Thursday, December 31, 2015

Some more thoughts on selling your products...

I saw a comment the other day on this post with my thoughts about selling products - which I deleted because I don't allow anonymous comments - where the person called me "conceited and grouchy". and said they wouldn't visit the blog again. If saying that I'm a good formulator  who makes good and safe products means that I'm conceited, then I guess the shoe fits! Grouchy? Yeah, I'll cop to that, too. I do get grouchy when I see people who have been making products for all of five minutes selling because it's a simply a bad idea.

If you learned how to sew today, would you put up an Etsy page next weekend offering to custom make dresses? If you learned how to make a cake, would you open a bakery in a few weeks? If you fixed your toilet, would you buy a van to promote your plumbing business? No, you wouldn't, because you recognize that it takes time to learn the skills to create an awesome business.

I honestly don't understand why it's different for bath and body products. I've taught classes to people who have never made lotions, only to see them selling them a few weeks later. I'm flattered that you like the recipe I've created so much that you want to sell it, and I'm excited that you caught the lotion making bug, but it really does take time to learn all the things that go into making a good product. You don't know how the emulsion, the preservative, the fragrance, the packaging, and everything else will stand up over time. Making mistakes is part of this process, and learning what you need to know isn't an overnight thing.

Making bath & body products is an experiential thing. Read, make, read some more, make, read, research, make, make, make. You need that bulk experience in making the products to know what can go right and wrong. And it's so much fun! Why would you miss out on all that fun? 

I've seen people say that people like me are trying to dissuade you from selling products because I'm scared of the competition. I don't sell things, so you're not competition. But let's say this was true, that I was worried about the competition, consider this - would I be handing out my recipes for free?

The answer is probably, because different hands create different products. Even if we both followed the recipe exactly, there'll always be something here or there that will create a slightly different product. 

If someone is offering you business advice, don't brush it off with "you're jealous" or "haters gonna hate". Listen, because that person could be offering you some very good constructive criticism that your ego is preventing you from hearing. You may not want to hear it, but often those are the things we need to hear the most.

To be truthful, it has no impact on me if you choose to sell what you make. What I care about is someone claiming that the separating, mouldy lotion they made a few weeks ago is "Swift's recipe". My name is on the recipes on this blog and in the e-books because I stand behind them being good and safe recipes, but that's only if someone makes it responsibly, following good manufacturing processes. Please don't sully my name.

If all of this doesn't convince you that it isn't wise to sell products when you're just starting out in this wonderful hobby, then please consider this: If you put out a terrible product, your name will be mud before your business has even started. Someone might not come back to you and tell you your product sucked, but it will get around. They'll tell their friends, and you will lose business without knowing why. (And think about what might come up in a Google search for your business...)

At the very least, even if you ignore everything I suggest, think about the impact putting out a poorly made product will have on your brand. All the work you've put into your logo, your website with the gorgeous photography and lovely fonts, your social media sites, and everything else is pointless if your products aren't also awesome!

Thus endeth the rant...

Monday, December 28, 2015

What products should I make next?

It's a Christmas miracle! After months of horrible back pain, I made it into my workshop! (Thank you to my lovely husband for cleaning it up this morning!) So far I've made a lovely body wash, liquid shampoo, 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner bars, and a few facial cleansers, which is fantastic because I've just about run out of all of those things! (Raymond and I were sharing one conditioner bar!) 

While playing in the workshop, I found I have way too many ingredients, so many lovely things that I need an incentive to use. I have loads of new emulsifiers, actives, and oils just sitting there begging to be part of something lovely. I have a box of surfactants perfect for products for all hair and skin types. I have all kinds of cosmeceuticals waiting to be in a gel, serum, or lotion. But my imagination has run dry! 

I'm asking you, my lovely readers, for ideas for products I could make over the next few months. 

I realize this would be easier if you knew what was in my workshop, but offering a list would take forever! 

I'd rather not duplicate a product, but if you have a link to an example of a product you have in mind with an ingredient list, that would be awesome! If you could be very specific about the product and include the hair or skin type it might work best for, that will make it easier to make a good product. I'm not guaranteeing I'll be able to make the product you suggest - please don't take offense if I don't - but I will do my best to make a dent in the list! 

Let the suggestions begin! 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! We hope you're having a lovely day filled with food and chocolate and too much fun! I hope your handmade presents are appreciated by those who receive them, and you are surrounded by happiness and joy! 

Thank you to all who donated to our youth programs this year! Your generosity allowed us to offer 99 different programs for youth for the school year 2014 to 2015, and we'll be able to offer more this year because you've been even more generous! Thank you so much! 

And thank you to everyone who reads this blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your experiences, your successes, and your failures with me. Thank you for your patience with the lack of daily posts, and thank you for your good thoughts, suggestions for treatment, and balms for my horrible back pain. 

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

On the lawsuit filed against WEN cleansing conditioners...

Having serious back pain means loads of time to surf the 'net. (Way too much time!) In my meanderings, I came across a few interesting things, like this article on the Daily Beast about a class action lawsuit against WEN hair products alleging that their cleansing conditioner made users' hair fall out or caused permanent damage to their hair or scalp. The writer doesn't always get the chemistry right - she claims that fatty alcohols, like cetyl alcohol, in hair products "can be drying", which is not the case - but it's an interesting read.

A few thoughts I had while reading this article...

The ingredient list from Amazon, which may differ slightly that one that came directly from the company or QVC: Water, Aloe Vera Gel, Glycerin, Chamomile Extract, Cherry Bark Extract, Calendula Extract, Rosemary Extract, Behentrimonium Chloride, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax, Panthenol, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Hydrolyzed Whole Wheat Protein, PEG-60, Almond Glycerides, Menthol, Essential Oils, Citric Acid, Methylchoroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance

WEN is a conditioner. They call it a cleansing conditioner, but because there's no definition for the words "cleansing conditioner", this really doesn't mean anything. Any conditioner could be called a cleansing conditioner. I think the no-shampoo concept suggests that you don't use anything with silicones in them, but there's no reason a conditioner with silicones can't call itself a cleansing conditioner. (This product does contain a silicone in the form of trimethylsilylamodimethicone.)

In the article, one of the lawyers notes, "What we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser". This isn't some big secret: There isn't anything in there that anyone would consider a shampoo-like cleanser. (In fact, I think that's one of its selling points?) The lawyer also notes it's like "using lotion to wash your hair", but there's no "like" about it. When you wash your hair using only conditioner, you are using a lotion - which is to say water and oil brought together with an emulsifier - to clean your hair.

In the article, the writer notes that a customer said, “Not only did it not clean my hair, it made it look like I combed it out with a pork chop". I'm guessing this customer had oily hair and conditioner washing didn't agree with her. This problem isn't exclusive to WEN products, and all hair types can have this experience when washing only with conditioner.

In the interests of disclosure, I have very oily hair and had the same experience the few times I conditioner only washed my hair. Others swear by this method. Not judging no-shampoo, just noting my experiences. 

There are ways to "avoid sulfates" and still use a good foaming and lathery shampoo. There are loads of surfactants we can use that are mild and gently cleansing. Really, the only surfactant that might not be great is sodium lauryl sulfate because it's considered "harsh", but if we really wanted to use it, we can make it feel milder by reducing the concentration or including loads of ingredients to increase mildness.

The word "sulfate" itself tells you very very little about a surfactant. It doesn't tell you if it's mild or an effective cleanser or even if it's an appropriate for a shampoo. Take behentrimonium methosulfate. It's a great positively charged conditioning agent, the main ingredient in Incroquat BTMS-50 or Rita BTMS-25, that is used as a conditioner and emulsifier. It isn't a foaming, lathering surfactant or one that cleanses in a conventional sense. (When someone says to avoid sulfates, they don't mean this one.)

I appreciate that everyone is entitled to choose their ingredients as they wish, but I would like to encourage you to read a bit on a surfactants rather than just eliminating ones that contain the word "sulfate". I think you're missing out on some lovely surfactants like sodium laureth sulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate, both of which are considered mild detergents and pH balanced.

Related post: How to interpret surfactant names. 

Why is this happening to these customers? I don't know if anyone knows the answer to this. From the article: “WEN seems to be good for certain hair types, especially those that are coarse or frizzy,” says Kelsey Smart, a stylist at Fox & Jane salon in New York. “But for women with fine hair, it becomes more important for the scalp to stay really clean—otherwise, product can build up and lead to breakage.” Ironically, women who need a squeaky-clean scalp may be in most need of the sulfates that Dean has tried so diligently to avoid."

As a note, there are many ways to get a squeaky clean scalp without using sulfates, as there are many many lovely surfactants out there that will clean hair gently! You can see those recipes in the hair care section of this blog. 

I did do some surfing to read complaints about WEN, and this issue came up again and again. This whole situation is awful, and I'm so sorry anyone had to go through this. My heart breaks, and I hope those affected find some consolation. As someone who is a little hair obsessed, I can't imagine how they feel. I hope they find some answers...

Friday, December 18, 2015

What's your favourite thingie of the year?

What ingredient did you love the most this year? Did you try a new recipe and fall in love with it or discover a new product entirely? 

And what are you looking forward to in 2016? Have you set some goals for yourself? Any new products you want to make or ingredients you want to try?

I'll be sharing my favourite things of 2015 with you and my goals for 2016 shortly, but in the meantime, I'm excited to hear from you! 

Here's something new we made this year: Soy candles in tins! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What do you think about decyl glucoside?

In light of yesterday's post on sharing what you know, I'm posing a few questions to you, my lovely readers, and I can't wait to hear what you think!

Brandi wants to know what you think of decyl glucoside (from this post). I'd like to add a bit more and ask you to reflect on how you like it in a specific product, like a shampoo or body wash. Do you alter your pH or do you get a low pH decyl glucoside? How much are you using in your products? And finally, where do you get it? I get mine at Voyageur Soap & Candle, but I'd like to hear about other suppliers.

Share your thoughts about the use of corn starch in bath bombs in this thread!

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm looking to you to share your thoughts!

I had a thought today I'd like to share with you. When I'm writing responses to comments you've left during the week, I find myself saying "Let us know how it turns out!" quite a lot. Unfortunately, it's a rare treat to hear how it turned out, and that's a pity.

I admit I get a bit frustrated when I've spent quite a bit of time on a comment that is never acknowledged, but there's more to it than that. I can't try every variation of SCI in a shampoo bar or every emulsifier on the market, and I rely upon you, my lovely readers, to share your thoughts on these ingredients or recipe variations so we can all learn more together.

I learned how to make bath & body products thanks to the extreme generosity of spirit and knowledge I found on the Dish forum. It seemed like every question I had was answered there, and my curiosity grew until I had to get a few textbooks which lead to me taking chemistry classes! I started this blog because it seemed a pity to have all this stuff I'd learned trapped in a stack of notebooks that no one but me would see, and I figured it'd be fun to share what I could and learn from you, my lovely readers. I am so indebted to the people who took the time to share recipes, ideas, experiences, and reviews of ingredients on that forum because it has made such a huge impact in my life. I know I can never thank them enough, but I hope this blog will suffice in showing my gratitude.

So here's what I'm asking: Come back and share your thoughts. Add something to the community we're trying to build here. Consider that just as you learned from some random person who took the time to put out a recipe or share an idea, there's a random person out there who could learn from you. And you do have something to contribute, no matter if you're a still a beginner reading and waiting for that first batch of supplies or a grizzled veteran who lost an eye to lye, you've made something awesome, modified a recipe, learned a new technique, or discovered something the hard way that you won't do again. You have something interesting and important to say, and we really want to hear it!

Re-visit a recipe and comment on what you liked or didn't like about it. Comment on a post about an ingredient and share where you found it, how it worked for you, and whether you'd use it again. Share your thoughts about a supplier whom you loved or hated and let us know why! Send me a picture of your workshop or crafting space and make me incredibly jealous! Think of something that only you know and let us all share in the epic nature of that.

Normally, I would offer an e-book or something similar as thanks for your contributions, but I'm not doing that this time. I'm asking you instead to think of this as a chance to pay it forward. Look at this as a chance to thank the people who influenced you and have a chance to influence others. This is an opportunity to inspire and share your love of this incredible craft with someone who might be considering trying it for the first time. Think about sharing the joy you had when you saw emulsification for the first time with someone who hasn't seen that yet or the happiness you had when you realized that thing you made was helping with your acne prone skin or dry hair.

I can't wait to see what you're going to share because I know it's going to be awesome!

If you'd like to see this in action, check out this post on using corn starch in bath bombs

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Using extracts?

In this post, McKenzie asks: I hadn't looked at many fruit extracts for my recipes before, but was recently intrigued by banana extract and a few other powdered yellow extracts that were described as pale yellow creamy powders by my supplier. The creamy texture and color with the obvious gaggle of benefits of each made me curious about mixing several together with a small percentage of opacifying agents etc, to make a face powder or the like to have a creamy, good-for-you color cosmetic. In the case of banana extract which is so moisturizing, that would even sound nice in theory applied neat to the undereyes!

My problem comes with the usage rates. Many do say not to exceed 0.5-5% final product, but they also usually call for it being a tincture first, so I'm not sure if this is a seperate usage rate from the rest. My questions are then:

1. Is it safe to use something like this applied directly to the skin, or in rates far above the usage rate? Or are the any avenues to research/how to know if the manufacturer's suggestion can be exceeded if it is not noted in the data sheet?

2. Would combining multiple extracts up to the level of their usage rates be harmful? For ex., if I combine 4 extracts that can be up to 5% in final formulation and the mixture comprises 20% of the final product, will so many active ingredients be troublesome even though their individual maximums were not exceeded? Particularly for cases were fruit enzymes and natural acids are present.

First off, I have never used a powder that calls for being turned into a tincture first. That would annoy me something silly and I wouldn't use them, so I can't speak to that. I get my powdered extracts from Voyageur Soap & Candle, and I just dissolve them in a little warm water before combining them in my products.

Secondly, would a powdered extract offer up its awesome powers in a powdered product like a facial powder? It would depend. I use allantoin in my face powders because I've read it may be able to protect from cold and wind chapping, two things I get a lot this time of year. But will banana extract work well in a powdered format? I'm not really sure.

I wouldn't use extracts above the suggested usage rate. They are suggested for usage at these rates for a reason. For some, it's because they have exfoliating properties and too much is not a good thing. For others, it's because they aren't soluble over certain levels and you'll end up with clumps or precipitation. Always check with your supplier and ask if they have data bulletins you can read. There are many different manufacturers of powdered extracts, so don't assume what you read about one version works with another one. Ask for all the help you can get from your supplier so you can make good choices.

As an aside, Cosmetics Info has loads of great information on how to use ingredients safely! 

When it comes to combining extracts, it depends on which ones you're using. If you are combining green tea, rosemary, and honeysuckle, no problem. If you're combining a few exfoliating extracts like papaya and pineapple, you might see some sensitivity. Knowing what each extract bring to the party means you can make good and healthy choices about your ingredients.

Having said this, you can exceed the suggested solubility rate easily, meaning that you'll see some precipitation in your products, like you see in this picture. I used the suggested amount of each one, but together they exceeded what the toner could handle.

I encourage you to check out this post on combining extracts, and hit "newer post" at the bottom of the comments section to see some examples of this process. 

As a note, more doesn't necessarily mean better. Most of our extracts are used in small amounts because that's all that's necessary. We don't necessarily get better results using 2% rosemary extract than we would with 0.5%. Again, knowing your ingredients and what each brings to the mix is the way to decide on what you'd like to use.

If you're new to making products, try one extract at a time and see how you like it. Keep good notes on how it dissolves, how it smells, what colour it turns the product, what it feels like on your skin, what it feels like on your skin after an hour or after rinse off, and so on. You may love the idea of including grapeseed extract in a facial cleanser, but if it turns out looking like this, maybe not so much!

Related posts: Extracts section of the blog

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Using corn starch in bath bombs?

In this post, Back to Basics: Bath bombs, Annie asks: I found your link when I was enquiring on Google as to why cornstarch is used. I really couldn't find a valid reason and didn't want to waste time and ingredients. I always go to you - my first place to enquire on anything technical as well. It's coming up Christmas time and, because I make soaps and cosmetics, my friends presented me with a challenge for bath bombs, of all things, so I'm lying in bed researching. 

I've never found a good reason for including corn starch, so I don't use it. Bath bombs are a chemical reaction between an acid - citric acid - and a base - baking soda. Add water and they fizz like crazy! I use an oil to bind it all together, and the fragrance and colour make the bath bomb fun and fragrant. Corn starch doesn't add to the reaction and doesn't seem to add anything to the hardness or cohesion of the bath bombs I make, so I don't bother with it.

But this is just my opinion, and I want to know what you have to say! If you do use corn starch in your bath bombs, why? How much? How do yours compare to those without? Give us some of your thoughts on this topic!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The search is working!

Woo! The search function is finally up and running! What a great way to start the weekend! 

And now, an adorable picture of my Blondie dog begging for Christmas gingerbread cookies! "Do you have some for an adorable dog?" 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's really looking a lot like Christmas! A few questions I've seen a lot in the last little while...

It's definitely looking like Christmas these days, and I'm so happy that you want to give bath & body products to those you like and love this holiday season! I thought we'd take a moment to look at a few questions I've been posed in the last few weeks...

As I mention in What you need to know about making any products (part one), water soluble ingredients are those that dissolve and mix well with water. This includes things like aloe vera, hydrosols, floral waters, and other water based ingredients.

Oil soluble ingredients are those that dissolve and mix well with oils, butters, esters, and other oily ingredients.

The only way to bring the two together is to include an emulsifier. No emulsifier, no coming together, and we end up with the oil floating on top of the water or end up with water seeping out of the oil.

You cannot dissolve water soluble powders into oil based products. For instance, you can't mix something like chamomile powder into an oil because it simply won't mix. This powder is designed to work with water soluble things, and the only way to incorporate that powder into this oil is to make a product that contains water so you can dissolve the powder. If you really want to use an extract in your anhydrous product, consider some of the oil based extracts you can get at shops like Brambleberry or Formulator Sample Shop.

Related posts:
Back to the very basics: Lotions
It's time to make a lotion!
Creating a whipped anhydrous butter

Also from the post What you need to know about making any products (part one), if you are using water in your product or if your product will be exposed to water, you must use a preservative. There are no exceptions to this rule. None. Nada. Nil. Zip. Zero. Zilch. No exceptions.

Oh wait, there's one exception...Nope, there isn't. That was a trick. There are no exceptions.

If you'd like to learn more about preservatives, check out this post - what you need to know about making any products (part two) - as a starting point. I have an entire section devoted to this topic because preservatives are so important in our products, and you can learn more about each preservative there.

Related posts:
Newbies' section of the blog

Have fun formulating!

P.S. Have I mentioned lately how addicting making bath & body products can be? I better mention it now. It is very addicting. You will find yourself drooling over new butters, trying out new oils, and ordering a little bit of everything off suppliers' web sites just to give it a try. Do not worry: This is normal. You're just falling in love with the best darned hobby in the world! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo recipe for oily hair

Yesterday we modified a dry hair recipe to include fewer ingredients. Let's look at an oily hair recipe today. We can base it on this recipe for a conditioning shampoo for oily hair that you can find in the hair care section of the blog.

52% distilled water
15% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
15% DLS mild
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
2% cationic polymer of choice
0.5% extract - grapeseed or rosemary
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or other preservative at suggested usage rate)
up to 2% Crothix

Please use the general shampoo making instructions for this recipe.

As with yesterday's recipe, I took out quite a few things that we'll be using in our conditioner. I removed the protein, panthenol, dimethicone, and film formers. No point in using them if we're getting them in the conditioner.

And remember, when you remove something from the product, always increase the water amount to make sure the recipe totals 100%. If you want to add 1% fragrance or essential oils to this product, you can do so without worrying about using an emulsifier. Just remove 1% from the distilled water amount. If you want to learn more, check out this post - how do I modify a product when adding or subtracting ingredients - for more information.

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids
Shampoo - Thickeners
Shampoo - Panthenol and other humectants
Shampoo - Extracts

Monday, December 7, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo recipe for dry hair

As we saw last week (and in August!), we can alter the ingredients in our products when we're designing a line of things to be used together. If we're using a conditioner after shampoo, we could make something very basic that contains only surfactants, water, and preservatives that would cleanse our hair, but it wouldn't feel very nice when we rinsed. Let's take a look at what we could use and leave out given the review we've done in the last week. (Check out the posts below if you don't know what I'm talking about!)

Let's say you want to make a shampoo for someone with dry hair who will be using an intense conditioner afterwards. You don't necessarily need to use a cationic polymer, but it would make one's hair feel nicer in between shampoo and conditioning, so I'm suggesting it. Glycerin is a great moisturizer, so let's include that. I'm thinking we can leave out the panthenol because we'll use it in a conditioner, and and I'll leave out the protein. I think I'll include some chamomile extract to help with transepidermal water loss on the scalp in the cool down phase.

I'll base this recipe on this conditioning shampoo for dry hair recipe I've made in the past. If you don't have the glycol distearate, leave it out and thicken with Crothix. If you scroll down in that post, you'll see a recipe there for moisturizing using water soluble oils that doesn't use the glycol distearate.  The big difference between that recipe and this one are the changes I noted above.

62.5% distilled water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
15% SMC taurate or decyl glucoside (or a combination your hair likes)
2% glycol distearate
5% glycerin

3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% fragrance or essential oils
(up to 2% Crothix - when cooled down - optional)

Heat the heated phase to 65˚C and mix together well until the glycol distearate is incorporated. (I have found that heating the glycol distearate in one container, the other ingredients in another until the glycol distearate has melted, then incorporating the two containers works well). Make sure you are not seeing any little shards of glycol distearate in the mix.

When the mixture has cooled to 45C or lower, add the cool down ingredients.

You may need to include up to 2% Crothix if you are using fragrance oils that include vanilla or other surfactant thinning fragrances. Add this when the product has cooled completely and can sit for at least 24 hours (preferably longer).

Not a huge difference between the original recipe and this one, except I've left out the aloe vera, protein, dimethicone, and panthenol. We're relying upon our glycol distearate to be both a moisturizing and a thickener in this product. If you don't use the glycol distearate, it is a very thin product. If you don't want to thicken it with Crothix, then put it in a pump bottle and use it that way. I'm not joking; this product is like water!

It's easy to modify any of the recipes you're currently using with the ideas of making a line in mind. Remove what you want, and increase the water by that percentage. Leaving out 2% dimethicone, add 2% to your distilled water amount. Removing 3% protein? Add 3% to the water amount.

Related post:
How do I modify the recipe when I add or substract an ingredient? 

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids
Shampoo - Thickeners
Shampoo - Panthenol and other humectants
Shampoo - Extracts

Join me tomorrow where we take a look at modifying an oily hair shampoo!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Upsizing your recipes!

In this post, Troubleshooting an epic lotion fail, Lisa asks: I have been making and selling my lovely lotion for 5 years. Due to higher demand I went from a 5 gallon batch to a 25 gallon batch, done in an oil melter. Exact same proportions/percentages. The lotion turned out totally watery! Not thick and creamy. Is this normal? Is there a trick to upsizing lotion recipes? I know food recipes can need some drastic shifts when upsizing...

That's a lot of lotion! I thought I was pushing the boat out with a few kilograms, but 25 gallons! Wow!

No, as far as I know, you don't need to make radical changes when making larger batches. But you might need to use a different mixer. When I made a 4 kilogram (about 8.5 pounds) batch of lotion, I had to move to using a paint mixer on the end of a drill to do the mixing as my hand mixer and stand mixer couldn't handle the capacity. I'm assuming you're already do this, so I'm not sure what else to suggest.

Having said this, I have never made 25 gallons of lotion, so I'll turn to my awesome readers and pose this question: Do you scale your recipes when you are making huge amounts like 25 gallons?

Friday, December 4, 2015

The search function is down!

The search box in the right hand column isn't working. I have no way to fix this as it's a Blogger thing. In the meantime, please try the search in the upper left hand corner of the blog, or check out the sections of the blog that contain links. (Trust me, it's messing me up too as that's how I find old posts!)

As I like to have photos in my posts, check out these melt & pour soaps we made in craft group two weeks ago! Your donations for the e-books go to support the programs my husband and I offer to the youth of Chilliwack. This is a small example of what we do there! 

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - a few notes about oils

I'm asked a lot about including oils in shampoo, and I have to admit I'm not a fan of the idea. It's not just because I'm an oily haired girl, but because there are a ton of ways of increasing moisturizing and hydrating in a shampoo that isn't about the hassle of oils.

The goal of a shampoo is to clean our hair of oil, dirt, and other nasty things, leaving it feeling in good condition. I expect we will be using a conditioner afterwards, so we can get most of our conditioning and moisturizing from that product. Adding oils will reduce the foam, lather, and bubbles in our shampoo. It can also leave your product cloudy, which can bug some people.

There are other ways to get moisturizing into a shampoo that isn't oil based. For instance, something like Crothix behaves as a moisturizer and thickener without reducing the foam and lather. We could use a thickener like glycol distearate to do the same thing with a more moisturizing. We could use a water soluble oil like PEG-7 olivate or water soluble shea or try a humectant like glycerin.

If you want to include an oil in your shampoo, use a small amount like 2% to 4%. Ensure your surfactants are able to emulsify the oil, or use a solubilizer like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil to ensure it stays in the mix. (As a note, solubilizers will reduce the foam, lather, and bubbles, too.)

Join me on Monday when we create a few formulations knowing what we know about designing our products as a line!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - extracts

There are so many amazing extracts out there for our hair. Should we put them into our shampoo or leave them for conditioners?

It's hard to cover all the possible extracts in one post - heck, it's hard to cover them all on one blog! - so I'll go over some general concepts instead of getting all specific. 

Extracts can offer loads of different things, so I tend to choose ones that help my scalp. For instance, chamomile can reduce transepidermal water loss or honeysuckle might help with acne, so those might be good choices. Rosemary and grapeseed can help with oily hair and scalp, and white willow bark might help with dandruff. Some of them are great exfoliators, like papaya, and some are great soothers, like cucumber.

Are these better in your shampoo or conditioner? I think you can use these in either, but don't bother using them in both. It depends on what is touching your scalp. I don't put conditioner on my scalp as I have really oily hair, so I put my extracts into my shampoo. If you plan to condition your scalp, then put the extracts in there.

Extracts have great label value. How many times have you been attracted to something called "chamomile and honey" or "papaya and strawberry" shampoo? They sound lovely, right? They offer a lot of bang for the buck as well: You can get powdered extracts at very reasonable prices and you only need a titch to make a difference.

The down side is that they can change the colour of your product. Check out this cleanser I made with green tea and grapeseed extract. Not very nice, eh? You can get extracts that are almost clear, so if the colour worries you, look into those.

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids
Shampoo - Thickeners
Shampoo - Panthenol and other humectants

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Designing your products as a line: Shampoo - panthenol and other humectants

Again, I admit I'm biased towards panthenol as it's such a great ingredient for our hair, but do we need it in a shampoo if we're including it in a conditioner?

What does it bring to our hair? It offers moisturizing without oils, it can swell the hair shaft in a good way to moisturize and make it thicker, it film forms and increases shine, and it makes our hair more pliable. All great things, right?

If you're using a conditioner with panthenol, do we need it in the shampoo? Probably not. The goal is to leave it on for about two minutes, and we don't generally do that with a shampoo. Save it for your conditioner or leave in conditioner.

What about other humectants like glycerin? Glycerin is a great way of moisturizing your hair and scalp without using oils. It thickens the product and increases bubbles and lather. It's a great moisturizer for your scalp and will resist rinse off. I'd include it at up to 5% for those of us not worried about frizz. It's a great inclusion for all hair types, especially those with dry hair.

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids
Shampoo - Thickeners

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Designing your product as a line: Shampoo - thickeners

A shampoo should have a certain viscosity to it. Not too thick so it won't come out of the bottle, and not too thin that it spills out like water all over the tub. We want to to be like the porridge that horrible Goldilocks stole from the adorable baby bear - just right. We can get this kind of viscosity from using thickeners like Crothix, Ritathix DOE, and glycol distearate.

I encourage you to read the links in this post about increasing mildness and viscosity for more details on this topic. 

You definitely want to include a thickener in your product as pretty much everything I make from surfactants on this site is about as thick as water before adding one. I prefer to use Crothix in my products, and it offers a thickening as well as a moisturizing feature.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of Ritathix DOE. It felt sticky on my skin. You can also use regular old salt to thicken, but's a picky process and some surfactants will not thicken this way. Check before using.

Glycol distearate is interesting because it's a thickener that also pearlizes your product, like this one in the picture. The up side is that it looks lovely and moisturizes well. The downside is that you have to use glycol distearate in the heated phase, so it's hard to get the thickening just right and it isn't great for people with oily hair like me as it's so moisturizing.

So do we need thickeners? A resounding yes! They thicken the product, offer moisturizing, and increase mildness.

If you'd like to see thickening in action, check out this video on my YouTube channel!

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids