Friday, September 30, 2016

Newbie Tuesday should be seen this weekend...

Sorry for not having a post on Tuesday, but it's been a difficult week for my mom and I couldn't get things done. If you've commented or emailed me, I again ask for your patience as I can't really do much as I sit at her bedside in the hospital as it's just too chaotic to think or write! I hope to get to the posts this weekend, along with some comments. In the meantime, if you have an urgent question or thought, check out the sections I've written about various things, like hair care or beginners' projects, or do a search. (Blogger says they've improved it, so give it a whirl!) 

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of Blondie enjoying her birthday cupcake! She turned 17 last Saturday! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

My latest e-zine is for sale

My latest e-zine, Gels: Ooey Gooey Fun! is now for sale in the e-books and e-zine section of the blog. I'm so excited to share my love of carbomers, gels, and thickeners with you in this 34 page e-book packed to the rafters with new recipes with new ingredients, like Sepimax ZEN and EMT 10 as well as carbomer in the form of Ultrez 20. Learn to make eye gels, facial cleansers, moisturizers, body washes, toners, spot treatments, after shaves, and more. As I promise on the cover, it's ooey gooey fun!

As a note, I'm teaching a class on this topic at Voyageur Soap & Candle on November 5th at 9:30! It should be great fun as we make after shave, toner, cleanser, and eye gels in this quick 3 hour class!

If you're interested in receiving my monthly e-zine when it comes out, check out my Patreon page for more information. 

As a note, all the money raised by the sale of these e-zines goes directly to me and my family. The proceeds from the e-books still goes 100% to the youth programs my husband and I run called Rated T for Teen. Just wanted to make that distinction. 

And you can continue to get issue 1 of the e-zine, Summer Products, though the same link on the blog. 

Thank you for all your kind and continued support of the blog, the youth programs, and me! 

Newbie Tuesday: Facial cleansers - submit your recipes!

Hi everyone! For those of you playing along at home, I'd really like to see your facial cleanser recipes as we make them. I know some of you have made huge changes - like Anna who used decyl glucoside and SCI! - and it would be awesome to see what you're doing so others can follow along!

If you've made some changes to two recipes from last week - the base recipe and the modified recipes with humectants and cationic polymers - or any future recipes, please share them and your opinions on what you've made with your fellow learners! Why keep that information to yourself when you could share with someone else who's as passionate about bath & body products as you are?

If you want to send along pictures - which would be awesome! - please send them to with the recipe! Or post the recipes here or in other related posts, and I'll put together a round up in the near future!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Did you make facial cleanser? What did you think? (part three)

In this post, Additions to the base recipe, Cath said: I made the cleanser for dry skin as per the percentages advised but with surfactants available in Australia (maybe my research skills are poor but I simply could not locate exactly what was named on the list). The basic recipe was a nice viscosity after adding thickener. Application was enjoyable with a perfect amount of foamy lather, no eye irritation on removal of eye makeup and washed off easily. After my face had dried, I felt my skin would benefit from moisturising as it felt a tad dry. 

Version 2 of this recipe was to increase Glycerine to 10% and add Aloe Vera Gel at 5%. This recipe felt different on application in that the product felt like it had "body" even though the viscosity appeared only slightly thicker than Version 1. Once again there was no eye irritation and the product washed off very well. My skin felt soft and slightly more hydrated. I have been oil cleansing for some time which may cloud my feelings on this cleanser somewhat. I will attempt a Version 3 with the addition of Polyquat 7 to see if I can detect any difference.

Gah, you're all running ahead, ruining the surprise for Tuesday! Just kidding! I'm glad to see you're trying new things with the recipes to see what works for you. Reading stuff on a page is a good thing, but trying these things at home to see what you think is most important!

What you've done with the glycerin and aloe vera gel increases the mildness of the product, and increase the hydration it can offer. I'll be going into greater detail on Tuesday about this topic, but this is a great change to the recipe, which you've demonstrated by having your skin feel more hydrated!

Cath, I'd love to know what surfactants you used! Do you mind sharing? I want to get a range of recipes for this cleanser that everyone can try! And did you try the polyquat 7?

And in this post, Did you make a facial cleanser (part one)? Anna said: Thank you for a great tutorial and all the inspiration you give in your blog! I made a facial cleanser for oily skin but since I don't have some of the suggested ingredients, I've had to improvise! In my experience, it's been difficult to find ingredients that aren't possible to market as "natural" in Sweden and Europe. I can't get Crothix and the substitute I got (EasyMix Silk) only made clumps and did not thicken well. So I formulated my cleanser to go in a foamer bottle. I'm also envious of the person who only has small foamer bottles because I can only find large ones that look ridiculous with the tiny amounts of product I make! The surfactants I have to play with are cocamidopropyl betaine, decyl glucoside, plantapon LGC, powdered DLS, sodium C14/C16 olefin sulphonate, and SCI. 

I've made three different facial cleansers. All of them contained 77.5% water, 15% surfactants, 3% polyquat 7, 2% hydrolyzed oat protein, 2 % panthenol, and 0.5% Liquid Germall plus. In the first I tried to combine 5% cocamidopropyl betaine with 10% SCI but the SCI precipitated on the second day and clogged the foaming mechanism. Before that it was lovely! In the second version I combined 5% cocamidopropyl betaine with 5% decyl glucoside and 5% sodium c14/C16 olefin sulphonate and adjusted the pH (because I have a pH-meter!). This version was nice although maybe not as cleansing as I need it to be. The third version included 5% cocamidopropyl betaine, 2.5% decyl glucoside, 2.5% SCI, and 5% sodium c14/C16 olefin sulphonate. I still had to adjust the pH with this small proportion of decyl glucoside. This is my favourite version so far! It's a bit creamier than the second version thanks to the SCI, and a litte bit more cleansing. I still have a little problem with skin tightness after washing even though I included moisturizing ingredients. But I love using it and knowing that I made it myself! 

Wow, great changes, Anna! This last combination sounds amazing! We'll be talking about moisturizing ingredients this Tuesday, but I encourage you to check out last week's post on using humectants, like glycerin, and cationic polymers, like polyquat 7 or honeyquat. These can go quite a long way for hydrating and conditioning your skin!

So what can you do if you don't have the surfactants I use in this series? Improvise! Check out this section about surfactants, or look at the comparison chart (scroll to the bottom after clicking). There are so many lovely surfactants with which you can play; I've chosen the most common and easily available ones to me in North America but there are so many nice ones!

I'll be collecting information on the surfactants you're using so I can make some suggestions for how to use them in future products, so please let me know if you're making these changes!

