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!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Questions from Patreon: Why are you adding protein and panthenol into the heated water phase?

On my Patreon feed, Jennifer asked:  I saw (and like) the recipe you posted on the facial lotion (rosehip/calendula), and saw that you put the protein and panthenol in the hot water phase.  Most of your earlier posts put these two in the cool down phase.  Does it matter which phase?  

It does and it doesn't: It all comes down to how the ingredient you're using can tolerate heat. 

Quite some time ago - shortly after starting the blog, if I recall - I read a post on The Dish Forum by the mighty LabRat stating that hydrolyzed proteins should go into the heated water phase as they could handle heat. As well, they might be a vehicle for contamination, so heating them is a good idea. I altered my practice then, although there are still some hydrolyzed proteins I encounter that shouldn't be heated, so I put them in the cool down phase. I will make a point of mentioning they are not great in the heat when you see them in the future.

As for panthenol, the version I've been using - the liquid one - isn't heat stable, so it goes into the cool down phase. For my recipes from the HSCG conference, which was sponsored by the always lovely Jen from Lotioncrafter*, I've been using powdered panthenol, which is heat stable.

You may notice in the future that I'm adding dimethicone or cyclomethicone to a phase other than the cool down phase. This is because I'll be using different ones, and some of those can handle heat.

Related posts:
How do you know when to include an ingredient?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Recipes from the 2017 HSCG conference: Rosehip & calendula moisturizer (part two)

On Monday, we met a new emulsifier, Simulgreen 18-2, and yesterday we created a facial moisturizer with it. Let's spend some time looking at why I chose the ingredients I chose!

We have three phases: the heated water phase, which contains anything that is water soluble and can stand heat; the heated oil phase, which contains everything oil soluble that can stand heat; and the cool down phase, into which we put everything else.

Related posts:
How do you know into which phase you should add an ingredient?
Emulsification: What's that then?

As one of my humectants, I used hyaluronic acid at 0.1% in the heated water phase. I could add it at 0.1% to the water phase, or I could make the gel and use that at 10%, which works out to 0.1% active ingredient. (This formula is originally from Lotioncrafter and is used here with permission.)

98.5% distilled water
1% LMW hyaluronic acid powder
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

I sprinkled in the hyaluronic acid powder, mixed well by hand until the powder was wet, then left it alone for three hours and came back to a lovely looking gel! It should be completely clear and doesn’t feel sticky on your skin. You can use this neat or use this in products. (Using 10% hyaluronic acid gel = 0.1% hyaluronic acid in your product.)

I'm having a love affair with propanediol 1,3, a naturally derived substitute for propylene glycol that can be used at up to 20% in your water phase. As a humectant, it's dry and non-sticky feeling compared to glycerin. (I've been using it in so many different things as a humectant from micellar waters to lotions, and I love it so much!)

If two humectants are good, three might be better, so let's add some sodium lactate at 2%! (I'm using the 100% powder in this product, but you can use the 60% liquid, if that's what you have.)

You know I love my hydrolyzed proteins, so I've added hydrolyzed quinoa protein as a film former and skin conditioner. And I have to have allantoin at 0.5% as it's a great barrier protector as well as skin soother.

I’m a huge fan of panthenol, in this case powdered dl-Panthenol, Vitamin B5, which has been shown to help increase skin hydration and behave as a humectant and anti-inflammatory while helping skin’s wound healing properties. And I'm adding liquid calendula extract at 5% as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

In my heated oil phase, I have to have olive derived squalane, part of the unsaponifiable part of olive oil found in our skin so it sinks in quickly to moisturize. I've been using this as the base of just about every facial product I make as it's light and non-greasy. It leaves a nice dewy-ness to my skin that I don't seem to get with other oils.

As my oil, I like unrefined rosehip seed oil as it contains beta carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A, that helps with hyperpigmentation of our skin to promote a more uniform skin colour. It's light and non-greasy, which is a great thing for moisturizers! I used 5% as it's quite brightly orange, and I don't want to turn this into a custard! (Although facial custard does sound kinda nice, eh? Hmm...)

I added Sepilift DPHP (INCI: Dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline), an ECOcert and Natrue certified ingredient at 1% to 2% in the heated oil phase as an anti-aging ingredient that may stimulate collagen synthesis to plump skin and lips.

Into the cool down phase, I added Antarcticine* (INCI: Water, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide), an ECOcert ingredient used at 3% to 5% to increase skin hydration, increase levels of collagen and elastin to reduce the depth and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as enhance wound healing.

And I added Regu-scence* (INCI: Asparagus Officinalis Stem Extract), an ECOcert ingredient used at 1% to 3% in the cool down phase to help create a more even skin tone and reduce the signs of aging, like thinner skin.

As the emulsifier, I chose Simulgreen 18-2 (INCI: Hydroxystearyl Alcohol and Hydroxystearyl Glucoside), which we met yesterday. To make it more stable, I need to add a fatty alcohol like cetyl alcohol or cetearyl alcohol. I added behenyl alcohol as a thickener and stabilizer at 2% in the heated oil phase as I like the dry, matte feeling it offers. You could use either of the other fatty alcohols, if you wish. Cetyl will make it a bit more oily - not a huge amount, but enough that you'll notice it - and cetearyl will make it a bit thicker and waxier.

Any time we use water, we need to use a preservative. My favourite is liquid Germall plus at 0.5% in the cool down phase as it’s a broad spectrum preservative that will help combat microbes like bacteria, yeast, and mold.

I know some of you are thinking about changing the preservative. You can do that, but make sure it's a broad spectrum preservative - meaning one that will combat all the potential contamination - and it can work with the ingredients we're using. Check out the preservative comparison chart in this post or the preservatives section to make sure it'll work with this formula. I know how it works with liquid Germall Plus as that's how I've made this quite a few times, but there's no guarantee it'll work with what you have. 

As a note, Jen from Lotioncrafter has been working with this moisturizer quite a lot. She has done a freeze-thaw test with it - she froze it and let it thaw three times to see if it would remain stable, and it did! - and has done a heated test with it. Through it all, this moisturizer passed with flying colours!

My presentation at the HSCG conference was very kindly sponsored by Lotioncrafter*. I'm so grateful to them for doing so much work to make sure it went well! Please note that I provide these links as a way of showing my gratitude. They aren't affiliate links, and I get nothing if you click through and buy anything. 

Here are the links to the ingredients at Lotioncrafter
Behenyl alcohol
Calendula extract
Hyaluronic acid, LMW
Hydrolyzed quinoa protein
Liquid Germall Plus
Propanediol 1,3
Rosehip seed oil, unrefined
Sepilift DPHP
Simulgreen 18-2
Sodium lactate, powder
Squalane, olive
Squalane, Neoessence

As a note, if you're a $10 subscriber to my Patreon page, Lotioncrafter is offering a 5% discount that's good to the end of the year, so if you're thinking about buying some ingredients, consider that this might be something that pays for itself! :-)

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at another recipe using Simulgreen 18-2!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Recipes from the 2017 HSCG conference: Rosehip & calendula moisturizer (part one)

Yesterday, we met a neat new emulsifier, Simulgreen 18-2. Let's take a look at the facial moisturizer I created for my demonstration at the 2017 Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild conference, which was very kindly sponsored by Lotioncrafter. There are so many cool things about this formula, but the best might be that all the ingredients are green or ECOcert, except one - liquid Germall Plus - so you could call this 99.5% natural! (I bet you didn't expect that from me, eh?)

I want this facial moisturizer to feel light and less greasy on my skin, 'cause the last thing I want is a really shiny, oily face! I'll choose my ingredients with that goal in mind. I want to include lovely humectants to hydrate my skin and lovely oils to moisturize. I'll include some extracts and cosmeceuticals to offer other benefits to my skin.

46% distilled water
10% hyaluronic acid gel (0.1% HA LMW)
3% propanediol 1,3
5% calendula extract (water soluble)
1% sodium lactate (powder)
2% hydrolyzed quinoa protein
2% panthenol (powder)
0.5% allantoin

10% squalane
5% rosehip seed oil
4% Simulgreen 18-2
2% behenyl alcohol
1% Sepilift DPHP

5% Antarcticine
2% Regu-scence
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

1. Weigh the heated water phase into a heatproof container. Measure the weight of the water phase and the container before putting it into your double boiler. (This is so we can compensate for evaporation after the heating and holding phase.) Place the container into a double boiler.

2. Weigh the heated oil phase into a heatproof container, then place into the double boiler.

3. When both phases have reached 70˚C, remove from the heat. Pour the water into the oil phase, then mix with a stick blender for about 3 minutes. Then switch to a hand mixer with beaters.

4. When the lotion reaches 45˚C, add the cool down phase and mix well.

As I mentioned yesterday, this lotion can be a bit picky about how you work with it, so please follow this process exactly as written.

So what's it like? It's a light lotion that feels like it sinks in quickly into the skin. It's non-greasy, but spreads well. I've been using it as a light, all over moisturizer during these warmer months, and I love that I can apply it, then play on my iPad shortly thereafter without covering it in grease.

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at why I used each of these ingredients! (And isn't this cupcake napkin cute as heck?)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Here's a post about suppliers from which I've bought interesting and unusual things...

I've been on a bit of a buying binge lately as I have quite a lot of time to formulate in the next few weeks. I thought I'd share with you a few interesting things I found at different suppliers...

If you're looking for sodium coco sulfate to make jelly soap, check out Windy Point in Calgary, Alberta!

I'll be sharing my experiences making these wiggly syndet bars as well as bubble bars in the near future. We're having way too much fun making them! 

I know it's in French, but remember that the INCI name is your friend in this case (as is Google Translate). At Les Ames Fleurs in Quebec, I found...

Sucragel AOF* - I write about this cold emulsifier in this post.

Babassuamidopropyl betaine* - A surfactant like cocamidopropyl betaine but made with babassu oil. (I'll have a post up about my experiences with this one shortly...)

Sodium cocoyl glutamate - A very gentle surfactant used in all kinds of foamy, lathery, bubbly products. I used it in a lovely foaming hand wash and body wash, which you'll see shortly.

Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate* - Another gentle surfactant you can use in all kinds of way. Again, you'll see more about this shortly.

Lauryl glucoside* - One of the only ingredients I've found to thicken decyl glucoside. It's this thick paste in a jar!

At Creations from Eden in Edmonton, I found conditioner concentrate, also known as Incroquat CR. I use this in conditioners as it softens hair and reduces static. In my conditioner bars, I use it at 30% in place of Incroquat BTMS-50 as it's cheaper and offers those lovely qualities I just mentioned. I like it at 2% in my leave in conditioners for the same reasons.

At Candora Soap in Ontario, I found cupuacu butter,* which I've ordered to do some Lush duplications and everything else I can do with it!

Please note, this is not an ad or a sponsored post and these aren't affiliate links. I receive nothing from no one if you click through or buy something. Heck, these companies don't even know I've written about them! 

Emulsifier: Simulgreen 18-2 - an ECOcert and Natrue certified emulsifier

I've been working with this emulsifier for more than 18 months, and I'm so excited to finally share it with you! 

Simulgreen 18-2 (INCI: Hydroxystearyl Alcohol and Hydroxystearyl Glucoside) is an ECOcert and Natrue approved emulsifier derived from a vegetable source (castor oil) that contains no ethoxylated ingredients. It's a liquid crystal emulsifier that that can handle electrolytes, like those we find in aloe vera, sodium lactate, certain extracts and cosmeceuticals, magnesium oil, and more.

Use it at 2% to 4% in the heated oil phase of your emulsions. As this can be a less than stable emulsifier, add up to 3% fatty alcohols - like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, or behenyl alcohol - in the heated oil phase. Or add up to 0.5% xanthan gum. The recommendation is to heat and hold the two phases, pour the water into the oil phase, then stick blend with for a few minutes (high shear) before switching to a hand mixer with beaters (low shear).

I've seen quite a few people who've said they can't make this emulsifier work, but I've had no problem with it. (This isn't a judgement, just an observation. Look at my struggles with Olivem 1000!) If you follow the recommendations above - use 4% in the heated oil phase, heat and hold, use a fatty alcohol, pour the water into the oil phase, stick blend then mix - your product should work. (You'll see quite a few recipes in action this week!) I have used it with 0.5% xanthan gum, but I prefer the skin feel using a fatty alcohol.

Related posts:
Physics Friday: High shear
Question: Can how and when we mix have an impact on an emulsion?

Why use this emulsifier? Studies have shown that conventional emulsifiers could cause irritation to our skin by disrupting the skin's lipid barrier, while the liquid crystal emulsions mimic the lipid bilayers in our stratum corneum,  which means more actives or lipids from the lotions could penetrate into our skin. Studies have also shown there is a reduction in transepidermal water loss when using a liquid crystal emulsifier and an increase in moisturization of our skin as the lotions hold more water in contact with the skin for a longer period of time.

I like it because it creates much thinner lotions than those I make with Polawax, Ritamulse SCG, or Incroquat BTMS-50. It has a lot of slip and glide, which is great for body butters and facial moisturizers.

If being green or more natural is your thing, Simulgreen 18-2 is a great way to create a more natural lotion when Ritamulse SCG is just too thick. I've never been able to make a thin facial moisturizer with Ritamulse SCG, but I can make awesome ones with this emulsifier.

I would compare this emulsifier to Montanov 68 or Olivem 1000 for viscosity, and I found it was much easier to use than the latter, which seems to confound me no matter what I do!

Join me tomorrow and the rest of the week to take a look at using this new emulsifier in all kinds of facial and body lotions!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Emollients: Plum kernel oil

I admit it, I'm in love with plum kernel oil (INCI: Prunus domestica seed extract). It's light, non-greasy, and smells absolutely of almonds, although I think it's more like marzipan, which I adore! On top of all of that, it has a richness I generally only find with thicker oils. (It reminds me of pomegranate oil as it has an  unctuous silkiness!)

It has a lovely fatty acid profile - 4% to 9% palmitic acid; 70% oleic acid (Omega 9), which softens and moisturizes skin; and 20% linoleic acid (Omega 6), which helps speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms.

It's a little low on the phytosterols at up to 125 ppm and it has around 180 ppm beta-carotene, the pre-cursor to Vitamin A. It has 0.5% unsaponifiable matter with around 800 ppm squalane. It contains around 700 ppm tocopherols to behave as anti-oxidants, which is quite a lot, hence the longer shelf life.

Use at 1% to 10% in any product you wish in which you could include oils. I'm loving it in light lotions as well as facial sera as it sinks in fast and feels less greasy! It has a shelf life of two years - I know, right, incredible! - but always keep it in a cool, dark place or fridge. The version from Lotioncrafter* is cold pressed.

You can see this oil in action in the anhydrous facial serum I presented at the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild conference in Las Vegas in May 2017, as well as some upcoming recipes!

Thanks so much to Jen at Lotioncrafter for sponsoring that presentation. The links you see here to her shop are not affiliate links and I receive nothing if you click through or buy something from her. I present them as my thank you for all her support of the blog and of that presentation. 

PubMed link
Plum oil
Evaluation of bio-active compounds...
Data sheet

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Emollients: Rosehip seed oil

Rosehip seed oil (INCI: Rosa rubiginosa (rosehip) seed oil)
is a light, non-greasy feeling oil that not only moisturizes our skin but promotes a more even skin tone and may help with reducing the appearance of age spots or scars thanks to the beta-carotene, which is a pre-cursor to Vitamin A. It may also speed up wound epithelialization (increased formation of cells to help close the wound) and improve skin texture.

It has an interesting fatty acid profile with 15% oleic acid (Omega 9) to help soften and moisturize skin; 45% linoleic acid (Omega 6) to help speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms; and 35% linolenic acid (Omega 3) and gamma-linolenic acid to help reduce inflammation and repair skin's barrier repair mechanisms. It has 0.5% phytosterols to help with inflammation, and 0.1% tocopherols to act as anti-oxidants.

The thing we like about rosehip seed oil is the tretinoin or all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) at 0.335 ppm, which converts into retinol, which helps increase skin thickness, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

You can use it at up to 100% or neat on your skin, but given how orange it is thanks to that lovely beta carotene, I generally suggest no more than 10%. If you wish to use more, do a patch test somewhere on your body to see if it will stain. It is suitable for all skin types

This isn't rosehip oil! Click the link and read more about it. Rosehip seed oil is lighter and has more gamma-linolenic acid. 

It has a shelf life of 6 months, so keep it in the always popular cool, dark place or the fridge. The version we're using from Lotioncrafter* is cold pressed and unrefined.

I've been using in so many products lately, which you'll see shortly, but you can see it now in the anhydrous serum I posted last week!

Jen very kindly sponsored the workshop I presented at the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild conference in Las Vegas in May 2017. The links I'm sharing for her shop are done as my thanks for that sponsorship and her ongoing support of the blog. They aren't affiliate links and I get nothing for sharing them with you. Just wanted you to know that! 

Colin's Beauty Pages

Functional Botanicals – their chemistry and effects
Anthony C. Dweck BSc CChem FRSC FLS FRSH

Specialty Fatty Oils for Healthy Skin
Author: Dr. K.-W. Quirin, Flavex Naturextrakte GmbH, Rehlingen, Germany

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Emollients: Chia seed oil

Chia seed oil is a light to medium, non-greasy oil derived from the seeds of the salvia hispanica flower, a member of the mint family.

Is it wrong that all I can think about it is "Ch-ch-ch-chia!" when I'm formulating with this oil?

It contains 5% to 8% palmitic acid  1% to 4% stearic acid, 6% oleic acid (Omega 9), 17% linoleic acid or Omega 6, and 57% alpha-linolenic acid (Omega 3). The latter two will help speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms. This oil will moisturize, soften skin, help with wind or cold chapping, and reduce dryness for all skin types.

It has more than 4100 ppm phytosterols, which can reduce inflammation and itching as well as a ton of other benefits for our skin, with almost half in the form of ß-sitosterol at around 49%, and a little less than a third as stigmasterol. (Click on the link to learn more about phytosterols.) It contains some tocopherols - about 446 ppm - which will help slow down rancidity and soften skin and hair.

As you can see from the picture, chia seed oil is yellow in colour and can have a nutty taste and smell. And it has a one year shelf life, although you should always keep your oils in a cool, dark place or the fridge to retard rancidity.

I've found this to be a very rich feeling oil with a viscosity a little thicker than rice bran oil.

I used this oil in my recent recipe for an anhydrous facial serum, which I presented at the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild conference in Las Vegas. The workshop was sponsored by Lotioncrafter, and you can find a cold pressed, organic chia seed oil* at that supplier. You'll see it in quite a number of formulas in the near future!

Please note that the links above to Lotioncrafter are not affiliate links, and are provided to make it easier for you, my wonderful readers, to find this ingredient as well as my way of saying thank you to Jen for sponsoring my presentation 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Weekday Wonderings: How can we heat proof an anhydrous butter?

In this post, Adapting your products for summer, Taryn asked: I make body products and this will be my first summer. What can I do to better safeguard my products from turning into liquid pools while at markets and in the mail? I am just starting out and I am worrying that I may have to take a few months off. I don't think that would be good for my business. I was hoping you would have some tips to help.

Tracy added: I second that question! I have tried experimenting with different butters (i.e. sal) but still can't get the proportions just right, especially if I know I will have products out at a farmer's market or in the heat for any extended period of time. Thank you!

Depending upon where you live, you could reach temperatures as high as 49˚C this summer, so there's no easy way to make these changes without changing the stiffness and skin feel of your product.

One solution is to change the butters in your products for those with higher melting points. Cocoa butter has a melting point of 38˚C, which is pretty high, but we can attain those temperatures easily in a parked car for even a short period of time.

The problem here is that cocoa butter is really stiff stuff. The first anhydrous butter I made was part cocoa butter, part mango butter, and I had to dig it out of the container with my nails. It felt nice when I rubbed it in, but it didn't melt right away, which is a feature I wanted when I made it.

Mango butter has a melting point of 34˚C to 38˚C, which is lower than cocoa butter, but it's still really stiff in a product.

Kokum butter has a higher melting point than cocoa butter at 38˚C to 40˚C, but it's stiff stuff. I find it quite draggy on my skin, and wouldn't really like it as the basis of a whipped butter.

The second thought is to avoid any solid oils that have low melting points, like coconut oil or babassu oil that melt at 24˚C or 76˚F.

Another thought is to try adding other ingredients that could alter the melting point. I did some experiments a few years ago making butters with shea oil and tried using cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol, which will bring the melting point up to around 49˚C, and another version with stearic acid. (I did a version with cetearyl alcohol and esters, if that interests you, too.)

Another thought is to make a body butter lotion as these won't melt in the summer sun! I love this one I have in the newbie section of the blog!

Or maybe have a giant cooler of ice at the market so you can store them that way?

Wonderful readers, what have you done that worked for your products? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekday Wonderings: All about conditioner bars!

Loads and loads of questions on making conditioner bars, so let's take a look at those!

Here's my base recipe so you can follow along!

60% Incroquat BTMS
10% cetyl alcohol (you can use stearic if you want a harder bar, but it's going to be draggy!)
10% butter of your choice - preferably 5% cocoa butter plus 5% something else
4.5% oils of your choice
3% condition-eze 7, honeyquat, or other cationic polymer
2% hydrolyzed protein (I'm using cromoist)

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% cetrimonium chloride
2% fragrance or essential oil (I'm using my oily hair blend of equal parts cedarwood, sage, rosemary, and lime)
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Nicole asked, Are conditioner bars suppose to be soft or hard? I made one following your recipe and used cocoa butter for the butter and avocado oil for the oil. It ended up staying on the counter because I forgot the freezer/fridge step. It is solid and holds its own shape, but you can indent it like a ripe avocado. How hard is it suppose to be? 

Conditioner bars should be hard enough that if they are dropped, they'll dent a little. But this can be different for each batch depending on the oils, butters, and ingredients used. For instance, those with stearic acid will be harder than those with cetyl alcohol. Those with cocoa butter will be harder than those with shea butter. Those with more oils will be softer than those without oils as you've had to replace something solid with something liquid. And so on.

Having said that, it feels like yours are a little softer than we'd like. I definitely think the freezer is an essential step in the process, so I'd suggest doing that next time.

In this same post, Jill asked:  I've been making your hair conditioner bar and have a few questions.

1. In a double boiler (with the water high), it seems to melt but still have a white crust over the top. Will that layer finally dissolve if I just let it continue to heat? It doesn't seem like it wants to melt. If I stir it while it's on the heat, that white layer forms on my stirring spatula too, which I just scrape back into the pot. But I'm concerned that it never looks like the picture on your tutorial.

2. Is it possible to use the microwave instead of a double boiler, or is that too hot?

3. Should I let the heated ingredients cool down some before I add the cool ingredients? If so, at what temp should I mix them?

4. And just to clarify... BTMS-25 works okay as a sub for BTMS-50 in this recipe? And I don't have to adjust the cetyl alcohol?

Okay, let's take this question by question!

1. This white crusty bit means the ingredients are cooling to the solidification point while they're still in the double boiler. This can happen if the ambient temperature in your workshop is quite low - mine is the same as the outside world as it's not heated, so the winter months can be quite chilly - so make sure you have the water in your double boiler high enough so it keeps all the ingredients liquid.

This can also happen if you have a really big opening for your container, like this huge Pyrex jug I use. It's better to have a smaller opening for a container so it is exposed to less air, which is why Erlenmeyer flasks are so awesome! (Raymond bought me a bunch for Christmas! I love these things!)

Having said that, you can see in the picture I have some white solid bits around the edge of the container. I scrape it back in and it melts pretty quickly.

Recently, I saw a video and read some blog posts in which the blogger said it was hard to melt Incroquat BTMS-50 at higher elevations. I don't understand this as BTMS has a melting point around 60˚C, which would be easy to attain regardless of the distance from sea level. In my class in Calgary, which is around 3400 feet, we melted it easily using boiling water from a kettle. (My recipes for conditioner bars are waterless, but they're still easy to melt.) Ensure you have enough water in your double boiler and use a container with a smaller opening for your ingredients. Putting it into a beaker or Pyrex jug means there's a huge surface area that can be cooled easily by the ambient air. 

2. Allow me to share a story with you about why I don't recommend microwaves. The person manning the microwave during my conditioner class was an experienced crafter. She was using a plastic Pyrex type jug and melting it in increments of 10 to 20 seconds at a time. She took it out, and smoke was billowing from the container! It had eaten through the container and was burning a hole in the plastic tablecloth. Thank God we all had the peace of mind to back off, so none of us were hurt, but it was scary as heck.

These things can take a while to melt, and it's super easy to go from not melted enough to burning a hole in the container, so I always suggest low and slow so we don't burn our ingredients or hurt ourselves.

3. You can let the ingredients cool to under 60˚C before adding the cool down phase, but work fast as they start setting up quick.

4. You can use Incroquat BTMS-25 or Rita BTMS-225 for this recipe if you want. It will be a little stiffer as this uses cetearyl alcohol instead of cetyl alcohol, but it will still work. In my recipes, I use 30% Incroquat BTMS-50 and 30% Incroquat CR to reduce the cost and add some static control. You don't need to alter the cetyl alcohol if you like having it there. Fatty alcohols in conditioners help to boost the conditioning power of the behentrimonium methosulfate, so you can use cetearyl, cetyl, or behenyl alcohol in there for increased conditioning and glide.

Related posts: What's the difference between BTMS-50 and BTMS-25?

Please check out this post where I've addressed some of these questions...

In the same post, Vaiva asked: I know this is an old post, let's hope the comments are still being answered :) I was wondering what is the reason that the solid conditioner falls in in the middle just like in your picture? Happens to me everytime. I try to make nice shapes and all of them have this dent on the bottom. How can one avoid it?

Another question is, is it a good idea to use chamomile CO2 extract in solid conditioner and in what percentage?

First off, as I say in the upper right hand corner of every single page on the blog, there are no old posts. I see comments on every single one of them, and try to respond as I can to them. (I'm behind a few months on comments, but working hard on catching up.) So please, ask the questions you wish on any post.

I find this happens when I pour my conditioner bars very warm then cool it quickly. You can try pouring them at a cooler temperature and leaving them out on the counter to cool, but you won't get the shiny look to them. No big deal, just something that happens.

There are all kinds of CO2 extracts for chamomile, but in general, unless you're using the conditioner bar on your scalp, I don't think there's any real benefit to using it, especially given the price. If you did wish to use it, check with your supplier how much to use. I found one suggesting 0.1% to 0.2%, while another suggested 0.3%.

Hope this helps!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: How can I get my polysorbate 20 creations clear?

In this post, Using polysorbates in our products, Jennifer asked: In making a room spray &/or bug spray I can't figure out the ratio to help my product not be so milky. I've been using a 1:1 ration essential oils/polysorbate 20. Does anybody have a suggestion on a better ratio for a more clear product? (Example 1 tsp essential oils in a 4 oz bottle I've been using 1 tsp polysorbate 20..mix that well and then add distilled Water) Thanks!!

Polysorbate 20 is a solubilizer, meaning it can help emulsify small amounts of fragrances or essential oils into water. It has the potential to make clear solutions, but I've found that isn't often the case. You could try using more polysorbate 20 in your products - say a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio. This ratio will vary with the different types of essential or fragrance oils you use. Keep really great records about each and every fragrance or essential oil ratio you discover, including the name of the company from whom you purchased them as these things can vary from vendor to vendor. 

Please use weighted measurements when making products as it's much more accurate. You are likely not using 1 part essential oil to 1 part polysorbate 20 as 1 tsp of each won't be the same. 5 ml of essential oil will weigh about 4-ish grams, while 5 ml of polysorbate 20 could weigh 6-ish grams. That's a big difference! 

If you aren't getting the clear product you want, consider a few things...

1. Try putting it into an opaque bottle. I know this seems a little obvious, but it really is the easiest way to fix this. Out of sight, out of mind. 

2. Consider another solubilizer. I've done some experiments with different ones...

The bubbly tops in this picture are thanks to vigorous shaking! They don't stay that way. 

My experiments with caprylyl/capryl glucoside didn't go well as I couldn't get a single one to solubilize and not float to the top of the test tube. I have also found this solubilizer incredibly sticky, so sticky that the drop that dripped down the side of the bottle took some of the wooden benchtop with it when I tried to lift it up! I don't recommend this one as it's just so sticky on your skin! 

Cromollient SCE is a really nice solubilizer that can be used at up to 3%. It makes really lovely, clear, moisturizing solutions. 

Caprol Micro Express also creates clear solutions and acts as an emollient, too! A simple solution is to use 1% fragrance or essential oil with up to 10% Caprol Micro Express. Mix well, then add to 0.5% liquid Germall Plus and 88.5% distilled water! 

Funnily enough, I've just written my monthly column for Handmade magazine on this very topic! I'll post a link to it when it comes out! 

So the short answer is to use weighted measurements to experiment with how much polysorbate 20 you need to work with the essential oil of your choice. The longer answer is that you may never produce a clear solution, so consider another solubilizer. 

Related posts: 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: Can we use Natrasorb Bath in facial moisturizers? Is it safe or natural?

In this post on Natrasorb Bath, Lisa asked: Can Natrasorb bath be used in face moisturizers for oily skin to absorb sebum? Is Natrasorb Bath the same as Tapioca Starch Polymethylsilsesquioxane?

The answer to the last question is no, it isn't the same as tapioca starch polymethylsilsequioxane. The INCI for Natrasorb Bath is Tapioca starch. It's been modified to hold a ton of oils in products like bath bombs or salts. I use it at up to 3% in my dry shampoo to hold fragrance oils and absorb sebum.

Can you use it in a facial moisturizer for oily skin? Sure, I guess. I've never tried it, but encourage you to give it a shot in a small batch and let us know what you think!

As a note, the INCI for Dry Flo TS is Tapioca Starch (and) Polymethylsilsesquioxane. That would be nice in a facial moisturizer. I have been making my dry shampoo with this ingredient to absorb sebum. (I'll be posting about this soon. There are just so many things to write about and so little time!)

In this same post, Carole asked: Is Natrasorb Bath a natural and safe product?

I'll answer the safe part this way: I use or have used every ingredient I mention on the blog on me and everyone I love. I would never suggest anything to you that I thought was unsafe. I do research on each and every ingredient on this blog to ensure we're using them at the suggested usage rate and within safe guidelines. I realize that I'm asking you to trust me on this one in a way, but I do include studies and links to other resources when I can so you can do your own work.

There really is no definition for natural, but I consider anything that had to be modified to get to be the way it is isn't really natural. So I consider something like olive oil natural, but I don't consider something like Honeyquat natural as it had to be modified to be positively charged. I don't consider Natrasorb Bath natural as it had to be modified to hold oils. But that's just my opinion. Others may have other definitions. This doesn't mean it isn't a good product, it's just that I don't personally think of it as natural.

Related posts:
How do I research my ingredients and make decisions about what to use?
Where do I get reputable information?
Discussion: Who do you trust?
Cosmetics Info versus the EWG