Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Get into your workshop and play!

I know I sound like the 21st century equivalent of a broken record, but if you've been apprehensive about actually making something because you're stuck formulating things on paper or you fear wasting supplies, you really need to get into your workshop and play! So many things we learn from being hands on like...

I need to get more ice cream pails! The one I was using cracked on the side and I had to find a new container. But I don't have something to hold 4 litres, so I had to get out a giant bucket!

How much fun it is to play with my pH meter! You'll be seeing some neat stuff in the very near future about altering pH I our products.

I should invest in a bath & body only stick blender. It would come in really handy when I need to mix something in a very very full Pyrex jug! I love my hand mixer, but a stick blender doesn't spray conditioner all over you!

Some of our ingredients smell quite strongly. Silk always has a funny smell to it - musty, but not too horrible. I think the smell of the green apple extract was enough to cover it up! Chamomile essential oil smells awful to me - musty and earthy. Ick! The last package of Incroquat BTMS-50 I bought smells really fishy.

It is far better to stir our surfactant based products with a fork. A study found a few years ago that it is better to stir in a zig zag or back and forth motion instead of a circular pattern, and I find this really works for things like body wash.

I really like listening to music when I'm in my workshop. I've found that I prefer working out at the YMCA by myself, rather than attending classes, because I really like my own music. I really am getting set in my ways as I get older!

Do your best to avoid bubbles in your surfactant based products. It can get so foamy that you don't have any liquid with which to make your products. The bubbles will come out eventually, but that doesn't matter when I want to play now now now!

What kinds of things can you share about your hands on crafting? Share your observations and thoughts!


Topcat said...

Thank you so much for your fork stirring tip (and the zig zag motion) xxx

Aljonor said...

You are correct Susan I use to hold back and then I started to realize that I was just wasting more because ingredients just sat on the shelf. I started to play with my conditioner and shampoo and by testing I can actually see and feel what each ingredient brings to the product.

I am always playing around with my conditioner and shampoos because mixing and matching bring me closer to the knowledge of the ingredients.

Lise M Andersen said...

I've just begun a new quest: to create the perfect mascara: one that nourishes lashes (maybe even helps them grow better?) AND works as fab make-up without tearing out the lashes upon removal.

Mega tall order. This could take all year. My first epic fail has already happened, but I learned quite a bit.. I will most likely document the entire process on my blog.

Love experimenting (but even more when I get great results of course) ..
Thanks for the inspiration Susan.

PS. stirring tip: stir in a figure 8 without lifting the stirring implement from the bottom of the bowl/container - keeps out air bubbles and ensures no stiff shoulders or wrists (I've been stirring everything by hand for years).

Michele Clarke said...

I have been using the zigzag for a few months. Works nicely.

I need utensils for crafting only. I have spatulas but that's about it.

I want a ph meter. I have the paper kind and some solutions don't show.

I just tried to make a sugar scrub without a recipe. I learned some things do explode in the microwave. lol Don't ask.

Julie said...

I recently bought Amaze XT and was very excited to try my hand at making gel like concoctions. As a first experiment I try to make a detangler and light conditioning gel (see recipe of June 28, 2010 on the blog).
I mix the water, cetrimonium chloride and the polyquat-7 and heated. Once heated, I mixt the Amaze XT ... nothing. I added a bit more ... nothing. I returned it to the double boiler and mix some more, not a hint of a gel. Just some white particles at the bottom.

Once over the fear of having baught a bad ingredient (the drops of water on the plate I had use to weight the Amaze powder had turned immediately into gel) I decided to try again one ingredient at the time. I mix hot water with Amaze and got instant gel. Then I added cetrimonium - failure. I try with polyquat - the gel held. Now I have to find why cetrimonium break the gel and what I could replace it with.
One thing I learn from my experiement is that making gel is very interesting and I definitively want to try other recipes soon!

Michele Clarke said...

Julie I did the same experiment. The only ingredient I was able to use was glycerin for the hair gel. No oils, Panthenol, polyquat7, extracts & cet chloride.

Sara @Osmosis said...

Just re-stocked lotions, soap, and conditioner. BTMS does smell fishy. So much more fun to shower with the stuff I make, with the smells I love!