Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's not okay to plagiarize my work! (Updated and updated)

It has come to my attention that a woman named Marlene Daniels of Soapconscious has been copying and pasting my writing from this blog and my e-books and re-selling them under her name.

I figure about 80% of her lipsticks e-book is based on my blog, and it looks like she is using my comparison charts about oils in just about any e-book in which she mentions them.

Upon further review, it looks like most of her e-books are copied and pasted from someone else's work, like Perry Romanowski of Chemists' Corner.  She has some recipes that are clearly mine, and she is selling recipe books like "504 body care recipes" and calling them compilations.

Please don't buy e-books from this person. She is using materials from other people to teach classes and write e-books and this isn't okay. She is making money from the kindness of those who offer information on-line, and she is claiming our hard work as her own. She is taking money from my youth programs by cutting and pasting from the e-books I have written to raise money for them.

If you have purchased an e-book from her, and you see something you think may be mine, could you send me a screen cap image of the writing? I'd be so grateful to you for this. (Please don't send me the e-book aa I previously requested. I'd hate to be accused of breaching copyright for what she might have written. An image is allowed.) 

And I guess I have to say this here - it isn't okay to use my writing without my permission to make money for yourself. Please don't use my charts, blog posts, or e-books without permission in your e-books, e-zines, classes, podcasts, and so on without asking if this is okay. Please don't copy my work or link directly to a chart. I don't make money from this blog, and I don't think it's fair that someone else thinks they can.

Please spread this information far and wide. If you have ever written anything on line, written a blog or an e-book, or shared a recipe, check out the tables of contents for the e-books she's selling on her site or on eBay to see if your work is there. If you've shared recipes, check out her compilation e-books as there are so many of them and I'm sure you'll recognize something. If you see your work there or recognize the work of others, I encourage you to write to her and let her know she's been caught. I have no idea how long she's been selling these e-books, but it needs to stop now.

I have written to her twice by e-mail, posted on her Facebook page, and Facebook messaged her with not response so far. I will be contacting the colleges at which she teaches her classes as I'm fairly sure I see some of my recipes there, too. I think I can write to eBay and tell them she isn't allowed to sell the things she's selling, but I don't think it'll change much unless we all do it together.

Update: She has responded to me, but she isn't taking responsibility for plagiarizing the material. Thank you to everyone who has been spreading the word on Facebook, Reddit, and other sites, and directly to her. I hope she is getting the idea that we as a community won't stand for making money by taking the work of others! 

If you have any ideas of how we can stop Marlene from selling material that doesn't belong to her, please share with me! Thank you! 

Here's an example from my post on rancidity, then her e-book:




Update: The saga continues. As I review materials by Marlene, I am finding instance after instance of direct copying from someone else's work. I have been writing to those writers, and I hope they will be in contact with her to cease and desist. 

To those of you who wanted more evidence of intellectual property theft by Marlene, I attach the images below for your review from the lipstick e-book. Mine is in green, as usual...



This next passage is interesting because she stole the first part from me, the middle bit might be hers, and the last bit belongs to Full Bloom Apiaries, which appears to have originated at ebeehoney.com?
(First image mine, second image Marlene's e-book, third image from Full Bloom Apiaries.) You'll also note that she copied Full Bloom Apiaries or Ebeehoney's work on her site for the description about using beeswax and in this e-book on making pencils for mineral make-up.




I honestly could go on and on with example after example from the lipstick e-book alone, but I think this is enough evidence for now that Marlene has plagiarized a great deal of what she calls her e-books. As I've been reviewing other materials, I've found evidence of plagiarism by at least ten other people, almost all of whom I've written to as of February 2nd. I will share more as I have their permission to do so.

As this unfolds, I've been alerted to quite a number of other people using my work for their own profit, including a company selling an on-line class using so much of my work that they aren't bright enough to alter to look less like my writing and research. (You would be shocked at how many people have written to tell me about this company!) Believe me when I say that there will be no mercy for the greedy and stupid as I meet with my lawyer tomorrow to plan our course of action.

Another update as of February 6th: Marlene Daniel's Facebook page and website are gone. I found that she was charging $1,000 for a course that was almost completely based on my writing, and I have sent her a demand for that money and for money from other e-books, which I'm sure I will never see. I know one person who paid for this course has been refunded, and I encourage others to make the same request. I will continue to communicate with the colleges at which she teaches courses using plagiarized recipes and materials. Please let me know if you see her selling these e-books again.

On a lighter note, thank you to everyone who has been so kind to show your lovely and wonderful support. I've seen your posts on Facebook. I've seen your subscriptions to Patreon. I've seen your messages and read your e-mails. This experience, as upsetting and frustrating as it has been, has really shown me how much you care about me and my work. I will never have the words to thank you enough for showing me that people are kind and generous and caring and lovely in the face of all this greed and selfishness, but know that I have heard you and thank you so much!

Before I close for the day, let's all enjoy this picture of baby Sasja watching Raymond making something lovely for dinner! Aren't puppies great? They definitely make things seem less stressful, except when they are stealing my socks from the table or the glasses from my face!

Sasja is getting so big! She is almost 6 pounds, up from 3.6 pounds when we adopted her in mid-December! She should be about 8 pounds when full grown. And we start puppy school next week. Or should I say that Raymond and I are starting puppy school next week and she's coming along for the ride! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New e-zine: Green & plant based products

Hi everyone! I've just put out my new e-zine on making green and plant based lotions with emulsifiers like Ritamulse SCG, Montanov 68, Simulgreen 18-2, and Natragem EW, which you can buy here in my e-zines and e-books page.

Click here if you want to see the table of contents for it! 

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!

This month's Patreon e-zine is all about winter products, how to make new ones or adapt the ones you have! If you subscribe before January 31st, you'd get this e-zine right now! If not, I'll be posting it here for sale after February 1st.

Thanks to everyone for supporting this blog!

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. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The newbie section and FAQ are great places to find information!

If you're a beginner and you're just starting out, please check out the newbie section to see all kinds of posts on topics from when to add a preservative, when to add an anti-oxidant, what the difference is between these things, how to make products, and so on. You can find all kinds of starter recipes there, too, like a beginner's lotion, body butter, whipped butter, lotion bars, and more.

Where's the newbie section? Take a look at the right hand side of the blog where it says "Links to lists" and there are all kinds of sections listed there. If you can't find that section, maybe do a page search - I know it's command F on a Mac, not sure about other operating systems - and find it that way.

In that Links to Lists section, you'll also see the Frequently Asked Questions part of the blog. There are tons of interesting things there, like where to find supplies, why we heat and hold, and so on. I encourage you to check out that section as well. Again, if you can't find the FAQ section in the links to lists section, maybe do a page search - again, that's command F on a Mac - and see where it's located.

When you're reading a post, click on some of the links to learn more about the topics I discuss in that post, or check out the "related posts" section I often create at the bottom of the post. It's a pain in the bum to create those links, and I probably spend as much time doing that as I do writing the post, it's just so much work, so knowing that you value them and use them is a pretty big deal to me.

I'm writing this post to let you know I won't be answering any questions posed via comments, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. or showing you the way to those sections in the future or responding to questions that could easily be found by clicking a link or two. It seems like a very poor use of my time to answer the same five questions over and over again, especially when I've created whole sections in which I've done that repeatedly. If you feel you can't find something, there's always this tour of the blog I've put together - again, you can find this link at the top right hand side of every page - or you could do a search to see what you find.

I'm so happy you want to make lovely things responsibly and safely, but consider that part of the adventure is looking for information yourself. Searching is fun as you never know what you'll find! Remember Terry Prachett's saying from the Discworld series - "Build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." This blog is all about setting you on fire (figuratively, of course...)

I remember doing a search on the Dish forum to find out why my bath bombs failed, and I found all these wonderful posts about making lotions, shampoo, conditioner, and more, which lead to all that you see here! Why would I deprive you of all that joy of discovery? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Newbie Tuesday: Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals

Yesterday we took a look at cosmeceuticals and a few that we could incorporate into our toners. Today we'll create a few recipes you can try at home!

Let's say you liked this simple toner for dry skin with rose water and cucumber, what could we add to this mix?

Quick note: This toner is great for all skin types, not just people with dry skin! If you have oily skin, considering switching the cucumber extract for something like rosemary or grapeseed extract, if you want, or not. It's up to you! 

SIMPLE ROSE WATER & CUCUMBER TONER FOR DRY SKIN
HEATED WATER PHASE
69% distilled water
20% rose water or lavender hydrosol
5% witch hazel
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
0.5% allantoin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% powdered cucumber extract
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

We have some allantoin in the mix, what else could benefit dry skin? I'd like to use a hydrolyzed protein like oat or silk or something similar to film form. (I've noticed seaweed extract is getting popular but I find it smells a bit fishy to me, so I haven't used it much. I find sea kelp or bull kelp extract is very good, and it doesn't have that fishy smell. A slight brininess as if I'm by the seaside, and I love that!) Let's use that in place for a hydrolyzed protein here.

Let's try adding 4% niacinamide and 2% n-acetyl glucosamine to this recipe, too. I like the idea of reducing pigmentation and evening out our skin tone while increasing hydration to our skin. This is a great idea for dry skin!

A quick aside: SlowLoris brought to my attention a study that indicates that 2% n-acetyl glucosamine and 4% niacinamide is effective. I did a bit more reading, and found all kinds of links to back that up. Thank you, SlowLoris, for correcting me! 

