Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The new e-zine is out for Patreon subscribers...

Hi everyone! Hope you're enjoying a lovely spring filled with flowers and bird calls no matter where you are in the world.

The e-zine I'm offering to $10.00 subscribers to my Patreon page this month is part one of a few on cosmeceuticals in facial products. It won't be available outside of Patreon, and it's only available until May 1st.

In addition to having loads and loads of information on cosmeceuticals, you'll find a secret word that will get you $10 off my upcoming cosmeceuticals & active ingredients e-book! Pretty awesome, eh?

Check out the table of contents here! 

As well, Jen from Lotioncrafter is offering a 7% discount until April 30th to everyone who has subscribed at the $10 level. Again, pretty awesome, eh?

Please note that the proceeds from the Patreon subscription and my e-zines go to my family, not to my youth programs. Proceeds from the five e-books go 100% to the youth programs my husband and I run from the Neighbourhood Learning Centre in Chilliwack, B.C. Click here to learn more.

Thank you so much to all of you for supporting my blog and my youth programs! I'm such a lucky woman to have such wonderful and supportive readers!

If you'd like to see more of the e-zines and e-books I write, please check out this post on the topic. Thanks!

Monday, April 17, 2017

I'm teaching at Windy Point Soap Making!

I'm so excited to announce I've been invited to teach at Windy Point Soap Making's grand opening of their new store in Calgary, Alberta, over the Victoria Day long weekend (May 20th & 21st)! We should have more news shortly, but keep watching this page and their Facebook page for more information on classes and registration!

As an aside, if you've never been to Windy Point's on-line shop*, I encourage you to take a look at it. Michele & Keith have worked hard to offer a huge assortment of ingredients from fun emulsifiers like Simulsol 165, RM-2051, and Aristoflex AVC, as well as surfactants like SCI, flavoured lip balm oils like the pear coconut and cupcake I used for my lip scrubs, and spectacular fragrance oils. They're also carrying my e-books, which is just lovely!

Please note, they didn't pay me to say these things, and I receive nothing from them if you buy something. I'm just so happy to be associated in some small way with lovely people like Michele & Keith. We have some really great suppliers in Canada, eh?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

They aren't mistakes: They're salty, gummy, tasty learning opportunities

Every day I see posts and messages from those of you who are scared to try something because you might waste supplies or make an unsuccessful product. To you I say this: Get in the workshop and try making something! You will learn nothing until you have the experience of holding the ingredients in your hands and working through the instructions! (Sorry for yelling, but this is something I'm really passionate about!)

Please allow me to share a story with you. On Friday, a brilliant and talented young woman named Jessica, who is currently attending school to become a pastry chef, taught me how to make edible spheres using sodium alginate and calcium chloride. She made a lovely honey and water simple syrup to go into iced tea, and we made guava ones later on. (Yes, they were both awesome!)

She really wanted to try making soy sauce spheres to put on sushi, but our attempts failed. We pondered the chemistry of the situation for a bit, then consulted the internet for more recipes. One suggested we try making them with agar agar, and, luckily, I had a food grade version in the workshop, so we gave it a go.

Less than an hour later, we had soy sauce spheres.!We had a bit of the agar agar/soy sauce combination left over and my gummy bear molds arrived earlier last week, so we put two and two together to create...SOY SAUCE GUMMY BEARS!

I know, right? SOY SAUCE GUMMY BEARS!!! (Patent pending, TM, and all that jazz!) 

Let me tell you, they were delicious! They had all the awesome saltiness of soy sauce without making the sushi and agedashi tofu* soppy and wet. One was perfect for a small roll, two perfect for the larger ones. Two days later, they are still soft and gummy outside the fridge, and they still taste awesome.

This will lead to more experimentation making fruit gummies, which we'll share with our youth programs, and it'll lead to more experiments using the agar agar for bath & body products as it's shown it can stand up to electrolytes, like the salts we find in so many of our ingredients, which I'll share here with you.

Why am I sharing a story about SOY SAUCE GUMMY BEARS!!! with you on a bath & body product blog?

One, soy sauce gummy bears are awesome! They're all salty and yummy, and part of me wants to just eat them without the sushi, but apparently that makes me some kind of monster, according to my friends and husband. (I like Marmite, too. Don't judge me!)

And two, we wouldn't have started our experiments with agar agar if we hadn't failed in our original attempts. We would have made the original spheres and been very happy with them. Instead, the failure made us go looking for more answers, and we found a a recipe that was more wonderful than we thought possible that opened up our minds to all kinds of new and wonderful ideas!

There are no such things as mistakes when it comes to playing in our workshops (and kitchens): They're opportunities to learn what we like and what we don't like. I know it's hard to throw away what seem like wasted ingredients that cost money and took forever to get to us by mail, but you'll have learned so much, including what doesn't work, what you hate, and what not to do again. I always say I gain confidence from my successes, but I learn more from my failures.

Allow me a moment to share my origin story with you. I made bath bombs a few times before sharing then with my youth program. They failed miserably, falling to pieces in our hands, which lead me on a quest to find out why. I stumbled upon the Dish Forum, where I found recipes for lotion and more, plus an amazing community of people who shared their knowledge and recipes. The questions that arose while I made those first recipes lead me to learn chemistry, which lead me to create this blog so I could share my passion for our craft with you, my lovely readers.

If those bath bombs had worked, I would have had lovely bath bombs for a day or two, but I wouldn't have set out on this exciting adventure that has included creating this blog, writing the e-books, instructing, and all the other lovely things that I enjoy every day.

RECIPE FOR SOY SAUCE GUMMIES (a modification of the recipe found here...) 
175 grams soy sauce
2 grams agar agar

Mix the two together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil while mixing, then remove from the heat. Pour into the molds, then put in the freezer to cool. It took about 10 minutes per mold of 50 small gummies.

I'm not sure how many gummies this recipe will make as we made a bunch of other things before we decided to try the gummy mold.

I bought my gummy bear molds from Amazon.ca - here's a link for the ones I bought, which were $13 for 3 molds* - but you could use all kinds of things, like silicone ice cube trays from the dollar store. These are very small gummies, and I don't think I'd want them to be much bigger as they're already a salty punch in the face, and I say this as someone who carries a small shaker of salt around in her purse just in case they don't have it when I need it.

My sodium registers as "low" in blood tests, which comes as a shock to me, so there's no need to worry about my blood pressure. I think it's the only thing about me health-wise that's not worrisome!

We did try the version in the link to the recipe above where he drops soy sauce into cold olive oil, but we didn't get cute little spheres out of it and they were a little too big for our tastes. I'm sure, with time, we could get that method right.

As always, the links I provide on this blog are for informational purposes only. I don't receive any compensation of any sort from anyone if you buy those gummy bear molds or anything else I tell you about here. Just wanted to remind you of that. 

Also, did you know that there's some kind of new link where pages get some kind of kickback if you visit them, then visit Amazon for something completely different after you leave their page? You don't have to click on a link or anything. What the heck is up with that??? 

Do you have a happy accident story to share? What have you learned from failed attempts? What are you grateful didn't work the first time? Please share your thoughts in the comments! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Newbie Tuesday on Thursday: Making a gelled facial serum with AHAs

Last week we took a look at AHAs. Today, let's add some of these to our gelled serum with or without oils using Sepimax ZEN.

We're using a combination of fruit acids you can find as Multifruit BSC, fruit acid complex, and other names because we can add quite a bit of it without having to stress about testing the products with a pH meter. If you have a meter, check out how the pH changes before and after you add it.

LIGHT MOISTURIZING GELLED SERUM WITH SEPIMAX ZEN
WATER PHASE
68% distilled water
10% oils of choice
10% aloe vera
3% Multifruit BSC
2% glycerin
2% sodium lactate
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

ZEN PHASE
2% Sepimax ZEN

Weigh out all the water phase ingredients. Use warm water to dissolve the allantoin. Mix well. 

Sprinkle the Sepimax ZEN into the container, then let it sit for up to eight hours. Resist the urge to mix or stir for that eight hours! Then mix with a beater attachment on your mixer or a milk frother. Please don’t use a stick blender as that’s can ruin the gel. And you’re done! 

There is another option if you don’t want to wait eight hours. You can sprinkle the Sepimax ZEN into the container, then mix for 10 minutes with a mixer with beaters or a propeller mixer. It will be slightly thicker than the one made by waiting eight hours. 

If you want to add more Multifruit BSC, try it at 5% next time up to a maximum of 8%. 

If you'd like to make a version that doesn't contain oils, remove the 10% and just add more water or another water soluble ingredient. Take a look at the posts on gelled toners to see how that might look. 

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20
Gels, gels, gels! Sepimax ZEN
Making a gelled toner with Ultrez 20
Making a lavender & chamomile gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Making a chamomile & cucumber gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil free gel moisturizer
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil containing gelled facial serum
Using Sepimax ZEN to make a gelled facial serum with AHAs (part one)

As a quick note, as I'm getting ready to present at the American Soapmakers Guild conference in Las Vegas on May 1st - woo! - and as I'm going on another trip in May to teach a few classes - it's not public yet, but you'll see it here first if you're interested in attending - I'll be suspending the Newbie Tuesday series until the end of May to give you a chance to try the products we've been making and offer feedback. (I'll still be blogging and such, but not doing this specific series...)

In the meantime, I'll be putting together the shopping list for the moisturizers, oil based serum, and creamy cleanser so you can get those things before we start that series in early June.

As another note, I'm still working on a few micellar water recipes I'm trying to get them just right, and I'll have a make-up remover recipe as well. I've also been working on some recipes with salicylic acid that I'll post as well. I just can't promise any of these things will be on Tuesdays. Not that I've been doing great with posting every Tuesday...

So, what do you think about what you've been making?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Newbie Tuesday on Wednesday: Making a gelled facial serum with AHAs (part one)

Yesterday we took a look at making a gelled serum with 10% oil with Sepimax ZEN. Today, let's add some fruit acids to the mix to create something that will act as an AHA or alpha-hydroxy acid, something Sepimax ZEN can handle at up to 4% without problems!

As a quick note, it can also handle salicylic acid, something I hope I can share with you in the next few weeks! 

What are alpha-hydroxy acids? (From a a longer post...) They induce epidermal effects through corneoctye disadhesion, operating by disrupting the ionic bonds between the cells so they can slough off and expose newer and lovelier cells underneath the stratum corneum, or top layer of cells. They also work as an anti-oxidant and can relieve post sun redness. All of these things make fine lines and wrinkles appear less obvious, reduce redness and inflammation, and expose new, shiny skin to the world.

