Saturday, August 31, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: It's all about the polysorbates, baby!

There were a few questions about polysorbate 20 this week, so let's take a look at those comments!

WILL HEATING HELP AN EMULSION WITH POLYSORBATE 20?
In this post, Polysorbate 20 vs. polysorbate 80, Sam F asks, Do you think heating will aide an o/w emulsion when adding 0.3% eo's & 1.2% polysorbate 20 to water?

The short answer is yes, emulsions generally like heat. The long answer is...yes, but you have to put the things that can handle heat in a heated water phase and the things that can't handle heat into the cool down phase.

Related post: How do you know when to add an ingredient? 

Most solutions - solutes dissolved in solvents or things dissolved or mixed into water - do better when heated, and emulsions are no exception. A good emulsion generally requires three things - a chemical emulsifier (like Polawax, e-wax, polysorbate 20, and so on), general agitation, and heat.

To create your recipe, ask yourself if all the ingredients are okay with being heated. Polysorbate 20 and water will be heated, whereas the essential oils and preservative probably shouldn't, depending upon the preservative. My recipe would look something like this....

HEATED WATER PHASE
water to make up 100%

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall plus
0.3% essential oils
1.2% polysorbate 20

Heat my water to 70˚C. No need to heat and hold it as I'm using distilled water, but I do want to get it up to temperature. Let it cool to 45˚C. (Or just heat it to 45˚C, but I generally don't remember to check the water, so I tend to boil it up, then let it cool.) In the meantime, mix the essential oils, polysorbate 20, and liquid Germall Plus (or water of choice) together and add when the water cools below 45˚C. Mix mix mix, and we're done!

IS POLYSORBATE 20 THE BEST EMULSIFIER FOR A HAIR MIST?
In this post, Ronnie A asks, Is PEG-20 (Polysorbate 20) the best emulsifier to use for a oil and water hair mist? What percentage of Polysorbate 20 would i need to use if my formulation is approximately 20-25% oil and 70% water/Rosemary Floral Water and aloe vera juice.

Quick aside before we start: I've only seen polysorbate 20 referred to as PEG-20 in one place, and it's this Wikipedia site. (And as a note, there's a lot of information there that isn't necessarily accurate.) As I mention in this post, you might find them as "tween 20" or "tween 80", which means they're derived this way, or "span 20" or "span 80", which means they're esters of non-PEG-ylated sorbitan esterified with fatty acids. I recommend calling it polysorbate 20 because no one is going to know what you mean if you call it PEG-20.

Now to the question - Polysorbate 20 isn't a good choice for a hair care product. I have three reasons for saying this...

1. It won't emulsify 20 to 25% oil. Polysorbate 20 is meant to emulsify things like essential oils in small amounts, like 2% to 3%. Polysorbate 80 might be a better choice as it is intended for carrier oils, but not more than a few percent. For 20 to 25%, you need a proper emulsifier, like Polawax or Incroquat BTMS-50 or Ritamulse SCG and so on.

At 20% to 25% oils, you're on par with a full on lotion, so you need to use a good amount of a proper emulsifier. 

2. Polysorbate 20 is a non-ionic emulsifier, meaning it has a neutral electrical charge. When you're making a hair care product, you want to use a cationic or positively charged emulsifier like Rita BTMS-225 or Incroquat BTMS-50.

Related post: Anionic, cationic, and non-ionic?

3. Polysorbate 20 is a sticky ingredient, and using more than 3% or so - depending upon your personal preference - can lead to serious stickiness in the hair.

I wouldn't use that much aloe vera in any product as it can get sticky. Try using 10% aloe vera, 10% floral water, and the rest water. Water isn't a filler - it has many uses, and you don't want tons of sticky things in your hair! And this isn't going to work as a mist. This will be a medium weight lotion, like this 70% water recipe. You will not be able to spray this product. You'll be able to pump it, though.

For a hair mist, consider using something like 1% to 5% oils, 1% to 3% BTMS-50 or Rita BTMS-225, 10% aloe vera, 10% hydrosol, 0.5% to 1.5% preservative.

Is this your first recipe? If so, please consider using a tried and true recipe that we know works - like this leave in conditioner - or find one in the hair care section of the blog?

AS A FINAL THOUGHT...
As a quick note, polysorbate 20 and polysorbate 80 are technically solubilizer not emulsifiers. Want to learn more? Click here for a post on solubilizers vs. emulsifiers.

Related posts:
Chemistry Thursday: Why oil and water don't mix! 
Chemistry Friday: Why do we care about mixing and solubility?
Solubility of our powdered ingredients

Friday, August 30, 2013

Gels (revised for 2013)!

I admit I have a thing for gels. It's so cool to see some water and some powder come together to create something so thick a fork can stand up in it! I've written about them in the past, but I thought it would be fun to do a little update on the topic.

What's the deal with gels?
I'm using what's called Carbopol Ultrez 20 gelling agent (INCI: Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer), which you'll see in the ingredient list of a lot of gelled products, like hair gel or aloe vera gel. I've written about this before, so I'll refer you to that post for more information.

In short, we get this gelling agent wet then add a really alkaline thing - an 18% lye solution or triethanolamine - which turns it into a gel. We can use this gel on its own to make a gelled product, like a hair gel, or use it in a lotion to give a more cushiony feeling.

Take a look at a commercial lotion you like. Odds are pretty good that you'll see a carbomer in there. It offers a moistened, cushiony feeling to that lotion. 

CREATING A GEL WITH CARBOPOL ULTREZ 20 (THICK GEL)
96.8% distilled water
1.2% Carbopol Ultrez 20
1.6% 18% lye solution or triethanolamine
0.4% liquid Germall Plus (or preservative of choice)
Why include a preservative in the gel? Because I made a big batch and wanted to save it. If you are planning to use what you make and not save it, don't worry about preserving it in gel form. You'll be adding preservative to the final product in which you use it in that case. If you do preserve it and add it to something later, don't worry about having too much preservative. Lots of things we use have preservative added to them - specifically, ingredients that contain water like surfactants, proteins, and so on - and we don't run into issues with over-preserving there.

Related post:
Are the preservatives we find in our ingredients enough to preserve a product? (No.)

Weigh the water into a container and sprinkle the carbomer into the water. Stir really lightly to get all the bits wet and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

It is pretty important to use distilled water here as we don't want any salts or metals from tap water in the mix as it can mess up the viscosity.

In the meantime, you can combine 82% distilled water with 18% lye and let it completely react. Definitely use a heat proof container as this is an exothermic reaction that issues a lot of heat and a plastic container might not be able to withstand it. (It's not like it's molten lava hot, but it's up there!) Make sure you're wearing eye protection and gloves when you work with lye!

Please write something like "lye solution" and a skull and crossbones on any container with lye because it looks like water and doesn't really smell like anything other than water. But it can hurt if you spill it on yourself.

An exothermic reaction is one that produces heat. An endothermic reaction requires heat. I always remember is that I have to put heat "endo" an endothermic reaction, and that heat "exos" an exothermic reaction. 

This is what it will look like when it is "wetted". I know, weird word, right? But it's all about getting each and every tiny bit of powder wet before adding the neutralizer.

Put your container back on the scale and add your neutralizer. Mix really well. It should thicken in a few seconds, but it might take up to a minute. Mix ing by hand is sufficient, although you can use some kind of device, if you want.

This version of gel - 1.2% carbomer to 1.6% neutralizer - will create a thick gel. If you want a thinner gel, add less carbomer say 0.9% carbomer to 1.2% neutralizer. You'll have to play around to find that ratio you like.

It works out to about 3:4 ratio of carbomer to neutralizer. If you want a thicker gel, use more of each. Want a thinner gel? Use less of each. 

Gel on its own isn't sticky; it's what we add to it that makes it feel that way. So if we want to make a less sticky feeling aloe vera gel, we'd make up the gel and add some aloe vera to it. (Check your gelling agent to make sure it works well with the ingredients you've chosen. Electrolytes like aloe vera can mess with some gels.) Ultrez 20 works well with electrolytes, so I can use it with things like aloe vera or surfactants.

Related posts about gels:
Gels: Ooey gooey fun!
Gels: Aloe vera
Gels: Surfactant-y fun
Gels: Hair styling gel
Gels: Make a gel based toner

Related posts on gel-like things that don't use carbomer, but instead use Amaze XT or gums:
Amaze XT
Amaze XT: Making detanglers
Surfactants: Building viscosity (scroll down for Amaze XT information)
Facial scrubs: Working on our surfactant base (part 4)
When to add ingredients (part 2)
Experiments in the workshop: Min-maxed toner becomes facial gel
Iron Chemist results: LSB

We'll get to some comments Saturday and Sunday and come back to gels on Monday! It'll give you time to think about what you'd like to make! (I'm working on a liquid eye liner sealant, and I should have some information about what people think by then!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Wonderings: The soaping effect, blending preservatives, and melian's preservative rant!

In this post, Michael asks, I make a lotion that is leaving white smear marks on my face. It's not a tragedy, but I don't like it. I've increased the % of water, no change (now (75% water + 18% carrier oils + 6% E-wax NF).. I'm wondering if it's the amount of emulsifier? I tried reducing E-wax to 5%, but no change. Stumped.

This is called the soaping effect, and I go into greater detail about this phenomenon in the FAQ. I'm not sure what's in your e-wax, but that could be the culprit. If you're using stearic acid, this can cause the problem also. Check out that post and do some experimenting to see what works for you!

If you want help with a recipe, please include the exact recipe and entire process so I can offer more help, rather than guessing! 

In this post - Preservatives: Grapefruit seed extract isn't a preservative! - Robert asks, It is very interesting which is the less chemical preservative? Could we put a mix of natural products which have preservative effects so we could put less chemical in our products ?

I'm going to start this by saying that chemical means something composed of elements, so the word chemical refers to everything on the planet. I think what we mean when we say "chemical" is the word synthetic, or something made by human hands? (Often "chemical" is used to mean "toxic", something I've written about so many times. This simply isn't accurate.) I'll be interpreting this question with that word in mind.

There is a concept called hurdle technology. Here's a quick summary from the post I wrote a while ago: It's basically the concept of using "different bacteria inhibiting or bacteria killing factors to achieve a safe product with an optimal shelf life". In other words, it's about combining different preservatives at lower levels to achieve good preservation of products. A huge part of this process is taking into account the physiology and behaviour of the microflora (aka beasties) that might contaminate our products, looking at things like homeostasis, metabolic exhaustion, stress reactions, and how they react to temperature, pH, ingredients in our products, and so on.

The hurdles in this process are retarding growth, removing organisms, and creating safe products. Our goal is to overcome each of the hurdles to create an awesome product that won't be enticing to bacteria, yeast, and moulds.

We can use this concept at home without having to take an advanced course in biology in a few different ways. The first is to use distilled water and follow good manufacturing processes like heating and holding. The second is to consider the packaging we use - choosing disc caps or flip tops over screw tops, for instance - and consider making products single use or making smaller batches. And the third is to consider the ingredients we use.

To consider the question about using a mix of natural products, there simply isn't enough science to back up many of the natural ingredients people consider preservatives. As I mention in this post on preserving a coconut milk shampoo, citric acid, essential oils, glycerin, honey, and a ton of other things are not preservatives, and no combination of them will work. You can find "natural" or Ecocert preservatives that are showing some promise - visit the preservative section of the blog to find them - and those should be what you turn to when you think about more natural ingredients.

I want to turn to melian's comment in Thursday Wonderings because I thought it was excellent. I agree with you, melian. I don't think a product should be unpreserved and I plan to change all my recommendations to no days out of the fridge. (I was criticized for suggesting that someone drink something left out of the fridge for a few days because it could be dangerous. That writer only confirmed the idea that things aren't safe unpreserved and unrefrigerated, but I don't think she saw it that way!)


i want to weigh in on this. i have a slightly different viewpoint than you, swift, re preservatives and the argument that it is good for 3 days on the counter and 7 in the fridge. you said: "If you don't use a preservative, your product has a shelf life of about three days out of the fridge, about seven in the fridge. I wouldn't take a chance on it longer than that"

i ask: would you set a glass of coconut milk on the counter in your kitchen and leave it for 3 days and then drink it? not many of us would! but, why would you (general you, not aimed at you in specific, swift) want to take that same germy mess and smear it on your face in the form of a cream? aside from the sheer nastiness of that, any tiny imperfection or break in the skin and that bacteria has got free entry into your skin and system and must be fought off by your body.

another thing i don't get is why folks think preservatives are harsh? using enough alcohol in a product to preserve it is harsh. using .3% - 1% of a tried and true preservative isn't. most preservatives, excluding the ones newly out that are trying to kill things without being toxic to humans while trying to be "natural" (and what is more natural than germs and bacteria?) are well tested and have the track record of decades behind them showing they are not harsh or harmful. anyone might be allergic to one or the other of them - i can't use germall plus. but that is true of everything in life. allergies exist.

one last thing before i end my rant here, ever wonder why women from a hundred years or more ago aged faster and looked older at 30 than we do at 60? they were limited to only "all natural" things to make products from and had no preservatives and so had to use that germy mess on their bodies and faces. no wonder they looked older than they should!

ok, end rant.

I love your rants, and I love your point. Why do people think that a tiny amount of a preservative is harsh? I would never ever consider making a water containing product without a preservative! I'm too scared of the beasties that could grow in a product!

As an aside, when people hear I make products, they assume I must make organic or natural products. I always respond thusly - I started off with that idea, but I soon realized that I couldn't make an organic or natural product that felt the way I wanted. I felt I had to compromise so much to get something to work that in the end, I didn't really like it. I was limited to making anhydrous products as I was trying to avoid preservatives, which meant I didn't get to make conditioners or body wash or all those wonderful lotions! I did my research on preservatives and came to the conclusion that they were safe and well tested.

When people ask me if the products I make are safe, I respond like this - would I make something harmful for the people I love? No. I have done my research and feel very confident about the ingredients I use.

If you want to make organic or natural products, then have at it! You don't need to argue your perspective with me here because I agree that you should be able to make what you want, but make it safely. If you choose not to include preservatives in your water containing products, know that your product will go bad, and the contamination will be there before you can see it.

Have a comment? Share your thoughts!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's holiday time! And some questions of you, my wonderful readers.

Today marks the first day of my holiday time! I don't go back to work until the 10th! Wow! Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but it's nice to be unscheduled. Sleeping in, playing in the workshop, writing the blog, playing more Animal Crossing: New Leaf, spending time with Raymond, spending time with my mom, cuddling with Blondie, crafting, sewing, making jewellery, reading, working out, and so on. We might go camping for a few days, we might just stay home. School starts again on the 3rd - I'm taking biology this semester - and that's the first obligation I have!

Yes, my Animal Crossing town is called Hodor, and I'm trying to get them all to say Hodor as greetings and catch phrases! My shirt says Hodor and my town flag is also Hodor! My town tune? The opening riff to The Trooper by Iron Maiden! I love this game so much! It really is the game that you feel you have to share with everyone you know because it's just too awesome!*

I can't wait for some workshop time. I'm out of just about everything! I just gave my mom a 1 ounce bottle of bubble bath because there's nothing left! I'm watering down conditioners and leave in conditioners to make them last longer! Look for loads of posts about making products with tons of recipes in over the next month as I get into the workshop and play with all my new ingredients.

A few thoughts for you, my wonderful readers: What are you making right now? What are you working on this week? What is giving you grief and frustration? (Click here for Formulating Friday!) What products interest you?

One of the great things about workshop time is that I get to play. I'm going to make all the stuff I need - body wash, bubble bath, hair care stuff, and so on - but I want to play around with some new products, including trying out a few new ingredients and working futher with gels.

One of the things on my list of things to formulate is a BB cream, which might stand for blemish balm or beauty balm. From Wikipedia, "BB cream is promoted as an all-in-one facial cosmetic product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock. It can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer, over serum and moisturizer as a regular foundation, and under powder, depending on the desired amount of coverage." We won't be doing the sunscreen part, but I think it's a fascinating idea for an all-in-one product. This won't be the kind of product where I make it today and it's perfect. Nope, this one is going to take some time!

Having said all of this, Voyageur Soap & Candle have beat me to it with their BB cream post on their everyBODY beauty blog

To those of you asking for the facial products e-book. I'm working on it, I swear! The problem with facial products is that they take time to test out and get responses about because facial skin can be so picky! I can make a body butter and hear back in a few days. It can take about a week for a pimple to surface from using a product, and it can take a few days for people to see other types of reactions, things we don't worry about with body skin care products. When a base product works out, I have to tweak it using various cosmeceuticals, extracts, vitamins, and so on that we might want to use on our face or around our eyes or lips, and that takes more testing, too. I hope to have it out by the end of the year!

I'm working with Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C., to offer some classes with them. I should get my ideas to them by the end of next week or so. Do you have any suggestions for classes I could offer? I was thinking about doing some two part classes - the first part would be about making something, the second about modifying or customizing it - and hair care classes. What else might interest you?

And finally, if you have written up a comment or a message, I'll be getting to as many as I can over the next two weeks. I have a to do list I have to get through - which includes coming up with those class ideas and planning for upcoming craft groups with the kids - but once that's done, I'll be burning through the...get this...3,168 e-mail I have at the moment. (Wow...that's a lot!)

*As an aside, if you are looking for a really lovely video game for someone that isn't violent or doesn't cost real life money to make things grow, I encourage you to check out Animal Crossing. You catch bugs or fish and donate them to the museum, you decorate your house, you maintain the beauty of your town, you talk to animals who live near you and send them presents through the mail, and so on. It really is a magical game! (I have to make it really clear that I am saying this as someone who loves the game, not as someone paid to say this.) As a family counsellor and youth group mentor, I recommend this game all the time. It's available on Nintendo consoles - Game Cube, Wii, DS, and 3DS. (It's a real time game in that right now it is Sunday, August 25th, 2013 at 1:18 pm in the game.)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Adding ingredients to more than 100% and when to use maximum preservative

In this post, Tuesday Wonderings: On recipes that don't total 100%, Karen writes, I have been reading the blog for a while, and for some reason I understood that certain ingredients were to be used ABOVE the 100%. Such as everything will add up to 100% and THEN we add the 1% (of that total) of fragrance and the 1% preservative equaling 102%. 

Anyway, I wondered, if a preservative's recommended usage is .5-1% how do we decide how much to use? Should we always use the maximum amount allowed?

All ingredients should be part of the 100% total of the recipe because, as they mention in the Simpsons, 100% is the most you can have. 100% means 100% - it means the total of everything, and that's what we strive to have in our recipes.

Let's say we have a recipe that looks like this...


SIX INGREDIENT LOTION WITH SHEA, SOY BEAN, AND SESAME OIL (from the six ingredient challenge post)
HEATED WATER PHASE
40.5% water
20% aloe vera
3% glycerin

HEATED OIL PHASE
10% refined shea butter
10% soy bean oil
10% sesame oil
6% BTMS-50

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

And you want to add a fragrance or essential oil at 1%, you would have to remove something from the recipe to keep it at 100%. So I might remove 1% water or 1% aloe vera or 1% glycerin. We don't tend to remove from the oil phase as it could mess up the emulsification, so the water phase is where we eliminate things to keep the recipe at 100%.

So you'd add 1% essential or fragrance oil to the cool down phase and remove 1% from the water phase, leaving us with 39.5% water.

Let's say we have a different preservative, something like Geogard Ultra, and you want to use it at the maximum 2%, you would have to figure out the difference between that amount and the amount of preservative I use - 0.5% - leaving us with 1.5% difference. Now remove that 1.5% from the water amount, leaving you with 39% water and 2% Geogard Ultra.

We include everything in the recipe in the 100% amount. Yeah, there are a few exceptions - for instance, I don't include the exfoliants in the base recipe because I want to be able to customize it by changing sugar for salt or loofah or pumice and so on, so it's easier to make that recipe as a base of oil based ingredient to which I can add things later - but for the most part, when you see a recipe, assume that if you want to include something extra, you'll have to remove something from the recipe, generally water.

Related posts:
Calculating percentages in lotions
How to convert recipes from percentages to weights
What happens if our recipe totals more than 100%?
Learning to formulate: A note about percentages
Learning to formulate: The water phase

How to figure out how much preservative to use? Take a look at the suggested usage rates for something like Liquid Germall Plus. They suggest 0.1% to 0.5% in the cool down phase. We don't want to use more preservative than necessary, but I generally tend to use the maximum for a number of reasons. The first is that I can't be completely sterile in my workshop. As clean as I might try to get it, there might still be things lurking on my freshly washed forks or Pyrex jugs. The second is that I don't know what might happen after I give the product to someone. I like to think my friends and family follow the rules I set out - don't put wet hands into a sugar scrub - but I can't guarantee it. By using the maximum allowable preservative level, I make sure that I chase off those beasties as well as I can.

When you think about it, the maximum level is still pretty low. If you want to use the minimum level of preservatives, have at it. In either case, monitor your products the first time you make them to see if they work well with your chosen preservative level.

So the answer to the question - should we always use the maximum level? Not necessarily. I like to use the maximum level because it's what I feel works best for the products I make. If you want to use less, use less, but monitor the products to make sure they remain well preserved.

As an aside, I have had one product go off on me in all my years of crafting, and that was one with Advanced Aloe Leuicidal and it might have been because it was strongly anionic. 

When choosing your preservative, consider the product as a whole. When I have made something that might be harder to preserve - something with loads of botanicals, like my toners - I go for Germaben II at the 0.5% to 1% usage rate because it's billed as working well with hard to preserve ingredients. If I'm making something oil soluble, I need an oil soluble preservative like Phenonip or Liquipar Oil.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Wonderings: How to figure out the volume of a recipe?

In this post, Maiti asks: I have 3 batches of lotion under my belt using your Basic Lotion Formula ™ and your Basic Lotionmaking 101 pdf (thank you for those, by the way!). My question is about adding the extra water that you say boils off during the heating phase.

This is my most recent formula:
12 2-oz bottle recipe, goal was 25 oz total

17.5 oz distilled water
3.75 oz sunflower oil
1.25 oz shea butter
0.75 oz stearic acid
1.25 oz emulsifying wax
0.25 oz fragrance
1.875 oz Germall

I added 19 oz of distilled water instead of the 17.5 in the recipe. Unfortunately I only wound up with approximately 21 ounces of lotion total. Is there a general rule of thumb as far as how much extra distilled water I should add, in order to get my desired amount of lotion? 

The issue here isn't that you haven't compensated for the evaporated water. The issue is that it's hard to figure out the volume of lotion you'll have based on a weighted recipe. For instance, this appears to be a 65% water recipe, which means that you should get at least 17.3 ounces by volume of the product, but we can't assume much more than that.

Doing some calculations, I notice you have 26.625 weighed ounces in this recipe with 17.5 ounces of water, which means this is a 65.7% water recipe. Even at 19 ounces of water, you only have 67.6% water (26.625 ounces plus 1.5 extra ounces = 28.125. Now 19/28.125.) There's no way this recipe could total 25 ounces by volume because it has a ton of solid ingredients, like stearic acid, emulsifying wax, and shea butter. If you want more lotion, you can do one of two things. One, you can make more of it. If you ended up with 21 liquid ounces when using 28.125 ounces of weighed ingredients, you can figure out the ratio and make it that way. (This recipe works out to about 75% volume by weight, so to get 25 ounces, you'd want to make about 33.5 ounces by weight.) Or you could make a different recipe and go with a larger water amount. The more water, the closer the product will be to the weighted ounces. If you are using an 80% water recipe, it's going to make more by volume than a 75% or 70% water recipe. But there's no really good way to estimate how much a recipe will make except for making it. (Which is one of the reasons I say to get into the workshop and make things! Experience is a great teacher!)

This is so confusing - ounces for weight and volume? The metric system is so much easier!!! 

To compensate for the water that evaporates during heating and holding, measure your entire container for the water phase before you heat it. Boil up some water and let it cool as you heat and hold. When you remove the heated water phase container from the double boiler, weigh it again. Make up for the difference with the water you boiled in the kettle, which should be around 75˚C to 80˚C by now. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Wonderings: How does cetearyl ethylhexanoate feel? Do I need to preserve my coconut milk shampoo?

In this post on cetearyl ethylhexanoate, seventh77 asks: Is it as dry, drier, or less dry than BTMS-50? I find BTMS-50 to be far too drying for my skin. I like the powdery feel, but it leaves my skin feeling dry and not moisturized. I don't like greasy or oily feeling creams, but if cetearyl ethylhexanoate is similar to BTMS-50, then it probably won't work for me.

The esters feel more like using hazelnut oil or grapeseed oil rather than using something like BTMS-50 as an emulsifier. I don't like the powdery feel either, but I love this ester! I would compare it to one of the drier feeling oils - hazelnut, grapeseed, borage, evening primrose, or pomegranate oil - or cyclomethicone. I really love this stuff!

As an aside, have you seen the price of borage oil lately? Easily double that of evening primrose! Since they are very similar, I'm going EPO instead!

In this post, Back to the very basics: What you need to know when creating any product, Chrissy asks,  I know that preservatives are required in water based products, and this may be a stupid question but what if I am making a shampoo with canned organic coconut milk, castile soap and oils. Is citric acid good enough or should I be using a preservative and anti-oxidant? So far the only "preservatives" I have used are honey, glycerin, 70,000 IU Vitamin E oil, rosemary essential oil, and basil essential oil. As you can see those aren't exactly preservatives. I don't really want to use any harsh chemical preservatives, but I want my shampoo and my conditioner which is coconut milk and avocado based to last longer. Any suggestions?

Citric acid isn't a preservative. Essential oils aren't preservatives either. (Can we use essential oils as anti-microbials? No.) Glycerin definitely isn't a preservative, and honey isn't either. These are all anti-oxidants, meaning they retard rancidity of oils and butters. They will not do a thing for your products when it comes to contamination or beasties.

Any time we use water in a product, we need to use a well tested broad spectrum preservative in that product. Any time we use a water like ingredient in our products, like hydrosols, coconut milk, and so on, we need to use a well tested broad spectrum preservative in our product. If you don't use a preservative, your product has a shelf life of about three days in the fridge.

