Sunday, February 23, 2014

Still collecting your thoughts....

Please keep those thoughts and ideas coming! I'm getting great ideas for research and experimentation from you! I'm reading your comments and already my brain is swirling with ideas and my notebook pages are being filled at an alarming rate! So much awesome! Such inspiration! 

If you live in Metro Vancouver or Fraser Valley, check out these classes I'm teaching at Voyageur. 
Let me know if you have suggestions for other classes or other feedback! 

Finally...Go Team Canada! Gold for the women's and men's hockey teams! Woo! 


marjo said...

i am curious about what different waxes bring to products
hairwaters/misters... for hydrating (in my case curls) hair i am still looking for the best receipe.. filmformers next to moisturizers? its quite a differnt beast then bodymisters :)
so if one can put oils in water through polysorbate/hydrogenated castor oil.. can one use that with silicons too?
how to gel silicons.. maybe cerabellina would do the trick?
dustingpowders.. you see simple receipes over the web.. i wonder if one can make a complicated one ? with powdered actives?

Sherry said...

Hi Susan! I asked about this on your previous post, but I don't see it so I guess it didn't go through!

I am wondering if you can shed some light on making liquid makeup with silicones. I am not sure if that's something that can only be done "professionally" or not? I had sent you an email although I know you are probably super busy, so I'm sorry if this is a double question but I thought I'd throw it out there on your blog in case it's easier that way. :)

I love your blog so much! I am so glad you are looking for motivation to continue it. :) I hope posting on it doesn't burn you out! Your posts feel like some of the first I've ever read that are scientifically sound and open. I am glad I can make informed decisions on cosmetics and cosmetics-making with the help of your awesome blog.

Marjo said...

And oh i forgot
Like to see loads of chemicals haha instead of the all natural trendong thingy
Thanks for sharing your insightsthey are so valuable!

Chinwe said...

Hello: I tried creating a makeup oil control primer with zinc oxide and the result was mixed. I was not terribly unsuccessful, but I was not really successful either.

I mixed the zinc oxide with cyclomethicone and dimethicone combined 1:1 and then mixed the mixture with polysorbate 80 1:1 before combining it with aloe vera gel. This was my first time formulating anything and your blog gave me the confidence to try it. It does a good job controlling oil, it just makes me look like casper if I am not careful. If I use less zinc oxide, I don't feel it would help with any sun protection. It is also separating a bit.

I searched the blog and didn't find any makeup (foundation/concealer) type primers. If you formulate something, I will be here to learn.

Thanks for such a great blog!

rae said...


I have tried to make perfume oil with fractionated coconut oil and eo's. To test I put 4 drops of lavender and 4 drops mint for a 1:1 ratio with 1 tablespoon of co.

How do I determine what ratios to use when trying to incorporate other scents? I know I need a base, middle, or top notes. I guess my main question is: when you read a description for product and it says: with floral hints of …. and woodsy….. how do you know how much of what to put in it and what goes together?

If you can help then thanks if not thanks for reading my little rant.



rae said...


I have tried to make perfume oil with fractionated coconut oil and eo's. To test I put 4 drops of lavender and 4 drops mint for a 1:1 ratio with 1 tablespoon of co.

How do I determine what ratios to use when trying to incorporate other scents? I know I need a base, middle, or top notes. I guess my main question is: when you read a description for product and it says: with floral hints of …. and woodsy….. how do you know how much of what to put in it and what goes together?

If you can help then thanks if not thanks for reading my little rant.



Anonymous said...

Hi Swift!

We were hoping you could go into some of the skin chemistry behind clays in products. Claims abound about great things various clays can supposedly do. What can they actually do, and how do they do it? What exactly do buzzwords like 'detoxifying' and 'purifying' mean?

Clays are said to be 'cleansing'— how does this differ from surfactants? What do surfactants do that clays don't, and vice versa? We've seen clay-based cleansers with no surfactants. Do you think this could be sufficient by itself, at least for some skin types?

Wily (Christine) and Snack (Brian)

Sherry said...

Chinwe, thanks for sharing your experience! I think that would be an awesome idea as well. Sounds like a pretty interesting mix! I would love to learn how to make an oil-controlling primer... did the minerals mix pretty well with the silicone? What's the consistency when you first start working with it?

Shieh Design Studio said...

I recently come across something new to me that I don't quit understand how it works. It's all these preservative-free cosmetic and personal care products in Wholefood. One of the baby cream uses Spectrastat G2 (Caprylhydroxamic Acid (and) Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glycerin). I googled Spectrastat G2 and all I can find is it's preservative-free preservation system. What does this mean and how does it work? Is this just another marketing "scam" to let people believe it's all "natural" kind of thing?

Sue said...

Hi Susan,
Now I'm sure you've covered the following question in the blog, but do you think I can find it??? So I thought I'd pop it here and maybe you could go through it again for us or show me where to find it please??? I would like to know how to properly mix powdered extracts, vitamins or any other powdered additive into my creations?

I know the panthenol is to be dissolved prior to adding at the cool down and I figured it would be the same with all powdered ingredients but I find I'm having trouble incorporating it properly (B3 & DMAE for example).

I make one of your base recipes, it comes out perfect then I tweak it to add the goodies into it and I usually end up with separation very frustrating...

The last thing I would like to know, when using extracts (i know you use powders), I have mainly liquid extracts and was wondering how much to increase the liquid extract amount to - I know it's here on the blog somewhere, I've spent weeks looking for the answer and haven't found it - usually because you've side tracked me with other fantastic information. I hope you don't mind answering these again or pointing me in the right direction for the information???

Thank you so much for all that you share with us - you are truly AWESOME!!!!


navajo said...

You ARE SO VERY AWESOME and Generous- I totally agree with Susan- I go looking for an answer to a question and SIX weeks later I STILL haven't found it because I have found FIFTY other things that have caught my eye ;)
Thank you so much for all you do. navajo

Sue said...

Hi Again Susan,

Just thought of another question - Can we over mix our lotions and creams??? I mix with a stand mixer and often times the mixture looks perfect but I keep mixing to get to 25 degrees only to end up having the mixture separate - just wonder if this could be effecting it???

Thanks Susan!


Brandi Yates said...

I mixed your facial moisturizer for acne...oil free and it came out foamy with bubbles. Did I mix too much?

Ronnie said...

Hi Susan,

With Shampoo bars you don't use lye, how come there are so many recipes out there that include lye in their shampoo bars.



(i prefer no lye shampoo bars by the way - just wondering)

p said...

Hi Rae! You're asking about making (natural) perfumes... in a way it's a very simple topic from a formulation standpoint -- you add about 10% essential oils (more or less) to 90% FCO, using your nose as your guide! Not much to it, unlike making a lotion. But making a good perfume, one that lasts on the skin well and evolves in a pleasant and enticing way, is a where it all gets more complicated. If you're interested in the topic, I'd recommend joining the Natural Perfumery yahoo group and searching their archives: Mandy Aftel's book Essence and Alchemy is also an excellent introduction to the subject.

Btw, as a rule of thumb, consider using about 30% base notes, 40% heart notes, and 30% top notes in your blend. Happy blending!

Carl said...

Hi Susan!

I´ve tried to find a good explanation to the following question, both by digging deep in your blog and by googling, hopefully you can help out with your wide knowledge:
How can the producers of cosmetics (ex. lotions) add all the different plant extracts to their formulas and still keep the product white without using titanium dioxide?

Anonymous said...

Dear Susan,
My question is should we use gloves and mask when preparing our creations, is that steam that comes out of our boiling containers save for our hands and can we breath it?
Thanks for your wonderful williness to help others, unconditional love!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Carl,
I wonder the same thing about all the plant extract in lotion and the lotion is still white, if we could only discover their secrets.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Marjo! What do you mean by a dusting powder? One for your face, like a mineral make-up item, or for your body? Can you point me to an example?

Hi Sherry. Did you take a look in the mineral make-up section to see the liquid make-up recipes there? If you learn a bit about silicones, you'll see you can easily substitute the oils in the recipe for silicones with the right emulsifier (BTMS-50 is the best choice).

Hi Chinwe. What is your experience with making products? I ask because this is a product that simply won't work as you're using solubilizers in the place of emulsifiers. Why not try one of those recipes in the mineral make-up section I note above and see if that works for you. Also, we don't make our own sunscreen as it is too dangerous to have something untested on our skin. Please don't use your product that way. You have no idea what kind of sun protection you're getting. Lest you think it's as easy as adding something like 10% of this and 10% of that, there are emulsifiers that can inactivate titanium dioxide or zinc oxide so they don't work. I have entire textbook on this topic, and I still wouldn't take the chance of making something that might not work.

I'm not trying to be mean, but this recipe you've created isn't one that I would like to suggest to others. It won't stay emulsified for long, and it sounds like it isn't preserved. Please take this as constructive criticism about a product you've made for the first time to make it better.

Hi Sue. I found a post on the idea of how to use powdered extracts in both the FAQ and the extracts section. It's fairly easy to dissolve them. I'm not sure what you mean by using liquid extracts. Do you mean how to modify the water amount - for instance, if you use 5% liquid green tea extract then remove 5% from the heated water phase - or do you mean how to figure out how much you're using of the active ingredient - for instance, if you have 5% liquid green tea extract at 10% strength, how much would that be if you have a 0.5% powdered green tea extract at 50% strength, and how to substitute it? Can you be more clear here?

Hi Brandi. Can you please share your exact recipe in percentages with your process so we can figure this out? The short answer is no, there shouldn't be bubbling or foaming unless you've overmixed it.

Hi Ronnie. Shampoo bars with lye are cold process shampoo bars with a pH of over 8 (alkaline or basic). My shampoo bars are called syndet (synthetic detergent) bars and they have a pH of 6 or lower (acidic).

Hi Rosi. It's water vapour, which is find for our hands and lungs, unless you have some weird things you're putting into your products. Keep your hands away from it because it's really hot and you can trash your hands that way. Ask me how I know!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Carl & Rosi! I'm answering your question in Monday's What interests you? post. The short answer is that not all extracts are coloured!

Sherry said...

Thanks so much, Susan! I did see that section and went through a lot of it. It's good to know the silicones are an easy substitution. Thanks so much for the emulsifier suggestion.

Linda Reynolds said...

Susan, I do sooo enjoy your blog. However, most of the time it is way over my head. I am looking for things that are simple, and made of ingredients I can pronounce.
Thanks for all you do! I will keep sifting through!

Sherri Williamson said...

My thought or question is how do we use salt water in lotion and/or body wash? I've seen the commercials on TV and I tried one. I like the way my skin feels after using the body wash with pink salt and would like to try to make one myself.

Chinwe said...

Thanks Susan. I still use commercial sunscreen underneath. I just wanted the added protection, if possible. I actually found a recipe that hasn't separated and works well as a primer for me. I added Liquid Germall Plus as well.

Thanks for the feedback. I am actually in your class this weekend and will probably have more questions with other crazy recipes I am trying to mix. Wondering how to use powdered marshmallow root in a lotion for example. See you this weekend!

Tracy said...

Hi, Susan, I looked at the conditioner posts and didn't see this... Does pH matter in hair conditioner? I know you've mentioned high pH can damage hair during cleansing, but the conditioner recipes don't appear to have acids added.


Mary Ann said...

Hi Susan, I am working on formulating a cleansing balm. Actually, I love the one Bobbi Brown makes but I prefer to know exactly what is in mine. Any ideas? This would melt away makeup and leave skin feeling lightly moisturized after being wiped off. I usually moisturized afterwards but I have really dry, mature skin. I would love to hear your ideas on something like this!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tracy. I address this matter in the post cleansing conditioners and the pH of our bodies as well as the post on virgin hair. Our hair has a pH of anywhere from 3.4 to 6, with more damaged hair being of a higher or less acidic pH. We want to keep our products in the around of 5 to 6 to make sure it works with well with our hair!

AA said...

Hey Susan!

I saw that you were looking for some inspirations. I had a few ponderings my self lately that may be of interest to you.

-An anhydrous eye primer for individuals with oily eyelids.

-An anhydrous cream eyeshadow.

-How to determine what products are approved for eye, face, lips usage.

-Vegan substitutions for product making (beeswax = carnauba, candelilla)

-And I looked but couldn't find it (there are a lot of blog posts!) A look at the pros & cons and the science behind using silicone products in bath and body products.

Sorry if any of these are repeat topics!