Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Cold process hair conditioners - part four with ICE Hair Restore

Last Monday, we met a new, cold process conditioner I bought from Making Cosmetics called Ice Hair Restore (aka Gracefruit's EasyMix Smooth or Jeesperse CPCS). Last Tuesday, we made a hair conditioner with it, then modified that on Wednesday into a more intense conditioner my best friend coined the Pineapple Express Intense Conditioner.

Let's modify this formula to include some oils as ICE Hair Restore can emulsify up to 10%. (Click there to see why I'm using the ingredients I'm using...)

83% distilled or purified water
5% ICE Hair Restore
3% Volumizing complex
2% Hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% panthenol (liquid)
2% dimethicone 350 cs
2% cyclomethicone
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% Pineapple cilantro fragrance oil (from Windy Point Soap)

All our formulas should total 100% so we can quickly see whether we're using our ingredients in proper amounts as per the suggested usage rates. So when we add something to the mix, we have to remove something to keep that total at 100%. In this case, it's easiest to add our oil at 5% and remove 5% distilled water.

In this case, I'm adding some monoi de Tahiti, coconut oil infused with gardenia flowers that smells amazing! This is an awesome inclusion in a hair conditioner as coconut oil has a high affinity for the proteins in our hair, plus the fatty acids are actually small enough to penetrate the strand. (Click for more information...)

If you don't have monoi de Tahiti, you can use normal coconut oil or any other oil. I really really love this smell, which is weird because I didn't think of myself as a flower kind of girl, but it turns out I love all kinds of flower fragrances!

If we add 5% coconut oil to this formula, we have to take 5% out of the water phase, so our distilled water amount will be 78%. You'll notice everything else is the same.

5% ICE Hair Restore

5% monoi de Tahiti

78% distilled or purified water
3% Volumizing complex
2% hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% panthenol (liquid)
2% dimethicone 350 cs
2% cyclomethicone
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% lemongrass verbena fragrance oil (Voyageur Soap & Candle)

Weigh the ICE Hair Restore out separately into a tiny container, then mix with my tiny stick blender until it's more of a paste.

Melt the monoi de Tahiti oil until melted or liquid. (As a note, it's super hot in my workshop, so I didn't need to melt the monoi de Tahiti as it has a melting point of 24˚C or 76˚F, and we exceeded that yesterday.)

Into a container, weigh the water phase, then add the ICE Hair Restore, and mix for around 30 seconds. Add the oil, and mix for 15 or so seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients into the container, mixing after every addition.

You're done! Rejoice!

You might notice I have a fragrance oil in that formula. I added that as I couldn't smell the monoi in the finished product, and I really like to have a light fragrance in my hair conditioners. If you want the monoi fragrance, up the amount to 10% and remove the cyclomethicone and dimethicone. (They're part of the total 10% oils this ingredient can emulsify. Keeping them in will result in failure. I know this, sadly, by experience.) I started at 0.5% fragrance oil, then upped it to a total of 0.75%, which I think is a bit much. That's what I get for trusting my nose instead of my scale!

I can't stress enough how much you want to mix the ICE Hair Restore powder before adding it. You can see the giant lump in this picture, which I've had trouble breaking down once combined, so definitely give it a whirl with a small stick blender or even your gloved hands!

Don't you love these tiny mixers? I've been using Lotioncrafter's Minipro Mixer for ages, but they've come out with the MICROMini™ Mixer that's even smaller. (I'll show you how to use that shortly. You can put it right into a bottle, which is awesome!) I also purchased this Mini Mixer from Candora Soap, which I'm loving! 

How to mix this? You can use a stick blender, a mini blender, or a hand mixer. If I have to use a larger device to mix, I prefer to use a hand mixer. You don't really have to worry about using a high shear or immersion or stick blender type appliance for this product. You don't want to mix it by hand. It's very rare that we want to mix by hand.

Related post: Can how and when we mix have an impact on an emulsion?

What do I think of this formula? I really like it and I have really oily hair. (I don't recommend using it on your scalp if you're an oily person like me...) My hair felt light and moisturized without being heavy and weighed down. I had lovely waves and ringlets in my hair for the first two days, which made me very happy, and my hair felt very soft. It was shiny, which is something that I don't generally see as I have coarse, wavy hair strands, which was a really pleasant surprise.

I mentioned in this post that I think I need a humectant in the mix as my hair feels a bit dry on the ends on the morning of day three, and I feel this way about this version as well. I'll share that formula with you early next week.

If you have dry hair, you'll definitely want to add a humectant to the mix - say 3% glycerin to start - as you'll want more hydration than this formula offers. (I will be sharing that formula with you early next week.)

If you have oily hair, you might not want to use the oil at all, so try last week's formula without it if you're worried about that.

I wish this was a little less grainy than it is. I think I could fix that by heating it up, but that defeats the purpose of using this product, so I'll live with it!

What do you think? Have you tried this ingredient? What did you make? What would you suggest for other variations? Share your thoughts!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Question: Is normal for products with citrus oils to go orange?

In the August Q&A on Patreon, Anne asked: I am wondering why my room spray with citrus oils has turned orange. It smells perfectly fine and is preserved with 0.5% LGP. I recall you making a body wash with citrus that turned colour. Is it just a natural reaction you don't need to worry about?

I wouldn't worry about it. This happens to me all the time, as you can see from this picture of the Japanese themed body wash I made with Yuzu fragrance oil. I've had it happen with all kinds of citrus-y fragrance and essential oils, from Sweet Meyer Lemon and Lemon Curd to tangerine or sweet orange. It's just something citrus does with certain ingredients. I haven't had huge issues with lotions or creams, but it definitely alters the colour of things like my surfactant blends all kinds of yellow or orange.

Check out this post on using orange essential oil in your products.

You'll see this with fragrances that contain vanilla, too. They start browning over time, leaving your white lotion beige and your soap a more chocolate-y colour than you expected. This one I made with Michele from Windy Point Soap started off creamy, but the strawberry jam fragrance oil we used turned it brown. Which is fine with me as it smells and feels great!

Having said this, always observe the colour of your product. (This is one of the reasons I like clear bottles.) If you have a product that's changing colour - for instance, going brown or green or pink - that could be unpreserved or has been exposed to a lot of heat, you may be experiencing some kind of contamination.

Related posts:
Product testing - includes information on fragrance morphing
Surfactants and clarity
My article from Handmade magazine, The science behind citrus
My article from Handmade magazine, Understanding the vanilla villain
My article from Handmade magazine, The science of colour morphing

If you're interested in supporting the blog, please check out my Patreon page! There all kinds of rewards for subscribing, from the Q&A section to the requests for duplicating section. $10 subscribes also receive an e-zine every month brimming with new formulas and ingredients!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Question from Patreon: Does polyquaternium 10 have a shelf life? Is acetic acid or aspen bark extract a good preservative?

In the July Q&A on Patreon, Belinda asked: I have two questions...1) do you know if polyquaternium 10 has an expiration date? I've checked the website I bought it from (Personal Formulator) plus a couple more that sell it, and I've not seen anywhere if it does, indeed, expire. The reason I ask is because I'm having problems getting it to dissolve in my water phase, and I was wondering if the reason was that it's not "fresh". 2) Is acetic acid and aspen bark extract a good preservative system for hair conditioner? I've seen this listed on a product being sold on Etsy, and I have not found any evidence to back up the fact that this is a good preservation for a conditioner. I told my friend she should throw it out, but am now wondering if I was over-reacting. 

The quick answer to the first question about polyquaternium 10 is that everything has an expiry date at some point, so we just have to find it. This version has a shelf life of a year, as does this one. So I'd say a year? Which sucks because I have some that I've had a lot longer than I thought!

Acetic acid (aka ethanoic acid) is the acid found in vinegar. In this post (scroll down to Edina), Perry Romanowski says he doesn't think dehydrated acetic acid will work as a preservative, and he says it again in this post. I've seen variations on acetic acid in preservatives, like dehydroacetic acid like we find in Optiphen ND, but never just acetic acid. Could this person be using vinegar - probably apple cider vinegar - in their products?

Oh, wait, I wonder if it's being used as apple cider vinegar in a conditioner as people like to use that in their hair? (See this post I wrote about it here...)

As of today, I can't find anything about this being used as a preservative on its own and I couldn't find any company selling a preservative that contains it. If you have any information, my lovely readers, please let me know.

As for aspen bark extract, I've written about this a bit as an ingredient found in Natapres. The Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract comes from the quaking or trembling aspen, and it's listed as an anti-bacterial. It seems like it would need something to go along with it to make it a broad spectrum preservative, like one of the organic acids as a fungicide, like potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate.

My humble opinion is that I wouldn't trust those ingredients to preserve a hair conditioner or any other water containing product as they aren't part of a broad spectrum preservative.

Yeah, I know that's willow bark extract in the picture, but I needed something to break up the wall of text, and this was the closest I could get.

If you're interested in supporting the blog, please check out my Patreon page! There all kinds of rewards for subscribing, from the Q&A section to the requests for duplicating section. $10 subscribes also receive an e-zine every month brimming with new formulas and ingredients!

Question from Patreon: What are these ingredients I found in DHC Deep Cleansing Oil?

In the July Q&A on Patreon, Jaime asked: Can you tell me your thoughts on the following three ingredients and if there is a natural substitute? sorbeth-30 tetraoleate (is this just an emulsifier), pentylene glycol (humectant?), stearyl glycyrrhetinate (?)  They seem to be simple ingredients but I'm wondering if they are used for something other than just an emulsifier or humectant in the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil that crazy popular.  Here's the ingredient list: olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, tocopherol, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil

You are correct! Sorbeth-30 tetraoleate is a water loving or hydrophilic emulsifier used in some cleansing oils. It has an HLB of 11.5.

Anthony O'Lenick wrote about this ingredient: If sorbitol is ethoxylated, the dehydration is minimized and sorbeth esters form. The empirical formula of sorbeth-30 is shown in Figure 4. These sorbeth esters are emulsifiers or oils depending upon the amount of EO present. For example, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate (liquid), sorbeth-40 tetraoleate (liquid) and sorbeth-60 tetraoleate (paste) are all excellent emulsifiers and solubilizers of high polar vegetable oils or esters. They provide stable emulsification in small quantities for various oils and esters.

You could try using a polysorbate in its place - I'd try polysorbate 80 - or you could try caprylyl/capryl glucoside, which is considered green and ECOcert. These may feel stickier than the original.

Some references about sorbeth-30-tetraoleate...
Fantastic post on this topic
Reference and some formulas that might be interesting...
A little more information from Cosmetics Info

Pentylene glycol is a relative of the other glycols like propylene glycol or butylene glycol. You could use either of them in its place. If you're seeking a more natural humectant, try glycerin - which can be sticky - or propanediol 1,3. 

Propanediol 1,3 is naturally derived substitute for propylene glycol that can be used at up to 20% in your water phase. It's a humectant that draws water from the atmosphere to your skin to offer hydration. It has a 9 to 12 month shelf life once opened. But I find it's a little lighter and drier feeling than propylene glycol. 

As pentylene glycol is water soluble, methinks the sorbeth-30 tetraoleate is used to combine this into the rest of the oil soluble product. 

What the heck is stearyl glycyrrhetinate? It's an interesting ingredient derived from liquorice root! "The fatty acid form of the soothing ingredient glycyrrhetinic acid, which is derived from licorice." (Paula's Choice) It's an emollient "used to enhance the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness." 

From UL Prospector: "Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate is an ester of stearyl alcohol and Glycyrrhetinic Acid. It acts as a skin conditioning agent with soothing anti-inflammatory properties. This product appears as a white or pale yellowish powder and is used in cosmetics and personal care product formulations for makeup, fragrance, hair care, skin care, shaving, personal hygiene and suntan products."

So it's an oil soluble emollient used to soothe skin and moisturize. Sounds pretty awesome! 

Reference for stearyl glycyrrhetinate: 

To answer your question, I think there could be natural versions of these ingredients, but these are pretty specific things and I think you'd mess up what people love the most about it. You could use caprylyl/capryl glucoside for the sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, propanediol 1,3 for the pentylene glycol, and...I'm really not sure for the stearyl glycyrrhetinate. Maybe a nice light oil like squalane? There'll only be a titch in there as it's down in the 1% or less category in the ingredient list, so maybe that's the best choice? 