Here are a few resources to check out for more information on using these ingredients together...
Proctor & Gamble 
Proctor & Gamble again, but there aren't any percentages given. 
Medscape 
PubMed

Important aside: If you add something to a recipe, you remove the same amount from the distilled water amount to keep the recipe totalling 100%. In this case, every ingredient we add will come out of the 69% we've allotted for distilled water in the recipe above. (Click here for more information!) You'll notice we have added 9% to this recipe - 3% sea kelp, 2% niacinamide, 4% n-acetyl glucosamine - so we have to remove 9% of the distilled water amount, leaving us with 60% distilled water.

NOT SO SIMPLE TONER FOR DRY SKIN - ROSE WATER & CUCUMBER SEA KELP, NIACINAMIDE, AND NAG
HEATED WATER PHASE
60% distilled water
20% rose water or lavender hydrosol
5% witch hazel
3% sea kelp/bull kelp extract
4% niacinamide
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
0.5% allantoin

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% n-acetyl glucosamine
0.5% powdered cucumber extract
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Heat the heated water phase to about 60˚C in a double boiler to make sure all the powders dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the cool down phase at 45˚C or slightly lower. I generally put my powders into a small shot glass, then mix until they've dissolved before adding to the bigger container, but you can add them to the container and mix well. The bigger clumps will dissolve over time, so it's not a big deal. Let cool to room temperature, and package in a bottle. I like to use a spray bottle for my toners, but you could use any bottle you want.

If you have really dry skin, you can add a water soluble oil to this product to make something very moisturizing! I'm thinking adding 3% makes quite a bit of difference, so you'd add that to the heated water phase and take 3% out of the distilled water amount. And where's the panthenol I love so much? That would be awesome in a toner!

NOT SO SIMPLE TONER FOR DRY SKIN - ROSE WATER & CUCUMBER WITH PANTHENOL AND WATER SOLUBLE OILS
HEATED WATER PHASE
64% distilled water
20% rose water or lavender hydrosol
5% witch hazel
3% water soluble olive oil (PEG-7 olivate)
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
0.5% allantoin

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% liquid panthenol (if you have powdered, use it in the heated water phase)
0.5% powdered cucumber extract
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Please follow the directions above.

What if you wanted to use something like hyaluronic acid in your toner? I've been using this more and more lately, although I can't say that it's working better for me than something like glycerin, I like how not sticky it is in comparison. What I do is make up a gel of 1% LMW hyaluronic acid* (from Lotioncrafter), 98.5% distilled water, and 0.5% liquid Germall Plus. Sprinkle the hyaluronic acid powder over the water, mix until it's all wet - meaning it's not white looking any more - and let sit for three hours. Return, mix a bit, then rejoice. Put it in a bottle and use it when you need to use hyaluronic acid in your products. (Original recipe for this gel at Lotioncrafter.) If you've used 1% in 99% water, you have a 1% gel. So if you add 10% of this gel to a toner, you'll have 0.1% hyaluronic acid in the gel, which is a good amount.

Let's see what the first recipe looks like with this hyaluronic acid in it. Remember when we add something to the product, we have to remove something from the distilled water phase. If you add 10% HA gel, remove 10% from the distilled water amount, leaving 50% distilled water.

NOT SO SIMPLE TONER FOR DRY SKIN - ROSE WATER & CUCUMBER SEA KELP, NIACINAMIDE, NAG, AND HYALURONIC ACID
HEATED WATER PHASE
50% distilled water
20% rose water or lavender hydrosol
10% hyaluronic acid gel (as made above)
5% witch hazel
3% sea kelp/bull kelp extract
2% niacinamide
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
0.5% allantoin

COOL DOWN PHASE
4% n-acetyl glucosamine
0.5% powdered cucumber extract
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Please follow the directions as above.

Wowee! This toner packs a serious punch as it's filled with all kinds of film formers, hydrators, humectants, and more! (We'll revisit this recipe when we get to gels as this makes an amazing serum and under eye gel!)

You can modify the toners found in this post and this post to include these cosmeceuticals and more. There are so many cosmeceuticals, botanicals, extracts, and more that we can add to toners and facial cleansers. To go through them all would take years, so what I can offer you is this: You can add these cosmeceuticals to your toners quite easily by checking if they are water or oil soluble and learning how much of each ingredient to use. Remove the amount you're using from the distilled water amount, and enjoy!

Make small batches - 50 grams to 100 grams - the first time you add something, and keep great notes about how you like it. Add one ingredient at a time when you're trying something new so you can isolate the problem or the joy easily. Apart from some kind of immediate allergic response, you really have to give a new product at least seven days to see what impact it will have on your skin. If you get a pimple the next day, it's not from what you did the day before, it's what you did the week before. If you have some kind of stinging, burning, itching, and other adverse reaction, please stop using the ingredient immediately!

