Friday, March 13, 2009

Ingredients for your creations

Thanks for the lovely responses! Keep writing and posting comments, and I'll keep answering!

Please check out this post on surfactants - Surfactants: A Short Guide - for the chemistry to English translation for the surfactants I've been using in these formulae.

Where to get them and how to substitute what for what?
I buy my supplies at Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C. (link to the surfactant page) They're within driving distance for me, but they do mail order across the world! So any ingredients I'm using in these tutorials are always found there.

My other most beloved place is The Herbarie (link to surfactant page) in the States.

These are the two main places you're going to find the ingredients I suggest. But feel free to substitute other surfactants or ingredients - there are millions of ways to make a beautiful surfactant mixture, and the fun is in customizing your own!

Find Crothix at Voyageur and the Herbarie.

Condition-eze 7 is found at Voyageur, and polyquaternium 7 at the Herbarie.

For your surfactants...Again, all of these are found at Voyageur, so if you are looking elsewhere, here's what you can substitute...
  • BSB is a "no more tears", mild, pH balanced surfactant. Anything listed as "baby blend" or "safe for babies" would be a good choice.
  • Amphosol CG is cocamidopropyl betaine. You need this amphoteric in your surfactant mixtures of any sort, so find this anywhere you can (Herbarie, Voyageur, most supply shops will carry this!)
  • Bioterge 804 is substituted with DLS Mild (same thing, pretty much).
  • LSB is a mixture of DLS Mild and SLSa. You could use DLS Mild and SLSa, but SLSa is a powder, so it will thicken your mixture. You could use Jordapron ACI and DLS Mild combined, or use something like SMC Taurate paste, a lovely mild cleanser that is amazing in a facial cleanser. (Again, it's a paste, so it is going to thicken your mixture.) And you could use SLeS here as well. In short, any mild cleanser is going to work wonders here. But it won't be "no more tears", so please don't be testing this in your eyes! (Oh, I forgot to note decyl glucoside is a great surfactant here - found as Plantapon at Voyageur - but the pH is rather high, so although it's a fantastic addition, you do have to play with pH quite a bit and that's a topic for another day...)
  • Amphosol AS-90 is C14-16 olefin sulfonate. I couldn't find this at the Herbarie, but you could use Jordapron ACI, SMC Taurate paste, or SLeS in its place.
To summarize: In place of LSB or BSB, you can use any very mild, gentle surfactant you wish. BSB is very thick, so you will need more Crothix to thicken - but still start at 1% and work up from there. There is no substitute for cocamidopropyl betaine - it's an amphoteric and we need that for mildness and thickness.

The beauty of making surfactant mixes is you can play as much as you like, tweaking the formula to suit your skin's needs. There are few hard and fast rules, except you'll want somewhere between 20 and 50% surfactants, which will be mostly anionic (negatively charged) surfactants for cleansing, with a splash of amphoteric (can be positively or negatively charged based on pH, cocamidopropyl betaine) to thicken and create mildness. You can use anything you want for the anionic part, and I encourage you to play!

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