Saturday, July 30, 2016

A short note for a hugely busy Saturday!

A quick reminder if you're interested in subscribing to my Patreon feed, which includes duplicated recipes and a monthly e-zine (at the $10 level), you need to be subscribed as of August 1st to be part of it for that month. As a note, the money you pay for the subscription is going to me and my family, not the youth programs. The e-books continue to go to pay for the Rated T for Teen youth program! (I'm off to video game club this afternoon for mid-summer mayhem!)

I will be offering the e-zine on the blog 2 months after it's offered to the $10 subscribers for $12. I'll post more as the e-zines become available. 

Also, thank you for directly visiting this blog instead of by-passing it with another reader or by downloading material! I can see that more people are visiting the blog and that's just awesome! (And I've noticed more comments, which is also awesome!)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Please visit this site, not your RSS reader, the link that by-passes me, or the e-mail subscription

I don't talk about the inner workings of the blog very much, but I would ask those of you reading this somewhere other than on my blog - for instance, in an RSS feed, something like Blog Lovin', or even through the e-mail subscription on my blog - to pay me a visit soon!

When you by-pass the blog by linking directly to a PDF or by reading it on a blog feed, I have no idea you're out there. I need my daily stats as a way to sell myself as a speaker at a conference or with a publisher when I send out a book proposal, and if you read me somewhere else, you may as well not exist.

When you by-pass the blog, you're less likely to interact by asking a question, answering someone else's question, or making a comment. And this ruins the sense of community I'm trying to build here.

And it's nice for me to know people are visiting. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing for myself when I don't see you out there. (It's pretty amazing to have a day like yesterday with probably the most visitors I've ever had!)

As I don't want to have to go to another way of counting stats, like having you e-mail me for downloads, I'm asking you to start visit the blog here rather than reading it another way. You don't have to visit every day, but if you're a regular reader, stop by once a week, have a cup of tea, and let me know you're there. I can't make you do that and I can't stop you from reading it through other sources, but if you like what you are reading here and wish to support me, please find 10 minutes in your week to read the post here instead of your usual, by-passing way.

I'm also asking you not to link directly to the PDFs on my blog. The only payment I ask for them is a quick visit to the blog, and I don't think that's a lot to ask. If I continue to see people by-passing the blog for them, I will move to a system where you'll have to enter a code or email me or something similar. (I'm pretty serious about this request...) Please show me you appreciate the PDFs by paying me in your attention by visiting the blog to get them.

You probably don't think this is a big deal or that I'm asking you to do something onerous, but those stats are vital for opportunities to make the blog and my writing career bigger. Every person who visits here shows there's an interest in the material and me as a writer. I know you don't have all the time in the world every day, but if you are interested in seeing more blog material, seeing me at a conference near you, or seeing a real live book, please take the time to visit and show me you're out there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Emulsifiers: Emulthix - a light, cold process lotion with white tea, pumpkin seed oil, and baobab protein

You know I can't leave well enough alone, so I thought I'd take yesterday's Emulthix recipe and add some of my favourite ingredients to take it from great to fan-freakin'-tastic!

Want to know more about Emulthix? Cick here! 

Let's alter my heated water phase first. I'm adding a humectant - sodium lactate - along with allantoin as my barrier ingredient and hydrolyzed baobab protein* as a film former and oil-free moisturizer. (Click for more on hydrolyzed proteins.)

I'm adding quaternized rice, a cationic polymer, to create a film and condition my skin. You could use any other cationic polymer - like honeyquat or polyquaternium 7 - in its place. And, of course, my favourite panthenol!

For fun, I'm adding water soluble white tea extract*, which acts as an anti-oxidant full of lovely catechins, much like green tea extract, at 5% and aloe vera at 10% to moisturize and film form. Feel free to use your favourite extracts in here.

For the oil phase, I'm leaving it as pumpkin seed oil because I like it and it has a nice long shelf life. If you wanted to make this a drier, lighter, more absorbant lotion, you could use a really light oil like fractionated coconut oil, squalane, or meadowfoam seed oil.

If you wanted something dry and silky, consider using kukui nut oil. Oh, you know what would be an awesome combination? Kukui nut oil with babassu. It'd thicken up a bit, but it'd be super silky and less greasy feeling.

This would be a great place to use an ester! C12-15 alkyl benzoate would make a light feeling, less greasy product. Cetearyl ethylhexanoate would feel lighter and less greasy, while ethylhexyl palmitate will make it lighter still.

Remember this: For any lotion recipe you see on my blog, you can substitute any oil for any oil, any butter for any butter, any oil for any butter, and any butter for any oil. So go nuts coming up with awesome combinations your skin enjoys! (Check out this post in the FAQ for more information!)

20% pumpkin seed oil
5% Emulthix

2% sodium lactate
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% quaternized rice
10% aloe vera
5% liquid white tea extract
50.5% distilled water
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Weigh your oil phase into a larger container, as the water will be poured into the oil. Heat the oil phase if you need to get some things melted (but we don't, in this case). Prepare your water phase. Pour the water phase into the oil phase in a slow stream while mixing with a stick or immersion blender. And you're done! Rejoice!

My tester, Judy, thought it went on smoothly, and felt dry within 2 hours.

Wanda, my bestie, said that it was a nice, light consistency for a day time moisturier. It absorbed well, but the humidity is high so that might have delayed the absorption. Not sticky at all. No burning. (I think it was the Vitamin C and ferulic acid Aristoflex lotion that caused some burning, so she analyzes a lot of recipes this way! No burning = awesome lotion in our books!)

I've been enjoying this one as a light hand lotion at work. It goes on smoothly and my hands really feel moisturized, even though it's not a thick lotion.

Join me tomorrow for another exciting Emulthix lotion recipe!

The * beside the name takes you to the supplier of the ingredient. As a note, I wanted to note that I do get free things from time to time from suppliers, and this emulsifier, Emulthix, and the baobab protein were given to me by Jen of Lotioncrafter. The white tea extract came from Formulator Sample Shop. None of the links you click to any site on this blog affiliate links - I just learned what those were and thought I should re-assure you, my lovely readers, that I make no money or gain no reward if you buy something from any supplier anywhere. I provide you with buying information for those harder to find ingredients because you've said you wanted it! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Emulsifiers: Emulthix - a cold process lotion recipe

Yesterday, we said "hello!" to Emulthix, a cold process emulsifier that can handle quite high levels of oils.

I thought I'd try making a basic lotion with only one oil - pumpkin seed oil, one of my favourites - and see what I thought of the viscosity!

20% pumpkin seed oil
5% Emulthix

0.5% liquid Germall Plus
74.5% distilled water

Weigh your oil phase into a larger container, as the water will be poured into the oil. Heat the oil phase if you need to get some things melted (but we don't, in this case). Prepare your water phase. Pour the water phase into the oil phase in a slow stream while mixing with a stick or immersion blender. And you're done! Rejoice!

As an aside, it's insane how quickly you can make a product with cold emulsifiers!!!

So what do I think? This is a nice feeling lotion. It's thin, which is to be expected when we have 75% water and no thickeners or butters, but still feels luxurious on my skin. It feels like a much thicker product on my skin. (When I compare it to Aristoflex AVC, another cold emulsifier, it's a thicker product.)

By now, you know I have to play with something new, so join me tomorrow to see what else we can make with this new, cold process emulsifier!

And to answer the question, this is a proprietary blend from Lotioncrafter. Click through to see a few more recipes for an anti-aging moisturizer for aging skin and a CoQ-10 moisturizer with peptides.

As a note, I wanted to note that I do get free things from time to time from suppliers, and this emulsifier, Emulthix, was given to me by Jen of Lotioncrafter. None of the links you click to her site are affiliate links - I just learned what those were and thought I should re-assure you, my lovely readers, that I make no money or gain no reward if you buy something from any supplier anywhere. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Emulsifiers: Emulthix

As you may or may not know, I was fortunate enough to visit Jen at Lotioncrafter in April. And it's taken me quite some time to inventory all the amazing ingredients she gave me before I started crafting with them.

One of my new favourites is Emulthix (INCI: Sodium Polyacrylate (and) Dimethicone (and) Cyclopentasiloxane (and) Trideceth-6 (and) PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone), a cold process emulsifier that is used at 3% to 6% to emulsify oil phases up to 50%! It's effective with lotions at pH 5.5 to 11, so you won't be able to make anything with loads of salicylic acid (BHA) or AHAs.

It's pretty easy to use. Weigh your oil phase into a larger container, as the water will be poured into the oil. Heat the oil phase if you need to get some things melted. Prepare your water phase. Pour the water phase into the oil phase in a slow stream while mixing with a stick or immersion blender. And you're done. Don't you just love cold process emulsifiers?

A few thoughts when using this...

1. You must use distilled water. This is not optional. I'm not talking about water filtered in a Brita or other container. I'm talking distilled water or reverse osmosis water. If you're concerned about your water, heat it before using.

2. You have to follow the instructions the way they're written. This has a cool way of emulsifying, and if you don't put the water phase into the oil phase in a slow stream while mixing with an immersion blender, you will mess it up.

3. Don't try to bring the pH too low. If you do, it will fall apart. It's easy not to mess with the pH of the product - don't add any serious acids.

I encourage you to visit the linked page above to learn more about this emulsifier before we use it tomorrow in a cold process lotion!

For those who think I've taken a while to get talking about my super happy fun trip to Lotioncrafter, I'm sorry. The bottom row of this cupboard contains just a few of the ingredients I brought back - I also have a box of silicones and esters! - so it's taken me a while to inventory them, let alone use them!

The aluminum containers are from Formulator Sample Shop, and there are so many awesome ingredients there, too! There's a third shelf above that one filled with all kinds of awesome colours, micas, and fragrances from Windy Point! And did I mention that there's an entire shelving unit, and at least two more boxes filled with things. Now you know why I get analysis paralysis when I get into my workshop. How to choose what I want to use when there are so may cool things???

I wanted to note that I do get free things from time to time from suppliers, so some of the ingredients from Lotioncrafter and all of the ingredients from the Formulator Sample Shop were free from the supplier. None of the links you click are affiliate links - I just learned what those were and thought I should re-assure you, my lovely readers, that I make no money or gain no reward if you buy something from any supplier anywhere. 

Join me tomorrow as we make a cold process lotion with this new and cool emulsifier! (Ha! Get it? Cool, 'cause it's a cold emulsifier?)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Adding clay to a lotion?

In this post, Modifying our lotions into creams, Dawn asks: I'd like to use your thick cream recipe and add bentonite and kaolin clay to make it an exfoliating foot scrub. Can I simply add the clays to the finished cream at safe usage rates?

Adding clay really can be as easy as adding a certain amount to a product you like and rejoicing about it. However, it's not something you can keep around your house forever. And be aware that some clays dissolve really well in water, so test a small batch first to make sure you aren't creating mud!

I suggest keeping a clay in lotion product for a short period of time, maybe four weeks tops, and using a preservative intended for hard-to-preserve products at the maximum rate. (Something like Germaben II or Phenonip would be good choices here.)

Related posts:
Creating a surfactant based clay cleanser
Using the surfactant base to make scrubs
Physical exfoliants (part two)
Facial scrubs, more exfoliants
Duplicating products: Trilogy's gentle face exfoliant

My first e-zine is available to Patreon subcribers today!

