Saturday, December 20, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Is emulsification always immediate?

In this post, Weekday Wonderings: Figuring out the melting point, Melanie asks: Will emulsification always be immediate? I made your "pirate" beard conditioner last night and at first when i just poured it and and stirred it looked emulsified though yellowish. Then oil drops started forming. It wasn't until I blended it with the hand mixer for 5 minutes that it looked really white and seemed stable. Is that normal?

How quickly the product emulsifies will depend on a few things, but the main thing is the type of emulsifier. I have found that emulsifications made with Polawax will emulsify immediately, while Ritamulse SCG can take up to a few minutes to look proper.

It can also be a function of the heat of the product. If the temperatures are around 60˚C, I have found that even with Polawax, it can take a few seconds of mixing before it looks emulsified.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Experiments in the workshop: Using kokum butter in an emulsified scrub

With the cold winter weather here and promising to get colder, I thought I'd make an emulsified sugar scrub with watermelon seed oil. It's a good choice as it contains a lot of linoleic acid, which will help speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms. Let's take a look at how I modified one of my favourite recipes!

First things first - what's the difference between an emulsified scrub and a non-emulsified scrub? In an emulsified scrub, we add an emulsifier like Incroquat BTMS-50, Rita BTMS-225, Polawax, e-wax, Ritamulse SCG, and so on, to create a product that will turn to lotion when the water in your shower or tub touches it. It rinses off cleaner than an oil based scrub, and it is thicker in the container. I decided to use Incroquat BTMS-50 because I wanted the conditioning properties as well as the emulsifying properties of this positively charged ingredient.

I'm also adding a fatty alcohol because it will increase the slip and glide of the product and increase the emolliency of the product. Someone asked me the other day if we could leave it out - sure, just increase the amount of cocoa or shea butter to keep the same thickness. I really like cetyl alcohol as it's an inexpensive ingredient - no more than $5 a pound - versus $14 a pound for cocoa butter or more for mango and shea. It also offers a lovely skin feel that I really like.

Normally, I'd use 10% cocoa butter in the recipe, but I'm completely out in the workshop - how did that happen? - so I decided to use kokum butter (INCI: Garcinia indica).

This butter has a much high melting point than other butters - 38˚C to 40˚C - and will make your lotions or other creations much thicker than with other butters. The fatty acid profile is similar to the other butters - 5 to 8% palmitic acid (C16), 40 to 45% stearic acid (C18), 40 to 50% oleic acid (C18:1), and 2 to 4% linoleic acid (C18:2) - but it is considered an astringent butter, on par with mango butter. Its shelf life is listed as between 1 to 2 years.

As you can see, it's harder than cocoa butter so it will make the scrub stiffer. To compensate, I thought I'd use shea butter as it's softer and slightly greasier.

10% Incroquat BTMS-50
10% cetyl alcohol
10% kokum
10% shea butter
56% watermelon seed oil
1% Phenonip
1% Vitamin E
2% fragrance oil

Heat all the ingredients except the Vitamin E and fragrance oil in a container until all the ingredients are liquid. Put into the fridge or freezer to cool. You'll know it's time to take it out when the mix is solid-ish but not completely solid. You want to be able to to mix it. Add the Vitamin E and fragrance or essential oils. Add up to 140 grams of sugar for every 100 grams of scrub and mix until it is fluffy. Put into containers. Rejoice!

What did we think of this recipe? It was definitely stiffer than my usual recipe - I think 5% kokum would have worked here - and it was a little harder to get out of the container, but not so hard that I had to use my nails or something. Just less whippy than the version with cocoa butter and harder than the version with black cocoa butter.

It feels lovely going on. Quite easy to spread on my skin and easy to use as a scrub. It rinsed clean with little to no effort, and felt lovely after I dried off. It didn't feel heavy on my skin, and I could feel it a few hours later as a thin layer of oil, which is a nice thing.

Raymond reports that he felt it cut down on the itchiness he's been experiencing in the evenings! Woo! Goal accomplished!

It reminded me of a version I made with sunflower oil - greasy, but not too greasy. Greasy in a good way. And light. Easy to apply, easy to rinse, with a light oil layer left behind. Lovely! All in all, I'd make this one again!

What do you do if you don't have all the ingredients for this recipe? Modify it with one of the variations you see below!

Related posts:
Formulating with soy bean oil - includes recipe for sugar scrub!
Formulating for dry skin
Formulating for other skin types - sugar scrubs!
Emulsified scrub with Ritamulse SCG
Black cocoa emulsified scrub
Question: How do you know what and when to substitute? (All about emulsifiers and scrubs)
Experiments in the workshop - golden shea sugar scrub
Using behenyl alcohol in sugar scrubs
Experiments in the workshop - using behenyl alcohol in the Ritamulse SCG sugar scrub
Pumpkin seed oil: Making an emulsified scrub
Oil or emulsified scrub?

Join me for more fun formulating tomorrow!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Last minute Christmas present idea: Oil based scrubs

I hate it when I hear "last minute" on the 18th of December. I've barely started shopping or crafting, and you're calling it last minute? But I thought it might grab your attention, so I used it in the subject line of this post. For shame, Susan! There'll be coal in my stocking this year!

If you're in need of a crafty gift and have little time to shop for supplies or make it, consider the oil based scrub! It takes maybe 20 minutes to make - not including the hemming and hawing you'll do in choosing oils - and it feels so fabulous and luxurious on your skin.

96% liquid oil of choice (or combination of oils)
2% fragrance or essential oil
1% Vitamin E (optional)
1% Phenonip, Optiphen, or Liquipar Oil preservative

Mix your oils together well. Into a clean jar add 100% salt. Pour the oils over top, mix, and you've got yourself a lovely scrub! This will need to be mixed every time you use it as the oils migrate to the top of the jar. (Buy a few little spatulae from your local supply store, like Voyageur, to ensure you aren't contaminating it!) If you are using this in the tub, please buy some plastic jars - glass and slippery surfaces aren't a winning combination (unlike alcohol and night swimming, according to Lenny from the Simpsons!)

If you want to make a completely saturated oil scrub that won't need much stirring, you can put salt up to the top of the jar, then pour your oil over it. Let it sit overnight and see how much oil comes to the top. If it doesn't rise up and form a layer (or at least a significant layer), you have a saturated oil based scrub that won't need much stirring. It will feel drier than a scrub that has more oil available to it.

If you don't have preservative, package your product with a little spoon or spatula and indicate to the giver that they are never to put their wet hands into the jar!

You can choose any assortment of exfoliants for this application, but I recommend salt or sugar. (Physical exfoliant posts, part one and part two.) They're both inexpensive and they work well. You need a lot of exfoliants for this product - at least 100 grams for a 4 ounce or 125 ml jar - and that gets expensive when you're using something like apricot shells or loofah.

You can choose any assortment of oils for this application. Take a look at the links below to see some variations on the scrub recipe. If you want to use thicker oils, like babassu or coconut oil, go for it! Try it at 10% to see how you like it!

In the pictures, the top one is an oil based scrub with all oils. The second picture is the manicure scrub that contains lanolin and lecithin, and is much thicker. 

Related posts:
Back to basics: Oil based scrubs
Body scrubs, oil based
One ingredient, ten products: Sunflower oil - oil based scrubs
Chemistry of our nails: Oil based scrubs
Facial scrubs: Creating the base of the oil based scrub
Facial scrubs: Oily or acne prone skin
Facial scrubs: Dry and normal skin
Facial scrubs: Adding essential oils to an oil based scrub
Facial scrubs: Adding exfoliants to the oil based scrub
Facial scrubs: Adding an oil based extract

Ingredient: Watermelon seed oil

Watermelon seed oil (INCI Citrullus lanatus (watermelon) seed oil) is a pale yellow, light to medium weight, slightly greasy feeling oil that comes from the watermelon seed. The version I have is cold expeller pressed, but you can find solvent extracted versions.

It contains 11% palmitic acid (C16), 10% stearic acid (C18:0), 15% oleic acid (C18:1), and 63% linoleic acid (C18:2).

It has low tocopherol or Vitamin E content at 63 ppm (solvent) or 73 ppm (expeller), but high phytosterol amounts at 8140 ppm, with the main one being stigmasterol. (It has 1.5% unsaponifiables, which is where we find the phytosterols.) It has an iodine value of 115 to 125 and a saponification value of 190 to 198, although I saw it listed at 183, so please check with your supplier before soaping with it. Its specific gravity is 0.85. It contains lycopene, which is a very powerful anti-oxidant.

I've seen it listed as having a two year shelf life or "stable", but with high unsaturated fatty acids and low Vitamin E, I'm a little dubious about this. It does have lycopene, which is a better anti-oxidant than tocopherols, but I couldn't find how much. In my workshop, I'm considering it to have a six month shelf life until I see something more solid.

I've seen this oil called a cleansing oil because it can dissolve sebum, but I've been unable to confirm this property. I've also seen water melon oil listed as a non-greasy oil. If we consider soy bean oil or sunflower oil as very greasy oils, and hazelnut oil or macadamia nut oil as non-greasy feeling oils, I would say this is not as non-greasy as hazelnut oil but not as greasy as soy bean oil - let's call it "slightly greasy". I thought it felt like it formed a nice moisturizing layer on my skin that was still there an hour later. I definitely wouldn't describe it as "sinking in" to my skin. (Please share your thoughts about the greasiness level!)

This is a more expensive oil - I've seen it for $12.50 for 2 ounces at the Formulator Sample Shop, $9.05 for 1 ounce at the Garden of Wisdom. It is suggested to use it at 1% to 10% in your products, but it is safe to use neat at 100%. I'd say it has a shelf life of 6 months, but your mileage may vary.

Antioxidant and cytotoxic effects of seed oils from edible fruits
Characterization of crude watermelon seed oil by two different extractions
Phytosterols and steryl esters in diverse Curcubita, Cucumis and Citrullus seed oils
Extraction and determination of physico-chemical properties of watermelon seed oil...
Book: Lipid Handbook

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at using this interesting oil in an emulsified sugar scrub!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What do you want to know? Which products are worth making at home?

In the What do you want to know post, J asked: I always wonder which products it's worth making. I know that there's plenty of fun to be had from pottering around being crafty, but I suppose I'd like to know which things I can make that will save me money/be better quality than shop bought/be better for me than shop bought/etc. I worry that I'd buy a load of ingredients and end up spending a fortune making so-so stuff.

I can say without fear of contradiction that everything I make is nicer than what I would buy in the store. I use more active ingredients - for instance, aloe vera at 10% instead of 0.5% - and the products are customized for my hair, skin, and climate. I make everything my family uses except for toothpaste, anti-perspirant, and mascara. I make a cleaning spray for the kitchen and bathroom that is better than any commercial product I've used.

But "nice" is a relative term and what I think is awesome might not be what you think is awesome. So let's take a look at cost as a determining factor.

You will spend more money on ingredients as you figure out how to make recipes and make mistakes and as you figure out which ones you love and which ones you don't. You will buy way too much of some things - my weakness is oils! - and you will spend money on shipping that you realize could be bought from a more local retailer. But over time, you will get to the point where you have a roster of products you make regularly and well and I think you save tons of money at that point.

Let's take a look at making a 100 gram bottle of conditioner. I like to make conditioners with 7% Incroquat BTMS-50 at $0.073 per gram, this works out to about ¢51. I include 2 grams of cetrimonium chloride, which at ¢3.4 means I'm using ¢6.8 worth in this product. I like to include 2 grams of oat protein (¢12), 2 grams panthenol (¢11), 3 grams coconut oil (¢3), 2 grams dimethicone (¢9), 2 grams cyclomethicone (¢7), and 0.5 grams liquid Germall Plus (¢6).

So a 100 gram bottle of conditioner works out to $1.06, not including the bottle. Normally I'd buy a 250 ml or 8 ounce bottle of conditioner, so this recipe would be $2.63, which I think is quite the bargain for something filled with great stuff my hair likes. If I throw in the cost of the bottle - about ¢88 - then I'm looking at $3.51 for a bottle of great conditioner. Compare this with just about any conditioner and you'll see you're saving a bunch of cash! I find that I use way less of my conditioner than I would a store bought version, so I'm saving even more! On the "is it good for my hair" front - I am getting more conditioner per ml than I would with a store bought one, and I've added cetrimonium chloride to increase the detangling properties.

When I used store bought products, I would have to get my husband or mother to brush my hair after the shower because it was so tangly. Now? I have the odd tangle at the ends, but it generally brushes through easily. My conditioner is soooo much better than store bought! 

I could extend this recipe to a lotion made with Incroquat BTMS-50 easily. I would use a little less BTMS-50 and add some oils to the mix - this could vary between ¢10 to ¢15 for coconut oil to something like $1.25 for argan oil, for example - and you're still below $2.00 for a good lotion. (See the related links section to see more about lotions.)

And when it comes to facial care products, you save a fortune! Have you seen how much a 50 ml of moisturizer can cost???

In all honesty, I can't think of a product that would be more expensive to make than it would be to buy, but that depends upon your tastes. I have never bought hair care products from a salon - I've always been a drug store girl - and I have never bought expensive lotions or potions. (Heck, I didn't use lotions until I started making them!)

If you're interested in this topic, I really encourage you to check out the related links below and check out the comments that others make. I think the general consensus is that we save money making really awesome products!

*All the prices are based on what I buy in smaller amounts from my favourite retailers, but I didn't include shipping and taxes to make the calculations easier. I think you could add 10% to 15% to my estimated costs for those. Besides, I tend to drive down to Voyageur Soap & Candle to get what I want! Yeah, I know that I use gas to get down there, I tend to do a whole bunch of stuff in Langley when I go. 

Related posts:
Substitutions: Formulating on a budget
Question: What is the cheapest lotion you could make?
Is it cheaper to make your own products? Part one
Is it cheaper to make your own products? Part two

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A few thoughts for a slightly chilly Tuesday...

I hope you're all having a wonderful week! I'm off work until January 5th, so I spent yesterday in the workshop making all kinds of lovely things with all kinds of lovely ingredients. You'll see those posts in the next little while!

If you're looking for a last minute crafting idea, why not make a water based fragrance spray? They're super easy - 1% to 3% fragrance or essential oil to 1% to 3% solubilizer like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, or polysorbate 20 - with 0.5% to 1% preservative of choice and water to make up 100%. Bottle and rejoice! They're super easy!

These are ones we made in our craft group. Don't forget to give the fragrance spray a great name and label! 

I read this on the BBC this morning and thought it was interesting. Ever wonder why orange juice tastes so bad after brushing your teeth? I always thought it was thanks to the evil mint flavour, but it's thanks to the SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate)! "Detergent molecules like SLS have chemical properties that let them elbow their way into bubbles of fat molecules and disperse them...But the membranes of our biological cells are also made of fats. The current theory is that SLS somehow tampers with the membranes of the taste cells on our tongue...So when you drink orange juice under the influence of SLS, you taste none of its sweetness and its tartness comes across as bitter." Neat stuff, eh? You gotta love chemistry!

I would like to extend a huge thank you to Andrea for her kind donation of many many many bottles and jars to my youth programs. You've made it possible for us to make tons of bath & body things we wouldn't have been able to make, like the fragrance sprays above. The new year will bring much bathing, showering, washing, and smelling fun to the youth in my programs!

As a note, all the proceeds from the e-books I offer on this blog go directly to the youth in the youth programs my husband and I offer at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre in Chilliwack and the Yarrow Community Hall in Yarrow, B.C. If you want to learn more, click here!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekday Wonderings: Heating and holding? Figuring out the melting point? Pouring oil into water - how fast?

