Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Are there any oil soluble humectants? A reminder about coconut oil in the summer

Happy Victoria Day, everyone! I'm off today, lying on the couch, and trying not to get upset about last night's Game of Thrones. (And to those of you who might yell "spoilers!" at me. Every episode makes me cry. I have no idea why I keep watching it!!!)

Thanks for all your positive thoughts on me going part time, and thanks for all the great ideas on how I could supplement my income! I really appreciate all the expert advice you have offered, and encourage you to keep it coming! I'm not a business woman - as you can probably tell with all the giving things away for free stuff I do around here - so this is a very unfamiliar place for me. So many of you entrepeneurial types have approached me to offer support and guidance, and I feel so lucky!

Also, thank you for all your kind words on the spammers. Last night, we had only one who posted a few things, then seemed to give up. Woo! We may be winning the fight! I am still moderating comments on posts that are more than 2 weeks old, but if we can make it a week with only a few spammers - we'll never be rid of them, unfortunately - then I can go back to the previous commenting system.

In this post on humectants, SwiftyNoLonger wrote: Are there oil-soluble humectants?

Fabulous question! Hmmm, not that I know of off the top of my head. I know it's been said that olive oil is a humectant, but I haven't found any evidence for that. Lecithin might behave as a humectant, so that might be a choice for an anhydrous thing.

Humectants are hygroscopic because of the hydroxyl groups attached to the chain. This is a glycerin molecule - the hydroxyl groups are the OH groups representing bonded hydrogen and oxygen atoms. You might recognize OH from alcohol - the majority of humectants are poly-alcohols or polyols. The strength of the humectant is dependent upon on the ratio of hydroxyl groups to the carbon atoms. Glycerine has three carbons and three hydroxyl groups - a very nice ratio indeed!

Oils don't have hydroxyl groups or those "OH" groups, so if this is the only way for something to be a humectant, then an oil cannot be a humectant. There may be some molecules within our oils that contain these groups and they might be able to be a humectant, but I haven't found any proof of this yet.

Related posts:
The humectants section of the blog
Glycerin: The science

A quick reminder for everyone as we go into the summer months, neither coconut nor babassu oil works as a good base for a whipped butter, lotion bar, or other thing that could melt at 24˚C or 76˚F. All you have to do is leave that fabulous lip balm in your pocket or in the car, and you'll have a pile of greasy mess before you know it! You can use it in lotions without issue, but anhydrous or non-water containing products that contain it as the main ingredient will end up all over your stuff!

A few relevant posts that might interest you...
Coconut oil? Coconut oil! 
Why don't we use coconut oil in sugar scrubs?
Coconut oil in warmer temperatures


Alex Dehoff said...

Hi! I love your blog so much and I've been soaking up every word you write. What I haven't seen is if you've touched on the topic of hair products for dyed/colored hair. Products that are "color safe" seem to be a huge thing in hair products, but I have no idea if that's just marketing or if there's some specific qualities that make it color safe- gentler surfactants? Ingredients that coat and protect the hair? I'd be so interested in your thoughts on this!

Khairiyah Woods said...

Hi Alex,

Try having a look at this post Susan did awhile back: (I'm currently attempting to soak up the hair care info before I start making them.)

The post is in response to an e-mail question: What makes a hair product "colour safe"? Hope this helps!


Alex Dehoff said...

Khai, thanks so much! I don't know how I missed that :D

Unknown said...

Hi Susan,

I've been reading your blog for several months now and wanted to tell you how informative I find your posts. I have a new obsession and have made lotions, conditioners and scrubs from your site, and there is no stopping me. This hobby is addicting. I'm only a hop, skip and a jump away, living in Victoria, but just far enough away that I can't easily get to voyageur (keeps me outta trouble though). I wish you we'll in your new part-time status, I think good things will come your way. I also can't wait to see what other posts you have in store.


Kim V said...

"Hold the door!" Why George?! Why?! (If that man doesn't produce a book soon, accidents will happen!)

Thanks for the reminder on the coconut oil, I bought some during the winter and i need to box it soon even though the weather is awefull at the time...
I just made my first lipstick, so happy! (Note to self: do NOT twist the lipstick when its still in the mould!)

Li Xua said...

How about castor oil? Ricinoleic acid has a hydroxyl group, and castor oil is formed mostly of ricinoleic acid.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Wow, Khairiyah! Thank you! I couldn't find that post myself, so I've put it into the hair care section now.

Alex, I hope that post helped. The key is gentle and mild surfactants with a nice conditioner! I think I need to do a series of posts on this topic.

Hi Khaylee! I admit that living within easy driving distance from Voyageur isn't good for my wallet, but it's great for my workshop.

Sob sob sob, Kim. I'm so traumatized by that! I held my little Hodor all through my second viewing of the episode. There was so much to unpack with other deaths and happy events. But Hodor!!!! I have a feeling we'll never see the books. I just don't think he wants to write them! And that makes me so sad.

Hi Li! Interesting thought! I've never seen that referenced, but it sounds plausible!

Kim V said...

2 days later and I'm still thinking about that door... I do think he wants to write them but from what I've read, he's a pretty insecure person (don't know if its true since its the internet). Seeing the great succes from the tv show creates a gigantic pressure as his books have to live up to those expectations. I do hope he'll get through it soon though, i need that story like air atm

Li Xua said...

I see a mention in "Year Book of Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery 2012" about castor oil being "used in many lipsticks as a humectant", but without a reference. I'm also noticing quite a few websites and books saying that castor oil is a humectant, and comments like "I've noticed that too much Castor Oil has the same effect on my hair as too much glycerin", but still, no studies. Looks like someone else had the same thought about the hydroxyl group of ricinoleic acid: