Thursday, June 22, 2017

Weekday Wonderings: Can I use BTMS-25 in a solid conditioner? Why isn't my BTMS melting?

In the post, Solid conditioner bar: The recipe, Christine asked: I made your conditioner bar that included everything except for the dimethicone. Turned out wonderful! I love it--but pricey because of the BTMS 50. Instead of using 60%, I was thinking of using 30% BTMS 50 and 40% BTMS 25. I've read your blog about substituting BTMS 25 for BTMS 50, but wasn't sure how to translate that into this recipe. I imagine you'll suggest I experiment with it....but, before I do, do you have feedback about this? Thanks in advance!

Ah, you know me too well. Of course I'll suggest you experiment as that's the fun part of all of this, but I'm happy to share my thoughts as well.

I love love love conditioners bars, and I'm glad you're enjoying them, too! It is a pricey recipe, but it lasts forever! And you can totally use Incroquat BTMS-25 or Rita BTMS-225 for some or all the Incroquat BTMS-50. I like to use a little Incroquat CR in mine, but I can't find it anywhere to purchase any more! Eek!

How to substitute it? In this case, just use it instead of Incroquat BTMS-50. As we aren't worrying about BTMS-25 being a poor emulsifier, you can substitute as much as you want in the solid conditioner recipe without a problem. Make a note, though, that BTMS-25 contains cetearyl alcohol, which can be waxier feeling than cetyl alcohol.

In the same post, Jill said: I have made this conditioner several times and am having one problem with it. Even in a double boiler with the hot water high on the sides, the liquid never seems to totally melt and be clear. There is a white skin on the top. And this white, cooled product adheres to the sides of the pot and the spoon. Do I scrape that into the mold on top of the liquid part? Am I just not waiting long enough... i.e. will it eventually melt to be clear if I wait long enough? 

I have this problem when my workshop is cold - it's unheated, so that happens a lot in the winter - so only the bits under the water in the double boiler will melt. Definitely scrape off the sides and make sure it all melts. It should be completely clear when you take it out of the double boiler, so it really is about having enough water in there and waiting. I hate waiting! I'm the queen of impatience, but it is important to have it all melted before removing it and adding the the cool down phase.

You can see this problem in my visual tutorial for making conditioner bars, and I said this: This is what it will look like when it has melted. You'll notice the white around the sides of the Pyrex jug. This the stuff that has re-hardened because my workshop was a little cool last week. You can scrape it off the sides and add it to the Pyrex jug if you're going to continue heating it.

Do you have any thoughts to share about making solid or liquid condtioners? Share your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Weekday Wonderings: Is anyone using Spectrastat G2?

In this post, A bunch of comments I missed in March, Kathrine asks: I was curious if you had any insight on the efficacy of using Caprylhydroxamic Acid (and) Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glycerin as a preservative. I haven't been able to find a lot of information on it, other than the suppliers who swear by it of course. They claim that it is "a complete broad-spectrum preservative-free preservation system in a wide variety of bath, body and skin care products, such as creams, lotions, shower gels and color cosmetics, especially those products desiring a “paraben free” or “preservative free” claim. It may be used in emulsion, anhydrous and surfactant systems, even with a neutral pH." 

Caprylhydroxamic acid (and) Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glycerin is a complete broad-spectrum preservative-free preservation system that answers the call for paraben free formulating needs. Featuring Caprylhydroxamic acid (CHA), an amino acid derived from coconut oil, which some consider to be an ideal organic acid because it proves effective even at a neutral pH. This preservation system contains no biocides or traditional preservatives, such as parabens.

It uses instead ingredients that are multi-functional, possessing excellent efficacy as fungistatic and biostatic agents, making it appealing to formulators who desire to create personal care products that can carry a paraben-free or preservative-free claim. The combination of the effective preservation ability of glyceryl caprylate, and the anti-fungal activity of CHA provides excellent results and can completely preserve both emulsions and surfactant systems. Caprylhydroxamic acid (and) Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glycerin is non-toxic, globally acceptable, and compatible with most cosmetic ingredients."

Usage rate is 1-1.2% 

They make some nice claims, but there has to be a reason very few people are using it. I am hoping that your amazing chemistry knowledge can shed some light on it for me. Thank you so much in advance!