AHAs work by penetrating our skin through the stratum corneum to the stratum granulosum. It acts as an exfoliant on the top layer of our skin by disrupting the bonding between the cells and allowing them to slough off, revealing those new and lovely cells I spoke of earlier.

In the past I would have suggested buying Multifruit BSC, but the product with that specific name is being discontinued in some places, so look for something like fruit acid complex* (Lotioncrafter) or FSS Fruit Mix* (Formulator Sample Shop). You'll find it with an INCI of something like - Water & Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract & Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract & Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract & Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract & Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract.

This blend has a pH of 4.06, and is soluble in water, glycerin, and propylene glycol, and insoluble in oils. It's about 55% active, so add at 5% to 15% (so 2.75% to 8.25% AHA in your creation) in the cool down phase of your creation. It is great for use in surfactant blends, lotions, creams, shampoos, and other water based creations. It isn't suggested to use a cationic emulsifier like Incroquat BTMS-50 with this product, so keep it in non-ionic lotions and potions or anionic surfactant creations. It has a shelf life of 12 to 18 months if kept in a cool dark place.

When using it with Sepimax ZEN, we can't go over 4% AHAs, so make sure you use no more than 8% of this extract in the product.

There are other ingredients found at other suppliers that are fruit acid mixes, but I haven't tried those, so I can't comment. I have used the versions found at Voyageur Soap & Candle, Lotioncrafter, and Formulator Sample Shop, which is why I make those suggestions. If you're trying something I don't mention here, please make a small batch of 100 grams the first time you use it and keep loads of notes.  

Why do I suggest using this instead of AHAs, like glycolic acid? Because using a fruit acid blend like this is less likely to drop your pH to the point of burning when used at the suggested usage rates, compared to a straight AHA ingredient. If you want to use things like lactic or glycolic acid, make sure you have a good pH meter - not the strips - and prepare to add it a drop at a time when you get close to the pH you want.

You can't just add AHAs to any product you want: Make sure all your ingredients work well with acids and lower pH levels. For instance, niacinamide wants a pH of 6, so you can't combine the two.

And always start with a lower level of AHAs. For instance, I generally suggest starting with 3% fruit acid complex, which would give us 1.65%, a level most people could handle.

Okay, this post is getting far too long, so join me tomorrow as we take a look at making a recipe or two with AHAs.

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20
Gels, gels, gels! Sepimax ZEN
Making a gelled toner with Ultrez 20
Making a lavender & chamomile gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Making a chamomile & cucumber gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil free gel moisturizer
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil containing gelled facial serum

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Argh! Technology, which I both love and hate! (And isn't resin casting awesome?)

I've just realized my ISP has altered my e-mail settings for my phone and tablet to be IMAP, meaning if I delete something from one thing, it deletes the e-mail from all the things. I usually look at my mail on my phone or tablet, then delete those I won't be able to answer until I'm at my laptop because they require a longer answer or a bunch of links or they've inspired me to write a post or two. ARGH! That's what I get for being tidy: I've accidentally deleted most of the mail I've been getting for - I think - the last two months or so. (I discovered this looking for a coupon we wanted to use for Staples that I deleted from my phone a few minutes earlier. Nope, wasn't in the trash bin either.)

I don't delete e-mail on my laptop. I'm not kidding. I have everything going back to 2002, when I switched from Shaw to Telus! I even back it up to ensure I'll always have it. It seems very hoarder-y, I'm sure, but believe me when I say it comes in handy. Remember the woman who plagiarized my work? I have all the records of her donations for the e-books she later sold for $1,000 as part of her professional course from a few years ago. 

If you've written to me during this time and haven't received a reply, you may have been part of the mass accidental deletion, and I encourage you to re-send your message to me. 

As an aside, check out the cute little gummy bears and my Tetris cubes I created using Amazing Casting resin* (the white that sets up in 10 minutes) and silicone molds or ice cube trays. We're making these in group this week, and some of these will become a bracelet and possibly a set of earrings, and some of these will be attached to a picture frame using this cool icing type clay used in a process called decoden*.

I'm not completely sure what I'm doing with the Tetris pieces yet, but I'm thinking of putting magnets or thumb tacks on the back so I can use them on the fridge or bulletin board while singing the theme tune that has been stuck in my head for days!

I'll post my finished products for those of you who might be interested in making these kinds of crafts.

I used micas from Windy Point Soap (Alberta)* - magic red, magic violet, and jade green - to colour the bears. The white bears and pieces are actually glow-in-the dark using Night Glow Powder from TKB Trading (USA)*. (Awesome, right? I made nail polish with it, too!)

As always, I receive nothing if you visit the sites to which I've linked or buy anything from those companies. I'm just really excited about this process of decoden and about resin casting, and wanted to share with you! 

Also, you're supporting these youth programs and these projects by buying e-books from this blog and other retailers at which you might find them, so I thought you'd like to see a bit of what we make! 

Newbie Tuesday: Making a gelled facial serum with oil using Sepimax ZEN

Wow, I just can't stay on schedule lately, and I apologize for that. I did write a few posts on making lip scrubs - yummy pear coconut scrub, a lovely jojoba & peppermint scrub, and a plumping peppermint & jojoba lip scrub - which go well with this series of making facial products. 

In our last Newbie Tuesday post, I mentioned making an oil containing gelled facial serum with Sepimax ZEN, so let's get to that!

This gelling ingredient is great at emulsifying oils, although don't believe them when they say it'll emulsify up to 40% oils. 10% works well for me, and anything over that tends to be a little problematic and I've seen separation. Besides, 10% oil is a lot in a serum when you have all kinds of other lovely ingredients to add to the mix!

You could take our gelled toner from last time and add 10% oil and make something awesome. Observe the modifications...

ROSE & ALOE MOISTURIZING GEL WITH SEPIMAX ZEN
SLIGHTLY HEATED WATER PHASE
64% distilled water*
10% light oil or ester of choice* 
10% aloe vera
10% rose water
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

ZEN PHASE
3% Sepimax ZEN

*Notice I've added 10% oil and removed 10% from the distilled water phase compared to the non-oil containing recipe. 

Using room temperature or slightly above room temperature water, add the ingredients in the slightly heated water phase and mix well. Sprinkle Sepimax ZEN on the water. Wait 8 hours. Do not mix during that time. I know you want to, but don’t! After 8 hours – ta da! You have a lovely thick gel!?"

Or you can put the powder in the water, mix lightly with a fork until the product is wetted, then start mixing. Start at a lower speed with a beater on a hand mixer, then move to a higher speed for about 10 minutes.

This will create quite a thick gel, so if you want it to be thinner, feel free to reduce the ZEN to 2.5% or even 2%. It will be thinner if you mix it than if you let it sit for 8 hours. (You'll see the next version uses 2% ZEN.)

What oils would work well here? I love squalane in a facial serum as it's super light and sinks in quickly. Fractionated coconut oil or pomegranate oil also produce really lovely products. You could try an ester, like cetearyl ethylhexanoate or C12-15 alkyl benzoate for a very light, moisturized, less greasy feeling product. Or try using 2% to 4% dimethicone with 6% to 8% light feeling oil for a silky feeling serum. Or try using ethylhexyl palmitate for a silky feeling product that is a lot like dimethicone. In short, you can use any oil you wish in this recipe and come out with something really awesome! 

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at adding an acidic ingredient, like AHAs, to our gelled facial serum! Woo! 

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20
Gels, gels, gels! Sepimax ZEN
Making a gelled toner with Ultrez 20
Making a lavender & chamomile gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Making a chamomile & cucumber gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil free gel moisturizer

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: A bunch of comments I missed in March on hair styling products...

It seems like life is so busy lately with all the preparing I'm doing for the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild's conference in May in Las Vegas where I'm presenting a workshop entitled Facial Moisturizers 101, and with writing my new e-book on using cosmeceuticals in facial products and so many other cool and awesome things as well as a bout of the stomach flu that left me low for a lot longer than I expected. I'm afraid I haven't had time to work on the blog, and I apologize for not writing more often. I am trying to get to your comments, but there's just so little time to do anything right now, so I'll ask for further patience from you. (I'm up to March 20th for shorter answers, and I'm working on a few that will become posts here shortly.) 

As a note, if the answer to your comment or e-mail is found in the FAQ or in the newbie section or found easily through a quick search, I won't be answering them. I'm afraid I don't have time to post lengthy answers or even links to the same ten questions I get every single day about things like where to get supplies, where I keep basic recipes for beginners, or information on ingredients I've written about at great length. I encourage you to take this tour of the blog to see where I keep information or how I categorize it as I know I have a lot of posts and some of them are very long! 

I know a lot of links to outside sources like studies or data sheets aren't working at the moment thanks to Dropbox's decision to stop offering public sharing without notice - yeah, they said they wrote to us, but it's funny that no one seemed to know this was coming - and we're working to get those things on Google Drive, but it's a huge process when I have 2700 posts, many of which have loads of links to all kinds of things I kept on Dropbox. You don't need to post a comment to say the links don't work. I appreciate it, but we're aware of most of them and we're getting there very slowly. It's an incredibly long and annoying process, and I resent Dropbox for doing this with no notice and no way to convert to being a paying customer to make life easier. Okay, rant over....

In this post, Gels: Ooey gooey fun! Jess asks: I have a question about gels. Does carbomer make a hair gel have medium or strong hold or do you need to add another ingredient for hold? 

A carbomer is just a gel without any hold. If you want to make a hair gel, you have to pick an ingredient that has hold, like PVP, AMP, or Fixate. If you do a search for "hair gel" on this blog or look in the hair care section, you'll see a few posts I've written on the topic, like this one

In this post on setting lotions, Annie commented: I'm trying to figure out how to formulate a setting lotion that won't be as harsh on my hair as the commercially available setting lotions (it seems like they all contain alcohol), but will still hold curls when I do vintage wet-set pin curls. It seems like a lot of people make a gel out of flax seeds and water and use that to set curls- do you think it would be possible to incorporate flaxseeds (and then strain it, obviously) into one of the possible recipes you posted, or would that be a bad idea? I can't find any commercial setting lotions with flaxseed, and I'm wondering if there is a reason- maybe it breaks down after a while, is more difficult to preserve, or doesn't work as well as other ingredients?

Things like flaxseed, teas, and botanical ingredients (like powders or spices) are notoriously hard to preserve, even with the best broad spectrum preservatives we have, like liquid Germall Plus. It might be easier to preserve these products with paraben based preservatives like Phenonip or Germaben II, but I find that often people who want to make things like flaxseed or chia seed gels are trying to avoid paraben or non-natural preservatives, and the ECOcert or green preservatives just simply aren't up for the challenge. (This isn't a slam against people who want to make these; just an observation based on comments and messages I see.) 

Check out this post on strawberry extract to see my experiences in preserving something botanical that's hard to preserve...

I think there are a few reasons we aren't seeing these ingredients in commercial products...
1. They are notoriously hard to preserve even for great preservers. 
2. Botanical ingredients can be different from batch to batch, meaning what worked this week doesn't work the next, and commercial entities can't work with that kind of variability when they're making enormous batches. (This is the reason they tend to prefer oils like mineral oil that are the same every time.) 
3. Compared to using things like Ultrez 20 or Sepimax ZEN as the gelling agent, and using things like Fixate, PVP, and AMP, flaxseed isn't very good at offering hold. 

So the short answer to this answer is that I wouldn't suggest using flaxseed gel at all, and I wouldn't suggest using it in any of my recipes. (I'm not even sure into which recipe one might add this...) If you want to create hold, consider getting a fixative that offers hold like PVP (from the Personal Formulator in the States, or check the suppliers' lists in the FAQ to find somewhere near you). 

Related posts:

I think that's it for today's comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! My goal is not to dissuade you from commenting by not being able to answer them all: My goal is to see more comments that inspire more posts, experiments with ingredients, experiments with products, and so on as well as to be able to spend more time on reading your feedback on recipes you've made and observations or opinions you want to share, rather than answering questions I've answered a hundred times in the last eight years. (Holy cow, has it been eight years???) 

Monday, March 27, 2017

My new e-zine: Cold emulsifiers


I've just released my newest e-zine, Using cold emulsifiers: Aristoflex AVC, Emulthix, and Sucragel AOF.

If you'd like to see the table of contents, click here.

If you'd like to buy it for $13.00, click the PayPal link below.


I put these e-zines or short e-books of 25 to 40 pages out every month for those who subscribe at my Patreon page for $10 or more. Then the next month, you'll see them here for purchase. I'm also basing some of the classes I'm offering at Voyageur Soap & Candle around the e-zines like the Gels: Ooey Gooey Fun class and the Bath Time Fun Class!

If you're interested in seeing all the e-zines and e-books I offer, please check out the e-zine and e-book section of the blog by clicking here!

The e-zine I'm offering to $10.00 subscribers to my Patreon page this month is part one of a few on cosmeceuticals in facial products. It won't be available outside of Patreon, and it's only available until April 3rd.

Please note that the proceeds from the Patreon subscription and my e-zines go to my family, not to my youth programs. Proceeds from the five e-books go 100% to the youth programs my husband and I run from the Neighbourhood Learning Centre in Chilliwack, B.C. Click here to learn more.

Thank you so much to all of you for supporting my blog and my youth programs! I'm such a lucky woman to have such wonderful and supportive readers!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Plumping peppermint & jojoba oil lip scrub

On Wednesday we looked at making a fractionated coconut oil lip scrub. Yesterday, we altered the recipe to be all about the jojoba oil and peppermint essential oil. Today, let's look at an anhydrous or non-oil containing ingredient we could add to this recipe.

Confession: I've been playing with so many active ingredients over the last year in anticipation of writing a new e-book on the topic. You'll see a great many of them here, along with tons of new recipes. I just have to find time to take pictures to make them look all pretty! 


Dehydrosome plump (from Formulator Sample Shop*) is Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil & Lecithin & Yeast Extract. It's an oil soluble liquid we use in our products at 1% to 10%. The claims are that it can plump your lips by reducing transepidermal water loss

The lecithin is filled with phosolipids or phosphatides, and all kinds of lovely fatty acids. In our cosmetic ingredients, lecithin can come from a number of sources like soy, egg, or sunflower oil. The soy and the egg lecithin do differ a little. The soy has a fatty acid profile of 20% palmitic acid (C16), 4.3% stearic acid (C18), 11.4% linoleic acid (C18:1), 56.6% linolenic acid (C18:2), and about 7% linolenic acid (C18:3). The egg lecithin contains 30% palmitic acid (C16), 15.9% stearic acid (C18), 26.4% oleic acid (C18:1), 16.2% linoleic acid (C18:2), and no linolenic acid. It does, however, contain arachadonic acid at about 6%. Both of these contain little to no Vitamin E, but they contain B vitamins (choline, Vitamin B8), and they contain 60% to 70% phospholipids (made up of the fatty acids listed above). Most of what we find on our suppliers' shelves is the soy version of lecithin, but if you're vegan or have any restrictions on your diet, ask before buying.

Choline has been shown to increase skin hydration, so it can act as a humectant to bring water our skin. In one study, the application of lecithin to skin increased water retention by 40% and it lasted about 2.5 hours! Another ingredient in lecithin - inositol - has been shown to decrease trans-epidermal water loss in  animal studies. It's also been shown to increase moisture retention in our hair. And it's an anti-oxidant - it's three great things in one!

Lecithin is considered a great moisturizer with those high levels of oleic and linoleic acids, which will moisturize and help restore a damaged skin barrier. The stearic acid is also very moisturizing!

Lecithin can act as an anti-oxidant in our products, scavenging to prevent lipolytic rancidity at 0.01% to 0.25%. It can help boost the efficacy of Vitamin E and Vitamin C as anti-oxidants (science isn't really sure why this is...)

Yeast extract is filled with B vitamins and amino acids, while the sunflower oil is a lovely, light feeling but a bit greasy emollient.

In this recipe, I've used 4.3% Dehydrosome Plump in place of some of the jojoba oil. You could use up to 10% in any lip scrub recipe you chose to make. If you don't have it, just replace the 4.3% with another oil or oil soluble ingredient you like. This recipe is the same as yesterday's lip scrub with the tiny change of the dehydrosome plump ingredient.

PLUMPING PEPPERMINT & JOJOBA LIP SCRUB
69.5% finely ground or berry sugar
17.1% golden jojoba oil
8.7% fractionated coconut oil
4.3% Dehydrosome plump active ingredient
0.4% peppermint essential oil

If you don't have berry sugar, put your sugar into a coffee grinder and blend for maybe 10 seconds to produce a fine sugar. You don't want to grind it too long as you'll end up with powdered sugar, which won't scrub that well. (Ask me how I know this!)

Into a container, weigh the jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, and peppermint essential oil, and mix well. Add the sugar, mix until it is like wet sand, then spoon into your container.

Package this in a small container - I'm using 30 ml jars from Voyageur Soap & Candle* - and use a small spatula* or spoon to remove it from the container to put on your lips.

I've seen people using things like cinnamon or clove essential oil to plump up lips by annoying the heck out of them. I haven't tried that as I'm pretty sensitive to those kinds of things, so I really don't have an opinion of doing it that way.

I've been testing an ECOcert, oil soluble ingredient called Sepilift DPHP* (from Lotioncrafter) that I'll tell you more about next week as I finalize some of the recipes I've been working on and hear back from my testers.

Please note, clicking on a link with an * beside it takes you to another site. I am sharing these links as these were the things I used and I thought I'd do it rather than having someone ask me. These are not affiliate links, and I don't receive anything if you click on them and buy something. I'm just sharing because I'm big fans of these sites! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jojoba & peppermint lip scrub

Yesterday we tried a pear coconut lip scrub; today, let's take a look at changing a few things!

The original lip scrub my best friend loves contains jojoba oil and peppermint essential oil as the flavouring, so I thought I'd try that. As per yesterday, I took my regular boring ol' white sugar for a spin in a clean coffee grinder to turn it into very small crystal berry-type sugar. (This is not the place for something like large crystalled plantation sugar!)

PEPPERMINT JOJOBA LIP SCRUB
69.5% finely ground or berry sugar
21.4% golden jojoba oil
8.7% fractionated coconut oil
0.4% peppermint essential oil

If you don't have berry sugar, put your sugar into a coffee grinder and blend for maybe 10 seconds to produce a fine sugar. You don't want to grind it too long as you'll end up with powdered sugar, which won't scrub that well. (Ask me how I know this!)

Into a container, weigh the jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, and peppermint essential oil, and mix well. Add the sugar, mix until it is like wet sand, then spoon into your container.

Package this in a small container - I'm using 30 ml jars from Voyageur Soap & Candle* - and use a small spatula* or spoon to remove it from the container to put on your lips.

Why did I use jojoba oil? I used it because it was in the original recipe and I thought I'd try it. I added the fractionated coconut oil because I thought the product was getting too expensive and too thick with just the jojoba oil. The lovely yellow of the scrub comes from the jojoba, but you could try something else and see how you like it!

Could I leave out the fractionated coconut oil? Of course! Try it with all jojoba oil, if you wish.  Or try it with another oil entirely.

What about the peppermint essential oil? As a rule, you shouldn't ingest essential oils, but peppermint essential oil is one of those we can put in a lip product. Do not - I repeat - do not go over 0.4% in your product as it is very strong at even a titch over that. One of the reasons I ended up making 100 grams of this product was thanks to my heavy handed use of peppermint essential oil! You could go lower - I encourage you to start at 0.1% and see how you like it - but don't go higher.

Please note, clicking on a link with an * beside it takes you to another site. I am sharing these links as these were the things I used and I thought I'd do it rather than having someone ask me. These are not affiliate links, and I don't receive anything if you click on them and buy something. I'm just sharing because I'm big fans of these sites! 

Could we make this product more awesome by including an active ingredient? Of course we can! Join me tomorrow as we add a lip plumping ingredient to the mix!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Yummy pear coconut lip scrub!

As we continue to spend all our freakin' time working on getting the links to the PDFs working on the blog, please enjoy this post on making a lip scrub! 

My best friend, Wanda, is in love with a certain company's lip scrub, which seems to consist of a few ingredients like jojoba oil, peppermint, and sugar. I thought I'd make my own version of this for her birthday!

If I were to make an ingredient list for the first version I did using the pear coconut sweetened lip balm flavouring from Windy Point*, the first ingredient would be sugar. The second, oil, and the third, flavouring. That's it. You could make this more complex - and I did, as you'll see - but this turned out so nice!

PEAR COCONUT LIP SCRUB
67.4% berry or finely ground sugar
31% fractionated coconut oil
1.6% pear coconut flavouring (pre-sweetened)

If you don't have berry sugar, put your sugar into a coffee grinder and blend for maybe 10 seconds to produce a fine sugar. You don't want to grind it too long as you'll end up with powdered sugar, which won't scrub that well. (Ask me how I know this!)

Into a container, weigh your fractionated coconut oil and pear coconut flavouring, and mix well. Add the sugar, mix until it is like wet sand, then spoon into your container.

Package this in a small container - I'm using 30 ml jars from Voyageur Soap & Candle - and use a small spatula* or spoon to remove it from the container to put on your lips.

Why did I choose to use fractionated coconut oil in this recipe? Fractionated coconut oil is a very light feeling, flavourless, colourless oil, which created a very light feeling, colourless product that allowed the pear coconut flavour to shine!

Could you change the oil in this recipe? Of course you can! Make sure you choose something that isn't heavily flavoured, like olive oil or hemp seed oil. And think about how the colour and viscosity might change.

Also consider that you pretty much lick this off your lips when you're done with it, so you might want to avoid something like castor oil, which can act as a laxative in larger quantities. There's probably not enough to have that kind of effect, but it's always something I consider.

Could you change the flavouring in this recipe? Of course! I made another version for me with Windy Point's cupcake frosting flavoured lip balm oil* and I just love it! If you don't have access to a sweetened oil, try it without as the sugar can make it taste sweeter as you scrub it on your lips. You could use Lorann's flavouring oils for chocolate, but use the tiniest amount. When I've used it in the past, I dipped a toothpick into the container then mixed it with the oil, and a little goes such a long way.

Join me tomorrow as we try another version of this scrub with jojoba oil!

Please note, clicking on a link with an * beside it takes you to another site. I am sharing these links as these were the things I used and I thought I'd do it rather than having someone ask me. These are not affiliate links, and I don't receive anything if you click on them and buy something. I'm just sharing because I'm big fans of these sites! 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I know the links to the PDFs aren't working

Thanks for letting me know. As I wrote in the previous post, I know they aren't working and I'm trying to figure it all out because I haven't done anything to Dropbox to cause this. I know the search has changed as well, something I mentioned in the previous post. I can't change that, lamentably.

Update: Dropbox decided that free users would no longer be able to share files with links as of March 15, 2017. They claim they sent out email about this, but no one seemed to have received these messages. They are discontinuing public folders for business users in September, so it's not like spending $13 a month would solve the problem. Besides, I don't want to reward Dropbox's jerky behaviour by signing up for a monthly account. I would still have to do all kinds of work to get the links working again.

Anyone have suggestions for a reliable, affordable file hosting site? I'm a die hard Mac user. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Update of update: You can download the charts and the tables of contents for the e-zines and e-books now. My husband has been working on this all day, and there's still miles to go before he sleeps. Thank you, adorable husband!!! We will return to your regularly scheduled programming soon...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I'm still alive...

Hi everyone! I'm still alive, albeit a little beaten up by what I think is another bout of the stomach flu. The last year in our lives has been hell, and I'm finding I get sick really easily and bounce back from even the smallest upset really poorly. I really have no resilience at the moment, as evidenced by crying when I miss a traffic light or when I see or remember something that reminds me of my mom. I'm generally a pretty sappy girl, crying at the end of Terminator 2 - he sacrificed himself to save mankind! - and movies like that, but this is a whole other kind of weepiness. I know things will get better and it takes time, but will it hurry up already? 

I know the links to anything on Dropbox aren't working, but I have no idea why. It's on the top of my to do list.

I know the search bar produces different results in long post form, but that's a Blogger thing and I can't change that. It's still a great search engine. 

I am trying to get to your email and comments, but I'm falling behind. Sorry.

Thank you for your patience. I will get things back on track soon, I hope. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of melt & pour soap Popsicles in cotton candy and vanilla cupcake fragrance oils. Aren't they adorable? 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Newbie Tuesday: Using Sepimax ZEN to create an oil free moisturing gel

As I mentioned in a previous entry in this series, Sepimax ZEN (INCI: Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6) is a pre-neutralized gellant we can use to incorporate things that other gels can't handle, like electrolytes and surfactants as well as lower pH ranges to incorporate ingredients like AHAs. It can also incorporate oils, so you can make a gelled serum or moisturizer.

Let's take a look at making a simple aloe & rose water gel with aloe vera using Sepimax ZEN. You could use this as a toner to apply, then wipe off, or as an oil-free moisturizing gel.

I love aloe vera at 10% in any kind of moisturizing gel as it offers some film forming and hydrating properties, two things that help moisturize our skin without oils. I'll add some rose water (rose hydrosol or rose floral water) at 10% to offer more hydrating power as well as a lovely fragrance. I'm a huge fan of allantoin as a film former at 0.5% in the slightly heated water phase to act as a barrier protectant and skin softener, and I think we should add panthenol at 2% to act as a humectant and help improve skin's hydration. and wound healer. (I'm using the liquid, but you could use the powder.)

