Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Questions I missed: Solubility of our powdered ingredients

In this post, Lalla writes: If the solubility is 0.5% at 25°C, does it mean if we dissolve a higher concentration at say 35°C the allantoin will crystallize as it cools down? If I try to dissolve MSM and allantoin and caffeine in water, will their respective solubility decrease because of the other ingredients?

Solubility is generally measured at STP, which is standard temperature and pressure. The official IUPAC STP is 0˚C and 100 kPa (the pressure at sea level. We generally use SATP or standard ambient temperature and pressure, which is considered to be 25˚C or 77˚F and 100 kPa (sea level).

If something has a solubility of 0.5% at SATP, this means at 25˚C you can dissolve 0.5 grams of it in 100 grams of solvent (alcohol, water, oil, and so on). So let's say you have something like green tea extract and its solubility is 0.5% at SATP, this means that I should be able to dissolve 0.5 grams of green tea extract in 100 grams of water at 25˚C. If it cools down below 25˚C, the solubility might go down slightly, but not enough that we have to worry about it!

When we increase the temperature, we generally increase the solubility of the ingredient, so we can dissolve more of it. I can get far too much powdered extract to dissolve in my toner when it's warm (45˚C or slightly lower), but it'll precipitate when it cools down (see the picture above). Which is why we want to make sure we always stay at the suggested usage rates!

One exception to this increase the temperature, increase the solubility is carbon dioxide in pop. When we cool it down, it gets more soluble, which is why a pop from the fridge feels fizzier than that from your shelf! Interesting, eh?

But the question Lalla asked is about how solutes affect other solutes. If you have something like allantoin (used at 0.5%) and you add a powder like MSM (up to 5%) and another powder like caffeine (not sure of percentage), what happens if you put them all together? In theory, water can only hold so much and you will reach a point when you can't put anything more into that water. It's not about the chemistry of the other ingredients - as long as allantoin and MSM don't combine to great nitroglycerin or something like that - but about how much the solvent can hold.

If you're making something like a toner, you'd be surprised at how much you can add before you get a precipitate! Water is a great solvent for things that like to be dissolved in water, and you could get quite a bit in there. I've made toners that contained a ton of things - 0.5% allantoin, 0.5% green tea extract, 0.5% chamomile extract, 0.5% grapeseed extract, 2% niacinamide, 2% MSM, 2% salicylic acid (what's that - 8% powder?) and they stayed nice and solubilized, and the product stayed liquid!

I will point out that this one looks kinda muddy, and it isn't going to be clear at any point in its lifetime because I've loaded it up with tons of great extracts and powders. But the question was whether the various powders would have an effect on the solubility of other powders, and the answer in general is no, they shouldn't if we're using things at suggested rates!

Here's a toner filled with tons of water soluble powders, and here's another!

Did I answer your question? Join me tomorrow for more fun with cosmetic chemistry!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Formulating and creating lotions: The new e-book is here!

Thank you to everyone who offered their suggestions about the new e-book! It's finally here - Formulating and Creating Lotions! I've designed this to be a second level lotion making e-book with information for those of us are experienced at making lotions and wanting to start formulating our own emulsified products from scratch.

I have included everything I know about making lotions, including the template recipes, the process of making great lotions, modifying and tweaking those recipes,  creating drier feeling products, learning how to substitute, as well as making minimally processed products (aka natural products) and more information than you wanted on the HLB system. I've included questions and comments from readers like you, and I've tried to include some pictures that might be helpful (although you all know I'm not the greatest photographer!). And I've included a ton of information on working with esters, including ingredient write-ups and recipe ideas. In short, I've tried to pack everything I know about making lotions and creams into this 224 page e-book!

Click here if you want to take a look at the table of contents! And look to your right to see the other e-books I've written! (Back to Basics, Hair Care Products, and Lotion Making 101!) 

If you donate $26.00 to our Rated T for Teen youth programs, I'll send you out a copy of this e-book by e-mail as our thanks for your generosity! I'll also be sending out the charts that came with the Lotion Making 101 e-book as well as a sample HLB calculator in Excel format!

As a note, if you want it sent to someone else as a present, for instance, please note this in the comments section. And include anything else you want in the comments section - although I'll know you're donating for this book based on the donation amount of $26.00.

To those of you who have donated in the past - thank you so much! Every single penny from these e-books goes to support our youth programs. It is because of your kindness that we can continue our programs! And to those of you considering donating, thank you for considering us. I can never convey how grateful we are for your support!

What does your $26 buy for our groups? Xacto knives, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, pens, paper, and everything else we need for this week's card making group. It purchased buttons for last week's fun with fleece group and next week's beeswax so the kids can make Christmas presents.

What's next? I'm taking a few days off writing before I start the facial products e-book that is begging to be written! Then the mineral make-up e-book! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Question regarding new e-book...

The new e-book will be a formulating lotions book, how to do it from scratch, based on the formulating series from earlier this year. It is intended to be a lotion making 201 type book intended for those of us who want to take our lotion making beyond finding a recipe and have a few questions about it and wondered if those of you interested in the book might answer a few questions for me...

1. Should I include all the ingredient information in the book as I did for the lotion making book? For instance, do you want all the carrier oil profiles and such? Or should I just include those ingredients that I didn't include in the last book? (This will make the book a lot bigger!) Or should I turn those sections into another e-book you could download? 

2. Do you want a detailed explanation of the HLB system or should I turn that into another, shorter e-book?

3. Do you want information about suggested equipment - scales, double boilers, bottling things - and do you want suggestions about suppliers?

What else can you suggest? For those of you who have the other e-books, what can you suggest to me about formatting, font, pictures, and so on? 

I'll do a random draw of the people who comment and one of you will get a free copy of the e-book the moment it's ready! (I'll roll a D20 - that seems pretty random to me!) I hope that's an incentive! 

No post today...probably

I'm working on the new e-book on formulating, and it's been taking up all my time this weekend! Any suggestions or comments for me?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Experiments in the workshop: Facial cleanser with a ton of extracts - modified

I know I'm always going on about only switching one ingredient when you make a product, but when I'm in the workshop, I get a little ingredient happy and tend to change a whole lot of things at once! This is kinda what happened here with this somewhat unappealing looking facial cleanser. But seriously, try it out if you have oily skin - I'm loving this hideous abomination!

28% water
10% aloe vera
10% rosemary hydrosol
10% chamomile hydrosol
3% glycerin
2% Phytokeratin (or any other hydrolyzed protein)
0.5% polyquat 44 (or another cationic polymer)
15% LSB or other gentle surfactant of choice
10% cocamidopropyl betaine

0.5% grapeseed extract
2.5% liquid green tea extract (water soluble)
0.5% chamomile extract
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative of choice (I'm using Germaben II here)

Weigh the heated phase of the product and heat and hold in your double boiler for 20 minutes at 70˚C. Remove from the heat and let cool to 45˚C to 50˚C, then add the cool down phase. To dissolve the powdered extracts, put them into a little container, like a shot glass, and add a little warm water - 3 to 5 grams or so - and stir until the mixture is uniform.