If you'd like to play along with this facial products series to make cleanser, please check out these posts!
If you'd like to play along at home, check out these posts for this facial cleanser series!

Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe

Friday, September 23, 2016

Newbie Tuesday: Did you make facial cleanser? What did you think? (part two)

Let's take a look at a few more comments about the facial cleansers you made last week based on this recipe or this recipe. (If you missed part one of these comments, please click here and see what your fellow readers are saying!) And look for part three shortly, too!

Susan writes: Thank you for the Face Cleanser recipes - I made the recipe for Dry/Sensitive skin. I live in Calgary, so not only am I in a dry climate, but I have dry skin also, so double parched here!
Here is my feedback on the basic recipe (no additives):

How does it feel on your skin? - I really liked how mild it felt. I used it to remove my makeup at the end of the day, and there was no irritation around the eyes, which is really important since I don't like to have to use an eye makeup remover AND a facial cleanser. 

Was the product too thick or too thin? - I found it a bit thick, but that is because my scale jumped from 0 to 2 when adding the Crothix. (time for a new scale!) so I was at the max right away. I will probably put only 1 % in the next batch. 

How was the lather, the foam, the bubbles? - Perfect, actually. I don't like a lot of bubbles on my face. I found it to be a nice, rich, creamy lather, without many bubbles.

How well did it rinse off? I used warm water to cleanse with, and it rinsed off quite well. With the reduced Crothix next batch, it will probably rinse even better!

Skin feel after rinsing off? - Skin felt clean, and smooth. Not tight, but feeling like I will need a moisturizer to follow. 

I have been using Cetaphil in the past because it is mild and rinses off clean. I think this will be a great replacement. I love how easily my makeup rinses off, with no racoon eyes left behind :). Looking forward to adjusting it a bit with some additives!

Susan added this the next day: I modified the recipe for dry skin, and liking the results. To the surfactant phase, I added 3% Polyquat 7 and increased glycerin to 4%. I reduced Crothix to 1%. I like the soft, clean feeling on my face, not dry or tight. I am thinking this is going to be my new favourite facial cleanser! 

Thanks so much for such a detailed comment, Susan! I'm excited that you like it! 

*A quick point of interest if you're using one of these kinds of digital scales and want to measure small amounts. These aren't great for amounts of 5 grams or lower. If you don't want to buy a smaller scale, like this one, my suggestion is to put your container on the scale and just count up the few grams you need.

Stephanie shared her experiences with us in this post: I ended up using a different surfactant for part of mine because of availability issues. Here's what my recipe looked like:

Facial Cleanser 
15g LSB 
5g SLSa
10g cocamidopropyl betaine
5g glycerin
0.5g liquid Germall Plus

10g Aloe Vera liquid 
51.5g distilled water
3g Hydrolyzed oat protein 
.5g Silk peptides
.5g Helichrysum and lavender essential oils

No crothix was necessary, I was happy with the texture of the overall product. I know you don't like essential oils around your face, but helichrysum is alleged to be good for aging skin and lavender is that catch all oil that's good for everything. And they smell nice together, which is the awesome thing. I also made a bottle of this with petitgrain essential oil for my daughter who likes mild citrus and floral scents and she loves it so far! Very gentle, no residue afterwards, but your skin doesn't feel dried out and itchy.

I love your customization of this recipe! (And you're running ahead of us by adding aloe vera!) Isn't this why we're making our own things? I'm curious, though...what kind of SLSa did you use? I ask because the powder thickens beautifully for a few days, and then it can end up as concrete afterwards. 

Julie wrote: I made the facial cleanser for normal skin identical to your recipe and added the polyquat 7 at 3%. The consistency was good the first day then it seemed to have become more liquid the second day. It is normal or am I imagining things? I did not add crotihx just to see what I would get without it. In a pump bottle and distributing in small quantity for the face, I like the consistency. The feeling was nice on my face. My skin felt clean afterward and did not feel tight, but looked a little dry. A little moisturizer was all I needed. I can't wait to try the toner! I was also curious and used the cleanser as a shampoo. I really like the feeling and it rinsed off well. For a shampoo, I would make it thicker so it would not run down between my fingers before I have time to apply it. But otherwise, it was much better than my last try at making shampoo. I really enjoy the newbie series!

Thanks for your thoughts Julie! You're not imagining things: Often times the consistency of our products can changer over the first 48 hours. For surfactant based products, I find the product needs to be at room temperature - which can take a bit if I've had a heated phase - and all the ingredients need to be included before I can see what the consistency might be. Fragrances can change the viscosity dramatically, and often I will fragrance the product today and check it for viscosity tomorrow or even the next day. 

Carol observed: I've modified the dry/sensitive formula by adding the 3% polyquat 7. I'm not noticing a huge difference from the preview I left after the first basic formula. My face feels clean but I find it still needs something more for conditioning/hydrating. I'll be following it up with a great toner and moisturizer so maybe the face wash does not need to be so moisturizing?

Thanks for trying both versions, Carol! I think it's a good idea to have the facial cleanser more moisturizing so skin doesn't feel tight or dry, but you bring up a good point about considering what the next product you use might be. If you're using a toner and/or moisturizer afterwards, then we can save the expensive ingredients for those leave on products and just go for cleansing and hydrating for the face wash.

To reflect on the comments...
If the product is too thick, leave out the Crothix. If it's still too thick, take out some of the thicker surfactant and replace it with water. LSB is a really thick surfactant, as are BSB and disodium laureth sulfoacetate, so you could remove 5% of one of those and add 5% instead and see where you are. In Stephanie's case above, it could be thanks to the aloe vera, which contains electrolytes which can thicken a product. (She's running ahead a few days here, so we'll discuss this more in detail shortly...)

I have a little video about viscosity you can find on my YouTube channel! 

If you don't like this as a facial cleanser, think of using it as a shampoo like Julie did, a body wash, or even a bubble bath. There are tiny differences between each of these products, and one that doesn't work to make your facial skin feel great may make your hair feel amazing!

And we will be designing the next aspect of the recipe with the thought of what products we might use next after cleaning our skin - like a toner, moisturizer, serum, etc. - 

So what do we do from here? We modify the recipe, of course! I'll continue to collect and share your ideas about the facial cleansers you've made and post ideas on how we can modify that original base next Tuesday! Join me tomorrow for more comments! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Newbie Tuesday: Did you make facial cleanser? What did you think? (Part one)

Last week, we made a facial cleanser, then modified it by adding humectants and cationic polymers. This week, we're talking about our recipes and how we could modify them to be more awesome for our skin type.

Please join the conversation by commenting here, on the other posts, or by emailing me at

Carol Ann commented: I made the cleanser for dry/sensitive skin using the 2% crothix because I like a thicker cleanser. It was a nice clear product. There was minimal lather, I could tell it was there but no large bubbles. It rinsed off easily. I waited a few minutes before using my toner to see how my skin felt - it definitely needs some conditioning ingredients added. I think this is a great start and I will continue to build on this base recipe. 

Conditioning ingredients, even at small amounts, make such a big difference! Oftentimes we think that we need huge amounts of something to have an impact; with something like a humectant or cationic polymer - like those we included in the recipe on Wednesday - can make such a difference at 2% to 5%. We'll be taking a look at adding a few other ingredients next week, like aloe vera or witch hazel, both of which offer hydration and moisturizing.

As an aside, if you want more bubbles, add a bit more SLeS. That recipe uses 5% SLeS, but you could go higher, if you wanted.

Pat commented: Thank you Susan for all the great info on creating a Facial cleanser. I have normal skin type and formulated my wash with 40% surfactants, including: Cocamide DEA, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine along with distilled water and Aloe Vera gel juice, Glycerin, preservative and White Grapefruit E-oil. The wash came out very clear and just the right viscosity without having to add Crothix, a dime size of the soft foam was all that was needed to cleanse and hydrate my skin, it felt literally "PERFECT"!! I did not apply moisturizer for the day for testing purposes and now just found out that I can use half the amount of moisturizer afterwards, so very happy thanks to you :) :) :)

Pat followed up with this: To answer your question on "How I feel about my facial cleanser a few days later" is that it still feels great after the cleansing and takes my make-up off with ease also...It's very nice and cost effective too..

Woo! This is what we want to hear! An ideal cleanser should leave your skin feeling fresh, moisturized, and hydrated. Aloe vera is a great addition to a cleanser - we'll be getting to it shortly!

Brynna commented, Made my cleanser today, though I think I made some errors with my ordering. I wound up with straight up Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate in my normal skin kit rather than LSB, so I hope that shouldn't be too much of a problem. I also only have tiny little foamer bottles, so I had to use two for 100g. I think my measuring out could stand to be a bit more accurate, so today I'll be ordering some scale calibration weights and reading up on chemistry measuring best practices. Too early to wash my face yet, but it felt like a lovely thick foam on my hands, and it will be interesting using a foaming facewash again.

The LSB is a combination of sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSA) and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, so having DLS on its own isn't a bad thing. The difference will be the viscosity of the product. LSB is really thick - super mega thick - so using only DLS will result in a thinner product. DLS is still really thick, but not nearly as thick as LSB. Just remember to use less Crothix!

Brynna continued the next day: I like it. A big change from the face wash I have been using (SpectroJel), which I had always rubbed in with a dry face. Doesn't work so well with this! Now that I have this figured out, it still seems a little thick with 1.2 g Crothix in. I think tomorrow I'll try the batch with the cationic polymer, and reduce the Crothix a bit. So far it seems to be treating my skin well. I do an oil cleanse before my other cleanser, and this seemed to take that all off without leaving me dry or with residue. And armed with some knowledge looking at the SpectroJel ingredient list, how is this a cleanser? Nothing in there that I can identify as a surfactant. I see myself reading a lot of labels and trying to puzzle things out in the future.

And it begins...First you start looking at the labels in your bathroom. Then in other people's bathrooms. Then the shops. Then it gets to the point where going to the drug store takes you hours as you stop to look at every label! Mwa ha ha! One of us! One of us!

Ahem...back to the task at hand.

The other day we talked a bit about surfactants, which are surface active agents. There are a few in the SpectroJel product - sorbitan oleate and polysorbate 20 - which allow oil and water to mix. Which means it can mix with the sebum on your face and remove it. The cetyl alcohol moisturizes without oils. (This was my favourite cleanser before I started making my own products. If you're interested in taking a look at a potential duplication for the SpectroJel, take a look at this one I tried a few years ago...)

Join me tomorrow as we look at a few more comments and modify the recipe accordingly!

If you'd like to play along, check out these posts for this facial cleanser series!
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet your surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe

Please share your thoughts in this post as we move towards making more facial cleanser recipes adjusted for specific skin types. I would also love to see pictures of what you're making as we could use those to illustrate these posts so others can see what's possible! You'll have to e-mail me your pictures to

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My classes at Voyageur & Newbie Tuesday facial cleansers

Hi everyone! If you're playing along with the Newbie Tuesday facial cleansers group, don't forget to check in with us to share which recipe you used and what you thought of it. We'll be looking at various ways to modify the product this upcoming Tuesday, then making more versions the week after next! Please visit that post or this one on modifications with cationic polymers to make your comments!

And a reminder that I'm offering classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle this season! I think I have some space left in the new gels class (November 9th), Advanced Lotion Making (October 22nd), and Formulating Hair Products (December 3rd). And we're talking about offering other classes, like easy Christmas gifts and advanced advanced lotion making. If you have any suggestions, please comment below or e-mail me!

I better run! There's fun to be had today in the lotion making 101 class!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Are companies hiding preservatives in other ingredients?

Thanks for joining me again today as we continue to look at Dedra's question about a product she wants to buy.

I also read on another site some time back that many companies "hide" the fact that their products have preservatives in aloe gel. The article said that aloe gel cannot be produced without using a preservative, therefore any product that has aloe gel likely already has enough preservative and you may not need to add additional preservatives due to this. Could it be that they are getting their aloe gel from a supplier who already is using a preservative, therefore they do not have to use any additional preservatives? Or, because there is no water in their product, perhaps they don't need a preservative??? But I thought if a product has aloe, you HAD to have a preservative??? 

The short answer to this question is this - if you have a product in which you are using water or water soluble ingredients, you must use a broad spectrum preservative. If you have a product that will come in contact with water, like a sugar scrub, you need a preservative.

This product contains's part of the other ingredients, like the aloe vera gel and witch hazel extract. In fact, these ingredients need more preserving because botanical ingredients can go bad faster and create more contamination than something we'd think of as synthetic, like propylene glycol.

So how do companies get away with not declaring preservatives? 

There are a few differents ways I have seen:
  • Put it in another ingredient. (See below...) 
  • Use something you can call "parfum", like this preservative, Naticide
  • Add a bunch of alcohol to it. I have seen it said that 20% to 25% alcohol could preserve a lotion. We see this quite a bit with the organic or natural products, like Dr Bronner. 
  • Leave it out and risk problems in the future. (This happens far more often than we think!) 
If we go back to the ingredient list, we see something interesting...

