Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Weekday Wonderings: Can we make hydrolyzed silk at home? How can I harden foaming bath butter?

In this post, Better living through chemistry: Hydrolyzed proteins, Nancy asks: Is it possible to hydrolyze tussah silk at home? I have the silk fibers and put them in my sodium hydroxide lye solution when making soap. They dissolve. How is silk hydrolyzed? Heat and an acid?? Do you have any ideas? 

The short answer is I have no idea. I found this post on eHow called How to make hydrolyzed silk protein, but I can't vouch for it. If you try it, could you come back and share your thoughts?

If you want to learn a bit more about hydrolyzed proteins, check out my article in Handmade magazine on the topic. If you want to learn even more about hydrolyzed proteins, click here for an epic article on ResearchGate.

In this post, What the heck is this and what can I do with it? Foaming bath butter, Jessica asks: So I have this product as well. I will be damned if i cant find a way to HARDEN it. Using it as a frosting is great....if you add M&P. I don't want to, I would like it to whip but then get rock hard...any other way? I tried baking soda, cream of tartar, arrowroot. I'm almost thinking what would happen if i added extra stearic acid since that is what it can be made with?

You know I'm going to suggest that you try it and see what happens, right? Did you? What were the results?

Let's review foaming bath butter for a moment. The ingredients are Aqua, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA.EDTA

What we have is a paste that is made with surfactants - the sodium cocoyl isethionate and disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate - with some humectants - sorbitol and glycerin - with water, salt, preservative, and a chelating ingredient. It is less solid that the most refined shea butter I've ever used, and was easy to get out of the container with a spoon. You can add up to 5% oils by weight to the product.

In theory, I would suggest using an oil soluble thickener, like stearic acid or glycol distearate, rather than a water soluble ingredient like baking soda, cream of tartar, or arrowroot powder as those things will dissolve too easily. You could also add more SCI to the mix, which would make it harder.

Where to start? I'd try something like 5% stearic acid or glycol distearate at first. You'll have to melt it to get it to incorporate, so heat it in a Pyrex jug in a double boiler, add to the foaming bath butter, whip it, and see what happens. Then come back and let us know what you think!

Does anyone have a suggestion for Jessica? What have you done in this situation? What did you think?


Maria said...

I've tried something similar and can tell you the stearic acid isn't a great choice. Yes, it will get harder, but you lose the bubbles. It appeared to me to smother them and you end up with something that is just not the same--flat, lifeless bubbles and kind of a slimier feel. I have also added more SCI--that works a lot better. It's more expensive, but it works better. It can be crumbly. You can add SOME stearic and some beeswax, but be careful of the amounts--they change the lather and the feel of the lather.

Maria @

KMY said...

I wonder how it would work melting it with some floral wax instead of beeswax?