Thursday, May 31, 2012

Emulsifiers: Thicker lotions with Ritamulse SCG continued

We took a look at making a body butter with Ritamulse SCG yesterday - let's take a look at making thicker creams with this emulsifier. As I mentioned yesterday, the big difference between body butter and a thick cream are the names. In general, they both have a 60% to 65% water phase, and they both tend to use thickeners and butter in them. With a thick cream, I generally use stearic acid if I'm using it on hard to moisturize places like elbows and feet, but you can use cetyl alcohol or another fatty alcohol if you wish. Let's do some tweaking of our basic cream recipe and make something awesome for our feet!

Ask yourself about your goal. I want a foot lotion. What does that mean? I want something thick and tenacious that will moisturize really well. Let's choose our ingredients accordingly.

When it comes to feet, I'm not that picky about my humectant being slightly sticky, so I'm going with glycerin at about 4%. Feel free to go a bit nuts with your humectants here - I've tried a lotion with 25% glycerin that was so freakin' moisturizing, I almost slipped in the shower the next morning! I'll include some peppermint hydrosol at 20% and aloe vera at 10% because peppermint is awesome and because aloe vera will help moisturize. I like a little witch hazel in my foot lotions lately - mainly because it's supposed to help with blood circulation and inflammation. (Please choose witch hazel without added alcohol, like that you might find at your local drug store!)

Remember, we can't make claims about our products, but I'm allowed to choose ingredients because they offer great properties to my products! I'm choosing peppermint and menthol because they help with circulation and a feeling of coolness. I would never claim this if I were selling the product, but I can use that information to make decisions about ingredients! 

In the oil phase, I think I'll go with avocado oil because it's a great moisturizing oil and that's what I tend to need on my feet. I'll use stearic acid as my thickener, and I think I'll use shea butter because as I want something that will be tenacious, plus it will make the product more glidy. (As a note, if you have something like avocado butter, use that at 10% and find another oil. Rice bran or sesame oil would be nice! Oh, what the heck, I'll write up that version later!)

In the cool down phase, I might consider a few extracts, but for now, I'm thinking of using some essential oils like peppermint and spearmint. I really like this combination, but if you don't, there are some suggestions below.

11% distilled water
20% witch hazel
10% aloe vera
20% peppermint hydrosol
4% glycerin

10% shea butter
12% avocado oil
3% stearic acid
8% Ritamulse SCG

0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% peppermint EO
1% spearmint EO

Consider using 3% menthol, 1% camphor, and 1% eucalyptus in this product, and remove 5% from the water phase. Add the menthol to your oil phase, and add the camphor and eucalyptus in the cool down phase. Or consider using a blend of peppermint, camphor, and eucalyptus - equal parts - then add 1% to 2% to this product in the cool down phase.

Follow the basic lotion making instructions to make this product. But make sure that you mix the product until it reaches the cool down phase and add that phase when the product is under 45˚C or 113˚F because it could curdle the lotion if you add the preservative at a higher temperature. Mix until the product reaches 30˚C or 86˚F.

Wow! Do I love this or what? It's a tenacious foot cream that I can feel the next morning. I definitely recommend this to anyone who has trashed feet and needs help! If you want to make it feel less greasy, you can switch the butter to mango butter, change the oil to something like hazelnut oil, borage oil, or evening primrose, and add up to 5% IPM (click here for the emollients page for more information). I don't have a picture of this product because I used it really quickly! I loved it on my elbows - it took about three days for the scratchy elbow skin to turn into nice, not scratchy elbow skin, which is pretty remarkable. I really like Ritamulse SCG!

Join me tomorrow to make a slightly less greasy thick foot or body lotion!

Related posts:
Some thoughts on greasiness in lotions...
Emollients: Oils, butters & esters

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Emulsifiers: Thicker lotions with Ritamulse SCG

We can use Ritamulse SCG to make anything from light lotions with 80% water to body butters with 60% water. We took a look at the 70% water recipe yesterday, so let's make a thick cream or body butter today.

The big difference is the amount of oils in the product. Let's use the full 25% oil phase to 8% emulsifier, which totals 33% of the oil phase. Our water phase will make up 60% to 65% of the lotion.

There isn't much difference between a thick cream and a body butter. In fact, a body butter would be considered a cream. The big difference, I find, is that a body butter generally has more butter in the oil phase and usually uses cetyl alcohol, whereas creams can use whatever they want and I would generally use stearic to make it longer lasting and thicker. But there's no difference between the two categories of product.

65% distilled water

25% oils, butters, esters, and so on
8% Ritamulse SCG

0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance oil

If I were to make this into a thick cream, I'd probably choose stearic acid as my thickener in the heated oil phase. If wanted to make this into a body butter, I'd go with one of the fatty alcohols - cetyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, or even cetyl esters - as the thickener to make it more glidy. We already have cetearyl alcohol in the Ritamulse SCG, so let's use behenyl or cetyl alcohol in this product.

I'm in the mood for some body butter, so let's try that today and the cream tomorrow! 

We'll want to use quite a bit of butter in this product - 10% to 15% - so choose it wisely. All cocoa butter will result in a stiffer feeling product, all mango butter will result in a less greasy product, and shea butter will result in a more greasy product. You could try one of the exotic oils - I like babassu in a body butter, but I don't want 15% of it, so I think I might mix it up a bit - 5% babassu oil, 5% cocoa butter, and 5% ultra refined shea butter. You can use any combination you wish here!

For the oils, my butters are going to be a bit on the greasy side, so I could mitigate that by choosing a drier feeling oils or esters. I think I'm going to go with 2% IPM and 5% evening primrose oil because I want to reduce the greasy feeling and because I want to add some linoleic acid and gamma-linoleic acid to this product. Finally, I'm going to add 0.5% Vitamin E in the cool down phase because evening primrose has about a six month shelf life, and I want to extend the life span of this product. As with every other recipe I write, feel free to exchange these oils for ones you prefer or have in your workshop.

For the water phase, let's throw in a few goodies! Consider the goal of this product and the skin type for which you're formulating. I suggest that everyone, not just the dry skinned amongst us, should consider adding allantoin as our occlusive ingredient at 0.5% in the heated water phase, and remember to include a humectant. Since we're going into summer, which is a very humid time in the Fraser Valley, I'm going to include two humectants - sodium lactate at 2.5% and glycerin at around 3% - and I encourage you to choose some humectants you love. (If you're in doubt, glycerin is always a good choice.) I always include 10% aloe vera in my products, and I think I'll throw 10% chamomile into the mix to help reduce redness in my skin. I think I'm going to use 2% silk proteins in the heated water phase because I want all the moisturizing I can get!

In the cool down phase, I'm going to go with 0.5% powdered chamomile extract, again to reduce redness, and 0.5% powdered banana extract to help with moisturizing. And I'm going to use Germaben II because it works well with harder to preserve ingredients, like a few botanical extracts and hydrosols.

All right! Let's see what we have here!

36% water
0.5% allantoin
2.5% sodium lactate
3% glycerin
10% aloe vera liquid
10% chamomile hydrosol
2% hydrolyzed silk protein

8% Ritamulse SCG
3% cetyl or behenyl alcohol
15% butters - 5% babassu oil, 5% cocoa butter, 5% shea butter
2% IPM
5% evening primrose oil

1% Germaben II
1% fragrance/essential oil
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% powdered banana extract
0.5% Vitamin E

Follow the basic lotion making instructions to make this product. But make sure that you mix the product until it reaches the cool down phase and add that phase when the product is under 45˚C or 113˚F because it could curdle the lotion if you add the preservative at a higher temperature. Mix until the product reaches 30˚C or 86˚F.

I scented mine with Clementine Cupcake fragrance oil (a Brambleberry fragrance, available at Soapcraft or Creations from Eden in Canada) and it is divine. A nice balance of glidiness and tenacity, I  find this body butter to be really moisturizing and hydrating! I definitely suggest trying this recipe.

As a note, if you want to use Polawax with this recipe, use 6.5% Polawax and add 1.5% water to the heated water phase. 

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating a thicker cream with Ritamulse SCG!

Related posts:
Learning to formulate: Turning lotions into creams
Learning to formulate: Modifying creams
Learning to formulate: Modifying 60% water recipes
Learning to formulate: Butters, oils, and thickeners
Learning to formulate: More fun with thickeners
Lotions: Body butter creams
Emollients - oils, butters & esters
Formulating for dry skin: What ingredients can we use (part 1)?
Formulating for dry skin: What ingredients can we use (part 2)?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Emulsifiers: Basic lotions with Ritamulse SCG

Although the suggested usage rate of Ritamulse SCG is 2% to 10% to emulsify up to 25% oils, almost every sample recipe I've seen uses 8%, so we're going to be working with that amount in our recipes over the next few days. You could go lower, but I have found lotions at 6% or lower tend to be unstable and they have separated on me. You might have better success using lower levels, but I'm going to stick with what has worked for me.

As a note, calculating the amount of emulsifier we need by figuring out what 25% of the oil phase might be only works with Polawax. As Ritamulse SCG is not Polawax, we can't use this rule! 

Let's create a basic recipe and figure out what else we could include after the recipe.

70% water

8% Ritamulse SCG
20% oils, butters, and so on

0.5% to 1% preservative of choice
1% fragrance or essential oil

The first place I want to make some modifications is with the water phase. I want some humectants in there to help attract water to our skin and prevent transepidermal water loss, so I want to include something like glycerin, sodium lactate, propylene glycol, and so on. (Click here for the list of humectants.) I don't suggest using honeyquat as there is some doubt about how well Ritamulse SCG works with cationics. Feel free to add hydrosols, extracts, and other nice water soluble ingredients.

I find that Ritamulse SCG creates less greasy lotions than Polawax, but not as powdery feeling as Incroquat BTMS-50, so which oils we should use will depend upon your personal preference. Let's make an occlusive lotion with some cocoa butter and dimethicone, and rice bran oil (I think this is becoming my favourite oil!) I'm going to add some cetyl alcohol as my thickener as I prefer the glide from this fatty alcohol over the dragginess of stearic for this application. (I know there is cetearyl alcohol in the emulsifier, so I could leave this out if I wanted, but I want to include it!)

67% distilled water
3% glycerin

10% rice bran oil
5% cocoa butter
3% cetyl alcohol
8% Ritamulse SCG

0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil
2% dimethicone

Follow the basic lotion making instructions to make this product. But make sure that you mix the product until it reaches the cool down phase and add that phase when the product is under 45˚C or 113˚F because it could curdle the lotion if you add the preservative at a higher temperature. Mix until the product reaches 30˚C or 86˚F.

I have experimented with liquid Germall Plus and Leuicidal as preservatives and have found they will curdle the lotion if added before the cool down temperature of 45˚C or 113˚F. I have no idea what you would do with Phenonip, which is added at the heat and hold temperatures. If you have experience making lotions with Ritamulse SCG and Phenonip, please share!

And there you have a 20% oils lotion made with Ritamulse SCG. As usual, play with this recipe as you wish to find something you love. Increase the oils in this product to 25% and reduce your water phase down by 5% to get a thicker lotion. Change the fatty alcohol, leave it out, or add more. Throw in more humectants, a little allantoin, some proteins, some extracts, some hydrosols, and whatever else you like. Just avoid the cationic ingredients!

Join me tomorrow as we have more fun formulating with Ritamulse SCG.

Monday, May 28, 2012

How's that Made? photos - sponsored by readers like you!

I wanted to share pictures from some of the groups we've enjoyed recently as part of our Rated T for Teen youth programs.

If you've never used henna to make temporary tattoos, I definitely recommend it! You can choose from traditional designs or allow the kids to draw what they want! Henna can last up to three weeks, so make this clear to the kids before you start!

If you want to try henna tattoos, I recommend finding an Indian grocery near you. You can buy the powder and make your own, but it is just as easy to buy the cones for about $2 from said store. The darker the henna, the longer it lasts. And you can scrub it off with something oil based - a nice sugar scrub, for instance - if you end up with someone who thought it was funny to create extra eyebrows or a moustache!

We also enjoyed some stencilling. This is a very popular group with the kids for obvious reasons! We learned how to make Hunger Games and Avengers stencils in this group! I really encourage you to try stencilling as a way of re-using that shirt you hate, covering up those stains on the front of your favourite shirt, or creating wearable art!

If you're interested in learning more about stencilling, click here for my instructions and some cute stencils you can make with the kids in your life!

And sock monkeys! The most incredibly wonderful toys in the world! Natalie, our favourite librarian, taught the group how to make sock monkeys! It was great fun, but if you want to enjoy this project, make sure you leave yourself enough time. We used really long socks, and we ended up enjoying two groups, almost four hours, to finish them off.

Here's the pattern we used! I really encourage you to try it!

And finally, here's a cake from our cake decorating class. I think the boys did an amazing job! If you are looking for a nice buttercream recipe, I recommend the one on the back of the Roger's powdered sugar recipe.

I've been enjoying a marshmallow based frosting with my cakes - equal parts by weight of butter, powdered sugar, and marshmallow fluff with some vanilla (I like to use a splash, then taste it). I'm in love with this recipe! Put this on top of a chocolate cupcake with a graham cracker and you've got a cupcake S'mores!

Last week's fun was all about the paper toys, and the week before was my favourite group - bath & body products, including salt scrubs, whipped butter, and fragrance sprays. (Click here for those recipes!) Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures as it was very busy!

Thank you so much for supporting our groups through your amazing donations! If you'd like to know more about our programs, click here. Every single penny from the e-books go directly to programs for the kids at the libraries, and it's thanks to readers like you that we can continue to offer programs in our community!

We can never thank you enough for all your support of our programs, but we can try! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Emulsifiers: Ritamulse SCG

Ritamulse SCG (INCI: Glyceryl stearate (and) cetearyl alcohol (and) sodium stearoyl lactylate) is an Ecocert self-emulsifier that can be used at 2% to 10% to emulsify up to 25% oils in an oil in the water emulsion, although I've found that almost every sample recipe I've seen uses 8% or higher. It works best at pH 5 to 7.5, which means it isn't a great choice for moisturizers that might contain AHA or other acidic ingredients. It is plant derived, and claims to have a "silky, soft, talc-like feel". As you can see in the picture, it comes in off-white waxy flakes that must be used in the heated oil phase of your lotion. Its melting point is around 50˚C.

When using this ingredient, you want to heat and hold your water and oil phases, then add the water phase to the oil phase in a thin stream. They suggest mixing it until it reaches 30˚C. I have found that I can mix it for a few minutes after combining the two phases, leave it a bit, add my cool down phase, then mix it further and still have a really stable product. (I have lotions from March 2011 that are still very stable, despite the slight rancidity of the oils.)

Do not add your cool down phase until you reach 45˚C or lower. I tried adding my cool down at around 49˚C, and I had separation within a few minutes. It turned into a cottage cheese looking product! So gross! 

Ritamulse SCG doesn't play well with acidic ingredients, like AHA or lactic acids, and it's not great with cationic ingredients, so you don't want to include any cationic polymers or cationic compounds, like Incroquat CR, cetrimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, or Incroquat BTMS-50.

I've found conflicting information on this - some things say it is substantive and works well with cationic ingredients, others say not to use cationic ingredients with it. My experience has been that cationic polymers have caused separation almost immediately upon addition, so I'm going to suggest either trying it yourself or not using cationics. (Normally I would add my cationic polymers to the heated water phase, but I thought perhaps having them in the cool down phase might help to avoid separation. I was wrong. It separated almost immediately! It was so awful!) 

The data sheets for this emulsifier claim that it is a good moisturizer - and I can't see a reason why that wouldn't be true as most of our emulsifiers offer moisturizing to our products - and a good humectant. What I've read indicates that sodium stearoyl lactylate doesn't pick up water as readily as other humectants, but it will hold on to it more tenaciously than other humectants, especially in low humidity environments. I have found it has quite a nice skin feel, although it does have a little waxiness to it, probably from the cetearyl alcohol.

As an aside, sodium stearoyl lactylate was originally created to be an emulsifier in baked products, specifically those that are yeast leavened. It's starting to get a bad name in foodstuffs - for instance, I've seen a bread recently advertising that it doesn't contain sodium stearoyl lactylate as an emulsifier - so I'm finding it interesting that it's being considered so natural in the bath & body community. See this link at Skin Deep - they consider it a 1, which considered of low concern (although they don't seem to have much information on this ingredient, so I wonder how they came to that conclusion).

Glyceryl stearate has an HLB value of 3.8 =/- 1 and sodium stearoyl lactylate has an HLB value of 6.5 and a melting point of 47˚C to 53˚C. Ritamulse SCG has an HLB value of 3.5, but it behaves like it has an HLB value of 9.0.

What the heck does this mean? HLB values under 9 indicate that the ingredient is lipophilic, or oil loving. HLB values over 11 indicate the ingredient is hydrophilic, or water loving. HLB values of 9 to 11 indicate the ingredient is a bit of both. So Ritamulse SCG has an HLB value that should mean it is a lipophilic or oil loving ingredient, but it behaves as an intermediate ingredient with a bit of each. 

Although all the components of Ritamulse could be animal derived, the company assures us in its data bulletin that all of the ingredients are plant derived.

Ritamulse SCG is sold under a number of different names, depending upon the supplier. You might see it as Ecomulse, Natramulse, Emulsimulse, and so on. I suggest learning the INCI name above and shopping for it that way. You can get it at quite a few suppliers - visit the FAQ to see if you can find a supplier near you.

Quick summary of Ritamulse SCG emulsifier
INCI: Glyceryl stearate (and) cetearyl alcohol (and) sodium stearoyl lactylate
Suggested usage rate: 2% to 10% in the heated oil phase.
Should emulsify up to 25% oils.
Not a good idea to use cationic ingredients with this emulsifier.
pH range of 5 to 7.5.
Special considerations: Add the water phase to the oil phase in a thin stream, and mix until it reaches about 30˚C.

Join me tomorrow as we have fun formulating with this emulsifier!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Comments about Sucragel, emulsifiers, and natural products...

I thought I'd answer a few comments I've seen this week in this post. Look for a post on Ritamulse SCG later this morning or tomorrow morning.

In response to Catherine, who commented in this post. As I mentioned in the first post on Sucragel, I do not know where to get it. I received mine as a sample from a supplier who was planning to carry it, but I don't see that they have yet. Susie noted in this post that "Aroma Zone sell a product called Gelisucre which has an INCI similar to Sucragel." Aroma Zone is in French, so I think they might in Quebec or France. (I'm leaning towards France...)

allaboutlavender commented in this postThank you for covering emulsifiers! It would be such a time saver to be able to do cold emulsions. However, I did notice that the link supplied by Robert led to formulas using Sucragel that were heated as usual. It also didn't list very long timelines for stability. Is this really a good emulsifier? I guess time will tell.

What do I think about Sucragel? After all the experimenting I've done, I don't think I would throw my Polawax away for Sucragel AOF. It's really quite easy to use it to make a lotion, but I've found the lotions are quite thin and sticky, two things I don't generally like in a lotion. I liked it in moisturizers because it is easy to make something thin and I like it in a spray lotion for the summer, but I find it is missing that oomph I like my in homemade lotions. I think the word I'm thinking of is cushiony - it doesn't have that same elegant feeling as my normal lotions have.

To make a thicker lotion, you really have to use a butter or fatty alcohol, and that requires us to heat the oil phase. You don't have to heat and hold it, just ensure everything has melted, but that means that you aren't really using it cold. From a stability standpoint, I've found it to be stable. I have lotions I made about 12 months ago and others that are at least 18 months old: Some are going rancid, but they are definitely still emulsified.

As I mentioned in my first post on emulsifiers, "I've seen your requests to work with other emulsifiers, but I have to buy all my supplies myself and shipping to Canada can be very expensive, so I'm afraid I can't accommodate those requests." I'd love to try other emulsifiers, but when I have to spend my own money and pay for shipping to Canada, it gets a little pricey. (And if I get it shipped to the border, it means I have to find a time when the line ups aren't huge!) If you have an emulsifier you'd like me to try, I'll happily accept samples or products shipped to me and I'll do some experimenting. I will gleefully write posts about it, but you're getting my opinion, good or bad.

Yolanda commented in this post, P.S. I don't know if you have already but it would be nice to have a scale of how "natural" a product is in its own category: surfactants, thickeners, extra additives (like hydrolyzed protein, panthenol, honeyquat). With the criteria being its processing level, and what its "derived" from, etc.

Although this is a great idea, this isn't something I'm able to do. There would be so much work required - for instance, learning how each ingredient is processed by each manufacturer, if that information isn't considered confidential - and I don't have that kind of time. Also, what's your definition of natural? If we looked at something like Sucragel AOF, would we consider this natural or not? (I don't tend to think of things that have been manufactured as being natural, so I'd put this in the processed category.) And if we consider what something is "derived from", that can be abused like silly! I've seen silicones advertising as being "derived from sand". I think this would be a great topic for someone who was interested in the topic, and I'd definitely link to that blog/website, but I think it's really a massive task!

Why the picture of my dog? I thought she looked curious and adorable, and I figured you were tired of seeing that bottle of Sucragel AOF.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Emulsifiers: Sucragel AOF - facial moisturizer recipes

Sucragel AOF is a great emulsifier for moisturizers because you can load it with oils and butters and still keep that thin consistency. Let's take a look at a basic recipe for a facial moisturizer.

5% Sucragel AOF
24.5% oils
0.5% Vitamin E

65.5% distilled water, hydrosols, or aloe vera
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Put all the oil phase ingredients into a tall container, then add the water phase. Mix well for 3 to 5 minutes, then let rest for a bit to ensure you like the consistency before bottling.

This is all fine and good, but we want our moisturizers to have some oomph with all kinds of wonderful cosmeceuticals and decadent ingredients. Remember that we don't want to go over 25% oils in this product and that when we add an ingredient, we remove the equal amount from the water amount.

I like to add aloe vera and a hydrosol to my facial products, so let's add those at 10% each for a total of 20%. I think I'll add a couple of powdered extracts. I like 0.5% powdered rosemary extract for my oily skin and and 0.5% powdered chamomile extract to reduce redness. For humectants, I'll go with 2.5% sodium lactate, but you can use any humectant you wish. (Except honeyquat as we're still not sure if this plays well with cationic ingredients.) I think I'll add 0.5% allantoin to this product as well to behave as an occlusive. As for cosmeceuticals, I could include 2% niacinamide in the heated water phase.

For the oils, I'm going to add 5% oil soluble green tea extract, 10% evening primrose oil, and 9.5% calendula oil as I'm looking for oils will feel drier on my skin and offer some anti-inflammatory and anti-reddening properties. (Kukui nut oil would be awesome here for that drier feeling!)

5% Sucragel AOF
5% oil soluble green tea extract
10% evening primrose oil
9.5% calendula oil

10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
2% niacinamide
0.5% allantoin

39% distilled water
2.5% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed oat protein

2% panthenol
0.5% chamomile extract
0.5% rosemary extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Add the oil phase to a tall container and set aside. Weigh the heated water phase in a heatproof container and put into a double boiler until the powders have dissolved. Add the heated water phase and the water phase to the tall container and mix for 3 to 5 minutes with a stick blender or propellor mixer. Ensure the lotion temperature is 45˚C/113˚F before adding the cool down phase. If you wish to add 0.5% xanthan gum to the product, feel free to do so.

If you feel this lotion is too thin for your tastes, consider adding 3% cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, or behenyl alcohol to the oil phase and remove 3% of another oil. You will have to heat the oil phase up to have the fatty alcohol melt.

You can modify this recipe as much as you like, adding different extracts, hydrosols, oils, and cosmeceuticals until you've tried every combination possible! Take a look at the related posts section below for some ideas on how to modify this moisturizer to your liking. If you have a moisturizer recipe you love, try it with Sucragel AOF. You'll notice it's much thinner than any version you've made with other emulsifiers, which is one of the reasons that Sucragel AOF works so well in moisturizers!

Join me tomorrow as we take a closer look at the anionic emulsifier Ritamulse SCG.

Related posts:
Cosmeceutials: A summary and links
Using cosmeceuticals in our facial products
Formulating for dry skin: Moisturizers
Formulating for dry skin: Moisturizers continued
Using cosmeceuticals in products for oily skin
Emollients: Oils, butters & esters

Friday, May 25, 2012

Emulsifiers: Sucragel AOF - more complicated recipes

We can create some pretty complicated recipes using Sucragel AOF with minimal heating, so let's take a look at a base recipe then some variations.

5% Sucragel AOF
3% cetyl alcohol
5% cocoa butter

17% oil of choice or combination

12% aloe vera
11% hydrosol of choice
0.5% allantoin

2.5% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice (I like oat protein)
39% water

2% panthenol
0.5% extract of choice
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or preservative of choice)

Weigh the heated oil phase in a tall heatproof container and put into a double boiler. Heat until the ingredients have melted. In another heatproof container, weigh out the heated water phase until the allantoin is dissolved.

Add the oil phase to the heated oil phase container, then add the heated water phase and the water phase. Mix well with the stick blender or propellor mixer until the temperature reaches 45˚C/113˚F, then add the cool down phase. Allow to cool to room temperature before bottling.

I've tried a few different combinations of oils in this recipe. To make it slightly drier, I used a combination of mango butter, borage oil (10%), and hazelnut oil (7%) and this created quite a dry combination. I found the mango butter, shea oil (10%), and rice bran oil (7%) was a lovely combination as well.

Feel free to play with the hydrosols and extracts. I liked the combination of lavender hydrosol and chamomile extract, but you can play around with any combination you like. Feel free to substitute all the water portion for a hydrosol, if you wish.

Join me tomorrow as we take a last look at Sucragel AOF by making a basic facial moisturizer recipe.

Related posts:
Emollients - oils, butters & esters
Extracts & hydrosols

Don't use my blog for free advertising, Tony EMU Farm!

Here's a comment Tony made on this post on emu oilTony EMU Farm-This is an important product in emu-farming. From the fat oil can be extracted. This oil gets absorbed in human skin within 4-5 seconds and reach the bones. Hence this oil is mainly used in skin ointments and also for various cosmetic products. Recent research shows that this oil serves as excellent medicine for arthritis. It is also used as a pain killer. The fatty acids present in this oil decrease the blood-cholesterol level as per the modern research. Because of the medicinal value of this oil, western countries are capturing international markets by producting new cosmetics creams & lotions from this oil. India too has a great opportunity to enter in to international market. 

Thanks for giving me a good laugh, Tony EMU Farm! Let's see how much of this attempt at free advertising is true.

Can an oil be absorbed through our skin and penetrate through to our bones in 4 to 5 seconds? I really don't know where to start with this claim because it's so blatantly idiotic. I can just picture Tony EMU Farm typing up this sentence, then sitting back with his hands behind his head, his chair slightly tilted, and a happy smile on his face as he takes a sip of some hot beverage and congratulates himself for a job well done. Tony EMU Farm, I commend you. You really have to be on the left side of the intelligence bell curve to think this could be true in the slightest. Kudos!

Does research show that emu oil is good for arthritis? I haven't been able to find any really good studies. If anyone has a reputable study, please send it along to me and I'll happily read it.

Is it used as a pain killer? No. I can't find any proof of this. I've seen claims about this, but I have been unable to find any studies.

Does it reduce blood cholesterol level as per "the modern research"? Again, I can find no proof of this.

Tony EMU Farm found this post and decided to comment on it, knowing nothing of my blog and my very strong feelings about spam and unscientific things. As you can see, nothing in his claim can be backed up by research and the first claim is, in fact, ridiculous. I would encourage you to avoid suppliers who make outrageous claims like this. I find it quite amusing that this marketing genius didn't stop to think about the bad publicity his company could receive by making claims of this nature, but I'm sure he believes that old adage that any publicity is good publicity (which is definitely wrong!).

An aside...I found this in a search for his website. "Emu farming is a revolutionary way to uninterrupted source of wealth." Is this multilevel emu marketing? For seriously?

So Tony EMU Farm, please send along all the research you've done or studies you've found to back up this wonderful claim that the oil will penetrate your skin down to the bones and I'll be happy to post it. As for now, I really encourage anyone reading this blog to avoid suppliers like Tony EMU Farm who know nothing about the products they sell. Instead, stick to a nice local supplier with whom you can have a good relationship!

As an aside, I quite like emu oil. I just don't like Tony EMU Farm's attempt to use my blog to promote his business for free! And I really don't like him spreading misinformation on my blog! 

Hope you have a great Friday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Emulsifiers: Sucragel AOF - heated recipes

Sucragel AOF can be used to make cold lotions, but sometimes we need to heat our ingredients to incorporate them into a lotion. Let's take a look at a few situations in which we might need to heat ingredients in either the oil or water phases.

5% Sucragel AOF
3% cetyl alcohol

10% rice bran oil
10% soybean oil
0.5% Vitamin E 

2.5% sodium lactate
0.5% xanthan gum
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance or essential oil
66.5% distilled water

Add the Sucragel AOF and cetyl alcohol to a tall container and heat until the cetyl alcohol has dissolved. Then add the oil phase and the water phase in that order and mix for 3 to 5 minutes with a stick blender or propellor mixer. Ensure the lotion temperature is 45˚C/113˚F before adding the liquid Germall Plus and fragrance/essential oil.

The cetyl alcohol will thicken this product nicely. You can use another fatty alcohol in its place - behenyl alcohol or cetearyl alcohol - but please do not use stearic acid as it cause it to separate. You can leave out the xanthan gum if you don't have it, but you will end up with a slightly thinner product.

As we saw in the formulating for dry skin series, using occlusive ingredients can reduce the amount of transepidermal water loss and keep our skin more hydrated. The three approved by the FDA are dimethicone, cocoa butter, and allantoin. We don't want to use dimethicone as Sucragel AOF doesn't emulsify silicones well, so we can choose from cocoa butter or allantoin.

We can heat the water phase to dissolve certain things into it, so I'll add 0.5% allantoin to the water phase and heat it until the allantoin has dissolved. And I'll add 5% cocoa butter to the heated oil phase to offer more occlusion.

5% Sucragel AOF
3% cetyl alcohol
5% cocoa butter

15% oils of your choice
0.5% Vitamin E

20% distilled water
0.5% allantoin

47% distilled water
2.5% sodium lactate or humectant of choice
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance or essential oil

Weigh the Sucragel AOF, cetyl alcohol, and cocoa butter into a heatproof container and put into the double boiler until the ingredients are melted. Weigh the heated water phase into a heatproof container and place into the double boiler until the allantoin has dissolved. Try not to get the water phase over about 50˚C/122˚F because we don't want the product to be too warm when we add the rest of the water phase! Remove the oil phase from the double boiler and add the rest of the oil phase, the heated water phase, the rest of the distilled water, and the sodium lactate or other humectant. Mix well until the temperature reaches 45˚C/113˚F and add the liquid Germall Plus and fragrance/essential oil. Let sit until completely cooled before bottling.

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with Sucragel AOF when we make a few more complicated lotions! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Emulsifiers: Sucragel AOF - cold process recipes

As I mentioned in yesterday's post on Sucragel AOF, products made with this emulsifier can be made cold. Let's take a look at a few recipes we could make through cold process with Sucragel AOF.

5% Sucragel AOF
10% rice bran oil
10% soy bean oil
0.5% Vitamin E

2.5% sodium lactate
0.5% xanthan gum
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance or essential oil
69.5% distilled water

Make sure you follow this order when making this product. Put the oil phase into a tall container - a beaker, a beer cup, a drinking glass - then add the water phase. Using a stick blender or propellor mixer, blend for about 3 minutes to ensure good consistency. Let it sit for at least an hour before bottling to ensure it has the consistency you want. If you want it slightly thicker, add 0.5% xanthan gum to the lotion before bottling.

I know in this post on xanthan gum I mention using 0.1% to 0.3% so you don't end up with an epic lotion fail, but I found that using up to 1% was necessary for thickening with this emulsifier. Start with 0.1% if you are more comfortable doing that! 

If you use lighter oils and leave out the xanthan gum, you'll end up with a lotion that is thin enough to spray!

One of the formulations I saw from the company suggested that you could use this product as a leave in hair conditioner. It isn't truly a conditioner as it doesn't contain any cationic ingredients that actually condition our hair, but you could use it as a moisturizing spray that contains oils!

Original recipe can be found here...

6% Sucragel AOF
20% oils
73.5% water
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or other preservative of choice)

Add the Sucragel and oils to the container, then add the water and liquid Germall Plus. Stick blend for up to 5 minutes to ensure the product emulsifies properly.

Which oils can you use for your hair? Click here for a post on this topic!

You could add a butter to this product - something like shea butter might be nice! - but you'll have to heat the product to make that work. So join me tomorrow as we enjoy more formulating fun with Sucragel AOF and recipes that require heating!

Avoid these types of recipes if you find them on Pintrest!

I've seen two recipes going around the 'net recently that are simply not good recipes. The first was posted as a comment in this post by FooFooBerry...

I made this cream for personal use that I found on pinterest and it's wonderful. The problem is there is no preservative in the recipe. It's 1 1/4 cup of hot water, 1/4 cup of ewax, (and) 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Could I just add Optiphen Plus to it at 1 or 1.5% so it won't go rancid? I've had mine for over a week and it's fine.

I really don't recommend this kind of recipe. When it's in volume measurements, it's hard to know if the ingredients are within the suggested usage rates. I would never use equal parts emulsifying wax and oil in a recipe, so already I know there's a problem. The water weighs about 310 grams - 1 ml of water weighs 1 gram - and the oil would be about 56 grams - 62.5 ml x .92. I'm using LabRat's estimation of e-wax at 0.539 g/cc, which would give us around 34 grams. So let's take a look at this recipe with a total of 400 grams in the recipe. (That was convenient, eh? And note, this is only an estimate based on math, not on actual measurements I conducted.)

Water - 310/400 = 77.5%
Oil - 56/400 = 14%
E-wax - 34/400 - 8.5%

As you can see this recipe is completely out of whack. In general, we would want to use about 25% of the oil phase as Polawax (add 1% if you're using e-wax). So we would want to have 3.5% Polawax or 4.5% e-wax, not 8.5%. This will be a really thin lotion if you modify the amount of e-wax, so you could either leave it as is and add 0.5% to 1% preservative to the mix, or you could find a recipe that contains about the same level of water and make that instead. (As a note, a 77.5% water recipe is going to be quite thin when you use the right amount of e-wax, on par with a facial moisturizer!)

If you really love a recipe like this and want to get it into weighed measurements, then get your scale and measure out each ingredient, then write down the weight. You can turn it into percentages easily - see below for the link.

This is all about relative density. Click here for a list of ingredients and their relative densities

Related posts:
Calculating percentages in lotions.
Why we weigh our ingredients rather than using liquid measurements. 

As for this recipe from ReadyMade, well...I'm not sure where to start on how wrong this recipe is. Please do not make it and do not give it to your friends. It is simply a terrible recipe that won't work, and worse, it will likely be contaminated in a short period of time.

"To find beeswax, the substance that causes the lotion to emulsify..." This is just wrong. Beeswax is NOT an emulsifier on its own, no matter how much we want it to be so. It has about as much emulsifying power as olive oil or lavender hydrosol, which is to say it has none. If we combine it with borax we create an emulsifier suitable for water-in-oil lotions. If it does work for you as an emulsifier, it's because you've used enough heat or mechanical energy to create an emulsion. It will break down sooner rather than later. We see proof of this in the sentence, "If there is still some water on the surface, turn up the blender and blend the mixture 30 seconds to a minute longer." This lotion is separating while it's in the blender! And one commenter notes, "...except when I put it on my skin, the oil and water immediately starts separating into beads!" Another notes, " emulsifies fine, but once I put it on my skin it seems to separate, meaning there are water beads all over my skin after applying." The suggestion is to use more oil or more beeswax. Neither of those will solve this problem. Using an emulsifier is the only way to make an emulsified product, and beeswax is not an emulsifier.

Please do not use tea in your products, especially those that don't contain preservatives. I know this writer is all worried about the possible toxins in plastic containers, but she's avoiding the known issues of contamination in water containing products that don't use preservatives. You cannot store this recipe for 3 months at room temperature or 6 months in the fridge. I wouldn't use this at all, but you could use it for maybe three days if you keep it in the fridge. (And I'm not responsible for anything that happens to you if you make up this product and put it in the fridge for a week!)

It does contain chemicals. Everything contains chemicals. If it contains things made up of elements, then it's a chemical.

I'm not really sure why people continue to insist that we can violate the laws of chemistry and physics by arguing that "it worked for me". The plural of anecdote isn't data, and "working for me" isn't evidence if no one else can replicate it.

I hear all the time from people who won't try making something for fear of wasting supplies. Following recipes like this are the quickest way to do that. Don't waste your supplies and supplies. Find a good recipe and try that instead. There are so many great recipes on-line - I'm perplexed why these bad recipes continue to show up on the 'net! I think it's because three ingredients make it seem easy and they're "all natural", which is something that appeals as well. The problem is that unpreserved lotions using non-emulsifiers will only lead to contaminated and separated products that will leave you frustrated!

Related posts:
How can I tell if it's a good recipe?
Emulsification - what's that then?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Emulsifiers: Sucragel AOF

Sucragel AOF (INCI: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (and) Glycerine (and) Aqua (and) Sucrose Laurate) is a thick liquid emulsifier we can use cold to make gels and lotions. It's based on sucrose laurate, which is an ester of sucrose combined with fatty acids. In this case, it's combined with lauric acid, which generally comes from coconut or palm kernel oil.

Sucrose laurate is considered to be a food grade emulsifier - it's edible, if that's what you're looking for in an emulsifier! - and it is considered to be a skin conditioner and surfactant. It might be good for use in deodorants as "sucrose esters like sucrose myristate and sucrose laurate have antiadhesive properties to various microorganisms including the typical microflora of the underarm skin." (p. 616, Handbook of Cosmetic Science & Technology, 2nd edition).

Sucragel AOF is designed to work with vegetable oils. For esters, mineral oil, and silicones, it is suggested to use Sucragel CF. You can use a titch of an ester - for instance, 2% IPM in the oil phase - but I wouldn't try going over that. It's designed to work in products with pH 4 to 8, so it might not play well with loads of AHAs or other acids. Check your pH if you're going to use a lot of those ingredients.  I haven't been able to figure out if we can use cationic ingredients like honeyquat or polyquat 7 or other cationic polymers with this emulsifier.

When using Sucragel AOF, following the proper order of adding ingredients is vital. You want to add your Sucragel, then all the oil phase, then the water phase and mix really well. The suggested usage is 5% Sucragel AOF to 20% to 25% oils and 75% to 90% water. You can make the product cold or you can heat the ingredients to melt things - for instance, cetyl alcohol - then add the water phase. If you are heating ingredients, only include the ingredients to be heated and the Sucragel. Leave the other oils out of the mix until you remove it from the heat.

I found the 5% usage number from the video I've linked to below and from this brochure, but one of the company's brochures suggested a usage rate of 6% to 99%. The recipes I have created used 5% Sucragel AOF and some of them have been in my workshop for a year and show no signs of separation, so I feel comfortable going with this number. 

If you had an oil phase that looked like this...
5% Sucragel AOF
3% cetyl alcohol
5% cocoa butter
10% olive oil
7% borage oil'd only include the Sucragel AOF, cetyl alcohol, and cocoa butter in the heated phase of the product. When those ingredients are melted, then you'd add the olive and borage oil and continue on to include your water phase.

You will want to put the ingredients into a tall container and use a stick blender or propeller mixer to mix it. I found a tall plastic beer cup or a beaker worked really well for this purpose. And don't forget to use only distilled water when formulating with this ingredient: We aren't heating and holding, so we don't have a chance to kill possible beasties.

Lotions made with Sucragel AOF are much thinner than those made with other emulsifiers, so you'll want to make sure you use some thickeners in the mix, like one of the butters or a fatty alcohol, like cetyl alcohol. I have found that stearic acid doesn't play well with Sucragel AOF, and I don't suggest you use it. Every time I used stearic acid, the product separated. I'm not sure why this might be, but don't bother trying it at home! I included some xanthan gum in a few of the products to thicken it up.

And I've found these lotions are a tad on the sticky side - I guess it's the sucrose laurate and glycerin - so I would suggest not using glycerin as your humectant as it could get a little too sticky with that combination. I like sodium lactate, sodium PCA, or propylene glycol as my humectant of choice.

I think this is a good emulsifier for spray lotions, body milks, and moisturizers. I tried making a body butter with it using 15% butter and 3% cetyl alcohol and it never thickened up enough for me to consider it more than a very liquidy lotion. Even with the xanthan gum, it wasn't as thick as I would have liked. It makes for a great moisturizer as it is very thin but stays on nicely.

If you want to make what are called oily gels, you'll want to use a propeller mixer. I tried with a stick blender and regular mixer, and it ended in failure. The propeller mixer seems like the only way to make this work. I will not be addressing these products in this series of posts as I couldn't get them to work for me properly.

A note: The reason I wasn't able to get these oily gels to work properly is that I didn't have enough Sucragel AOF to cover the bottom of my propeller mixer (I bought it at a paint store and it's the type of mixer that is used to mix paint!). 

Quick summary of Sucragel AOF emulsifier
INCI: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (and) Glycerine (and) Aqua (and) Sucrose Laurate
Suggested usage rate: 5% Sucragel to 20% to 25% oils and 75% to 90% water.
Can be used cold or heated up to help melt our ingredients.
Not sure if it can be used with cationic ingredients.
Should be at pH 4 to 8 in finished products.
Special considerations: Always use distilled water with this emulsifier as we aren't heating our water phase up enough to reduce all possible contamination. Use a stick blender or propeller mixer, not a paddle or whisk mixer.

Click here for the data bulletin on this emulsifier. 
Click here for the YouTube video on how to use this emulsifier.
Click here for a formulation brochure with loads of recipes! 
And another formulation brochure with recipes!
And the official website for this product, including videos and recipes

Where to find it? Aromantic in the UK calls this cold emulsifier (or possibly cold organic emulsifier) and it looks like they have the Sucragel AOF BIO, which is approved by the Soil Association. I haven't been able to find it elsewhere. Please share links in the comments below if you've found it elsewhere!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at a few formulations using Sucragel AOF.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Emulsifiers: An overview

I'm in the mood for some experimenting, so let's play with some emulsifiers! Over the next few weeks, we'll be taking a look at three emulsifiers - Ritamulse SCG, also known as Ecomulse (Lotioncrafter), Emulsimulse (Saffire Blue), and Natramulse (The Herbarie); Sucragel AOF; and Montanov 68, also known as Sugarmulse at The Herbarie.

In the meantime, take a look at some of the links on emulsification and emulsifiers below.

I've seen your requests to work with other emulsifiers, but I have to buy all my supplies myself and shipping to Canada can be very expensive, so I'm afraid I can't accommodate those requests. But please keep sharing ideas with me! 

Related posts:
Lotions: Emulsification - what's that then?
Emulsifiers - check what you've got! 
Emulsifying systems - Polawax, e-wax, and Incroquat BTMS-50
HLB system: Introduction (the start of a series on the HLB)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New things on the blog!

I grew weary of seeing that giant list on the right hand side of the blog in tiny letters that are hard for some of us to read, so I put all of it in the new frequently asked questions page of the blog! All the information that was in that section is there now, including supplier information! Yay! I'm getting more organized!

I think I might do this for the bath & body ingredients side bar - what do you think about that? 

As well, I've added a new search function, which seems to work quite well, and I've added the ability to follow the blog by e-mail. Let me know what you think of the changes!

Those of you who are "followers", how did you do that? I can't figure it out! 

Question: Where's the emulsifier?

In an e-mail, Leanne asks: I don’t recall seeing this in any of your posts and I am a daily reader!  I was on 100% looking at their ingredient list.  Their lotions and creams do not list any emulsifiers.  They are not anhydrous products!  How do they do that?  I also don’t see any preservatives, but am guessing they are buried in their hydrosols and extracts.

From their front page, they claim "no synthetic chemicals, no artificial fragrances, no petro chemicals, no chemical preservatives or other toxins". From the listing of the cream below - "Truly 100% Pure - never any harsh detergents, synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances or any other toxins." Ponder this for a moment to get a sense of the philosophy of this brand. Okay, let's move on...

Let's take a look at a representative ingredient list from Pure for their Red Wine Resveratrol Nourishing Cream. (Which is 100% natural, 100% vegan, and gluten free). Note that this is an emulsified product...

Ingredients: Organic Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Rose Hydrosol), Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe juice) Leaf, Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Resveratrol, Wine (Red Wine) Extract, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Vitis Vinifera (Muscadine Grape) Skin Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter, Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle) Extract, Hyaluronic Acid

Let's take a look at the Virgin Coconut Hand Buttercream. This also an emulsified product.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Organic Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Rose Hydrosol), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Extracts of: Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Seed, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla Wax), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond) Seed, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) and Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil

As we know oil-in-water products must contain water, oil, emulsifier, and a preservative. We know that the moment we add water or something like water (for instance, hydrosols), we must add a preservative as we can get contamination in as little as a few days. (Click here for all the good reasons to use a preservative!) So we know these four things are essential to create a lotion.

In these ingredient lists I see ingredients that work as the water phase - aloe vera, rose hydrosol - and I see ingredients that work as the oil phase - cocoa butter, shea butter, avocado butter, coconut oil, Vitamin E, pomegranate seed oil, and candelilla wax - but I don't see an easily identifiable emulsifier or preservative. (Vitamin E is not a preservative, it is an anti-oxidant. There are a ton of anti-oxidants in these products, and while they will retard the rancidity of our oils and butters, but they do not prevent contamination!)

As for the emulsifier, I'm stumped here. If this product really looks like a typical lotion - creamy and white without an oil slick floating at the top - they have to use an emulsifier. But I don't see any ingredients that would work as an emulsifier on their own or in combination. I think they've either left something off their list, they've discovered a new emulsifier that we haven't heard about, or they've figured out how to violate the laws of chemistry and physics.

As for not having preservatives, some companies hide their preservatives under different names. Some use "fragrance" or "parfum" to hide the preservatives (not mentioning any company names...), but they aren't using those terms. I think 100% Pure is using Japanese honeysuckle as their preservative. This is an ingredient that contains natural parabens and is being tested for its preserving properties.

So to offer a short answer - I can't find a valid emulsifier in these ingredient lists, and it looks like they are using Japanese honeysuckle as a natural paraben based preservative.

Related posts:
Defining your products by what's NOT in it! 
Question: What does natural mean?
Question: Why am I perceived as hating "all natural" things?
If you want to make products without preservatives, then make them...
Review of Marketplace: Lousy labels
An aside...Beeswax is NOT an emulsifier! 
Question: EWG vs. Cosmetics Info
Preservatives: NatraPres (Ecocert)
Question: How does Lush use fresh fruit in their products?
A few thoughts on making claims...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Update for a wonderful Thursday!

It's Thursday, and that means craft group at the library. But better yet, it means cosmetic chemistry crafting at the library tonight! We're making fragrance sprays, whipped butters, and salt/sugar scrubs. I'm very excited!

If you'd like to play along, here are the recipes we'll be making tonight. If you have or know some kids, these are great recipes to share with them! If you're a newbie, these are great recipes to start your bath & body addiction...I mean hobby. If you're an experienced crafter, these recipes are great reminders that simple recipes are still fantastic recipes!

97.5% water
1% polysorbate 20
1% fragrance oil or essential oil
0.5% preservative (I like liquid Germall Plus)

Mix the polysorbate 20 and fragrance/essential oil in a shot glass. Weigh your water and preservative directly into the spray bottle. Now add your polysorbate 20 and fragrance oil to the bottle. Shake. Put on mister top. Rejoice!

You can go as high as 3% each of polysorbate 20 and fragrance/essential oil, if you wish. Just reduce the amount of water. And you can substitute some of the water portion with aloe or hydrosols. One of my favourite variations of this recipe has 10% aloe, 10% lavender, 10% chamomile, 10% peppermint hydrosol, with 2% peppermint essential oil as a cooling spray.

80% shea butter or mango butter
18% oil of choice
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% Vitamin E

Heat the shea or mango butter in a double boiler until it is soft. Add your oil of choice - we're using soy bean oil tonight - and the fragrance and Vitamin E. Use a whipping attachment on your favourite mixer to make it just about double in size. Spoon into jars. Rejoice.

If you want to get that cute swirl on the top, load the whipped butter into a piping bag with a 1M tip and pipe into the jar.


97% liquid oil of choice
2% fragrance or essential oil
1% Vitamin E (optional)

Choose the oils you like best. Tonight we'll be using soybean oil for its awesome Vitamin E and linoleic acid, rice bran oil for the nice balance of oleic and linoleic acids, and either macadamia nut or hazelnut to make it a little less greasy. I'm going to add up to 5% IPM to increase that less greasy feeling!

Mix your oils together well. Into a clean jar at 100% salt. Pour the oils over top, mix, and you've got yourself a lovely scrub! This will need to be mixed every time you use it as the oils migrate to the top of the jar. (Buy a few little spatulae from your local supply store, like Voyageur, to ensure you aren't contaminating it!) If you are using this in the tub, please buy some plastic jars - glass and slippery surfaces aren't a winning combination (unlike alcohol and night swimming, according to Lenny!)

If you want to make a completely saturated oil scrub that won't need much stirring, you can put salt up to the top of the jar, then pour your oil over it. Let it sit overnight and see how much oil comes to the top. If it doesn't rise up and form a layer (or at least a significant layer), you have a saturated oil based scrub that won't need much stirring. It will feel drier than a scrub that has more oil available to it.

Have fun formulating! I know we're going to have a blast!

Related posts:
Back to Basics: Whipped butters
Back to Basics: Oil based scrubs
Emollients - oils, butters, exotic oils & esters

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The importance of temperature - an example

I know this seems like a really boring topic, but it's one that we neglect at our peril. Temperature is such an important thing for our products, yet I see people arguing against heating and holding all the time. It is vital that we bring our lotion ingredients to the correct temperature to allow them to create a stable emulsifier. It is vital we bring water and other water soluble ingredients to the right temperature to make sure we aren't allowing any beasties into our products! And it's vital that we heat ingredients like shea butter to the right temperature to avoid graininess (in some products).

I was just at a supplier's web site and they advised against heating shea butter because it would ruin the goodness in it. This is simply not true. Shea butter can handle much higher temperatures than our heat and hold phase at 70˚C or 158˚F. Another suggestion on this site was that grainy shea butter should be tolerated - you shouldn't have to temper the product. Again this is completely wrong. I wouldn't tolerate a grainy product, and I'm sure you wouldn't either. It doesn't matter than a grainy butter is just as good as a non-grainy butter, it just feels wrong on my skin! 

I thought this would be an interesting demonstration of how much a small change in temperature can affect our products. My workshop is unheated and it's generally the same temperature as the outside world. For the last few weeks, we've been hovering around 14˚C. This weekend, we shot up to 23˚C and possibly a bit higher. 

When I made this product, it turned out really pearlized and thick - a little thicker than I thought it should be, truth be told. But I was happy with it and poured it into the storage and pump bottles. My product had cooled properly and was definitely at the ambient temperature in the workshop, but that's a tiny bit lower than what would be considered room temperature, and look at the difference! The product is really a clear, slightly thinner version of the original!

Surfactants have what is called a cloud point - it's like the titer point in oils - the point at which the surfactant starts to solidify. Generally we have to heat the surfactants well to get the solids to incorporate into the product, but in the case of this hand cleanser, it turned out okay. What's interesting is that my workshop was only slightly below room temperature (18˚C to 20˚C) and that difference was enough to alter the product pretty substantially.

Never underestimate the importance of a few degrees. It really can make a huge difference! 

Related posts:
Iron Chemist: LSB (some information on titer points relating to LSB)