chat in the next few months.

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn't be doing more duplicating, but I kinda found the bug again, especially given I have all kinds of crazy emulsifiers, cosmeceuticals, and more at my disposal these days. 

Rather than adding all kinds of annoying advertising and taking sponsored posts, I thought this was the best way to raise money for me to continue to work on the blog. This way I can keep the blog free for everyone without all those annoying distractions and definitely un-science-y stories about one weird trick that can do something awesome for your life, who is sleeping with whom, and how some woman in your town makes thousands working from home doing something strange...

As another note, your pledge is charged on the first of the month. So anything you pledge before July 1st won't come out until then. But I'll be posting over there and gathering your thoughts about the duplication recipe until then! (I won't have an e-zine out until late July...)

Please note, any pledge you make through Patreon will be going directly to support me as I increase the amount of content you can find on this blog, in my new e-zine, and future e-books. It is not a donation to my youth programs. If you wish to donate to my youth programs, the proceeds from my five e-books will continue to go directly to the Rated T for Teen youth programs my husband and I run through Chilliwack Community Services. (Click here to learn more about our youth programs. They're awesome!!!) Nothing changes there, and we continue to thank you!

Thank you for all your ongoing support. I couldn't write this blog without you - and wouldn't want to! - and I appreciate all your support, kindness, and generosity for everything I do! (You can't see it, but I'm smiling and waving at you all while I blush!)

A huge thanks to Kendra Cote of Modern Soapmaking for helping me through this process. (Check out her Patreon page! It's incredible!) And to Marg Peebles for arranging our connection. I am forever in your debt, you amazing women! 

One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - some questions!

On this post on creating foot scrub bars, Yekatherina asks: Back in December 29, 2011 you posted about the Solid Foot Pumice Bars with a recipe that included sodium lactate. The one on this particular post does not include it and it adds more of the stearic acid. Is there a particular reason why you took out the sodium lactate (as in safety reasons) or does it have to do more with showcasing the stearic acid in this particular post.

The short answer is that I took the sodium lactate out of the recipe because I wanted to highlight stearic acid as a bar hardener. Both are good choices for bar hardeners, and I often use both!

In this post on hand lotions, Ahmed asks: Can we skip the e-wax and use an alkali like TEA or potassium hydroxide to saponify stearic acid to get the emulsifier.. and if we gonna use an alkali which's better and why? .. thank you <3 i="">

Yes, you can use stearic acid and an alkaline ingredient like triethanolamine to create a soap-like emulsifier. I've never done this, so I'll refer you to this document on how to do it. It's a great emulsifier for making cold creams, and I think my interest is piqued enough to want to make it!

I'm afraid I can't recommend what alkalis are best because I haven't experimented with this, so I'll suggest sticking to the recipe in the links and experimenting once you feel comfortable with making it.

I hope you've enjoyed this series on stearic acid! Have any more questions about stearic acid? What are you waiting for? Go buy some and have some experimenting fun!

The other posts in this series:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - conclusions and link round up

What have we learned about stearic acid this last week?

1. It's a fatty acid derived from animal or vegetable sources. (Ask your supplier if this concerns you.) It's found in almost all our butters and oils, and even in ourselves!

2. It's oil soluble, meaning you can combine it with oils and butters well, but it won't combine with water without an emulsifier.

3. It's not an emulsifier. It is an oil soluble ingredient with a required HLB of 15.

Example of a recipe done with the HLB system to create an emulsifier with stearic acid in the mix. 

4. It's a great thickener of oil-in-water lotions and oils. Use it at up to 3% in the heated oil phase to increase the viscosity of a lotion.

5. It can be used in place of the fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, or behenyl alcohol. It will thicken the product more and will have a draggier skin feel, though.

6. It's a great hardener. If you want to harden a bar, stearic acid is a great choice in place of or in addition to butters.

7. It's a great emollient. If you want some "oil free" moisturization, stearic acid fits the bill! If you want some regular moisturizing, it's pretty awesome for that purpose, too.

8. It's inexpensive. You may spent upwards of $30 a pound for a butter to thicken a lotion, while you're unlikely to spend more than $6 for 454 grams or 1 pound of stearic acid.

9. It has a long shelf life. It says two years, but you could easily have it for 3 or more.

10. It can be combined with triethanolamine to create an emulsifier for water-in-oil lotions.

Stearic acid is one of those staples I always keep in my workshop so I can make awesome creams, thicken my shampoo bars, and create solid scrub bars that keep their shape in the shower! Let's all say "yay!" for stearic acid!

For more posts on stearic acid...
Stearic acid: A few questions answered
Why include stearic acid?
Cetyl alcohol vs. stearic acid
Substituting cetyl alcohol with other ingredients in a product

The other posts in this series: