Friday, January 28, 2011

A few helpful hints for a Friday morning...

It's been a wacky and busy week around my house, so on this last day of work before a week of holiday time to be spent bumming around the house crafting and writing, I give you a few thoughts for Friday...

If you get a chance, read this wonderful dialogue between a University of B.C. chemistry professor and his daughter about how surfactants work. It's fantastic! (And I love the comment that "his favourite element is the element of surprise"! Fantastic!)

And check out this post from the Chemist's Corner on "killer questions", those you ask yourself to come up with new product ideas. This is one of the types of exercises I do when I'm thinking about playing in the workshop (especially for the Iron Chemist challenge). Could this ingredient be used in an anhydrous product? A lotion? A surfactant mix? What if I eliminated this ingredient or that one? It's an interesting exercise and it's how we see products like shampoo and conditioner bars or emulsified scrubs come onto the market. (This isn't to say all brainstorming is useful! After making scrub, conditioner, and shampoo bars, I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to make solid body wash...yeah, I know, it's soap, but my mind does a lot of wandering in the shower!)

If you have your choice between glass and plastic containers in which to make your products, I'd go for the glass every time. Not only are they less likely to float around in the double boiler, they conduct the heat better, which means your ingredients will melt faster! You can use Mason jars or Pyrex jugs, but I definitely recommend Pyrex type jugs - you never realize how much you need a handle as when you pick up a heated Mason jar with your hands. I have two in each size - 1 cup, 2 cup, 4 cup, and 8 cup - and they are always handy to have around! (I noticed the other day that my Pyrex jugs say not for "lab or stovetop use". I guess I don't technically have a lab, but I kinda want one!)

I can tell when it's getting more humid thanks to my hair (I call myself the human barometer)! When my hair strands start to swell up, my hair not only gets bigger, but it loses its shine! If you're a frizzy haired girl like me, make sure you're removing the humectant from your conditioner and leave in conditioner this time of year, and don't forget to use something to seal out the moisture. I prefer silicones, like cyclomethicone and dimethicone, but there are some silicone alternatives you can use. (I'm hearing a lot about broccoli oil, but considering I hate broccoli more than I hate patchouli - which is a lot - and considering you can smell the broccoli through it, I think I'll give it a miss). You can make yourself a really easy anti-frizz spray with just 90% cyclomethicone and 10% dimethicone in a mister bottle for a quick way to seal out that nasty humidity! (Click here for hair care recipe ideas!)

I am having a love affair with the facial cleanser I made for the Iron Chemist: LSB challenge two weeks ago! It is a bit foamy so I only need a little bit to wash my face, but I've noticed the red spots on my face are dying down and I feel more moisturized during the day. I know the colour is a little weird, so I'll bottle it in a white or opaque bottle next time, and I would like a pump instead of the disc cap. But this one is a keeper!

I've been thinking about caps on bottles lately. Not only do we choose certain caps for their functionality, but we choose them on the basis of reducing contamination in our products (click here for more information). I couldn't find my disc caps for my larger bottles anywhere, so I chose to use a turret cap for a few products like my d-Limonene dish washing liquid, my favourite moisturizing body wash, and my conditioner, and I've noticed I'm using less of each product. The disc cap may allow things to flow easily when I squeeze the bottle, but perhaps that's too much of a good thing. I use a ton of body wash, but I'm finding that using less results in a good amount cleansing lather without wasting it! (And I'm not the only one - see this post on using more than you should just because we can make more!)

Well, those are a few of my thoughts on a rainy Friday morning in January. Join me over the weekend and into next week for the results of the Iron Chemist challenge, the new Iron Chemist challenge, and recipes for kukui nut oil products. Yay, I'm on a stay-cation next week, so there's tons of things to do and craft!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How funny the conversation between father and daughter! Lucky girl - I guess.