Have you tried this shampoo yet? I would caution you to make a small amount as this will be an alkaline product, and our hair doesn't tend to like cold process soap type shampoos like castille soap because of the alkaline pH.

Having said this, your product will have a pH of 8 or higher, and often times we hear we don't need preservatives in alkaline products. I'm not sure about this, and I would encourage you to use one that works in that pH, like liquid Germall Plus. 

I'm not sure if you are using avocado oil or an actual avocado, but I don't recommend using fresh fruit or veggies in our products. They are incredibly hard to preserve with the best of preservatives used at maximum amounts, and you're just asking for serious contamination! Use powdered extracts or hydrosols or other purified versions in your products instead.

So the quick answer is yes - you need to preserve this product with a well tested broad spectrum preservative. The long answer - well, you just read it!

I keep seeing avocado in hair conditioner recipes - What's the point of a fresh avocado that the avocado oil can't do? And just curious...what does the coconut milk do in the recipe that water can't do? Just wondering...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Wonderings: What is the usage rate for an all in one emulsifier?

In this post, You don't need to use the HLB system with an all in one emulsifier, Anonymous asks: I love your blog and have been reading it for almost a year now. Can you just confirm that the usage rate of an all in one emulsifier is the percentage of the oil phase only? Because up until now I have been using BTMS which is 6% (I think) of the whole amount of product I make.

Great question, but please note that I do not allow anonymous posts on the blog. A simple, "Bye, (insert name here)" is enough to keep the comments from being deleted. I will keep this one around, but there are dozens I've deleted, regardless of content. Please remember to do this as it makes the blog a much nicer place!

We figure out how much emulsifier to use by looking at the oil phase, but we add it as part of the entire recipe. 

The way to figure out how to use your emulsifier is to take a look at the suggested usage rates from the manufacturer. In the case of Polawax, we use 25% of the oil phase in emulsifier. So if we have an oil phase that looks like this...

10% jojoba oil
10% fractionated coconut oil
5% cocoa butter
3% cetyl alcohol

Our oil phase makes up 28%. Let's convert this to grams to make it a little easier. So if we have 28 grams of oil, we would multiply 28 x 0.25 and get 7 grams. So we'd ues 7 grams of Polawax in 100 grams of product.

TOTAL OIL PHASE
10% jojoba oil
10% fractionated coconut oil
5% cocoa butter
3% cetyl alcohol
7% Polawax

So Polawax would make up 7% of the total amount of the product. We use the total amount of the oil phase as the basis for the 7% figure.

The 25% rule ONLY applies to Polawax, not to any other emulsifier. (For e-wax NF, many suppliers suggest figuring out the 25% oil phase amount then adding 1% more to that.) Each one has a suggested usage rate, and you should follow that. However, the suggested usage rate is for the whole recipe. If you are using 8% Ritamulse SCG, you would use 8% in the recipe...

10% jojoba oil
10% fractionated cocont oil
8% Ritamulse SCG

In the case of BTMS-50, if you wanted to use 6% emulsifier in this made up oil phase, it would look like this...

10% jojoba oil
10% fractionated coconut oil
5% cocoa butter
3% cetyl alcohol
6% BTMS-50

The BTMS-50 makes up 6% of the entire recipe, not just 6% of the oil phase (6% of 28% oil phase would be 1.68%).

Related posts:
Calculating percentages in lotions
How to convert recipes from percentages to weight
Learning to formulate: A note about percentages

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Wonderings: Is glyceryl stearate an all-in-one emulsifier? If not, what can I do with it?

In this post, You don't need to use the HLB system for all-in-one emulsifiers, Nicole asks: Can you help me out with a 'self emulsifying wax' I purchased which is listed as Glyceryl Stearate & Potassium Stearate (MSDS < 96 Glyceryl Stearate, < 7 Glycerine, < 3 Postassium Stearate). I thought his was an all in one self emulsifying wax, but it appears it is not. I suspect it is Glyceryl Stearate SE which suggests is best used as a thickener of lotions. Any suggestions on type of product I might be able to make with this? Even suggested usage rates would be helpful and will research possible formulas. I have emailed the company I purchased this from, but given they sold this to me as an 'all in one', I'm not expecting too much from their response. I was thinking I may be able to use this to thicken a water based foaming face cleanser which I will send a separate note on.

This is one of the reasons I suggest that when it comes to emulsifiers, we need to check what we have! This isn't an all in one emulsifier. Glyceryl stearate is a low HLB emulsifier (2.9) that has to be combined with a high HLB emulsifier, something like ceteareth-20 or one of the polysorbates, for example, to create an HLB system or all in one emulsifier. (I've written a post on it, which you can find here.) Here's an example of how to create an HLB emulsifier with the glyceryl stearate, but you could use any of the other examples in the HLB series to which I link below and substitute glyceryl stearate and your other emulsifier and do the math for it.

Glyceryl stearate isn't the same as glycol distearate, so you can't use it in a foaming facial cleanser as an emollient and thickener, unless you're making an emulsified product with another HLB emulsifier. You can use it in lotions as a thickener, the way you'd use stearic acid or cetyl alcohol.

What could you make with it? Use it as an HLB emulsifier or a thickener. You could use it in something that is intended as a foot product - I like this foot lotion recipe, and you could remove 3% of the butter and replace it with glyceryl stearate, or this foot cream and replace the cetyl alcohol with glyceryl stearate - or you could use it in something you want to be a stiff cream. You could use it in something like this foot scrub bar as well.

As an aside, I wouldn't trust a supplier that couldn't give me information or wouldn't respond to my e-mails. A big part of choosing a supplier is choosing someone who supports and knows about their ingredients. If they can't be bothered doing that, I wouldn't be ordering from them again. Just my two cents...

Related posts:
HLB system - an introduction (start of a series)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Wonderings: The difference between a conditioner with BTMS and a lotion with BTMS?

Whew! It's been a crazy few weeks with loads of youth programs, tons of work, and a chemistry final on the 16th for which I was studying quite a bit. I spent the weekend lounging about playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and feeling really guilty that I wasn't running about getting things done, but I'm feeling much more relaxed. I'm getting ready for a short camping holiday next week, followed by more around-the-house holiday time for playing in the workshop and doing some sewing, before school starts again on September 3rd! So let's get to some of those comments I've missed over the last two weeks before I get to posting some new recipes and researching some new ingredients in my time off!

In this post, short hair still needs conditioner, Tina asks, I have been reading your blog for a little while now and just made my first conditioner with BTMS and a little oil from a recipe I found and adapted. So now my Q is - what is the big difference between a cream and a hair conditioner? Seems to me they are much alike? I know you don't have my recipe, but in general terms? I saw you also had a very basic recipe with just BTMS and water and started wondering cause wth a few oils (low content) and a bit of glycerine the ingredients. Are close to those of a lotion?

Yay! Are you happy with it? Have you spent a ton of time thinking about how to modify it? It's so addicting to make one's own stuff - I should have mentioned that, eh? Okay, on with the questions...

What is the big difference between an oil-in-water lotion and a hair conditioner using BTMS? Not much, to be honest. Both are oil-in-water lotions using BTMS-225, BTMS-25, or BTMS-50 as the emulsifier. The big difference tends to be the inclusion of things that are good for our hair, like hydrolyzed proteins or panthenol or...hey, wait a minute! I use those things in my lotions, too. So what's the difference? There are some differences in ingredients - I don't tend to use cetrimonium chloride in non-hair products - and there are some differences in oil content - sometimes, as there are people who like to use a lot of oils in their products - but for the most part, hair conditioners with BTMS-50 can be used as body lotions and vice versa. I make a shaving lotion that pretty much looks like my conditioners, although I don't use silk in stuff for my hair as it hates it!

So the big difference is...no real difference at all. A conditioner tends to be more about the cationic quaternary compounds (the BTMS-50 or BTMS-225 or BTMS-25, and so on), substantivity, and hair loving ingredients, while a lotion tends to be about the oils and butters with more emphasis on skin loving ingredients. If you have a lotion made with a conditioning emulsifier that you want to use in your hair, and your hair likes it, then enjoy!

As a note, the first product is a lotion, while the second and third are conditioners. Very little difference in appearance. 

Having said all of this...this only applies to positively charged or cationic emulsifiers, like BTMS-25, BTMS-50, BTMS-225, cetriomonium bromide, and so on. It doesn't apply to Polawax, which is non-ionic, or Ritamulse SCG, which is slightly anionic. These are lotion making emulsifiers, not conditioning emulsifiers, although some people enjoy them in conditioners.

Related posts:
Anionic, cationic, non-ionic? 
Using different emulsifiers in conditioners

Related recipes - lotions:

An aside: Leave in conditioners become light lotions
Formulating facial moisturizers - silicone based
Formulating facial moisturizers - for oily skin (oil free)
Modifying lotion recipes - that powdery feeling


Related recipes - shaving products:
Conditioners become shaving products (part 1)
Conditioners become shaving products (part 2)
An aside: Conditioners become beard conditioners
Modifying recipes: Conditioners become shaving lotions
Experiments with BTMS-225: Shaving lotion
Solid conditioner bars become shaving bars (my favourite shaving product recipe!)

Related recipes - drier feeling lotions: I'd check the men's products section first!

Related recipes - hair conditioners: I'd check the hair care products section first!

I have at least a hundred recipes on this blog using BTMS-50 or BTMS-225 as the emulsifier or as the main conditioning agent, so I recommend doing a search for more recipes!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Wonderings: Recipes that don't total to 100% and using emulsifiers

In this post, Formulating facial moisturizers for wrinkled skin, Tina asks: I have recently found your blog and instantl fell in love :) Thank you for al the effort you are putting in it, there are soooo many interesting and useful information for a hobby cosmetic maker. I do have one question though - I read a couple of your facial moisturizer recipes and the percentages (water phase, oil phase and cool down phase) don't add up to 100%. Did I just added thing up wrong or is there a mistake?

Thanks for the kind words, Tina. I'm glad you like the blog!

Recipes should add up to 100%. Mine may not for a few reasons. I might have indicated you can use 0.5% to 1% preservative, so the recipe might add up to 100.5% with the 1%, or I might have an optional ingredient, or I might have messed up on the math. The easy thing to do is reduce the water so you get 100% total.

Most formulators get around this problem by putting "water, q.v." meaning, use as much water as you need to make up 100%. I don't use that on the blog as I think it might be a bit confusing at times.

In the grand scheme of things, being a titch over or under 100% isn't the end of the world. Being a lot away from 100% is as you aren't getting the right percentage of ingredients, which isn't a huge deal for something like an oil, but it is for an emulsifier, preservative, or ingredient that has limited solubility.

The recipe in question has 102%. This isn't right - it should be 100% to 100.5 to account for the variable preservative - so I've altered it by removing 2% water. Why did it total more than 100%? I got  the math wrong.

If you see a recipe that is out of whack - meaning more than 102% and less than 98% - please comment and I'll fix it!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Modifying the low surfactant foaming facial cleanser: A few sample recipes with substitutions

Welcome back! I hope you had a lovely weekend! Let's resume where we left on Friday with modifying the low surfactant foaming facial cleanser with oat surfactant with different ingredients.

Part 1: Introduction and explanation of the product
Part 2: Substituting surfactants
Part 3: Substituting extracts and hydrosols

What's the point of this product? This is a vital part of learning how to substitute ingredients because we need to figure out what this product is, what it does, how it feels on our skin, and what properties do we want in this.

It's a low surfactant foaming facial cleanser with extracts and hydrosols suitable for normal to oily skin that has a tendancy to go red. It has 12.5% surfactants because we want something low in surfactants for ease of rinsing and we haven't thickened it because we want it to go in a foamer bottle. It contains ingredients that have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It doesn't include powdered extracts because they could colour the product and clog the foamer bottle. The cleanser has a moisturized and conditioned feeling while we use it, and after rinsing our skin shouldn't feel tight and dry. I've included honey matte to give our skin a slightly powdery sensation.

Can we get these qualities with other ingredients? Heck, yeah! That's been the point of the last few days! (Except for the honey matte because I've never found a water soluble ingredient that results in the same powdery feeling. We can work with the sebum control, though. If you have some suggestions, let me know!)

Let's take a look at a few different variations on this recipe with the changes listed in green...

LOW SURFACTANT FACIAL CLEANSER WITH FOAMING OAT SURFACTANT - VARIATION #1 - different surfactants, no foaming oat surfactant
HEATED PHASE
10% ACI
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% apple extract (liquid)
10% witch hazel
10% chamomile hydrosol
49% water

COOL DOWN
1% ginger root extract
5% honey matte
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
5% water soluble liquid calendula extract

This product might result in something slightly more foamy and bubbly with a very conditioned and moisturizing but not greasy feeling skin feel. It might be a bit less mild than the version with the foaming silk or oat proteins. You could increase the mildness by adding something like 2% hydrolyzed protein if you want the film forming properties of the protein in this product. Remove 2% water if you add 2% protein.

LOW SURFACTANT FACIAL CLEANSER WITH FOAMING OAT SURFACTANT - different extracts, more powder
HEATED PHASE
5% foaming oat surfactant
5% decyl glucoside
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine
20% rosemary hydrosol
10% witch hazel
48.5% water

COOL DOWN
1% ginger root extract
5% honey matte
0.5% powdered chamomile hydrosol
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
5% water soluble liquid calendula extract

This product would be good for oily prone-to-redness skin as we've kept the chamomile in a powdered form and used rosemary hydrosol, which will offer astringency and some sebum control. This product would have a slightly yellow-y, possibly cloudy colour thanks to the powdered extract.

Here's an example of a foaming facial cleanser using powdered grapeseed and chamomile extracts, and liquid water soluble green tea extract. This colour comes from 0.5% each of those powdered extracts, so you can see how a tiny amount can result in a dramatic colour change!


LOW SURFACTANT FACIAL CLEANSER WITH FOAMING OAT SURFACTANT - no ginger root extract, added hydrolyzed protein 
HEATED PHASE
5% foaming oat surfactant
5% decyl glucoside
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% apple extract (liquid)
10% witch hazel
10% chamomile hydrosol
2% hydrolyzed protein
48% water

COOL DOWN
5% honey matte
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
5% water soluble liquid calendula extract

The ginger root is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory that might help with helping our skin retain protein. I figured the hydrolyzed protein will help with film forming and might help with this quality. Also consider something like horsetail extract or one of our cosmeceutical ingredients, like sea or bull kelp bioferment.

LOW SURFACTANT FACIAL CLEANSER WITH FOAMING OAT SURFACTANT - lots and lots of changes! 
HEATED PHASE
5% foaming silk surfactant or ACI 
5% polyglucose/lactylate blend
2.5% disodium cocoamphodiacetate
10% aloe vera liquid
25% rose hydrosol
57% water
3% glycerin

COOL DOWN
3% water soluble oil (like PEG-7 olivate, water soluble shea butter)
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

This would be a product suitable for dry skin as I've removed all the astringent ingredients and replaced just about everything with something more moisturizing. It is still a low surfactant facial cleanser that can be used in a foamer with a conditioned skin feel, but it will be more moisturizing than other versions thanks to the glycerin and a water soluble oil I added to make it more moisturizing and more mild. I don't feel like I have to load it up with tons of moisturizing ingredients because it's not the sole moisturizer you'll use, so I would say that glycerin and rose hydrosol are still optional, but pretty awesome. (I don't use anything after cleansing - maybe a little moisturizing toner - because my skin is so oily!)

It's a pretty rare event that you'd be able to make something exactly the way I make it because everyone's workshop and shopping list is different. There's no point in buying an ingredient that you might use at 3% in one product - it's better to figure out what you have in your workshop that you can use instead. Sometimes it's worth buying that ingredient - I really can't believe how much I'm loving the honey matte - and other times you'll realize that you can use something else, but it's always worth a try to see what you like. Eventually, you'll have a regular inventory of things you use and a few things you buy special for certain products, but you have to keep trying and working out what you like. This is one of the reasons I say you have to get into your workshop and make things. No one can tell you what you like and don't like!

If you want to learn more about your ingredients, I've written a lot of posts on this topic! Check out the labels for the topic that interests you on the right hand side of the blog. If you want to learn more about oils, please check out the Newbie Tuesday series on getting to know our oils and butters (this is the last post, but it has all of them listed). Join me tomorrow as we take a look at another product we could use as a substitution example.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ick! Not this again!?!

I've come down with a pretty icky stomach thing that's had me in bed playing Animal Crossing on my new 3DS all weekend, which is why I haven't had a chance to look at and respond to email and comments this weekend. I'll do my best over the next few days to catch up with those things, so look for them soon! I'm not sure what this is, but it isn't fun! (I have my chemistry final on Friday, so Im furiously studying for that, too!)

In the meantime, here's a picture of a body wash I thickened with Ritathix DOE, which you'll see later this week! 


Friday, August 9, 2013

Modifying the low surfactant foaming facial cleanser: Substituting for the hydrosols and extracts

On Wednesday, we took a look at modifying the low surfactant foaming facial cleanser with foaming oat protein. On Thursday, we took a look at modifying the facial cleanser with different surfactants. Today, we'll take a look at some of the hydrosols and extracts I used in this product with a plan for Monday's post to be all about different versions we could make with an emphasis on how the skin feel or proeprties of the product change. 

Here's the original recipe...

LOW SURFACTANT FACIAL CLEANSER WITH FOAMING OAT SURFACTANT
HEATED PHASE
5% foaming oat surfactant
5% decyl glucoside
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% apple extract (liquid)
10% witch hazel
10% chamomile hydrosol
49% water

COOL DOWN
1% ginger root extract
5% honey matte
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
5% water soluble liquid calendula extract

As you can see, I substituted some of the water portion with other liquids, specifically apple extract, witch hazel, chamomile hydrosol, calendula extract, (liquid) ginger root extract, and honey matte. These ingredients make up 41% of the cleanser. Let's take a look at why some of these are included and how we can alter it...

Witch hazel: This is good as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient. It's astringent, which is good for oily skin. I included it as I have a tendancy towards reddened skin, and it's supposed to help reduce that. You can use more than 10%. if you wish.

What could we use as a substitute? We could use anything that offers anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, like another hydrosol. Chamomile offers those properties - so you could increase it to 20% in the recipe - while clary sage, orange blossom (neroli), and rosemary help with oily skin. Lavender is a great one for all skin types, as is rose. For dry skin, consider using chamomile, lavender, or rose as they aren't considered all that astringent. Aloe vera is a nice choice for any of these substitutions.

Apple fruit essence: Offers astringency. You could use any of the hydrosols listed above in its place.

Chamomile hydrosol: This is a great anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient. I chose to use the hydrosol instead of chamomile powder as I wanted something fairly clear that wouldn't clog up the foamer bottle. You can use more than 10% if you wish.

What could we use as a substitute? Any of the things I listed above in the witch hazel part.

As an aside, one of the other reasons I use chamomile hydrosol is that it smells less like chamomile than the other ingredients. I find chamomile to be a musty kind of smell, and I'm not fond of earthy scents. 

Hydrosols and liquid extracts are acidic, with a pH of 5 to 6 (I tested rosemary and it was 4.7, so it could be slightly lower than 5). If you substitute them for water, the pH of your product will be slightly higher as your distilled water is around pH 7. It's not a very big deal, unless you're choosing to use decyl glucoside (especially the high pH version) with disodium cocoamphodiacetate. You can end up with a pH in the alkaline range, which isn't something we want for our skin. We always want our products to be between 4.5 and 6.0. (Click here to see my body wash experiment with these ingredients.) If these are your choices, I can't recommend enough that you use at least 20% hydrosol to make sure the pH is in the right range if you aren't able to test it.

Related posts:
Adjusting the pH of our products

Ginger root: Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that might help with maintaining protein levels in our skin used at 0.1% to 2% in the cool down phase.

You could use many different extracts here as many of them offer anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Green tea would be great for all skin types, rosemary for normal to oily skin, honeysuckle for acne prone, and so on. (Check out the extracts section for more ideas.) I like the idea of maintaining protein levels, so I wonder if we couldn't use a hydrolyzed protein for that purpose?

Honey matte: This is an extract from the Formulator Sample Shop (click here) that creates a matte feeling on oily skin. I'm honestly not sure what to substitute for this product because it's the first product I've found that leaves behind this skin feel. If we want the quality of sebum control, rose hydrosol and rosemary hydrosol and extract are great choices.

Calendula extract: Anti-inflammatory properties, soothes inflamed and chapped skin. You could increase one of the hydrosols or extracts that offer similar properties. Make sure the liquid calendula extract you get is water soluble; we can find calendula oil and, although it's got loads of great qualities, it won't mix well into this product.

Two notes: That isn't the right bottle lid for this bottle. Weird. And two, the calendula extract from Brambleberry is oil soluble and we want to use water soluble in this one. I used this picture instead of the one from Lotioncrafter that contains the water soluble version because that bottle is opaque and this pictured one isn't. 

What kind of substitutions could we make here? We could use all of one ingredient in place of the 41% or mix it up. Consider using 20% witch hazel and 20% chamomile, or 20% witch hazel, 10% apple extract, 10.5% water, and 0.5% chamomile extract (which will make it a yellow, cloudy product). If you have dry skin, consider a few of the extracts I mention in this post like banana, ginger, comfrey, liquorice root, or chamomile extract.

If you choose to use extracts, I recommend using liquid ones as the powdered ones will change the colour of the product, might make it cloudy, and could clog up the foamer bottle.

Or replace all of it with distilled water. Remember, water isn't a filler, it's a great ingredient, so always ask if you can substitute those more expensive liquid ingredients with it. The reality is that you can make a facial cleanser with just surfactants and preservative and it'll be nice. In my humble opinion, the extracts and hydrosols are what take it from good to great and customized for your skin type.

Join me Monday for some fun creating a few different versions of this cleanser! In the meanwhile, think about what ingredients you might use as substitutions for it!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Modifying the low surfactant foaming facial cleanser: Substituting surfactants

As I mentioned yesterday, I modified my low surfactant foaming bottle cleanser with foaming silk to include foaming oat protein instead. But I use a lot of ingredients you might not have in your workshop, so let's take a look at the ingredients and see what we can substitute for each one!

Note: Always remember that when you substitute one ingredient for another, you will be changing the skin feel and/or the properties of the product. Look for an ingredient with a similar skin feel or property when you're substituting.

I went into more detail in this post about why I was using each ingredient in this post, so I encourage you to take a look at that if you want more information than I'm providing here. 

LOW SURFACTANT FACIAL CLEANSER WITH FOAMING OAT SURFACTANT
HEATED PHASE
5% foaming oat surfactant
5% decyl glucoside
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine
10% apple extract (liquid)
10% witch hazel
10% chamomile hydrosol
49% water

COOL DOWN
1% ginger root extract
5% honey matte
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
5% water soluble liquid calendula extract

Surfactants: There are three surfactants in this product - foaming oat surfactant, decyl glucoside, and cocamidopropyl betaine. We generally use at least two surfactants in a product, and one of those is generally what's called an amphoteric surfactant - cocamidopropyl betaine or disodium cocoamphodiacetate - because they increase the mildness of the product. So you could use either of these in this product. The down side of disodium cocoamphodiacetate is that it has a higher pH, which means the pH of your product could be higher when using it. We're using a small amount, so it won't make a huge change here, so substitute away!

Decyl glucoside is a non-ionic or neutrally charged gentle to mild surfactant. You can use any other gentle or mild surfactant in its place. Choose something suitable for your skin type. I would use C14-16 olefin sulfonate or disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate for oily skin; ACI, SMC or SMO taurate, or polyglucose/lactylate blend for dry skin; and SLes or ALS for all skin types. You could also leave it out and increase the cocamidopropyl betaine or disodium cocoamphodiacetate to 7.5% as both of these are considered gentle to mild surfactants. Remember that when you

Foaming oat surfactant can be substituted with any mild surfactant. You could increase decyl glucoside or cocamidopropyl betaine. If you want something that makes your skin feel conditioned, consider using ACI.

Potential substitutions:
Cocamidopropyl betaine - use disodium cocoamphodiacetate at the same amount.
Decyl glucoside - use any of the surfactants you like for your skin type.
Foaming oat surfactant - a mild surfactant. Possibly ACI.

Visit the surfactant section of the blog for loads of detail or look at the surfactant chart for a quick summary of the surfactants mentioned here.

Modifying the surfactant could result in any of these combinations. I've kept the surfactants at 12.5%. I would describe the skin feel as non-drying and conditioning.

MODIFICATION #1 - no decyl glucoside. Might have a slightly more conditioned skin feel.
5% foaming oat surfactant
5% ACI
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine

MODIFICATION #2 - no foaming oat surfactant. The pH might be a little high.
10% decyl glucoside
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine
Note: Check the pH on this. It should be okay, but it might be a little high

MODIFICATION #3 - no decyl glucoside, more cocoamidopropyl betaine. Might be a bit milder than combinations with another anionic surfactant.
5% foaming oat surfactant
7.5% cocoamidopropyl betaine

MODIFICATION #4 - no decyl glucoside, no foaming oat surfactant. Definitely has a conditioned skin feel.
10% ACI
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine

MODIFICATION #5 - no decyl glucoside. Might be a little too moisturizing for normal or oily skin.
5% foaming oat surfactant
5% polyglucose/lactylate blend
2.5% cocamidopropyl betaine

And so on. You can play with whatever combination you want to get the skin feel you want. If you think combination #5 makes your skin feel greasy, then take out the polyglucose/lactylate blend and try combination #1 instead. Don't be scared of making changes - this is how you learn what your ingredients bring to the mix!

When it comes to surfactants, I have my two go-to surfactants - C14-16 olefin sulfonate and cocamidopropyl betaine - because they work well for my oily skin and hair type. I use them in bubble baths, body washes, shampoos (solid and liquid), and just about every other surfactant thing I make. I like to have SCI and SLSa for solid products, and I'm really loving ACI as my third go-to surfactant lately. Learn which surfactants will be your go-to surfactants, and feel free to substitute those for any that are suggested in recipes.

Make sure when you make substitutions you don't make a huge batch of product. Make 100 to 200 grams at the most, enough to try for a few weeks but not enough to worry about it if you don't like it.

Join me tomorrow as we take a look some of the other substitutions you could make in this product.