Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Why do I suggest testing your products? What's the difference between a conditioner and a moisturizier?

Well, the good news is that the search bar in the upper left hand corner is working quite well. I liked the way the other one gave me a list of the posts that I could choose from instead of the actual posts, but otherwise, no complaints. The bad news is that I'm not getting e-mail alerts about your comments, so I have to go through the list of comments to see them all, which gets a bit much as I also have to delete all the spam, which takes me to the top of the list! Argh! So please don't be upset or offended if I missed your comment this weekend! I just have to get into the swing of doing this!

In the What do you want to know? post, d anaya asks: If we follow your recipes as they are only changing the butters and/or oils but keeping the quantities as is wouldn't they be considered safe for public use? Given your experience and expertise I'm curious why you still recommend we have them tested.

My recipes are safe for your usage. I make them in the workshop and ask my wonderful guinea pigs...I mean, friends and family, of test them. I test the pH and I ensure I'm using ingredients at safe levels. I have no doubt that my recipes are safe for you to use, but I cannot be sure that you are making them in a way that will ensure they remain uncontaminated. And that's why I suggest you get your products tested.

The reality is that you aren't going to make the product the way I do at home. You might not use the same oils, same butters, distilled water, and so on. You aren't going to clean your containers or heat and hold the way I do, so I have to remind you that your methods may be different and you will have to see how your products stand up over time. The microbes in your neighbourhood might be different than mine, and who knows what yeasts and fungi circulate in your environment compared to mine. Your climate might be different, with more or less humidity than the Fraser Valley (although, at times, I find it hard to believe anything could be more humid!). Even something like using a stick blender instead of a mixer (or vice versa) will change the lotion at times. I ask you to get it tested before you start selling because it's a smart thing to do because it's the only way to know that everything is going well with your lotion!

Testing your products at a lab or with a home testing kit tells you all about the potential contamination in the product, which is something I can't guarantee against in my products. If you're thinking about selling your products, you must get them tested to know that your products are safe for people to use!

You can get a kit like this at Formulator Sample Shop or Lotioncrafter, as two examples. I haven't found anywhere in Canada to get them yet. Please feel free to list a supplier you've found carrying these kits in the comments! 

When it comes to things like pH, I test my finished products for my pH levels, but changing even one ingredient can make a difference in your product at home. For instance, I use distilled water with a pH of 7, but you might use tap water or another water with a different pH. You might use aloe vera or a hydrosol that can bring down your pH. Or you might add something alkaline and raise the pH. Every little change - especially with things like surfactants - can make a difference in the pH. For the most part, the difference will be negligible, but if you're making product for sale, you can't be too careful!

So the short answer is that I don't know what you're doing at home, so I suggest testing for those of you who might be selling your products today or in the future so you know what lurks in your products!

In the What do you want to know post, Bonstergirl asks: What exactly is a conditioner, and how is it different from a moisturizer?

I go into great detail about what a conditioner is and how it works in these posts - how conditioners work and chemistry of your hair: adsorption and substantivity (which you can find in the hair care section of the blog) - but the general gist is that a conditioner is a positively charged product that we put on our hair that contains an oil phase and a water phase. It contains what is called a cationic quaternary compound that is the emulsifier of the oil and water phases.

A moisturizer or lotion is a neutrally or positively charged product that we put on our skin that contains an oil phase and a water phase. It contains what is called an emulsifier to emulsify or bring together the water and oil phase.

The short answer is that there isn't necessarily a difference between the two. (I go into great detail about the difference in this post - what's the difference between a conditioner with BTMS and a moisturizer with BTMS?

We use conditioners on our hair and moisturizers on our skin, and they could be the same product. Both contain oil, water, and emulsifiers to bring the oil and water together. Both can contain things like hydrolyzed proteins, extracts and hydrosols, emollients like silicones, and so on. 

I make loads of moisturizers that contain a positively charged emulsifier like Incroquat BTMS-50 or Rita BTMS-225 and they could be used on your hair or on your skin. My winter hair custard from a few days ago could work as a light body butter or an intense emollient hair conditioner. 

As I mentioned above, conditioners must be positively charged whereas a moisturizer could be positively charged or neutrally charged. (There are anionic emulsifiers - for instance, surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate bring together oil and wate - but we don't use those in leave on products.) 

Related posts:

Join me tomorrow for more Weekend Wonderings! Got a question or a thought? Share it with us! 


Nicole Parisien said... has that testing kit and is located in Ontario, Canada.

Lynae said...

I have an unrelated question, though I suppose it is a weekend wondering. You have discussed coconut oil several times, but I am seeing coconut water pop up in the ingredient list of lotions. For example, Joey New York claims "Coconut Water when used in a formulation as a Cosmetic Active is nutritionally superior due to its trace elements that include protein, magnesium, copper, zinc, iodine, selenium, Vitamins A&D-all essential for healthy skin."

So my question is... have you seen any actual evidence that any of the antioxidents or minerals in coconut water can actually penetrate the skin or is mostly a relatively simple way to add more trendy and naturey ingredients to the top of your ingredient list by replacing some of the water? On the other hand, are there any reasons not to use, like preservative issues?

MK said...

Hi Susan, your post brought up an interesting point: sterilizing, cleaning our formulating areas.
Could you share with us, how you do it?
I have looked but have not seen definitive methods.
Thank you!

Danuta Kildan said...

Veronique said...

I'm not sure if it's just me, but the search bars are completely gone (i'm using safari). I used to use the one on the right side, roughly in the middle and now it's not there anymore, and i don't see the one of the top left. I wonder if it's my browser.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I don't recommend Saffire Blue as a supplier. Click here and scroll down for the story. The summary is that there have been so many complaints about the customer service that I don't feel comfortable recommending them.

And Veronique, there is still a search bar in the upper left hand corner of the blog, so there's something happening with your browser or my browser is just awesome. I took the one on the right hand side away as it didn't work for anyone any more and the one on the upper left hand side has become much better.