Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What do you want to know?

It's been a busy month with teaching classes and youth programs during Spring Break, so it's been hard to get to writing some posts. I'm hoping to catch up this Easter long weekend on the messages and comments you've been sending me! I also hope to get some of the great National Craft Month submissions up!

So I'll ask you the question - what intrigues you? What do you want to know about or want to see more of on the blog? What recipes are kicking your bum or what processes confuse you? What ingredients do you want to know more about and what ingredients would you like to see me use? In general, what do you want to know? I'm asking so I can generate some blog posts in response to what you, my wonderful readers, are curious about! Let me know in the comments below!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Quick post: National Craft Month is almost over!

When March ends, so does National Craft month, and I'm holding a little contest to celebrate! (Check out the full details in this post!)

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 sjbarclay@telus.net 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!

I realize I said to keep the crafts bath & body related, then I go and put a picture of my husband sewing and a charm I made with metal...Silly Swift! 

Weekend Wonderings: Where to get reputable information?

In this post, Much maligned ingredients: Propylene glycol, Katt asks: Recently I was in a soap group on Facebook and a woman asked me if i used propylene glycol.  At the time I had no clue what it was 'til I looked it up on your site. Besides the fact I don't use petroleum derived ingredients, I don't see what's so bad about it. So I asked her. She went off about how it caused cancer and all sorts of stuff, so I did some research and found a site called ATSDR, which stands for Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. They say all it can cause is skin irritation depending on the person. So my question is - is this a reputable site to get info from? It seems legit and basically coincides with what you say (I tend to trust what you say a lot). I just wanted to make sure I understand all ingredients before I use them and need to know a good site to get info from, not a bunch of people who bad mouth products because they don't like them. 

The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry is a "federal public health registry of the US Department of Health and Human Services". They are reputable. (Here's their take on propylene glycol!)

It's hard to know where to get information. I trust my textbooks and the studies I find through EBSCO host. I like Cosmetics Info, Paula's ChoiceChemist's Corner, and Joe Schwarcz (see his Facebook page!), to name a few.

I don't trust sites like the EWG, Skin Deep, Natural News, Food Babe, The Suzuki Foundation, and their like because they don't seem to get it right when it comes to chemistry. They rely upon studies conducted by labs no one has heard of and they don't share their data.

It's interesting how much misinformation there is out there about food and cosmetics, both relating to chemistry. The concerns about propylene glycol - it's in anti-freeze - reminds me of the Food Babe's crusade against the chemical azodicarbonamide in Subway bread, calling it the "yoga mat chemical".  You can't say that because something is in one thing, it's bad if it's in another. Water can be used to flush toilets and clean filthy vehicles, but this doesn't mean water is bad for us. 

Although I'm really flattered that you trust me, I encourage you to do your own searches to make decisions about your ingredient choices. (Shocking as it might be, I have been known to be wrong at times!) Find reputable sites and consult those regularly. If something doesn't make sense, consult another site or book to see if this is a widely held position.

Related posts:
Where do I get my information?
How do I research ingredients and make decisions about my ingredients?
How to research ingredients?
What constitutes evidence?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A few notes for the day...

I had great fun at Voyageur Soap & Candle to teaching a hair care class yesterday! If you're interested in taking a class with me or in learning anything to do with bath & body products, including cold process soap, check out their spring class schedule to see when you can attend!

This is what we made yesterday in the hair care products class! So much stuff! 

Just a quick note about conditioner recipes on this blog...they are all pH balanced. You don't need to make the conditioners more acidic. Just leave them be and use them the way you made them. Some could be as high as 6.0, but that's fine. As long as they are on the acidic side of things, you're just fine. Please don't go altering the recipes with vinegar or citric acid when you don't have a pH meter. Just leave them be!

I'm off to have a quiet day. It's been a crazy week and it looks like it'll be crazier as spring break is starting up in our town, and we have a few activities we're doing with the kids, like going to Granville Island tomorrow, making sushi on Thursday, and playing video games on Saturday.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Weekday Wonderings: Can you add glycerin to an anhydrous bar?

In this post, How to make a longer lasting lotion?, Susanna Originals asks: Can you use glycerine in an anhydrous recipe? For instance, if you were making a body bar could you replace 2 or 3% of the oil with glycerine?

The short answer is no. The long answer?

As I note in this post, we can mix water soluble things with water soluble things and oil soluble things with oil soluble things. We can only mix a water soluble thing with an oil soluble thing if we have an emulsifier. Glycerin is a water soluble ingredient and a body bar - which I'm guessing is a lotion bar of some kind - is anhydrous, so the two can't be used together without some kind of emulsifier. 

If you wanted to add glycerin to a lotion bar, you would need an emulsifier, like Polawax, Incroquat BTMS-50, Ritamulse SCG, and so on. You can see an example of a bar like this in my pumpkin seed oil body scrub bar. Because I have included Ritamulse SCG, I can include water soluble ingredients like a hydrolyzed protein or glycerin

You might see people adding water soluble ingredients to anhydrous products without an emulsifier. For instance, adding honey to a lip balm. I added sodium lactate to this lip balm a few years ago. How? I used lecithin, which can emulsify small amounts of water soluble ingredients into things like a lip balm or a lotion bar. 

Related posts:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekday Wonderings: How to make a longer lasting lotion?

In this post, More information on calculations, Chris B from the Dish asks: I was just wondering what oils/butters you recommend adding to a lotion to make the lotion last longer on the skin? I have tried many of your formulas (love a few of them) but after about two hours, the moisturizing effect is gone and my legs are flaky again. Are there any oils in particular I should be using?

I think there are loads of different opinions on this - and I would encourage you, my lovely readers, to share your thoughts in the comments - but I don't think it's about the type of oils. I think it's about the combination of occlusive ingredients and humectants rather than the oils.

There's a difference between moisturization and hydration. Moisturizing is about creating an occlusive barrier to keep the water we have in our skin in our skin and preventing transepidermal water loss. Hydrating is about binding water to something like a humectant and keeping it on our skin. (Check out this post for way more details!) When we combine the two, we can make something seriously awesome for dry skin!

For dry skin, we want to bring water to the skin, which is why something like an anhydrous or without-water whipped butter, lotion bar, or oils only balm will do nothing for your skin type. We want to use oil-in-water lotions to bring moisturization and hydration to your skin!

If I want to make something for dry skin, I think about adding a humectant like glycerin, sodium lactate, and so on, and an occlusive ingredient to trap in that moisture. So I'd want to make something with cocoa butter, allantoin, or dimethicone - the three approved occlusive ingredients - and a lovely humectant.

Also consider the viscosity of the product you're making. If you make a light lotion, it'll offer less moisturizing than a body butter because the product isn't as thick!

So what would I suggest? I'd make something filled with humectants - say 3% glycerin and 2% sodium lactate or 3% glycerin, 2% honeyquat, and 2% propylene glycol, for example, - that had some great occlusive ingredients - let's say 10% cocoa butter, 2% dimethicone (cool down), and 0.5% allantoin - combined with some oils that offer great barrier repair properties - anything with linoleic acid, like soy bean oil, rice bran oil, or pumpkin seed oil, to name a few. (You could also try anything with gamma linoleic acid, like evening primrose or borage oil.) I'd add ingredients like panthenol - humectant and wound healer - and perhaps a hydrolyzed protein to offer some film forming.

This body butter with a few substitutions would be very nice, but then again, any of the recipes on this blog using those ingredients would be very nice! (As an aside, the body butter the way I made it stays greasy on my legs well into the next day if I apply it night! It's not too greasy, just enough that I know it's there!)

Related posts:
What is dry skin?
Impaired skin barrier repair mechanisms
Lower hydration levels
What ingredients could we use for dry skin? (Part one)
What ingredients could we use for dry skin? (Part two)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Do we need to use Vitamin E? Is the preservative and fragrance part of the 100%?

In this post, Lotions: A basic recipe, Helga asks: 1) does lotion need vitamin E? 2) is the percentage of preservative and fragrance based on the absolute total produced with those included or of the foundation of the recipe without those? 

I include Vitamin E for two reasons. The first is because it's lovely for your skin. Vitamin E moisturizes and softens skin well. The second is because it acts like an anti-oxidant. But only certain types behave as anti-oxidants. For instance, I use this T-50 anti-oxidant tocopherol blend from Voyageur Soap & Candle as an anti-oxidant. For this ingredient, I could use it as low as 0.05% to retard rancidity in the oils. (Tocopherol acetate is used for moisturizing, not as an anti-oxidant.)

So to answer the question - no, your lotion doesn't need Vitamin E, but it's a nice addition to either soften skin or retard rancidity in your oils.

The second question is one I've seen around quite a bit lately. Every ingredient in a lotion is to be part of the 100% total. So if we have a recipe that looks like this...

BASIC FIRST LOTION RECIPE
70.5% water
15% oil (sunflower, soy bean, rice bran, or olive oil)
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
5% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

...you'll notice the preservative and fragrance oil/essential oil are in the the 100% total of the recipe. There's no reason to add either of these things on top of the 100%; they are included.

BASIC FIRST LOTION RECIPE
71.5% water
15% oil (sunflower, soy bean, rice bran, or olive oil)
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
5% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Let's say you want to add essential oil at 1% to the second version of this lotion. How do we do that and keep it at 100%? You would remove 1% from the water phase - making it 70.5% water - and add your essential oil at 1% to keep the total at 100%.

To summarize this question: You include every ingredient you are using in the 100%.

Related posts:
Adding and removing from the water amount

Side note: I thought I'd share this lip gloss recipe from Adventures with the Sage with you! Someone asked about lip gloss the other day, and I thought this looked like a nice one!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

It's been a long week!

It's been a very long week with loads of activity and not much time to think about anything, let alone write. Sorry for the lack of posts!

Happy Pi Day! Today is 3.14/15, so I encourage you to celebrate by measuring some circles and eating a tart or two. Quiche counts!

Like this shirt? Find this and more at Mental Floss's shirt store! (Note: I don't have an affiliation with them and don't get any money if you click through. I just like their shirts!) 

Check out this post on Beauty Brains about Lush's self-preserving products and water activity. Very interesting!

Are you interested in taking a class at Voyageur Soap & Candle with me? If so, registration is open and the first class is on Saturday, March 21st when we'll have some fun with hair care products! While there, check out the awesome classes Tawnee is teaching, including cold process soap making, men's products, green cleaning products, and mommy & me products, to name a few. She's an incredible teacher!

A quick note about the e-books: If you donate for an e-book, you will get it within a few minutes to few hours of the email arriving in my inbox. (The delay is because I need to be somewhere with wifi or at home!) If you don't get it in a few hours, check your spam inbox as it seems to be ending up there. Please write to me if you don't get it within 24 hours. There are the odd times I can't send things right away - for instance, when I'm on holidays in America where it costs a fortune to send and receive email on my smart phone - but I'll post that information on the blog when I'm away.

A reminder about the National Craft Month contest! Click here to learn more! Look forward to seeing a few of the entries in the next few days!

I'm having a really tired day today, so it looks like instead of reviewing your comments, I'll be lying on the couch playing Animal Crossing. I'll get to some of your questions in tomorrow's Weekend Wonderings!

What are you making this weekend? 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Why use three surfactant blends in products?

In this post, Surfactants: A conditioning shampoo with SCI for normal to oily hair, Fatima asks: Can you tell me why another surfactant is needed? Wouldn't this work perfectly fine with just the two?

Great question! We use different surfactants blended together because each brings something different to the mix.

Take a look at decyl glucoside for a moment. It has good foam, but isn't known for its lather or bubbles. This wouldn't be a great addition to a bubble bath, but it might be good for a low lathering cleanser.

Let's take a look at disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS). It has good foam and good detergency, and it's great for oily skin and hair.

If you take a look at this surfactant chart, you can see that something like C14-16 olefin sulfonate brings good lather, great flash foam, and good bubbles to the mix. It is good for oily hair as it removes sebum gently, and it's a good emulsifier. This would be a good inclusion for a shampoo, body wash, or facial cleanser for oily hair or skin.

If we wanted to make a bubble bath, we would be looking for ingredients that have great flash foam, great bubbles, and great lather. If we chose decyl glucoside as the only surfactant, we'd only have good foam. If we chose only DLS as the only surfactant, we'd only have good foam. So we would have a pretty lousy bubble bath. Instead, we'd want to use the C14-16 olefin sulfonate because it offers good lather, great flash foam, and good bubbles. We could combine it with SCI or ACI because both are known to have great foam, good bubbles, and good lather. This would bring us a great product that is better than the surfactants alone.

Let's say we wanted to create a facial wash. We don't necessarily want something that foams, lathers, or bubbles like crazy on our face. We generally want something that cleans well but gently. We want something that would be good for our skin type, so let's take a look at dry skin. For dry skin, we want to use something that is very mild and doesn't strip out a ton of oils. We would choose gentle to mild surfactants that are good for dry skin in very low levels. My first thought is the polyglucose/lactylate blend. It is a very gentle cleanser that offers great cleansing properties and a moisturized after feel. I think I'll add cocamidopropyl betaine as that surfactant will increase the mildness of the product and increase the viscosity. I might include some SMC or SMO taurate as it's also great for dry skin, and it works well in combination with cocamidopropyl betaine to increase viscosity.

Why use three different surfactants in this recipe? Because they each have something to offer to the product. The SMC or SMO taurate and cocamidopropyl betaine combination will bring mild cleansing and viscosity while the polyglucose/lactylate brings more gentle cleansing and a moisturized after feel. You could use two of three surfactants and have something nice, but I think using all three together offers something that is more special.

I could make my facial cleanser in a different way using different surfactants based on skin type, desired qualities - gentle cleansing, loads of foam and lather, conditioned skin feel, etc. - using different surfactants. What would happen if I used decyl glucoside, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, and SMC taurate together? What could I expect from the lather, foam, and bubbles? Would I have to alter the pH? What skin type would use this product? Think about those questions when you're buying your surfactants or planning to make something.

To get back to the original question - why use three surfactants in this shampoo?

CONDITIONING SHAMPOO FOR NORMAL HAIR WITH SCI
HEATED PHASE
53% water
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% SCI (without stearic acid)
5% surfactant of choice (SLeS, SMC Taurate, a blend, and so on)
10% aloe vera
2% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein

COOL DOWN PHASE
3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% to 2% fragrance or essential oils
(up to 2% Crothix - when cooled down - optional)

I love SCI so very much. It makes my hair feel so conditioned after using it. But I can't use it huge amounts because it's a solid found in prills or pellets, and if I put in too much, it'll precipitate out. So I look to another surfactant to offer great cleansing as well, something like SLeS, SMC taurate, DLS, and so on. If I added SMC taurate, I'll be adding something that is great for thickening and dry to normal hair type. And I add cocamidopropyl betaine to the mix, I'll make it even gentler and help thicken the product well.

I guess I could use two surfactants - let's say SCI and cocamidopropyl betaine - but then I'd be losing the awesome power of the third surfactant. I could use just SMC taurate and cocamidopropyl betaine, but then I'd be losing the great bubbles, great lather, great foam, and elegant skin feel SCI brings to the party. By using three surfactants together, I'm bringing a few different awesome qualities to the product.

I feel like I've gone on too long here. The short answer is that by combining three surfactants I can create something that has the qualities I seek better than using one or two surfactants. Did I answer your question? I hope so!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: More information on calculations

In this post, Question: Determining how much to use when working with powders, there's a discussion going on about calculations. Let's take a look at a few calculations today!

BASIC FIRST LOTION RECIPE
68.5% water
16% oil (sunflower, soy bean, rice bran, or olive oil)
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
6% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

When you are making a product, the recipe should total 100%. I know some of my recipes don't total 100%. Why is that? Sometimes it's because I'm trying to account for different preservatives having different usage amounts. Liquid Germall Plus calls for 0.1% to 0.5% usage, while Germaben II calls for up to 1% usage, so my recipes might say 0.5% to 1%, totalling 100.5%.

A recipe should not vary between weight and volume measurements. For instance, we don't want to see 5 grams of this and 4 ml of that. We want everything in grams or ounces (preferably grams as that's easier to convert from percentages).

To convert a recipe, trade the % sign for the word "grams" and you will get a recipe that weighs 100 grams.

If you want to make half the recipe, then divide everything in the recipe by 2 to create a 50 gram batch. For the lotion above, you'd have 34.25 grams water, 8 grams oil, and so on.

If you want 25 grams of the above recipe, divide everything in the recipe by 4 and get 17.125 grams water, 4 grams of oil, and so on.

If you want to make double the recipe, then you'd multiply everything in the recipe by 2, so you'd have 137 grams water, 32 grams oil, and so on.

Have fun formulating!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Question: Determining how much to use when working with powders

From this post, Making a water-in-silicone serum, Nanette asks: How do you determine the correct percentages of powdered ingredients? 2% of powder A could weigh significantly more than 2% of Powder B.

These kind of conundrums are the reason we weigh all our ingredients intead of using teaspoons or tablespoons. How much allantoin are we adding if we use 1 teaspoon or 5 ml? How much if we use 10 ml? And so on. It's so much easier to use 0.5 grams in 100 grams of product and know that we are using 0.5% allantoin in that product.

How to convert any recipe from percentages to grams? Convert the % sign to the word "grams" and you will have a 100 gram batch. If you want 500 grams, convert the % sign to the word "grams" and multiply by 5. And so on.

Always always always weigh your ingredients. Don't do the "5 grams of this, 1 ml of that" recipes as they are hard to scale up when you want to make bigger batches. As well, how do you know how much of something you've used in percentages if you've added 5 ml of something to a 100 gram batch?

Oils have a specific density of 0.90 grams per ml. So adding 5 ml to a 100 gram batch of product means you've added 4.5%. Glycerin has a specific density of 1.263 grams per ml, so added 5 ml to a batch, means you've actually added 6.315% to your product.

So the short answer to your question, Nanette, is that 2% of powder A and 2% of powder B will always be the same if you are using weighted measurements! (You'll have 2 grams of A and 2 grams of B!)

Related posts:
Why we weigh ingredients! 
How to convert recipes from percentages to weights! 
How do I figure out the volume of a recipe? Specific gravity

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?

PEPPERMINTY FOOT CREAM WITH SOY BEAN OIL
WATER PHASE
30% water
10% witch hazel
10% aloe vera
5% glycerin
3% sodium lactate
0.5% allantoin

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

COOL DOWN PHASE
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...

BASIC BODY BUTTER RECIPE
WATER PHASE
60% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin

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

COOL DOWN PHASE
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...

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

COOL DOWN PHASE
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 sjbarclay@telus.net 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.

WATER-IN-SILICONE SERUM WITH NIACINAMIDE AND N-ACETYL GLUCOSAMINE
PHASE A
37% Lotioncrafter serum SE
10% propylene glycol

PHASE B
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!