Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Using 100x or 200x aloe vera powder in our products

In yesterday's post on cooling sprays, I used aloe vera 200x powder, which is a concentrated powdered extract that we can dissolve into water to make aloe vera.

The easiest way to do it is this: Into a container, measure out 1 gram aloe vera 200x extract, add 198 grams of distilled water, and 1 gram of liquid Germall Plus. This will give you 200 grams of reconstituted aloe vera, which you should store in a bottle for future use.

If you want to use another preservative, please make sure it can be used in an all water product and it can handle high levels of electrolytes. (Check out the preservatives section for more information.)

I can do it straight into the bottle as I have this awesome little MicroMini™ Mixer from Lotioncrafter* Seriously, I love this thing! I've been playing with all kinds of tiny mixers lately, and I'll share that all in a post shortly! 

I've read a few recipes lately in which people are using 0.5% 200x aloe vera powder directly into a product, which isn't a good idea. Why? Because doing this means you don't have water in this product any more - you have aloe vera.

Think of it this way: If you measure out 2 litres (2 quarts) of water and add a package of Kool-Aid into it, you don't have 2 litres of water, you have 2 litres of Kool-Aid. You wouldn't think of using that water to make soup, wash your face, or clean your countertops because it's not water any more, it's (brightly coloured) Kool-Aid. This is what we're doing if we add 0.5% 200x or 1% 100x aloe vera powder directly into a product: We're adding aloe vera, not plain water.

I recognize that Kool-Aid still contains water, but it's not pure water. It's water with colours and salts and sugar and other things, which is the point of that paragraph.

What's wrong with loads and loads of aloe vera? Isn't it great for our skin? It's a lovely ingredient, but using this much is definitely messing with the viscosity of the product. For products made with surfactants, you're pretty much guaranteeing they won't thicken well, even with all the liquid Crothix in the world. When you go past a certain level of electrolytes, they get into the "forget it, I'm never thickening zone" of the salt curve, and nothing will make that watery thin mess back into a just-right gooey loveliness. You can see on the picture to your left that between 3 and 3.5% is the danger zone, and adding 0.5% 200x aloe vera powder to your amazing facial cleanser, body wash, or shampoo probably that point, depending on the surfactants you've chosen.

If you want to see this in action, try this for yourself! Into a container weigh 30% C14-16 olefin sulfonate (Bioterge AS-40) or 30% sodium laureth sulfate (SLeS), 10% cocamidopropyl betaine, 0.5% liquid Germall Plus, and 59.5% distilled water.  Mix well, then add 2% liquid Crothix. Then try a version with 10% aloe vera liquid (meaning you have 49.5% distilled water) and another version with 0.5% 200x aloe vera powder. Can you see the difference in viscosity?

Almost every one of our emulsifiers from Polawax to Incroquat BTMS-50 to Simulgreen 18-2 has a limit on electrolytes, and every one of our gelling agents like Sepimax ZEN, Sepinov EMT 10, and Ultrez 20 has a definite limit on them, so using 0.5% or 1% powder straight into those products will end up in separation and a serious loss of viscosity.

If you have 200x powder and want to add it directly into a product, adding 0.05% would equal 10% aloe vera and 0.10% would equal 20% aloe vera.

If you have 100x powder, you'd use 0.1% to get 10% aloe vera or 0.2% to get 20% aloe vera.

I generally use no more than 10% aloe vera liquid in my products, although I will go as high as 20% or 30% aloe vera for toners or sprays as I don't have to worry about separation or loss of viscosity.

*Please note, I do have a relationship with Lotioncrafter in that I think Jen is awesome and I consider her a good friend, but this is not a sponsored post or affiliate link. I get nothing if you click through, and I'm sharing it because I am having a serious love affair with this tiny mixer! 

Monday, August 21, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Peppermint & chamomile cooling spray

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you probably already know how much I hate the heat and how much I love cooling sprays. I love to create these combinations of humectants and film formers and things that make my skin less angry with the world during the summer. So let's take a look at the one I made recently for my trip to Las Vegas for the 2017 HSCG Conference in Las Vegas.

My cooling sprays always start with a bit of peppermint essential oil in them as it contains awesome ingredients like 1,8 cineole and menthol that trick our skin into thinking it's cooler than it is, which is always a bonus no matter what the weather.

If I'm adding this at 2%, I have to add some kind of solubilizer to include it in a watery base as oil and water don't mix.

I could use something like polysorbate 20 or caprypyl/capryl glucosidebut these are sticky things, and given I'm already grumpty and annoyed by the heat, this probably isn't the skin feel I'm seeking. In this version, I chose to use PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil at 2% with 2% peppermint essential oil.

I could have used Cromollient SCE at 2% (or slightly higher) as it has a lightly oily feeling, but I didn't have any at the time. That would have been quite nice! 

I want quite a few humectants - ingredients that draw water from the atmosphere to our skin - as this will make my skin feel cooler and hydrated. I could use glycerin, but then we encounter the whole grumpy-Swift-is-also-sticky thing, so let's see if we can't find another choice here.

Sodium lactate is one of my go-to humectants. It's inexpensive, effective, and non-sticky. As I will probably be exposed to the sun and as it can make one sun sensitive, I have to keep it below 3% active ingredient. This means no more than 3% powder or 5% liquid (at 60% active, this means that 5% x 0.60 = 3%). It's far too easy to add a titch more when we're measuring, so I'll use this at 2% liquid or 3% powder to ensure I'm not close to that danger zone. ("Danger Zone!" for all you Archer fans out there!)

I'm also adding 3% propanediol 1,3, my new favourite humectant. It's a naturally derived substitute for propylene glycol that can be used at up to 20% in your water phase. It's a humectant that draws water from the atmosphere to your skin to offer hydration. It has a 9 to 12 month shelf life once opened. But I find it's a little lighter and drier feeling than propylene glycol. If you don't have this, use 3% propylene glycol instead.