What ingredients are you interested in using in a toner? What ingredients do you have at home that you'd like to incorporate into something water soluble, like a toner or cleanser? Please share your thoughts in the comments below and we can figure out a few recipes for next week's final post on toners (for now). 

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

Extra supply information as I used ingredients that weren't part of the original shopping trip in these recipes:


I offer the above links purely as information on where I buy my supplies. These are not affiliate links and I receive nothing if you purchase these ingredients from these stores. If you know of other shops that carry these ingredients, please feel free to share that information in the comments below with link, if possible. Please, no obvious advertising or spam! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Newbie Tuesday: Creating a facial toner (part three) - introduction to cosmeceuticals

When last we met - which was a while ago, sorry! - we were looking at modifying a basic toner recipe using humectants, hydrolyzed proteins, cationic polymers, and more. This week I'd like to take a look at modifying the recipe further using what we call cosmeceuticals.

What's a cosmeceutical? They're "cosmetic products with properties very similar to a pharmaceutical product (drug-like benefits)". (p. 295, Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology.) In other words, they are active ingredients we add to our products to offer a specific benefit, like anti-aging, creating a more uniform skin tone, alleviating acne, and so on. You can never make a claim that the product you make with those ingredients will fix, heal, or repair anything, but that doesn't mean you can't include ingredients in your products that might be of benefit. Ingredients like co-enzyme Q10, niacinamide, or MSM would be considered cosmeceuticals.

You already know of my love of allantoin, and we've already been working with it in our toners, but it's a great example of a cosmeceutical or a cosmetic ingredient that offers all kinds of benefits, like protecting our skin from the elements or increasing the water content.

How can we add these kinds of ingredients? First check to see if they're water or oil soluble. Toners are all about the water, so our ingredients have to be water soluble. If they aren't, then check to see if you can use something else or if you could add something to the toner that would make them more soluble. Or consider using it in something more suitable, like a serum or a moisturizer.

I'm having a love affair with niacinamide. Studies have shown that 2% in a facial moisturizer can increase skin's keratin, ceramides, and barrier lipids which results in a reduction of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and an increase in collagen synthesis. 2% can result in a 23% reduction in sebum production and pore diameter. It can reduce hyperpigmentation of age and sun spots. And it can reduce the damage from environmental causes, which reduces the irritation, inflammation, and skin redness from things like the sun, cold, or weather as well as application of straight SLS.  Even at 5%, there's a lack of irritation and redness on our faces ('cause sometimes niacin can make our skin flush, but not at 2% or 5%). It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and decreases skin blotchiness and "pebbling" or roughness on facial skin. It also behaves as an anti-inflammatory and enhances skin's barrier functions.

It is a water soluble, heat tolerant ingredient, so you can use it in the heated phase of a product, and it's suitable for toners. I generally use it at 2% in the heated phase or dissolved into a little warm water that I add to my toner.

Related post: Making a facial toner with niacinamide

Niacinamide works very well with n-acetyl glucosamine, so I've been using that at 4% in toners lately. It's a bio-identical ingredient that can reduce hyperpigmentation in the skin, that can also increase hydration by increasing the production of hyaluronic acid in our skin.

Related post: Making a water in silicone serum

We could also add a water soluble oil, something like PEG-7 olivate or water soluble olive oil, that's been modified to mix easily with water. Adding 3% to a toner can offer some great moisturization for skin that likes oils without having the hassle of using a sticky solubilizer.

Related post:
Oil free gel moisturizer with water soluble olive oil
Making a facial cleanser with water soluble olive oil
As a note, there are so many links to making things with this ingredient in the post above, so check it out if you're interested in learning more!

An ingredient I'm asked about a lot is salicylic acid, which is great for acne prone skin. Unfortunately, it dissolves very poorly in water - 1 gram dissolves in 460 grams of water, and that's not even close to the 0.5% to 2% we want to use in a product - but works well in alcohol or glycols, like propylene glycol, so if you wanted to use it, you'd have to first mix it with one of those ingredients, then add that to the toner and mix well.

For instance, you can dissolve about 2 grams of salicylic acid in 10 grams of alcohol or propylene glycol, then add to that to the toner.

On top of knowing how to dissolve SA, you do have to consider how to reduce the pH of the product as well, as it should have a pH of around 3.5, so you'll need to get a good meter and find different ways of reducing the pH, like using citric acid.

If you're interested in learning more about incorporating salicylic acid into your products, please visit this post in which I included a whole bunch of links from Friday, January 13, 2017.