I did some searching and this one is called Spectrastat G2, and I found this post from Chemist's Corner, which may help. Someone commented that they used it and stopped because of cost. The company notes that a product could be called "preservative free" if used, which is one of my huge pet peeves about products as this isn't true. You're using something that is a preservative in the product. It might not be a traditional one, like parabens, but it's still a preservative. Ahem...I digress...

There's some information on the caprylhydroxamic acid in this article, and I found this datasheet about it.

Are you using this preservative? Can you share your thoughts? Where did you buy it so I can get some to try? Any information you can share with us, lovely readers, will be greatly appreciated!

Monday, June 19, 2017

My new e-zine: Formulating with botanical extracts, part one

I wanted to share with you my new e-zine, Formulating with botanical extracts, part one. I'm sharing what I know about various extracts, including goji berry, willow bark, pumpkin seed, and more, including a ton of brand new recipes, including a few for a clay mask and a liquid blend you could add to it, as well as information on how to make gels to mix with it. I'm quite excited about all of this, as you can tell by all the exclamation marks!!!

Click here for the table of contents. 



The e-zines are issued once a month on my Patreon feed to subscribers at the $10 level. If you want to learn more all the subscriptions, click here and check it out! (As a note, all $10 subscribers get a 5% discount at Lotioncrafter until the end of the year! Woo! Thanks, Jen!)

Don't forget, you can always find links to my e-zines and e-books on the e-zines and e-books section of this blog!

As an aside, while the 100% of the proceeds from my e-books from anywhere you purchase them go to the youth programs Raymond and I run, the proceeds from the e-zines and from Patreon go to me and my family.

Weekday Wonderings: Altering the oils in a lotion bar? Creating a scrub bar?

In this post, Lotion bars, asks: BoCron asks: I'm excited to make my first lotion bar. I'm trying to get something like the Lush Buffy bar. I love how it moisturizes but not how it smells. I was going to try 33% beeswax, 33% shea butter, 33% coconut oil and 1% fragrance. From what I'm learning, the coconut oil is considered more drying. Should I replace it partially with another oil? Like meadowfoam oil or similar?

The short answer is that use what you like. Coconut oil as used in soap making is a very different creature than coconut oil used in body care products, so I would suggest trying it to see what you think and making great notes about it. You could use all coconut oil, all meadowfoam seed oil, or a combination of the two.

Can I make a suggestion? Once you have made a few lotion bars and want to experiment a bit, consider using babassu oil. It has the same consistency as coconut oil and both melt at lower than skin temperature, but it has a dry, silky kind of skin feel. I love the stuff! And no, I don't get kickbacks from the Babassu Oil Advisory Board...yet. :-)

An aside...I'm a huge fan of learning what each oil brings to our products, and the best way to do that is to try them on your skin and see what you think.

When I run my classes, I like to have what I call an oil bar so participants can try each oil to see what descriptors they would use for it. I might think something feels light and non-greasy while someone else might consider the same oil medium weight and greasy, so it's really about what you like.

Having said this, I consider meadowfoam seed oil to be a very light oil that feels non-greasy on the skin. Using that instead of coconut oil will be quite a big difference in your product in terms of skin feel, how it rubs on your skin, and consistency of the bar.

Can I make a suggestion to all of you lovely beginners? Just try it. Make a small batch - you can make something as small as 10 grams beeswax, 10 grams shea butter, 10 grams oil of choice, and 0.3 grams (0.3 ml is okay here) and see what you think about it. How does it feel on your skin? How does it harden as a lotion bar? What do you want to see in the next bar? Something more glidy, less greasy, less heavy, and so on. Keep great notes! 

Check out this post in the beginners' section of the blog about lotion bars. I've linked to so many recipes and posts on the blog in it, so you'll have all kinds of ideas by the time you're finished reading. And check out this section of the blog on oils. I have a quick comparison chart you can use and fill in with your own experiences and opinions.

Okay, back to the topic at hand, looking at the Buffy bar (Canadian site) I see they're using cocoa butter, shea butter, exfoliants, and fragrance. If you want to make something similar with exfoliants, I have a few on this blog, to which I'll link in a minute. This seems to be a harder bar, so you might want to try something without beeswax - like their recipe - and use cocoa butter as the solid butter with a liquid oil and no beeswax. If the shea butter is refined or ultra refined, it may be very soft - the stuff I use is - so you could try a combination of 50% cocoa butter and 50% refined or ultra refined shea butter and see what you think.