If you're a subscriber for the blog at the $10 level through Patreon, today you'll see the first of my e-zines, Summer Products, available for download! You'll get 31 pages of exclusive to the e-zine recipes for summer products, like aloe vera gels, light summery lotions, and beachy hair sprays, as well as my favourite cool tie pattern!

I'm quite excited right now, as you can probably tell, and I can't wait to hear your feedback about it! Thank you so much to my lovely subscribers!

If you're interested in learning more about what it means to subscribe to me through Patreon, please click here and check out the link "Why Susan Barclay Nichols is on Patreon". 

What to do if you missed this e-zine and you're interested in reading it? These will be available to non-subscribers a while after they are received by the subscribers. (And thank you for being interested in reading them!)

Thank you to all my lovely readers and patrons for supporting me over this really stressful period of time. I hope I have shown my appreciation for your kindness and generosity!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: All about Swift!

In this post, Ultra Bubbly Bubble Bath, HG moisturizer asks: Not sure if this was asked before but I'm really curious, how did you learn to formulate when you first started out? There aren't many schools that teach this and other than your blog (WHICH I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR!!!) I never seem to find much practical information on formulating (>_<) Frankly I have no idea how the cosmetic chemists around the world learn to formulate products lol

Here's a rather longish post, if you'll indulge me.

From this post, What's your background?

I graduated from university with a degree in English and Canadian studies with the intention of teaching. It was the middle of the recession and no one was hiring, so I became a financial worker at the the income assistance department. I eventually became a social worker with the child protection department, but left for a while because it was an incredibly stressful job! After writing a book - and not getting paid for it - I returned to work as a family counsellor with community services, the best job ever and one I am in today.

A few months after starting my job, my husband and I started a games night with a few kids at the library. I started connecting with kids on my caseload through crafting, and we decided to start this group at the library. I had practiced making bath bombs at home, but when we tried them at the library, we failed epically and embarassingly. I went home and did a search to figure out where I went wrong, and I found the Dish forum. (I was using hydrous citric acid and I wanted anhydrous citric acid!) I had no idea you could make all these bath and body products from scratch!

I got up the courage to make a lotion and was completely mesmerized by the moment of emulsification. The success of that project spurred me to try making shampoo, then conditioner, then everything else (except soap). (As an aside, I haven't used any store bought products since 2007 with the exceptions of mascara, toothpaste, and deodorant! I make everything else!)

I started on the first page of the archives of the Dish forum and read to the beginning of that section, then started in on the first page of the current section. I experimented along the way, then returned to those sections with new questions. I started reading textbooks on making products, but I soon realized my chemistry knowledge was lacking, so I registered for a grade 11 class at the local continuing education centre. I didn't take chemistry in high school. I started, but switched out for a German class because that seemed way more interesting, so this was all brand new for me. I finished my first chemistry class in three months, then the grade 12 in two months. (A+ in both classes! Yay!) I re-did my math classes, then registered at the local university for chemistry classes. (I'm still taking classes, and loving them! Am I working towards a degree? It would be nice...)

In the meantime, I started the blog. At first, it was a place to post things from craft group, but in March 2009 - National Craft Month - I decided to turn it into a blog for writing about bath and body products with my first post on toners.

And here we are today. I'm afraid it's not that interesting, but I do hope it encourages those of you who are scared of chemistry and math to give science and math a chance. You don't need to be a whiz to convert recipes from percentages to weights, and you don't need to be in the lab testing everything with a precise scale to make a lotion. A little curiosity and a willingness to learn are what you need to make awesome bath & body products...and I know we all have that inside us!

Related posts:
Why did you start making your own products?
Please share your thoughts! 

Here are two posts about where I get my information, and where you can start...
Where do I get my information?
How to research ingredients?

There isn't a lot on formulating out there, and that's why I write the blog. It's my way of giving back to a community who shared so much with me and started me on this amazing journey. I started writing Point of Interest 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. And I've learned so much from you, my lovely readers!