References:
Personal Formulator FAQ 
UL Prospector article about using salicylic acid

If you don't want to go through all the hassle of using salicylic acid, consider using another version of the ingredient. Would something like willow bark extract, which is water soluble, work in this product? Yes, it would, and you can get it as a powder or a liquid, both of which are easy to incorporate into a water only product. When I have a powder, I use it at 0.5% in the cool down phase. Use a little water to dissolve it, then add it back to the product and mix well. The down side is that you do end up with a toner that's a little on the brown side, but it won't show up on your skin that way. If this really bothers you, consider getting a liquid willow bark extract that is clear, like the one you see here, that can be used at 2% to 5%.

Related post: Formulating facial products with willow bsrk

What if we wanted to add something like co-enzyme Q10, an oil soluble cosmeceutical that behaves as an anti-oxidant that promotes collagen and elastin synthesis? Because it's oil soluble, you'd need to use a solubilizer like polysorbate 80, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, or PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil to incorporate the it into the water soluble toner, but I'd like to suggest saving something like this for a serum or moisturizer as these solubilizers can feel quite sticky on the skin when used like this. If you really want to make a toner with this kind of ingredient, my suggestion is to dissolve the powder into a light oil like squalane or fractionated coconut oil, then mix that with the solubilizer at equal parts - which may or may not work, depending upon the oil and solubilizer you use, so consider starting at 1:1 then moving to 2 parts solubilizer, one part oil, and so on until it mixes in well.

Having said this, when we start working with gels, you'll see how we can incorporate a bit of oil soluble ingredients into them to create oily gels, gelled toners, and other spot treatments. 

There are so many ingredients we could use in a toner, and it could take me all year to go through them one by one. We'll take a look at a few tomorrow, but I'd love to hear what interests you! Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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)

If there's an asterisk beside a link, it means it'll take you away from my page to a supplier of those ingredients. These are not affiliate links; I receive nothing from these companies for clicking through or buying anything. As usual, I'm sharing where I get my ingredients from awesome suppliers.

Join me tomorrow as we look at a few cosmeceuticals we can include in our toners.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The new schedule for my classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle is here!

Hi everyone! It's a little late in the new year, but here's the schedule for the classes I teach at Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C.

I'm offering a few extra classes this season: Shorter themed classes like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day, as well as all day classes based on my e-books, like Lotion Making 101, Hair Care, and Facial products. As well, we're offering an Eco Skincare class in which all the recipes use plant based, green, and/or ECOcert ingredients, like Ritamulse SCG. Click on the link for all the classes and dates!

If you call and find out the class is full, please put your name on the waiting list and we'll do our best to create another date or two for another one, especially the more time sensitive classes, like Valentine's Day, for instance. And people could cancel, so you could be slotted into the first available date!

As well, I'm free to teach on Monday and Tuesday, so if you find the weekends don't work for you, please let us know and we may be able to offer the classes on another day. In short, let us know what interests you and we'll figure something out!

Thanks so much to Emily for the awesome picture of all the products we made in the facial products class at the top of this post! I absolutely love this picture! 

And to the right are the products we made in the Gels, gels, gels! class based on the e-zine with the same name! I love playing with gels! 




Friday, January 13, 2017

Update on the Newbie Tuesday facial products series

I thought I'd share an update on my plans for what we're making next. I'm sorry we got off track recently, but I think I planned more than I could handle given what's been happening with our family lately. I think this schedule I'm planning out here is do-able, although there may be side trips to other topics, the way I ended up adding today's post on salicylic acid and acne.

Monday, January 16 - Toners and cosmeceuticals (theory)
Tuesday, January 17th - Toners and cosmeceuticals (recipes)
Tuesday, January 24th - Toner summary and recipe round up
Tuesday, January 31st - Gels, gels, gels - introduction to carbomers
Tuesday, February 7th - Gels, gels, gels - part two
Tuesday, February 14th - Gels, gels, gels - part three
Tuesday, February 21st - Gels, gels gels - summary and recipe round up
Tuesday, February 28th - Micellar waters - introduction
Tuesday, March 7th - Micellar waters - part one
Tuesday, March 14th - Micellar waters - part two
Tuesday, March 21st - Micellar waters and make-up removers
Tuesday, March 28th - Water soluble facial product round up
April and onwards: Facial oils and sera, moisturizers, products that contain oil

I'll put out the shopping list for the moisturizers and products that include oils shortly. Please note, we'll be working with oils with a longer shelf life - at least six months - as we probably won't get making those things until mid to late April and I'd hate to have your oils go off before we get to the end!

If you have suggestions for products you'd like to see in this series, please include your thoughts in the comments below. Please note we are not duplicating commercial products exactly, I'm just looking for some ideas for categories that look interesting, like micellar waters, for instance.

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)

A few resources that might interest you today about salicylic acid and acne

I found a few resources that might interest you if you're interested in learning more about formulating with salicylic acid in your products, something I'll be discussing as we get back to making toners in the Newbie Tuesday series on facial products, which starts again on Monday, January 16th.

What you see here is willow bark, not salicylic acid, but I don't have any of the latter at home and I really wanted a picture to go with this post! 

Formulating for acne for pharmacists - This is a really interesting document if you're interested in learning more about using salicylic acid and other powerful ingredients for acne. I will warn you that the formulae aren't by weight, but I trust that pharmacists won't steer us wrong, and they're using ingredients at much higher levels than we do at home. But it's an interesting read for learning more about how to formulate for acne prone skin.

As an aside, I had terrible acne as a teenager, and the only thing that worked for me was a prescribed sulphur product that I had to mix together myself. I think that's on this sheet! 

Solublity of salicylic acid in organic solvents - This is a great article if you want to learn about all the possiblities for dissolving salicylic acid. For instance, it dissolves at 1.592 M in propylene glycol or 2.087 M in ethanol.

Salicylic acid has a molecular weight of 138.122 g/mol, meaning that 219 grams of salicylic acid will dissolve in 1 litre of propylene glycol or 21.9 grams will dissolve in 100 grams of propylene glycol. So if you wanted to add 2% salicylic acid to your product or 2 grams of salicylic acid to 100 grams of product, you'd need to dissolve that 2 grams in around 10 grams of propylene glycol. (To be accurate, 2.19 grams will dissolve in 10 grams of propylene glycol.)

Using salicylic acid in our formulations - This is a great document from ULProspector about using SA, and I feel it offers a good picture of how much work it is to incorporate it into a product. (I prefer white willow bark as it is so much easier to use!)

Mixed-solvency approach (PDF) - This all about the different ways salicylic acid could be dissolved, and what combinations might be better than just one solvent alone. It really is a fascinating read, and the place where this picture arises. This is something I need to experiment with in the near future as I find it so interesting that we can add

Personal Formulator FAQ on salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is only slightly soluble in water, one gram dissolves in 460mL water. To incorporate salicylic acid to a formulation, the following methods can be used: 1) it can be added to the oil phase of the emulsion and heated to 80-85C 2) it can be added to a water phase containing sodium phosphate, borax, alkali acetates or citrates to increase its solubility in water 3) it can be combined with a glycol, such as propylene glycol and alcohol If crystalization occurs over time, the concentration of salicylic acid in glycol may be too high. The typical use level of salicylic acid is 0.5-2%.

Join me Monday when we start looking at adding cosmeceuticals to our facial toners!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It's all about the climate, baby!

What's the difference between these two bath bombs? Same recipe, same colourant, similar fragrance oils, same fractionated coconut oil, same molds. Why did the one on the right work out and the one on the right is making me sad with its powderiness?

It's all about the climate!

I became aware of this issue back in 2006 shortly after I started making products. I made a batch of that started to fizz and grow out of the molds only a few minutes after I'd packed them so tightly. After reading and researching, I learned this premature fizzing caused by too much water in the air - the humidity - and that it would be best to save bath bombs for a drier time of year. Well, that wasn't an option as I'm an impatient bugger and want to make things now now now!, plus there's really no such thing as a "less humid time" in this near rainforest place I live, so I adapted my bath bomb recipe to be all about the oils and not the water, and it works well...most of the time.

We have been experiencing a really dry spell of loads of snow and really cold weather for the last four weeks - which is not normal for us in southwestern B.C. - and the day we made our bath bombs at our youth program, the relative humidity was at 27%, the lowest it's been in three months! The kids who used their liquid colourants with reckless abandon were the ones who had the most successful batches because they added the bit of water to the mix that would normally come from the atmosphere.

As a note, you can save the crumbly bath bombs by spraying them with witch hazel or alcohol then pressing them into the molds again. Or you can throw about 50 grams of the mixture into 100 grams of Epsom salts and call it a fizzing bath salt! For a foaming, fizzing, salty experience you can add 20 grams or so of SLSa (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate), too. 

I've noticed Raymond's and my hair is almost completely straight, and I've stopped using my anti-frizz spray as there's no frizz to eliminate! My body wash and facial cleanser feel a bit drying, and my lips are getting chapped quite a lot. I've noticed my lotions packed with humectants don't feel as "bouncy" as they would normally, they feel like they're absorbing way too quickly, and I don't feel I'm getting all the moisturizing and hydrating I should. Thanks, lack of humidity!

Humidity affects so many things, so it's not surprising it affects our products and the way we perceive them. Things rust quicker in more humid environments, which is why we see more airplane storage facilities in Arizona and fewer in places like Vancouver, B.C. Humidity is the reason we see those little "DO NOT EAT" silica packages in our shoes or new electronic devices, and it's why Crazy Glue more effective in Florida, Hawaii, and Vancouver Island. "The cyanoacrylate glue hardens very quickly when trapped between two surfaces. The reaction is caused by the condensed water vapour on the surfaces (namely the hydroxyl ions in water). The water comes from the surrounding air, so obviously the air humidity is a factor that may affect bonding capabilities, or cause them to differ from application to application." (Reference)

There are so many interesting ways climate can impact our products, so let's take a few day to consider this idea. This will also be a concept I'll be including in my future posts when relevant as I think it's super important and can't believe I haven't addressed it before!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Whereabouts do you live in the world? What's your humidity like? What have you noticed with your products, and how do you adapt recipes to meet your needs? Are there other impacts you've noticed - for instance, you can't make sugar candy recipes well - from humidity or lack thereof? Please comment below!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekday Wonderings: Inaccurate shelf life information from a supplier? Choosing a supplier?

In this post, Why did I buy this again? Cera bellina, CJ asks: Can you tell me the shelf life of Cera bellina? I think it would be several years, but would like to be sure before wasting any ingredients! Also, if it's not too much to ask, can you also tell me the approximate life of liquid crothix, polysorbate 80 and glycerin? I think I'm being told a much too short span by the seller and would like a second opinion! Thanks so much!

There are a lot of factors that go into the shelf life of a product, so it's hard to give a definite answer. In general, we can say that this ingredient should last "x", but that can change based on the environment in which you keep it - cool, dark place versus a bright, sunny window - when your supplier opened their container, and so on. (For the ingredients you list, the latter three are at least two years.)

On top of this, these ingredients could have different shelf lives based on manufacturer. For instance, polysorbate 80 from manufacturer ABC could have a one year shelf life, while manufacturer DEF claims a two year shelf life. Again, ask your supplier for more information.

If you don't believe what the supplier has written on their site, ask them for a copy of the data sheet they receive from the manufacturer, do a search on Google using the INCI name of the ingredient, or read up about the ingredient at a manufacturers' site.

An INCI name is the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients name that every ingredient we use should have. For instance, cera bellina has an INCI of Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax. If you'd like to learn more - and I really encourage everyone to do so - please click here to read the post I wrote recently on this topic

Having said this, please don't ask your supplier for every single data sheet for every single ingredient you order as this is an incredible amount of work for them. If it's something unique to that supplier, that's one thing, but if it's something you can learn about in a Google search, please try that first. (I have never met a supplier who wasn't so rushed off her feet that she wasn't all business all the time!)

If you can't trust your supplier, find another one. If it seems your seller doesn't know anything about the ingredients they sell, find another one. If you think they're out to part you from your money dishonestly, find another one. They might be the only place that carries all the things you want in one place, but if you can't trust them to accurately give you a shelf life, how can you trust them with any other information they provide or trust the quality of the ingredients they sell? The things you are seeking can be found at all manner of suppliers - just about everyone carries polysorbate 80 and glycerin - so find someone whom you can trust. (I have lists of suppliers from around the world, which you can find on the frequently asked questions page.)

If I had a dollar for every time I heard Canadian customers complain about a certain supplier who is renowned for terrible service and rude, vulgar, and downright offensive interactions with people, I'd have enough to buy myself that lab homogenizer I so desperately want, although I'm not completely sure what I'd do with it. The excuses I hear? "Well, they've never been rude to me," or "They've always sent me things on time," or "They're the cheapest". Why would anyone want to work with people like this? I know it's important to save money, but you could be the person who never got supply X or ingredient Y, and do you really want that when you've designed your products around things only they carry or are on a deadline? But I digress...

When you get an ingredient, write down on the bottle when you received it. I have a cheap pricing gun my husband bought me to make this easier, and it's been a life saver! (Although, as you can see, the labels don't stick to every kind of bottle well...)

If you think you might not get to an ingredient for a while, consider freezing it. Almost everything you buy can be frozen - oils, butters, emulsifiers, water based ingredients - just make sure you leave some space for expansion for anything that might contain water. (You can't freeze finished products, like lotions and such. And I wouldn't freeze surfactants because it's a pain in the bum to heat them to integrate all the bits back in.)

So the short answer to your question is...find a supplier whom you can trust and ask them for that information.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: Other names for ingredients? Will this preservative be effective for this product?

In this post, Road trip essentials: Solid scrub bars, Neha asks: Can I use sodium benzoate as a preservative in emulsifying sugar scrub? My local vendor is unable to understand optiphen. Or can you help me with any other name for this preservative?

If you want to know more about preservatives, the first thing to do is consult the preservatives section of this blog. In that section, you'll notice I have general information about what we find in preservatives, a list of preservatives we can buy by name, and a downloadable chart, amongst other things.

If you click on "organic acids" - which I get might not be an obvious place to look - or search for "sodium benzoate", you'll reach this post on the topic. And here's what I wrote about it...

Sodium benzoate, a salt of benzoic acid, was the first chemical preservative allowed by the FDA for food products. It converts to benzoic acid, which is a good anti-microbial and fungicidal preservative, when it's in an acidic mixture. (Benzoic acid isn't very water soluble, so we use the sodium benzoate in water so it will dissolve and become benzoic acid.)

Sodium benzoate is bacteriostatic, which means it limits the growth of bacteria by messing with its metabolism, but doesn't kill it. It is also a recognized fungicidal ingredient.

The main problem in using sodium benzoate in our products is the pH level - sodium benzoate works best at pH 5 or less (possibly 6 or less), which means its use is limited to products more acidic products like toners or moisturizers with AHA or salicylic acid. You definitely want to own a pH meter if you're using this as your main preservative! Sodium benzoate is approved for us at up to 0.1% for food products and up to 1.0% for cosmetic and medicinal products. You don't want to use this with Vitamin C as studies have shown that together they can form benzene, which is carcinogenic. Geogard Ultra contains sodium benzoate as its preservative.

Reading this, does it seem like a good choice for an emulsified sugar scrub? No, because it isn't a broad spectrum preservative. (A broad spectrum preservative is one that kills off bacteria, mould, yeast, and other fungi. The preservatives we buy are called synergistic preservatives, which are combinations of preservatives intended to eliminate all the various contaminants we could see in our products.) We want something that protects us from all kinds of contamination, not just one or two types.

The other reason is that an emulsified sugar scrub is not acidic enough. Its pH is definitely above 5, which means sodium benzoate won't work well.

What could you use as a preservative? Is Optiphen a good choice? Again, check out the post I've written about it, then the update post on the topic as it relates specifically to scrubs. Optiphen isn't a broad spectrum or complete preservative as it doesn't contain a fungicide, so you'd have to combine it with something else.

A quick aside: If you want to know what's in Optiphen, look at the INCI name. It contains Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol. If another company is making Optiphen under a different brand name - we see this all the time for surfactants - the INCI name will be the same, and you can buy that instead.

To summarize: In an emulsified sugar scrub, you can't use sodium benzoate or Optiphen as they aren't broad spectrum preservatives. If your supplier doesn't know the name of what you're asking for, refer to the INCI name as that should be the same around the world.

Before I leave this topic...If you commit to learning one thing this year, learn about INCI names! It will save you gobs of money as you won't order the same thing three times from different suppliers, and save you time as you might be able to get all you want from one place. I know this isn't a particularly sexy topic, but it will save you more time, money, and sanity that you would believe possible. Check out at least the first two links below to learn more!

Related posts:
Weekend Wonderings: Learning INCI names
Learning this one weird trick will save you money...
What's an INCI name?
Substitutions: Reading INCI names
Reading INCI information
Getting to know INCI names

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: Can we use powdered panthenol in oil based products?

In this post, Humectants: A closer look at panthenol, Bridget asks: I have a question in relation to the base panthenol is in. I know it is a water soluble vitamin therefore needs water to be dissolved but is it possible to use powdered panthenol in a 100% oily base and it be effective on the skin? I am wanting to create a healing balm without going down the attack of an emulsion and the risk of bacterial growth and cracking etc. I know ointment 100% bases are used all the time for salicylic acid and sulphur so why not panthenol? 

It's all about solubility. Salicylic acid can be solubilized in castor oil and olive oil (reference, reference, reference). Sulphur, which we can use as MSM, for instance, is oil soluble.* Panthenol is strictly a water soluble ingredient.

*Sorry, I wrote that very poorly. Sulphur is oil soluble. MSM is water soluble. 

You could add the powdered panthenol to an oil based product, but it isn't going to dissolve, so you'll end up with little shards of powder in the product that will be annoying to the skin. This is the case with other water soluble ingredients, like allantoin or our powdered extracts. They won't be available to our skin if you lock them away in an oil soluble product. You could put them in something that contains an emulsifier that will have water added to it, like an emulsified sugar scrub or a lotion bar with an emulsifier you could use in the shower, but they need water to work. Maybe you could make a nice water based spray that you put on your skin before using the balm or bar and see if that works?

As an aside, I use both liquid panthenol (from Voyageur Soap & Candle), which should be used in the cool down phase, and powdered panthenol (from Lotioncrafter), which is used in the heated phase to help with dissolving. If you have powdered and I suggest the liquid, then use it at the same percentage in the heated water phase. If you have liquid and I suggest the powder, use it at the same percentage in the cool down phase. It's easy to substitute one for the other!

And aren't these beakers adorable? The little one is 5 ml (1 teaspoon), then 10 ml (2 teaspoons), with the 25 ml (5 teaspoons, or 1 tablespoon, 2 teaspoons) and 50 ml (1/5 cup). I bought these at our local hydroponics store! I honestly have no idea what I'll do with the tiny ones as I don't measure by volume, but I think I could weigh out cool down phases maybe?