Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Formulating with soy bean oil: Creating a foot cream (part two)

Yesterday we took a look at the oil phase of a potential foot cream. Let's take a look at the water phase today.

What do I do with the water phase? What kinds of things do I want for feet? If I'm thinking about  hydrating my skin, I want to go with a humectant. I'm going to use two here because I want maximum hydration for my very dry feet. I'm going to use 5% glycerin - more about this in a second - and 3% sodium lactate. I know I generally use 2.5% sodium lactate as more than 3% can make you sun sensitive and I'm afraid I might go over by a drop or two, but I'm not exposing my foot lotion slathered feet to the sun. They're going straight into my fluffy socks! As for the glycerin - that amount would normally feel a bit sticky, but you won't notice it in your socks. And there's so much awesome packed into that 5% as it draws water from the atmosphere and brings it to your feet.

I think I'm going to add some witch hazel to this product. I know that might seem like a strange addition, but it has some wound healing properties, and that's very valuable when it comes to trashed feet that might have loads of little cuts and scrapes. I think I'll add it at 10%. Aloe vera would be nice for the same reasons, so I think I'll use that at 10% in the water phase as well. I could add 2% panthenol in the cool down phase to help with wound healing and to act as a humectant. Oh, I can't forget my beloved allantoin. It's a softening ingredient that acts as a barrier ingredient, too. I'll add that at 0.5% in the water phase.

I could use some peppermint hydrosol in the heated water phase, but I think I'll use peppermint essential oil at 1% in the cool down phase instead. Feel free to use any essential or fragrance oil you choose intead.

I have to note here that if you wanted to use all water for the water phase, feel free to do so!

Okay, do we have a plan?

30% water
10% witch hazel
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
3% sodium lactate
0.5% allantoin

8% soy bean oil
15% cocoa butter
7% Polawax
3% stearic acid

2% dimethicone
1% peppermint or other minty essential oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Please use the general lotion making instructions for this product.

If you want to make a whole foot pampering kit, check out these posts on making a minty pumice-y foot scrub bar or making fizzing foot salts!

Related posts:
Foot lotion becomes a foot cream
Body lotion becomes foot lotion
Body butter becomes foot cream
Peppermint essential oil in foot care products

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Formulating with soy bean oil: Creating a foot cream (part one)

Yesterday we took a look at soy bean oil. I thought we could take a look at a few recipes in which soy bean oil would be a great addition!

For some people, soy bean oil might be a little greasy for the hands, but it's perfect for a body lotion or foot lotion! Let's make a moisturizing foot cream with soy bean oil. Why include it here? Because it offers great moisturizing with all that oleic and linoleic acid, great softening with all that Vitamin E, and reduction in swelling with all those phytosterols. And those things all feel pretty lovely on our feet.

I think I'll use a body butter type recipe for this foot cream because it's rich and decadent and feels absolutely lovely. Here's the starting recipe I'll be modifying...

60% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin

10% oils
15% shea butter
6% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

When making a foot cream, the first thing I think about is viscosity. How thick should this be? And my answer is always this - very thick! I want something I can slather on to my feet and cover with socks, and you can't slather on a thin lotion. Nope, I want something thick and luxurious for my feet. So I think I'll make a low water product with loads of butters and stearic acid as the thickener.

I can use any butter I like for my feet, but I think I'll go with cocoa butter because it's a great barrier ingredient and occlusive. I'll choose soy bean oil as the oil for the reasons I listed above. I think I'll add some dimethicone as a barrier protectant ingredient in the cool down phase as well. And I'm using stearic acid as the thickener. There! My oil phase is decided!

How to figure this out? If I look at the recipe above, I'll use 8% soy bean oil and 2% dimethicone as my oil amount, 15% cocoa butter, and 3% stearic acid for the cetyl alcohol. I will up my emulsifier of choice, Polawax, to 7% to reflect the 25% rule.

The rule for Polawax - and only for Polawax - is that we use 25% of the oil phase as the emulsifier. So if we have 28% oils we would use 7% Polawax. This is only applicable to Polawax. If you are using another emulsifier, please check the suggested usage rate. 

This would be a great place to use Ritamulse SCG as the emulsifier. If that's your choice, you would want to use 8% in the oil phase and remove 1% from the water phase. (If you don't know why I'm removing water from the water phase, please read this post...) You could also use Incroquat BTMS-50 (not BTMS-25) as the emulsifier, but reduce it to 6% and add 1% to the water phase.

All right! We have an oil phase that looks like this...

8% soy bean oil
15% cocoa butter
7% Polawax
3% stearic acid

2% dimethicone

Join me tomorrow as we figure out the water phase for this thick and decadent foot cream!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Let's take another look at soy bean oil!

I'd like to talk to you for a few minutes about soy bean oil. It's not a sexy oil or one that's trending in beauty products, but it's one of the most inexpensive ones you can find and it's packed full of all kinds of neat stuff, like tocopherols (anti-oxidants), phytosterols, and isoflavones in addition to its awesome fatty acids, like linoleic acid.

The phytosterols in soy bean oil can help reduce inflammation and restore skin's barrier mechanisms. The isoflavones behave as anti-oxidants and help soften skin. And the linoleic acid helps restore barrier function and reduces scaling on your skin. This oil will offer your skin lots of lovely moisturizing and softening with some anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories as well. It has a shelf life of up to a year with a light and greasy feeling. I've seen it listed as being medium to high comedogenicity, but as I've said before, these scales aren't that accurate and you have to try things to see how your skin reacts.

All of this awesome for the low low price of $9 or so per litre (33 ounces)! Per litre! To put this in perspective, it's about $8 for 2 ounces/60 ml of evening primrose oil, $12 for 4 ounces/120 ml of meadowfoam seed oil, $12 for 2 ounces/60 ml of pomegranate oil, or $12 for 2 ounces/60 ml of sea buckthorn oil. Rice bran oil is around $15 per litre and sweet almond oil is about $14 per litre, so even within the range of carrier oils, it's still inexpensive.

Soy bean oil is oil soluble, so you can only use it in products that are oil soluble - anhydrous or non-water containing products like a facial serum, whipped butter, or lotion bar, to give a few examples - or in products that contain emulsifiers, like facial moisturizers, lotions, or hair conditioners. It's a fabulous addition to any product intended to moisturize and soften skin. I absolutely love it in my winter body butters because it can help speed up skin's barrier mechanism repair or this winter hand protectant lotion. I love it in this six ingredient lotion, and I think it's awesome in this emulsified sugar scrub! It would be fabulous in this make-up remover, and a great substitute for the rice bran oil in this hand lotion.

I love soy bean oil and have tried it in every product I make with oils. It is a little greasy feeling, so if you really hate that sensation, this oil probably isn't for you. If you like sunflower oil or pumpkin seed oil, you should like soy bean oil.

Want more ideas for products you could make with soy bean oil? Take a look at this one ingredient, ten products series on sunflower oil, and use soy bean oil in the place of sunflower oil in all of these products!

Related posts:
Is there a reason to use more expensive oils in our products

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy National Craft Month 2015!

Woo! It's the most wonderful time of the year! National Craft Month! The time to make time to craft and make things. If you're new to the idea of making bath & body products, may I suggest a few projects for you?

Bath bombs: You can't go wrong with bath bombs! They're easy to make and oh, so cute! You only need a few ingredients to make something so awesome!

Bath salts: Again, a few ingredients can make something so awesome! If you want to make them a little fancier, try making foaming bath salts with SLSa or fizzing bath salts using your supplies from bath bombs!

Whipped butter: With two ingredients - your butter and an oil - and a whisk attachment on your mixer, you can make an awesome whipped butter that will moisturize your skin and smell amazing (if you add fragrance oil).

Lotion bar: With three ingredients - butter, oil, and wax - you can make an awesomely moisturizing lotion bar!

Lip balm: With the same ingredients you used for a lotion bar, you can make something lovely for your lips!

Wax tarts: Seriously, these things could not be easier to make!

Want a few more ideas? Check out the newbies section of the blog for a lot of the beginner recipes on the blog!

I'm holding a contest for this month! Send me a picture of your craft with a bit of information - for instance, is this your first time with this product, this recipe, this craft? - and I'll enter you in a draw to win a copy of the e-book of your choice! I'll be posting the pictures throughout the month and so you can share your experiences with others on the blog! Newbies, veterans, and everyone in between is welcome to participate. I will ask you to keep the projects limited to bath & body products as that's what this blog is about, but if you have something that is tangentially associated with cosmetics, we'll include that too. (I'm thinking about make-up bags, make-up brush holders, cute boxes you've made to give away your products.)

E-mail Susan at with the subject line National Craft Month! Please sign off with the name you want me to use on the blog (first names only) and location (if you wish) and pictures of your craft. There is no limit to how many times you can enter! You have until midnight PST March 31st to enter, and there will be multiple prizes. I'll post the winners the weekend of April 3rd. I can't wait to see what you make!

Making a water-in-silicone serum with niacinamide and n-acetyl glucosamine

As I mentioned on Thursday, making a water-in-silicone serum is pretty easy when you use Lotioncrafter Serum SE. The hardest part is choosing ingredients to add to it! This is a perfect place to use all those lovely actives and cosmeceuticals you've been hoarding for a rainy day!

I'm having a love affair with niacinamide right now, and I've been including it in everything! It's been demonstrated to reduce transepidermal water loss at 2% and it can help reduce sebum production.

And I'm having a love affair with this new ingredient carried by Lotioncrafter, n-acetyl glucosamine*.  It 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.

37% Lotioncrafter serum SE
10% propylene glycol

0.25% sodium citrate
0.50% sodium chloride (salt)
0.50% liquid Germall Plus (preservative)
2% panthenol (liquid)
4% n-acetyl glucosamine
2% niacinamide
2% oat protein
0.5% allantoin
41.25% distilled water

Note: It's better to use a hand mixer than a stick blender here. And because you'll be mixing for 10 to 15 minutes, one on a stand is even better!

Combine all the phase A ingredients into a container. Combine all the phase B ingredients into a container and mix well. Add phase B to phase A in a steady stream and mix for 10 to 15 minutes until the emulsion is smooth. I mixed for 10 minutes, and it turned out simply awesome!

If you don't have these ingredients - by which I mean the various actives - then feel free to try something different. You can add small amounts of oil soluble ingredients because the serum SE is an emulsifier, so you could try things like co-enzyme Q10 or oil soluble extracts, like this green tea extract I like so much. You could try resveratrol or Matrixyl 3000. Or try beta glucan in place of the oat protein. Play around with the ingredients and see what you like.

As a note, the propylene glycol is necessary in this recipe. You could, in theory, use glycerin in its place, but it can get kinda sticky.

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at more things we can make in our workshops!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A few administrative things: Deleting comments

There have been some allegations made that I delete comments on my blog. The case is that yes, I have. (Shock and horror! Gasps and fainting!) The reasons I might delete a comment are threefold...

1. If it is anonymous. I've made it clear repeatedly that I don't like anonymous comments. If you could at least put a nice "Bye, (name)" on the post. I'll leave it.

2. If it is abusive or mean. I used to leave these up because I believed I shouldn't delete anything, but it made me really sad when I saw them again, so I've started deleting these immediately. I have always deleted comments when they were cruel to other people.

3. If it contains scientific errors. So let's say you come along and claim that coffee enemas can cure cancer. I'm not leaving that up for someone to think that I endorse this position by leaving it on the blog. (Remember this - extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so you can't say something huge like that and not post a ton of valid links from reputable sources to support your position.)

I don't delete comments because someone has disagreed with me, as has been alleged. You can see evidence of this all over the blog. I welcome civil disagreement as it leads to discovery and learning!

If I recall correctly, I've deleted exactly three non-abusive, non-anonymous comments from one poster in the last year because they contained factual errors and I didn't want to leave those up and have others think I endorsed her or her statements.

As a note, I don't think that deleting three comments from one person is "always deleting comments". I'd hardly call three times "always". I mean, if you eat roast beef three times in your life, one would hardly say that person always eats roast beef. No, it would be a rare, nay, freak occurrence. (Rimmer, Red Dwarf) 

Here's the thing - and please don't take this the wrong way - you don't have an absolute right to comment on this blog. It's my blog and if I choose to edit the comments, I'm entitled to do so for various reasons. My goal is to create a kind and supportive community where we are free to ask questions, get answers, and share with others who might like to make bath & body products, and to create that community, I need to be able to remove comments that I think detract from that goal. I don't tolerate cruelty, I don't tolerate junk science, and I don't tolerate anonymity. I think those are more than reasonable standards and help create a safe environment we can all enjoy.

That being said, if you notice your comment isn't on the page where you posted it, ask me where it is. If you've put your name on it and you haven't been cruel, the overwhelming odds are that it ended up in the spam filter. I can put it back with a click of the mouse! (I do check the spam filter from time to time to make sure no one gets left behind!)

I hope this clarifies a few things.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Making a water in silicone serum with Lotioncrafter Serum SE

I love silicones! I think they are the silkiest feeling ingredients we can find, so I've always wanted to make a silicone serum like the No 7 one my mom uses or the Oil of Olay one my bestie likes so much. I found this ingredient at Lotioncrafter - Lotioncrafter Serum SE* - and thought I'd try it!

What is it?"Lotioncrafter Serum SE is a proprietary blend of self emulsifying silicone fluids designed to make the creation of water-in-silicone emulsions (or serums) simple. Along with Lotioncrafter Serum SE, serums are created and stabilized using a sodium chloride/sodium citrate buffer. This reduces interfacial tension and improves freeze-thaw stability, as does the addition of glycerin and/or glycols (dipropylene, propylene or butylene glycol). These also contribute to increased preservative efficacy."

So it's an emulsifier that has been designed to bring water and silicone together in a serum format. Why can't we just use Incroquat BTMS-50 to make a facial thingie with silicones? We could, but then we'd be making a lotion, not a serum. This creates more of a gel than a lotion, although it isn't clear.

This is a great way to get loads of cosmeceuticals or actives into your product, and it's fantastic to use underneath make-up. In fact, if you're looking to make an under make-up primer, this is a great product!

You'll want to add a sodium chloride (salt) and sodium citrate buffer to it, so don't forget to order the latter when you order this emulsifier. Oh, and get yourself some propylene glycol as well. I've tried it with 10% glycerin, and it was a bit sticky for my tastes!

How do we use it? You can get all your ingredients together and follow the instructions. The down side is that you have to mix it for 10 to 15 minutes with a hand mixer, so if you have a stand mixer, all the better! (Trust me, your arm will get tired!) It is made cold with no heating and holding, so make sure you are using distilled water and avoid using a lot of botanical ingredients to preserve it well.

I'm linking to a few sample recipes before I share what I've made with you tomorrow. The process is fairly similar for each one, so if you want to go nuts and make one tonight, just follow the easy to use instructions Jen from Lotioncrafter has included in this basic water in silicone serum recipe!

Soothing & Clarifying Facial Serum (on Lotioncrafter's site)
Time Defy Facial Serum (on Lotioncrafter's site)

*Please note, I have not been paid or compensated in any way to write about this ingredient. I just really liked it! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence...

Wow! The number of people visiting my blog has gone up by 10% over the last few days. I think you're all here about the challenge Dr Dunn has put forth to soapmakers and the preceding discussion. I need to make something clear - I don't have anything against anyone. My goals are never to hurt or mock someone. My goal is always to learn more!

As you know, I strive to be all about the science around here, providing you with evidence and studies and all that other good stuff to back up why we're using the ingredients we're using. When I find something that makes a claim that I didn't expect or haven't seen before, I look for more evidence to back it up. Let's say shea butter claims to completely wipe out wrinkles. I would look for quite a few studies to back this up, not just one. I wouldn't use something anecdotal and I wouldn't use something that had only a few subjects. I would want something extraordinary because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Normal claims can use normal evidence - like the idea that shea butter moisturizes our skin or makes our skin feel greasier than not using it. But something extraordinary - that shea butter eliminates all wrinkles and crow's feet - would require pounds of paper to print all the studies I'd want to see before writing that on this blog.

If you are making a claim of any sort, you need to provide some evidence. Let's say you wanted to prove to me that you could do something, like make an oil-in-water lotion without using an emulsifier. I would ask you for a complete accounting of the recipe and the process with all the details as well as a video.  In fact, I would ask you for extraordinary evidence - such as showing me the lotion a month later, three months later, six months later, and so on because the problem here would be that the lotion would separate over time. Merely saying to me that you did this isn't considered evidence. (Okay, maybe to Lionel Hutz who says that "conjecture and hearsay are kinds of evidence".) I'm being skeptical about something that I have been taught is not going to work or not going to work well. My mind is open to learn more, but I need more evidence before I'm going to spend the time discussing it further. Asking you for that evidence isn't disrespectful or disparaging - it's a normal part of the process. If you choose not to provide what I've asked for, then you can't expect me to change my opinion that you can make a lotion without an emulsifier. You might be a lovely person, but one person's word does not change science!

I'm strive to be the first person to admit when I'm wrong. (If you find something on this blog you need to correct, check out this post on how to tell me that!) Learning is all about admitting you don't know something or that you're mistaken, and the first step is being okay with not knowing things all the time. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll see all kinds of corrections scattered around as I've learned more or read more or found more studies or been told by you, my wonderful readers, that I'm wrong. I know some use this against me, saying that "Swift is wrong all the time. She admits it on her blog." (Yes, I've actually seen this statement.) That's fine. I'd rather be wrong from time to time and keep learning than hold on to outdated or incorrect ideas. If you wish to see this as a failing in my character, I'm okay with that. (I think it says more about you than it does about me if you think that making mistakes is something to be ashamed of instead of something to embrace as part of the learning process...)

I'm excited to see what will come of Dr Dunn's challenge! Let me know if you enter into it so we can follow the process!

Related posts:
Where do I get my information?