In this post, If you're new to lotion making, Heidi L asks: I can't mentally get past this one super basic concept... I understand the idea of heat and hold, I get the mechanics of double boilers. But how on earth do I control the temperatures of the water and oil phases? You list the minimum temp, but what is the max each phase can get before we start to see degradation of the beneficial properties of our ingredients? (I do of course realize that will vary based on exactly which ingredients I choose, but I'm hoping for a basic rule of thumb). I think you may have said 85 degrees somewhere, but does that apply to both phases? Then, I know the two phases need to be about the same temp when we combine them, but how close is close enough? I keep imagining having these 2 pots constantly on and off the heat, in and out of the water baths, stove on, stove off, as I frantically try to achieve and maintain a specific even temperature for 2 pots simultaneously. I can't help but imagine this horribly comical juggling act! Is there a trick to it, or is the reality of it just not as difficult as this frantic scenario I've built in my head?

It really isn't that difficult! If you're using a double boiler, the temperatures will increase slowly so you can monitor is quite easily. Just get yourself two nice candy thermometers and check on them from time to time.

Norm MacDonald had a bit where he explained why he always had little dogs. If they wanted to kill you, it would take them all night to try to bite through your jugular vein. When you woke up you could just shake them off with "Get off me, weiner dog!" I think of using a double boiler this way, although with less yelling about weiner dogs. (Okay, being honest here, slightly less yelling about weiner dogs. They are fun creatures!) The double boiler rises in temperature slowly enough that you can keep an eye on it for temperature. If it gets too hot, you just turn down the temperature on the element or the plug and it goes down.

This is why I don't suggest using microwave ovens. A few seconds too long and the metaphorical weiner dog has bitten through your vein and you're spewing blood everywhere! (Okay, you get the picture. No need for more gore, eh? This isn't the Walking Dead, after all!)

In all my years of making stuff, I've never had an oil get anywhere near a smoking temperature, let alone too hot to use in a lotion. I think the highest has been 80˚C. I wouldn't want anything to get over 85˚C because that's pretty high and can hurt you if you spill it. (I have no evidence I can point to for this number, but I remember seeing it somewhere and it makes sense to me. It's surprisingly hard to get your phases this high in a double boiler!)

As for how close the two phases should be - I would say no more than 10˚C apart, but I prefer 5˚C. So if you have your water phase at 75˚C, get your oil phase to 70˚C.

Another comment from Heidi L from the same post: One more question. I currently make an oil based body butter. Basic recipe is more or less: 50% butters, 25% coconut oil, 25% liquid oil. Any thoughts on how I'd determine the specific melting point for the finished product? I originally thought I could take the temp at which each ingredient liquifies and the % of the total solution and come up with a simple formula, but the liquid oil does not seem to have a temp at which it becomes solid available from reliable sources. When I plug in the figure I've gotten from the sources I have been able to find and then do the logical math, the calculation I come up with is clearly inaccurate. Thoughts?

There is no easy way to figure out the melting point of a product other than watching when it melts. We can't figure it out because of confounding factors like the amount of oleic acid in the product. Check out this post for more information on that!

In the same post, Jay Sy asks: When you are adding the water phase to the oil phase, are you blending the oil phase and slowly pouring the water phase into the mix? Or are you literally just pouring the water phase into the oil phase, inserting the stick blender, and then blending away?

I just pour the oil phase into the water phase and start mixing then. I don't worry about how fast or slow I'm adding the oil - I just pour and then mix. Part of that is so I can see the awesome power of emulsification in action; the other part is that I am very klutzy and if I try to do more than one thing at a time, I will make a horrible mess. Mixing and pouring will not work for me!

Join me tomorrow when I share the first of some of my exciting experiments from the workshop with you! Woo!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Keep the suggestions coming!

Thanks for sharing your ideas for what you'd like to see on the blog! Keep the suggestions for ingredients and products coming! Visit this post to share your thoughts!  

I don't have a post for today as I spent the morning cleaning the workshop in anticipation of a fun filled tomorrow and the afternoon researching some new ingredients with which I'd like to play! I have a bunch - baobab oil, acai oil, cloudberry oil, lupine amino acids, and a lot more. But don't worry, I'll share what I make with you over the coming days!