Monday, September 30, 2013

Experiments in the workshop: Creating a body wash for really oily skin - part one

If you've read much of the blog, you'll know that I have really oily skin and you'll also know that I work with a lot of teenagers in my youth programs, so it only makes sense for me to make a body wash that might help oily skin be less oily. (You'll also note I have a small obsession with body wash!) This product would be suitable for oily hair as well, so you could call this a two-for-one product that works as a shampoo and body wash. If you had fine and oily hair, you might be able to use the conditioner in the product - about 2.5% - as a 3-in-1 product! Woo!

Take a look at the ingredients in various shampoos in the hair care part of the blog and see how they compare to this body wash. You'll see they are quite similar in nature. 

Whenever you think about making a product, think about the goal of the product. For a body wash, the first goal is to clean your skin. For this product I want to make sure that I also include the goal of reducing oil production after cleansing and moisturizing without using oils. There are many different ways to achieve each of these goals, but these are the ingredients I have in my workshop. I'll try to include ideas on what else you could use to achieve the goal in question.

Whenever I create a surfactant based product, I start with the surfactants suitable for that skin or hair type. I'm starting with disodium laureth sulfosuccinate or DLS mild and C14-16 olefin sulfonate as my main surfactants, and I add cocamidopropyl betaine as my secondary surfactant to increase the mildness and thicken of the product. (You can use any combination you like. This is what I like.)

Which surfactants can you substitute for these if you don't have them? Check out the surfactant download chart to see what you have and if it's good for your skin or hair type. And check out this post on modifying the surfactants in our products. 

How can I reduce oil production? There are a few ingredients I might use for this product. I could use MSM at lower than 5% in this product or niacinamide at up to 6%. I have chosen to use 2.5% niacinamide in the cool down phase along with 2.5% sebum control enzyme.

I received this ingredient from the Formulator Sample Shop, and here's the link to their product. INCI: Water & Spiraea Ulmaria Extract. It's suggested to use it at 1% to 5% in your product. Here's a link to the meadowsweet flower information at Sigma Aldrich. It's noted as an astringent, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant, amongst other things. 

How can I moisturize without using oils? I can use humectants to draw moisture to the skin after bathing. I can use hydrolyzed proteins to create a film on the skin. I can add water soluble conditioning agents.

For my humectants, I'd normally turn to sodium lactate as a great humectant for oily or acne prone skin, but it rinses off too easily, so I'm using glycerin and panthenol for this product, with the latter being good for inflammation and redness, too.

You can use other humectants, but I don't recommend sodium lactate or sodium PCA as they will end up rinsing off, which defeats the purpose! 

For conditioning, I'm turning to my cationic or positively charged polymers to offer that lovely after feel. I'm using 1.5% polyquat 7 and 1% honeyquat because I didn't have enough of either to make up 2.5% to 3%. Honeyquat also acts as a humectant, so it's a double duty ingredient! Woo! We like those!

You can use any cationic polymers you might have in your workshop if you don't have the ones I suggest.  

For film forming, I'm including a hydrolyzed protein called MultiGrain Complex from the Formulator Sample Shop at 2% in my heated water phase (INCI: Hydrolyzed Quinoa Protein & Hydrolyzed Rice Protein & Hydrolyzed Amaranth Protein). I'm using this one as it's listed as gluten free, and one of my testers has celiac disease and I want to make sure everything is safe for her. (You can use any hydrolyzed protein you have in its place.)

I'm using a few different liquids in place of quite a bit of the water because I want the film forming, soothing, and anti-inflammatory qualities of aloe vera; the astringent, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidizing qualities of witch hazel; and peppermint hydrosol because it can help with itching, redness, and astringency. I'll use each of these at 10% as that seems like amount to get the benefits I seek. I'm using some powdered willow bark extract at 0.5% in the cool down phase because I like the exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties it offers. (I wanted to use the liquid, but I ran out!)

Feel free to use water for any or all of these extracts in this product. Check out this post on modifying extracts in a facial cleanser

If you're interested in making some modifications in this body wash, check out the posts to which I've linked as well as this one with a few sample modifications of a recipe I've modified a few times!

As a note, although I receive these ingredients for free from the Formulator Sample Shop, they understand that I will give my honest opinion on it on the blog. This is one of the reason I've given these products to my testers without ingredient lists. I want them to be able to offer their uncensored opinion I can use on the blog. (Okay, not completely uncensored 'cause one of them swears like a plumber who's just dropped a wrench on her foot!)

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at the recipe we've created!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I've created a YouTube channel!

If you look to your right (and probably down a bit), you'll see the link to my YouTube channel. I'll be posting videos there relating to the blog. Right now I have two on thickening with Ritathix and Crothix and one about emulsification. There'll be more in the future!

Weekend Wonderings: Difference between carbomer vs. acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer? What conditioner can I use for very fine hair? What's the difference between dilution and ratio?

Still suffering from this horrible cold, although my throat is feeling better and my skin doesn't hurt so much. I keep drinking vast quantities of chicken soup and honey & lemon tea and spraying my throat with echinacea while sucking on zinc tablets, and I think it's all working. I'm sure the rest isn't hurting either!

In this post on Gels (2013), Aljonor writes: I want to know if there is a difference between Carbomer and Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer? I am in the process of making a gel to twist my hair with a soft hold. I have the c10-30, but did not know I had to thicken it, so I am going to re-visit that again after I purchase the TEA. But I don't know if I should add Carbomer to my cart. Thanks in advance. 

This ingredient you mention is noted as being Ultrez 20 from Lubrizol. However, it can also be Ultrez ETD 2020Ultrez 21, Carbopol 1342, or Carbopol 1382. So they aren't necessarily all the same. The difference is what they can thicken, how easy it is to use the ingredient, what they will tolerate, and what the final viscosity will be. For instance, ETD2020 is designed to thicken surfactant systems, Ultrez 20 is designed to give you better clarity. You can take a look at this comparison chart from Lubrizol and see the different ways these ingredients work. (Or look at this brochure on the entire carbomer line from this company.) Having said that, if you have carbomer, but you don't need this product and if you have this product, you don't need carbomer, if you only want to have one gelling agent. As usual, talk to your supplier about the differences between the ingredients they carry.

In this post, Solid conditioner bars - the recipe, Sarah asks: Thank you for generous and informative post. I made your solid conditioner recipe and used it on my hair, it has a very good de-tangling and anti static property and also I love the ease of use. The problem is, I have very fine and limp hair . I have read your other conditioner recipes but I couldn't find anything in a solid form which would be suitable for my hair. If you can find time could you please tell me what can I add to your recipe to give some volume or body to my lifeless hair.

There really isn't anything you can do for very fine hair except not condition too much. The last thing you need is to weigh down your hair. I find the conditioner bars work well because I can control where I put the conditioner. I'd suggest staying away from your scalp and above your ears because that's where you'll get weighed down. Instead, focus on the ends of your hair.

If my conditioner bars are too intense, you'll have to go to a liquid product. Consider creating a cream rinse for your hair using something like Incroquat CR instead of using anything heavier. And definitely stay away from anything with oils or butters in it. Instead, get whatever moisturizing you need from humectants like glycerin.

Related posts:
Chemistry of your hair: Fine hair
Cream rinses
Modifying cream rinses
Detanglers using cetrimonium chloride
Detanglers using Incroquat CR
Detanglers using Amaze XT

In this post, Chemistry Thursday: Chemical reactions, Kim asks: I was wondering if you could clear up some chemistry that's confusing to me. What is the difference when mixing for a dilution vs a ratio? For example, if I was mixing a dilution of 1:1 water and lye, how would that differ from a 1:1 ratio?

I think it's the same thing. For instance, if I told you to use one part water and one part alcohol, I would assume you would use something like 50 grams of water to 50 grams of alcohol, which would be a 1:1 ratio. If I told you to dilute 50 grams of water to a 1:1 dilution, I would assume you would add 50 grams of alcohol to create a 1:1 ratio. If you said to dilute that 50 grams of water by 100% I would add 50 grams of alcohol.

The key difference is that if you tell me to dilute something, my assumption is that I would put the first thing into a container then add the second one. If you want me to create a 1:1 dilution of water with oil (pretend this works), then I would put 50 grams of water into a container, then add the 50 grams of oil. If you told me to create a ratio, I would think that I could add it in any order I wished.

This are just my thoughts on the topic. Any other thoughts? I'd love to hear them!

In the same post, Jodi asks: After washing my face I'm about to put my homemade "anti-aging" facial serum on my face. A wonderful idea occurs to me and I squirt about an equal amount of pure glycerin into the serum in the palm of my hand, mix it around, and rub it all over my face. ...Wow! After about 30 seconds my facial skin is very warm, almost tingling. What happened? Soon after, the warmth had subsided and there was no visible red spots or damage to my skin. Phew! Do you know what chemical reaction happened with that mixture? And, is this a good finding or my skin or a bad finding for my skin?
P.S. The ingredients in my facial serum are: 
Black Currant Seed Oil
Meadowfoam Seed Oil
Macadamia Seed Oil
Borage Seed Oil
Evening Primrose Oil
Rosehip Fruit Oil
Kukui Seed Oil
Pomegranate Seed Oil
Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil
Calendula Extract
Chamomile Extract
Green Tea Extract
Lavender EO

When glycerin and water come together, it's an exothermic or heat releasing reaction. If you've ever used a bit of glycerin on dry skin, you can feel that slight warming. (It's one of the reasons glycerin is used in personal enjoyment type products. Plus, it's a good lubricant.) When you increase the concentration of one - the water - and the concentration of the other - the glycerin, in the form of "lots" - you end up with a stronger reaction over a larger surface area, hence the tingling warmness.

Should you do this again? No. I'm not a skin care professional or doctor, but it seems that really warm tingling skin that concerns you is a sign not to do something again. But who am I to say?

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating when we take a look at thickening with Crothix and Ritathix!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: When should you use a preservative? How to avoid dirty heels with lotion bars? How to tell if something's gone rancid?

I love Saturday mornings. I see comments come in all week, but this is the morning I get to write about what I was thinking. It's great fun, and I love to see how you respond.

I'm sick. I have the September back-to-school cold and I'm grumpy and annoyed about it. I spent yesterday in bed, but I'm a bit better today. It got me thinking of the benefits of peppermint essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil on our breathing, and that's why we use those things in cold products. So I went outside and enjoyed a little chilly fresh hair to see if it would help. It did, but I froze out the family!

In this post, When should you use a preservative?, Vanessa asks: I own a small natural body business. I made a sweet orange body butter and a month later it was moldy. Should I be using a preservative and what do you recommend? I use shea butter but have now switched to mango butter with almond oil it seems to be a better combination for my customers. Thanks. 

I'm not sure if you're using water or not, but whenever you use water in a product or have a product that might be exposed to water - like a sugar scrub - we must use a well tested, broad spectrum preservative. There are no exceptions to this rule.

I can't make any recommendations as I don't have enough information on your recipe, so I suggest checking out the preservatives section of the blog to see the downloadable comparison chart to figure out where you might start!

In this post, Lotion bars for very dry feet, Rachel asks: Hello there, thanks for such a wonderful site, I have set it as my home page so I don't miss anything. I was wondering if anyone else has the problem of getting dirty heels after using lotion bars? If I wear thongs (now I'm giving away where I'm from), my feet have lots of dirt stains on the heel. I love the idea of using lotion bars and wanted to know if there was an ingredient to add or remove. My lotion bar is beeswax, mango butter, jojoba and olive oil. 

There's pretty much nothing I can think of doing to avoid this as putting grease on your feet will attract dirt. I'd suggest putting on socks? Can anyone think of a suggestion or two?

In this post, Mechanisms of rancidity, Farrah asks: Thank you for explaining the mechanisms of oxidation; it's super useful. I have a few butters in my workshop and I'm not very familiar with how they smell when fresh (I bought them then never used them), and I'm having a hard time figuring out if they oxidized or not. There's illipe, kokum, mango and shea butters (all refined except the shea. There's cocoa too but I'm pretty sure that's still good; it smells delicious and I know that it stays good pretty long. Other than smelling, how can we tell if they've oxidized a lot? Are there other hints and clues that can help me figure out if they're still good to use? 

The short answer is that the only way to tell is to observe them. What does that mean? Smell them to see if they smell fresh and nice. Look at the colour of the product. Feel the product and test the viscosity by pouring it out. If they look good, then you can use them. Having said this, our oils start going rancid the moment they're turned into oils at the manufacturing plant, so there will always be rancidity.

I suggest putting a date on them and keeping them in the fridge or freezer, if you have room. And don't buy tons of an ingredient, even if if it's a good deal, if you aren't going to use it. There's no point in me buying a litre of olive oil every year as I'm just not going to use it, even if it's almost the same price for 500 ml!

In this post, Learning to formulate: making creams, Mary asks: I know that stearic acid is a thickener, I just want to use an emulsifier and no other waxes (especially one made with palm oil.) 

No, you don't need to use a thickener in a lotion. It's just a nice thing to do. And some of them - like the fatty alcohols or fatty acids - can help stabilize an emulsion as well. But feel free to leave it out and substitute another oil or butter or anything else you want. (Stearic acid isn't a wax - it's a fatty acid.)

Just a reminder, if you are interested in the classes I'm teaching at Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C., you will want to register soon as the first group is only three weeks away!

I've had a few people ask if I will teach in other locations far from home. Sure! Set something up and I'll come. I would need someone to pay for my transportation and lodging, though. Running youth programs and working for a non-profit charity doesn't leave a lot for travelling! (Wouldn't have it any other way, though!)

I'm still working my way through the comments, so watch for tomorrow's Weekend Wonderings!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chemistry Thursday: Chemical reactions

I see it all the time: Vendors being asked if they have lye in their soaps because it's a "dangerous" ingredient (which is usually followed by someone saying they have a friend who makes soap and she doesn't use lye...). If the soap maker said no, there is no lye in her soap, she'd be right, even if she used it to make the soap. Why? Because the chemical reaction that turns oils into soap uses up all the lye so there's nothing left! This specific reaction is called saponification.

What does it mean when we say there's been a chemical reaction? How does that different from a physical reaction? 

A physical reaction in a substance means that a characteristic of it has been changed, but it's still the same substance. If we look at water, this means we can heat it up to make it become steam or cool it to become ice, but it's still water. This is called a state change, or a change in the state of its being. We can put half the water in a jug and the other in a cup and, although the amount of water has changed, it's still water.

A chemical reaction (above) in a substance means the substances have been changed and aren't the thing they were before. You can see that A and B are separate, but come together and are now bonded.

Processes like food being digested - it goes from being food to waste products - or burning a piece of wood - it goes from being wood to being ashes - are chemical reactions.  When we get to the end of a chemical reactions, the reactants - the starting points of the process - are changed into something else. We start with one thing and end up with another. If we started with water and carbon, we won't have water (H2O) and carbon (C) on its own when the reaction ends. We end up with another substance entirely. We still have 2H, 1O, and 1 C in the final product, but they will be re-arranged into something new.

We can't say that the things into which things are combined are the same as the original thing. Sodium (Na) comes together with chlorine (Cl),  andwe end up with NaCl or table salt. On its own, sodium reacts adversely to water, and on its own, chlorine makes up a gas that makes breathing difficult. Together, they make a taste sensation!

Related links on chemical reactions:
Chem4Kids explanation (really great!)
Six types of chemical reactions (interesting)
Chemical reactions (far more detail)

If we add a strong acid and strong base together - something like hydrochloric acid (HCl) and lye/sodium hydroxide (NaOH) - we get water (and sometimes a salt). It's called a neutralization reaction. Combining one thing and another thing in the right proportions means we can end up with something else through a chemical reaction.

A lot of people think we should be combining alkaline and acidic things on our skin - for instance, using an alkaline shampoo because our hair is acidic - but we don't want to do that. A neutral pH isn't necessarily a good thing for our skin - we tend to like acidic things around pH 4.5 to 5.5 for our skin, up to 6.5 for our hair.

Related posts on pH and our products and skin:
Chemistry of our skin: pH and our skin care products
Chemistry Thursday: Let's take a look at pH
Chemistry Thursday: How to measure pH
Question: pH and bath products

I mentioned in the post on making gels that we were using lye to neutralize the gel, and someone remarked that we can't use lye in a leave in product. But there's no lye left in the product if we use it at the right levels because it's an acid-base chemical reaction that leaves none of the lye in the product when its done. In the post on molarity, I mentioned that it's all about the concentration. If I add the right amount of lye to the gel, it will cause a chemical reaction that leaves no lye behind!

Related posts on chemistry:
Chemistry Thursday: Molarity
Weekend Wonderings: ...w/v or molarity

Saponification is the process of making soap by adding lye to oils to hydrolyze the triglycerides (the oil) to create a sodium or potassium salt of a carboxylate. In other words, we add lye to the oils to break up those oil molecules to create soap. The glycerin is the by-product because we broke up those oils. The picture above shows the chemical reaction. If you look at the picture, you can see why there's no lye left. The NaOH (sodium hydroxide) molecule doesn't exist any more: The Na O and H are used in other molecules. You can see the Na is attached to an oxygen in the third structure and the O and H. (The R is a functional group and not relevant for this discussion.)

Related links on saponification:
About Chemistry (great pictures)
Carboxyl Acid Derivatives (very science-y, University of Calgary)

To summarize: Adding lye to a gel is a chemical reaction that shouldn't leave any lye behind when the reaction completes. 

Thanks to Corry for her beautiful soap pictures. I want to eat all of them, and I know they're soap!

Related links:
Neutralization (Elmhurst University)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why the heck did I buy this and what can I do with it Wednesday?

Or WDIBT&WCIDWI Wednesday! (Yeah, I'll come up with a better name!) Have you pulled a jar or bag or bottle out of your ingredients storage place only to wonder why you bought it? Or have you received a parcel filled with things you remember ordering for a forgotten project? That's what this post is all about! Post the thing you have with the weight, name, and INCI (if it's something other than an oil or butter, but don't bother if it has the INCI in the name, like C12-15 alkyl benzoate). If you can attach the URL of the page on the supplier's or manufacturer's site, that would also be great. It can be something common or something obscure. 

Every week I'll choose a new ingredient with ideas on what you could make with a recipe or two. 

Ingredients without INCI names or those using a supplier's chosen name won't be considered for inclusion as it's too difficult for me to figure out what something is without the proper information. And please don't take offence if I don't choose your ingredient. The selection of ingredient will be based on whim, whether I've used or owned it, and what looks interesting. This doesn't mean we won't choose it another week, just not this one! 

Can't wait to see what you unearth! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What can you ask me or e-mail me?

I love e-mail, so the answer is just about anything! I want to hear about what you're making. I want to hear about the recipes you've made and see pictures. Ask me questions about a recipe you're working on - but please include the entire recipe and process, including what types of oils and things like that - and ask me questions about something you might want to work on in the future. Share with me what worked and what didn't work.

Ask me about ingredients, ask me about oils and butters and esters and hydrolyzed proteins and everything else under the sun. But please read the post on the topic on the blog. (I can tell if you haven't when you ask me what a hydrolyzed protein is!) Look to the right for categories and lists. Do a quick search.

Yeah, I'm busy, but I have time for your questions and thoughts, too! That's why I'm busy! 

If you own a business, feel free to ask any questions you like, along with your thoughts and joyous moments, but please don't ask me to create a recipe for you that you might sell. You can ask me anything you want, but please don't ask me to make you a brand new recipe. I will help you modify recipes or work on something that has you stuck, but I figure if you know enough to sell your products, you know enough to create them from scratch.

If you are a non-selling person, again, feel free to ask any questions or share your thoughts and happiness, don't ask me to create a recipe for you unless it's something you can't find on the blog. If you want a body butter, there is one on the blog that will work for you. If you want an anti-chafing bar, I know that's not there. Please do a search - a decent one, maybe five minutes long - before asking me to create something that's already here.

If you're thinking about duplicating a product, send me the entire ingredient list and what you've tried so far. I won't just duplicate something for you as I stopped doing that a few years ago, but I can help you tweak something if you send me all of the things you've tried and your process.

I cannot stress enough how much I welcome e-mail and comments from you, my magnificent readers. You are the reason I am here, my inspiration and my joy, and I encourage you to share what you're doing in the world of bath and body products with me so I can, in turn, be encouraged to continue!

I'm writing this post in response to a few people lately who have asked if it's okay to ask me about this or that. I'm afraid I'm coming off as an extra-busy, over-scheduled tyrant who will only deign to answer questions of this or that nature. I don't mean it that way. I just get the same questions over and over again - can you create this recipe for me? what is this ingredient? what happened with me product (with no recipe or process) - that I have to be hardcore when explaining what I can and can't do. I'm here to help and rejoice, so let me do that...just give me a few days after you write! 

Surfactants: Sodium cocoyl isethionate or SCI - a comparison

I recently bought some SCI from Aquarius Aroma & Soap, and they've changed from prills to noodles, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you some of the various ways you can find SCI or sodium cocoyl isethionate.

This is the new SCI flake...but it looks like a noodle!

This is how it melted in my most recent shampoo bars. I admit I was worried that it would be hard to melt and would solidify into some pellets in the product, but I think it worked really well. As usual, I melted it with some cocamidopropyl betaine and DLS mild to decrease the time it would take.

From this post about melting SCI (scroll down a bit): You can add some anionic surfactants like the alkyl sulfosuccinates, alkyl ether sulfosuccinates, sodium or ammonium taurates (see tomorrow's post), acyl glutamates, or acyl sarcosinates to melt your SCI easier and quicker. You can add the amphoteric surfactants like the betaines or hydroxysultaines. Or you can add some non-ionic surfactants like polysorbate 20 or 80, alkyl glucosides (like decyl glucoside), PEG glyceryl cocoates or PEG glyceryl laurates.

This is the prill I normally get from Aquarius Aroma & Soap. In my experience, it's been easy to melt and doesn't reform into little pellets if I don't melt it just right! This is what I normally use in my products, and I find it is really simple to use.

These are another type of SCI noodle. (I fear I can't remember where I bought this.) I have found these are a little harder to melt, even with the surfactants SCI normally likes, and they tend to solidify when the temperature drops below room temperature in a liquid product.

You can see the SCI solidifying when the temperature in my workshop fell below 15˚C.

This is an SCI flake that I think I bought from the Herbarie as SCI 85% flake. I find this melts nicely as well.

The noodles can be called flakes and flakes could be noodles. Prills are a very specific thing and you won't see them listed as noodles or flakes, but always as prills. Ask your supplier if you're in doubt or if it's vital for your project!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ingredient: Solubilizers - a comparison

I spent last week testing PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, and I thought I'd share my initial thoughts and compare it to some of the other solubilizers you might use.

If you want to see what I'm referring to, click on one of these posts...
Ingredient: PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil
My method for testing
Part 1: Black Amber Lavender and Clementine Cupcake fragrance oils
Part 2: Yuzu fragrance oil and peppermint essential oil

Out of all the solubilizers I've used - polysorbate 20, polysorbate 80caprylyl/capyl glucosideCaprol Micro ExpressCromollient SCE (INCI: Di-PPG-2 myeth-10 adipate) - I think PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is my favourite. Why? It's easy to use. It solubilized the four representative fragrance and essential oils I used very easily. It created clear solutions. It's easy to find at our suppliers and it's relatively inexpensive. And there are tons of recipes from our suppliers, the manufacturers, and homecrafters out there using this ingredient.

Your supplier's prices will vary. This is what I paid for each of my ingredients.

They all get the job done, but I've found caprylyl/capryl glucoside the most difficult, as demonstrated by its inability to completely solubilize my favourite fragrance, Clementine Cupcake. It doesn't seem to like working with vanilla. The rest do a good job. I find I do have a shake up with polysorbate 20 from time to time with specific fragrances, and I have found polysorbate 80 isn't great with fragrance oils at times. Keep that one for using with carrier oils!

I've found the polysorbates and caprylyl/capryl glucoside don't tend to be clear all the time, whereas with the others I've had no problems with clarity of product.

Caprylyl/capryl glucoside is the only one of the ones I've used that has this designation.

The polysorbates are easy to find and inexpensive - the most inexpensive of all solubilizers I've used - but they are bit inconsistent, especially with fragrance oils with vanilla. We all know how I feel about caprylyl/capryl glucoside - I found it very sticky and it didn't solubilize my favourite fragrance, Clementine cupcake, at all!

I liked Cromollient SCE because it offered some emolliency, but it isn't easy for me to get - have to order by mail - and costs quite a bit. I really like Caprol Micro Express because it offers some nice emolliency, but again, I have to order by mail, which is a pain (no matter how much I love Lotioncrafter, but I'm an impatient woman!).

In the end, if I could choose only one solubilizer, it would be the PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil as it seems to offer just about everything I want in a solubilizer. I really like the emolliency of the others, but I can get other things to perform that function, like myristamine oxide, water soluble oils, or regular oils and esters.

What do you think? What's your favourite? Why is it your favourite?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Does behentrimonium methosulfate destroy proteins? Does castor oil contain ricin? Can we create a waterless cleanser? And a recipe for an oil based cleanser from Artemis!

In this post, Workshop!, Irina asks: I have read that BTMS cannot be used with proteins as it destroys proteins. What are you thoughts about this, is this true? Also, have you ever worked with peptides? Peptides said to be very fragile and do not like oils, how do you handle them?

It depends which ones you're talking about when it comes to peptides. We can get them in many different forms. If you're talking about copper peptides, you can use those at 2% in the cool down phase in products with a water phase as they're water soluble. There are ingredients we can buy that are called peptides that are derivatives of things like silk proteins, which might be what you mean? If it is, then yes, I've used silk peptides before.

I'm also making an assumption that you mean the BTMS to be behentrimonium methosulfate and not the product we know as BTMS-50 or BTMS-225 with other components in it, like cetyl or cetearyl alcohols. Behentrimonium methosulfate is what we call a cationic quaternary compound, meaning it is a positively charged thing that will adsorb to our hair strand to make our hair feel conditioned. Our hair is negatively charged, so putting a positively charged thing on our hair will cause an attraction, and it will stick to our hair strand, making it feel lubricated and moisturized.

I'm trying to think of what could ruin proteins from a cationic quaternary compound. Is it the charge? I don't think so because I found a load of information that would demonstrate that a positive charge wont' ruin a protein. Proteins can be turned into cationic polymers themselves. For instance, page 381 of the Barel Handbook (3rd edition) notes that proteins can be turned into things like Hydroxypropyl trimonium–hydrolyzed collagen or hydroxypropyl trimonium–hydrolyzed wheat protein, so a positive charge won't destroy a protein when it's converted into a positive charge! As well, you can find positively charged or cationic proteins.

Proteins can be positively, negatively, or neutrally charged with a positive charge in acidic pH levels.  (this reference and this one at Wikipedia, but I found tons more if you want me to post them here). Would this translate to a protein being in an acidic environment in a conditioner? I'm not sure, but you'd think that it would be a good thing for a positively charged protein in a pH of 6 or lower to be in a positively charged conditioner with a pH of 6 or lower. 

I can't find a ton of information on this topic, to be honest, because I think it's one of those things that is just known, that proteins work in conditioners. Proteins are regularly used in conditioners - do a search for recipes or take a look at a bottle in the shop and see how much they're used. (Check out the recipes in this data sheet for Incroquat BTMS-50.)

In doing my searches, I came upon the idea that protein is bad for our hair and that we can get over protein-ed. I'm going to do more work on this topic, but I haven't been able to find any really good studies on the topic. If you have some studies or some really good, reliable information that isn't just someone's opinion, please send it along. Nothing against opinions, but I would like to have some backing for it. 

Just curious...where did you read this? Can you send me a link?

In this post on castor oil, Stacy asks: I hope I don't sound crazy by asking this, but is there any danger whatsoever using Castor Oil in massage cream/oil mixtures? I assume that the pressing process eliminates any chance of unsafe traces of ricin the oil, but the thought is crossing my mind. Thanks for your time. 

You don't sound crazy. It's something to think about. But it's fine: Castor oil is safe.

As a note, castor seeds can kill pretty easily. It takes 6 to 20 to kill a human and up to 80 to kill a duck. Which goes to show you that these seeds are pretty deadly and ducks are fairly evil creatures. I mean, why doesn't it sound like its quack has an echo? And why do they turn every slightly large puddle into a pond? It's clear it's not a pond, ducks! Okay, I admit, I have issues with ducks...

In Formulating with oils: A body butter, Catherine writes, I had the same problem your husband has with dry itchy legs, I went to the dermatologist to ask what was going on and she said its because the water here (I'm currently living in France) is high in calcium and I have atopic skin. She recommended a soapless shower oil for me to use and it completely fixed up my dry itchy legs and arms. If you could create a recipe for a soapless soap that would be awesome. I've been trying to find one online and the most I can figure out is that it's an oil base with an emollient that helps to clean your skin and not leave your skin greasy. You should give it a try I'm sure it would be a good product for your husband to try out. 

Are you talking about something like Spectro-Jel? I've created a duplicate for it in this post, although I'd definitely substitute the polysorbate 20 with some PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil! The solublizer works to be the cleanser as it's a surfactant and can do some light cleansing. Or you could make something like this Cetaphil duplicate. If you can send me a few examples with the full ingredient list, I could try to figure something out.

I'm not duplicating by request again, but I like the idea of looking at a product and analyzing it.

In this post Glycerin is water soluble, Artemis re-visited the blog and shared a recipe she made for a rinse-off oil cleanser!

I eventually managed to find a supplier of polyglyceryl-4 oleate and, after some experimentation, came up with the following recipe:
40% Soybean oil
20% Hazelnut oil
15% Apricot kernel oil
10% Jojoba oil
1% Vitamin E
1% Lavender essential oil
1% Rosemary essential oil 
12% Polyglyceryl-4 oleate

I know that this is quite a lot of polyglyceryl-4 oleate to use, but I didn't want to risk any trace of the cleanser being left on my face. Personally, I have found it an absolute joy to use and it leaves my skin feeling fantastic- never dried out, but it doesn't become too greasy again quickly either. I hope you enjoy it too!

Thanks, Artemis! It looks great, filled with all my favourite oils. If you want to make this recipe, you'll have to find the polyglyceryl-4-oleate or try another solubilizer. Also, castor oil can be a great addition to an oil based product, so you, the readers at home, could try that in place of some of the oil.

Join me next week as we enjoy more Weekend Wonderings based on your comments. In the meantime, stay tuned for my final thoughts on testing out the PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil and some fun experimenting with a new thickener for surfactants, Ritathix, along with a little chemistry on Thursday!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: It's all about the preservatives! Powdered extracts, Leucidal liquid, and liquid Germall Plus

I'm still working my way through the comments I've seen on the blog in the last few weeks. I'm still around September 3rd, but I'm getting closer to the present date! This is what I get for playing in the workshop instead of playing on the computer, eh? Let's take a look at a few in today's Weekend Wonderings!

In the post, before you write to me, read this, Kat asks: I want to use powdered mango extract in an emulsified cream. I have read of the issues with strawberry extract. Does this apply to all fruit extracts? Or do they react individually? Are there ways to deal with the preservation challenges? More amounts, more kinds... or is it just not worth it because the shelf life will be so shortened no matter what?

Great question, Kat. The answer is there isn't an overall thing you can say about all powdered extracts, except when we use them, we generally want to use a little more or a more intense preservative for our products. I'm not sure about mango extract specifically because each one has its challenges depending upon the make-up of the extract, the type of product in which you're using it, and the usage rate. We know strawberry extract can be hard to preserve because the manufacturer tells us that, we know that green tea extract can sometimes cause a redox reaction, and we know papaya extract is most effective at pH 6, but what about things like mango extract?

Talk to your supplier. They are the first place you should turn about a specific ingredient, especially for something like an extract, because it's hard to know which manufacturer produced what you're using today, and we want to make sure we have all the information we have. Ask them what they've experienced and what the manufacturer suggests. Ask them to send you out a data bulletin that gives you all the information they have. Ask them before you buy it and ask them after you buy it. Ask ask ask! (Have I made my point? Yay!)

You can use preservatives that are good for hard to preserve things, like Germaben II. Make sure you're using a broad spectrum, well tested preservative that works with mold, yeast, fungi, bacteria, and other things, and not something that only works with a small portion of those contaminants. (You might want to reconsider using newer preservatives, like Leuicidal, that have only been around a short period of time and haven't been tested with every ingredient under the sun, like some of the parabens have been!) You can combine preservatives to create a broad spectrum preservative, something like Cosmocil CQ isn't a good anti-fungal, so you could combine it with a paraben or benzoic acid to get something that fights everything. Preserve at the maximum rate, for instance, 1% for Germaben II. Make sure your product is at the right pH for your ingredients, product, and preservative, and make sure you're not using something that can inactivate the preservative, like a non-ionic solubilizer (in some cases).

If you are finding it hard to preserve your products, consider using a liquid extract. They are easier to use (just pour it into the right phase) and easier to preserve. I like to use these in lotions so I don't have to worry about powders dissolving in the cool down phase. As well, liquid extracts might not impart the same colour to a product, so you aren't going to see a brown coloured body wash when you wanted a slightly yellowy clear product. Plus, most of them are preserved well, so you know they will bring that to the product, too.

I've used loads of liquid extracts, including strawberry and white willow bark, and have never had a preserving problem with them, even at lower preservation rates. 

You can also check out what other extract might offer what you want. Mango is supposed to be good for reducing the degeneration of skin cells, reducing wrinkles, and reducing dry skin. It is high in Vitamin A and C and beta carotene. (Although it didn't fill me with hope that this was based on science seeing the phrase "is reputed to..." on the supplier's site...) If you want something that does these things, but find you can't preserve it well, consider finding another extract that is easier to preserve.

To answer the last part of your question, I think it's worth it. Botanical extracts offer loads of nice vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, colour...tons of great things. I wouldn't make a body wash without out willow bark extract, and I love the strawberry (liquid) for my toners. The shelf life isn't that shortened - I don't think I would consider it shortened, unless you're looking for more than a year - and the benefits outweigh the problems!

I cannot stress enough how much you need to preserve botanical ingredients - although you, Kat, clearly are keeping that in mind! If you are using a botanical ingredient, you must take more precaution than if you aren't!

In this post on Leucidal liquid (preservative), makingskincare noted (with some great links!), I was interested to read Ann Marie's comments on Leucidal on 17 Oct 2012, "I have heard of Leucidal and have tested it personally here for potentially bringing in to Bramble Berry. It molded on us in multiple tests, some as early as a week" and her comment on 7 Nov 12 - "We’ve tested it here and have not found it to be an adequate preservative under normal manufacturing conditions for home crafters. Our product molded rather alarmingly quickly."

In this thread on Chemist's Corner, a commenter named Robert notes, "I would caution you about the Leucidal liquid, though. It has quickly developed a very bad reputation in the industry for being completely ineffective."

Wow! That's a powerful sentence. But I'm hearing this from a lot of people. I didn't have problems when I tested it, but I didn't really use it in very many products, was obsessive about good manufacturing processes, and didn't have it challenge tested. (Plus, my anecdotes don't consistute data! Just my experiences.) I would be very cautious about using it in anything given what I'm reading. I'm giong to update the post on this preservative with this information and do more reading.

In this post on liquid Germall Plus, an anonymous commenter asked: Do you know how long this preservative is effective for? What sort of expiration date should someone put on a product that uses this preservative? Also is the powdered form odorless? Thanks in advance. 

I don't know about the powdered form, sorry. The liquid form is odourless. The preservative has a shelf life of two years, which means if you use it the day you buy it, you can preserve a product for two years.

A shelf life is a hard thing to figure out, what with the shelf lives of the ingredients in theory and in reality, including things like anti-oxidants, and what your friends and family will do with the products when they make it into their hands. I feel comfortable saying that anything I make with reasonably long lived oils (a year or more) will have a shelf life of a year when I use liquid Germall Plus. (I don't like to make claims longer than that!)

As a reminder note, I will have to delete your comment as it was done anonymously, but I'll link back here. Please please please put your name on your comment! This isn't optional on this blog as we want it to be a place of friendliness, and anonymous posts are not condusive to that environment. And I must thank the hordes of spammers visiting the blog every day for following this request, too! 

Related posts:
Shelf lives of our products (part 1)
Shelf lives of our products (part 2)
Determining the shelf life of your product
How do anti-oxidants affect the shelf life of your product?

Join me tomorrow as I take a look at more comments you've made in the last few weeks!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ingredient: PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil - Yuzu fragrance oil and peppermint essential oil

I've been experimenting with PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil and my fragrance oils. We took a look at the methods I'm using to test this ingredient, and I've reported my results with black amber lavender and Clementine cupcake fragrance oils already. What happens when I use Yuzu fragrance oil and peppermint essential oil with this solubilizer?

As I mentioned in this post, I added the PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil and fragrance oil into a container, mixed it well, then added that mix to the test tube. I added some warm water - about 10 ml - and stirred. When it was incorporated, I added enough water to make 24 grams. I made up three batches - 2%, 4%, and 5.88% - but the 5.88% tube had a fly in on day 11, so that one isn't part of the results, but they were very similar to the other test tubes. I left t

I worried the spasms of the fly might count as mixing, so I left out those results. Plus, you know, giant confounding factor in the fly and I didn't want to think about having to include it in every recipe from now one. You can picture it, eh? Heated water phase - water, PEG-40 hydrogenate castor oil, house fly (large-ish).

Success! Look at this! Day 11 and it looks clear and well incorporated. What can I say? This is awesome! And to make it more is day 17 and it still looks like this! Woo!

I followed the same process for the peppermint fragrance oil, and it is looking similarly awesome.

To compare it to the Yuzu fragrance oil - this picture taken on day 17, today - you can see it is well solubilized and clear.

Not all mixtures are when made with this product. I made this body spray for a young man with 10% PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil with 2% with the Axe Phoenix fragrance oil, and added it to 87.5% distilled water and 0.5% liquid Germall Plus, and it turned out to be white. I don't mind this, to be honest, because we aren't expecting fragrances to always be clear!

Join me Monday as I do a solubilizer wrap up with information on all the solubilizers I've tested so far!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chemistry Thursday: More ways to measure - molarity

In this Saturday's Weekend Wonderings, we discussed molarity and % w/v (weight/volume), but let's get into a little more detail. 

In chemistry, what is a mole? A mole is how much 6.02 x 10(23) atoms weighs. (The 23 is to the power of as in 10(2) is 10 x 10. So 10(23) is 10 x 10 x 10 x and so on up to 23 times. It's a big freakin' number!) When you look at the periodic table, that number at the bottom is how a mole of that stuff weighs. 

So if I have a mole of sodium, I have 23.0 grams of sodium. If I have a mole of carbon, I have 12.01 grams of carbon. 

It isn't all about the pure elements! You can break anything down into moles; just add the components together. If I have a mole of water, I have 18.02 grams of water (hydrogen is 1.01 grams per mole and oxygen is 16.00 grams per mole, so H20 is 1.01 + 1.01 +16.00 grams). If I wanted to figure out a mole of oleic acid, I would multiply all the carbons by their atomic weight (18 x 12.01), all the oxygen by their atomic weight (2 x 16.00) and all the hydrogen by their atomic weight (17 x 1.01) and all them together to get the molar weight of 265.35 grams per mole. 

Why do we care? Because molarity is all about the moles, and molarity will help us figure out the concentration of something! Concentration is defined as how much stuff is dissolved into the solvent, and that is something really vital to know! It can determine the strength of something - 10% salicylic acid, for instance, or 2 mole SLeS - or it can help us figure out how much we can dissolve into the solvent - for instance, 2 moles of salicylic acid or a 0.25 moles of Vitamin C at 25˚C.  And concentration's all about the solublity

Molarity works out to the number of moles divided by the number of litres, and this gives us the concentration of something. If we have 1 mole of sodium and 1 litre of water, the molarity of that solution is 1M. If we have 3 moles of sodium and one litre of water, it is 3M. 0.5 moles of sodium and one litre of water is 0.5 M. 

If we have more or less than a litre, we would do the math. So 1 mole of sodium in 0.5 litres of water (1/0.5) would be 2M. 1 mole of sodium in 3 litres of water, would be 0.33M. And so on. 

Molarity is always done in litres, so when you see 0.5M, you know that means 0.5 moles of something in 1 litre. We always get it back to 1 litre by doing some math on the numbers. 

So when we look at a chart like this one on dissolving salicylic acid, we can figure out how much salicylic acid will dissolve into how much solvent by using molarity. First, figure out how much a mole of salicylic acid weighs - 138.12 grams per mole according to online sources. Then figure out how much we can use. If we look at line 17, it says that a mix of 25% PEG-400 and 75% water (to make a total of a litre) will result in 0.067M or molarity of 0.067 moles per litre. If we do a little math - 0.067 moles/litre x 138.12 grams = 9.25 grams per litre. 

If we look at line 19, we see that a mix of 75% PEG-400 and 25% water results in 2.094 moles of salicylic acid dissolved in one litre of this solution, which means we can dissolve 289.22 grams per litre salicylic acid in this mixture. (2.094 moles/litre x 138.12 grams = 289.22 grams per litre)

Try doing a few of these calculations on your own. If we have 1 litre of ethanol and we have a molarity of 2.087 M, how much salicylic acid do we have?

2.087 M = 2.087 moles salicylic acid  = 
                          1 litre ethanol 

2.087 M = 2.087 moles x 138.12 grams per mole = 285.25644 grams dissolved. 

Try the next few on your own! 

Knowing molarity helps you figure out how much of something can be dissolved in something else, and we all know how important that becomes when we're trying to make lovely things like toners and lotions and other things that we want to keep more liquid-y and less powdery! 

Related links on molarity: