Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Can unsaponified butters clog up pipes?

In this post on bath melts, PsaltyDawg asks: I have been hesitant to make/sell any bath bomb truffle type products because I am concerned about what happens to so much unsaponified hard butters when they get into the drain. They will harden up and coat the pipes eventually causing blockages or slowdowns. Do you have an opinion or a science-based explanation for how that would or wouldn't occur? I would really like to use them and sell them but don't feel I can.

In the recipe I posted, we use 1 part citric acid, 2 parts butter, 3 parts baking soda. If you had a 100 gram bath melt - which I think is way too much - you'd be using around 34 grams of butter. That's around two tablespoons or a little more than one weighted ounce. That's not a lot in 80 litres - 20-something gallons - of bath water.  It's liquid when it goes down the plughole, and it'll be in the sewer pretty quickly after draining.

On a similar note, I've been using my emulsified scrub in the shower for years and years, and it's never occurred to me that this might be an issue. My scrub is basically lotion when I rinse it off, and I would imagine it will stay that way for a while. If you're worried about the melts, consider adding a bit of emulsifying wax to the recipe to make it more lotion-y.

This is just my completely uneducated opinion. Anyone else have an opinion? Any plumbers out there who have an expert opinion to share? (My dad was a plumber, but I know nothing on this topic. Probably less than nothing...) We'd love to hear it! 

Friday, January 29, 2016

How many emulsifiers do I have?

I always take the first week of February off because I'm either sick or everyone around me is sick, and to get done what I couldn't get done over the Christmas break. (I'm not saying anything about my cold/flu status because I could jinx it, but so far, so good!)

I did an inventory and realized I have eight new emulsifiers to try! Eight! I'll figure out a base recipe and make the same thing every time changing the emulsifier and only making other alterations based on what that emulsifier can handle. For instance, not using cationic ingredients, adding a stabilizer, or reducing the amount of oils or butters. 

I'll have to make a few substitutions, but it'll be this general recipe. 

I can't wait for Sunday! Workshop time awaits! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A moisturizing body wash for all skin types, especially dry

If you've been around this blog any length of time, you'll know how much I love body washes. I design them to be cleansing but moisturizing as I usually don't have much time in the shower to do an emulsified scrub thing or time after a shower to do a whole lotion thing. I try to incorporate as many moisturizing ingredients as possible and increase the mildness without ruining the lather or foam.

29% distilled water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% foaming oat surfactant
10% SMO taurate
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% witch hazel
5% glycerin
5% PEG-7 olivate
3% yerba santa glycoprotein
3% lupine amino acids
2% quaternized soy
2% panthenol
2% fragrance or essential oil (I used Sweet Meyer Lemon! Yum!)
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Use the general surfactant blend instructions. If you want this to be thicker, add 1% liquid Crothix when all the ingredients have been added. Mix and test viscosity. Add another 1% at a time up to 5% to increase viscosity. This recipe required 3% liquid Crothix to thicken to my satisfaction.

I really liked this body wash! Only one problem: The foam wasn't great. I used a pouffy scrubby thing in the shower, and it wasn't lathery and bubbly as I normally like. It was, however, moisturizing and non-drying on my skin., so I can overlook the lack of extreme foaminess. I attribute the skin feel to the mild surfactants and the extra moisturizers in the form of PEG 7-olivate, glycerin, yerba santa glycoprotein, quaternized soy, lupine amino acids, and panthenol.

I chose SMO taurate as a surfactant because it is gentle and suitable for dry skin. I have oily skin, but this time of year, I end up having really dry patches because I don't tend to wear anything with long sleeves or pants in the winter snow and rain. (I'm a very warm person. Us Vikings were designed for the snow and cold!)  If you don't have this surfactant, check out the surfactant chart to see a few things you could use instead.

And you can substitute other ingredients for the ones I've used. For the PEG-7 olivate, you can use any water soluble oil you might have, like water soluble shea. For the quaternized soy, any of the cationic polymers will do nicely. For the lupine amino acids, any hydrolyzed protein would be a great addition. I don't know what you'd substitute for the yerba santa glycoprotein as it's kind of a unique ingredient, but aloe vera would be very nice.

You can make this recipe with so many variations, it would take me years to go over them, so I'm going to suggest doing a search for "body wash" to see all the versions I've made over the years or check out the surfactant based products, not including shampoo section of the blog!

As an aside, did you notice the colour difference between the two photos? The first was taken the day I made it, the second about two weeks later. The Sweet Meyer Lemon fragrance oil made it more orange. I like it! But it is something to consider, how your fragrance or essential oils will colour your products. This is one of the reasons we say it takes time to know how a product will morph after making it! 

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Making a clarifying shampoo for oily hair

A very long time ago - okay, it was December 6, 2015, but that's practically a lifetime on the 'net - I ended a series on designing your shampoo as part of a line of hair care products. To continue that series for this post, I wanted to share with you my new clarifying shampoo recipe.

I normally use a conditioning shampoo bar for oily hair, but noticed that my hair and scalp were feeling oilier than normal. I thought a clarifying shampoo would work to banish this feeling of greasiness, and set out to make one based on the recipe I made for that previous series.

I partially blame the use of SCI noodles with extra fatty acids for the oiliness issue. I bought some SCI granules from Windy Point Soap that don't contain these extra fatty acids, so I will be making more bars soon. I can use the old bars as body washes! 

Please note, this isn't to say that SCI in noodle or flake form that could contain - but not always, so check with your supplier - extra fatty acids isn't a good thing. it's just that my extremely oily hair can't take it at the moment. Check out this post to learn more about the various versions of SCI

What makes a clarifying shampoo different from a conditioning shampoo? Conditioning shampoos contain conditioning agents like dimethicone or cationic polymers that leave your hair feeling conditioned afterwards. A clarifying shampoo doesn't contain these ingredients. That really is the big difference!

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

This was my starting point for the recipe. I am leaving out the cationic polymer because I don't want conditioning in the product.

To make a product for my oily feeling hair, I wanted to use mild cleansers that work well with my hair type, which include the sulfosuccinates or C14-16 olefin sulfonate. I like to add cocamidopropyl betaine as it is awesome for all hair types and increases mildness and thickening. You can use any blend of surfactants you find works for your hair.

I have an ingredient from the Formulator Sample Shop* called bamboo extract that they claim wil remove build up from your scalp and hair, and figured this was a good thing to include. I left out the glycerin from the original recipe because the bamboo extract is in glycerin, and figured I'd have enough there. The suggested usage rate is 1% to 10%, so I chose 5% as a happy medium.

I added 3% Vital Hair & Scalp Complex (INCI: Water, Saccharum officinarum (Sugar Cane)Extract, Citrus medica limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Betaine & Hexylene Glycol & Pyrus malus (Apple) Fruit Extract & Camellia sinensis Leaf Extract & Hexapeptide-11) The claim is that it "Helps clear the follicles of excessive build up of dead cells, allowing for thicker hair growth." (From this datasheet.) "(It) addresses many of the aspects of ageing hair and scalp with its combination of alpha hydroxy acids, trimethylglycine, a peptide and antioxidants." Despite the hype - I don't believe it can help my hair be thicker or will make my hair look younger - I wanted some exfoliating abilities in this product, so it seemed like a good choice.

If you don't have this ingredient, you could use another exfoliating ingredient like papaya extract or white willow bark at their suggested usage rates. Or leave it out and increase your water amount by 3%.

I used pisum sativum peptide, which is a protein from a type of pea, at 2%. It works like other proteins in that it is a film former and moisturizer, It is supposed to hydrate hair as well as wheat hydrolysate (hydrolyzed protein), it behaves as an anti-oxidant, and it increases your hair's diameter.

You can use the hydrolyzed protein of your choice if you don't have the pisum sativum. Choose silk hydrolyzed proteinoat hydrolyzed proteinPhytokeratin, amongst others.

I always like panthenol in my products, so I added it at 2% in the cool down phase, along with 2% essential oil blend for oily hair (equal parts lemon, rosemary, cedarwood atlas, and sage), and preservative.

44.5% distilled water
15% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
15% disodium laureth sulfosuccinate
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
5% bamboo extract
3% Vital hair & scalp complex
2% hydrolyzed protein of choice
2% panthenol
2% essential oil blend
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Use the general shampoo making instructions in this post. If you feel it isn't thick enough after adding all the ingredients, including fragrace oil, add 1% liquid Crothix, stir and see if the viscosity works for you. Add 1% liquid Crothix at a time until you reach 5% or you like the viscosity. For this recipe, I found 2% was perfect.

I really liked this shampoo, and felt that it worked well to make my hair feel less oily but not straw like or stripped. I only made a 200 gram batch and used it quite quickly. It also worked well as a body wash that one morning I was too rushed to get my usual wash from the workshop! I'm annoyed that I didn't take a picture of it out of the bottle as I coloured it a lovely aqua blue with my LabColours.

What do you do if you want to make this for dry hair? There are quite a few modifications we could make, such as changing the surfactants and adding some moisturizers. Can I refer you to this post where I make a clarifying shampoo for dry hair? This is a great version for dry hair, but please note it isn't a super crazy lathering and foaming cleanser. It foams and lathers, but not as much as you might expect due to the moisturizing ingredients and specific surfactants.

*Please note that I am sent free ingredients by companies like the Formulator Sample Shop. I will use the ingredients and share my honest opinions with you, my lovely readers. I am not being compensated for my opinion or usage of the ingredients in any way, except for the free ingredients. I mention the places I buy my ingredients when relevant because you've asked for that information. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Cetearyl alcohol is not an emulsifier, and using oils on dry skin

It's recently come up that NDA is calling a version of cetearyl alcohol "emulsifying wax O", with the disclaimer that it's not an all in one emulsifier and would require another ingredient to make it work.  If you look at this document, you'll see that cetearyl alcohol is an emollient ingredient on par with an oil and not an emulsifier. If you have this ingredient, use it as a thickener at up to 5% in a lotion, not 25% as they suggest. (25% would give you a very waxy product you'd be hard pressed use in a pump bottle!) Do not think you are buying an emulsifier when you get cetearyl alcohol. You are getting a fatty alcohol that works as a thickener, like cetyl alcohol does.

They also state that it "improves on beeswax as an emulsifier". And beeswax is not an emulsifier for oil-in-water lotions, so to say that it improves on it is misleading!

When you're buying an emulsifier, make sure you're getting an all-in-one or self-emulsifying emulsifier. Polawax, Incroquat BTMS-50, Ritamulse SCG, Lotionpro 165, Montanov 68 - these are all all-in-one emulsifiers you can use easily in your products. If your supplier states you have to use another ingredient to make the emulsifier work, it's not an all-in-one and it'll be a lot more work to make it work. (For instance, you'll likely have to use the HLB system to figure out percentages and such!) I don't suggest these non-all-in-one emulsifiers for beginners. Heck, I could easily make a lovely emulsifier using the HLB system, but there are so many cool all-in-ones available, I generally don't bother.

I've written an awful lot about emulsifiers, so I'll refer you to the frequently asked questions page to see those posts! And check out this post - emulsifiers: check what you have! - for ways to ensure you're getting the right thing at your supplier! 

In this post, Oil cleansing method (part 3), Cakey asks: Hoping you can shed some light. I usually have combination skin with lots of blocked pores on my nose - I have been using different oils & trying to find one that gives me good results but thus far am struggling as my skin is suddenly super dry. It doesn't matter how much oil I apply, it still feels tight & dry underneath. I have been using Mango butter to remove make up (mixed with a bit of Sunflower oil) & then moisturising with a mixture of Jojoba, Avocado oil, Sunflower oil, Meadowfoam oil, Sea Buckthorn oil, Broccoli oil, Camellia seed oil, Marula oil, Baobab oil, Pomegranate seed oil, Cranberry seed oil, Pequi oil & Echium oil. I thought these were all good oils - where am I going wrong?

Oils alone don't help with dry skin. I know so many DIY blogs out there want you to think that water is an unnecessary filler and that oils are the way to moisturize, but it's simply not the case. Having dry skin means you don't have enough moisture in your skinand no amount of oil is going to change that. You can use an oil as simple as soy bean oil or as complicated as the blend you've created, and nothing will change unless you have moisture to trap in, and dry skin lacks that.*

You need water and water soluble ingredients to hydrate your skin and add moisture, and this means making something like a lotion that will bring water to your skin that can be trapped in by the oils. Ideally, we'd add a ton of humectants to the mix to help draw water to your skin and use the oils and other occlusive ingredients to reduce transepidermal water loss.

If I may make this observation, you are using far too many oils and I suspect none of them are used in any quantity to do a good job. Choose one, two, or three oils and try those in combination. Use each combination for a week and keep good notes on what they offer to your skin. You're spending a lot of money on oils that aren't doing anything for your skin if you're using them at 1% and 2% and 5%. You want 20% of something, 20% of something else, and so on. (Check out this post on creating a facial serum to see how to create one of these and why we use the ingrdients we do!)

*I admit this is a simplified view of dry skin. I encourage you to read the posts on dry skin I've written in the skin chemistry section of the blog

Monday, January 18, 2016

Want to take a workshop with me? I'm teaching some soon!

If you're interested in taking a workshop with me, I'm offering them again at Voyageur Soap & Candle in February and March. I'm offering four classes: Anhydrous products, hair care, facial products, and lotion making. They're all day classes, and you'll leave each group with a bunch of products, as well as a copy of my e-book on the topic.

You'll get the chance to play with the oil bar we set up so you can learn what each oil feels like on your skin, play with ingredients you might not have at home, and meet other crafters who are as enthusiastic as you about bath & body products!

Click here to see the dates and get more information on each one. 

I'm also presenting at this year's Canadian Guild of Soapmakers, Chandlers, and Cosmetic Makers' conference in April at Niagara Falls, Ontario! I'm offering two facial products workshops and two lotion making classes. We had such a blast last year, and I have no doubt this year will be similarly awesome!

Click on the link above for more information!

Have any questions? Email me and I'll do my best to answer them!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Separated shampoo? Heating and holding surfactant based products?

It's been an action packed week at our house with both a music recital and boxing match yesterday, and loads of work to be done at my day job! Please forgive my lack of posts, my lovely readers, as it's a reflection on my inability to manage my time and not a reflection on how much I want to interact with you! I'm eagerly looking forward to next weekend when I have scheduled loads of time and to my holiday time at the start of February to get some posts written and things done. I've been playing in the workshop; I just haven't had time to take pictures and share the recipes with you!

If you've posted a comment and I haven't responded to it, please give me a bit more time. I'm not even halfway through those posted this week and I've run out of time to answer them. I might not get to them until next Saturday. Thank you for your patience. 

In this post, Shampoo: A conditioning recipe, Srjnm asks: I don't know what I did wrong here. It looked like a good formula. So I bottled it. But eventually it looked like it separated? There is white thick foam floating on top. (Click the link to see the recipe...)

Without pictures it's hard to say for sure, but I think what you're seeing here are the bubbles coming to the top of the bottle, rather than any form of separation. (You have less than 5% oil soluble ingredients in the bottle, and you've included polysorbate 80, which is why I don't think it's separation, although that is possible...) As you can see from the picture to the left, the tall bottle is still going through the de-bubble-ization process - what? it's a word! - to become what you see in the smaller bottle, which is crystal clear. Leave your bottle in a room temperature space for a bit - not sure how long, it could be days - and your bubbles will eventually come to the surface and disappear. You may be having these issues with bubbles because you used SLSa, which is a great bubbler?

What can you do about this? My suggestion is to use a gentler hand when mixing your products in the future to avoid bubbles or to give your product time to de-bubble!

If this isn't the issue, please email me pictures so I can take a look at the product and help further.

In this post, Body wash, Leanne asked: I have a lot of experience making cold process soap and lotion, butI want to venture into body wash creating, so I don't have to lug bars of soap to the swimming pool on my "lap" days. Perhaps this is a dumb question, but do you have to heat/hold the water (and additives, such as aloe, glycerin, etc.) portion of body wash, as you do in lotion making? I know part of heat/hold in lotion making is to ensure proper emulsification, but you have also discussed how it helps ensure the water is not contaminated with "cooties" :) Do you heat/hold with any body wash recipes?

 Body washes are so much fun! They are one of my favourite products to make!

Can you keep a secret? I don't tend to heat and hold my body washes, bubble baths, shampoos, and other surfactant based products for a number of reasons. The first is that there isn't much evidence that heating and holding actually helps with contamination, especially if you're using distilled water, clean containers and utensils, and ingredients that already have preservatives in them. (This is a new thing I've been gathering information about and hope to post on the blog soon...) The second is that heating means I have to wait until the product reaches room temperature to thicken it, and I'm an impatient woman.

Short answer: If you aren't using surfactants and other ingredients that might need heating or melting, you don't need to heat and hold with body wash recipes!

If you want something that works for your hair and body, check out my favourite body wash/shampoo/conditioner for swimming! This version is for oily hair, but you could modify it easily for normal or dry hair using other surfactants!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Modifying bath bombs

In this post on bath bombs, Emily ask: Can you use bio oil instead of vegetable or soy bean oil?

Are you referring to this product, Bio-Oil? Yes, you could use any type of oil soluble ingredient or oil in a bath bomb. But I'm wondering why use this ingredient? It's really really expensive, and it won't do anything for our skin as it's so diluted in that giant amount of water.

If you use a 100 gram bath bomb, you are using maybe 7 grams of oil in 80 litres of bath water, which is very very little. 

In this same post, Ale said: Can I use ascorbic acid instead of citric acid?

No, for quite a few reasons. The main one for me would be that ascorbic acid - Vitamin C - is extremely expensive in this application and would offer nothing to your skin while you're sitting in the bath.

As an aside, I've seen people suggesting you use cream of tartar instead of citric acid in a bath bomb. My suggestion is that you don't. Citric acid is inexpensive and gets the job of fizzing and melting away done very nicely. Cream of tartar is expensive and wouldn't do a better job. You could add a little cream of tartar to the bath bomb if you wanted to, but using it as the citric acid in a recipe is costly and unnecessary.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Thickening a shampoo of castille soap and soap nuts with Crothix?

In this post on Crothix, Hemperical Herbs asks: Using Crothix for the first time and I'm having no luck. My shampoo is still thin as water with a foam that sits on top. I have 2 cups of shampoo and used 5 ml of Crothix so far. The base contains a water decoction of amla, shikakai and soap nuts with 1 tbsp liquid castille and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. The pH is on the low end between 5.5 and 6. Any ideas? 

This comment brings up a lot of issues, so let's take a moment to go through them one by one...

The first is the use of volume measurements to make a product. Best practice is to weigh all our ingredients because it's far more accurate than using cups and teaspoons.

You'll notice the recipes on this blog are done by percentage to ensure we get all the ratios right. I like to use 0.5% liquid Germall Plus in my products as the preservative. So in 100 grams of product, I would use 0.5 grams liquid Germall Plus. How much do I use in 100 ml? Not 0.5 ml because 0.5 ml of liquid Germall Plus may not weigh 0.5 grams.

One millilitre of water weighs one gram, but 1 ml of oil won't necessarily weigh 1 gram. 1 gram of glycerin definitely doesn't measure 1 ml. So when you're converting those lovely percentages into ml or teaspoons, you're not actually getting the amount you want. For instance, 1 ml of oil weighs 0.9 grams and 1 ml of glycerin weighs about 1.26 grams. If you use volume for these measurements, you'll have a recipe that may not work because the ratios are out of whack.

Related post: Figuring out the volume of a recipe

Volume measurements can be quite inaccurate, especially when it comes to ingredients that come in pellet form. Is that 1/4 cup shea butter measured before or after it's melted? Is that a heaping teaspoon or a flat one?