I love this facial wash! I've been using it for almost a year and I never get that tight feeling that comes from the surfactants not rinsing off, and my oily skin doesn't feel too stripped after using it.

So why these ingredients? I like to include aloe vera for its anti-inflammatory and soothing abilities. I'm using rosemary hydrosol because it's great for oily skin, and chamomile hydrosol for the anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the reduction in irritation and reduction in transepidermal water loss for up to 48 hours. I'm using grapeseed extract - which offers that weird brown-red colour - for the anti-oxidant properties, but I also like the resveratrol, which behaves as anti-inflammatory as well. Green tea extract is always a good choice for aging skin - and we all have aging skin - and I've chosen liquid green tea extract because I'm feeling like I have too many powders in the product and I am worried about getting precipitate on the bottom.

Powders are about solubility, so if we have too much powder, we can end up with that gunge on the bottom of the container, which is the precipitate or stuff that didn't dissolve. You can see it showing up on the bottom of toner two. It's not necessarily a bad thing - shake it up and you're good to go - but it doesn't look all that pretty, and it can clog up the tube or nozzle/pump of a dispenser. 

Glycerin is always my first choice as a humectant for a rinse off product for two reasons. I don't need a really fancy or expensive humectant if I'm just rinsing it off, and glycerin actually resists wash off better than something like sodium lactate or sodium PCA. (Click here for a list of humectants.) I like to add a hydrolyzed protein - this time I've chosen Phytokeratin - as it offers film forming and hygroscopic properties, and I'm adding a cationic polymer - in this case, polyquat 44 because it's new, but you can use any cationic polymer at the suggested rate. I like to include panthenol for its proven wound healing and hygroscopic abilities.

As for the surfactants, I'm using LSB (INCI: Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate) and cocamidopropyl betaine. I like the sulfosuccinates for my oily hair and skin because they're considered very mild, with good foaming and detergent properties. Sulfosuccinates are recommended for oily hair as they can remove oil and sebum gently without stripping hair too much, but all hair and skin types can use them without fear of harshness. I like SLSa because it has excellent foaming, bubbling, and lathering properties, as well as great cleaning properties. As for the cocamidopropyl betaine, I always include this surfactant as a secondary surfactant to increase mildness/reduce irritation and it can behave as a humectant, which is a great thing. (It can also help thicken our products, but that isn't an issue with the foamy bottles!)

So there you have this incredibly ugly coloured but pretty awesome facial cleanser! If you don't have a foamy bottle, feel free to increase the surfactants to 40% to 50% of the water phase, remove the same amount of water, and add some Crothix or salt at the end to thicken! (Click here and scroll down for a version I've thickened with Amaze XT.) If you want to alter this recipe, feel free to alter the surfactants (click here), the extracts (click here), or pretty much anything else.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with products!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday's post will be late...

I'm half way through the post but I won't be able to post it until later tonight as I've run out of time before work this morning! So look for it later tonight or tomorrow or whenever you get time to visit here again. Sorry - so much going on this week and last and I think I'm just catching up on life!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chemistry Thursday: The atom!

The periodic table. You see it everywhere, but what the heck does it all mean? Take a look at it for a moment. It's arranged by atomic number, which is the number of protons in an atom's nucleus. Let's meet the atom!

When we look at the periodic table of elements, we're looking at the organization of atoms - carbon, oxygen, helium, uranium and so on. There are three parts of an atom. The proton, the neutron, and the electron.

The proton is found in the nucleus of the atom and is positively charged. Every element has a different number of protons. If it has 1 proton, it's hydrogen. Two protons and you've got helium. Six protons gives us carbon and 16 gives us sulphur. Change the number of protons, you change the element. We have the same number of protons as we do electrons, which leads to a neutrally charged atom.

The neutron is found in the nucleus of the atom and is neutrally charged. Change the number of neutrons, and you have an isotope! Normal, everyday carbon-12 has 6 protons and 6 neutrons - carbon-14 has 6 protons and 8 neutrons, giving us a radioactive isotope. (That's why they use it in carbon dating! It decays at a predictable rate, so we can measure the decay and figure out the age of something!) Carbon will always have 6 protons - that's what makes it carbon - but the number of neutrons can change slightly (in carbon it might be 8, it's never going to be 42!). When you hear about elements like uranium-238 or uranium-235, we're talking about isotopes, which are elements that have the same number of protons but different neutrons.

The electron is found swirling around the nucleus. It's really tiny compared to the proton and neutron, and it carries a negative charge. In a neutral state, an atom will have the same number of electrons as it does proton. There's a ton of interesting stuff out there on locating the electrons on an atom - uncertainty principles and all of that, but for now we're going to go with the basic idea that electrons are found outside the nucleus of an atom on things called orbitals.

Orbitals are represented in this picture by those blue lines, the electrons by the red dots!

When you read the periodic table, look at each element to decode its meaning! This is sodium from the first group or column on the periodic table. It is number 11, which means it has 11 protons and 11 electrons (because they are the same number). It weighs 23.0 grams per mole (which is 6.02 x 10(23) atoms in 23 grams of sodium) and it has that plus sign in the corner. This means that there is one electron swirling around on its outer orbital. (This will become relevant in time.)

If you like the periodic table as much as I do, download this periodic table and play periodic table Scrabble! I can't spell my name (Susan - Sulphur-uranium-sulphur-there's no A on its own!) but I can spell my best friend's husband's name - Cameron (Carbon-Americum-Erbium-Oxygen-Nitrogen) and genius (Germanium-Nitrogen-Iodine-Uranium-Sulphur). My last name is easy to create - it's just Ni2! This is a great way to learn where the elements are on the table and their abbreviations!

Join me later this week for a little more chemistry fun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Using oil soluble green tea extract in your products

I've recently discovered - and love - the oil soluble green tea extract at Brambleberry. I've tried it in quite a few things, and I think it makes for a lovely addition to my products. Because it's oil soluble, we can add it to things when we can't add water soluble extracts or powders, like lotion bars, lip balms, or any other anhydrous products at up to 6% in the cool down phase (when you add your fragrance or essential oil).

80% shea butter (I use ultra refined)
13% oil of choice
6% oil soluble green tea extract
1% fragrance or essential oil

Click here for more information on creating whipped butters.


28% beeswax
30% mango butter
20% rice bran oil
14% sunflower oil
6% oil soluble green tea extract
1% Vitamin E
1% fragrance or essential oil

This is my favourite lotion bar modified to include 6% oil soluble green tea extract (I've removed 6% of the sunflower oil to make way for it!).

As a note, I like to include 2% cyclomethicone, 2% dimethicone in this product for the winter - dimethicone is an approved barrier ingredient - and switch up to 20% of the mango butter for cocoa butter  - another approved barrier ingredient - to protect my trashed elbows!

Consider using it at up to 6% in an anhydrous facial serum or up to 6% in your favourite oil based body spray to get all the awesome goodness of green tea. Because it's a fractionated coconut oil (but not the fractionated coconut oil we all know), you can substitute it for any percentage of the oil in your product. Remember not to expose it to the temperatures of heating and holding - add it during the cool down phase.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with extracts when we make a foamy facial cleanser!

Disclaimer: Remember, I'm not affiliated with any company, and any post I write is because I like the product, not because I've been paid to say something nice. I buy all my ingredients myself, unless otherwise noted. I don't think Brambleberry even knows I'm writing about this ingredient - I hope they aren't mad about it! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Question: Can you use green tea powder in lotion bar recipes?

In this post, Aicha asks: I love matcha green tea powder! Can this be used in lotion bar recipes?

The short answer...no. The long answer...yes, but not the powder.

Green tea powder is a fantastic addition to our products (click here for the PDF on the topic!). It's full of catechins, anti-oxidants, caffeine, proanthocyanidins, and more, which are great for our skin! Green tea powder can be used at up to 0.5% in the cool down phase of our products - it's heat sensitive - and I like to keep a little warm water from the heated water phase to help it dissolve before adding (it's also water soluble). In our emulsified products, though, it can cause a redox reaction, which can cause all kinds of weird things to happen in our lotions, the main annoying one being separation. This doesn't always happen, but it can, and that's annoying.

This is when we turn to liquid green tea extract, which won't cause some of those problems. (Here's where I found it at The Personal Formulator, and here's an Ecocert version at Lotioncrafter.) Liquid green tea extract is water soluble - as is green tea powder - so it's a great addition to any product in which you might like to include green tea. I tend to use it at 5% in my cool down phase in place of the 0.5% powdered extract. Although the Personal Formulator picture shows a brown coloured liquid, the version I have is clear, so I like to use this in things like facial cleansers or toners, where clarity is an issue. (In this cleanser - which I've only just realized I haven't posted, so look for that in the next few days - I'm using a bunch of extracts that are very dark coloured. I don't mind, but your friends and family or customers might!)

But you can't include that in a lotion bar, facial serum, body oil spray, or in any other oil based product without an emulsifier. For that we need an oil soluble green tea extract, something I found at Brambleberry recently! The INCI is Capric Triglycerides, Camellia Sinesnsis Leaf Extract. We know the latter is green tea extract, but what the heck is capric triglycerides? It's a fraction of coconut oil (fractionated coconut oil has an INCI of caprylic/capric triglycerides), so it's a very light emollient, like fractionated coconut oil without the caprylic triglycerides. So what we have here is a very light oil with green tea extract in it. Brambleberry recommends its use at up to 6% and I'm going to suggest we reserve it for the cool down phase because green tea extract is heat sensitive.

Join me tomorrow for a few ideas on how to use oil soluble green tea in our products!

And note: I'm not affiliated with any supplier or manufacturer, so my links are suggestions for where I found the product. I pay for all my ingredients myself, unless otherwise noted! 

Question: Do you want to know more basic chemistry?

What do you think about having a post in which a basic concept in chemistry is explained every week? We could go over basic concepts in chemistry or I could answer questions or whatever you want. I'm thinking about things I've already covered like anionic, cationic, and non-ionic, solubility, miscibility, emulsification, and so on, but including things like redox reactions, acid-base reactiosn, and the like.

I realize I'm a science geek and I find these things interesting, but it is possible that you don't. Hence the question! Be honest! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Where to get esters in the UK? and downloadable European suppliers' list

Eucalypta asks for help in this postNow I'm desperately searching for a supplier of esters in the EU. Would be thankful for a hint.

Can anyone help? Comment here!

And Eucalypta (aka Corry) has put together this wonderful downloadable list of suppliers in Europe, which will be perma-linked in the free downloadable PDFs section of the blog (right hand side of this page). It's awesome! Thanks!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

National Gaming Day was a huge success!

No post today! After Thursday night's celebration of National Gaming Day with games night in Chilliwack (32 youth), Friday's all day baking session, and Saturday's celebration of National Gaming Day with video and card games in Yarrow (37 participants), I'm exhausted. Plus, I have a math mid-term Monday prevening, for which I need to study today. So there's no post. I need a nap!

Don't you love this Space Invaders themed cupcake? Thanks to Idrean, Chayla, and Georgia for their mad decorating skills! More pictures to come! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Optiphen revisited...

In this post and this post, sfs asks: Could Optiphen be used in an anhydrous product? Both Lotioncrafter and the Herbarie list it as a preservative for all types of products.

In this post, Sciarretta Farms said: Are you sure that all the preservatives in the Optiphen family are only for water soluble products? A lot of people use Optiphen to preserve their anhydrous scrubs.

Is Optiphen suitable for anhydrous creations?

I checked out the Herbarie's listing for Optiphen: Optiphen is suitable for anhydrous formulations and emulsions, such as creams, lotions, salves, body butters, and body scrubs.

I checked out Lotioncrafter's listing for Optiphen: Optiphen can be used in a wide variety of personal care products including aqueous and anhydrous systems and emulsions.

And I've checked out these brochures published by ISP, the makers of Optiphen...
ISP product guide (page 22) - nothing listed about being suitable for anhydrous products.
Preservative Data Sheet (page 12 or 22, not sure) - looks to be the same sheet, so that really doesn't help much.
Mild preservative data sheet (page 4) that says, "Optiphen® is applicable for use in a variety of personal care preparations such as aqueous and anhydrous systems, as well as emulsions."
And Preservation Breakthrough (page 7) that says, "

So there you have it. Apparently all the Optiphen products can be used in anhydrous formulations.

But wait...on page 4 of the mild preservation data sheet, the company writes this about Optiphen Plus...
"Optiphen® Plus can be used in a wide range of aqueous and emulsion-type personal care formulations, such as creams, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, mousses, and wet wipes." There's nothing about using it in anhydrous products. And on page 5 it says this about Optiphen ND..."Optiphen® ND/RokonsalTM ND has proven to be an effective preservative system for rinse-off products such as shampoos, shower gels, and foam baths. Optiphen® ND/RokonsalTM ND is recommended for use in creams, emulsions, lotions, and gels with acidic pH. Suitable for oil/water and water/oil emulsions."

I'm getting more confused by the minute! In the Preservation Breakthrough document quoted above, it states that ALL Optiphen products can be used effectively in "aqueous and anhydrous systems as well as emulsions". But then we see Optiphen Plus to be used in "aqueous and emulsion-type personal care formulations" and Optiphen ND suggested for "creams, emulsions, lotions, and gels with acidic pH". Hmm...

What do I think? When the company is putting out information that contradicts other information, I get confused and annoyed. With two references from the company and chemistry that backs it up, I think it's safe to say that Optiphen is suitable for anhydrous products - which makes sense because phenoxyethanol is soluble in both oil and water - but I can't say anything about the other Optiphen products.

As a note, I'm linking the three posts on Optiphen to this post, I'll update the PDF on preservatives with this information this weekend (time willing), and that's my final word on Optiphen. Unless I can get some definitive, non-contradictory information about this line of preservatives, I won't be commenting on anything relating to Optiphen in the future.

As a disclaimer: I use liquid Germall Plus, Germaben II, and Phenonip as my preservatives of choice. I haven't used Optiphen or any of the variations in my products and I'm not planning to do so, and part of that decision relates to the lack of good information about this ingredient. The other reasons including not finding it locally easily and not wanting it to curdle my lotions! 

EDITED TO ADD: I think I need to clarify my statement about Optiphen. I'm not knocking it and I'm not putting it down - I have no opinion on this preservative. I'm not going to be writing about it in the future unless I can find something really definitive from a source that I trust for fear that I'm spreading misinformation. I owe it to you, my wonderful readers, to be accurate, and I don't feel I have enough information about Optiphen to write anything further on it.

I can't use every single ingredient out there as I simply don't have the time and I can't afford to buy one of everything. I'm making my decision based upon my personal preference. Just as some people choose not to use silicones, some choose not to use parabens, and some choose to make organic products, I'm choosing not to include Optiphen in my workshop.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Question: Are you getting what you think you're getting when you buy ingredients?

In this post, Always Looking 4 1 More writes:
In regards to your comment, "If you see something like aloe vera, odds are really good that it's aloe vera liquid or extract, not the gel, because the gel doesn't get used all that often."

I've come to the conclusion that not much of what we find in the way of aloe vera is what is says it is in ANY form. Have you ever smelled the gel (often referred to as "meat, or "inner fillet") of an aloe vera plant. It retains its natural smell no matter what form it's in, when it is allowed to remain in its natural state, without anything else added to it or taken away from it. I've smelled it, felt it, and even licked it right off the leaf (yick!). I smashed it, blended it, and strained it so all that was left was just "juice" (hardly any slime at all). No matter what I've done to it, the natural smell remains.

So I wonder what the aloe vera products I see in the stores by various suppliers really are when they have no smell whatsoever-- yet they claim on the labels to be "natural", or some say "no preservatives and nothing added", etc. Maybe they're not adding anything to the original gel, but I guess what they're not saying is how they "take away" the smell. It's the "take away" part that they leave out :-/

This is one of the things that drives me crazy, and why I encourage everyone to ask questions of our suppliers and our manufacturers because the information they provide isn't always completely accurate. It could be that they don't know about an ingredient - I'm perpetually surprised when I ask a question about something like an emulsifier and the supplier can't offer me a suggested usage rate! - or the manufacturer hasn't provided them with completely accurate information. For every ingredient I use, I insist on having a data sheet, data bulletin, and - at the very least - the INCI name. (Click here and here for two posts on INCI names!)

I use aloe extract from Voyageur, which is listed as being "A 100% (1:1) concentrated Aloe Vera Liquid Extract in a glycerin and water base" and has an INCI of Aloe Barbensis Leaf Extract (and) Glycerin (and) Aqua. It doesn't claim to be aloe vera juice at 100% and it's easy for anyone wanting to buy the product to see what it is - it's an extract with glycerin and water. (I am a little worried about it not having a preservative listed, but I am sure there's one there lurking in the glycerin because I can have a bottle of this in my workshop for a few months after opening and not see any grosssness there!)

Compare this to what Lotioncrafter advertises as aloe vera juice 1x - it has an INCI of Aloe Barbadensis Juice and it's noted that it has a preservative (Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Sulfite, and Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid as a pH adjuster). I have no idea how this smells, but it claims to be 100% aloe vera (well, 99.something and preservatives, which, to me, is better than 100% aloe vera juice) and I imagine it has a smell to it?

Or compare this to what you might find at Brambleberry. They have two products - aloe vera extract, which contains water, glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, citric acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate and aloe vera juice, which contains Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice with nothing else listed.

I bought some aloe vera - listed as natural and pure - from Wal-mart. That stuff smelled really strong in the bottle, but not in my products, and it went bad in about two weeks. I guess they were telling the truth about the not having preservatives part, but they failed to tell me about the putting it in the fridge part. It had a layer of black/brown mould on the bottom of the bottle with bits floating in it! Ewwww!

We're seeing a lot of aloe vera based drinks reaching our stores, and I imagine they must only use a titch of it or they've found a way to deodorize it!

Having said all of this, we have an aloe vera plant in my house and I don't find the smell of the gel distasteful. It's a bit musty smelling, but it's not really that offensive. Are there different types of the plant that are smellier than others? Does it depend upon the size, because our plant is very small?

If you want to read more about ingredients that aren't quite what they seem, click here for a post on floral waters vs. hydrosols

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Experiments in the workshop: ACI instead of SCI in my hand cleanser

I am so sick of having dry feeling hands after I wash them, so I thought I'd make my own hand cleanser. This one - orange & honey hand cleanser - was my favourite, so naturally I thought I'd tweak it some more by replacing ACI for the SCI.

Doesn't it look like this is supposed to be an artistic view of being hand soap? Like my cleanser is about to break out into song about a boy she has loved and lost or that her father has trapped her here in this castle until someone worthy of her love can save her? 

I'm not really sure why I'd want to switch out the SCI for the ACI in this case - this is quite a liquidy product until I get the Crothix in near the end, so using ACI instead of SCI should product a really liquidy product! But no matter! When I'm in the mood to experiment, I'm in the mood to experiment!

10% cocamidopropyl betaine
11% polyglucose/lactylate blend
10% ACI
2% glycol distearate

33.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% orange hydrosol
3% PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate
3% glycerin

3% honeyquat
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance
Crothix (optional)

Weigh the first heated phase into heatproof container and heat in your double boiler until the SCI and glycol distearate has melted. Weigh the second heated phase into a heatproof container and heat until the SCI has melted in the other container. Remove both from the heat and add the second heated phase slowly, stirring as you go, until it is well incorporated. You may want to heat it a little longer to ensure it is well incorporated.

When the temperature reaches 45˚C to 50˚C, add the cool down phase BUT DON'T ADD THE CROTHIX! (Read more about Crothix here if you've never used it before.) I didn't need Crothix in mine, but that will vary given the modifications to ingredients and fragrance you choose.

When the mixture has reached room temperature or has sat for at least four hours, test the viscosity. Add 1% Crothix, and mix very well. If you want it a bit thicker, add another 0.5% and stir well. Repeat until you get the viscosity you want.

So what did I think? I like it! I had to get to 4% Crothix to thicken it, and it's still a bit more liquid than I would want in a body wash or shampoo, but it works well in the pump bottle. The skin feels about the same. I think it looks a little less pearlized than the first version, and I know I didn't use enough colouring.

Considering I can get SCI locally (at Aquarius Aroma & Soap) instead of shipping it from the eastern part of the States, and considering it will thicken more than ACI, I don't think I'll be changing my recipe soon. But it was a neat to experiment, eh?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Questions I missed: Whipped butters - how to add preservatives?

From the whipped butter post I wrote about yesterday, Roxine asked in August 2011: If I wanted to add preservatives to this, do I add the recommended usage amount based on the total product weight. So say, .05% of the butter made with the oils and FO? Or is the percentage of preservative I use a part of the total 100% of the final product, so i would take .5% off somewhere else, like in my oils. I hope I don't sound too stupid here...

No, you don't sound stupid! The only stupid question is the one never asked! And when it comes to preservatives, you can never be too careful!

My short answer is this - you don't need to use preservatives in an anhydrous product unless you fear water might come in contact with it. For something like a sugar scrub, you want a preservative. For a whipped butter that won't be coming into contact with water, you don't really need it. Having said that, if you want to add one, then add one!

If you do want to use a preservative, you need to choose one that is oil soluble. Phenonip would work - you'd use it in the heated oil phase of your product - as would Liquipar Oil. If you want to use Phenonip, you'd use it at 0.5% to 1% as you heat your butters and oils. If you want to use Liquipar Oil, use it at 0.4% to 0.8% when the product is at less than 80˚C (which means pretty much any point with a whipped butter).

So let's say you want to use Phenonip in your whipped butter...here's a sample recipe...

78.5% shea butter (I use ultra refined)
19% fractionated coconut oil (or any other oil)
1% Phenonip
0.5% Vitamin E (to retard rancidity, optional)
1% fragrance or essential oil

Weigh your shea butter, oil, and Phenonip in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler to heat until melted. Remove and leave to cool (I put it in the freezer, but that's just my preference). When cooled, add your Vitamin E and fragrance/essential oil and whip until it reaches the whippiness level you like.

Having said all of this, you don't really need to preserve your anhydrous products due to something called water activity. And considering how freakazoid people get about parabens and considering that parabens are the only preservatives suitable for anhydrous products, you might find it easier not to preserve them!

As an addendum to this question: If you're using preservatives, use them at the suggested levels for the total amount of this recipe. So if you have a lotion recipe that totals 100%, you would use 0.5% liquid Germall Plus and remove 0.5% from the water phase, so your recipe always totals 100%. (We always remove additional ingredients from the water phase - click here for the reasoning behind that!) Your recipe should always total 100%. If you're making a lotion, shampoo, conditioner, or any other product we could make, use the preservative at the suggested usage rate in the suggested phase and make sure your product totals 100%.

HOWEVER this can change with something like a sugar or salt scrub. For instance, when I make a sugar scrub, I make the base, then add the scrubby bits. I base my preservative amount on the amount in the base and I don't tend to take into account the salt or sugar. So I'd make up my base of oils, butters, and so on and use 1% Phenonip in the heated stage. I would add my salt or sugar at the rate I like - generally 140% for sugar, although I will go higher - and not add extra preservative to compensate for the scrubbies.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Questions I missed: Whipping butters - why are butters whippable?

I love reading your comments and e-mails, but there have been times when I've missed some really interesting stuff because I've had too much going on in my life. (To give you an idea of what life is like right now - I have 171 unread e-mails, and 88 flagged so I can remember to write responses, and I'm trying to get ready for and promote National Gaming Day, and trying to have a social life!) I thought I'd try to get to some of those questions and comments you've made that were missed for one reason or another because there's some interesting stuff in there!

From this post on whipped butters, I found two questions that went unanswered...

From p (July 2010): I've got a question for you... what is it that makes butters whippable? Is it just that they're soft but solid at room temp? Could I whip an oil & beeswax (no butter) balm? Just curious!! 

Hi p! The answer to the first part is mostly yes. We can whip them because they're filled with lovely fatty acids that are solid at room temperature. Butters tend to have lots of nice fatty acids like stearic and lauric acid that are great thickeners. Not all butters are whippable at room temperature - shea, mango, and babassu are, but cocoa butter and kokum butter aren't. This because they have different melting points. But that's kind of obvious! 

I did some experiments on whipping oils with various thickeners that might interest you...(although I see you posted there and I didn't respond to your question then! Sorry, p!) 

As for the second part of the question, there's an interesting balm I found on Voyageur for non-petroleum baby jelly that uses oil and beeswax. 94% castor oil, 5% beeswax, and 1% Vitamin E. I've tried it - I liked it. You could try this with another oil, but it won't work as well as there's an interesting interaction between beeswax and castor oil! Beeswax is partially soluble in castor oil, so you get a thicker and more viscous product when you mix beeswax and castor oil together than you would mixing something like sunflower oil and beeswax. This is one of the reasons we see these two ingredients together in lipsticks - they prevent the colour from feathering into fine lines around your lips! 

So the short answers are...
1. Butters have fatty acids that are solid at room temperature, which is why we can whip them. 
2. And you could make a balm from beeswax and an oil, but it won't be the same as whipping a butter! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Question: When making stuff, how do you know what to do? (Part 2 of 2).

Let's continue to take a look at how we might modify a template recipe to come up with what we really really want! (Click here for yesterday's post!)

What is my goal with this product? I want to make a nice glidy body butter for the upcoming dry winter months in the Fraser Valley. I want something occlusive because I don't tend to wear long sleeved shirts or sweaters ever, so I need something that will stay on my skin during the day. (Allantoindimethicone, or cocoa butter are all FDA approved occlusive ingredients!) I want to add some humectants to the mix because I want to draw water to my skin and there's enough in the atmosphere to create some moisturization without adding more oils (so I think I might add both glycerin and sodium lactate). I can pick oils and butters based on my skin type, what I can afford, what I've already purchased, and the skin feel I like.

Now that I have my goals and I know my recipe, I need to choose my ingredients. Learning what your ingredients are, how they feel on your skin, how they interact in your products, and the percentages at which you can use them is a vital process that will make your formulating time much more fun!

When I choose my ingredients, I need to know which ingredients will fit into the product, where I can get the ingredients or if I have them in my workshop, and the safe usage levels. Most importantly, I need to think about the skin feel of the product. (If you're selling products, you'll have to consider the cost of your ingredients, but I'm not worried about that now!)

I want something occlusive, so I could choose dimethicone, allantoin, or cocoa butter as my approved occlusive ingredient. Dimethicone would be a great choice because it would increase the slip and glide of my product and reduce the feeling of tackiness that could be caused by other ingredients. Allantoin might be a good choice because it causes rapid cell regeneration and proliferation, and is approved to temporarily prevent and protect chafed, chapped, cracked, or windburned skin by speeding up the natural processes of the skin and increasing the water content. Cocoa butter is also approved, but I don't think it's the butter I want in this product. It will make the product thicker and less glidy, although I could use it at a lower level, say 5%. In the end, I think I'll go with up to 3% dimethicone in my cool down phase and 0.5% allantoin in the heated water phase.

How did I know to go with up to 0.5% allantoin? (Which I think was the original question!) If you look at the safe as used list, you'll see we can use up to 2% allantoin in a product. But then I take a look at its water solubility and realize it is 0.5% at 25˚C, which means we can dissolve 0.5 grams of allantoin in 100 grams of water at 25˚C. If we add more than 0.5 grams per 100 grams of water, we will see precipitate form at the bottom of our container, which isn't very pleasant. (Allantoin precipitate can feel like shards!) We can use up to 2% in our creations and be safe, but we want to use 0.5% or less to prevent little bits from being in our product.

How do I know to go with 5% or less dimethicone? If you look at the safe as used list, you can see we can use dimethicone at up to 80% in hair care products or up to 24% in make-up, so let's say we can use up to 24% dimethicone in a leave on product safely. But I don't really want to use 24% dimethicone in my products. I want to leave room for other oils, like evening primrose oil for the GLA or sesame oil or rice bran oil for the lovely balance of oleic and linoleic acids, so I know I won't be using more than 10% (because that's how much oil I want to use in my product). I know that I like dimethicone at 2% to 3% in my products, so that's what I'll add to the cool down stage of the product.

How do I know I don't want to include cocoa butter? Because I've tried making a body butter with all cocoa butter before, and I didn't think it was glidy enough. I could try it again and add a more glidy fatty alcohol - cocoa butter and behenyl alcohol or cocoa butter and cetyl esters would be more glidy than cetyl alcohol - and I could try a version with more cyclomethicone and more dimethicone in it or I could use very greasy oils, but really, I just want to make a body butter in the limited time I have, so I'm not in the mood for experimenting! I know these things because I've tried it before and didn't like it!

What about my other ingredients? How do I choose those?

Humectants: I do like a good humectant, so I'm going to include both sodium lactate (or sodium PCA) and glycerin in my product. I know I can't use sodium lactate or sodium PCA at more than 3% as it might make me sun sensitive, so I'll use it at 2.5% and glycerin at around 3%. This means I have to remove 3.5% water to make up for this inclusion. I could have included 3% honeyquat in the cool down phase as both a humectant and a skin conditioner. I could have included Hydrovance at up to 20% in the cool down phase as a humectant, but it has the potential to create pH drift, and I didn't want to mess around with this product.
Decided...2.5% sodium lactate or sodium PCA and 3% glycerin in my heated water phase.

Oils: (Click here to see all the posts on emollients.) I'll choose those based on the time of year and weight. During the winter, I like to have a blend of linoleic acid and oleic acid, so I'll choose something of medium weight like rice bran oil or sesame oil. I'm out of rice bran oil, so I'll go with sesame seed oil. I would love to choose evening primrose oil - the GLA is great for helping speed up skin's barrier when damaged - but I don't have any in the house. I do like a good ester, but I want something with polyphenols and phytosterols to help heal and soothe my skin!

STOP THAT! STOP THAT! We're not allowed to make claims of a medical nature about our products, and I've just claimed that certain oils contain chemicals that might heal and/or soothe our skin, which are considered medical claims. To make these kind of statements, I'd would have to undergo extensive testing of my products. Since I can't afford testing as I don't sell my products, I'll have to re-word that last sentence. I'm not going to do that now because I think you get the general idea, but this is why we don't make our own eczema creams, dandruff shampoos, sunscreens, and so on. (We can't prove our products will work as treatment for those conditions, and anecdotes aren't data!) 

Here's a sample recipe I might make after all this thinking...

55% water
2.5% sodium lactate or sodium PCA
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin

7% sesame seed oil (not the roasted kind!) 
15% shea butter (or butter of choice)
7% Polawax
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5 to 1% preservative
3% dimethicone
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

There are a few ways you can learn how to modify your products, but the answer is really about experimenting. As you can see from above, I was able to gather information about my ingredients easily, but it really came down to what skin feel I might like. This is why I encourage people to stop reading and get making. We can plan and plan and plan, but if we don't actually make the product, we have no idea if the product feels nice or works well.

Try new ingredients, take many many notes, get your friends to give their completely honest opinion, and keep trying new things. You are going to make things you hate, but that's not a waste - it's only a waste if you make something you hate and don't remember not to make it again!

Here are a few links that might interest you...
How to research ingredients?
Keeping your notes in order.

Let's get back to the experimenting! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Question: When making stuff, how do you know what to do? (Part 1 of 2!)

I thought I'd spend a couple of days answering this awesome question. We'll return to the experiments later in two days!

Always Looking 4 1 More commented in this post: Your recipes are interesting, for sure. I bet you've already answered this question, and I probably didn't do a good enough search for it, but I wonder how you come up with such great recipes. Do you re-make your batches over-and-over until you figure out which ingredients are best and at what percentage each must be? Or do you use a list of basic formulas that are industry guidelines and then modify them? I'm still in the "everything-looks-like-it-might-be-fun-to-add-to-the-formula" stage) In other words, I'm still playing while I learn. When I feel like trying something simple of my own I write down how much of everything I use when I'm making a batch, but mine are nowhere as elaborate as yours.

You've been really busy keeping our days fun with your new entries. I hope you're taking good care of yourself cause we miss you when you're gone. :-)

Hi Always! Thanks for your kind words. I am working on taking better care of myself, on setting and maintain my boundaries, and making sure I take time for myself every day! (I'm a family counsellor, so I thought it was time I should counsel myself a little bit!) I'm actually waking up earlier again -  hence the ability to write posts in the morning, instead of having to wait until the weekend - which is making me very happy! This is also the reason that I might not be answering your (not you, Always, but my wonderful readers) e-mail as quickly as some people would like. I've managed to not have a cold or stomach flu for three weeks! Woo hoo for me!

But enough about me - on to your question, which is going to take a few days to answer...

The short answer is yes, I do a lot of experimenting. I don't post the duds here...Okay, sometimes I do as an example of what won't work, but for the most part, you don't see the ones that failed! I didn't know there were industry guidelines because to me, this isn't an industry, it's my hobby! (Okay, it's really more of an obsession! I admit it!) I spent the first few years learning from people who generously shared their wisdom on the Dish forum before I felt comfortable sharing what I'd learned with this blog.

The long answer is this....I start with a general idea of a product I'd like to make. For instance, if I want to make a lotion, my first question is about the lotion itself! Do I want a cream, a body butter, a facial moisturizer, a hand lotion, and so on? Once I've chosen, I can refer to the templates I've created for myself for each product. For instance, my hand lotion will be a 60% water to 70% water product, whereas the body butter will definitely be a 60% product. (Click here for a longer post on this topic!) Or let's say I want to make a body wash or shampoo. I keep mine at around 40% surfactants, so I know I need to choose at least 2 surfactants to make up that 40%, then I can add things like hydrolyzed proteins, humectants, moisturizers, and so on at the suggested usage rates.

Let's say I want to make a body butter. Here's my template recipe for a body butter. There are many different ways to make it and many different templates you could develop - this is just one of mine. (Click here for original post!)

59% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin

10% oils (4% light, 4% medium, 2% heavy, or just 10% of the oil of your choice)
15% shea butter (or butter of choice)
7% emulsifier*
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

How did I come up with the template? I originally found a few recipes on the Dish forum and tried them. (Thank you to those amazing recipe writers for sharing your knowledge!) Based on what I liked about those recipes, I figured out what was common to each of them. For instance, I realized that a recipe with about 60% water, 10% or more butter, and 3% stearic acid or cetyl alcohol would result in a thick recipe. Take out the butter, and I have a much thinner recipe. I made up a few versions of the 60% water recipe that will work as hand, body, or foot lotions and body butters. I tried stearic acid, I tried cetyl alcohol, I tried cetearyl alcohol, I left out the thickeners, I modified the butters, and eventually I figured out what I like. I know for a body butter, I want something really thick and rich, so I want to have a lot of butter. I know that most of the emolliency will come from the butter, so I don't need a ton of oils.

For the emulsifier, if I'm using Polawax, I need to calculate my oil phase (28%) then use 25% of that amount in emulsifier in the heated oil phase. In this case, I have 28% oil phase (oil, butter, cetyl alcohol), so I will use 7% Polawax. (This rule ONLY applies to Polawax. Click here for more information.)

In the water phase, I know I need to have some water and I want a humectant. I don't tend to formulate lotions without humectants because they are an inexpensive and great way to get moisturizing into my product. I will make changes and add hydrosols, proteins, and other water soluble ingredients, but I won't include those in the template recipe because the modifying comes later, when I've decided on the goals of my recipe.

In the cool down phase, I know I need my preservative (I generally use Liquid Germall Plus, but I will use Germaben II for those harder to preserve products or Phenonip for things like sugar scrubs), and I will want a fragrance oil, so I'll include those in the template recipe.

With all this information in mind, I created my template recipe! You can do this for many other products.

For something like a lotion bar, you'll find most people recommend that you start out with 1/3 butter, 1/3 beeswax, and 1/3 oil. It's a good place to start, but you'll soon find that this might be too hard for cocoa butter, just right for mango, and not hard enough for shea butter. The only way to know this is to get into the workshop and make a version with each butter and compare!

For something like whipped butter, you could go with a basic recipe of 80% butter and 20% oils, but after playing with it for a bit, you might realize you want to put 1% Vitamin E, 1% fragrance oil, and mix the oils up a bit!

To summarize, the only way to know how to do it is to do it. Find some good recipes. Buy a lot of supplies. Make a lot of mistakes. Then find some more recipes. Buy supplies. Make a lot of mistakes. After doing this for a while, create your own recipe. Take a recipe you love and change one thing, then another, then another. Make mistakes. Get frustrated and think you suck. Try it again. Continue until you are happy!

If this post interests you, please click here to get to the start the learning to formulate series. Or look for the e-book on the topic I'm hoping to have out in a few weeks! 

Join me tomorrow as I continue with this question when we take a look at modifying the template recipe and choosing our ingredients!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

National Gaming Day - Saturday, November 12th

If you live in the Fraser Valley, why not join us for National Gaming Day at the Yarrow library from 11:00 to 3:30 on Saturday, November 12th? We're opening the event up to everyone of all ages, so come one, come all and play some Rock Band 3, Beatles Rock Band, Dance Central 2, Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart and more. As well, we'll be playing board & card games in the form of Werewolves and Cash & Guns Live! If you're an adult, show your kids you can be cool, too. If you're a kid or youth, come show us how it's done!

If you can't join us, click here to find a library near you that might be hosting an event that day! Bring them down a treat or participate in a game or just let them know that you support gaming in your community!

If you click near Vancouver, B.C., you'll see us at Yarrow Library, which is one of three libraries in B.C. (and possibly Canada) participating in National Gaming Day (which I feel should be called International Gaming Day because we're not in America!!!) 

A huge thanks to you, my wonderful readers, for making our participation in this day possible! Your donations have helped to buy the video and board/card games, as well as the treats we'll be serving that day! I'll let you know how it goes!

Experiments in the workshop: Modifying the body wash with esters

I do love a good body wash, and I think I have versions for every skin type and every climate possibility. But my very favourite recipe is this one, the body wash with ester. If you don't have the ingredients for this recipe, use any one you want, but remember this - if you remove something like BSB that is very thick, you'll want to have a thickener at hand! And feel free to leave out the esters if you don't have them or don't like them - they are the important part of the moisturizing, but the body wash is mild enough without them that you won't feel you're stripping your skin! (Increase the water amount by the amount you've removed from the recipe. It will be thinner, but you won't have to find those ingredients!)

I get my esters at the Personal Formulator, but they are available at a lot of different suppliers. Look to your right and see the frequently asked questions section of the blog to find a supplier near you! 

This recipe is intended for normal to oily skin. If you have dry skin, this would probably be a good recipe for you as you will love the silky feeling of the ACI, but I would suggest replacing the C14-16 olefin sulfonate with something like SMC or SMO taurate. Polyglucose/lactylate blend would be a fantastic choice here! (Click here for a copy of the surfactant chart for some summaries!)

12% cocamidopropyl betaine
16% ACI
12% C14-16 olefin sulfonate
25% warm distilled water
10% aloe vera liquid

5% PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate
5% myristamine oxide
5% water soluble oils (1.2% PEG-7 olivate, 3.8% water soluble shea)
3% polyquat 7
3% glycerin
2% cromoist

2% panthenol
0.5% preservative (liquid Germall Plus)
0.5% white willow bark (or other powdered extract)
up to 2% Crothix

Put all of phase one and phase two ingredients into a heatproof container to heat and hold in your double boiler. While heating, mix them well with a fork or a spoon delicately - enough so they combine but not so much that you have tons of bubbles. Remove from the heat and stir until all the ingredients are combined. Let cool. Heat a little water (maybe a tablespoon) and add it to the white willow bark and mix that until dissolved. Add it to the container along with the panthenol, preservative, and fragrance oil. Do not add the thickener at this time!

Let it come to room temperature. If it's too liquid, add 0.5% of your favourite thickener. Mix well. Add a little more (0.5%) at a time until you get a viscosity you like. Crothix is a moisturizing ester that thickens our products and increases mildness, so it's not a bad thing if you get to 4% or so. It will reduce the lather and bubbles in your product, so you don't want to go overboard, but you can get up to 5% before you want to start worrying!

What do I think of this recipe? I love it! This is my favourite body wash of all time! It's not a pretty product - the white willow bark makes it a brown colour (picture above) that you really can't cover with colour (picture beside, and believe me you can see the brown tinges under the green in real life), but I love it. The ACI makes it a less thick product, but as you can see, it is a theoretically clear product as well. (The picture beside was taken shortly after pouring into the bottle and it hadn't settled, but it will go clear!)

I used 3% Crothix after scenting this with - yep, you guessed it - Clementine Cupcake fragrance oil. I think 3% liquid Crothix will be how much I generally use, unless I use a fragrance oil like lavender that generally thickens surfactant mixes.

If you want to make this at home, I consider the ingredients not to leave out in phase two to be the glycerin, cromoist, and polyquat 7. You can use any cationic polymer you want at the recommended levels and/or you could substitute the glycerin for propylene glycol, or you could use something like honeyquat at 3% in the cool down phase as both your humectant and moisturizer (so it's two great things in one!) You don't need to have all those fancy esters for this product to be nice, but it really does make a difference. I don't bother with moisturizer after a shower any more!

Join me tomorrow for more experiments in the workshop!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Experiments in the workshop: ACI in place of SCI

Well, we're in for a party today, my friends! I've been experimenting with ammonium cocoyl isethionate (ACI) in place of sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) in my body wash, face wash, and hand wash! Yes, get on your party hats and grab some of those blowy things that make noise - but leave the confetti at home because I just did the floors - because ACI does, indeed, rock the party!

So what's the difference between ACI and SCI? Both are considered exceptionally mild surfactants. Both are considered tolerant to hard water and have a great skin feel. And both offer good bubbles and lather. But ACI is a liquid! Yep, it's a 30% active liquid that has a shelf life of 1 year (versus 2 years for the prills). ACI is considered more water soluble than SCI because it's in a liquid format. Which makes it easier to incorporate into your products! 

If you look at the picture above, you'll see the little M+ in the lower right hand corner. In SCI, that would be a sodium (Na) ion. In ACI, that's an ammonium (NH4) ion. That's the chemical difference! 

The main reason to use it is that it is a liquid form of SCI for those times that you want something to easier to incorporate that will allow to you make a clear product. (Having said that, I have had my products with up to 10% Jordapon prill SCI be clear, but this way it's a guarantee!) If you love the elegant silky skin feel of SCI but find it hard to melt, then ACI might be a great option for you.

As a note, if you find SCI hard to melt, try using cocamidopropyl betaine with it as it will speed up the process! 

I've been playing with it and, as you can probably tell, I'm already a fan. So let's get started with ACI!

Here's a link to the data sheet from BASF if you want to know more about ACI and SCI!
And here's an article about SCI and ACI and well they work with colour treated hair! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Experiments in the workshop: Using behenyl alcohol in sugar scrubs!

I am a big fan of the emulsified scrub, so it made sense to try this new fatty alcohol in one! I love my black cocoa sugar scrub, and thought adding behenyl alcohol would only make it that more awesome. (As a note, this recipe can be done with regular cocoa butter, but I was out of the regular stuff and I found a container of black cocoa butter I bought earlier this year, so it just made sense!)

10% emulsifying wax (e-wax, Polawax, or BTMS)
10% behenyl alcohol
20% black cocoa butter
56% oil
1% Vitamin E
2% fragrance or essential oil*
1% Phenonip

If you want to use this for a body scrub, start with 100 grams of sugar per 100 grams of sugar scrub. You can increase it as high as 200 grams for 100 grams of sugar scrub - it depends upon your taste (I like it really scrubby, so I go for 170 to 200 grams per 100 grams of sugar scrub.) If you are using another exfoliant, you'll really have to play with it to see what you like.

Weigh all ingredients except the fragrance or essential oil in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Heat and hold for 20 minutes at 70C. Remove from the double boiler and put into your fridge or freezer until it reaches 45C. Add the fragrance oil, then return it to the fridge or freezer to cool further.

When the mixture starts to harden slightly on the sides of the container and gets a thick film on the top, remove it from the fridge or freezer and start whipping it with a hand mixer with whisk attachments or your Kitchenaid with whisk attachments. Whisk until it looks like chocolate pudding - this might take a little while - then add the sugar and whisk until well incorporated. Pour into jars and let sit until hardened.

I would normally use soy bean oil here, but I was out, so I switched it for a mix of half sesame, half olive oil. I use regular, every day sugar at a 170 grams per 100 grams of sugar scrub. As usual, I scented it with Clementine Cupcake from Brambleberry!

Wow! I love this! I think this is my new Saturday night thing! The normal scrub feels nice and glidy, but this had a silkiness that was really lovely. My skin felt really nice after I rinsed it off, and I could feel it all day long. I'm definitely keeping the behenyl alcohol in this recipe!

As a note about this recipe...Make sure you use a dark coloured towel when drying off after your bath or shower. You won't get every single bit of it off, and it will come off on your towel, leaving a tan coloured stain. It will come off in the dryer, but your family will make comments about it until you wash said towel, which can be a little annoying!

You can substitute behenyl alcohol for cetyl alcohol in any sugar scrub recipe that contains stearic acid or cetyl alcohol. You will get a different feeling to the product, and you might find a sugar scrub that used to contain stearic acid might be a little runnier with a fatty alcohol, but it's a great way to see if you like behenyl alcohol!

If you're a fan of the scrub bar, why not try behenyl alcohol in a scrub bar (like this one or this one)?

And if you're looking for black cocoa butter, check here at Creations from Eden (Edmonton, Alberta).