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.