This is why I ask you to come back to the blog and share your thoughts and experiences. I've seen too many fora and groups turn into places where people don't share, and they turn into sad places where no one participates. I don't want this blog to become one of those sad places...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Experimenting in the workshop: Ultra Bubbly Bubble Bath

My mom loves a nice bubbly bubble bath. I've stuck with my basic recipe for quite some time, but I thought it was time for a change to see what else would work.

I was excited to see Voyageur Soap & Candle has brought LSB (INCI: Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (and) Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate) back. SLSa is a very bubbly and foamy surfactant, and it's an amazing addition if you want bubbly fun. The down side is that SLSa is generally in a powder format, and you can only add maybe 5% to a bottle of liquid bubble bath before it thickens it so hard you can't get it out of the bottle! Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS) has great foaming qualities, so together, they're a winning combination.

We know cocamidopropyl betaine is a great secondary surfactant that has great foam and foam stabilization with thickening properties. And C14-16 olefin sulfonate has good flash foam and cleansing.

What can you do if you don't have these surfactants? Find others that might work for you. Most surfactants you can buy are good with bubbles and foam, so you'll have to play with them to see what works best. I like to use about 50% surfactants to get my bubble-age, so a little goes a long way. I add glycerin as a bubble enhancer. You really don't need more ingredients in this as it's meant to be all about the bubbles and lasting foam.

44.5% distilled water
10% LSB
20% cocamidopropyl betaine
20% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
3% glycerin
2% fragrance - black amber vanilla fragrance oil (Brambleberry)
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
Liquid colouring (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together - except the distilled water - with a large fork or spoon until uniform. Then add the water and mix again until uniform, avoiding too many bubbles. Add your fragrance oil and mix to see what the final viscosity may be. If you want it to be thicker, you'll have to use something like liquid Crothix or Ritathix DOE as this recipe won't thicken well with salt.

I added 1% liquid Crothix to this recipe and it became very very thick. How much you'll need depends upon the fragrance you choose to use. Lavender thickens it, citrus thins it to water. Be prepared to add 0.5% to 1% liquid Crothix, mix well, then add a little more, if necessary.

You can see this is way too thick! Getting it into the bottles was so much work. (I used a funnel, then squished the bottle until a bubble appeared, then I let it suck the bubble bath down. I trashed the bottle doing this!)

What did my mom think of the bubble bath? She likes the bubbles and foam she gets from this one. She would like it in a squeezier bottle - like an HDPE one - as it was a little thick. (Yeah, that was my bad! I went right for 1% Crothix instead of doing it in 0.5% increments. I didn't think it would get that thick!)

Related posts:
Can I water down a thick bubble bath?
Are these surfactants good for a bubble bath?
When products go right! Bubble bath
Surfactants and fragrances
Iron Chemist: LSB results

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Weekend Wonderings; Adding oils to a shampoo? Supplies in Canada?

In the suppliers' list for Canada, Lily asks: Does anyone know where I can buy a lime hydrosol in Canada? And James wants to know where to find a goat's milk lotion base in Canada. Any ideas, my fellow Canucks?

In this post, Shampoo: Modifying the basic shampoo recipe to be more conditioning, Unknown asks: I have African hair, and I wanted to know if adding emollients (coconut oil, castor oil) would be good in a shampoo. If so, what would be the usage rate in a homemade shampoo for these ingredients. Another question: if I add emollients in my shampoos, do I need to add an emulsifyer as well? How would I go about that process of adding the all the ingredients together? (Surfactants, water, emollients,)

Yes, you can add emollients to a shampoo. You may or may not need a solubilizer depending upon the surfactants you use. For instance, C14-16 olefin sulfonate and decyl glucoside are great emulsifiers for small amounts of oil. You could add oils with a solubilizer like PEG-7 cocoate, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, polysorbate 80, or caprylyl/capryl glucoside, but only use a titch as these things can suppress the foam in the product. (Click on the links to see how much you might need to use with your oil.) Finally, you could use a water soluble oil like PEG-7 olivate or water soluble shea, although these will depress your foam a bit, too.

Check out these posts to learn more about using oils in surfactant based products...
Using water soluble oils in a shampoo
A few notes about oils in shampoo
A body wash with oils

Having said all of this, should you add some oils to your product? Oils can increase mildness of a surfactant mix, which is a good thing, but will they do any good in a rinse off product? I think yes, adding a bit can be a good thing. Which one you use is up to you, but I always like coconut oil for hair products as it's inexpensive and it can penetrate your hair strand.

I'm afraid I'm not an expert on African hair types, so I get my information from you, my wonderful readers. I'm always open to learning more about your experiences, so please feel free to comment! What are your experiences with hair care products? 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: Using MSM? Lip safe preservatives?

In this post on MSM, Unknown asks: I bought some MSM from Voyageur after seeing it as an ingredient in a muscle ointment from my chiropractor. I am not sure how to use it though in muscle rub, especially after searching a bit and finding it is used mainly in shampoo and skin cream. Can you please help me or suggest something. I want to make a nice muscle/Arthritis lotion/rub. Thank you.

MSM is hygroscopic - meaning it is a humectant - and we buy it in as a water soluble white powder so it's easier and less stinky to use than sulphur powder. We add it in the heated water phase of our lotions and other creations so it will dissolve properly. When added to lotions and other emulsified things, it can cool down and leave shards behind that are most unpleasant on the skin if not properly dissolved (it's a lot like allantoin in that way). Start at 1% and see how you like it in your products - you can use it up to 5% for products intended for oily hair or skin related products, up to 10% for pain relief.

You cannot use it in an anhydrous product (non-water, oil only containing product) as it is water soluble. This means you cannot put into a lotion bar, whipped butter, balm, or salve. You have to use it in a product that contains water, like a lotion. If you check out the newbies section of the blog, you'll see a nice basic lotion that could easily accept MSM into it. Start with 1% in the heated water phase to see what you think of it. Make a small 100 gram batch of lotion and see what you think of it before making a larger batch and adding more MSM.

Let us know how it turns out!

In this post on Phenonip, fie_jia asks: Can i use optiphen plus or germall plus for my lip product recipe such as lip stain that contain water ? Or can you suggest me a better preservative for lip product that contain water ? Thank you : )

If you want to know more about a preservative and the information isn't here on the blog, a great idea is to do a Google search for "preservative name" + data bulletin +lip safe. You'll find quite a lot of information. If it isn't immediately obvious, take a look at the products for which they suggest the preservative, and you can get a better sense of how to use it. 

No, you can't use liquid Germall Plus in lip products. I can't find anything about Optiphen Plus being lip safe or not - I would say "not", based on the data sheets I found that don't include any suggestions for using it in lip products - but I have found quite a lot about parabens being lip safe. So you might want to look into Phenonip or Germaben II. Optiphen might also be safe. I think you'll have to do a bit more research about one of these preservatives before putting it in a lip product. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Melting point for conditioner bars?

In this post on solid conditioner bars, Kenzie asks: I was wondering what the melting point of the finished bars are. I am concerned about shipping in the summer. Also, does this recipe need to be put into single molds or would I be able to make a large batch in a soap loaf and cut it after it hardens?

Melting point is such an interesting concept, and it's something I haven't addressed as often as I should on this blog.

The melting point of Incroquat BTMS-50 is around 60˚C. The melting point of Incroquat CR, if you use it, is about the same. Cetyl alcohol melts at 49˚C, while most butters melt at 38˚C or higher. (Don't use coconut oil or babassu as they melt around 24˚C, which is awesome on you skin, but not so awesome if they melt in transit.)

It's not as easy as saying that if you keep this at 38˚C or higher, it won't melt as there are so many factors that go into the melting point of a product. But what I can tell you is that I have been using conditioner bars for almost nine years. I have taken them camping many times, and they generally live in my bath tub or in my workshop, both of which can get very warm. And I have never had a conditioner bar melt on me. My workshop can get really hot, well over 35˚C, and no melting.

I don't want to guarantee that you won't see meltage, but I can tell you that I haven't. Just stick with higher melting point butters, if you include them at all, and you should be okay.

Anyone have any experience with this they'd like to share? 

Related posts:
Melting points of butters
How do we heat proof an emulsified scrub?

As for putting it into a solid loaf and cutting it - sure, I think you could do that. (I've never tried it, but I can't see why it wouldn't work!) The bars aren't super hard when they're done, so I think you could cut them with a nice soap cutting tool.

Let us know how this turns out!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Can we use Lotionpro 165 in an emulsified scrub?

In this post on emulsifiers, Toni asks: Can you see any reason that Lotionpro 165 should not be used as an emulsifier for emulsifier sugar scrub? I ran out of Polawax but I'm not sure if Lotionpro has limitations.

Lotionpro 165 (Lotioncrafter's name for it) or Simulsol 165 (same thing, found at Windy Point) is a great emulsifier for making light, fluffy lotions and body butters. It would be a great addition to an emulsified scrub and, honestly, I can't believe I haven't tried it yet. It's going on my to-do list now!

I haven't found an emulsifier that couldn't be used in one of my emulsified scrubs yet. Each one brings a different skin feel to the product - Incroquat BTMS-50 is a bit dry feeling while Rita BTMS-225 (same as Incroquat BTMS-25) feels a bit waxier - but they can all emulsify the oils enough to create an awesome product.

Okay, I should correct that. I don't think the new cold processed emulsifiers I've been using like Aristoflex AVC and Sepiplus 400 would do well in a scrub, but I haven't tried them to prove that yet.  I know Sucragel AOF is terrible for this kind of product.

So the short answer is yes, try it and let us know how it goes!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Weekend Wonderings: How can I make this lotion thinner?

In this post, if you're new to lotion making, Ann asks: I have made a couple of lotions, each time increasing the water content to try and make them more runny. My last batch was 80% water and it is still quite solid. I was wondering if it is due to the mixing stage. How long do I mix the lotion for after I add the oil to the water, and the when I add the ingredients to the cool down phase?

51.5% water
28% aloe vera juice
2% glycerin

10% coconut oil
2% cetyl alcohol
4% Polawax

1% vitamin e oil
0.5% liquid germ all
0.5% lavender
0.5% frankincense

Thanks for sharing your recipe in percentages. I need this information to be able to offer help!

Here are a few generalizations about lotion making and viscosity...

1. A lotion with 80% water should be a more liquid one than one with 70% water or 60% water.
2. A lotion that contains fatty alcohols, like cetyl alcohol, which act as thickeners, will be thicker than one made without these ingredients.
3. A lotion made with a solid oil or butter, like coconut oil, will be thicker than one made with a liquid oil, like rice bran oil.
4. A lotion made with Polawax will be thinner than one made with Ritamulse SCG, the same as one with e-wax, and thicker than one with Lotionpro 165. In other words, the viscosity can be changed by changing the emulsifier.

These are a few places to start with how you can modify this recipe. You are using coconut oil, which contains solid fatty acids like lauric, myristic, and palmitic, which will thicken the recipe quite a bit compared to a liquid oil. My first suggestion is to switch the solid oil for something more liquid, like fractionated coconut oil, rice bran oil, and so on.

You could take the cetyl alcohol out and create a thinner product. Cetyl alcohol is lovely as a stabilizer for the product, and it offers a lovely silk and glide, but it will thicken the lotion quite well, which really isn't want you want. If you're removing it, though, consider increasing your Polawax by 1% to create more stability.

I would take the aloe vera out of the mix right now. Aloe vera is filled with electrolytes, which can mess with an emulsion. In general, I rarely go over 10% as that seems to be the ideal amount for my products.

Related posts:
Is water important or just a filler?
Electrolytes in our products

Here's how I'd alter the recipe:

78.5% distilled water
2% glycerin

12% liquid oil of some type
5% Polawax

1% vitamin e oil
0.5% liquid germ all
0.5% lavender
0.5% frankincense

When it comes to mixing, I generally mix for about 3 to 5 minutes after I add the heated oil and water phases together. Then I set it aside to cool. When it reaches 45˚C or lower, I add my cool down phase and mix again for another few minutes. Then I let it cool to room temperature before bottling.

As an aside, you really don't need an anti-oxidant in this recipe as you've written it. Your cetyl alcohol and coconut oil have at least a two year life span. You can use it if you want the skin benefits, but it's not necessary as an anti-oxidant for the oils.

I hope this helps. Thanks for the great question!

Related posts:
Formulating a light lotion (click "newer post" at the bottom to see more modifications of this recipe)
Lotions: Making a light lotion

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What's happening, Swift?

Sorry for the lack of posts, but it's been really stressful around here dealing with family health issues! Rest assured I've been working on blog things, like developing new recipes for the upcoming summer products e-zine my July Patreon subscribers will receive, and writing posts. (That's an awesome aloe vera gel! It feels as nice as it looks!)

Thank you for your kind words about continuing to answer comments (found in this post). I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

And thanks for your comments on the Newbie Tuesday facial products series. We have a looming postal strike in Canada, so that, combined with the stuff going on in my life, means we'll be pushing back the starting date for that series. I have been talking with a company about offering kits to go along with the series, so I hope to have some news about that soon.

Thanks for your patience with me. It honestly feels like my life was turned upside down on March 14 when I found out I was being bumped from the job I love so much. I was lucky to be continue doing it on a part time basis, but that's been a massive change in my life that I'm still processing. (There's a lot more going on, but my mom is a very private person and I will respect her privacy by not discussing what's going on in her life.) I'm so fortunate to have such lovely readers who offer me kindness and support during trying times. Thank you!

Friday, July 1, 2016

All kinds of administrative stuff about Patreon; one ingredient, five products; facial products; and more...

Happy Canada Day, everyone! I generally celebrate July 1st by being out of my home and native land camping and visiting my American friends, but we're home this week, and I've been busy in the workshop making all kinds of wonderful and wacky things with new and familiar ingredients. (I have been listening to a Vancouver band, Unleash the Archers, in honour of the day! All I need is a Tim Horton's dougnut, some Hickory Sticks, and more words with the extra "u" and I'm a happy Canadian, eh?)

I wanted to offer you a gentle reminder about my Patreon page, where you can subscribe to the blog to help me write more posts, create more recipes, and share more with you, my wonderful readers. There are different levels of subscription, but the $10 per month subscription will get you a copy of my upcoming e-zine, Summer products!

Right now, if you subscribe after the 1st of the month, your subscription will start on the first of the next month. (So if you read this July 2nd, your subscription would start August 1st.) Which means you don't get access to the exclusive things until then. This may change in the future - it's a Patreon thing, not a me thing - and I'll update you when that happens!

And thank you to all my lovely subscribers! Don't forget to visit the Patreon feed to see the duplicated product recipes, the Q&A, and the e-zine! 

I've chosen a one ingredient, five products ingredient and it's xanthan gum! Look for that series to start in the next few weeks. (As you can see, I've been playing with it a bit already!)

I'm working on the supply list for the Newbie Tuesday series coming up on facial products...but there's a bit of a snag. We have a pending postal strike in Canada, which means I'm not sure how people might get their supplies.

If you're interested in that series, I'm wondering if you want to get a list for all the products we'll be making or by product? Let me know!

Hope you're having a lovely day and an even more lovely weekend to come!