Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm having trouble writing posts...

For the first time in two years, I missed a day, then I missed another. And the only reason I'm not counting today as a missed post day is thanks to this one (but I don't think this one really counts).

I'm having trouble finding inspiration from the how to duplicate things series. I had hoped it would tie into the whole learning to formulate thing, but it feels more like I'm figuring out recipes and posting them, which isn't as much fun as it sounds. My goal was never to have a blog where I post recipes and hand out information! I want this to be an interactive experience where we can share ideas, tweak recipes, and learn more about the process of making products from each other.

I need to take a break from the duplicating and get into more creating from scratch (I'll do what I've always done, scatter the duplicating posts throughout the blog when I get time to try the recipes). To that end, I'll be starting a series on "why did I buy that ingredient" tomorrow (if you'd like to make a suggestion for an ingredient, click here!), starting with a few ingredients I've already covered before we move on to some interesting ones like behenyl alcohol, lactic acid, and Caprol Micro Express!

I'm really not sure why this post was accompanied by a picture of me trying to shove 3 D cell batteries in my mouth (inspired by Strongbad, which just shows you that we are influenced by bad behaviour on TV and the 'net), but I thought it was really funny! 


Madeaj said...

Hey Susan

I am so glad you are back. I was going into withdrawals. lol. I understand how focusing on one thing can be boring and one thing your blog is NOT, is boring. I enjoyed your duplicating posts and I am so looking forward to your series on "Why did I buy that".

I have been looking into taking some more chemistry classes, just because of your posts. I have always been interested in chemistry, but your blog makes me want to check out some cosmetic chemistry classes if I can find some.

lealou said...


Glad to hear you will be doing more "from scratch" posts. I am a faithful reader in the shadows and was bummed when there was no post yesterday. I really enjoy your blog and have started formulating my own lotions. My friends and family are giving it rave reviews and I learned it all from you!
Thanks so much and please keep writing!


Tara said...

Hey Susan. I am just glad to know you're okay. For some reason I assumed the worst and thought something had happened to you! It's okay to take a break when you need to (although I too, was going through withdrawl - my lonely housewife life looks forward to your blog each and every day, lol).

I was going to set up an experiment I saw on The Dish, where the Disher was testing new emulsifiers. I as well, purchased some new (to me) emulsifiers and I want to test them against each other, for feel, stability, etc. Just need to find some extra hours in the day! :)

Ged said...

Hi Susan

I've learnt a lot from the duplicating series, but happy to move onto something new: the blog has to be fun for you as well! And incidentally, I don't think it matters if you take a break for the odd day (or even two or three ...) Sometimes the slow little brains of your readers need time to take in and review what we've been learning!

Maybe we could come up with some ideas for a series, perhaps problems we encounter ... mine would be: why am I always shampoo-challenged, even after perusing your e-book? Conditioners fine, but shampoo ....

Katie said...

Hi, Susan. It's okay to take a few days off! I've been tuning in loyally to the re-creating cosmetics theme. I think it has been actually quite helpful to go through lots of different products and deconstruct them, then reconstruct with what we might actually have on hand. It reinforces our knowledge about our materials. So, while it may not have been as interactive as you had hoped, it was still an effective learning tool (maybe like a "lecture" compliments a "lab".) Figuring out HLBs was crazy-fun, even though my head was spinning because I'm a total math dunce! Taking that challenge gave me a really good understanding of the HLB system, and while I will most likely continue to reach for the polawax, I feel like I could actually design my own emulsification system if I really set my mind to it (not something I could have ever imagined just six months ago!)
I like all of the different themes you choose: I think they all reinforce each other and make us that much more knowledgeable.
I have two creams in my e-shop that are fabulous, but they took me three years of trial and error to get right! Because of your blog and e-books, I now sit down with a notebook and design a lotion or cream right on paper, which then comes out exactly as I expected once I make it! My creations never seem to need more than tiny tweak to get just right.
I'm looking forward to the next theme of unusual ingredients. Also, I like Tara's idea of comparing emulsifiers.

p.s. Love the photo!

Nancy Liedel said...

That's interesting, because I've almost been able to dupe UDPP. but it's not quite there. I was thinking of sending you what I do have and my research and getting another pair of eyes on it, so more working together could be done. I'd hoped the duplicating series would be more like that. More, you can put this for this, and letting us work on percentages. That's how you formulate, learning where to look and playing.

I have a few things up my noodle, if you want them. Things that are so close, but could use some judgement and wisdom on them. Things I'd love to share with the readers. Let me know. Also, instead of duplicating, what about, "we want to make one of these, we have this...can we make that with this?"

Hope that makes sense. Oh and write what you love. It's more interesting.

Alexis said...

Hi Susan,

I'm with Ged: my slow little mind needs the time to process what you've written and to experiment. Please take your time!

In cooking up your next post, maybe you can help me figure out why I thought I needed a bottle of sucrose cocoate...

melian1 said...

you must write what inspires you!

i have enjoyed the duplicating series, and have learned a lot from reading about the ingredients and how you morphed them into using things we can get, and how to do it. it actually has taught me a lot about formulating.

i am now looking forward to the new series of "what is this stuff i bought and what do i do with it?"

a big heart-felt thank you to you for doing this blog so faithfully. and when you need a break, you need a break! tho every day i don't read your blog i jones for it, i will survive, lol.

Tara said...

Alexis, I am dying for a bottle of sucrose cocoate, lol... May I ask where you purchased it? I think it is re-fatter for shower gels and shampoos, no?

Lise M Andersen said...

Hey Susan,
Despite the need of a power up, your skin looks fabulous--- must be all those great products you make.
(I even like reading your rants - so feel free to yell at us about our grammar and apostrophes)

Will said...

Whatever you do is grrreat. It should be fun. When it's not fun it becomes a job (ugh).

Your headline mentions monkeys, and I don't think I've ever read anything here about monkeys...

Yup, color me a primate lover. Why does that sound bad now as I reread it?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for your kind words! I enjoy duplicating products very much, but I need a break from it so I can get into some research-y goodness!

Hi Tara! I'm working with a few new emulsifiers at the moment. Ritamulse is a go, but Sucragel...not so much! Which ones did you buy?

Hi Madeaj! I can suggest some great chemistry websites and textbooks if you're interested. I have yet to find a cosmetic chemistry course available to those of us without science degrees!

Hi Ged! Love the idea of a troubleshooting series!

Hi Katie! Thanks for the kind words. I think that was what was bugging me - it felt more like I was giving out information instead of sharing it or collaborating with all of you to make great products. It felt more like giving someone a fish instead of teaching how to fish, and I didn't like that feeling!

Hi Nancy! I'd love to collaborate with you! Let me know what you want to do and let's do it! I did put a few challenges out there, but no one wanted to play, which is one of the reasons I got a little disheartened.

Hi Alexis! It's on the list!

Hi melian! Thanks for your kind words!

Hi Lise! Thanks for your kind words - although my hair's in need of some serious conditioning after all that electricity!

Hi Will! The pure of heart will interpret that you have an enthusiasm for monkeys! And shame on anyone who had lurid thoughts! And you are correct, sir! I have not written about monkeys in a very long time. it is overdue!

Tara said...

Hi Susan. So glad you are back!

My emulsifier experiment is going to include Natramulse (actually purchased at a company other than The Herbarie, but Natramulse is easier to type than the full INCI), and Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-150 blend. I am going to compare them to my standby, BTMS-50.

I am also interested in some resources on cosmetic chemisty, if you could supply them. Then maybe I wouldn't feel compelled to come to you everytime I have a stupid question. I was going to purchase this book:
Have you read it? Any other information you could supply would be so useful!

Thanks Susan!

Madeaj said...

Thanks Susan

I would love some suggestions. I am currently looking at some courses on MIT's open courseware. They have chemistry but not anything specific for cosmetic chemistry.