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


Brandi Yates said...

I posted today in the bath bomb section that my bath bombs keep falling apart. I guess add more oil? I would like them to be firm and I wonder how people make them into sphere shapes.

I tried jordapn from The Herarie for shampoo and I liked it but now they have quit supplying it so Im looking for a new surfactant. I think the Bio Terge 804 was drying my hair and scalp so Im probably not going to buy that one. The herbarie has one called sci pearl

I may try it with dls mild.

I made a deep conditioner from Kokum butter because that was all I had and I LOVED it. from this recipe:

I did use the Incroquat CR or cetyl alcohol or cyclomethicone. Still love it! I use it every other day too and I have thin hair. I guess my hair needed it.

hhmm what else..I have been using your vapor rub and love that.

Ive put some things on etsy to sell as far as beauty products and no one is buying them but its ok because I really didnt expect anyone to buy anything. I was just hoping to make some money back.

ohh I came up with my own lip balm recipe that is so awesome I cannot live without it. Based on a few of your posts: 8 ounces
20% beeswax 20% 1.6
25% shea 16% 1.28
15% kokum 15% 1.2
40% fractionated coconut 36% 2.88
lanolin 10% 0.8
vit e 1% 0.08
peppermint 1% 0.08
strawberry 1% 0.08

What do you think of the recipe? Is 10% lanolin too much? It really feels great!

Brandi Yates said...

I did Not use the Incroquat CR or cetyl alcohol or cyclomethicone.

Brandi Yates said...

I left the dish forum because I posted about marketing and upset a few people. So this is the only website I go to.

Anonymous said...

I've been testing a several of emulsifiers lately. I will use the upcoming Holidays to share some experiences.

B from Brussels, Belgium

Belinda Karst said...

Susan, I love your blog! I've gotten so many ideas and good recipes from it so here I am to pay it forward. Here is a lotion I made, altering it to fit the ingredients I have and or need to use before they expire! Haha! I think it's loosely based on the itchy body butter you made your husband, but I go through so many of your recipes looking for inspiration that I'm not 100% sure that it's that specific one. I too have itchy skin in the winter and am desperate to try anything to soothe it. So, here is my latest creation. I only added a small amount of the sea buckthorn oil because I am allergic to so many things and have to test them out in small quantities. I will probably add more to my next batch, since my skin seems to like it.

41.5% water
10% aloe Vera gel
5% glycerin (my skin really likes glycerin!)
2% panthenol (powdered form from Brambleberry added after water is heated)
1% NeoDefend preservative
.5% allantoin

10% oils (the combination I used was 5% safflower, 2.5% camellia, 2% castor, .5% sea buckthorn oil)
10% butters (8% shea, 2% cupuacu)
3% Cetyl alcohol
1% candelilla wax ( I am allergic to beeswax so I use this instead to add a bit of occlusive-ness, which is not a word but you get the idea!)
8% emulsifying wax
1% menthol
2% oat extract (from Brambleberry)

2.5% cyclomethicone
2.5% dimethicone

Since I like to play "let's see what happens if I do this or add this" , instead of 3% Cetyl alcohol, I did 2% Cetyl and 1% stearic acid, and for the e-wax I did 7% generic e-wax and 1% BTMS25. I was going to add 1% vitamin e oil in cool down, but I over poured one of the cones, so I just did equal parts of the other and dropped the Vitamin E oil. This turned out really nice and is very soothing to my skin. I will definitely make this again and up the % of sea buckthorn oil. I will probably drop the stearic acid too, since it doesn't help with the "glide" factor. All in all though, it is a great lotion for me!

Thanks for all you do, Susan!
Belinda Karst

Danuta Kilar said...

Yes, Susan you are inspiration, right now after following you from 2013, and following many posts on Dish, I can sit down and write not so bad recipe, myself.
Ewax is good for winter time for hands and body but I rather use Emuslsimulse usually 7% and I went down to 6.5% and is cool too. Emusimulse gives that dry feeling and sinks right into skin. With combination of Cetyl alcohol. For face moisturizers I use BMTS_50 and love it, It is expensive but worth the money and so easy to work with. Polawax I keep for my guys, they like aftershave with it.
In Shampoo bar I change it a bit, added more of cocamidopropyl betaine, U use them for over a year and love it, Thanks for that.
I learned that green tea powder destabilize my lotion, every time. I am trying to get thicker face cream without any butters, (not good idea for face; butters) I am going to try 25 oils and 75 water this time, and add some silicones, and camomile powder, I wonder if 3% of cetyl would thicken up the cream. For itchiness mint is good but with combination of calendula and stinging nettle (oil infusion or powder) would work wonders. I include dandelion into anti itch lotion, however I can not claim any medical help here. A bit of plantain (weed) would help too. If you think that I included too much info about herbs, please delete the post , Susan, :)) I love your blog and please do not stop writing, It does not have to be always about products. :)

JaniceAdams said...