Aloe barbadensis (aloe) gel*, Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract*, Zinc oxide, Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*†, Sage extract (neutral cane alcohol*, Salvia officianalis*), Glyceryl stearate, Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Cetearyl alcohol, Citric acid, Sodium stearoyl lactylate, Glycine max (soy lecithin)*, essential oil of: Aniba rosaeodora (rosewood).

There's one ingredient that confuses me in this list. It's the aloe gel. If we are talking about the liquid that comes from the aloe leaf, that isn't referred to as aloe vera gel in cosmetic products. The proper INCI for aloe vera gel is Aloe Barbensis Leaf Extract or Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, not Aloe barbadensis (aloe) gel. When I look for the INCI of aloe vera gel, I get those two INCI names over and over again. 


Having said this, I have a feeling that this might be aloe vera gel - the juice turned into a gel by adding a carbomer. 

When I look for the INCI for aloe vera gel, I get this (from Voyageur Soap & Candle)
INCI: Aloe Barbensis Leaf Extract (and) Aqua (and) Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Cross-Polymer (and) Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Alcohol, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Magnesium Nitrate, Magnesium Chloride, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

These aloe vera gels are aloe vera thickened with a carbomer or gelling agent - for instance, Ultrez 20 from Voyageur and just plan carbomer from Oshun - with a preservative in it.

If this is what the company is using, then there's a preservative in the mix there. Is it enough to preserve the entire product? No, it isn't.

So to answer the question - could the company be hiding the preservative in aloe vera gel? This is most definitely possible! I can't say for sure as I don't know their recipes or practices, but it is definitely possible. It could also be a part of the witch hazel extract.

Having said that, there definitely needs to be a preservative in this product as it contains water. 

Could this product be "naturally preserved"? Sure, there are preservatives that are ECOcert or greener than others, but I don't see those in the list of ingredients. They could be in the aloe vera gel or the witch hazel as well.

Having said that, here's no definition for the word "natural", so I can say anything is natural. I could use liquid Germall Plus, which I don't consider natural in any way, in a product and call it natural. When I've seen a label declare that dimethicone is natural because it's "derived from sand", I've seen it all.

Why blueberries for a picture? I was looking for something natural and I came upon this picture. I like blueberries - they're my favourite fruit! - and thought it would look nice. 

As an aside...I am wondering if the witch hazel extract contains a bunch of alcohol, because that's a way to preserve an oil-in-water lotion. I've seen it said that you need 20% to 25% alcohol to preserve. I wouldn't try it, but others would.

After writing all of this, I have a few questions myself...
  • Why is there baking soda in a lotion? I'm guessing it's for the idea that this is an underarm lotion and it might help with odour? It's feels like a strange inclusion.
  • Also, what's up with all that zinc oxide? That's a lot. If we figure they are using 6% to 8% Ritamulse SCG in this product - that's the emulsifier here - and coconut oil is the only oil in here, then they have to be using at least 6% zinc oxide here. I make a lotion with 20% and it makes it very thick and white. I don't expect it to be that extreme, but it would definitely leave some white behind. 
  • Is the product very thick and white? With this emulsifier, a solid oil, and zinc oxide, that's the only conclusion I could reach. I would think it would have a slightly gritty feeling from the zinc oxide and baking soda. 
I hope I've answered your questions, Dedra! Thanks for the inspiration!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Do you have to declare all the ingredients in a product? This, and reviewing how to read ingredient lists...

In this post, Grapefruit seed extract is NOT a preservative, Dedra asks: I have a question about a particular product. It is called Fig and Yarrow Underarm Lotion. I noticed that this product didn't have any preservative listed. I am sensitive to certain things so I emailed to ask them if their product had any preservatives. They replied saying it was "naturally preserved". Given what you have written, I am not sure what they could mean by this. 

Is it a law or rule that you must have ALL ingredients in a product listed? Could they simply be leaving out this information? 

I also read on another site some time back that many companies "hide" the fact that their products have preservatives in aloe gel. The article said that aloe gel cannot be produced without using a preservative, therefore any product that has aloe gel likely already has enough preservative and you may not need to add additional preservatives due to this. Could it be that they are getting their aloe gel from a supplier who already is using a preservative, therefore they do not have to use any additional preservatives? Or, because there is no water in their product, perhaps they don't need a preservative??? But I thought if a product has aloe, you HAD to have a preservative??? 

Here is their list of ingredients. What do you think is happening here? I would like to order their product but would also like more clarity on which preservative, if any, they are using. 

Aloe barbadensis (aloe) gel*, Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract*, Zinc oxide, Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*†, Sage extract (neutral cane alcohol*, Salvia officianalis*), Glyceryl stearate, Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Cetearyl alcohol, Citric acid, Sodium stearoyl lactylate, Glycine max (soy lecithin)*, essential oil of: Aniba rosaeodora (rosewood).

You've asked a number of really great questions, and I think we'll have to spend a few days getting to each one, if you'll indulge me!

The short answers are...
  • I have no idea what "naturally preserved" means because there's no definition for the word "natural".  
  • Yes, a company has to declare all their ingredients in the ingredient list. 
  • If you have water or water soluble ingredients, or if the product will be in contact with water, like a body scrub, you must use a preservative. 

Firstly, let's take this opportunity to review how to read an ingredient list, then look at what's required. Ingredients should be listed in descending order of use. The first ingredient should should be the ingredient used the most. In lotions, it tends to be water. The next should have the second most, and so on until you reach ingredients that are used at 1% or less in the product. These still need to be listed, but they don't have to be in order.

Check out this post on reading ingredient lists and the 1% section

In Canada, the States, and the EU, ingredients need to be listed by their INCI or International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredient name. That's the name we see when we see water listed as "aqua" or the botanical name of an oil, like Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil for babassu oil.

In Canada, the ingredient must use the INCI name from the most recent edition of the handbook, the tenth edition. In America, "it is still permissible to use the 2nd Edition CTFA Ingredient Dictionary INCI names for many ingredients", although it's up for review. (Thanks, Lotioncrafter, for this information!)

You must include every ingredient in the product in the ingredient list. You cannot leave out information on ingredients found in the product. 

Related posts:
What's an INCI name?
How to read an INCI name (part one)?
How to read an INCI name (part two)?

If you want to learn more about labelling in Canada, click here
If you want to learn more about labelling in the States, click here. 

Let's look at an example of one of my products to see how I'd write up the ingredient list. How 'bout this one for one of my favourites, babassu and kukui nut oil lotion with Ritamulse SCG.

60% water
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin

8% Ritamulse SCG
12% babassu oil
12% kukui nut oil

3% honeyquat
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil

If we list in this in order we would have...
60% water
12% babassu oil
12% kukui nut oil
8% Ritamulse SCG
3% glycerin
3% honeyquat
1% fragrance oil
0.5% allantoin
0.5% Liquid Germall Plus

My ingredient list could look like this...
Water (aqua), Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Aleurites moluccana (kukui) seed oil, Ritamulse SCG (Glyceryl Stearate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate), Glycerin, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Parfum, Allantoin, Liquid Germall Plus (Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate)

You can see that every ingredient in the product is in the ingredient list using its INCI name.

In some situations, we have to break down the ingredients that consist of more than one thing - like the Ritamulse SCG, and liquid Germall Plus.

I know Ritamulse SCG has these ingredients at these percentages.
Glyceryl Stearate                       55-65% - I'll average at 60% - 8% x 0.6 = 4.8%
Cetearyl Alcohol                        20-30% - I'll average at 25% - 8% x 0.25 = 2.0%
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate        10-20% - I'll average at 15%  - so 8% x 0.15 = 1.2%

As for liquid Germall Plus, I know it consists of...
60% propylene glycol - so 0.5% x 0.6 = 0.3%
39.6% diazolidinyl urea  - 0.5% x 0.396 = 0.198%
0.6% iodopropynyl butylcarbamate  - 0.5% x 0.006 = 0.003%

New list...
60% water (Aqua)
12% babassu oil (INCI: Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil)
12% kukui nut oil (INCI:Aleurites moluccana seed oil)
4.8% glyceryl stearate
3% glycerin
3% Honeyquat (INCI: Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey)
2% cetearyl alcohol
1.2% sodium stearoyl lacylate
1% parfum
0.5% allantoin
0.3% propylene glycol
0.198% diazolidinyl urea
0.003% iodopropynyl butylcarbamate

So my ingredient list would look something like this...
Water (aqua), Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Aleurites moluccana (kukui) seed oil, Glyceryl Stearate, glycerin, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl lactylate, Parfum, Allantoin, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

You'll note that every ingredient I use in the product, including ingredients found in more complicated ingredients like liquid Germall Plus, has to be included in the list.

So the long answer is still - a company has to declare every ingredient in their product.

Okay, that's way too much for one day...Join me tomorrow as we take a closer look at these ingredients! (Hit "newer post" at the bottom to see it)!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Newbie Tuesday: Facial cleansers - additions to the base recipe

Wow, that was a lot to take in yesterday, eh? We took a look at formulating a few base recipes for facial cleansers for some different skin types. Today, we'll look at the ingredients we used and a few others we could try using in this recipe.

Here's the base recipe we developed for normal skin...

15% LSB
15% BSB
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

54.5% distilled water

up to 2% Crothix, if desired

This looks to be a nice recipe - I really like the version for oily skin - but I think it could use a few more additions to the mix. The main reason for the inclusions I'm adding today are all about increasing the mildness of the product. As the Dothraki might say*, it is known that all surfactants irritate our skin, so our goal is to reduce that irritation by adding moisturizers, humectants, anti-inflammatories, and more.

*I'm not sure that the Dothraki from Game of Thrones are really big on increasing mildness in facial cleansers, but I can never resist the opportunity to share my love of the book and TV series! 

We'll take a look at two ingredients you can add to yesterday's recipe, and I'll make more suggestions when we meet again next Tuesday to share our thoughts about the recipes we made.

Why did we include glycerin in this recipe? It's a humectant, and these are a face's best friend. Humectants draw water from the atmosphere to our skin and help hydrate it, which makes it feel softer and reduces transepidermal water loss. There are so many choices, but I generally think of glycerin when it comes to rinse off products.

I love sodium lactate, but it doesn't have a place in a cleanser as it rinses off. Save this one for your toner. I love panthenol, too, but if you're using a toner or moisturizer after the cleanser, save it for those products.

Hyaluronic acid is pretty awesome, but way too expensive for something we're washing off our face. Hydrovance is an interesting inclusion, but it can cause pH drift and can wash off with rinsing, so it's better for a leave on product.

I'm starting to use propylene glycol a lot, and it's a good choice for a rinse off cleanser, so try that at 3% to 5%. You could use hexylene glycol or butylene glycol at 3% as well. If you can get it, Zemea's propanediol is a good choice at 3% as well. You can go as high as 10% with it, but I encourage you to try it at 3% first, then go up from there.

My favourite humectant for a facial cleanser is glycerin! It's inexpensive, effective, and doesn't rinse off. The down side is that glycerin can feel quite sticky for leave on products, but when used in a facial cleanser as high as 10%, you should be left only with the feeling of hydration.

As someone with dry skin, humectants are essential as your have lower hydration levels than other types. You want to include them in every product you make. In a cleanser, if you can handle 5%, try 7.5% then 10% and see what you think!

As someone with nornal or oily skin, humectants are definitely your friend, and I encourage you to use something like glycerin at 3% or one of the other choices at the suggested usage levels as you can really tell when you don't have it in the product.

What about some of those other things I had you buy? There are quite a few things there we can use to modify our facial cleanser. Don't worry - we'll get to them, I promise!

Cationic polymers or positively charged conditioning agents like polyquaternium 7 (polyquat 7) are fabulous additions to facial cleansers as they offer that moisturized feeling without using oils.

I'm using polyquat 7 at 3% in the surfactant phase as it acts as both a humectant and a conditioner to make my skin feel moist, hydrated, and fresh.

Honeyquat is a great choice to be used at 3% in the cool down phase of your product to act as a conditioning agent and a humectant. And you can get all kinds of wonderful quaternized proteins, like rice, soy, baobab, and so on in these facial cleansers. Use them at 2% to 5% in any phase you wish.

I absolutely adore these ingredients, and I encourage you to always include a cationic polymer or quaternized protein in any surfactant based product you make. I have found that as little as 2% can make a world of difference between good and freakin' awesome!

I'm encouraging you to use 3% of your chosen cationic polymer in the surfactant phase of your recipe to see what you think.

You can do two things at this point...
Option A: You can get out yesterday's recipe for your skin type and add 3% cationic polymer/quaternized protein to it. Mix it well, but not enough to get loads of bubbles, and enjoy. What I mean by this is you can actually just get the product you made from yesterday's recipe and add 3% of your chosen cationic polymer.

Option B: You can click here for a PDF with the modified recipe for your skin type and re-make the facial cleanser. The only difference between yesterday and today is the 3% cationic polymer.

So how do we add these things without messing up the recipe too much? 
Normally, when we add something to a recipe, we remove a bit of the water. If we have 54.5% water in the normal skin recipe and we want to add 3% polyquat 7 to the mix, we add the 3% polyquat, then remove 3% from the water, leaving us with 51.5%. Why do we do this? To make sure the recipe adds up to 100%.

If you go with option A above, you'll have a total of 103% for your recipe.
If you go with option B above, you'll have a total of 100% for your recipe.

What happens if the recipe isn't 100%? Isn't this a really big deal? 
For the most part, being over or under a bit - say up to 10% - isn't a big deal for a cleanser recipe. In these recipes, we're using the maximum amount of liquid Germall Plus at 0.5%, so we know the product is preserved well, which is always the biggest concern. Having said this, we really want to get to 100% as much as humanly possible because it does make life easier when we're figuring out things like the amount of preservative or emulsifier to use.

I'll let you take that in for a moment. Did I just say it's okay to be more or less than 100%? I told you yesterday that you could make this recipe cold, and now this? Is it opposite day? I need to pause for a moment to gather my thoughts....

We will compensate for those additions in future versions of the recipe or you can get the modified version of the recipe here, in this PDF.

The posts in this series, if you've missed them...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet your surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe

Please share your thoughts about this modified recipe in this post, and we'll take a look at all of it next Tuesday, September 20th. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Newbie Tuesday: Facial cleansers - creating a recipe

Yay! The day is here! We're creating a very basic facial cleanser recipe for each skin type, which you can try out, then modify it with all kinds of interesting ingredients over the next few days. Then we can get together next Tuesday to look at what you thought of the product and what changes you'd like to make.

If you don't care about reading all of this and just want to get to the base recipes, click here for the PDF

When creating a recipe, we need to consider what we're making and why we're making it. What's the goal for a foamy, lathery, and bubbly facial cleanser?

For all skin types, we want to feel we've cleaned our skin and removed any make-up, sebum, grime, or grease tht might be there. Skin should feel conditioned and moisturized after rinsing, with a fresh, clean, dewy feel afterwards.

As an aside, when formulating any product, consider the other products with which it could be used. For instance, for a cleanser, are you using a toner or moisturizer afterwards? A serum or oil? We'll talk more about this in this series...

There are some specific things for specific skin types...

For oily skin types, we definitely need something that makes it feel our skin has been cleansed well, we want something that will gently clean our skin without making it feel too stripped. We want moisturizing and conditioning without oils. We definitely need something that makes it feel like our skin has been cleaned of the sebum or oils, but not something that makes it feel stripped.

As someone with rosacea, I know that using anything with oil in it will drive my skin insane, so I'm suggesting that this skin type moisturize without oils, using things like aloe vera and witch hazel, or condition using cationic polymers, like polyquat 7 or honeyquat. We want to reduce inflammation with ingredients like witch hazel and chamomile.

For acne prone skin types, we might consider using astringent, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidizing ingredients, like chamomile, grapeseed, or rosemary extracts. We could also use things like salicylic acid, but I won't be covering that in this series of Newbie Tuesday posts.

For normal skin types, we want something that will gently clean our skin without making it feel too stripped or dry. Moisturizing with or without oils and conditioning with cationic polymers are generally a good idea.

For dry skin types, we want something that will gently clean our skin without making it feel drier. We want to moisturize with or without oils, and we want to condition our skin. We want an emphasis on increasing mildness in our surfactant mix - we'll learn about this later this week - and we want to make sure we have loads of humectants, like glycerin.

With these goals in mind, how do we get to our end product? We start with our surfactants. You met these foamy, bubbly, and lathery ingredients yesterday and learned which ones would be good for your skin type. I'm recommending these ones, but you are free to use whatever you wish! The key in formulating a lovely skin cleanser is to use the right type of surfactants in the right amount. In general, I use about 40% surfactants in a facial cleanser for oily or normal skin, 25% to 30% for dry skin.

Where did I get those percentages from? When I read through various cosmetic chemistry books I own and searched through countless recipes, it seemed to me that 40% was a good level that would offer good cleansing but not too much detergency. It meant I could use a lot less of product x than I had been using from store bought products - they might be as low as 10% - and I never made a product that had been irritating to my skin on paper or in the shower!

You might recall we talked about active ingredients in the surfactants post yesterday. (You don't need to remember this stuff, it's just so you get why I'm doing what I'm doing...) If I'm using 10% cocamidopropyl betaine at 30% active we have 3.33% active surfactant in the product. If I use 15% C14-16 olefin sulfonate, I have 5.85% of that in the product. And if I use 15% DLS at 32% active, I have 5.25% active ingredient. So in the end, that combination would result in having 14.43% active surfactants in the product, which isn't a lot.

Which surfactants will we be using? As I mentioned yesterday, here are some choices. You can make other choices, and I encourage you to ask all the questions you want in the comments below about other choices.

We will not be using liquid soaps like castille in these recipes as the pH is in the alkaline range. You are welcome to do so, but I won't be offering information or suggestions on how to use it as I'm just not that familiar with making those kinds of modifications to it.

All skin types:
Cocamidopropyl betaine (secondary surfactant)
Decyl glucoside
Disodium cocoamphodiacetate (secondary surfactant)

I won't be using decyl glucoside in these base recipes, but we will talk about it later. 

Oily skin:
C14-16 olefin sulfonate  (Bioterge AS-40)
Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate

Normal skin:
LSB (Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate)
BSB (Scroll down)
SMO or SMC taurate

Dry skin:
BSB (Scroll down)
Sodium laureth sulfate (SLeS)
SMO or SMC taurate
Foaming silk, oat, soy, apple, or other amino acids

Why am I including cocamidopropyl betaine with every surfactant mix? Because it's a great ingredient for increasing mildness. All surfactants annoy our skin and strip it of oils. By including an ingredient that increases mildness, we reduce that irritation. (I'll get into this more in tomorrow's post!)

What else do we have to include in a facial cleanser? Water and a preservative. 

I'm using Liquid Germall Plus for these cleansers, but you could choose a few other ones, just make sure they work in water only products. Have a look at this comparison chart or check out the preservatives section of the blog.

When it comes to products that contain water, you must always use a preservative. There is no negotiating here - use a preservative or please don't make the product. I want you to make products that are safe, and a big part of that is using a good broad spectrum preservative at the suggested usage rate. For liquid Germall Plus that's 0.1% to 0.5%.

Related posts:
Why use a preservative?
What you need to know about making any product (part one)
What you need to know about making any product (part two)

Why do we use water at all? Isn't it just a waste of space in the bottle? No. Every ingredient has a safe as used amount, and we can look to see that cocamidopropyl betaine starts to get irritating at levels of 33% or so (although I can't find anything for DLS mild except the comment that it is "gentle even up to higher concentrations"). If we used 90% surfactants - assuming we are using 10% something else like glycerin or preservatives - we would exceed those safe as used rates quite easily and cause irritation. As well, we don't want something really foamy for our face, and 90% surfactants would be like a bubble bath in the sink every morning...and we want stuff that will rinse off easily to prevent that tight and dry feeling after cleansing!

Finally, it saves us money. Distilled water costs maybe $2.00 for a gallon or 4 litres, which is way cheaper than a surfactant that might be upwards of $20 a litre!

A thought about using tap water: Please don't. You can boil it and do other things to it, but if you have metals in your water they can mess up the preservation and other ingredients (click here for more information on metals and oils) You can use a chelating ingredient like EDTA or citric acid to bind those metals so they can't wreak havoc on our products, but it really is easier to get distilled water or reverse osmosis water or another water that doesn't contain those metals rather than spending money on chelating ingredients! I like chelating ingredients and use them, but I start with distilled water every time. And yes, you should heat and hold distilled water because the heating and holding process isn't just about killing bacteria, it's about getting your ingredients to the right temperature and same temperature if you have two phases.

What about essential or fragrance oils? We'll be addressing this shortly, but the short answer is that I don't tend to use anything fragrant in my facial products as I find having a smell on my face all day drives me nuts. If you do wish to use some, please use only a titch - start with 0.1% and see how you like it. As well, don't forget that fragrances and essential oils can alter the viscosity of your product, so use it before you add the Crothix so you can adjust how much you use.

A note on Crothix: Crothix is an excellent thickener for surfactant products. It brings mildness and emolliency to the product as well. We use it at up to 2% in the cool down phase after the product has definitely come to room temperature and after the fragrance or essential oils are added.

For the first batch of this recipe, please only make 100 grams or 4 ounces of this product. We're making a tester batch to see what you think of it. Whenever you make a new product, always make a small batch to see what you think of it. You may love this product, you may hate it, but the point is to try making it so you get a sense of what you like and don't like, and how you can change that skin feel.

You cannot make this recipe by volume. It will not work properly. You need to use a scale. (Click here to see the suggested equipment for this series.)

To convert this recipe from percentages to weight, substitute the word "grams" for the percentage sign, then make that. So for cocamidopropyl betaine at 10%, you'd substitute "grams" for % and come up with 10 grams in this product. If you do this, the recipe will make 100 grams. As for using ounces...just use grams. It really is a pain in the bum to use ounces.

If you have to use weighed ounces, you can convert it by thinking of all the ingredients as a percentage of 4 ounces. So 10% cocamidopropyl betaine works out to 0.4 ounces (10% of 4 ounces = 0.4 ounces), and so on. It's more annoying than converting to grams, so I'm really encouraging you not to use this measurement.

Related posts:
Converting recipes from percentages to weight

You cannot make this recipe by volume. It will not work properly. You need to use a scale. (Click here to see the suggested equipment for this series.)

15% LSB
15% BSB
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

54.5% distilled water

up to 2% Crothix, if desired

Package in a pump bottle

10% BSB
5% SLeS
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
5% glycerin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

69.5% distilled water

up to 2% liquid Crothix

15% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
15% DLS
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

56.5% distilled water

up to 2% liquid Crothix

Weigh the surfactant phase of the product into a container and mix. I suggest using a fork and mixing so you don't get a ton of bubbles. It's not the end of the world if it gets bubbly, but you'll have to wait a few days for the bubbles to go down.

These two bottles looked like they had the same volune when bottled, but a few days later, when the bubbles settled down, the difference is obvious! 

When the product is uniform, add the water, then mix again until it is blended. Again, try to avoid too many bubbles.

Add the Crothix 0.5% or 1% at a time. Mix well with the fork. It will likely fall to the bottom, so I suggest stirring from the bottom to make sure you're integrating the Crothix. If it isn't thick enough, add another 0.5% to 1%.

If your product is thick enough for your preferences, you don't need to add Crothix.

For oily skin, don't go over 2% as it can feel a little too moisturizing. For other skin types, you can go as high as 5% if you wish, but this will be very very moisturizing. If you can't get the visosity you want right now, it's okay. This is why we have pump bottles! And remember, we're adding more things to this product tomorrow, some of which will increase the viscosity.

Once you've made this product, I want you to make some notes about it...
How does it feel on your skin?
Was the product too thick or too thin?
Do you like the lather, the foam, the bubbles?
Is it too bubbly, too foamy, too lathery?
How well did it rinse off?
How did your skin feel after rinsing off? Dry, greasy, moisturized, and so on.

Please share your thoughts in this post so we can all share together before making some modifications for the product next week. Please note which recipe you followed when offering feedback.

Okay, that's way too much for today. Join me tomorrow as we take a look at a few things we can include in our product!

And click here to get a copy of the recipes in text format to make them easier to read while creating! 

The posts in this series, if you've missed them...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet your surfactants
pH of our surfactants

Monday, September 12, 2016

Newbie Tuesday: Facial cleansers - meet your surfactants!

The key to making a good facial cleanser is to start with gentle to mild surfactants used at just the right amount to cleanse your skin without making it feel stripped or dry. We want to use the surfactants at the right suggested usage rate so they will rinse off clean. Without further ado - let's meet the surfactants!

Oh, darn it! I need to make a note about actives in a surfactant. The actives are the amount of that surfactant that you actually find in the bottle. If you look at Amphosol CG or cocamidopropyl betaine, you'll see that it's 30% active, meaning that there's 30% cocamidopropyl betaine in the bottle, with the rest being water and a preservative. So if we use 10% in a facial cleanser, we're getting 3% active cocamidopropyl betaine in our product.

This bit is important - Don't worry too much about the active content of the surfactant beyond this page. In any recipe on this blog, past and future, when I tell you use to use 10% disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, this means to pour 10% out of the bottle. I don't need you to do the math and figure out the active amount in the end product, unless you really feel like doing so. I have done all those calculations for you.

If you really can't be bothered reading all of this and just want a summary, click here for the surfactants comparison chart. It doesn't have the pH and all that, but it'll give you an idea of why we're using what we're using.

Oh, and one final note: The information about pH, viscosity, and active amount given here is fairly specific to the ingredients I have found at Voyageur Soap & Candle. If you have purchased your ingredients from somewhere else, you may have a different pH and such. The type of product is the same - for instance, all cocamidopropyl betaine will be amphoteric with good foaming properties and so on - but those few properties may be different.

Amphosol CG (INCI: Cocamidopropyl betaine): Amphoteric.
A humectant. Good foaming properties. Good flash foam and foam stabilization properties. Adding this amphoteric to an anionic mix will reduce the harshness of the other surfactants and changes the viscosity. It is a good anti-static for hair.
Poor to mild cleanser. Good where mildness is vital -- babies or sensitive skin -- but primarily used as a secondary surfactant. (Great as the only ingredient in a micellar water...Oops, did I give something away there???)
This version of this ingredient is really thin, like water!
It is readily biodegradable.
Minimal eye and moderate skin irritation at 10% (so 33% in a product)
pH (10% in water): 5 to 7
Active: 30%
Suggested usage rate: up to 30%

BSB (INCI: PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, PEG-150 Distearate, Sodium Laureth-13 Carboxylate, Quaternium-15, found at Voyageur): Anionic.
Very gentle with mild cleansing. Very thick, so adds viscosity to a product.
Fabulous for dry and sensitive skin.
This is very thick and will thicken your product.
Comparable to "no more tears" products, so it's safe to use around the eyes.
pH (10% in water): 7.54
Active amount: Because this is a blend of surfactants, there isn't an active amount listed.
Suggested usage rate: up to 100%

As an aside, this is a great surfactant you can use to make eye lash extension cleansers or make-up removers. I'll be addressing this more in the future.

If you are playing along at home but don't have this surfactant, you can use all kinds of pH neutral, baby safe blends found at different suppliers. 

Bioterge AS-40 (INCI: C14-16 olefin sulfonate): Anionic
Good cleansing. Excellent flash foam.
Good for normal to oily skin.
Good for emulsifying small amounts of oil.
Difficult to thicken with salt, so you want to use Crothix or a gelling agent.
It's about as thick as a thin oil, a bit thicker than water.
Less sensitive to hard water than other surfactants
Moderate skin and eye irritation at 10% (25% in formulation)
pH (10% in water): 8.5
Active amount: 39%
Suggested usage rate: Up to 25%

Decyl glucoside (INCI: Decyl glucoside): Non-ionic
A very mild non-ionic cleanser that works well as both a primary or secondary surfactant as it is a good foamer. This is a great ingredient for a conditioning shampoo or body wash as it improves the cationic conditioning in your products, as well as offer foam stabilization.
Good emulsifier for oils, fragrance oils, and essential oils.
It doesn't thicken with salt or things like Crothix. You'll want to make a gel with something like xanthan gum or a carbomer.
Active amount: 51%
pH (10% in water): 12 (very alkaline!!)*
Suggested usage rate: 4% to 40%

There's a reason I don't recommend decyl glucoside if you don't have a pH meter, and it's that super high pH reading. I've used a few different ones, and the lowest pH I've tested was over 8, so you have to bring it down using citric acid or something similar. You can try to predict how much citric acid will bring it down by x pH, but that's really only true for the product at hand. It can change with every batch, so the only way to know how much of an acid to add to bring your product down is to actually measure it. And you need a pH meter for that.

And these measurements are specific to the decyl glucoside carried by Voyageur Soap & Candle, which is Dow's EcoSense 3000. Plantaren 2000 has a pH of 7 to 9.5, so you'll have to check your data sheets or talk to your supplier to get more information.

Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (INCI: Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate): Anionic
Considered very mild, with good foaming and detergent properties.
Good for all skin types as it removes oil and sebum gently without stripping hair or skin too much.
Stable in hard water.
Poor solubilizers, so you might need to use something like polysorbate 20 or 80 if you're using more than 3% oils or fragrance oils.
They don't thicken with salt, so you may have to use Crothix or a gellant to thicken it.
Low irritation
pH (10% in water): 6.0
Active amount: 32%
Suggested usage rate: up to 35%

LSB (INCI: Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate): Anionic
This is a blend from Stepan. Can be used as a primary or secondary surfactant. See above for more information on disodium laureth sulfosuccinate.
SLSa is an excellent foaming, lathering, and bubbling ingredient. We generally see it as a powder, but it's in liquid form here, which is just awesome. (Think of this ingredient as the first one you want to use for a bubble bath!)
As a blend, this is mild and non-drying. High volume and long lasting foam. Provides LOTS of bubbles.
Good for normal to oily skin
Mild skin and eye irritation at 10% active.
pH (10% in water): 6.0
Active amount: 25%
Suggested usage: Up ot 40%

This is an incredibly thick product! Seriously thick! I mean incredibly thick! It will help thicken your product. Take a look at the picture. Do you notice in the bottom right hand corner it looks like there's a little whirl like you'd find on the top of an ice cream cone. That's because this stuff is super thick and I was trying to get it out of the bottle!

Steol CS-230 or SLeS (INCI: Sodium laureth sulfate): Anionic
This version is 2 mole. You can find SLeS in two forms - SLeS 2 EO (or SLeS 2 mole) and SLeS 3 EO (or SLeS 3 mole). This EO part is about the ethoxylation of the surfactant. The higher the ethoxylation, the less irritating it will be for your skin or eyes and the more soluble in water.
SLeS has good foam stability in hard water, good skin tolerance (less irritation), and is easily thickened by salt, Crothix, or glycol distearate. They are also thickened by adding cocamidopropyl betaine. It is considered a mild cleanser (definitely milder than SLS!).
Thickened with salts, betaines, or amides.
It's readily biodegradable.
Good for all skin types.
pH (10% in water): 7.5
Active amount: 25.5%
Mild to moderate skin and moderate eye irritation at 10% (so 40% SLeS in a product)
Suggested usage rate: up to 40%

Note: Sodium laureth sulfate (SLeS) is not SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate. Click here to read more! 

Aren't they awesome? I think of surfactants like Pokemon - I gotta catch them all!

Have we covered everything? Did you miss any of these posts?

Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
pH of our surfactants

I am sorry we're a week behind schedule for this series. I was writing up the base recipes I've created when I realized I had so much more to share with you! The purpose of this blog is to share with you every single thing I can think of when making a recipe so you know why I'm using each ingredient and how to make modifications at home, so failing to share all the information I can goes against every fibre of my being. I beg your indulgence for falling behind, but I think this series will be better for the extra information. 

Join me tomorrow - on Tuesday, how shocking is that! - to start formulating a facial cleanser with those lovely surfactants!