ROSE & ALOE MOISTURIZING GEL WITH SEPIMAX ZEN
SLIGHTLY HEATED WATER PHASE
74% distilled water
10% aloe vera
10% rose water
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

ZEN PHASE
3% Sepimax ZEN

Using room temperature or slightly above room temperature water, add the ingredients in the slightly heated water phase and mix well. Sprinkle Sepimax ZEN on the water. Wait 8 hours. Do not mix during that time. I know you want to, but don’t! After 8 hours – ta da! You have a lovely thick gel!?"

Or you can put the powder in the water, mix lightly with a fork until the product is wetted, then start mixing. Start at a lower speed with a beater on a hand mixer, then move to a higher speed for about 10 minutes.

This will create quite a thick gel, so if you want it to be thinner, feel free to reduce the ZEN to 2.5% or even 2%. It will be thinner if you mix it than if you let it sit for 8 hours.

You can add ZEN to any of the toners we've made in this series or on this blog by adding 3% at the end and letting it sit for 8 hours to hydrate. What the heck: I'll share a few of those recipes with you tomorrow before we take a look at how to add oils to ZEN to create a gelled serum and how to add surfactants to make a gelled cleanser.

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20
Gels, gels, gels! Sepimax ZEN
Making a gelled toner with Ultrez 20
Making a lavender & chamomile gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Making a chamomile & cucumber gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Newbie Tuesday: Gels, gels, gels! Chamomile & cucumber oil free gel moisturizer for dry skin types

We took a look at making a toner by including Ultrez 20 with a neutralizer, and we made a toner/oil free gel moisturizer for normal skin types by adding ingredients to pre-made gel yesterday. Let's take a look at making a chamomile and cucumber oil free gel moisturizer/toner both ways.

VERSION 1: MAKE A GEL, THEN ADD TO IT

MAKING A THICK GEL WITH ULTREZ 20
96.5% distilled water
1.2% Carbopol Ultrez 20
1.6% triethanolamine or 18% lye solution*
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Add your Ultrez 20 to water and mix gently to get all the flakes wet. You'll know they're wet enough when they are transparent or clear in the container, like the picture to the left. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, then add the TEA or 18% lye solution. Mix well. If you'll be storing the gel as is, please add the liquid Germall Plus or other suitable preservative. If you will be using it right away in other products, leave it out and incorporate a preservative into the next recipe.

CHAMOMILE & CUCUMBER OIL FREE GEL MOISTURIZER OR TONER FOR DRY SKIN TYPES (version 1)
LIQUID PHASE
30% hydrosol of choice - rose water and lavender are good choices for dry skin
2% glycerin
2% panthenol
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

POWDER PHASE
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% powdered cucumber extract
0.5% allantoin

GEL PHASE
64% thick gel

Weigh your liquid phase into a container, mix well, then add the powdered chamomile extract and allantoin, and mix well until dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients in any order, mix well, then pour into a bottle to be used as a toner or oil-free moisturizer.

If you feel this is too thick, add 10% more distilled water or other liquid, mix well, and see what you think. Or substitute 10% aloe vera for 10% of the distilled water as this will thin it down quite a lot.

VERSION 2: MAKE THE GEL AS PART OF THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE RECIPE

CUCUMBER & CHAMOMILE OIL FREE MOISTURIZER OR TONER FOR DRY SKIN TYPES (version 2)
WATER PHASE
51.2% distilled water
30% rose water or lavender hydrosol
2% glycerin
0.5% allantoin
1.2% Ultrez 20

NEUTRALIZATION PHASE
1.6% triethanolamine or 18% lye solution

EXTRACTS AND PRESERVATIVES PHASE
10% distilled water, slightly warmed
2% panthenol
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% powdered cucumber extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

1. Add all the ingredients in the water phase, except the Ultrez 20, in order into a container.

2. Add your Ultrez 20 to water and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon how much powder you have used. (0.5% takes 3 minutes, up to 3% takes 5 minutes). Mix gently to get all the flakes wet. You'll know they're wet enough when they are transparent or clear in the container, like the picture to the left.

3. Add the neutralizer. This is a very alkaline ingredient that you add to the very acidic Ultrez 20 to create the gel. You can use an 18% sodium hydroxide solution, an 18% potassium hydroxide solution, or triethanolamine. Stir well until it thickens.

4. Dissolve the powdered extracts into about 10% slightly warmed distilled water and mix until dissolved. Add this along with the liquid Germall Plus and mix well. You're done! Yay!

If you find this product is too thick for your tastes, you can reduce the amount of Ultrez 20 you use to 0.9% and use 1.2% neutralizer. If it's still too thick, reduce the amount of Ultrez 20 to 0.6% to 0.8% neutralizer. Or you could add something like aloe vera at 10%, which will reduce the viscosity quite a bit - more than it would by just adding more water. Or you could add a hydrolyzed protein at 2%. It's amazing how a very thick gel can become very thin by the inclusion of just 2% silk amino acids!

As with other versions, if you find the colour of the extract annoying, you could use hydrosols instead  - start at 10% and see what you think - or try a colourless version of the extract.

Join us tomorrow as we take a look at making a chamomile & rosemary gelled toner/oil free moisturizer with Ultrez 20.

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20
Gels, gels, gels! Sepimax ZEN
Making a gelled toner with Ultrez 20
Making a lavender & chamomile gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20