I like to have some film formers in my products, so I'm adding 2% hydrolyzed quinoa protein as I like the way it works in a cooling spray because it's not sticky and doesn't have a strong odour. If you don't have this, use any other protein you have at home.

I love to include aloe vera extract as an anti-irritant and film forming ingredient, but I don't want too much as it can feel a bit sticky, too. I'm using 5% aloe vera 200x (reconstituted into a liquid) in this product. And I'm adding chamomile hydrosol because it'll offer soothing and anti-reddening properties as well as a reduction in transepidermal water loss. Feel free to leave these out or choose another hydrosol. I know rose water is very popular right now, so that's a nice option.

If you aren't sure how to use 100x or 200x aloe vera powder, join me tomorrow - August 22nd - in this post for more information

I'll two of my usual favourites - panthenol at 2% as it's a humectant, film former, and wound healer, and allantoin at 0.5% as my occlusive - as well as witch hazel, which has some natural alcohol in it that will offer a cooling sensation.

Finally, I'm adding 0.5% liquid Germall Plus to the mix. I know we've been told not to use this in aerosols, and you should never just take my word for it, but it's safe to use in this product. It has to do with how much of something is in here and it's well below allowable levels. (I can't find the link right now, but I'm searching for it!)

There are loads of other things you could include in this formula, such as liquid cucumber extract at 5% as in this formula, alcohol at up to 10% for a cooling sensation, or another hydrosol, like rose or peppermint. It's up to you to modify this as you wish. Remember, when we add something to the formula, we must remove something else to make it total 100%. So if you add 10% rose water, remove 10% from the distilled water amount, meaning you have 51% distilled water now.

Related post: Adding and removing from the water amount

Or you could just make this with 2% peppermint essential oil, 2% solubilizer, preservative, and distilled water, if you want.

Please remember that when we are making things cold, we have to take a few precautions, like using distilled or reverse osmosis water, including the proper amount of a broad spectrum preservative, not re-using bottles or jars, and sanitizing our surfaces.

61% distilled water
10% witch hazel
10% chamomile hydrosol
5% aloe vera extract (liquid, not gel)
3% propanediol 1,3
2% hydrolyzed quinoa protein
2% panthenol
2% sodium lactate (liquid)
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

2% PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil
2% peppermint essential oil

Into a container, weigh the water phase and mix. You can heat this slightly to around 40˚C to make the allantoin dissolve better. If you do that, don't put the liquid Germall Pus in until you've finished heating it and have measured the temperature is below 45˚C.

Into a small container, like a shot glass, measure the PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil and peppermint essential oil and mix well. Add to the water phase, mix well, then put into cute spray bottles. Enjoy!

What did I think of this? To be honest, nothing was going to save me from the heat of Las Vegas in May, but it did make me feel a bit better and definitely made me smell better!

I really like this version of the cooling spray. It's so much less sticky than my previous ones, and I like the dry, almost silica like feel of the propanediol. This one is definitely a keeper!

This makes a lovely toner, but make sure you remove the peppermint as it's a bit too much near the eyes at 2%.

Related posts: I have so many different formulas for cooling sprays and hydrating toners, so I'll refer you to a search as there's just too much to read! Here are a few samples...
Cucumber extract in an apres shaving spray
Making a cooling spray (part three - links to the other parts are in this one)
Aloe vera apres sun spray 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: What's making my lotion sticky? (part two)

Yesterday, we took a look at a formula submitted by BrNy to see what could be making her lotion sticky. Today, we'll see what we can do to reduce that skin feel.

Here's the ingredient list again: Glycerin, resveratrol, n-acetyl glucosamine, water, sea kelp bioferment, niacinamide, dl-panthenol, allantoin, liquid Germall Plus, fractionated coconut oil, and Aristoflex AVC.

What can make your skin feel sticky? Glycerin, sea kelp bioferment, and Aristoflex AVC.

What can we do about them? Loads of things!

Glycerin is the big culprit here, but we need it to dissolve the resveratrol in something like alcohol, glycerin, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, or propanediol 1,3, to name a few solvents. Aristoflex AVC can handle alcohol - up to 50%, but I haven't tested it that high - so we know alcohol is an option. 2% alcohol to 0.5% resveratrol would work. You could do the same for any of the solvents.

I admit it - I'm having a torrid love affair with propanediol 1,3 as a humectant and solvent these days. It has a dry, almost powdery skin feel with no stickiness. I've been dissolving everything in it lately, from salicylic acid to resveratrol, and it works so well in that capacity. I've also been using it as a humectant in my cooling sprays, toners, and other places I really don't want a sticky after feel. It's awesome!

You can see it in action in this Gigawhite & Vitamin C moisturizer with Aristoflex as I dissolve 0.5% resveratrol in 3% propanediol, and it feels just lovely!

I'll be writing more about this later this week as I've just realized I don't have a post on this ingredient. What the heck???

When it comes to sea kelp bioferment, we don't have a load of options because we can't include hydrolyzed proteins in Aristoflex as it messes with the viscosity too much. You could leave it out entirely, or you could see how you like it with just the glycerin removed. I would reduce it down to 2% as that'll be enough for the film forming properties we want. 

With this little tweak, your formula would look like this...

2.0% propanediol 1,3, propylene glycol, or denatured alcohol
0.5% Resveratrol

81.5% Distilled water 
2.0% Sea Kelp Bioferment
4.0% n-acetyl glucosamine
3.0% Niacinamide
2.0% dl-Panthenol
0.5% Allantoin

3.0% Lotioncrafter FCO

1.0% Aristoflex AVC

 0.5% liquid Germall Plus

1.  Mix the propanediol 1,3, propylene glycol, or denatured alcohol with the resveratrol into a small container, like a shot glass. Set aside for a moment. 
2. Measure distilled or de-ionized water into a container. You can heat it slightly - no more than 40˚C - to ensure the allantoin, niacinamide, and panthenol dissolve. 
3. Add your water soluble ingredients to the container, then add the resveratrol to the container. Mix with a stick blender for a few seconds. 
4. Add the oil soluble ingredients. 
5. Add the Aristoflex AVC. 
6. Add the preservative. 
7. Mix well. Bottle, and rejoice! 

So what did BrNy think? The batch I made turned a brownish color so i chucked it (could the resveratrol have caused the discoloration ?) and made a new batch sans glycerin or resveratrol and tweaked a bit. To that old recipe I added NAG at 4%, niacinamide at 2% and honeyquat at 3%. I love this new version of the lotion, it's NOT sticky at all and my skin saw good improvement in tone and texture since i started using it. In my experience making facial lotions, glycerin usually makes my pores look enlarged and it breaks me out so I'm leaving that out from now on. 

So it's a success with less stickiness by just switching out the glycerin. Yay! This is a great example how a small change can have a big impact on the skin feel of your product. 

Yes, the resveratrol could alter the colour of your product slightly. I've had this happen, too. 

Be careful when you're adding something like honeyquat to Aristoflex AVC. It's anionic or negatively charged and Honeyquat is cationic or positively charged, so they can interact and ruin the emulsion or the viscosity of your product. (I've done this before, and it's not a huge deal, just know that this can happen.) 

Before we leave this topic, BrNy asked another great question: Would sodium lactate or sodium PCA be good alternatives in lotions made with other emulsifier like Incroquat BTMS-50 (since Aristoflex AVC can't handle sodium?) Can they be used together in a lotion? 

I love sodium lactate so much - it's one of my favourite ingredients - but, as you mention, it can't be used in Aristoflex AVC. I love sodium PCA, too, it's one I don't use as much as I can't get it easily in Canada. So the quick answer is that yes, you can combine different humectants together to make something super hydrating! 

As usual, my brain spied a "shiny thing" in your question about humectants, and I've gone down the rabbit hole about humectants for a few hours. I'll be writing more about them later this week. Until then, join me tomorrow for an awesome cooling spray chock full of our lovely humectants as we continue the "It's too hot to craft!" series! 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Weekend Wondering: What's making my lotion sticky? (Part one)

In this post, Aristoflex AVC - light lotion with NAG, ceramides, and quaternized rice, BrNy asked: I know this is an old-ish post but thought I'd try my luck anyway. I made this lotion based off of a recipe I saw at Lotioncrafter.com but added NAG at 4% and subtracted 4ml of water (I made 100 g of lotion.) I love the consistency and all but it feels pretty sticky, even after I feel the lotion sank into my skin. Do u suppose maybe the glycerin is what is making the lotion sticky? I'm pretty new to skin care formulations and been following your blog for a few months now (been kinda obsessed a little... or maybe a lot!!) Any input will be greatly appreciated! Recipe as follows:

Phase A 
2.00% Glycerin
0.50% Resveratrol

Phase B 
83.0% Distilled water (79% actually, because I added NAG at 4%)
4.00% Sea Kelp Bioferment
3.00% Niacinamide
2.00% dl-Panthenol
0.50% Allantoin
0.50% Liquid Germall Plus
3.00% Lotioncrafter FCO

Phase C 
1.00% Aristoflex AVC

I simply followed the "how to" instructions and ended up with lovely lotion that is pretty light... but sticky!!! I'll use this up but wanted to tweak the ingredients a bit to get rid of the stickiness.

I say this all time but there are no old posts. I receive notifications for every single comment on the blog regardless of age. As well, this is from February 2016, which may be "old" in Internet time, but not so old that the product has gone rancid. (In fact, I still have a sample of my lotion on the shelf and it feels great!)

Let's take a look at all the ingredients that could make this a sticky product...

Glycerin: Yeah, this is the queen of the stickies, along with other poly alcohol or sugar based ingredients.

Resveratrol: I haven't found this to be sticky, but if it's dissolved in glycerin, it could be a contributing factor.

n-acetyl glucosamine: This is a bio-identical ingredient that can reduce hyperpigmentation in the skin, and has been shown to work well when combined with niacinamide. It can also increase hydration of our skin by increasing the production of hyaluronic acid in our skin. This combination has been studied and found to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation to promote a more uniform skin tone. (Whew! That’s a lot of stuff, eh?) I don't think this contributes to stickiness in a product.

Sea kelp bioferment: This is a great film former and substitute for hydrolyzed proteins in this formula as Aristoflex AVC can't handle those lovely ingredients. I usually use it at 2% and I see you have it at 4%, so dropping that down to 2% might be an idea?

Niacinamide: Used at as little as 2%, niacinamide can increase skin’s barrier lipids and ceramides, which results in a reduction of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and an increase in collagen synthesis. It can reduce sebum production and pore diameter, as well as reducing hyperpigmentation of age and sun spots. It can reduce the damage from environmental causes, which reduces the irritation, inflammation, and skin redness from things like the sun, cold, or weather as well as application of straight SLS.  Even at 5%, there's a lack of irritation and redness on our faces ('cause sometimes niacin can make our skin flush, but not at 2% or 5%). It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and decreases skin blotchiness and "pebbling" or roughness on facial skin. It also behaves as an anti-inflammatory and enhances skin's barrier functions.

I don't think this is contributing to the stickness of the product.

dl-Panthenol: I'm guessing you're using the powder for this awesome humectant, hydrator, anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, anti-itch, and wound healing ingredient. Liquid or powder, this shouldn't contribute to the stickiness.

Allantoin: This is another one of my favourite ingredients that I use to soothe skin and prevent wind and cold chapping. I use it at 0.5% as well. This definitely isn't contributing to the stickness.

Liquid Germall Plus: Your preservative isn't contributing to the stickiness when used at 0.5%.

Fractionated coconut oil: This very thin oil feels slightly dry and non-greasy, and not sticky at all. Some oils could have that effect - especially something like lanolin - but FCO is all about the light moisturizing.

Aristoflex AVC (INCI Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer): This emulsifier can feel a bit sticky to some people. I don't notice it, but I've had other people ask me about this and you may be one of those who notices it.

We have three potential sticky culprits here: Glycerin, Aristoflex AVC, and sea kelp bioferment. What can we do about this? As this post is getting long, join me tomorrow to see what we can do about altering the skin feel of this lotion!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Cold process hair conditioners - part four with ICE Hair Restore

Last Monday, we met a new, cold process conditioner I bought from Making Cosmetics called Ice Hair Restore (aka Gracefruit's EasyMix Smooth or Jeesperse CPCS). Last Tuesday, we made a hair conditioner with it, then modified that on Wednesday into a more intense conditioner my best friend coined the Pineapple Express Intense Conditioner.

Let's modify this formula to include some oils as ICE Hair Restore can emulsify up to 10%. (Click there to see why I'm using the ingredients I'm using...)

83% distilled or purified water
5% ICE Hair Restore
3% Volumizing complex
2% Hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% panthenol (liquid)
2% dimethicone 350 cs
2% cyclomethicone
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% Pineapple cilantro fragrance oil (from Windy Point Soap)

All our formulas should total 100% so we can quickly see whether we're using our ingredients in proper amounts as per the suggested usage rates. So when we add something to the mix, we have to remove something to keep that total at 100%. In this case, it's easiest to add our oil at 5% and remove 5% distilled water.

In this case, I'm adding some monoi de Tahiti, coconut oil infused with gardenia flowers that smells amazing! This is an awesome inclusion in a hair conditioner as coconut oil has a high affinity for the proteins in our hair, plus the fatty acids are actually small enough to penetrate the strand. (Click for more information...)

If you don't have monoi de Tahiti, you can use normal coconut oil or any other oil. I really really love this smell, which is weird because I didn't think of myself as a flower kind of girl, but it turns out I love all kinds of flower fragrances!

If we add 5% coconut oil to this formula, we have to take 5% out of the water phase, so our distilled water amount will be 78%. You'll notice everything else is the same.

5% ICE Hair Restore

5% monoi de Tahiti

78% distilled or purified water
3% Volumizing complex
2% hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% panthenol (liquid)
2% dimethicone 350 cs
2% cyclomethicone
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% lemongrass verbena fragrance oil (Voyageur Soap & Candle)

Weigh the ICE Hair Restore out separately into a tiny container, then mix with my tiny stick blender until it's more of a paste.

Melt the monoi de Tahiti oil until melted or liquid. (As a note, it's super hot in my workshop, so I didn't need to melt the monoi de Tahiti as it has a melting point of 24˚C or 76˚F, and we exceeded that yesterday.)

Into a container, weigh the water phase, then add the ICE Hair Restore, and mix for around 30 seconds. Add the oil, and mix for 15 or so seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients into the container, mixing after every addition.

You're done! Rejoice!

You might notice I have a fragrance oil in that formula. I added that as I couldn't smell the monoi in the finished product, and I really like to have a light fragrance in my hair conditioners. If you want the monoi fragrance, up the amount to 10% and remove the cyclomethicone and dimethicone. (They're part of the total 10% oils this ingredient can emulsify. Keeping them in will result in failure. I know this, sadly, by experience.) I started at 0.5% fragrance oil, then upped it to a total of 0.75%, which I think is a bit much. That's what I get for trusting my nose instead of my scale!

I can't stress enough how much you want to mix the ICE Hair Restore powder before adding it. You can see the giant lump in this picture, which I've had trouble breaking down once combined, so definitely give it a whirl with a small stick blender or even your gloved hands!

Don't you love these tiny mixers? I've been using Lotioncrafter's Minipro Mixer for ages, but they've come out with the MICROMini™ Mixer that's even smaller. (I'll show you how to use that shortly. You can put it right into a bottle, which is awesome!) I also purchased this Mini Mixer from Candora Soap, which I'm loving! 

How to mix this? You can use a stick blender, a mini blender, or a hand mixer. If I have to use a larger device to mix, I prefer to use a hand mixer. You don't really have to worry about using a high shear or immersion or stick blender type appliance for this product. You don't want to mix it by hand. It's very rare that we want to mix by hand.

Related post: Can how and when we mix have an impact on an emulsion?

What do I think of this formula? I really like it and I have really oily hair. (I don't recommend using it on your scalp if you're an oily person like me...) My hair felt light and moisturized without being heavy and weighed down. I had lovely waves and ringlets in my hair for the first two days, which made me very happy, and my hair felt very soft. It was shiny, which is something that I don't generally see as I have coarse, wavy hair strands, which was a really pleasant surprise.

I mentioned in this post that I think I need a humectant in the mix as my hair feels a bit dry on the ends on the morning of day three, and I feel this way about this version as well. I'll share that formula with you early next week.

If you have dry hair, you'll definitely want to add a humectant to the mix - say 3% glycerin to start - as you'll want more hydration than this formula offers. (I will be sharing that formula with you early next week.)

If you have oily hair, you might not want to use the oil at all, so try last week's formula without it if you're worried about that.

I wish this was a little less grainy than it is. I think I could fix that by heating it up, but that defeats the purpose of using this product, so I'll live with it!

What do you think? Have you tried this ingredient? What did you make? What would you suggest for other variations? Share your thoughts!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Question: Is normal for products with citrus oils to go orange?

In the August Q&A on Patreon, Anne asked: I am wondering why my room spray with citrus oils has turned orange. It smells perfectly fine and is preserved with 0.5% LGP. I recall you making a body wash with citrus that turned colour. Is it just a natural reaction you don't need to worry about?

I wouldn't worry about it. This happens to me all the time, as you can see from this picture of the Japanese themed body wash I made with Yuzu fragrance oil. I've had it happen with all kinds of citrus-y fragrance and essential oils, from Sweet Meyer Lemon and Lemon Curd to tangerine or sweet orange. It's just something citrus does with certain ingredients. I haven't had huge issues with lotions or creams, but it definitely alters the colour of things like my surfactant blends all kinds of yellow or orange.

Check out this post on using orange essential oil in your products.

You'll see this with fragrances that contain vanilla, too. They start browning over time, leaving your white lotion beige and your soap a more chocolate-y colour than you expected. This one I made with Michele from Windy Point Soap started off creamy, but the strawberry jam fragrance oil we used turned it brown. Which is fine with me as it smells and feels great!

Having said this, always observe the colour of your product. (This is one of the reasons I like clear bottles.) If you have a product that's changing colour - for instance, going brown or green or pink - that could be unpreserved or has been exposed to a lot of heat, you may be experiencing some kind of contamination.

Related posts:
Product testing - includes information on fragrance morphing
Surfactants and clarity
My article from Handmade magazine, The science behind citrus
My article from Handmade magazine, Understanding the vanilla villain
My article from Handmade magazine, The science of colour morphing

If you're interested in supporting the blog, please check out my Patreon page! There all kinds of rewards for subscribing, from the Q&A section to the requests for duplicating section. $10 subscribes also receive an e-zine every month brimming with new formulas and ingredients!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Question from Patreon: Does polyquaternium 10 have a shelf life? Is acetic acid or aspen bark extract a good preservative?

In the July Q&A on Patreon, Belinda asked: I have two questions...1) do you know if polyquaternium 10 has an expiration date? I've checked the website I bought it from (Personal Formulator) plus a couple more that sell it, and I've not seen anywhere if it does, indeed, expire. The reason I ask is because I'm having problems getting it to dissolve in my water phase, and I was wondering if the reason was that it's not "fresh". 2) Is acetic acid and aspen bark extract a good preservative system for hair conditioner? I've seen this listed on a product being sold on Etsy, and I have not found any evidence to back up the fact that this is a good preservation for a conditioner. I told my friend she should throw it out, but am now wondering if I was over-reacting. 

The quick answer to the first question about polyquaternium 10 is that everything has an expiry date at some point, so we just have to find it. This version has a shelf life of a year, as does this one. So I'd say a year? Which sucks because I have some that I've had a lot longer than I thought!

Acetic acid (aka ethanoic acid) is the acid found in vinegar. In this post (scroll down to Edina), Perry Romanowski says he doesn't think dehydrated acetic acid will work as a preservative, and he says it again in this post. I've seen variations on acetic acid in preservatives, like dehydroacetic acid like we find in Optiphen ND, but never just acetic acid. Could this person be using vinegar - probably apple cider vinegar - in their products?

Oh, wait, I wonder if it's being used as apple cider vinegar in a conditioner as people like to use that in their hair? (See this post I wrote about it here...)

As of today, I can't find anything about this being used as a preservative on its own and I couldn't find any company selling a preservative that contains it. If you have any information, my lovely readers, please let me know.

As for aspen bark extract, I've written about this a bit as an ingredient found in Natapres. The Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract comes from the quaking or trembling aspen, and it's listed as an anti-bacterial. It seems like it would need something to go along with it to make it a broad spectrum preservative, like one of the organic acids as a fungicide, like potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate.

My humble opinion is that I wouldn't trust those ingredients to preserve a hair conditioner or any other water containing product as they aren't part of a broad spectrum preservative.

Yeah, I know that's willow bark extract in the picture, but I needed something to break up the wall of text, and this was the closest I could get.

If you're interested in supporting the blog, please check out my Patreon page! There all kinds of rewards for subscribing, from the Q&A section to the requests for duplicating section. $10 subscribes also receive an e-zine every month brimming with new formulas and ingredients!

Question from Patreon: What are these ingredients I found in DHC Deep Cleansing Oil?

In the July Q&A on Patreon, Jaime asked: Can you tell me your thoughts on the following three ingredients and if there is a natural substitute? sorbeth-30 tetraoleate (is this just an emulsifier), pentylene glycol (humectant?), stearyl glycyrrhetinate (?)  They seem to be simple ingredients but I'm wondering if they are used for something other than just an emulsifier or humectant in the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil that crazy popular.  Here's the ingredient list: olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, tocopherol, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil

You are correct! Sorbeth-30 tetraoleate is a water loving or hydrophilic emulsifier used in some cleansing oils. It has an HLB of 11.5.

Anthony O'Lenick wrote about this ingredient: If sorbitol is ethoxylated, the dehydration is minimized and sorbeth esters form. The empirical formula of sorbeth-30 is shown in Figure 4. These sorbeth esters are emulsifiers or oils depending upon the amount of EO present. For example, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate (liquid), sorbeth-40 tetraoleate (liquid) and sorbeth-60 tetraoleate (paste) are all excellent emulsifiers and solubilizers of high polar vegetable oils or esters. They provide stable emulsification in small quantities for various oils and esters.

You could try using a polysorbate in its place - I'd try polysorbate 80 - or you could try caprylyl/capryl glucoside, which is considered green and ECOcert. These may feel stickier than the original.

Some references about sorbeth-30-tetraoleate...
Fantastic post on this topic
Reference and some formulas that might be interesting...
A little more information from Cosmetics Info

Pentylene glycol is a relative of the other glycols like propylene glycol or butylene glycol. You could use either of them in its place. If you're seeking a more natural humectant, try glycerin - which can be sticky - or propanediol 1,3. 

Propanediol 1,3 is naturally derived substitute for propylene glycol that can be used at up to 20% in your water phase. It's a humectant that draws water from the atmosphere to your skin to offer hydration. It has a 9 to 12 month shelf life once opened. But I find it's a little lighter and drier feeling than propylene glycol. 

As pentylene glycol is water soluble, methinks the sorbeth-30 tetraoleate is used to combine this into the rest of the oil soluble product. 

What the heck is stearyl glycyrrhetinate? It's an interesting ingredient derived from liquorice root! "The fatty acid form of the soothing ingredient glycyrrhetinic acid, which is derived from licorice." (Paula's Choice) It's an emollient "used to enhance the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness." 

From UL Prospector: "Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate is an ester of stearyl alcohol and Glycyrrhetinic Acid. It acts as a skin conditioning agent with soothing anti-inflammatory properties. This product appears as a white or pale yellowish powder and is used in cosmetics and personal care product formulations for makeup, fragrance, hair care, skin care, shaving, personal hygiene and suntan products."

So it's an oil soluble emollient used to soothe skin and moisturize. Sounds pretty awesome! 

Reference for stearyl glycyrrhetinate: 

To answer your question, I think there could be natural versions of these ingredients, but these are pretty specific things and I think you'd mess up what people love the most about it. You could use caprylyl/capryl glucoside for the sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, propanediol 1,3 for the pentylene glycol, and...I'm really not sure for the stearyl glycyrrhetinate. Maybe a nice light oil like squalane? There'll only be a titch in there as it's down in the 1% or less category in the ingredient list, so maybe that's the best choice? 

If you want the benefits of liquorice root, consider using a bit of ethanol to dissolve some of the powdered extract and add it that way, or use a titch of liquid extract - 1% or less. It may not mix in perfectly, but it's a great ingredient to include in something like this. 

If you're interested in supporting the blog, please check out my Patreon page! There all kinds of rewards for subscribing, from the Q&A section to the requests for duplicating section. $10 subscribes also receive an e-zine every month brimming with new formulas and ingredients!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Question from Patreon: Are there any green alternatives to SLSa in a bath bomb?

In July's Q&A on Patreon, Ingrid asked: I'm investigating bath bombs and  more natural alternatives to using SLSa for bubbles. I've seen bath bomb ingredients listing decyl glucoside as a foaming agent. It's also supposed to be a solubiliser. Can I use it (in liquid form) instead of the Polysorbate 85 and SLSa? If not, do you have any other suggestions for more natural SLSa alternative? 

If we're talking about natural, there really isn't a natural surfactant out there. We can find green or something certified, like ECOcert, Cosmos, or Natrue, but there's nothing that hasn't gone through quite a lot of processing in a factory.

Decyl glucoside, a non-ionic or neutrally charged liquid surfactant, is an ECOcert ingredient, but I don't think it's an option for a bath bomb as it's a liquid, and not a very good bubbler. It's a foamer, but if you're looking for a bubbling bath bomb, this won't give you the big, quick bubbles like something like SLSa will offer. It can act as a solubilizer as it's a good one. The down side of this ingredient is that it's a liquid, which could be too much in some climates, especially humid ones like mine. You could try adding a bit of it - maybe 5% - to the bath bomb to see what you think, but I worry it'll be too wet and sticky.

You could use something like Bioterge AS90, powdered C14-16 olefin sulfonate, as it's a great bubbler with flash foam, but it isn't considered green.

If you are looking for a green, ECOcert solubilizer, consider caprylyl/capryl glucoside (CCG). It's a substitute for polysorbates. There is a huge down side to it; It's incredibly sticky. I mean super sticky. A drip dropped down the side of my bottle, and it took some of the wooden surface of my workshop table with it. I've been working with it in micellar waters, which is going well, but I wouldn't have it in my workshop otherwise as it's just so sticky in just about every product in which I've tried it.

So the short answer is that you could try a little decyl glucoside, but I don't think it's the best choice.

If you're interested in supporting the blog, please check out my Patreon page! There all kinds of rewards for subscribing, from the Q&A section to the requests for duplicating section. $10 subscribes also receive an e-zine every month brimming with new formulas and ingredients!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Cold process hair conditioners - part three with ICE Hair restore

On Monday, we met a new conditioning agent called ICE Hair Restore (aka Jeesperse ICE T CPCS or Gracefruit's EasyMix Smooth). And yesterday, we made a nice conditioner with it. But you know me - I have to play - so let's take a look at another version I'm loving!

83% distilled or purified water
5% ICE Hair Restore
3% Volumizing complex
2% Hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% panthenol (liquid)
2% dimethicone 350 cs
2% cyclomethicone
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% Pineapple cilantro fragrance oil (from Windy Point Soap)

Weigh the ICE Hair Restore out separately into a tiny container, then mix with my tiny stick blender until it's more of a paste, then I add it to the water and mix well. Weigh each ingredient into that same container, and stick blender after reach inclusion. You're done! Rejoice!

What did I do differently this time and why?

I used Volumizing Complex (from Formulator Sample Shop). (Read more on the blog here...)  I love this ingredient in my conditioners as it makes my hair feel bouncier and the ends of my hair a little less frizzy and a bit more curly. The INCI for this product is Water & Rice Amino Acids & Lactobacillus/Date Fruit Ferment Extract & Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy Difluorethyl PEG Phosphate. The rice amino acids work like hydrolyzed proteins as film formers and hydrators with the smaller form being able to penetrate our hair shaft, the lactobacillus/date fruit ferment extract is something I have to study further, but it's the poly...thingie...phosphate that interests me the most! But I'm having trouble finding more information about this ingredient!

I found this in Cosmetics Business magazine about this ingredient. "It is claimed that the amino acids penetrate the cuticle, adding moisture and improving the strength of hair. The fluorinated material is said to bind to the hair, giving it bounce and volume, and the enzyme material converts saturated fatty acids in and on the hair into unsaturated fatty acids with a lower melting point, and these add shine and smoothness." This sounds really good, but notice the words "it is claimed..." or "is said...", which indicate that they're pretty much reporting a press release, not a study. Amino acids are good for our hair as film formers, and the enzyme material (the lactobacillus part) could be great for converting stuff, but this isn't evidence. The impression I get is that the poly-thingie-phosphate is a bit like Teflon for your hair - the hairs won't stick to each other, giving you more volume. (Don't quote me on that! It's just a thought...)

I'm using hydrolyzed baobab protein (from Lotioncrafter) as well as I love having film forming ingredients for my hair. Much like the hydrolyzed rice protein, it's designed to increase hydration of your hair as well as maintining elasticity. You can use another protein or amino acid, if you wish.

I'm using liquid panthenol in this formula, but you could easily use powdered panthenol at the same amount.