If you want the benefits of liquorice root, consider using a bit of ethanol to dissolve some of the powdered extract and add it that way, or use a titch of liquid extract - 1% or less. It may not mix in perfectly, but it's a great ingredient to include in something like this. 

If you're interested in supporting the blog, please check out my Patreon page! There all kinds of rewards for subscribing, from the Q&A section to the requests for duplicating section. $10 subscribes also receive an e-zine every month brimming with new formulas and ingredients!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Question from Patreon: Are there any green alternatives to SLSa in a bath bomb?

In July's Q&A on Patreon, Ingrid asked: I'm investigating bath bombs and  more natural alternatives to using SLSa for bubbles. I've seen bath bomb ingredients listing decyl glucoside as a foaming agent. It's also supposed to be a solubiliser. Can I use it (in liquid form) instead of the Polysorbate 85 and SLSa? If not, do you have any other suggestions for more natural SLSa alternative? 

If we're talking about natural, there really isn't a natural surfactant out there. We can find green or something certified, like ECOcert, Cosmos, or Natrue, but there's nothing that hasn't gone through quite a lot of processing in a factory.

Decyl glucoside, a non-ionic or neutrally charged liquid surfactant, is an ECOcert ingredient, but I don't think it's an option for a bath bomb as it's a liquid, and not a very good bubbler. It's a foamer, but if you're looking for a bubbling bath bomb, this won't give you the big, quick bubbles like something like SLSa will offer. It can act as a solubilizer as it's a good one. The down side of this ingredient is that it's a liquid, which could be too much in some climates, especially humid ones like mine. You could try adding a bit of it - maybe 5% - to the bath bomb to see what you think, but I worry it'll be too wet and sticky.

You could use something like Bioterge AS90, powdered C14-16 olefin sulfonate, as it's a great bubbler with flash foam, but it isn't considered green.

If you are looking for a green, ECOcert solubilizer, consider caprylyl/capryl glucoside (CCG). It's a substitute for polysorbates. There is a huge down side to it; It's incredibly sticky. I mean super sticky. A drip dropped down the side of my bottle, and it took some of the wooden surface of my workshop table with it. I've been working with it in micellar waters, which is going well, but I wouldn't have it in my workshop otherwise as it's just so sticky in just about every product in which I've tried it.

So the short answer is that you could try a little decyl glucoside, but I don't think it's the best choice.

If you're interested in supporting the blog, please check out my Patreon page! There all kinds of rewards for subscribing, from the Q&A section to the requests for duplicating section. $10 subscribes also receive an e-zine every month brimming with new formulas and ingredients!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Cold process hair conditioners - part three with ICE Hair restore

On Monday, we met a new conditioning agent called ICE Hair Restore (aka Jeesperse ICE T CPCS or Gracefruit's EasyMix Smooth). And yesterday, we made a nice conditioner with it. But you know me - I have to play - so let's take a look at another version I'm loving!

83% distilled or purified water
5% ICE Hair Restore
3% Volumizing complex
2% Hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% panthenol (liquid)
2% dimethicone 350 cs
2% cyclomethicone
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% Pineapple cilantro fragrance oil (from Windy Point Soap)

Weigh the ICE Hair Restore out separately into a tiny container, then mix with my tiny stick blender until it's more of a paste, then I add it to the water and mix well. Weigh each ingredient into that same container, and stick blender after reach inclusion. You're done! Rejoice!

What did I do differently this time and why?

I used Volumizing Complex (from Formulator Sample Shop). (Read more on the blog here...)  I love this ingredient in my conditioners as it makes my hair feel bouncier and the ends of my hair a little less frizzy and a bit more curly. The INCI for this product is Water & Rice Amino Acids & Lactobacillus/Date Fruit Ferment Extract & Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy Difluorethyl PEG Phosphate. The rice amino acids work like hydrolyzed proteins as film formers and hydrators with the smaller form being able to penetrate our hair shaft, the lactobacillus/date fruit ferment extract is something I have to study further, but it's the poly...thingie...phosphate that interests me the most! But I'm having trouble finding more information about this ingredient!

I found this in Cosmetics Business magazine about this ingredient. "It is claimed that the amino acids penetrate the cuticle, adding moisture and improving the strength of hair. The fluorinated material is said to bind to the hair, giving it bounce and volume, and the enzyme material converts saturated fatty acids in and on the hair into unsaturated fatty acids with a lower melting point, and these add shine and smoothness." This sounds really good, but notice the words "it is claimed..." or "is said...", which indicate that they're pretty much reporting a press release, not a study. Amino acids are good for our hair as film formers, and the enzyme material (the lactobacillus part) could be great for converting stuff, but this isn't evidence. The impression I get is that the poly-thingie-phosphate is a bit like Teflon for your hair - the hairs won't stick to each other, giving you more volume. (Don't quote me on that! It's just a thought...)

I'm using hydrolyzed baobab protein (from Lotioncrafter) as well as I love having film forming ingredients for my hair. Much like the hydrolyzed rice protein, it's designed to increase hydration of your hair as well as maintining elasticity. You can use another protein or amino acid, if you wish.

I'm using liquid panthenol in this formula, but you could easily use powdered panthenol at the same amount.

What can you do if you don't have some of these ingredients? In any conditioner I make, you can substitute anything water soluble for water at any point. You may change the viscosity or hair feel or something else, but the product will still work. You can substitute any protein for another protein and any oil or butter for any oil or butter. If you don't like silicones, there are silicone substitutes you can try or you can use an oil instead, although that may make your hair greasier than the version I'm making here.

What did I think of it? I love this stuff! I really liked the formula I shared with you yesterday, but this one makes my hair feel more hydrated than the other one, and my hair isn't feeling like straw on the morning of day three. I'm finding it's really easy to comb - which is not normal for me - even without my beloved cetrimonium chloride.

What did my bestie think of it? This is Wanda! Say hi to Wanda, everyone! Wanda has fine, colour treated hair that she also blow dries and straightens.

Here's what she had to say: I have fine hair but lots of it. The conditioner smells amazing. It's a spa on my head. It is thick and provides a good coating.  It rinses off leaving very little residue on my hair. Some may like their hair to feel coated after rinsing; I do not.  I don't want my oils stripped, but I don't want a lot of conditioner just sitting on my hair weighing it down. This does not weigh my hair down. I could easily get a fine tooth comb through it with no issues.  I blow dried my hair and it was not frizzy or fly away.

Pretty awesome, eh? It really is an interesting conditioning ingredient, and the fact that I can make it super quick with little effort is such a bonus!

What will I change next time? Really, you can't leave well enough alone, Swift? Nope! I don't think I'd have a blog if I had been perfectly content with my first conditioner!

This conditioning ingredient can handle up to 10% oils, so maybe we should add a few into the mix? Hmm, which ones should I choose. It's not like I don't have what seems like thousands from which to choose.

Join me tomorrow as we try using an oil or two in this cold process emulsifier. After all, it's not like it'll be all cold and lovely and wintery tomorrow, and we'll still want to make things cold!

Please note, I am not affiliated in any way with the companies I mention on this blog, other than I like their ingredients or like their owners. I receive no compensation for mentioning anything on this blog, and you will find no affiliate links or ads here. I do not accept or write sponsored posts. Just wanted you to know that. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Cold process hair conditioners - part two with ICE hair restore

Yesterday, we met a new hair conditioning ingredient, ICE Hair Restore (aka Jeesperse ICE-T CPCS or EasyMix Smooth from Gracefruit) INCI: Cetearyl alcohol (and) behentrimonium chloride (and) polyquaternium 37. It doesn't need to be heated and held to work, so it's perfect for these ridiculously hot days when going into your workshop to formulate with all kinds of bubbling double boilers and kettles is simply too much.

When I'm working with a new ingredient, I first check with the supplier to see if they have any information on the product. Then I look at their formulary to see if they have examples for how it might work. I generally try that formula first to get an idea of how it is supposed to work, then I create something myself. With a hair conditioner, I have a framework in which I try everything - 2% hydrolyzed protein, 2% panthenol, 2% cyclomethicone, 2% dimethicone, fragrance or essential oil, and 0.5% liquid Germall Plus - as I've been using this combination of ingredients for at least ten years, and I know the hair and skin feel of most of them. This gives me an idea if the new ingredient is more or less silky, glidy, moisturizing, hydrating, conditioning, detangling, and so on than my regular formulas.

In this formula, I used hydrolyzed rice protein as it can increase hair's elasticity and hydrates well. You can use any hydrolyzed protein you have at home at 2% or at the suggested usage rate.

I chose the fragrance I did as it really is my new Saturday night thing! It goes with everything and I just love it! You can feel free to use any fragrance or essential oil you choose as I haven't read anything that says anything is contraindicated with this conditioner.

86% distilled or reverse osmosis water*
5% ICE hair restore
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
2% hydrolyzed rice protein
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% fragrance oil - blood orange & goji berry (Windy Point Soap)

Remember, if you're making this without heating, you need to use purified water, not something from your tap or something full of minerals.

Into a container, weigh each ingredient, and stick blender after each inclusion. And you're done! (See note below...)

This product has a pH of 5.04, which is perfect for a hair conditioner.

I found my first try was a bit lumpy, as you can see in this picture. It was still nice on my hair, but it doesn't look great!

What I've done for subsequent batches is to weigh the ICE Hair Restore out separately into a tiny container, then mix with my tiny stick blender until it's more of a paste, then I add it to the water and mix well. It has made it much smoother and silkier.

What do I think of this? I absolutely love this conditioner! It's a nice viscosity in the bottle and on my hair, but I swear my hair felt lighter and less weighed down than when I use a similar recipe using Incroquat BTMS-50 or Rita BTMS-225, even though it contains cetearyl alcohol.

You'll notice that I don't have a humectant in the form of glycerin or propylene glycol in here, and the ICE Hair Restore doesn't contain one either. I have quite frizzy hair and I thought that would be a good thing for me, but I think I need to add a little something to the next batch as my hair didn't get those little ringlets at the end that normally show up in the warmer months as my hair dries more quickly, and I noticed that when I woke up on the morning of day three - I wash my hair every other day as I'm an oily girl! - they seemed a little stiffer and straw like than normal.

Please note, I don't think having frizzy hair is a bad thing. I like my hair to be a little less tamed and a little more wild, it's just that at a certain point, it can make your cuticle lift up, which can increase friction, which increases damage and breakage. I would never judge your hair style or rightness of your amount of frizz! 

It did make my tub a bit slippery, but I think that's because I use far more than I needed. A little went quite a long way.

I think this would be awesome for fine hair as it really doesn't weigh your hair down, and the lack of oils would be good for oily hair types. If you wanted to add oils, this ingredient can emulsify up to 10% oils, remembering that the cyclomethicone and dimethicone should count for 4% of that amount. (Try 5% coconut oil in this formula above and remove 5% of the distilled water amount to make that 81%. Or wait a few days to see the formula I created with it.)

I'm really quite happy with this...but you know me, I can't leave well enough alone. So join me tomorrow for another version of this conditioner with a few changes!

Please note, I am not affiliated in any way with the companies I mention on this blog, other than I like their ingredients or like their owners. I receive no compensation for mentioning anything on this blog, and you will find no affiliate links or ads here. Just want you to know that. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Cold process hair conditioners - part one with ICE Hair Restore

Is it possible to make hair conditioners without heating or holding? Why are you even asking this question? What madness is this, Swift?

I bought this cold process hair conditioning ingredient - called Ice Restore at Making Cosmetics* - INCI: Cetearyl alcohol (and) behentrimonium chloride (and) polyquaternium 37 - that appears to be a product called Jeesperse ICE-T CPCS. (I found it at Gracefruit in the UK.*)

Let's take a look at each ingredient to see what it brings to the mix. According to the MSDS from Making Cosmetics, this consists of 32% to 38% cetearyl alcohol, 32% to 38% behentrimonium chloride, and 27% to 33% quaternium 37.

Behentrimonium chloride is a positively charged or cationic quaternary compound that acts as the hair conditioner and emulsifier in this product. Cationic ingredients adsorb to the hair strand to condition it, which means it reduces the friction between hair strands and reduces the combing forces or how much effort we have to make to comb our hair. It makes the cuticle lay down flat, which leads to less tangling and damage.

You might recognize the behentrimonium part of the name as being part of something like Incroquat BTMS-50 or Rita BTMS-225. In those, we use behentrimonium methosulfate or BTMS. BTMS seems to be less irritating to the skin and eyes than behentrimonium chloride, but they are still both nice conditioning agents. (As a note, behentrimonium chloride was not found to be irritating to skin at 5%. (this link, page 64This study indicates that using it at 1% to 5% for a whole body, leave on products is safe.

Interestingly, Whole Foods allows behentrimonium chloride, but not methosulfate. For more information, click here for an interesting discussion.

Check out this post on how conditioners work for even more detail! 

Cetearyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol we use to thicken our lotions. It also works to boost the conditioning power of a cationic compound like behentrimonium methosulfate. It can feel a bit waxy when compared to cetyl alcohol, which is more glidy, or behenyl alcohol, which can feel a bit drier or more powdery.

Polyquaternium 37 (aka Poly(2-methacryloxyethyltrimethylammonium chloride) is a cationic polymer like polyquat 7 or Honeyquat. A cationic polymer is like the cationic quaternary compound above, but they tend to be more water soluble or more easily mixed with water. They all condition our hair, but some can thicken our products, too.

Polyquaternium 37 is good for thickening, which is why I think it's included in this product. I couldn't find a thing about this ingredient in any of my textbooks or saved PDFs, which is very strange, but I found a few blogs that indicated it might be good for fine hair, that it's a good anti-static ingredient as most other cationic ingredients would be with low build up. (Reference)

Please note, this isn't to say that the other blogs I found aren't scientifically based, it's just I find it really weird that in all the textbooks, journals, and everything else I have hoarded on my computer and in real life, I could find nothing on this ingredient. 

The instructions say to use it at 3% to 10% in warm-ish water to create a hair conditioner that can emulsify up to 10% oils. The example formula from Making Cosmetics notes to stick blend or propeller mix after the addition of each ingredient, so that's what I've done with my formulas. This example formula from Jeen doesn't suggest doing that.

I found that this product could be a little lumpy when I added it to the water amount. So I put it into a small container - I have a 50 ml beaker that worked really well - and took the tiny mixer to it for about 20 seconds to break those up. I added that to the water phase, and it worked really well.

Join me tomorrow as we make some cold-ish process conditioners using this new ingredient!

Please note, I have no relationship with either of these companies. I purchased this from Making Cosmetics earlier this year, and really loved it.

Friday, August 4, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Introduction

I hate summer. I hate the heat, I hate the sun and the way sunscreen makes me break out, I hate the mosquitoes and having to smell like Off, I hate the humidity that makes my hair frizz uncontrollably, I hate sweating all day, and I hate that I complain so much about hating summer. We're in the middle of a heat wave and I can't go into my workshop to play with all my lovely ingredients as I get a heat headache after more than it's too hot to be in there for more than minutes, so I hate summer more than normal right now, which is quite a lot as I already hate it with the power of a thousand burning suns.

What can I do when I need things like conditioner, lotion, cooling spray, body wash, and more?

How about making cold process products, ones you don't need to heat up at all?

Is that possible?

Yes! But you definitely have to follow some guidelines.

Good manufacturing processes: We need to be as sanitary as possible, so we start by pulling our hair back and wearing gloves. Sanitize your space and equipment, like jars, jugs, and utensils, with an alcohol spray before creation.

Also see Basic lotion making instructions...

As a note, you don't need to sanitize your bottles and jars if they came new from your supplier and you've stored them in bags or a clean space. And please don't re-use plastic bottles or jars, especially those that used to contain something that had oil in it as it can cause contamination or rancidity of your oils pretty quickly. I found this out the hard way...

Distilled or reverse osmosis water: We can't use tap water, boiled or unboiled, as they contain all manner of things and metals and we need to be as sanitary as possible. Distilled water is plentiful and inexpensive at pharmacies and grocery stores. I pay less than $2 for 4 litres (around a gallon).

Use a good, broad spectrum preservative at the suggested usage level: If you're making something that contains water or might be exposed to water, you must use a preservative. There are loads of choices - check out my preservative comparison chart here - but you'll have to choose the one that's appropriate for your product. For instance, Liquipar Optima requires oil to work, so it won't work in a water only toner. Tinosan doesn't work in cationic or positively charged products, so you can't use it in a conditioner or with things like polyquaternium 7 or honeyquat.

I like using Liquid Germall Plus at 0.5%, the maximum suggested usage rate as it works with just about everything I make. That's what I'll be using in this series of posts.

As we work with various cold process products, I'll be sharing more about things to consider for each one. Let's start on Monday with a cold process hair conditioner!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Question from Patreon: Can cocamidopropyl betaine be used as the only surfactant in a shampoo?

In the July Q&A on my Patreon feed, Doris asked: I fell down this particular rabbit hole because I wanted to duplicate a simple shampoo that I love. (It's this shampoo - Dirty Girl Farm, Bamboo Shampoo.)  I think the order of the ingredients is off, but according to the label they are: water, glycerin, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, bamboo extract. fragrance, citric acid, neem infusion.  The cocamidopropyl betaine seems to be the only surfactant, which strikes me as odd, but I went with it.  I put together a basic recipe, but can’t get it to thicken with either salt or Crothix.  My bamboo extract is 40% water, 40% glycerin, and 20% bamboo.  I used it at 10% and didn’t add any additional glycerin, since my hair is very prone to frizz.  I couldn’t find “neem infusion” anywhere, but I did include liquid Germall Plus (using a preservative is just one of the many important things I’ve learned from you).  Finally, my questions.  Can cocamidopropyl betaine be used as the only surfactant in a shampoo?  Can it be thickened with salt?  I’m beginning to believe something is missing from the ingredient list, like a primary surfactant, but I haven’t given up yet!

Don't you love rabbit holes? They're the very reason this blog exists! (I was down one earlier today all about dimethicone copolyols, which I can't wait to share shortly! And I'm currently down one about surfactants, thanks to this question, Doris! Woo!) I love your curiosity, so let's take a look at your question in greater detail.

The short answer is yes, it can be used as the only surfactant. But you know I can't leave it at that, right?

Cocamidopropyl betaine is what's called a secondary surfactant, meaning we generally don't use it alone. It offers great foam stabilizing and a reduction in the irritant level of the anionic surfactants. It offers a great flash foam and some humectant properties. The version I have is very thin, like water, 30% active, and a pH of 5 to 7.

Why do we call cocamidopropyl betaine a "secondary surfactant"?

Primary surfactants are generally anionic, or negatively charged. Cocamidopropyl betaine is amphoteric, meaning it has a positive functional group and a negative functional group, depending on the pH. In an acidic product, like a shampoo or body wash, it'll have a positive charge and be more conditioning.

Secondary surfactants like the betaines have strong, syngergistic interactions with anionic surfactants, like sodium laureth sulfate or C14-16 olefin sulfonates, like increasing "mildness, foaming, and viscosity properties of the formulation". (1) They aren't used for all of the cleansing and foaming in a product: They're used to boost those other properties. (2)

And therein lies the problem: It's not that cocamidopropyl betaine can't clean our skin or hair well, it's just that it works better when combined with something else. It could be a decent shampoo or skin cleanser, but it's not the most efficient use of this surfactant.

If we go back to your question and refer to the ingredient list - water, glycerin, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, bamboo extract. fragrance, citric acid, neem infusion - this doesn't look right. The first ingredient is water, the second glycerin, and the third cocamidopropyl betaine. I find it hard to believe that a product that has more glycerin than surfactant would foam or cleanse properly. (If you look at the ingredient list on the site, you'll see the same ingredients in alphabetical rather than percentage used order.) So I'm going to assume that there's something out of order here.

As an aside, I have no idea why they would be including citric acid in this product when the pH is almost perfect, and why they aren't adding a preservative. I'm so glad to see you're using one!

So I went to the site and I looked at the conditioner you liked and saw this ingredient list: cetearyl alcohol, stearic acids, cascarilla bark, cocamide mea, infused oil, and neem. That's not an ingredient list for a conditioner. There's no water, for a start. When I zoomed in on the ingredient list in the picture, it was clear there were many other ingredients in the mix, with purified water at the top of the list, so the ingredient list isn't complete.

In light of this finding, I think my longer answer to the first question is this - I don't think this ingredient list is complete and I don't think cocamidopropyl bettaine is the only surfactant in this product. Based on the inclusion of citric acid, I wonder if the other surfactant is something with a higher pH, like decyl glucoside, for instance. (Although after you read the next section, you'll see why this might not be so...)

A mini-rant: I hate that companies are getting away with posting incomplete lists, lists in alphabetical rather than descending order, or lists without INCI names. (Lush is terrible for this, and you'll see more ranting about this in the coming weeks!) This list is definitely one without INCI names, as evidenced by saying "kosher vegetable glycerine", which isn't the official name. 

Can cocamidopropyl betaine be thickened by salt? Funny thing is that I can't find any information on this. I've been searching for quite a while, and because cocamidopropyl betaine is a thickener itself, I can't find anything about thickening it with salt. I tried it myself, and saw no thickening with salt, although there are so many reasons that might be, so I can't say for sure either way. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful here.

(1) Page 46, Handbook of Detergents
(2) Page 166, Handbook of Detergents

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Question from Patreon: How to use alcohol in a lotion? (part two)

In yesterday's post, we took a look at how we might use alcohol in a lotion. In today's post, I thought I'd shared a few ways you could incorporate ethanol into your products.

If you want to make something pH balanced for our skin, I know you can use Aristoflex AVC to make 50% ethanol gels. In this case, add the water and alcohol mix to the Aristoflex. If you have dissolved an active ingredient in alcohol like bisabolol or salicylic acid, make the gel with the Aristoflex and water, then add the alcohol mix to the gel slowly while mixing.

So let's say you wanted to include 10% alcohol in a lotion with Aristoflex AVC. This could be your starting point...

80% distilled water
10% vodka or denatured alcohol
3.5% glycerin
5% oil of choice
1% Aristoflex AVC
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
  1. Measure distilled or de-ionized water into a container, then add the glycerin. 
  2. Add the dimethicone, oil soluble extract, Aristoflex AVC, and preservative in that order. 
  3. Mix well. 
  4. Bottle and rejoice!  
I know there are gels that can use higher levels of ethanol, like Sepimax ZEN, and you could try a variation on this formula and include up to 10% oils. I've found formulas with up to 2.5% alcohol - check out this presentation - so we'll substitute 2.5% of the distilled water with alcohol in this next formula.

74% distilled water
10% aloe vera
10% rose water
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

3% Sepimax ZEN

Using room temperature or slightly above room temperature water, add the ingredients in the slightly heated water phase and mix well. Sprinkle Sepimax ZEN on the water. Wait 8 hours. Do not mix during that time. I know you want to, but don’t! After 8 hours – ta da! You have a lovely thick gel!

Or you can put the powder in the water, mix lightly with a fork until the product is wetted, then start mixing. Start at a lower speed with a beater on a hand mixer, then move to a higher speed for about 10 minutes.

This will create quite a thick gel, so if you want it to be thinner, feel free to reduce the ZEN to 2.5% or even 2%. It will be thinner if you mix it than if you let it sit for 8 hours.

Or consider using Sepinov EMT 10 (INCI: Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer). It's a pre-neutralized polymer you can use to make gels, cream gels, and alcoholic gels, and can be added to an emulsion as a rheology modifier (thickener). The recommended usage rate is 0.5% to 5%. The lower usage rate is for including it in lotion, while the higher levels are creating gels or cream gels where EMT 10 is the main ingredient.

To make an alcoholic gel – inedible, sadly – you add all your water ingredients, then Sepinov EMT 10, then your alcohol while mixing.

For a cream gel, which is one with oils, add it to the oil phase, then add the entire water phase while mixing. The data sheets for this product say it can handle up to 50% oils, but that didn’t work for me. I tried 40% and 45% oils and esters, and each time had an epic fail. I suggest no more than 10% oils, esters, and oil soluble ingredients at first and see how it works for you. I liked 10% - you’ll see that shortly – and thought it was lovely and moisturizing.

So we could try making something like this, which is a modified version of my niacinamide & willow bark oil free moisturizer, only we'll include a titch of oil in the mix. The willow bark may help with inflammation, the panthenol will help with wound healing, and the allantoin will protect skin's barrier. (Click on this link to read why I used each ingredient as this post is super long already!)

10% oil of choice
3% Sepinov EMT 10

64.5% distilled water
5% willow bark extract (liquid)
4% niacinamide (powder)
3% propanediol 1,3
3% sea kelp bioferment
2% n-acetyl glucosamine
2% panthenol (powder)
2% chamomile extract (liquid)
0.5% sodium lactate (powder)
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

10% alcohol

In a container that’s big enough to use the stick blender or hand mixer in, combine the ingredients in each phase, then mix with a stick blender until combined. Then add the next phase, and do the same thing. When you're satisfied with the viscosity, which could take up to 5 minutes, stop mixing and package the product!

Yeah, I know these probably what you were thinking of when you asked about lotions, but they are products that are emulsified that contain oil and alcohol, and I think you'll find them quite lovely once you make them. Search on the blog here for more formulas using these three gelling ingredients and you'll find so many places to start!

Hope that answered your question!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Question from Patreon: How to use alcohol in a lotion? (part one)

On my Patreon feed page, Albert asked: If I wanted to make an after shave balm which includes some alcohol in it, my questions are: 
1. In which of the 3 phases (water, oil, cool down) should I add it?
2. In terms or ratios, does the alcohol count as part of the water or the oil content?
3. How much maximum % of alcohol of the total balm can/should one add?

In the same thread, Charlette asked: If alcohol is in an ingredient list--is there no rule of thumb as to where to add it?  (Similar to, let's say for example-- almond oil-- which we KNOW gets added in an oil phase). It seems to me that common sense would have it added in cool down (because would it not evaporate if in a heated water phase?  Or  would it mesh with oil in a heated phase?).  I've seen a few ingredients listing alcohol--so my curiosity is also peaked.

The quick answer to the first question is this: Alcohol is water soluble and can sort of handle heat, so it goes into the heated water phase. If you are using small amounts, say 5%, you can add it in the cool down phase, if you prefer.

Related post: How do you know when to add an ingredient?

The second one is simple: Alcohol comes out of the water amount. When we add an ingredient, generally we remove part of the water amount. So let's say we have 80% distilled water in a recipe and we want to add 10% alcohol, we would remove 10% from the distilled water amount, making it 70%. We do this so we always have a recipe that totals 100%.

Related posts: Adding and removing from the water amount

The third one...well, that one has had me searching my textbooks and on-line for more time than I'd care to imagine. I can't find anything reliable about how to use our normal emulsifiers - including Polawax, Incroquat BTMS-50, Simulsol 165, and so on - with ethanol. I did find that Natragem EW, a natural version of Polawax, is stable at 2% alcohol, which gives you an idea that we can't just add it to the product willy nilly.

I've been experimenting with using 10% vodka in a lotion using stearic acid-TEA as the emulsifier, and not only is it lovely and stable, it feels nice on my skin. The only down side I see is that this has an alkaline pH of over 8, which isn't great for a leave on product as our skin has a pH of 4.7 to 5.5-ish. If you're interested in trying this at home, substitute 10% of the distilled water or any hydrosol with 10% alcohol in this duplication of Lush's Dream Cream.

Join me as we take a look tomorrow at using alcohols in gels and lotions!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Lush's main emulsifier: Stearic acid and triethanolamine

One of the companies I'm asked most about is Lush, and their products are the most requested duplications on my Patreon subscription page. (This month I duplicated the Tea Tree Water Toner, the Jumping Juniper shampoo bar, the Godiva shampoo bar, and the Ocean Salt, which appears tomorrow.) I know the most visited duplication on this blog is for the Lush Dream Cream, so let's take a little look at their main emulsifier - a soap made from stearic acid and triethanolamine.

When we take stearic acid - a fatty acid we can buy as a flake - and triethanolamine - an alkaline pH adjuster - and combine them together at a 2:1 to ratio, we create a soap called TEA-stearate, an alkaline salt of stearic acid through the process of saponification. (Reference*)

When we create soaps from oils and lye through saponification, we're using a very alkaline thing - the sodium hydroxide - to turn the fatty acids into things like sodium tallowate (from tallow), sodium oleate (from oleic acid), or sodium palmitate (from palmitic acid), and so on.

These soaps are surfactants or surface active agents, meaning they get into the interface between oil and water and bring them together thanks to the hydrophilic or water loving head and the lipophilic or oil loving tail.

Related posts: A slightly more in depth look at emulsification

I'll be writing more about soaps and soap making in August as I'm trying these soaps I made back in May and July! If you'd like to see the lecture by Kevin Dunn that changed the way I see soapmaking, click here for the notes! Here's a super chemistry based way to explain it from the University of Calgary

To summarize: We saponify stearic acid by using triethanolamine to create an alkaline soap that can act as an emulsifier.

When using this combination, you'll want to use more stearic acid than you need as you want to ensure all the TEA is reacted. You'll see in the formula below, I'd have something like 3.9% TEA to 8% stearic acid to create a thick product. I'm increasing the stearic acid to 10% as I want it to thicken as well. If you'd like to use less, try 1.9% TEA and 4% stearic for a thinner product.

Here's the problem with this emulsifier: Because it's a soap, it has an alkaline pH over 8. Our skin has an acidic pH of around 4.7 to 5.5, and ideally a leave on product like a lotion would have a similar pH. Soap, by definition, is alkaline. If the pH drops into the neutral or acidic realm, it'll fall apart.

As well, it has a huge issue with the soaping effect, which is the white streaks you can get on your skin when you're using a lotion. Adding some dimethicone to the mix can help with that, but it's pretty much inevitable when you're making something with this emulsifier. There's nothing wrong with the soaping effect, but some people don't like it.

In light of all of this, here's what that Dream Cream formula might look like with this emulsifier instead of the 7.5% Polawax I previously suggested. I thought I'd try it again to get to a more authentic duplication.

I've reduced the chamomile and rose hydrosols down to 15% each as these are acidic ingredients and we need to keep an alkaline pH for this emulsifier to stay together. I'm adding back distilled water to make up the rest of the water phase. I've taken out the powdered chamomile extract as we have chamomile essential oil and chamomile hydrosol in the mix. If you don't want to use that essential oil - it can get quite spendy at times, and has an earthy odour that some of us, including me, don't like - use instead 0.5% powdered chamomile extract. Just note that the extract might contribute a bit of a beige-y colour to the finished product.

I don't have benzoin, so I'll use 0.05% Vitamin E, T-50, blend to retard rancidity of my oils. Having said that, the stearic acid has a two year plus shelf life, olive oil a year, cocoa butter at least two years, and cetearyl alcohol at least two years, so you really don't need an anti-oxidant in this product.

One version of this I made had a pH of 8.01.

22.1% distilled water
15% chamomile hydrosol
15% rose hydrosol
3.8% triethanolamine
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein

16% olive oil
10% stearic acid
10% cocoa butter
1% cetearyl alcohol

1% Germaben II (If you want to use Phenonip, please use 1% - 0.5% in the heated water phase, 0.5% in the cool down phase)
1% essential oil blend - rose, chamomile, tea tree, lavender - I'm not sure about the proportions of each as I haven't smelled this product.
0.1% Vitamin E, T-50 anti-oxidant blend

Please use the basic lotion making instructions for this product. Please note that I'm using Germaben II or Phenonip as the original product uses parabens as a preservative. Feel free to try another preservative - I'd suggest Liquid Germall Plus at 0.5% - or consult the preservatives section of the blog for more information.

If you want this to be a bit thicker, you can add more cocoa butter - although that may be way too greasy for your tastes - or up the cetearyl alcohol to 3%. If you really hate the soaping effect, then try adding up to 5% dimethicone in the cool down phase and remove 5% from the olive oil amount to compensate.

Let me know what you think of this new version in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Questions from Patreon: When can you tinker with a finished product?

On my Patreon feed, Sally asked: Under what circumstances can you tinker with a "finished" product? For example, a batch of shampoo isn't as foamy as I like. Can I melt some SCI and add it after the fact? Or can I make a large batch of lotion and then divide it and add separate fragrances afterwards? Are there categories of fixes than can be tried, or categories where just cut your losses and start over again?

This is a big and fantastic question, so I'll do my best to answer it in as much detail as I can. I will definitely be updating this post regularly as I think of more things!

Why wouldn't we want to add things after the fact?

1. It might mess up the emulsion. A lotion can only take x% oils before it falls apart. For instance, if you have a lotion that has a 24% oil phase and you've used 6% Polawax, adding even 1% more could make it fall apart.

Related post: Polawax and the 25% of the oil phase rule

2. It might mess up the emulsion if you have to heat it as a lot of emulsions can't take being heated again.

One of the things that comes up a lot is wanting to make the lotion thicker after it's done. One trick is to make a second batch of the lotion with more thickener, so when you combine the two lotions, you'll have the amount of thickener you want. So let's say you made a 100 gram batch of lotion with 3 grams of cetyl alcohol in it, and you wish to have it thicker, you could make a second 100 gram batch with more cetyl alcohol or another thickener in it, then blend the two together. Make sure you are compensating with more emulsifier if you're adding more fatty alcohol to a lotion! 

3. It might mess up the product if you have to heat it. A lot of preservatives don't like the heat, so taking the product above 60˚C might result in the destruction of a preservative. Then you don't know how much is left, so you add more, and now you've used too much.

4. It might overload the preservative. If we have calculated the preservative just right - let's say you're using 0.5% liquid Germall Plus - and we add more stuff to it, it might not be enough and you'll get contamination.

5. There are quite a few categories of ingredients that don't do well at higher temperatures. Think about ingredients we add to the cool down phase as they can't handle heat - botanical extracts, some silicones, essential oils, alcohols, active ingredietnts - and you'll quickly see that there are so many things that could evaporate or become just plain awful if heated.

If you've ever had the misfortune of smelling Honeyquat when it's been heated, you'll know what I mean. Three words: Dead plastic fish...Ick! 

Related post: How do you know into which phase to add an ingredient?

When would it be okay to add things after it's finished?

1. For the most part, it's okay to add a fragrance or essential oil to a product. I like to make big batches of things like bubble bath, body wash, conditioner, and lotion to fragrance later. It might be that I like to change fragrances with the season or try new fragrance oils or give them as gifts with different scents.

Make sure you have accounted for this addition with your emulsifier. For instance, with Polawax, make sure you are using more emulsifier than you think you need - add 0.25% more for every 1% fragrance or essential oil you'll be adding.

Related post: Making large batches and scenting them later

Having said this, difference fragrances and essential oils can have an impact on the viscosity of your surfactant based products as well as gels, and can affect clarity, so be aware that a bubble bath that seems great with a citrus fragrance oil may turn to water when you add vanilla. This is why I never add my Crothix or other thickeners until after I've added my fragrance oil!

2. With a product that can be played with cold - like a bubble bath - you could add things to it as long as you compensate with more preservative. If you've made a lovely body wash and you want to add 10% more surfactant, you might consider adding 0.05% more liquid Germall Plus, for instance. (Having said this, I use 0.5% liquid Germall Plus, the maximum amount, so I can add a titch more here and there if I want to increase foam and lather or include a new and exciting extract.)

I'm having a love affair with cold emulsifiers right now - things like RM-2051 (aka Emulthix) and Aristoflex AVC - and you could add things to these lotions after they're done as long as you are compensating with more preservatives and it can handle more of ingredient x. (For instance, don't go over 5% total oils with Aristoflex AVC.)

I think that's all I can think of at the moment! What are your thoughts on this topic? Share in the comments below!