Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Newbie Tuesday: Conditioner - questions and comments

You made conditioner, but you had some questions and comments about the recipe. So let's take a look at those, then consider some tweaks we might try for next week!

If you're just joining us, we made conditioner on Newbie Tuesday two weeks ago, and last week we bragged about it. This week is all about the questions, and next week we tweak it! 

Rosi writes: I am reading the blog from Brazil, we are visiting our family and i can't wait to go back to USA to get my hands on making hair conditioner. Can we use petrolatun or lanolin in a conditioner? 

Yes, you can use any oils you wish in a conditioner, although there are some that are more hair friendly than other ones. For instance, coconut oil has been shown to have an affinity with the proteins in our hair and avocado oil can be absorbed by our hair strands. Using any oil will reduce friction and increase moisturizing, two things that help prevent damage and make our hair look nice!

Related posts: Conditioners with coconut oil

Anastasia asks (and Julie seconded it): I have a question related to conditioner and emulsified products in general. I'm getting foaminess in a lot of my emulsions. It seems like they get air in them when I'm mixing the ingredients, and it doesn't go away! Instead they sit in the container with little air bubbles in them. Do you have any ideas that might help this problem? Store bought products don't have air bubbles. I don't want mine to either!

Don't mix it on a high speed. When we use something like a hand mixer - my preferred mixing machine - we add a lot of air into the product. Don't blend on the higher levels - 1 or 2 should work - and don't use a whisk. Try to keep the beaters under the surface of the product. This is why some people prefer the stick blender. It mixes well but doesn't add a ton of air to the product. And never ever ever use a machine to mix your surfactant based products like shampoo, body wash, or bubble bath. You will never get rid of those bubbles!

Anonymous writes: Quick question :) I know oil is neutral, but doesn't it adsorb to hair strands?

No. Adsorption means the molecules accumulate on the surface of your hair. Absorption is "a condition in which something takes in another substance", or something goes into something else. You can think of it like a sponge, which takes in liquid and becomes damp. Our hair strands might absorb oil and it might create a coating on our hair, but that coating isn't adsorption.

Gwucci sent me a happy e-mail - she made conditioner! - with some questions...

a) pH balance: the pH testing was 3 according to the test strips ( refer to picture).  Is there a way to adjust the pH to 4.5 - 5.5 without using citric acid or sodium lactate. Is it possible to adjust the pH using the ingredients only? 
b) I know you have explained the heat and hold method a couple of times but could you do a video of how it is done. Pretty please ;;) 
c) I have kinky hair and would love more slip to the conditioner. I guess this can be achieved with further experimentation with oils and butters.  But how can I use ground slippery elm bark in future?
d) I have gone through a lot of your articles and would love to try adding micas in conditioner for shine. Is this possible?

a) That's a really low pH. I'm not sure it should be that low! If you want to alter your pH upwards, you would use a base. (Citric acid and sodium lactate are acids, and they'll make the product more acidic, so that's a bad choice!) If you want to increase the alkalinity of your product (raise the pH), you can use a 10% lye to 90% water solution and add it at 0.1%, test, then another 0.1% if needed, and so on. You can also use triethanolamine (TEA) (pH of 10 to 11) at 0.1% at a time to increase the alkalinity of our products.

b) I can show you the steps that lead up to heat and hold, but 20 minutes of watching me kill time as my products sit in the double boiler might be boring! (I have been making videos of some things, but I can't find the time to edit them!)

c) I have no idea what slippery elm bark would bring to your product or how you can use it, but I can help you increase the slip and glide in other ways. See the hair care section for more information or check out the posts below. This is something we'll be looking at when we're tweaking the conditioner next week!

d) If you want to make the product itself shiny, you could use micas. If you want to make your hair shiny, I wouldn't use micas. Consider adding silicones - dimethicone is the key for shine - or esters that mimic silicones - like ethylhexyl palmitate - to your product to make your hair more shiny. Or consider using a leave in conditioner or anti-frizz spray with silicones or silicone substitutes to increase your hair shininess. (You might not have the kind of hair that will shine well. It's all about the way light bounces off your hair, and if you have curl, kink, or frizz, your hair reflects back less light than someone with bone straight hair!)

Related posts:
Adding slip and glide to conditioners with fatty alcohols
Adding slip and glide to conditioners with oils or butters
Adding slip and glide to conditioners with esters
Using silicones in rinse off conditioners
Chemistry of our skin: ph and the acid mantle
Adjusting the pH of our products

Thanks for your great questions and input this Newbie Tuesday! Join me next week as we take a look at some tweaks you can make to your product! Keep your questions and comments coming as I still haven't randomly chosen who will get a copy of my Hair Care e-book! Plus, the more we share, the more we learn!


Organa said...

Hello Susan I have some doubts, do not know if you have time to answer but I'll put them here.
That old recipe conditioner with Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropil dimethyl amine, heavy mineral oil, propylene glycol, dicetyldimonium chloride.
Could be replacing Stearamidopropil BTMS by the same proportion request for the recipe?
And tamber replace Dicetyldimonium by Cetrimonium chloride?
It would be a big difference this replacement?
Thanks Susan.

Simply Marvelous Hair Care said...

I have yet to make my conditioner, but these posts have my very excited! I'll keep following along with these Newbie Tuesday posts so that my first time making my conditioner will be that much easier ! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer questions and writing such informative posts!!

Michele Clarke said...

I have been thinking about how it feels in my hair every day. So hard to find the words. When I use mine it stays in that first section I plop it. Kind of like petroleum but not the consistency. Could this be the oils? I used 6% last time. 8% prior.

I had thought my hair was dryer than normal hair. Now that I added carrot extract I think it's normal but was damaged before.

I have noticed my hair holds more moisture and dries faster.

Simply Marvelous Hair Care.....jump it. It's really the best way. I was afraid and kept reading and reading. Don't over think it and just make a smaller batch.

Karen said...

Hi Susan,

I asked this a few days ago, but I know you've been busy and maybe you didn't see it.

I was wondering if it's safe to use ingredients bought from non cosmetic suppliers. I got a sample of Soy Lecithin Granules and Green Tea Powder Extract from an herb & botanical store and used the lecithin in a lotion and a bubble bath, and both grew mold. And this mold looked this fireworks! There was bright red molds and bright yellow molds and then fuzzy molds. The Green Tea I put in a facial lotion and it separated a few days later and looked gross, I didn't wait around to see if it would grow mold but it looked like it might.

So Im guessing cosmetic suppliers sterilize everything and this company did not? What is your take on this? I don't think I will ever be purchasing from a supplier that isn't specifically selling things for cosmetic use. Thank you

Michele Clarke said...

I would think its food grade. Did you add any preservative to the recipes?

Karen said...

Of course, I always preserve the products I make

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Karen. Quick answer - I wouldn't trust anything that didn't come from a supplier with whom I had a trusting relationship. Who knows what people can do with ingredients before sending them to me? How do I know the shelf life of the product? I'll be writing a post about this in the very near future. As for now, I wouldn't take that chance!

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love your posts and want to say thank you for sharing so freely!

I'm struggling to find answers anywhere to this question: Can polawax be used to formulate conditioners?

I think I read (somewhere) in one of your posts that if you didn't want a very dry/draggy-feeling cream, you'd skip BTMS and use Polawax. Croda claims - briefly - that Polawax can be used for conditioners.

So far, I've not found anyone mention using it for this purpose and so am wondering if there's something glaringly obvious that I'm missing?

After finally caving in to all the 'hype' about Argan Oil (and I really, really hate hype), I can't get enough of the stuff and want to use it as a main ingredient in a conditioner. As I'd just bought a stack of Polawax (loving it in my simple body creams and lotions so far), I wondered about using it as the emulsifier in a conditioner.

I have tons of BTMS-25 and Cetyl Alcohol and have loved the conditioners I've made with them following your formulas, but just can't seem to find any information on using Polawax instead.

Thank you again for all your great information!


Christine said...

what type of preservative do you use?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Gabrielle! I wouldn't use Polawax or any other non-ionic emulsifier to make a conditioner. Conditioners are positively charged - cationic - which is why they adsorb to the hair strand and condition. Polawax has a neutral charge, so it's not going to adsorb to your hair strand. If you make a conditioner with Polawax, what you have is a lotion, not a conditioner. If you make a conditioner with something that is positively charged - like BTMS-50 or BTMS-225 or cetrimonium bromide - you have a conditioner. There's nothing wrong with putting a lotion in your hair, but it's not a conditioner, and you won't get those awesome qualities offered by conditioners. (In other words, Polawax will offer moisturizing and hydrating, but it won't stay on your hair after you've rinsed it off!)

Hi Christine. I like to use liquid Germall Plus for most of my products. Check out the preservatives section of the blog for more information.

Patrick Booth said...

New to your blog and loving it very much. I have a conditioner question. Would it be wise to use conditioner on your face? My thinking is that if you wash your face with something with the pH above the isoelectric point of skin ~3.7 the amphoteric proteins on the surface layer remain ionic positive. Many hair conditioners out there have cationic conditioning agents and would bind to the skins protein fibers offering the same conditioning as the hair. Does this make sense to you?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Patrick! I don't know if it's good for cleansing one's face - I guess that would depend upon how your skin responds to a lotion as a cleanser - but it is great in things like shaving lotions and emulsified scrub for our facial skin. We use cationic emulsifiers in loads of things because they are substantive or conditioning to the skin, so your thinking is sound.