What can you do if you don't have some of these ingredients? In any conditioner I make, you can substitute anything water soluble for water at any point. You may change the viscosity or hair feel or something else, but the product will still work. You can substitute any protein for another protein and any oil or butter for any oil or butter. If you don't like silicones, there are silicone substitutes you can try or you can use an oil instead, although that may make your hair greasier than the version I'm making here.

What did I think of it? I love this stuff! I really liked the formula I shared with you yesterday, but this one makes my hair feel more hydrated than the other one, and my hair isn't feeling like straw on the morning of day three. I'm finding it's really easy to comb - which is not normal for me - even without my beloved cetrimonium chloride.

What did my bestie think of it? This is Wanda! Say hi to Wanda, everyone! Wanda has fine, colour treated hair that she also blow dries and straightens.

Here's what she had to say: I have fine hair but lots of it. The conditioner smells amazing. It's a spa on my head. It is thick and provides a good coating.  It rinses off leaving very little residue on my hair. Some may like their hair to feel coated after rinsing; I do not.  I don't want my oils stripped, but I don't want a lot of conditioner just sitting on my hair weighing it down. This does not weigh my hair down. I could easily get a fine tooth comb through it with no issues.  I blow dried my hair and it was not frizzy or fly away.

Pretty awesome, eh? It really is an interesting conditioning ingredient, and the fact that I can make it super quick with little effort is such a bonus!

What will I change next time? Really, you can't leave well enough alone, Swift? Nope! I don't think I'd have a blog if I had been perfectly content with my first conditioner!

This conditioning ingredient can handle up to 10% oils, so maybe we should add a few into the mix? Hmm, which ones should I choose. It's not like I don't have what seems like thousands from which to choose.

Join me tomorrow as we try using an oil or two in this cold process emulsifier. After all, it's not like it'll be all cold and lovely and wintery tomorrow, and we'll still want to make things cold!

Please note, I am not affiliated in any way with the companies I mention on this blog, other than I like their ingredients or like their owners. I receive no compensation for mentioning anything on this blog, and you will find no affiliate links or ads here. I do not accept or write sponsored posts. Just wanted you to know that. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Cold process hair conditioners - part two with ICE hair restore

Yesterday, we met a new hair conditioning ingredient, ICE Hair Restore (aka Jeesperse ICE-T CPCS or EasyMix Smooth from Gracefruit) INCI: Cetearyl alcohol (and) behentrimonium chloride (and) polyquaternium 37. It doesn't need to be heated and held to work, so it's perfect for these ridiculously hot days when going into your workshop to formulate with all kinds of bubbling double boilers and kettles is simply too much.

When I'm working with a new ingredient, I first check with the supplier to see if they have any information on the product. Then I look at their formulary to see if they have examples for how it might work. I generally try that formula first to get an idea of how it is supposed to work, then I create something myself. With a hair conditioner, I have a framework in which I try everything - 2% hydrolyzed protein, 2% panthenol, 2% cyclomethicone, 2% dimethicone, fragrance or essential oil, and 0.5% liquid Germall Plus - as I've been using this combination of ingredients for at least ten years, and I know the hair and skin feel of most of them. This gives me an idea if the new ingredient is more or less silky, glidy, moisturizing, hydrating, conditioning, detangling, and so on than my regular formulas.

In this formula, I used hydrolyzed rice protein as it can increase hair's elasticity and hydrates well. You can use any hydrolyzed protein you have at home at 2% or at the suggested usage rate.

I chose the fragrance I did as it really is my new Saturday night thing! It goes with everything and I just love it! You can feel free to use any fragrance or essential oil you choose as I haven't read anything that says anything is contraindicated with this conditioner.

86% distilled or reverse osmosis water*
5% ICE hair restore
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
2% hydrolyzed rice protein
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.5% fragrance oil - blood orange & goji berry (Windy Point Soap)

Remember, if you're making this without heating, you need to use purified water, not something from your tap or something full of minerals.

Into a container, weigh each ingredient, and stick blender after each inclusion. And you're done! (See note below...)

This product has a pH of 5.04, which is perfect for a hair conditioner.

I found my first try was a bit lumpy, as you can see in this picture. It was still nice on my hair, but it doesn't look great!

What I've done for subsequent batches is to weigh the ICE Hair Restore out separately into a tiny container, then mix with my tiny stick blender until it's more of a paste, then I add it to the water and mix well. It has made it much smoother and silkier.

What do I think of this? I absolutely love this conditioner! It's a nice viscosity in the bottle and on my hair, but I swear my hair felt lighter and less weighed down than when I use a similar recipe using Incroquat BTMS-50 or Rita BTMS-225, even though it contains cetearyl alcohol.

You'll notice that I don't have a humectant in the form of glycerin or propylene glycol in here, and the ICE Hair Restore doesn't contain one either. I have quite frizzy hair and I thought that would be a good thing for me, but I think I need to add a little something to the next batch as my hair didn't get those little ringlets at the end that normally show up in the warmer months as my hair dries more quickly, and I noticed that when I woke up on the morning of day three - I wash my hair every other day as I'm an oily girl! - they seemed a little stiffer and straw like than normal.

Please note, I don't think having frizzy hair is a bad thing. I like my hair to be a little less tamed and a little more wild, it's just that at a certain point, it can make your cuticle lift up, which can increase friction, which increases damage and breakage. I would never judge your hair style or rightness of your amount of frizz! 

It did make my tub a bit slippery, but I think that's because I use far more than I needed. A little went quite a long way.

I think this would be awesome for fine hair as it really doesn't weigh your hair down, and the lack of oils would be good for oily hair types. If you wanted to add oils, this ingredient can emulsify up to 10% oils, remembering that the cyclomethicone and dimethicone should count for 4% of that amount. (Try 5% coconut oil in this formula above and remove 5% of the distilled water amount to make that 81%. Or wait a few days to see the formula I created with it.)

I'm really quite happy with this...but you know me, I can't leave well enough alone. So join me tomorrow for another version of this conditioner with a few changes!

Please note, I am not affiliated in any way with the companies I mention on this blog, other than I like their ingredients or like their owners. I receive no compensation for mentioning anything on this blog, and you will find no affiliate links or ads here. Just want you to know that. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Cold process hair conditioners - part one with ICE Hair Restore

Is it possible to make hair conditioners without heating or holding? Why are you even asking this question? What madness is this, Swift?

I bought this cold process hair conditioning ingredient - called Ice Restore at Making Cosmetics* - INCI: Cetearyl alcohol (and) behentrimonium chloride (and) polyquaternium 37 - that appears to be a product called Jeesperse ICE-T CPCS. (I found it at Gracefruit in the UK.*)

Let's take a look at each ingredient to see what it brings to the mix. According to the MSDS from Making Cosmetics, this consists of 32% to 38% cetearyl alcohol, 32% to 38% behentrimonium chloride, and 27% to 33% quaternium 37.

Behentrimonium chloride is a positively charged or cationic quaternary compound that acts as the hair conditioner and emulsifier in this product. Cationic ingredients adsorb to the hair strand to condition it, which means it reduces the friction between hair strands and reduces the combing forces or how much effort we have to make to comb our hair. It makes the cuticle lay down flat, which leads to less tangling and damage.

You might recognize the behentrimonium part of the name as being part of something like Incroquat BTMS-50 or Rita BTMS-225. In those, we use behentrimonium methosulfate or BTMS. BTMS seems to be less irritating to the skin and eyes than behentrimonium chloride, but they are still both nice conditioning agents. (As a note, behentrimonium chloride was not found to be irritating to skin at 5%. (this link, page 64This study indicates that using it at 1% to 5% for a whole body, leave on products is safe.

Interestingly, Whole Foods allows behentrimonium chloride, but not methosulfate. For more information, click here for an interesting discussion.

Check out this post on how conditioners work for even more detail! 

Cetearyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol we use to thicken our lotions. It also works to boost the conditioning power of a cationic compound like behentrimonium methosulfate. It can feel a bit waxy when compared to cetyl alcohol, which is more glidy, or behenyl alcohol, which can feel a bit drier or more powdery.

Polyquaternium 37 (aka Poly(2-methacryloxyethyltrimethylammonium chloride) is a cationic polymer like polyquat 7 or Honeyquat. A cationic polymer is like the cationic quaternary compound above, but they tend to be more water soluble or more easily mixed with water. They all condition our hair, but some can thicken our products, too.

Polyquaternium 37 is good for thickening, which is why I think it's included in this product. I couldn't find a thing about this ingredient in any of my textbooks or saved PDFs, which is very strange, but I found a few blogs that indicated it might be good for fine hair, that it's a good anti-static ingredient as most other cationic ingredients would be with low build up. (Reference)

Please note, this isn't to say that the other blogs I found aren't scientifically based, it's just I find it really weird that in all the textbooks, journals, and everything else I have hoarded on my computer and in real life, I could find nothing on this ingredient. 

The instructions say to use it at 3% to 10% in warm-ish water to create a hair conditioner that can emulsify up to 10% oils. The example formula from Making Cosmetics notes to stick blend or propeller mix after the addition of each ingredient, so that's what I've done with my formulas. This example formula from Jeen doesn't suggest doing that.

I found that this product could be a little lumpy when I added it to the water amount. So I put it into a small container - I have a 50 ml beaker that worked really well - and took the tiny mixer to it for about 20 seconds to break those up. I added that to the water phase, and it worked really well.

Join me tomorrow as we make some cold-ish process conditioners using this new ingredient!

Please note, I have no relationship with either of these companies. I purchased this from Making Cosmetics earlier this year, and really loved it.

Friday, August 4, 2017

It's too hot to craft: Introduction

I hate summer. I hate the heat, I hate the sun and the way sunscreen makes me break out, I hate the mosquitoes and having to smell like Off, I hate the humidity that makes my hair frizz uncontrollably, I hate sweating all day, and I hate that I complain so much about hating summer. We're in the middle of a heat wave and I can't go into my workshop to play with all my lovely ingredients as I get a heat headache after more than it's too hot to be in there for more than minutes, so I hate summer more than normal right now, which is quite a lot as I already hate it with the power of a thousand burning suns.

What can I do when I need things like conditioner, lotion, cooling spray, body wash, and more?

How about making cold process products, ones you don't need to heat up at all?

Is that possible?

Yes! But you definitely have to follow some guidelines.

Good manufacturing processes: We need to be as sanitary as possible, so we start by pulling our hair back and wearing gloves. Sanitize your space and equipment, like jars, jugs, and utensils, with an alcohol spray before creation.

Also see Basic lotion making instructions...

As a note, you don't need to sanitize your bottles and jars if they came new from your supplier and you've stored them in bags or a clean space. And please don't re-use plastic bottles or jars, especially those that used to contain something that had oil in it as it can cause contamination or rancidity of your oils pretty quickly. I found this out the hard way...

Distilled or reverse osmosis water: We can't use tap water, boiled or unboiled, as they contain all manner of things and metals and we need to be as sanitary as possible. Distilled water is plentiful and inexpensive at pharmacies and grocery stores. I pay less than $2 for 4 litres (around a gallon).

Use a good, broad spectrum preservative at the suggested usage level: If you're making something that contains water or might be exposed to water, you must use a preservative. There are loads of choices - check out my preservative comparison chart here - but you'll have to choose the one that's appropriate for your product. For instance, Liquipar Optima requires oil to work, so it won't work in a water only toner. Tinosan doesn't work in cationic or positively charged products, so you can't use it in a conditioner or with things like polyquaternium 7 or honeyquat.

I like using Liquid Germall Plus at 0.5%, the maximum suggested usage rate as it works with just about everything I make. That's what I'll be using in this series of posts.

As we work with various cold process products, I'll be sharing more about things to consider for each one. Let's start on Monday with a cold process hair conditioner!