Hi Susan,

First of all, thank you for all the information you share! I am very new to making any bath or skin products at all so it's been ever so helpful finding your blog. I just followed your sugar scrub recipe and as far as I can tell, it turned out nice.

I am hoping to make some bath bombs today for Christmas gifts, but am waiting for the humidity to drop...when I first got up this morning it was at 88%!! I think I read in your blog somewhere that bath bombs aren't that easy to make; I have to say I agree! I have had to experiment until I got to the point where my recipe works for our area (Greater Cincinnati). However, I don't think any recipe will work with humidity as high as it was this morning! Thanks Susan


LuxeLabs said...


I have been inspired by your blog and I love it!

Thanks for your curiosity and skill at formulating using seemingly complex ingredients and making them understandable.

Lately I have been using Carbomers in face creams and eye serums. To-date I have been poaching formulations from suppliers and it seems the manufacturers of these chemicals like to publish formulations that feature multiple products that THEY MAKE...

However, I have used the knowledge you have shared and started researching these chemicals and substituting those that I have...and the results have been GREAT.

Nevertheless I am a bit confused on how to use Carbomers effectively in existing formulations you have posted. My goal is to impart a fluffier texture to my creams as it seems they tend to turn out too thick.

Today I made the following formula

water - 81%
Carbomer 940 .15pct
glycerin 3.4pct

oil phase
LotionPro 2.1pct
Behenyl Alcohol 2.5pct
Shea Butter .5pct
Cetyl Ethylhexanoate 2pct
Hemisqualane 2pct
Cetearyl alcohol 1.5pct
IPM 4.5pct
MCT 1.5pct

cool down
germall plus .5pct
NaOH 20pct to adjust ph

the result was outstanding but exceedingly light and fluffy with no body but it feels great.

It occurs to me that perhaps Manufacturers use carbomer so they can use more water which is by far the cheapest ingredient?

What would you do to thicken that cream with luscious goodness?

What would you leave out or lessen?

How can I best augment existing typical cream formulas with carbomer to make them a little bit fluffier?

Thanks so much for all you do and Happy Holidays.


Airfun said...

Hi Susan,

I'm a guilty long time lurker! I have made use of your generosity, and haven't said how much I appreciate it! I'm extremely sensitive to many scents in mass marketed personal care products, so to be able to make my own, (especially conditioner!) and know and understand what the ingredients are doing is fantastic! I've been able to take the ingredient list from some effective products that I can't use due to the scent, and adapt it to a product that works as well or better for me - and I can tweak it at will! That is the absolute coolest part! I want a little more of some attribute, and I learn from you the effects of adding this and that, and I know why my product is the way it is, and I'm not a slave to brand x because it's the only one I can tolerate. It's empowering :)

So, thank you so much!

Maria said...

Hi Susan,

I just want to pop in and wish you a Merry Christmas and a great new year. I use a lot of your PDF sheets to figure out which surfactant has what properties. I use your PDF on preservatives. I often use your site to look up the properties of certain ingredients. I have formulated a shampoo this year, a facial wash and a body wash. I'm a soap maker, but I've actually found that I like the body wash better than "real" soap!

I'm currently working on a foam shaving cream for my husband. He doesn't want a lot of foam, but he's not too keep on a lotion bar or a conditioner. Who knows that may change as I experiment.

I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your blog very much. I love the recipes as a starting part and all the information you share. My blog is a book blog so I don't publish too many shampoo recipes (although I do put up a few food recipes!). You're always welcome at my blog and if you're ever down my way (Texas) let me know! You're welcome here too!

toyin said...

Hey Susan,
Merry christmas to you and yours. I'm Toyin from Nigeria and mine is a country where if you're privileged to know something, you keep it all to yourself. Sad, right? So I stumbled on your site by chance, and more than anywhere else, I must say, I've learnt sooo much from you. I've made lotions, bodyscrub using recipes from your blog. I even tweaked one to include Niacinamide, friends and family love it and I love that ingredient too.
I can read the ingredient list on a product and fairly work out the percentages in which they may have been included. You empowered me that way. Ingredients come quite cheap here but they only/mostly have general names, for example, I realised reading your blog that the emulsifier I've been formulating with is Montanov 68.
Like you, I'd like to do more than keeping stuffs in my book for my eyes only and I do hope I can put it all together sooner. Kids are pretty young, with so manyother things to take care of. I always wish for more than 24hours, but I'll do it.
What can I say Susan? You've given so much that if I could see you, I'd give you a hug so tight someone would have to tear me off you. Lol. Thanks bae and I'll just include a recipe below for anyone who might be interested

Skin brightening serum
A) 62.5% water, 3% Niacinamide, 3% glycerin, .5% disodiun EDTA, .5% allantoin
B) 15% plain gel (medium viscosity)
B) 10% water, 2% kojic acid
C) 1% preservative, 1.5% ethanol, 1% fragrance

Phase A is hot water phase, while the other phases are between 40-45c. I use the alcohol to mix the fragrance oil so it blends in to the water. At that percentage of alcohol, you can't tell it's there either by smell or feel. I don't own a PH meter, can't tell if it's acidic or alkaline but it's never burned. Remember you can always tweak it. Look up gel recipe on this blog to make one.

That's me working with only what I have access to here. Protein and all those nice film formers you talk about which makes me drool are not sold in retail so I don't bother. I use it before applying my moisturizer and I like how it's made my skin look

Robert Simmons said...

Here are a few of my thoughts :).

For making stick deodorants, propylene glycol and sodium stearate can be ordered through a pharmacist. But beware, the sodium stearate is VERY expensive. I got about 500 grams (slightly over 1 pound) for around $70 Canadian in Feb/14. I have put it in a freezer to extend its life span by putting the closed container in 2 freezer bags. You need to thaw it for a few hours at room temperature WITHOUT opening the package, so condensation does not occur on the sodium stearate during thawing.

I found I can melt down the ingredients in a large glass microwavable measuring cup. This worked faster than using a waterbath set-up.

I recently bought a portable induction cook top. In Canada, you might find it where I did, Home Hardware, their Kuraidori brand. It was a little over $100, but I REALLY like it. The temperatures are easier to maintain at around 75C than with the waterbath setup on my electric stove OR my electric pan.

Because I tend to buy 1 liter amounts of EOs (I also make soap) to get the best price, I asked an essential oil supplier about freezing Eos to extend their life span. The response was that it's fine to do so, in GLASS, and NOT the brown amber bottles. I am using large-mouthed canning jars. I guess narrow-mouthed canners would work as well, seeing as how the EOs will not freeze and expand because there's no water in them anyhow. Ensure that your canning jars are NOT cracked before putting them in the freezer!!! As an extra precaution, put each jar into a strong freezer bag, incase it does crack or leaks for some reason, like if it gets tipped onto its side in the freezer.
Before someone writes something about freezing destroying EOs' therapeutic properties: I personally do not believe there are legitimate therapeutic agents in EOs, I just want them for what is REAL, the aroma. If EOs had real health benefits, the real pharmaceutical companies would be using them in the medications they make. I haven't seen that happening. I guess one could argue that a nice aroma can be therapeutic, but that's about it, as far as I will believe for EOs' therapeutic benefits. Sorry if I have offended.

terriblybadgrrl said...

Susan dear,

I've been going thru my archive of your posts and noticed I managed to miss this one. I'm going through my archive because there are some gems you've posted, and I now have trouble finding them both here and in my mailbox, hence the thorough search.
Anyway, specifically as to what you said about commenting as to how an advice or idea turned out etc., I've only yesterday realized that I don't get prompts in my email when you do respond to my comment! Now I make sure and return to whatever page I left a comment on in hopes of feedback and to not ever miss it again. I've also just noticed (doh!) that there's an option for email follow up comments I've managed overlooking.
That could be a very possible reason for the very justified point you've made. That I'm not the only space cadet.

Most terribly thankful as ever,