Monday, October 31, 2011

Cetrimonium chloride in Canada! Hooray!

Randi of Creations of Eden now has cetrimonium chloride in stock! Yay!

Please note: I'm not affiliated with any retailers or suppliers and I share this information with you, my wonderful readers, so you can find ingredients you might want. I receive no renumeration of any sort by sharing this with you. I just want you to find ingredients! 

Experiments in the workshop: Behenyl alcohol in a lotion

I decided I'd try behenyl alcohol in place of cetearyl alcohol in this recipe - the rice bran oil based hand protector cream I made as a duplicate of the Body Shop's hemp hand protector cream for my husband.

The original recipe is a very thick lotion that feels slightly greasy going on your hands, but dries to a more powdery feeling. The cetearyl alcohol makes it feel a bit waxy, but that's not a bad thing if you want a lotion with some staying power (that's why I added the beeswax!) My husband really liked this recipe. But of course, I can't leave well enough alone, so I had to try the behenyl alcohol in place of the cetearyl alcohol! (I wanted to make my own version because I scented his with cedar & saffron and I really don't like earthy scents!)


47% water
3% glycerin
2% propylene glycol
0.5% allantoin

7% Polawax
3% behenyl alcohol
8% cetearyl ethylhexanoate
10% rice bran oil
10% C12-15 alkyl benzoate
2% beeswax
2% IPM

2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% fragrance
0.5% - 1% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)

Please follow the basic lotion making procedures for this recipe. 

I had a few ideas for some changes - cyclomethicone at 2% in the cool down phase (remove 2% of the oil from the heated oil phase), aloe vera at 10% in the heated water phase, and maybe try some other fatty alcohol. I didn't make those changes in this version as I wanted to figure out what behenyl alcohol brings to the party, and adding other things makes that very difficult, but I will try it out next time! I added 0.5% more fragrance and dropped the oils by 0.5%, but that shouldn't make a huge difference except to the awesome smelling-ness of the product (Clementine Cupcake from Brambleberry, as usual. Click here to get it in Canada from Karen at Soapcraft! Seriously. It's amazing!) 

So what did I think? It's much less waxier than the first version, and I like it a lot. It feels more velvety, as if I'd added cyclomethicone to it, and it has a nice slip and glide that make it easy to rub on my hands. 

In general, I really like behenyl alcohol. I tried it in a conditioner - more about that tomorrow - and I've tried it another lotion, and it really gives a velvety slip that feels a little less greasy than cetyl alcohol and a lot less waxy than cetearyl alcohol. I like that it feels a little more occlusive - but not by much - than cetyl alcohol, and it's definitely very different than stearic acid for making more creamy lotions. 

The down side is the cost. I pay about $4 a pound for cetyl alcohol locally, and I bought my behenyl alcohol from Lotioncrafter at $11.25 for a pound, plus shipping. (This isn't a complain against Lotioncrafter's prices - they are reasonable indeed, but a comment about the price of the other fatty alcohols in general!) As someone who doesn't sell my products, I won't go through more than a pound or two a year and I think the increased slip, glide, velvety-ness, and general nice feeling of behenyl alcohol is worth it, but if you're selling lotions, that price difference could make or break a profit margin! 

Can you change other things in this recipe, for instance the propylene glycol for another humectant or the esters for vegetable oils? Can you add lavender hydrosol or use an essential oil? Sure! That's the whole point of learning how to make products - customizing them to your preferences! I suggest you try substituting oils for other oils, humectants for other humectants, water based ingredients for your water, and so on!

If you want to learn more about formulating lotions, I encourage you to read the lotion formulating series I wrote back in February! Here's the start of the learning to formulate series. Click here for the post on substituting one oil for another! And click for more ideas on how to play with thickeners

Join me tomorrow to see how behenyl alcohol works in a conditioner! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thickener: Behenyl alcohol

I do love working with thickeners in my products! We know that cetyl alcohol can produce something slicker and silkier than stearic acid, and that cetearyl alcohol can offer those same qualities with a little more waxiness, so what does behenyl alcohol bring to the party? First, a review....

Cetyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol that contains 16 carbons on a long chain. Because it's saturated, it will have a long shelf life, at least two years! It has a required HLB of 15.5. We add it to our lotions to thicken the product and give it some extra glide. It has a melting point of about 49˚C.

Cetearyl alcohol (also known as cetostearyl alcohol and cetylstearyl alcohol) is a blend of cetyl and stearyl alcohols that we can use at up to 25% in our creations. It can be a 30% to 70% cetyl alcohol to stearyl alcohol or 30% to 70% stearyl alcohol to cetyl alcohol, but you might find 50-50 from some manufacturers. (I have no idea which version I have, but it looks a lot like Lanette O, which is 50-50.) It has an HLB of 15.5 and is used as a thickener. Its melting point is 49˚C to 58˚C. It's also saturated, so it will have a long shelf life.

Both cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol are oil soluble, meaning they would go in the heated oil phase of our products, and they will thicken our lotions, creams, body butters, and other emulsified products when we use them in this way. Fatty alcohols are great in our conditioners because they boost the substantivity of the cationic ingredient, meaning you get more conditioning without having to add more conditioner!

Behenyl alcohol is a chain of 22 carbons with a melting point of 65˚C to 73˚C (as we increase the number of carbons, we see an increase in the melting and boiling points of our fatty alcohols). It is also saturated, and has an HLB of 15.5. It is also oil soluble, so it should be used in the heated oil phase of our products. It will boost the substantivity of our conditioners.

How am I going to use this ingredient? I'm going to try it out in my duplication of the Body Shop's Hemp Hand Protector in place of the cetearyl alcohol. So join me tomorrow for that recipe and my results!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Creating products - end of the series and what's next!

I hope you've enjoyed this series on creating products! Keep those helpful hints coming!

I'm moving on to review some new ingredients I've bought and experimented with in the last few months. We'll start tomorrow with behenyl alcohol and take a look at some new surfactants, some new emulsifiers, and other ingredients!

I have to get ready for the Rated T for Teen Hallowe'en party so I'll see you tomorrow! (In case you're wondering, that's a half-pony, half-monkey monster, adorable abomination that is the main part of my costume for this year's party!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Creating products: Labels!

We don't necessarily think of labelling our products as being an essential part of product creation, but when you accidentally use mentholated foot lotion as a facial moisturizer, you'll realize that we must label everything!

Original post from January 24, 2010...Why you must label everything! 

Look at the picture to the left. Look at the picture to the right. If the sun wasn't shining through the window and you were using the same bottles, the products would look very much the same. The one on the left is leave in conditioner. The one on the right is summer time peppermint spray.

So in my eagerness to be more organized this morning, I decided to add the tiny bit of leave in conditioner in one bottle with the larger bottle. It wasn't until I smelled mint after my shower that I realized what I had done!

In this case, the mint spray has many of the same ingredients I would put into a leave in conditioner - panthenol, hydrosols, hydrolyzed proteins - so really the only down side is the fresh scent of mint that follows me instead of oatmeal, milk & honey (which smells a lot like marzipan to me - and I love marzipan!).

Again, I can't stress this enough - label everything!

When I'm making a prototype recipe for myself, I like to include the name of the product, a few ingredients, and the date I made it for future reference. I might include something like "especially for mom" or "great for Raymond", so the intended user knows it's for them. I recognize these aren't pretty labels - my handwriting is terrible and the layer of packing tape will come off eventually - but it is the best way to track which products I'm liking this week!

From the post originally written on December 9, 2010...Some ideas on how to make labels! 

Tara made this comment in this postI love the pictures you post of your products. Maybe somewhere down the road, you could do a post on label making.

I admit the aesthetics of our products is not one of my strengths. I'm the mechanic - I figure out the formulas, create the recipes, tweak the products, and so on - and despite my love of English, I suck at creating cute or interesting names. And don't get me started on my inability to take nice photographs! But I do like to create what I consider nice labels.

I consider putting labels on my products essential because I need to know which version of which product I'm using. I generally write out the labels by hand for around the house (which is why you don't see a lot of them), but when I'm gifting my products, I want to make my labels lovely (and believe me, my handwriting is neither lovely nor legible).

I generally invest in full sheet labels because I can put a ton of different labels on one sheet and cut them out when I feel like it. Ensure you have the right type for your printer - you can use laser labels on inkjet, but you can't use inkjet on a laser printer. If you can't get the full sheet labels or don't feel like cutting them all out, I find the 4 x 2 shipping labels to be the most multifunctional for my needs because I can make them smaller as necessary. I've tried Avery and I've tried generic Staples' labels - the Staples' ones were just awful and I took them back the next day, so I have to suggest Avery.

I use Printshop for the Mac for my labels, but you can use any program that makes labels in the right size. Microsoft Word works okay, but I've found it can sometimes be a little off and you have to make sure your labels are well within the boundaries when you're creating them on the screen. (Your experience may vary by printer and ability to make a nice label!)

I can't draw or design a label to save my life, so I find interesting backgrounds, wallpapers (computer and real life), or pictures of fabrics to create a nice backdrop. Digital scrapbooking papers are fantastic for backgrounds, and you can find some great free kits out there. I love the Shabby Princess downloads and I covet the Pixel Decor tiles (very retro!). I collect fonts, and I admit I tend towards the retro. You can find great free fonts at the Font Diner (I love the diner fonts and holiday leftovers!) and for my fonts, but you can find some great ones at scrapbooking sites.

When you're gifting a product, you don't need to use the INCI names because that can get a little confusing for your giftee. I tend to use the proper names for things like my oils, but I will use the generic name for my surfactants. I will put in brackets what the ingredient might be - for instance, liquid Germall Plus (preservative) - because I want my giftee to know what's in the product and I won't assume they know Latin!

Click here and here to learn more about INCI names. These are essential for those of you who sell or are considering selling your products! If you're making products for sale, ensure you are following the labelling laws in your county, state, province, area, region, or country! And make sure you're using royalty free images. 

There are a few ways to make your labels waterproof. I used to have an Epsom printer with waterproof inks and they worked really well. But I've switched to to a Canon Pixma ($30 for an all in one!) and the ink runs. So I use the Krylon product Make it Last, clear sealer, to keep my labels pretty in the shower or bath. I make up my labels, spray them, wait about 10 minutes, then put them on my bottles. (I found mine at Michael's, but apparently you can get it at art stores!)

And now we come to cleaning bottles. I spray mine with rubbing alcohol, wait a second or two, then wipe it off with a paper towel. This ensures you don't have any surfactants or oils or other stuff that will get in the way of the product sticking.

Original post from December 10, 2010...An example of how I create labels. 

So here's an example of a label I use on my foot scrub bars. I package these in cellophane bags and close it with the label.

I like to include three major pieces of information - the name of the product and fragrance, instructions for use (if it isn't obvious), and a simplified ingredient list. (If you're selling your products, the simplified list isn't an option - please check your local authorities for their requirements.)

I try to use a really legible font for the instructions and ingredient list - in this case, I'm using American Typewriter in 8 point - with a cute font for the name. I generally make the background a little more opaque - I turn the opacity on the picture to 50% to 70%, depending upon the colour scheme - and I tend to make the background for the instructions and ingredient list white so it's easy to read.

Why the instructions? Sometimes it isn't obvious what to do with a product - I've seen the foot scrub bar and my sugar scrub used as facial products, despite the description of what it is and the instructions - so I find it best to include some guidelines on usage, especially for something like a foot scrub bar where someone could use it in the shower and slip! I like to write a little story in this section, something to whet the user's interest, and I tend to use a ton of adjectives (which might be a little cheesy, but anyone who knows me knows I love cheesiness!).

Here's an example of my Manly Man Body Wash label. I put the ingredients on a little label I put on the back of the bottle so as to preserve the minimalist nature of the presentation. I figure men aren't into hearts and flowers so much, and I needed a label that shouted "I am body wash! Use me and smell manly!" I think this might be my favourite label.

I do have a girls' version of the Super Girl Action Wash with the warning that it "should only be used by girls who want to be super heroes when they grow up!" because I figure we all secretly long for an invisible airplane and lasso or a stake like Mr. Pointy and the ability to take on six ninjas in a fight without breaking a nail.

Original post from January 3, 2011...Downloadable labels

I've been asked to post my recent labels as a PDF, so here you are. (I have instructions on how to modify them in the PDF). I don't know how useful they will be as they are designed to fit on the bottles I own, but if you like them, then I'm a happy camper!

It's so much easier to use the laser printer than the colour printer in our house (I have to actually hook the computer up to the colour printer, whereas the laser is accessible from anywhere around the house - did I mention Raymond is also a computer genius?), so I started making black and white labels that looked like apothecary type labels. I love this style - if I ever had a business, I'd find it hard to choose between this style and the funky retro obnoxious type patterns with lime green and hot pink I normally love.

I found the idea from Slightly Off-Center (click here for her amazing labels), and I used her labels as templates originally - this is my beard conditioner "Hey Beardo". But I needed a larger one. So I went into The Print Shop 2 software and chose a frame that I liked. Then I found a line that had a decorative end. It's nothing fancy, but I'm happy with it. For the Hey Beardo, I added the instructions and ingredients on a separate label on the back of the container (but didn't think to take a picture of it).

I can't remember where I found the suggestions for these fonts, but visit and download Mouse Deco, EcuyerDAX, and Masquerade for some great old timey looking fonts.

Some links to great label templates can be found here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Creating products: Packaging and preservation

Originally posted on October 14, 2010...

I've written a lot about packaging in the past, but I'd like to share with you a study I read recently on the value of packaging and preservation.

When we're packaging our products, we need to think of the end user, how she will treat the product once it reaches her house or car. We need to consider how she might contaminate the product, especially those found in jars or screw top containers.

This study used poorly and well preserved products to maximize the contamination of the products. The chart on page two of the PDF should make you shudder. The contamination of both the unpreserved lotion and shampoo on day one found levels too numerous to count!

This study tested the contamination of shampoo with three different caps - the screw cap, the flip top, and the slit cap (or disc cap). The screw cap containers had the most contamination (29%) followed by the slit cap (21%) and the flip top (0%).

The study also tested contamination of lotions with three different caps - the screw cap, the flip cap and pump. The screw cap tested very poorly (79%), the flip cap tested poorly as well (39%), and while the pump tested the lowest (10%).

So what does this mean for us? It means we need to preserve our products well with a good and reliable preservative, add an anti-oxidant to retard rancidity, and follow good manufacturing practices like heating and holding for everything we make. And it means we need to choose our packaging well. Leave the screw caps for maple syrup and other cooking goodies, and go with the disc cap, flip top, or pump every time. Malibus might be a good choice - they didn't study those - as it's unlikely your end user will leave it open for the beasties to feast!

An aside on cap types...originally posted July 16, 2009

Again, form should follow function when it comes to caps. What are you dispensing?

Disc cap: Ah, the humble disc cap. It's good for pretty much every product with its tiny opening that allows surfactants, lotions, toners, and all your other products to come out with a squish! It's not great for thick lotions - like a foot lotion - or sugar scrubs.

Good for: Thin to medium lotions, surfactant mixtures, toners, serums, shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner.
Not good for: Thick lotions, sugar scrubs, anyhydrous creams or butters.
Downside: Could be hard to get every drop of lotion out of the bottom.
Upside: Readily available, works with almost every product.
Verdict: A staple of your bottle collection as it will work with almost everything.

Pump bottle: You can generally find two types of pumps at the supply shop - the treatment pump and the regular pump. The treatment pump is intended for smaller bottles and products you might want to use sparingly - serums, facial moisturizers, expensive lotions - and you'll generally find them on bottles 4 ounces/120 ml or smaller.

The larger pumps are great for thin and thick lotions, surfactant mixtures, and anything else you want to dose out. They work well when you might be going back for more - for instance, for foot lotion - because you don't get the container incredibly messy! They are simply not suitable for something like a toner - something primarily made of water - because they won't pump it out properly.

Good for: Lotions, creams, surfactant mixtures, hair care products.
Not good for: Watery creations, sugar scrubs, anhydrous butters.
Downside: More expensive than disc caps. Not suitable for thick scrubs.
Upside: Get out every last drop.
Verdict: Pump bottles are great, but can add up to $1.00 to the cost of a bottle.

Spray cap: I do love the spray cap. It's ideal for thin, water creations like summer or cooling sprays when you want to cover a larger area or don't feel like rubbing something in all that well. I love it for toners and other facial products - spray on, wipe off, you're done! If you want to monitor your dosage of the product - leave in conditioners, for instance - it's a great way to ensure you don't use too much as you get a little tired pumping the spray! They're great for products using oil or cyclomethicone bases (like perfumes or body sprays) as well.

Good for: Water creations, like thin lotions, leave in conditioners, anti-frizz serums, perfumes, all liquid oil creations (like an after bath spray).
Not good for: Medium to thick lotions, sugar scrub, anhydrous butters.
Downside: Sprayers can be expensive. Not suitable for thick creations, like lotions.
Upside: It sprays!
Verdict: Sprayers are fantastic for products that contain at least 80% to 90% liquids.

You can use turret caps - the ones that you have to lift up - for various things, but I find them a little hard to find. I like to use those for very liquidy things like toner or thin lotions. And orifice bottles, which are suitable for dispensing essential oils or serums.

And this brings me to jars! I love jars for my body butters, intense conditioners, scrubs. and whipped butters, but there's a good chance the end user - which is mostly me and my friends - will contaminate it somehow. Good instructions on your jars - wash hands before using, do not let water drip into the scrub, do not let the dog lick it - can help ensure your end user is using the product the right way. But let's be honest, there have been times when you want to slather on a little body butter before going to bed and you haven't washed your hands in a few hours...what do you do there? Good preserving won't wash away all your sins, but it will certainly ensure you see numbers that aren't too numerous to count when it comes to contaminant counts!

Packaging links...
Choosing the right container for your product. 
Alternatives to bottles.
Non-container options and labelling.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Creating products: Filling our bottles

Original post from July 13, 2009, modified today...

Filling containers can be such a huge pain in the bum! Here are a few things I thought I'd share...

Since I'm a surfactant junkie, I make a lot of bubble baths, body washes, and shampoos that need bottling. I find the easiest way is to get a funnel and pour it in. With a tottle or malibu bottle, I put the bottle into a Pyrex container and then pour it into the funnel. This keeps at least one hand free to clean up messes or get another bottle ready. (I try to have quite a few ready at a given time because once that funnel's full, I gotta move on very quickly!)

I find the bane of my existence is filling lotion containers. I always wait until the lotion has cooled completely before filling the bottles, and it's always a huge mess. I've taken to using piping bags - I have disposable and canvas ones - and I find these work well. I did try to use the cut-a-hole-in-a-sandwich-bag method, but I found I made a huge mess. (But then again, I am a very messy person, so it's not a surprise!)

I've tried using a syringe (sans needle) to fill the bottles and it worked very well. Syringe into container, suck up product, squish into bottle. The only problem is that the largest syringe I could find was 60 ml or about 1/4 cup. Fine for smaller bottles, not so much for larger ones as I found myself going back for more four or five times! It was great for topping off a container, like adding that extra teaspoon to a bottle! 

Again, line up the containers so you're ready, fill your piping bag, and go down the line. I usually fill them up about 3/4, then bang on the table to get the air out, then top it off. This is the annoying part - just as I think I've got a full container, I find another air bubble and have to top it off again!

If you're selling your products, you might have to weigh them before you cap them off. As I'm just giving mine away or keeping it for myself, I'm not that picky about bubbles or weights! 

I like filling's so easy! Scoop, bang on the table, and cap. If you want your jars to be very fancy, you can put these jar disk liners (also called dust covers or jar liners) on top of the product, then put the cap on it. When your friend/family member/customer opens it, she'll see this white cap making the product look very fancy and proper! 

If you have any suggestions, please comment! There are so many ways to fill bottles poorly, any ideas for doing it well are always welcome! (There are some great ideas in the original post, so I encourage you to check that out! But please comment as we're always looking to share great ideas!) 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Creating products: Alternatives to bottles!

Original post from July 14, 2009...Alternatives to bottles! 

I know a malibu or tottle bottle isn't really an alternative to a "bottle" because we consider them to be a bottle, but they are a fantastic way to package hair care products, surfactant systems, and lotions. They're also cheaper than using a pump bottle for thick creams, but you do run the risk of getting the lotion all over the bottle when you go back for more.

They are not great for sugar scrubs or whipped butters. Many have tried, few have succeeded. It would be nice, but those products clog up the orifice and lead to heart break. They do not work for liquid products, like toners, as they'll leak out. They are generally made of HDPE, which means they shouldn't contain a ton of essential oils, but they are easier to squeeze. So if you want to get out every last drop, consider the malibu or tottle bottle.

As a final note, they are kind of annoying to fill because you can never get that last bit at the top filled! If you don't want to hear about how you didn't give someone a full bottle of product, consider getting the opaque bottles!

For thick lotions, body butters, anhydrous whipped butters, balms, sugar scrubs, and anything too thick for a bottle, consider the humble jar. So many uses, so many sizes, and so many reasons to use a jar.

Jars are generally cheaper than bottles, and they come in a variety of sizes. They generally have the same shape, but you can choose from a domed cap or a flat cap (this is the domed cap to the right). You can choose from frosted, white, or clear or double or singled walled. There are advantages to each, and most of the time it is a personal choice.

The clear jars tend to be made of PET, which means they are suitable for products with high levels of essential oils. The frosted jars tend to be made of polypropylene, so they can withstand high temperatures, and they would be suitable for some essential oil levels, but not high ones.

What's the point of using single vs. double walled jars? I really haven't found any good reasoning behind using either. I tend to use the double walled jars because I can find them easier and they look nice. I'm sure there are reasons like the ability to fill them at higher temperatures, but I'm not filling at high temperatures, so that point is moot to me.

Jars are always a lovely thing to have around the workshop. You can put most anything in a jar - thick hair conditioners, bubble goo, thick creams, thick lotions, body butters, anhydrous whipped butters, balms, and so on - except for products like toner or spray on perfumes. You can get smaller jars for lip balms, solid perfumes, and balms.

Should you go low profile or regular opening? I like low profile for sugar scrubs: It's easy to scoop a handful out when you're in a rush to get some lovely scrubby action! Low profile is generally more expensive, and the ones I've found tend to be clear PET jars rather than frosted, double walled HDPE jars. (Not that this makes a difference, but if you're a fan of the frosted jar, it might be harder to find.)

And consider investing in some dust covers for your jars. They look nice when the person opens the jar, and they will keep the contents from sloshing all over the place.

A note on glass jars: They look awesome and decorative and you have many choices, but they aren't a good choice if you have to place them somewhere they might break. The bathtub is not the ideal location for a glass container. If they slip and fall, this could be dangerous. Glass is, however, great for bath salts and other things that need to retain its smell, and they can be found very cheaply at thrift or bargain stores.

Metallic containers - slip tins, little round tins - always look really cool, but they are only good for products that do not contain water. So lip balms, balms, and whipped butters are awesome here. Do not use them for anything that might come into contact with water, like sugar scrubs. I learned that lesson the hard way...EEW!

Original post from July 20, 2009...Non-container packaging!
I like products that don't need a container! Shampoo and conditioner bars, lotion bars, bath bombs - I can find cute ways to dress them up and it's not going to cost me a fortune! I have a small problem when I walk into Essential Packaging in Surrey - even though I have no idea what I could put into the boxes, I really do want every single container in there, especially the lime green ones!

Cellophane bags are fantastic. I like to have the 4 oz, 8 oz, and 1 lb sizes around the house, just in case I need them. I like to package bath bombs, bath salts, and, as you can see from the picture to the left, little kits of things to give away. (Also great for cookies and chocolates!) I like to use cute twist ties (Daiso is awesome for this, or try your local chocolate making store) or ribbons as closures.

Note...I've tried "cellophane" bags from the dollar store, but they aren't cellophane...and they kill the scent!

I know you can use plastic sandwich bags for this task - but beware! Sandwich bags are made out of polyethylene plastic, and this can kill your fragrance and essential oils quickly. I learned this the hard way - 20 bags of bath salts for a class, and not a single one smelled like anything!

I love Daiso, the Japanese $2 store! If you have one near you, check out their selection of sushi and onigiri packaging. It's great for things like bath cupcakes or beeswax candles (especially ones that look like sushi)! It's inexpensive - 8 or 12 or 16 for $2! - and it looks pretty cool. Check out their twist ties, cellophane bags, and silicone molds. Their cookie and chocolate mold section is great for cute things!

For bath cupcakes, I like to re-use small cupcake containers (we get them for Games Night, so we always have some around the house). I realize it means I have to give someone 12 fizzing cupcakes, but is that a bad thing?

Bonus! Here's a link to some great aged labels for spices, but they would look cool on amber bottles! And this link has a ton of apothecary style labels. I love these!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Creating products: Packaging - too many choices!

Packaging our products is more than just putting them in a pretty bottle! We have a few things to consider, such as what we're packaging in the bottle and what kind of plastic we need for specific products. Here are two posts from the past to give you some things to think about when it comes to packaging!

(Originally posted July 11, 2009) With so much to choose from, how do you choose the right bottle or jar for your products?

Consider a few things before choosing a container...

1. Cost: If you need 1 or 2 containers, then a penny here or there isn't going to make a huge difference. But if you need 100, 5 cents can change your mind very quickly. Shop around - take into consideration shipping costs and whether you need to buy caps separately - before buying.

2. Product functionality: A toner is going to leak out of your malibu or tottle bottle, and a pump bottle isn't the best choice for a thick sugar scrub.

3. Usage by humans: Consider you're going to use your product. Will you use it in a slippery shower with wet hands or leave it in a purse for days on end? How much shelf or night-side table space do you want to give up to this product? Are you going to be going back for more or will you be able to apply enough with one squirt or pump? Is there another way to apply this product?

I like to package my toner in a spray bottle. I saw this being done when I attended a "spa party" by a big company that will remain nameless. Although I wanted to scream at all the inaccuracies being spouted by the saleswoman, I thought it was a good idea, meaning I didn't have to pour toner on a cotton pad before applying. I always use too much and that's wasteful! By switching to a spray bottle, I can spritz my face and let it evaporate or use a cotton ball.

I like to package my sugar scrubs in a low profile jar. I started using them because someone gave me a few and I found it mad it easier to get into the product and get a lot of it when I was in the shower.

And I stopped packaging my foot lotion in the malibu containers because I realized I was always going back for more after the first application, but my hands were really sticky and greasy and it made getting the product out a pain in the bum. Plus the container was then really sticky and greasy. So I switched to a pump bottle - it's a little more expensive, but I can put it in a really big pump bottle, and I don't make my normal horrible mess.

4. Prettiness: This is always a factor. If I'm making my 1 litre of leave in conditioner, I'm going to choose something functional for storage. But when I give it to someone, I want to have a lovely bottle that shows off the contents. I need to apply labels, so I need something that is going to be fairly normal shaped so the labels don't warp or buckle.

The adjunct to prettiness is perception. Take these two bottles - the one on the right is a 250 ml cosmo oval bottle. The one on the left is a 500 ml Boston round. Now if you pick them up, you'll know the Boston round is heavier and larger than the other. But just sitting on a shelf, it may appear that one costs more than the other but is slightly smaller!

5. Interchangeability: When I'm buying a larger number of bottles, I consider if the caps are interchangeable with other bottles because I never know if I want a disc cap, turret, spray, or pump cap.

6. Your ingredients: Essential and fragrance oils are not going to play nice with many plastics. You've no doubt noticed this! They're fine in small quantities, but if you're making a fancy perfume or roll on that contains - say - 20% fragrance or essential oils, considering using glass instead.

7. Brand unity: If you're selling things, you might have a specific colour, size, or shape that says you!

I like the cosmo oval bottle for most applications. It's not very costly, and I like the look of it because it's nice and tall and shows off the clarity of a surfactant system nice (although it also highlights when it's not so clear!). It fits nicely in my hand when I'm using it as a spray. And I find it works well in the shower when I need to squeeze out the last drop of body wash with slippery hands! I find it easy to change the caps around when I need something different, and they store well in the giant box I use to store bottles.

I like the tottle bottle for in shower body wash or shampoo, and lotions where I won't be needing to apply more after the first dose.

Sizewise, I find I use 4 oz bottles and jars the most (although I like sugar scrubs in 8 oz containers so I can go crazy with it in the shower!) because I tend to like to change out scents and ingredients. Four ounces is a nice size for a body wash for a few weeks or for hand lotion for a few months. (And I find a 4 oz leave in conditioner is a very good size - any larger than that, and I tend to drop it regularly. But then again, I am a serious klutz!)

Here's a great post on the CPS blog - 5 packaging know-hows! A good read if you are thinking about how to package yourself for sales! I have no idea how to store bottles well. I keep them in bags and boxes and everywhere I have space. You'll want to keep them in a safe place where they won't be covered in dust and spiders (EEEEK!!!!) and you'll want to keep them handy so you can do an occasional inventory before creating something - 'cause there's nothing worse than finding out the only bottles you have on hand are tiny 2 ounces with sprays for a sugar scrub!

(Originally posted July 12, 2009) You've chosen a shape, but have you considered the composition of your bottle? We have tons of different plastics to choose from, but each has their advantage. Most of these can't be filled at over 160F, but we aren't going to be bottling anything that warm, are we?

HDPE: High density polyethylene - Good for everything, unless you're using a ton of essential oils
HDPE usually comes as a translucent, flexible bottle that is compatible with just about everything. (Look right - the frosted or the completely white bottles tend to be HDPE). Except things with a lot of essential oils. If you've ever put something high in essential oils - 1% in a lotion is just fine - you'll see it start to buckle and warp. Not a good idea. And don't put anything over 160F into this bottle! You can squeeze and drop it without creating huge dents.

When you find the white bottles that I tend to think of as storage bottles, those are HDPE as well. Great for shampoos, conditioners, and the like.

PET: Polyethylene terephthalate - Good for products containing a lot of alcohol or essential oils, as well as pretty much everything else.
You'll recognize this one from pop bottles. They work well for alcohols and essential oils. These aren't very squeezable and tend to dent from dropping or pressing. You can find PET bottles in every shape and size - Cosmo oval, Boston round, bullet (the picture to the right), and so on.

PVC: Polyvinyl chloride - Good for squeezing and good resistance to oils.
Good resistance to oils, but general more expensive. These are used a lot for shampoos and conditioners. They are squeezable, which makes them appealing for hair care products or other products when you want to get out every drop. Very good for small, sample sized bottles as well because you can squeeze it nicely. (And it uses less petroleum than the other bottles, so it may be considered slightly more environmentally friendly than the other bottles.)

LDPE: Low density polyethylene - Less chemically resistant than HDPE, good for squeezing.
These are much softer bottles and less chemically resistant than HDPE. They tend to be translucent, and are intended for squeezy applications.
Good for...when you need to get every drop out of a bottle.

Having said all of this, I still prefer using glass or aluminum bottles for something with lots of essential oils, but that's my preference.

Check out this great post at CPS Plasticology 101 for more, in-depth information on packaging!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Creating products: Cool down phase

We've chosen a good recipe, we've assembled our ingredients, we've heated and held, and we've mixed! It's time to add the cool down ingredients. 

What do we put into our cool down phase? (Click here for the original post.) We put in the ingredients that might be sensitive to heat, such as our silicones (cyclomethicone and dimethicone), essential and fragrance oils, some preservatives, and extracts, amongst other things. For most ingredients, it's easy to find out whether they are heat sensitive or not - your supplier should have some information, and I've tried to include it in the information I've written about ingredients (look to your left and down a bit!) 

There are, however, some ingredients about which there is a dispute. For instance, I've seen allantoin recommended for the cool down phase but my supplier (and my textbook) recommend it for the heated water phase. If you're in doubt, talk to your supplier or do some experimenting. For instance, I've found allantoin in the cool down phase for me tends to result in shards, something I've not experienced by including it in the heated water phase. (For a longer, more in-depth post about how to figure out the right phase for your ingredient, click here.) 

After I've finished mixing, I like to assemble my cool down phase in a small container so I can clean up my counter to get ready for the packaging phase. Many times, a plastic shot glass is more than adequate to hold all the heat sensitive ingredients, but you can add the cool down phase directly into your product when it reaches the right temperature. Take notice if you have to dissolve the ingredient first - for instance, an extract or a powder - before adding it to the container. There's nothing worse than a powder that doesn't dissolve into your lotion, thereby ruining all that hard work! 

I like to let my product cool to about room temperature - so 20˚C to 25˚C - before packaging. 

Join me tomorrow for fun with packaging our products! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

How do some people manage to get water soluble things - like honey - into anhydrous products?

In this post, Nedeia asks: This topic makes me ask another question: honey in anhydrous products. Yeah, I know, I know, we need an emulsifier, we need a preservative, but there are people out there selling products like honey lip balm. and they swear that the product will not separate. they sell cuticle salves that are quite hard, and no trace of honey on the bottom. And the ingredients are "Natural Beeswax and Honey from our own hives, Shea Butter, Almond Oil and Vitamin E Oil.". now how do they do that? I never managed to incorporate honey with success in such a product. I know it will draw moisture from the air and some day it could ferment. I know the theory.... Are they just lying, or do they have a secret way of mixing? Especially when I know that you should not heat the honey at more than 40 degrees centigrade, if you want to keep any of its properties and not obtain a simple sweetener...

Take a look at this post - Iron Chemist: Sodium lactate - I managed to use sodium lactate in a lip balm and it didn't weep out! Here's the recipe...

5.4% lecithin
2.1% sodium lactate
20% beeswax
25% aloe butter
21% rice bran oil
26.5% fractionated coconut oil

Mix lecithin and sodium lactate together first until well incorporated. Then weigh out the other ingredients into the same container and heat in a double boiler until melted. Pour into lip balm tubes and rejoice.

First, an aside about solubility...We can divide our ingredients into two categories when it comes to solubility. A rule of thumb is "like dissolves like". Water dissolves water soluble things; oil dissolves oil soluble things. Water is polar; oil is non-polar. Adding something like oil to a water based product will lead to the oil pooling on the top. Adding a water soluble ingredient to an oil soluble mixture generally leads to the water based thing weeping out of the product.

There are some ingredients that require alcohol or other solvents, but we aren't going into that in this post! 

To get something to emulsify, we need three things - an emulsifier (the chemical), heat, and good mixing. In this situation, I'm using all three. I've heated my ingredients up to the melting point; I'm using lecithin as my chemical emulsifier; and I'm mixing the product. I think the key to the success of my product is the fact that my water soluble ingredient makes up a small portion of the recipe - sodium lactate at 2% - so I'm able to keep it from separating.

Take for example something like an oil based sugar scrub. If I add sodium lactate (or another water soluble ingredient) to an oil based scrub - like this one here - I will find the water won't mix in and I'll get a little gooey mess on the top of the product. Sure, it will incorporate at first, but eventually we'll see some separation.

But if I use this recipe - this one has lecithin and lanolin in it - I'll be able to incorporate some watery ingredient, like a protein or a humectant, into the mix.

Ingredients like lanolin (click here for a post) can handle some water, and ingredients like lecithin can behave as emulsifiers. When you see an anhydrous product that contains water, look for those ingredients to see if they're using them as emulsifiers. If you don't see those ingredients, then it might be that the company is using a lot of heating and mixing to keep the ingredients in the anhydrous mixture. It could be that they aren't telling the truth and they are using an emulsifier, or it could be that their products will eventually weep out and look awful. (Believe me, this happens more than you would imagine!)

I don't know about not heating honey - do you have some information you can send me? This is intriguing! I use honey in one of my products as a humectant, and I put it into the water phase to heat with the other ingredients for the 20 minutes heating and holding phase. I hate to think I'm wasting those lovely qualities!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Internet is down!

A quick note to those of you who may have donated any time since the wee hours of Wednesday (Pacific time)...I can't send anything out to you at the moment. Our Internet will be out until at least Thursday. And since I have craft group Thursday night and won't be home until late, I think it unlikely that I'll be able to send anything out by email until Friday morning! (I'm only able to send this thanks to my iPhone!) I'm really sorry about this and thank you in advance for your patience. I'll post when I'm back on-line!

It's back! Can you imagine over 24 hours without proper 'net access? What a nightmare! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Creating products: Questions about mixing

There's been a lot of interest about mixing our products, and a lot of questions have arisen, so let's take a look at a few of the comments from the post on this topic!

Anonymous asked this question: Hi Susan thank you for the wonderful information so generously given here. After reading you post on blending lotions I wonder if I am over stirring my lotions. I have tried manual, stick blending & mixer but always end up with same result: even thought the finished lotion looks smooth when I put in the pots, the next day or so it starts to look like whipped milk cream that has been over whipped, kind of congealing which gets back to smooth texture after a bit of manual stirring but it doesn't stay smooth for long I have to keep on stirring every few days. Hope you can help me solve the mystery, thank you.

This doesn't sound like a mixing issue: It sounds like your lotion has failed. (Click here for the original and entire post.) If you have to keep stirring it to keep it smooth, it means that you don't have an emulsion - you have an oil phase and and a water phase that don't want to stay together.

Remember, we need three things to make an awesome emulsion in our products...
  • chemical emulsification - this is where our emulsifier comes in. Pick a good emulsifier and use it at the right percentage! 
  • heat emulsification - in general, solubility of our ingredients increases when they are heated. Click here for more about the heating and holding phase of our products. 
  • mechanical agitation of some kind - mixing ingredients so they will stay emulsified. 
If you have a great emulsifier but aren't using it at the right amount, you'll get a fail. I don't think the issue is overmixing...I think the issue is a failed emulsion that has been temporarily held together by a lot of mechanical agitation! Take a look at your recipe and make sure you have the right kind of emulsifier and enough emulsifier for your oil phase, and ensure you are heating and holding for 20 minutes. If you're doing all of these things and you're still experiencing lotion fail, write to me with all the information (recipe, procedure, and so on) and I'll see if I can help further!

Vanillagirl writes: My emulsions are wonderfully stable (thanks to your info) but I find they end up with quite a lot of bubbles. I have been doing 500gm batches as I am new to this and am wondering if stickblending for 20 minutes to emulsify is too long. I subsequently add cooldown phase and sb a further 10 mins to ensure the ingredients are well mixed in. Am I blending too much? Thanks. 

I think you are. Twenty minutes is a long time and although it doesn't seem like you're ruining your emulsions, you're getting bubbles in them and you're taking a total of 30 minutes to mix a lotion. I'm all for mixing, but 30 minutes - that's time in which I could make something else!!! If your lotions are working well, then try mixing for a shorter period of time - say 5 minutes for the combining phase, 5 minutes for the cool down phase - and see if you have fewer bubbles. If your lotions are staying together through sheer will and mechanical emulsification, you might see some problems. But if you're using a well thought out recipe, you'll be just fine!

Leman writes: Also, my creams froth a lot when I use a milk frother. I mean I can hardly fill 50ml into a 100ml jar and I am thinking I must be doing something wrong or frothing too much or the fact that it is a milk frother!. Any ideas anyone? 

I wouldn't use a milk frother to mix your's intended to froth milk, so it's going to mix a ton of air into the product. If you want to mix small batches, consider using a hand mixer with only one beater (I find this works great for my 100 gram batches!) or even mixing by hand (see below)

What's the best way to mix your products? 
Lise comments: I feel incredibly old fashioned-- I mix pretty much everything by hand unless I am doing a whipped butter or whipped cream (I have a whipped cream cleanser that I've done for years). Even then I only use a stick blender. I feel I have much better control this way. I also do whipping cream (the kind you eat) by hand too. :)

I love the fact that we have to clarify what whipping cream is to a group of bath & body crafters! Did I tell you about the time I smeared cake icing all over my hand to test if it was done? Yep, I make more products than I do food...but I digress...

melian writes: i use a stick blender, in fact until this blog i didn't realize you could make a successful (long term stable) emulsion without high-shear blending! i also don't spend 10 minutes (or more) with the sb, either. i think that if i continued with the sb until it cools, i'd have whipped cream rather than a nice lotion. i create the emulsion, then let it sit and stir it with a spoon now and then until it is at the temperature i want for whatever i'm doing next. i have discovered that adding eo or fo when it is cooled down is not the best idea, as unless i hit it with the sb again for a couple of minutes, it will sometimes seep out and gather at the top of my tube of lotion (in other words it wasn't emulsified into the lotion). using the sb at cool-down causes all sorts of whipped cream effect and foam and stuff.

And I like to use a mixer - it can get a bit foamy on top if I go a little crazy, so I do it on a slow speed with the beaters, not the whisk attachments. I also like to use a Kitchenaid if I need to do a large batch, but again I do it on a slow speed with the paddle attachment. If I'm making a body mousse or sugar scrub, I'll do it on about level 4 with the whisk attachment and I'll let it go for a while. Some people love the stick or immersion blender - I find it spatters for me, and my husband likes to reserve it for food.

The key to all of this stuff is to read what you can, then get into your workshop and try out what you've learned. It might work, it might not, but you'll learn something in the process! Then come back here and tell us your experiences so we can learn more!

If you're making little batches, I have a few suggestions for mixing...
  • It sounds like a milk frother might be small enough, but it adds extra air, which isn't necessarily a good thing. 
  • When making small batches, find something that works for you, like a hand mixer, stick blender, or mixing by hand (Click here for my post on the topic of small batch production). I can't imagine making something smaller than 100 grams - so much fiddly work and so many places to make mistakes thanks to 0.1 grams more than you intended. 
  • A tall container - like a beaker - is a better choice than a wide container. I like to use the taller Mason type jars - 250 ml, not wide mouth - to make smaller batches. A shallow container makes it harder to mix. 
Well, that's it from me today. Share more of your experiences and thoughts in this post or in the original post - it's great we can learn from each other!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Creating products: Combining the two phases - mixing!

There are so many theories on how to mix your products after combining the two phases, so I'm just going to share with you what I do!

Remember that we need three things for a great emulsion...
  • chemical emulsification - this is where our emulsifier comes in. Pick a good emulsifier and use it at the right percentage! 
  • heat emulsification - in general, solubility of our ingredients increases when they are heated. Click here for more about the heating and holding phase of our products. 
  • mechanical agitation of some kind - mixing ingredients so they will stay emulsified. 
We need all three to come together to create a great emulsified product! With enough heat and mixing, we can make something that doesn't want to stay together become the bestest of friends for a short period of time  - for instance, adding a bit of glycerin to anhydrous lip balm or putting some honey into a whipped butter - but eventually the system will fall apart. We can use a chemical emulsifier and some mixing (think salad dressing), but without the heat, it tends to stay together for a very short period of time (hours, not days). We can use the chemical emulsifier and heat, but without the mixing, we have a horrible mess. (Yes, I realize there are some emulsifiers that work in the cold, but that's a conversation for another day!) By combining all three concepts - using a good chemical emulsifier at the appropriate percentage, heating and holding, and mixing the product well with a good mixer after combining the two phases - we can create an awesome lotion that will stay emulsified longer than a few hours!

How do we mix our products? A lot of the recipes you'll find will say something like "mix well" or "agitate" or something similarly vague. I've seen some manufacturers' recipes that say something like "mix for 10 minutes at 75˚C", which is very helpful, but how do you mix? We don't have fancy propeller mixers or those plates that move about - we have stick blenders, hand mixers, stand mixers, and milk foamers! So which is the best way?

I think to each their own - but the key is to mix the lotion well when you mix the two phases, then mix again when you add the cool down phase. I generally use a hand mixer on about 1 or 2 setting (which is quite high these days! I had to return a mixer because I couldn't control it at level 1!!!) for 5 to 10 minutes. I check the temperature as I go along because my workshop can get quite cold in the winter (see my posts in January and February! I couldn't get into the workshop because it was -7˚C some days and my distilled water was frozen and my oils had all reached the cloud point!), which can affect the rate at which my product cools! Then I make up my cool down phase, continue to check the temperature of my lotion, then add the cool down ingredients when it reaches 45˚C to 50C. I mix again for a few minutes. I let it cool completely, then bottle it.

If I use my stand mixer - for larger batches - I will combine the two phases in the large steel bowl, then mix on a lowish speed (no higher than 4) for a while. I'm not sure how long - it's generally until I remember to check on it. I will turn off the mixer and let it sit until the cool down phase phase, then let it mix again. I use the paddle for lotions and things of that nature, and I use the whisk for things like whipped butters and sugar scrubs. (And no, this isn't my mixer! I have a boring black one that's about 5 years old now. Isn't this lime green adorable???)

I don't tend to use stick blenders as my husband has declared them kitchen accessories, but I understand they can be quite effective when creating products. (If someone who loves stick blenders could share in the comments, that would be great!)

Click here for a post with some ideas for mixers, blenders, and other things that can help with this part of creating your products! 

So what do you think? How do you mix your products? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Question: Mixing oils and water

In the most recent what do you want to see? post, Ben writes: Hi Susan! I thought I'd ask you a simple "I want to know" request. I was wondering about the mixability of jojoba oil. Does it mix well with water, or does it need an emulsifier? What about mixing with oils? Also, beeswax for the same above question. 

Jojoba oil and beeswax are composed of lipids or fats (click here for more information on triglycerides) and neither of them will mix with water without an emulsifier. They will mix well with oils because jojoba oil and beeswax can be considered oils for our purposes. Jojoba oil is a wax ester and beeswax is a wax.

So what exactly is a wax? There are two main groups of waxes - natural and synthetic waxes. Natural waxes include hydrocarbon, mineral, vegetable, and animal waxes. Synthetic waxes include polymer waxes, usually called synthetic wax (wow, that was helpful, eh?) To quote Wikipedia: "Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic (malleable) near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C (113 °F) to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents."

And what is a wax ester? Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid (one containing an oxo group, X=O) with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH (hydroxyl) group is replaced by an -O-alkyl (alkoxy) group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and alcohols. They can be found naturally - for instance, in jojoba oil - or can be synthesized from fatty acids. A wax ester would be plastic near ambient temperatures and insoluble in water.

And what exactly is the deal with beeswax? (From this post on waxes): Beeswax is composed of 70% fatty esters and 10 to 13% hydrocarbons, and offers hardening properties as well as plasticity to products. Its melting point is 50˚C to 55˚C. As with other waxes, it is insoluble in water but soluble in oil.

As both of these ingredients are oil soluble, you can only have them mix with water if you use an emulsifier!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Creating products: Combining the two phases!

After heating and holding, should we add the water phase to the oil phase or the oil phase to the water phase? My first instinct is to add the oil phase to the water phase as, generally, my water phase container is larger than the oil phase container. But then I read something two years ago that encouraged me to add the water phase to the oil phase, some stuff about phase inversion and the like. (Click here for that original revelation!)

But a comment from this post from Anonymous got me thinking yet again! Hi Susan, what I understand from reading the Dr. Z explanation you linked is that the oil phase can be added to the water phase and phase inversion will still occur. Dr. Z described adding the oil phase to the water phase and having an initial w/o emulsion form because of the lack of H-bonding and low HLB of the heated emulsifier. It then said that at the Phase Inversion Temperature the emulsion changes to o/w. It did not mention anything about adding the oil to the water or the water to the oil and any effect of either on phase inversion occurring so I don't understand why you say the water phase must be added to the oil phase.

To get some context, either visit the linked post or read these two documents - Dr Z link and a paper on choosing emulsifiers

Great question! So I went off to find stuff to show this reader why I wrote what I wrote. But I couldn't find anything! Everything I found was silent on the issue, or stated something like "add phase B (oil phase) to phase A (water phase) after heating". Hmm. I checked my textbooks - no luck. I checked a ton of data sheets from various companies - including the data sheet on Polawax - and found nothing indicating we should be adding the water to the oil. 

But I know I read it somewhere or at least heard it from a very reputable source, because it would have to be on good authority to get me to change what is a lot easier - pouring the oil into the water, which means I'm only using two containers - to something more annoying that required further cleaning! I was about to give up for the day, when I thought I'd check the Dish forum for posts that happened around the day I wrote this post because obviously I had seen something interesting there from Liz. I followed the trail and found this from the mighty LabRat...(I really hope it's okay to post this from the forum because I think it's such valuable information!) 
What are the adverse effects if any of mixing the water into the oil? 
I suppose technically, adding water to the oil could make a better emulsion. When you add the first few drops of your water phase to the oil phase, you are forming a water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion. As you add more water, your emulsion changes from a water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion to an oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion. This is called a phase inversion. Emulsions that go through a phase inversion are supposed to be better emulsions. This has been supported in the technical literature, 
Most cosmetic emulsions are O/W emulsions. There is more water than oil in the formula. It's easier to add a small amount of oil to a large amount of water. When large batches are being made, due to the physical configurations of the main mixing vessel and the stirrer, most often, the stirrer does not reach down far enough to stir the oils as the water is being added.  
And these are Liz's comments from the thread that started my brain working! 
In an O/W emulsion you add the oil phase to the water phase. For a W/O emulsion you add the water phase to the oil phase. That is because the emulsifiers for each type O/W or W/O is designed to make that particular type of emulsion. Phase Inversion as it is called is reversing these phases which can result in a more stable or unstable product. These methods usually use PIT ( Phase Inversion Temperatures) along with certain types of emulsifers that would offer more stability. I have done it with success a few times. Many other times I ended up with messy separated emulsions. 
Very true as well as the addition rate (how fast or slow) will influence the phase to volume ratio for "catastrophic" inversion to take place. Non-ionic O/W emulsifiers typically will go through phase inversion as heating occurs anyway and then settle to the most stable morphology. I think this is what people experience with their varied methods here. Lab Rat mentions heating to the same temp kills bugs but it also will allow for phase inversion to take place or not depending again on temperature, surfactants used, which phase is added first, how much and at what rate (how fast etc.) cooling temp and rate, shear etc.. However this is not to say inversion always takes place to produce a more stable emulsion. Many things can influence stability of emulsions, not just phase to volume ratios. The problem with "catastrophic" inversion and why I personally don't do this method more often is you really don't know the precise time of inversion nor the actual physical conditions you end up with. So I follow the more conventional methods for now.
Uncontrolled phase inversion is typically what we do and it is a hit or miss for stability. The plus to a controlled and hopefully in our uncontrolled phase inversion the end result is a finer and more stable emulsion. At least this has been my understanding how it should be. Ideally in making any emulsions you want to use the least amount of time, energy and emulsifier to produce the best possible emulsion. 
So the gist of it all is this: Although adding water to the oil phase can result in a more stable emulsion (and is backed up by science), for us as homecrafters, we seem to have just as much of a chance of messing it up as getting it right because we really don't know when that phase inversion might happen. As both Liz and LabRat are suggesting that the homecrafter should be adding the oil phase to the water phase, I am going to go with this suggestion from now on! 

We can add the oil phase to the water phase when making a lotion and still get a great lotion. 

Thank you to Anonymous for posing these questions! You've really made me think and change my mind on the topic. I will be updating the various posts on water into oil or oil into water over the next few days!

I really credit the way Anonymous wrote the comments above. Here are a few thoughts I had yesterday on how to approach someone - specifically me - with contradictory evidence. It was done in a curious and respectful way, as one seeker of knowledge to another, with no insults or personal attacks. I really appreciate that approach!