Thursday, November 23, 2017

Prepare your body for winter: Baobab & babassu body butter with Simulgreen 18-2 (part two)

The other day, we spent some time getting to know each of the ingredients I like for this lotion, so let's make the darned thing already!

As an aside, thanks for commenting on the previous post! 

BAOBAB & BABASSU BODY BUTTER WITH SIMULGREEN 18-2
HEATED WATER PHASE
36% distilled water
10% aloe vera extract or liquid
10% chamomile hydrosol
3% glycerin
3% propylene glycol
2% hydrolyzed baobab protein
2% sodium lactate (liquid) or 1.2% sodium lactate (powder)
0.5% allantoin

HEATED OIL PHASE
12% baobab oil
10% babassu oil
4% Simulgreen 18-2
3% cetyl alcohol
0.5% xanthan gum

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol (liquid)
2% dimethicone (6 cs, which is very watery)
0.5% fragrance oil - vanilla bourbon FO from Voyageur Soap & Candle - or essential oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

1. Weigh the heated water phase into a heatproof container. Measure the weight of the water phase and the container before putting it into your double boiler. (This is so we can compensate for evaporation after the heating and holding phase.) Place the container into a double boiler.

2. Weigh the heated oil phase into a heatproof container, then place into the double boiler.

3. When both phases have reached 70˚C, hold for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat. Measure the water phase and top it up with enough recently boiled distilled water to make up the weight of hte water phase before heating to compensate for lost water.

4. Pour the water into the oil phase, then mix with a stick blender for about 3 minutes. Then switch to a hand mixer with beaters.

5. When the lotion reaches 45˚C, add the cool down phase and mix well with the beaters again.

6. When it comes to room temperature, package in a tottle (Malibu) bottle or jar.

If you want to try this with Polawax, check out this post in the frequently asked question section of the blog about the 25% rule and this emulsifier. In short, total up all the things that need to be emulsified - oils, butters, silicones, fragrance oils, essential oils, fatty alcohols or acids, and so on - which would be 27.5% for this lotion. You'd then figure out what 25% of 27.5% might be (divide by 4), so you'd get 6.75%. I'd round that up to 7% to ensure I compensate for potential hand slips.

Modify the distilled water amount by removing 3% to compensate for the extra emulsifier, so you'd have 33% distilled water.

If you want to try this with emulsifying wax, you'd do the same thing as you'd do with Polawax, but add an extra percent at the end. So instead of 7%, you'd have 8%. Modify the distilled water amount by 4% to compensate, so you'd have 32% distilled water.

If you use these emulsifiers, you will have a far thicker product than what I've made here. You can see a version I made with shea butter and baobab oil in this post.

If you want to make other substitutions - that's the fun of making our own stuff! Check out the emollients section of the blog for more about each of the oils I mention on the blog and see what might be a good substitute for either babassu or baobab oils. Check out the humectants section to see what might work there or look at the preservatives section to see how you could use what you have at home.

Or join me in a few days to make lighter, fluffier version of this with Simulsol 165 (aka Lotionpro™ 165). 

Did you make this formula? If so, share your thoughts so we all have an idea of what it might be like to change something! (I'm trying to build a sense of community at this blog, and I'm sure you have something to contribute! Take a look at the bottom of this post to learn more!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Prepare your body for winter: Baobab & babassu body butter with Simulgreen 18-2 (part one)

Yeah, as a former English major, I love a good alliteration, but these are some of my favourite ingredients with one of my favourite new emulsifiers, Simulgreen 18-2. I made a huge batch last year for our itchy winter skin, and I've made so many versions of it since then as I love it so much.

My favourite thing about it is the way the babassu oil melts on contact with your skin, so it pumps out of the bottle quite thick, but turns to liquid quite quickly.

One note - don't put this in a cute treatment pump or airless pump type bottle as it simply won't pump out. You need this to be in a tottle bottle or jar as it gets quite thick. I wanted a few cute bottles for pictures, and I eventually had to cut the darned thing in half to get it out to put into another container.

For the water phase, I definitely want some aloe vera in here to act as a film former and hydrator. I'm also adding chamomile hydrosol as I like its ability to soothe and reduce transepidermal water loss for up to 48 hours. (I know, right???)

As a note about aloe vera, you don't want the gel as if you look at the INCI name on your gel, you'll see it's gelled with a carbomer like Ultrez 20. It's not a bad thing, but not something we need in a lotion. And if you're using 100x or 200x powdered extract, you need to reconstitute it with water, then add it to the product. Do not just add 0.25% as that is far too much and will likely create product failures as that's far too much salt to be added to one product. Please read more about using those powders here

I love love love humectants to draw water from the atmosphere to our skin to hydrate, so I'm including a few in this one intended for dry winter skin in the form of glycerin, propylene glycol, and sodium lactate. I'm also adding some panthenol - liquid in the cool down phase or powder in the heated water phase - as I need all the wound healing I can get for my dry, cracked skin.

I love using allantoin in everything - seriously, visit this post to learn more if you aren't sold on this comfrey, aloe, or urine derivative - to help keep out winter winds and cold and soothe skin chapping. This very inexpensive powder with a super long shelf life should always go into the heated phase as it can create little crystals that feel like shards on your skin if it isn't dissolved properly.

And finally, I have to have some kind of hydrolyzed protein in the mix to help hydrate and film form on my skin. Keeping with the theme of this body butter, I'm using hydrolyzed baobab protein, but you could use silk amino acids, hydrolyzed oat protein, hydrolyzed rice protein, or any other one you might like.

I love babassu oil. I love it so much, some of you joke that I'm working for the Babassu Advisory Council. (There isn't one, but if there is...call me. Let's talk.) It's a great substitute for coconut oil as it melts at 24˚C or 76˚F, which is much lower than body temperature, so the body butter glides nicely over your skin. Unlike coconut oil, though, it is considered lighter, much less greasy, and silky feeling.