If you still aren't convinced about using weight instead of volume, consider this...I have an ingredient called Natrasorb Bath that is incredibly fluffy. 75 ml (almost 1/4 cup) weighs 8 grams or a little more than 1/4 ounce by weight. So if I told you to use 1/4 cup Natrasorb bath to 1/4 cup Epsom salts, it would appear you have a 50-50 mix. By weight, this would be about 8 grams to 100 grams or 7.4-92.6. That's a huge difference!

Finally, if you use a scale, you don't have all those little spoons and cups to wash up when you're done!

Related post: Why we use weighted measurements when we make products

As a result, it's really hard to figure out how much of each ingredient you're using in this product. If you have two cups of shampoo, you have about 500 ml of product. To this you have added 5 ml of Crothix. Does this work out to 1%? Probably not because 1 gram of Crothix doesn't weigh 1 gram.

But for the purposes of this post, let's pretend that 1 ml = 1 gram, so we can figure out that you have added 1% Crothix to this product. You can go much higher than this if you want, and generally I keep adding it until I get the result I want.

There are a few different ways to thicken a product. One is to increase the concentration of the surfactant, which you could do by adding more to the product. You mention you have 15 ml castille soap in 500 ml of product, which works out to 3% soap. (I would generally put up to 40% surfactant in my products.) You mention you have soap nuts in there, too, but I don't know how much is in there, so I can't comment on that.

The second way to thicken a product is to increase the micelle size, which will also reduce the irritation of the surfactants. We can use salt or an ester like Crothix to thicken it. Will your product thicken with salt or does it need Crothix? I have no idea and don't know where to find that information. (I did a search, but couldn't find anything with good, evidence backed information. If anyone has anything like this, please send it to me!)

I have no idea what your product will be like, but I feel I should note that soap is generally not a good shampoo for many different reasons, the main one being the pH. You mention your pH is 5.5 to 6. How did you measure that? I ask because those strips aren't really all that accurate. The best way is to get a pH meter. If you're planning on formulating with alkaline ingredients or making really low pH products with AHAs, a good meter is your friend.

If your pH is 5.5 to 6, you don't have castille soap in the mix any more. Castille soap cannot exist in a pH below 7, so you don't have soap any more, hence the not lathering. The only foaminess you're getting in this product is from the soap nuts, and I'm not sure how they will interact with your hair. (As an aside, I think the coconut milk will repress the sudsing action because of the fat content. Oils tend to reduce foaming and lathering.)

As a final comment - this product needs a preservative. If we use water, we must use a preservative.  As I mentioned recently, there are no exceptions to this rule. Check out the preservatives section of the blog to find one that you like.

To summarize:

1. Please measure by weight and not volume. When you measure by volume, you can't be accurate and it will throw your recipes out of whack. Plus, you don't have to clean up loads of spoons and measuring cups after a day of creating lovely things.

2. You really don't have any castille soap left in this product because the pH is too low. The soap nuts are the only ingredient offering bubbles or foam.

3. I have no idea if soap nuts can be thickened by salt or Crothix because there's no good, evidence backed information out there that I could find. Can it be thickened by gums? Maybe. I honestly don't know.

4. Soap is generally not a good shampoo for hair because of the pH.

My final answer? I'm afraid I have no idea if Crothix will thicken soap nuts. Sorry.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy new year!

I wanted to thank you, my lovely readers, for asking questions, challenging me, and generally being awesome over the last year. As you may know, I've been facing some health challenges with loads of back pain of unknown origin. Thank you for continuing to follow the blog when I haven't been able to post as often as I would have liked. Thank you for continuing to support our youth programs by donating for the ebooks. And thank you for being patient with me when it comes to answering comments. 

2016 should be an interesting year! I'm hoping to learn more about photography so you can see prettier pictures of the ingredients and products. (Raymond bought me a light tent! Woo!) I'm teaching again at Voyageur Soap & Candle - dates to be announced shortly - and at the Canadian conference for Soapmakers in April. And I hope to get more workshop time as my back heals. I have so many cool ingredients I haven't even mentioned on the blog because I need some experimenting time, and I can't wait to do some playing! 

What are you excited about for 2016? What goals have you set for yourself? What would you like to see on this blog? What ingredients or products do you want to try for the first time? Share your thoughts!