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...


Dianne Bowler said...

I started my journey via soapmaking when a friend asked me if I'd like to learn. I made my first batch with her help on my kitchen bench about 3 years ago. I loved it so much I started looking for classes and did them all. Then I found a class on Liquid Soap, then Perfumery and then Lotions and Creams - I was hooked.

I'm so grateful I found your blog as I've learned so much more about the Chemistry and I am doing a course early in the new year in Cosmetic Chemistry Stages 1-3 to help cement those concepts down.

I have missed many a meal as I formulate and practise in my little shed which my son has affectionately nicknamed "The Meth Lab" much to my horror. "What are you up to today Mum, making more Meth"? Very funny!!

ingenting said...

I actually think it is interesting how you went from an English degree to acing chemistry!

Eventhough you skipped out on science type subjects in highschool, you were still able to do it at a later age, which shows that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve so many things!

I skipped out on physics, chemistry, biology and "hard" math in highschool because I didn't think I was smart enough...
Now, some 10 years after graduating from highschool, I'm doing a bachelor of engineering course and, despite a lot of struggles, I adore it!

I think a lot of people underestimate themselves regarding STEM type subjects/courses...

So I like that your blog is a source of inspiration and shows people how fun chemistry can really be:)

HG moisturizer said...

Oh my god, thank you so so much for this wonderful answer and for sharing your story (It's proof that if you set your mind to something you can get it done!) and another hundred thank yous for sharing your knowledge with those us on the net!

When I was in highschool I made a list of things I wanted to do in the future and the one thing that seemed the most impossible to do was "make my own skin care products".

10 years later by some miracle I stumbled onto your blog which changed everything. You made the impossible possible!

I was a pre-med student double majoring in Biology and Psychology hoping to become a dermatologist (my obsession with skin care is deep lol) but I think I've learned more about skin health by studying personal care formulating than I ever did studying skin diseases (which may seem odd but it's true!)

I've been on break from my undergraduate studies but I hope my love for formulating rekindles my love for chemistry~

And thanks again for putting so much time and effort into this blog! I'll definitely look into all the links you've included.

Best wishes,