And I love baobab oil. Thanks to all that thick palmitic acid that we'd normally find in much smaller quantities in liquid oils, I find it feels like a medium weight oil without the greasiness I associate with something like olive oil. I think this is an important ingredient in this product, and don't suggest altering it if you want that less greasy skin feel. As well, baobab contains a lot of phystosterols, which act as anti-inflammatory ingredients, something awesome and necessary for winter months.

Whoa, huge slam on olive oil out of nowhere, eh? I generally like greasy products, but I wanted something a little less greasy for this product. If you wanted to use olive oil here, it'd be a good choice with all those lovely phytosterols. 

I'm adding very liquidy dimethicone in the cool down phase to act as a barrier protectant ingredient and silk-i-fier, which is a word I just made up, but I'll use it from now to describe something that makes something feel more silky. Feel free to use 350 cs or 1000 cs, much heavier dimethicones, in its place. At 2%, the weight won't make a huge difference.

For the emulsifier, I'm using Simulgreen 18-2, a green, ECOcert and Natrue approved ingredient that offers a lighter, much less greasy skin feel when compared with something like Polawax. You have to stabilize it with a fatty alcohol, so I'm using cetyl alcohol here, or xanthan gum, which I'm using at 0.5% as well.

Why am I putting the xanthan gum into the heated oil phase when it's a water soluble ingredient? Because it's less likely to get clumpy in something like oil, in which it can't dissolve. When we add the heated water phase and heated oil phase together, the xanthan gum will stay unclumped, making it far more awesome than a clumpy lotion.

Wow, I do go on, eh?

In light of my recent post about wanting your feedback in the comments before I post part two, please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Huge news that will affect the blog!

This is a big announcement but...this is my job now. I know, right? Terrifying, but necessary. As much as I loved my job as a family counsellor, I was done. The events over the last eighteen months -  (in chronological order, not by importance) being bumped from my job into a part time position, losing my beloved Blondie dog, losing my mom, and losing my favourite supervisor (to another agency, fortunately), and so many things that feel like I'm being kicked when I'm down - have been harder than I can describe, and I just didn't have it in me to go back to such an emotionally challenging position.

What does it mean for me that it's my job? It means this is my job, this is how I make money. Writing the blog, writing Patreon posts, writing e-books and e-zines, writing my column at Handmade magazine, teaching classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle and Windy Point Soap, presenting at conferences like the HSCG one next May in Atlanta and the HBBG and HSCG joint conference next June in Toronto, and so on. I have no other obligations, so I can spend all my energy and time writing about bath & body products, which is very exciting.

There are also a lot of things I've been working on over the last year or so that can become a reality. Yay, right?

What does it mean for you that it's my job? It means that this is how I make my living now. If you value what I'm offering here, please consider subscribing to my Patreon feed at $1, $3, $5, or $10 US to help support the blog as well as my family.

It also means that Patreon subscribers may get the posts on the blog one to four weeks before you see them here. They may also get other things that might not appear on the blog - they're already getting the duplicated formula every month - but I'm not sure how that might look or what it might be, if it's anything at all.

Before you cry "unfair!" - they're paying the bills for the blog, so it's only fair they get to see what they paid for first. 

What it doesn't mean is that I'll be taking advertising, sponsorshop, or affiliate links as I want you to rest assured when I say I like an ingredient, I really like it, I haven't been paid to say I do, and I won't make money if I send you to a supplier to get it. (I also don't want those horrible "one weird trick coconut oil" ads, which are just awful and undercut my promise to you to be science based and not fearmonger-y.)

It also doesn't change where the money for the five current e-books goes - it still goes to our youth programs, Rated T for Teen.

And it does mean I'm asking for something from you - your time.

I love writing this blog so much, but I get very little feedback in the form of comments. I see you're out there in so many ways - stats from the blog and email subscriptions, raves from you when I meet you, comments I see on Facebook or Reddit, and so on - but there's just crickets and silence day to day around here.

I know part of this is because there are tens of thousands of you receiving this information I'm writing now via email, and it's a hassle to visit the blog. I know part of this is because some of you don't think you have anything to share, but you really do! I know part of it is that you're really busy and don't have time to visit, something I heard time and time again from people at conferences and in classes. And sadly, I know a small part of this is because some people never think to give back to those who have shared so freely with you, which is how people like me burn out, take our balls, and go home.

I don't want to burn out, but after the year I've had - from Marlene Daniels of Soapconscious stealing my work and selling it for $1,000 for my five e-books for years to the constant linking against my wishes to my charts to the people who think it's okay to use my work without asking permission or without credit, and more -  I know I'm at great risk to do so.

I miss is being a part of a community of creators, connecting with people who love this thing as much as I do, and I'm really feeling the isolation when I look for a place to recharge my batteries.

From today onwards, think of every single post - new and old - as a tiny Kickstarter type thing that needs your attention to unlock the next installment. If you see part one of a post, you won't see part two until there's a certain amount of interaction in the form of comments. If there isn't that interaction after a week, it won't be posted as I'll assume you aren't interested that topic, ingredient, or formula. For older posts, if I see a topic that's suddenly filled with comments or feedback, I'll make sure I spend time on that topic again in the future. 

You don't have to say much - share a thought about the topic; something you love or hate about the oil, emulsifier, or surfactant; write about your experiences; tell me about the fail you had with it so we can fix it; think about how you might make substitutions; and so much more - but I'm asking you to say something. The only rule - as of this moment - is that you must do it with kindness, with an understanding that every single person who reads it, including me, is a human being who has feelings. We can totally disagree, but we do it as adults without condescension or insults.

I'm sure there are loads of you waiting to say something about this post, and I can't wait to see what you share!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Present ideas for crafters - mixers!

Yesterday, we made some suggestions for gifts you could give to your favourite crafter. I can't believe I forgot all about mixers! Click here for another post on ideas for presents! 

When it comes to hand mixers, I like to have one that has loads of attachments. When I'm teaching at Voyageur Soap & Candle, we use Black & Decker hand mixers that have whisk or beater attachments. These things are so fast, we only use one beater at a time!

I've also been using this inexpensive Hamilton Beach mixer that came with four beaters and a whisk. It's a very powerful one.





I have a Kitchenaid Architect 9 speed mixer that has a blending rod, which is awesome as a propeller mixer, as well as whisks and beaters. (See it here at Best Buy in Canada.) I love this one so much. It's much slower to start than the Black & Decker, but it's powerful as heck. It's ideal for things like making an oily gel with Sucragel AOF, which requires a propeller mixer, ane one of the gels I've been using lately...can't remember which one!

Oh, and we also have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, which is great for larger batches and things like emulsified scrubs or whipped butters that need to be mixed for a while.

It's helpful to have both a hand mixer type thingie and an immersion blender. Stick blenders are high shear mixers, and some emulsifiers like Olivem 1000Simulgreen 18-2, and Varisoft EQ 65 require high shear to come together. You'll also want high shear for gelling agents like Siligel or to incorporate lovely things like Penstia powder.

I hate hate hate immersion blenders as they're so hard to clean, but they're a necessary evil. Is there something I can use that'll make clean up that much easier? Thank goodness, yes! I'm in love with this MiniPro Mixer from Lotioncrafter*.

It's way more powerful than the little mixers or drink foamers I've purchased in the past, and it's super easy to clean up by whirring it in a container of soapy water.

As a note, I know some of you will write to me saying that it's easy to clean immersion blenders. It's not. My husband usually cleans them for me as I have such a hard time with them, and he notes that last time, it took three Q-tips to get it clean! 

This MicroMini™ Mixer from Lotioncrafter* is super powerful, but so small you can get it into a bottle to mix all those annoying powdered extracts and other things.

I tried to get an action shot of this mixer, but it's hard for me to take pictures and mix and not spill all over my workbench!






I love this little "Deluxe Cordless Mini Mixer" from Candora Soap* (Ontario) as it comes with a few little attachments, which come in super handy when you have to change from an immersion attachnent to a whisk attachment quickly.

Which one do you use the most? Which one do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Please note, none of these are affiliate links, and I receive nothing if you click through or purchase anything about which I write on this page or this blog. I am sharing this information as these are things I love! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Christmas present ideas for the crafters in your world - stuff for your workshop

Everyone I know tells me it's hard to shop for me as I make everything I want, so I thought I'd share a list of things you could buy for the bath & body crafter in your world.

I wrote about this topic a few years ago, and thought I'd update it for 2017. Please note I provide the links to online shops as a courtesy. None of these are affiliate links and I receive nothing if you click through and buy anything. 

Heating and holding and melting solids slowly is easiest in a double boiler, and I've been using this Rival Fondue Pot as my double boiler for more than 11 years now. My favourite feature is the dial that allows me to choose my temperature, so I can boil the heck of something, then turn it down before the water starts jumping out of the pot.

I can fit two 1 litre beakers or two 500 ml Pyrex jugs in it, which is more than enough for my needs in my workshop.

Canadian Amazon link
Canadian Walmart link
American Target link for the Oster fondue pot

A tiny scale that weighs to 0.1 grams or 0.01 grams. I've used a Salter diet scale from London Drugs for years, but the last few I've had were ruined during classes when someone poured melted butters or waxes on them. I've moved to this little scale, Smart Weigh ZIP300 Ultra Slim Digital Pocket Scale with Counting Feature, 300 by 0.01g, which I found on Amazon for $18.99.

You could also go into a hydroponic or head shop and get a very accurate scale there!



I think pH meters are essential pieces of equipment for those of us who want to move beyond using the basics to make facial products, hair care products, and more. I've done some testing of a few meters - which you'll see on November 27, 2017 - and the two I like the best are the PH-200 from HM Digital and Jenco 630, but both of those will run you around $100 Canadian. For a less expensive one, consider the Etekcity - the yellow one in the middle - for about $30.

Check out Amazon or your local hydroponic shop to find some of these things.


A nice lab notebook where they can keep all their notes. I make my own as I really like Doane paper but don't like their books, but you can get someone a really nice book with dot grid or graph paper that opens flat as it's a serious pain in the bum to have to hold something down when you have a mixer in your other hand!

Do you have ideas to share? Make a comment or two below!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Question from Patreon: How can I make a shower gel concentrate?

In the September Patreon Q&A, Sally asked: How can i make a shower gel concentrate?  I want to be able I want to make a large batch using some sci which takes a long time to melt, then dilute and add a different fragrance when I want say 300 mls of product. Do I just melt and mix the different surfactants using little or no water?

This isn't directed at you, Sally, but I don't understand why people think melting SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate) is so hard. It isn't. You just need to choose the right surfactant to help dissolve it. You can add some anionic surfactants like disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, or sodium lauroyl sarcosinate. You could add an amphoteric surfactant like cocamidopropyl betaine or cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine. Or you could add some non-ionic surfactants like polysorbate 20 or 80, decyl glucoside, lauryl glucoside, or PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate.

My first choice is always cocamidopropyl betaine because it increases the mildness of the surfactant mix! (As a note, I'm calling it cocamidopropyl betaine instead of coco betaine because they are, in fact, two different products. It's a pain to type, but it's a good thing to be accurate!)

When melting SCI in a double boiler, you want to melt it only with the surfactant that can help it dissolve best. (I wrote a post on this a few weeks ago, so check it out here.)

As a note, if you're using the powder - I'm using this version from Windy Point Soap (Alberta) - it doesn't need heating for things like shampoo bars, and only needs quick melting in a liquid product.

Also, why are people using so much SCI as the primary surfactant when it really isn't that water soluble? Don't get me wrong, I love this surfactant so much, but you're lucky if you can get 10% in a formula without it solidifying. And you can't do that with a non-powdered version very well. You can see the results of using SCI noodles in a body wash in this post.

Related links:
Chemists' Corner discussion about SCI
Clariant's data sheet on their versions of SCI (I use Hostapon 85, which is very easy to melt)
Excellent article on the solubility of SCI - I encourage you to read this science-y article as it's really interesting. 

Okay, back to the question at hand. You can make a shower gel that you can fragrance later on in two ways.

1. You could make a concentrate that doesn't contain water by making up something like this formula - I love this body wash, but there are so many different versions on this blog - without the water bits.

BODY WASH WITH SCI
HEATED PHASE
37.5% water
5% SCI
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
20% LSB (or other anionic surfactant of choice)
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
3% condition-eze 7
2% hydrolyzed protein

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% liquid Crothix (may not be necessary!)
0.5% to 1% preservative
colour, if desired

I've worked out the formula without the water, fragrance, colour, and Crothix thickener. The total is 60.5%. I divided each ingredient by 60.5, then multiplied by 100 to get the percentage. So I divided 5% SCI by 60.5% to get 0.0825. Multiply by 100 to get 8.25%. 

BODY WASH WITH SCI THAT DOESN'T CONTAIN WATER
SURFACTANT PHASE
8.25% SCI
24.8% cocamidopropyl betaine
33% LSB or other anionic surfactant of choice

REST OF THE STUFF PHASE
16.5% aloe vera
5% glycerin
5% cationic polymer, like honeyquat or polyquaternium 7
3.3% hydrolyzed protein

COOL DOWN PHASE
3.3% panthenol
0.8% liquid Germall Plus

This would be quite thick. You could add water to the mix - somewhere between 30% and 40% - as well as Crothix to thicken, if necessary, and a fragrance oil at 1% or so.

2. Find a formula you like. Make it in a big batch, then store it until you want to fragrance it. (Related link here in the FAQ.) I do this all the time as I like to change my body washes or shampoos with the seasons. (Right now, I'm all about the oatmeal, milk, and honey as it smells like marzipan!) Remember that fragrances can affect the clarity and viscosity of surfactant blends, so if you choose something that thins it out - like those that contain vanilla - you'll need to thicken it up with some liquid Crothix at the end.

Related posts:
Surfactants & fragrances - viscosity
Surfactants & fragrances - clarity
Fragrances and our products

Related posts on using SCI in liquid products...
Experiments in the workshop with polyglucose/lactylate blend
Ridiculously moisturizing body wash with esters
Formula for a 3-in-1 shampoo, body wash, and conditioner
Orange & honey hand cleanser with SCI
And there are more on the blog if you do a quick search for them.

Other related posts:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I have removed all the charts from this blog - updated on November 12, 2017

I have removed all the charts I created for oils, butters, preservatives, and more as well as all the free PDF tutorials and handouts as I'm tired of seeing people using my work without linking here or giving me credit. These charts are the result of a lot of reading and researching. The three newest ones I had planned to share on emulsifiers, extracts, and cosmeceuticals have been in progress for at least 18 months.

You will not see any charts on this blog again for download. 

To respond to the people who have been saying that I'm trying to make money from my charts - so what if I am? These are my charts, and I can do what I like with them. Don't I give away enough? Don't I deserve to be paid for my time, my work, my writing? 

The three companies distributing my e-books - Voyageur Soap & Candle, Windy Point Soap, and Lotioncrafter - are the only ones allowed to share these charts with the e-books or during classes. I send them out with e-books, too. These are the only ways you can access them at this time.

If you see someone sharing my charts on a web site, blog, or forum, or sharing them in a Facebook group, they are doing this without my permission and against my very clear requests that anyone wanting to share the charts link directly to the blog to download them. No one has permission to share these charts publicly. No one has permission to host them anywhere but on this blog. No one has permission to use these charts in any classes they may be offering. 

My dad used to say it only takes one bugger to spoil it for everyoneThese people are some of the buggers...

All Sorts of Soap - I have written repeatedly to her to remove the charts, but they're still there.

Eat Live Wear - I have written to them repeatedly, but they're still there. It's nice to know she likes my work so much, she's plagiarized great swaths of it.

The Root & the Vine - this one seems to be by the same person as Eat Live Wear, with big swaths of my work copied and pasted as well as hosting the charts.

There are - sadly - many many more, and I will be posting their names here as I encounter more since writing to them directly does nothing.

I can't believe I have to say this, but the materials you find on this blog and in my e-books are my work, and you do not have permission to copy them and sell them, use them in your classes, host them or post them on your website or blog or Facebook group. You can link to my work or quote sections of it, but you cannot use my formulas, write ups, charts, or other materials in your paid classes, online courses, blogs, and so on. (If you want permission, write to me.) You cannot share formulas or writing you find in my e-books or e-zines. You cannot share materials from my paid Patreon subscription.

Copying my work, using it to make money, or hosting my charts or PDFs aren't ways of showing me you like what I do - it's theft, and I call you out as a bugger who spoils things by being a taker. You are the reason things go behind paywalls, why people like me feel taken advantage of or get burned out offering things for free. You're trying to get credit and money for work you haven't done, and that's a scummy thing to do. 

I'm sure you know about the plagiarism by Marlene Daniels of Soapconscious earlier this year, but there's so much more theft of my work going on from a course being taught that has copied and pasted my work to blog writers who think they're disguising my formulas and/or writing but don't know enough to know how to alter them so they aren't identifiable.

I know you're doing this, as do so many readers who have written to me. I ignored it for a while as I didn't have the energy to fight back with the hell I've been through in the last year. You don't know me well enough to know how true this is: My mom said the only thing more dangerous than an angry Susan is an angry Susan who knows she's right, and I'm done waiting for you to give me credit, pay me, or take down my material.

Okay, it's safe to come out now... :-)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Question from Patreon: Is there a limit to how much carbomer can be used in a lotion?

In the November Q&A on Patreon, Sawyer asked: Are there limits to how much carbomer can be used in a oil in water face cream? It seems to be a common ingredient in face lotions, and I love the idea of a cushiony lotion, but when I try to emulsify my gelled water phase with my oil phase the result is a separated mess. 

Great question! There really isn't a limit, apart from not using so much that it becomes a big Jell-o-y mess. Having said that, I think that we can use too much, as you'll see in the next few examples.

If you look at this one, Velvet Care Lotion, you'll see that they're using 0.25% Ultrez 20 in the heated water phase, which seems like a tiny amount, but it is enough to give us that cushiony feeling we want.

This one, In-Shower Lotion, has 0.30% in the heated water phase, while this one, Party Time Shimmering Cream, has 0.40% in the heated water phase.

The lotions to which I've linked above suggest that the Ultrez 20 is sprinkled over the surface of the water phase, which is heated to 65˚C to 70˚C. The sodium hydroxide (neutralizer) is added after the two phases are combined, but when it's still hot.

So how much can we use? Here's what the company suggests...

Recommended polymer use level is formulation dependent. For surfactant-cleansing applications with low-to-moderate surfactant actives 0.8% to 1.0% is recommended. For use in emulsions and gels, 0.3 - 0.7% is recommended, depending on electrolyte content. Processing instructions are simple.
  1. Sprinkle polymer on surface of water and allow to self-wet.
  2. Begin gentle agitation.
  3. Keep agitation to a minimum (to avoid air entrapment) while adding remaining ingredients to formulation.
  4. Neutralize: can be pre- or post-neutralized (depending on the needs of the formulation).
What we can see is that we don't need much to get the effects we want, so I'd suggest starting with 0.30% in the heated water phase with 0.69% 18% lye solution or 0.45% triethanolamine and see if you get what you want. Add the Ultrez 20 to the heated water phase, and add the neutralizer in a separate phase after you have added the heated water phase to the heated oil phase as per the examples above.

How did I come up with those numbers for the TEA or lye? For this and much more, please check out this post on Ultrez 20! 

So the short answer is that although there isn't really a limit to how much you can use, there's definitely a suggested usage rate of 0.3% to 0.7% for Ultrez 20.

I've just realized in writing this that I've never shared my formulas in which I've used Ultrez 20 and Sepimax ZEN in a lotion! I'll have to fix that soon! 

If you're interested in learning more about my Patreon feed, please click here and see what it's all about.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Question from Patreon: Will my oils be diminished by heating and holding?

In the November Q&A on Patreon, Ingrid asked: I understand the heat and hold process when making lotions and creams. Can you please tell me if I do this with oils such as pomegranate seed oil, red raspberry seed oil and evening primrose oil, will any of their properties be diminished, or are they 'tough' enough to withstand heat and hold? 

We know that heat isn't the best friend of oils, and that we keep them in a cool, dark place to slow down the process of rancidity. (Don't forget, you can keep them in the fridge or freezer to slow it down even further.) So why can we heat them to make products? Because we aren't exposing them to extreme heat for that long - 20 minutes is a pretty short period of time and 70˚C is well below even the lowest smoke points for oils. We are reducing the shelf life a titch by doing this, but it's not that significant.

As well, our oils all have very high smoke points or the point at which they start smoking when heated. Even the unrefined versions of oils need need to get to 107˚C or 225˚F before you start doing some damage to them.

The short answer is that I've never met an oil that couldn't handle heat, so you can heat and hold any oils.

Related post:
Heating & holding our ingredients


If you're interested in learning more about my Patreon feed, please click here and see what it's all about.

Friday, November 3, 2017

From the pages of Patreon: How do I emulsify silicones and oils?

In the Q&A thread for October on Patreon, Lisa asked: I’m trying to emulsify silicones and oils. They keep separating. No water phase. Just silicones and oils. 

Silicones and oils don't mix. Although we consider them both oil soluble in lotions - for instance, when we are thinking about emulsifying something in a hair conditioner or a facial moisturizer - they really aren't, so they'll separate when combined.

We generally think of our ingredients as being
a) hydrophobic, or water hating
b) hydrophilic, or water loving
c) lipophobic, or oil hating
d) lipophilic, or oil loving

But there's a third category of ingredients that are siliphilic - silicone loving - or siliphobic - silicone hating. Silicones are hydrophobic, lipophobic, and siliphilic. They prefer to hang out with other silicones away from water and oils.

As an aside, you've probably read that dimethicone is considered a barrier protectant ingredient. How does that work? "It is the lack of solubility in oils and water that makes dimethicone a barrier when applied to skin."

When we create an emulsion or get things to combine that don't want to combine, we need a surfactant with one end of the molecule that loves water and the other end of the molecule that loves oils. We call these emulsifiers.

What the heck is an emulsifier and why is it so necessary? An emulsifier is something that can make water and oil play nicely with each other. We know that oil and water don't mix, but we can make them mix by using an emulsifier and using heat, chemistry, and mechanics to make that lotion stay together. If we don't have an emulsifier, we can make oil and water mix temporarily - think of salad dressing and how we shake it - but that combination won't last long. Using a chemical emulsifier with heat and a lot of mixing makes for a more stable emulsion. (A chemical emulsifier should have a water loving head and a fat loving tail and they bring the water and oil together.)

When we make an emulsion that includes silicones, we are actually creating something with three phases - water phase, oil phase, silicone phase - that could be more unstable than one with just water and oil. It's not hard to create something that works well - take a look at any number of my hair conditioner formulas using Incroquat BTMS-50 to see how simple it can be - but we definitely need an emulsifier of some sort to mix these things together. 

Related post:
Silicones and the HLB system

The problem with something that's just oils and silicones is that I can't find something to bring just those two things together or something with an oil loving end and a silicone loving end. Generally we have something like Lotioncrafter's Serum SE to make something with water, a small amount of oil, and silicones.

So what can you do? It might be easier to choose a silicone that can be combined with oils or esters. Something like regular old dimethicone 350 cs doesn't stay combined with carrier oils, but an elastomer might work.

What's an elastomer? "An elastomer is a polymer with viscoelasticity (having both viscosity and elasticity)..." (reference) The silicone molecules are linked with other silicone molcules to create a more viscous silicone, which can range from the scoopable loveliness you see in the picture above of Optiblur, to something very thick that has to be cut. They're used to film form in things like lipsticks, create that soft silkiness we like in make up primers, or smooth down our cuticle and prevent frizzies in hair are products.

For instance, Lotioncrafter is carrying a silicone elastomer called OptiBlur™ that can be combined with all kinds of oils and esters.

  • 20% Optiblur™ Elastomer is miscible with 80% caprylic/capric triglycerides, isododecane, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, cyclomethicone, or phenyl trimethicone
  • 80% Optiblur™ Elastomer is miscible with 20% phenyl trimethicone or cyclomethicone, but will separate with 20% caprylic/capric triglycerides, isododecane, C12-15 alkyl benzoate. 

What this means is that you can mix 20% of this ingredient with 80% caprylic/capric triglycerides (also potentially known as fractionated coconut oil at some vendors), and it will remain mixed.

Something like Lotioncrafter's EL 3045 (INCI: Cyclopentasiloxane (and) C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer) might also be a good choice as it "is an excellent anti-syneresis (anti-weeping) agent in water in oil emulsions and anhydrous systems. Picture this product as a fluid-containing sponge. The sponge is the silicone copolymer network and cyclopentasiloxane is the fluid. This silicone sponge allows its carrier or fluid to travel in and out, and can be receptive to other cosmetic ingredients. As a result, it holds oils or liquid in the external phase reducing syneresis."

You could use something that might make it easier to incorporate cyclomethicone or dimethicone into a product, something like phenyl trimethicone, but I'm not sure how much to use yet.

The other alternative is to make a solid product. I've been making a lovely lotion bar that contains dimethicone and cyclomethicone for years, and it has never wept or separated. A balm might work as well.

Or you could accept this will separate and needs to be shaken before every use.

So the short answer is - I don't know. And the longer answer is that I still don't know, but there are a few ingredients that will make it easier to keep them together.

If you want to learn more about silicones, check out this free e-book by Anthony O'Lenick, who is a master of silicones. 

Related posts:
Making a water-in-silicone serum with Lotioncrafter Serum SE

Reference:
Why use silicone in personal care applications, part one by Anthony O'Lenick
Silicones in personal care products
Selecting the perfect silicone for your formula

Monday, October 30, 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas: Whipped butters

Is it? It's not even Hallowe'en yet! But for us crafty types, we need to start planning early! If you're a soaper, your busy season started in August to allow for cure times. For the rest of us, if we're ordering ingredients on-line, we should be awaiting our packages as I write.

If you don't believe me, try going into your local supply shop on a Saturday. It's a madhouse! A madhouse! 

If you're new to making your own products, it's not the best idea to try something for the first time a week before you plan to give it. You need to be able to see how it changes over time. Does the fragrance fade? Does it morph into something weird? Does the colour change? How does your preservative hold up over time?

Make small batches. Try 100 grams to 200 grams to start. You will have some failures from which you can learn a great deal, and so it's nice if you don't end up having to throw away every ingredient you've ordered.

If this is your first handmade Christmas, stick to things that don't contain water so you don't have to worry about preserving. You can make all kinds of lovely things from wax tarts and rolled beeswax candles to whipped butters to bath bombs, and more!

Join me over the next little while as we look at a few things you could make for a holiday or birthday present this year!

WHIPPED BUTTERS
These are super easy to make and often only require three ingredients - a butter, a liquid oil, and a fragrance or essential oil.

This vanilla latte coffee butter is super easy and only requires coffee butter, cocoa butter, a liquid oil, and your fragrance/essential oil. You can get a mica to colour it, if you wish. You can try all sorts of variations - pumpkin spice, hazelnut, cappucino, peppermint, and more!

You don't need to add a preservative to a whipped butter as it doesn't contain water and won't be exposed to water.

Choose an oil with a long shelf life. Don't choose something like grapeseed oil or hempseed oil, which have 3 month shelf lives, as they'll be rancid before you know it. You could add Vitamin E as an anti-oxidant - it isn't a preservative to prevent contamination, but can retard the rancidity of the oils - but if you're making a small batch with a long lived oil, you don't really need to do this easier.

Check out this post that includes a download link for my oil comparison chart. Or read more about oils in the emollients section.

You cannot use coconut oil or babassu oil as the base for a whipped butter as they have a really low melting point - 24˚C or 76˚F - which means they can easily melt and leak all over your purse, bathroom counter, car seat, and so on.

Get the ingredients and make some trial runs with small batches this week or next and watch how they do over time. Do they melt? Do they still smell nice? Do they feel nice on your skin? And so on. Keep great notes, so you can make what you like and never make what you hate again.

Related links:
Newbie Tuesday: Post with formula as well as links for the series on whipped butters
Newbie Tuesday: Creating formulas!
Back to basics: Whipped butters - formulas and ideas for modifications
Newbie Tuesday: Information on whipped butters

There are quite literally dozens of formulas on this blog for whipped butters, so do a few searches to see what turns up!

Did you make something? I'd love to hear of your adventures, thoughts, and comments. If you hate it - let me know what you made and we'll figure something out for you. If you love it - share your joy!



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pumpkin spice latte lotion with Penstia powder

We've had some fun with coffee butter over the last month. We made a whipped vanilla latte coffee butter for National Coffee Day in September, and made a pumpkin spice latte with Aristoflex AVC last Thursday.


I thought I'd alter Thursday's formula to include one of my new favourite ingredients, Penstia powder (INCI Name: Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol Crosspolymer). The suggested usage rate for these silky, soft, creamy spheres is 3% in the oil phase to reduce tackiness and increase slip and glide. It absorbs oil well, so you can use it in make-up or cleansers to absorb sebum for oily skin types. We use high shear to incorporate it into our products, which means you want to use a stick or immersion blender or MiniPro Mixer.

As an aside, I'm finding that using these in an Aristoflex AVC lotion reduces the potential feeling of stickiness and increases the feeling of creaminess. I've been using it in a lot of things lately - try it with Sepimax ZEN for that creaminess - and I'm loving them! 

Penstia powder is super light and airy, so it has to be measured by weight as 1 ml isn't equal to 1 g in any way. This does mean you may need to get a smaller scale, but it's worth it. You can use something like the Salter diet scale I found at London Drugs that weighs to 0.1 grams or this little scale I found at Amazon.

I can't tell you the name of it as I don't remember, and I can't go into our order history as Raymond is already ordering birthday and Christmas presents for me, and I might ruin the surprise.

In this formula, I added it at the end of the lotion making process and mixed with my tiny mixer until it looked creamy.

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE LOTION WITH PENSTIA POWDER
80.5% distilled water
3% propanediol 1,3
2% sea kelp bioferment
2% panthenol (powder or liquid)
3% bamboo extract (liquid)

4.5% coffee butter

0.5% pumpkin patch, gingerbread, vanilla, or hazelnut cappucino fragrance oil or essential oil

1% Aristoflex AVC
0.5% Liquid Germall Plus

3% Penstia powder

Weigh the water soluble ingredients into a container. Mix the distilled water, propanediol 1,3, sea kelp bioferment, and bamboo extract.

Weigh the coffee butter into a small container, then heat until just melted.

Add the coffee butter to the water soluble stuff. (Do all of this quite quickly so it won't solidify!)

Add the fragrance oil, Aristoflex AVC, then preservative (Liquid Germall Plus) to the rest of the ingredients. Mix with an immersion blender or stick blender to get a good high shear mixer. After maybe 3 minutes, you're done.

Add 3% Penstia powder, then mix until uniform. Package in a cute pump bottle, airless pump (the white one is from Lotioncrafter), or a lip gloss tube (Windy Point Soap) if you want a titch to carry around in your purse. I find I need to use a small turkey baster or piping bag for the containers I used in the picture above.

You can use any FO (fragrance oil) or EO (essential oil) you wish as long as it is skin safe. Vanilla is lovely, as is gingerbread.

You cannot use a hydrolyzed protein in this lotion as it will lose viscosity.

All the ingredients I used you can find at Windy Point Soap in Calgary, Alberta. All but the bamboo extract and FO (fragrance oil) you can find at Lotioncrafter in Washington State, USA. I am not compensated in any way for mentioning these ingredients, and I receive nothing if you order from them. These are not affiliate links, either. I consider Michele and Jen to be good friends, so I like it when they make money, but I'm providing this information to you so you can get things to make this project. 

Have you made this? What did you think? What changes did you make? What will you try next time? Let me know what you're thinking in the comments below.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Mmm...pumpkin spice latte lotion!

Check out this quick, cold emulsifier lotion using coffee butter! (I'm not able to type much due to my arm injury, so please do a search for the ingredients that you see underlined in these handwritten notes.)

A massive thank you to Lisa for taking the time to type all of this out for us so I can replace my messy, handwritten post. 

My best friend loves coffee, so I thought this would make a great quick lotion for her. I added a titch of pumpkin spice fragrance oil at the end to make it a yummy fall lotion.

I'm using Aristoflex AVC to make a quick, cold process lotion. I want to add some nice water soluble ingredients to hydrate dry autumn skin. I can't use electrolyte heavy extracts like aloe vera, so I'll have to find other ways to film form, like using sea kelp bioferment.  I'll add propanediol 1,3 as the humectant, as glycerin can fell a bit sticky when combine with Aristoflex AVC. (I don't find it sticky, but some do.)

Propanediol 1,3 is naturally derived substitute for propylene glycol that can be used at up to 20% in your water phase. It's a humectant that draws water from the atmosphere to your skin to offer hydration. It has a 9 to 12 month shelf life once opened. But I find it's a little lighter and drier feeling than propylene glycol. It kinda feels the way those microfibre cloths feel on my skin, a little too dry on its own, but lovely in combination with other things.

I always love panthenol to help hydrate skin, and I think I'll add bamboo extract (liquid) to soften skin and act as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Aristoflex AVC doesn't emulsify huge amounts of oil, so I'm using 4.5% coffee butter and 0.5% Pumpkin patch fragrance oil, for a total of 5%.

Always use distilled water for the cold process emulsions as we want to start as clean as possible

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE LOTION WITH ARISTOFLEX AVC
83.5% distilled water
3.0%  Propanediol 1.3
2.0%  Sea Kelp Bioferment
2.0% Panthenol (Powder/Liquid)
3.0% Bamboo Extract

4.5% Coffee Butter

0.5% Pumpkin Patch FO (Fragrance Oil)

1.0 % Aristoflex AVC
0.5% Liquid Germall Plus

Weigh the water soluble ingredients into a container. Mix the distilled water, propanediol 1,3, sea kelp bioferment, and bamboo extract.

Weigh the Coffee Butter into a small container, then heat until just melted.

Add the Coffee Butter to the water soluble stuff. (Do all of this quite quickly so it won't solidify!)

Add the fragrance oil, Aristoflex AVC, then preservative (Liquid Germall Plus) to the rest of the ingredients.

Mix with an immersion blender or stick blender to get a good high shear mixer. After maybe 3 minutes, you're done.

You can use any FO (fragrance oil) or EO (essential oil) you wish as long as it is skin safe. Vanilla is lovely, as is gingerbread.

You cannot use a hydrolyzed protein in this lotion as it will lose viscosity.

You can use another butter or oil here too. Babassu oil is lovely.

Note: I an not paid off by the Babassu advisory council in any way! There isn't a babassu advisory council… But there should be.

Package this in a nice pump bottle for ease of use.

All the ingredients I used you can find at Windy Point Soap in Calgary, Alberta. All but the bamboo extract and FO (fragrance oil) you can find at Lotioncrafter in Washington State, USA. I am not compensated in any way for mentioning these ingredients, and I receive nothing if you order from them. These are not affiliate links, either. I consider Michele and Jen to be good friends, so I like it when they make money, but I'm providing this information to you so you can get things to make this project. 

If you'd like to see more ideas with coffee butter, join me on Sunday for a pumpkin spice latte lotion with Penstia powder or check out this whipped vanilla latte coffee butter we made last month!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Experiments in the workshop: "Magnesium oil" gel with Siligel

A few weeks ago, we met this new gelling ingredient, Siligel  I've made a gel with it and magnesium chloride, often called "magnesium oil" as it can handle up to 20% salts.

As I can't type, please see my handwritten notes below. Anything underlined in red is an ingredient you can find out more about on this blog.

If you're looking for Siligel in North America, I was very kindly given this ingredient by Lotioncrafter* so I could play with it! 









Saturday, October 21, 2017

More comments and thoughts...

Leave in conditioners that you find on this blog are supposed to be thin enough to spray from a mister bottle. (That's the one on the far right.) I'm suddenly receiving all kinds of questions about thickening them. They're supposed to be thin and have low levels of emulsifiers otherwise they're regular conditioners and will weigh down your hair.

Check out the hair care section of the blog for more information. 

Check out this post on a more complicaed leave in conditioner.

We heat and hold our anhydrous products because to help all the ingredients melt properly. Stearic acid has a melting point of 69˚C, so we need to heat and hold the recipe to ensure that it has time to melt. If we merely get to the point of having the ingredients melted - for instance, using a microwave - our ingredients might not be completely melted and integrated into the recipe. Even if we use cetyl alcohol - melting point around 49˚C - our butters contain a lot of stearic acid, so we need to get it up to about 70˚C and hold it to make sure that all the fatty acids in any ingredient melt properly. If you don't get it up to 70˚C and hold it, you can end up with unmelted stearic acid that can start to crystallize over time, hence the grains.

You can learn more about tempering your butters in this post.

Stop adjusting the pH of your lotions! Unless you're using something like AHAs or other acids, there's no need for it! I see people adding huge amounts of citric acid to products without testing, and it's not necessary!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Thank you all so much...

Thank you all so much for your lovely and thoughtful words about my recent post about taking a break. I feel so honoured that you think so kindly about me, and it means so much that you took the time to offer support and share your experiences. 

Raymond and I travelled this past weekend to a place my mother loved very much, and scattered some of her ashes here while we celebrated her life. It was a surprisingly lovely weekend considering the task at hand, and one I'm glad we could have together with few interruptions. 

I'm still taking a few steps back from the blog as I try to let my arm heal, but it's killing me not to write! I have so many amazing ingredients, formulas, and other things that I think are interesting to share, but I have to listen to the boundaries my body is setting and be patient lest this be a forever thing. 

Having said that, I tried a few hours at the laptop today to prepare my handouts for my classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle this weekend, and that took painkillers and a lot of ice, so I'm still in rest mode. (I'm writing things by hand so Raymond can type them out, but it's amazing how much pressure I put on my left arm to hold down my papers or notebook!) 

Thank you for all your suggestions and support. Hearing that it's okay to take a break or reduce my workload means so much to me, and it's what I need to help me process all of the last year and what's to come ahead. (Us counsellors are the worst at taking our own advice! Do you know how many times I've read and recommended, When The Body Says No?) 

I'm checking into the blog, Facebook, Patreon, and so on to keep on top your comments, messages, and suggestions, but it's hard to respond when I'm limited to one fingered typing on my device, so it'll still be a while before I can offer responses. I am sending out e-books during day time hours - from around 9 am Pacific time to around 5 pm Pacific time, so if you have donated for an e-book or paid or an e-zine outside of these times, please have patience. 

Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have readers like you? I really am....

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I'm not available for a bit...

I'm taking some time away from the blog to heal from an arm injury that has left me unable to type and to honour the anniversary of my mom's death last year. I will not be available through any medium from October 13th to 16th, so any e-book or e-zine purchases will not be sent via email until October 17th, around 9 am my time.

Please respect my boundaries around this time. I know you may be thinking to yourself, "Who wouldn't respect those boundaries?" How about the person who quit Patreon on the day my mother died and added, "Creator didn't engage with the audience as expected," because I had been taking care of my dying mother for months beforehand and had announced that I might not get the e-zine out in time? (I did get it out in time, but that person still left...)

This week alone I had someone call me at work - a number provided here for youth attending or interested in our programs, which I've removed  - and someone else ask me to call them long distance so I could offer them a free consultation. I know of at least four people who have been sharing the paid materials only available on Patreon in a Facebook group or with non-patrons, and I know at least two paid courses are using my materials and formulas without permission and without paying me. This is on top of so many bloggers, Redditors, and instructors I know who are using my formulas and written materials without crediting me or even thanking me, who are making money from advertising on their blogs or YouTube channels.

I don't know how else to say this and I am tired of writing this over and over again, so I'll just be blunt. I have written 2,900 free posts on this blog. I ask for nothing for providing them, except maybe a little kindness and the odd comment. I don't have advertising here or pop ups that fill the screen. I take no sponsorships. I make exactly nothing from these posts on the blog. I answer emails and comments, and offer you free consultations on a variety of platforms  if you provide me with what I need to help.

I've always said I'll write the blog as long as it's fun, and the only way I will continue to enjoy it is to set some pretty strict boundaries and maintain them. (My dad always said it only takes one bugger to spoil it for everyone, and I've encountered quite a surprising number of them this year. Such a sad thing to say...)  How can you help me do that?

If you find any of what I offer of value, please respect me as a human being and not ask for more from me than I'm able to give. When you can't respect my boundaries, you stop treating me as a person and start treating me as an object, as a means to an end, as an extra in your movie. Don't use my work as a way to make money for yourself. Don't slam me in Facebook groups, then ask me so sweetly for help or pretend you didn't say it. (You want to challenge something I've written? Do it in public in a kind way and assume it could be a great learning opportunity for both of us. From the number of you who love to say I'm wrong by noting the times I've admitted I'm wrong, you know I'm open to the idea of not being right as that's the only way we learn!)

Offer feedback on my formulas and write ups, share your happy stories and pictures with me. Let me know you're out there. Say "hi" to me at conferences and let's share a moment of joy over something we love! Greet me by name in messages and share yours. And respect that when I say I can't do something, that isn't a challenge to find a way around my "no".

And, if you can afford as little as $1 a month, consider supporting me on Patreon so I can continue to afford to offer this blog for free, and support other people whose work you like by buying their music or books, subscribing to their Patreon pages, and so on.

If you can't afford it, I completely get that. Contribute to this or any community by offering your thoughts, feedback, criticisms, and yourself to make it an even better community!