Recipes for exfoliating lotion bars:
BTMS-50 in a scrub bar (so many links in this one!) 
Solid scrub bar (a little more complicated than a lotion bar)
Body scrub bar with stearic acid

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A point of interest: Solubilizers aren't emulsifiers...

At least once a week I have someone stop by the blog to ask why the product they're trying to make with polysorbate 80 is separating. Upon further investigation, it turns out they are trying to use a solubilizer - mostly polysorbate 80 - as an emulsifier.

Polysorbate 20 and 80, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, Caprol Micro Express, Cromollient SCE, and caprylyl/capryl glucoside are intended to solubilize small amounts of oils - essential oils, fragrance oils, tiny amounts of carrier oils - into water based products. They aren't intended to be an emulsifier for a 20% oil serum or a 50% oil moisturizer. They are solubilizers that allow you to add a bit of something that wouldn't normally mix with water into water. They aren't full blown emulsifiers that allow you to make a quick lotion or moisturizer.

Having said this, you can combine solubilizers with other things by using the HLB system to create emulsifiers, but you need to have that combination to make it work. On its own, polysorbate 80 isn't an emulsifier, it's a solubilizer. 

There are emulsifiers that you can use cold to create quick lotions, like Aristoflex AVC, Emulthix/RM-2051, Sucragel AOF, and Sepiplus 400, and more, if you don't want to heat and hold or spend loads of time in the workshop. I encourage you to take a look at those as you might find what you're looking for there!

I have a bunch of cold emulsifiers I'll be sharing with you soon as I've been having great fun with them! 


Weekend Wonderings: Adding sodium chloride to a shampoo? Ingredients for oily hair?

In this post, Conditioning shampoo bars for oily hair, Tracey asked: I'm curious if anyone knows how to go about adding sodium chloride to a shampoo bar? I happened to see Lush does this with one of their bars and my daughter has very oily hair. I've made a few different oily hair shampoos that I learned from right here, and they work for a while then I have to change it for her as it seems to stop working. Sometimes she'll add magnesium to her hair while shampooing and that helps also. As I know we can thicken with the salt curve our normal shampoos and other surfactant products I'm just curious how we may go about adding a lot of salt to liquid shampoo or to a shampoo bar & if anyone's tried this? 

The Barclay Nicholses are a very oily family, so we're always eager to try new things to get another few hours of out of a washing, but I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the idea of using sodium chloride or normal table salt for oily hair. I have, however, heard of using magnesium!

The salt curve is a way to thicken surfactant mixes - like shampoos - with salt. It does this in two ways. The first - the electrolyte increases the size of the micelles in the surfactants, so the viscosity increases. The second - the electrolytes compete with the surfactants for water, so as we add more salt, we fool the product into thinking we've increased the concentration of the surfactants, which will increase viscosity.

When we add salt to the mixture, there is a distinct curve (pictured to the left). As we gradually increase the salt, it will thicken nicely and stay that way. But if we add too much salt, we eventually start to thin it out back to the watery state. This is one of the reasons we add it slowly - as you can see, the difference between 3% and 3.5% is huge! This is due to the imbalance of charges between the various ingredients in your creation.

And this is the problem: If you want to make a liquid shampoo with salt and you want it to be thicker than water, you will max out at 3.5%. Maybe that's all you need? If you want to add it to your shampoo bars, start at 3% in a small batch and see what you think.

Another ingredient to consider is MSM (aka DSMO2, methylsulfone, methylsulfonylmethane, and dimethyl sulfone) at 5% in a shampoo for very oily hair. I've used it - you'll see that recipe coming soon - and I love it! It'll mess with the viscosity of your liquid shampoo, but try it anyway and see what you think.

I don't often give beauty tips around here as I'm lucky if I can remember to brush my teeth in the morning some days, but allow me to share with you what we do around here for our oily hair issues...

  • Choose surfactants that work well for oily hair, like C14-16 olefin sulfonate or disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS). (I also like the LSB blend from Voyageur Soap & Candle, which is SLSa and DLS. Very very bubbly!) 
  • When using a conditioner, don't condition the scalp. 
  • Stay away from oils and other oily things in conditioners, leave in conditioners, and after washing treatments. 
  • When conditioning, take out anything that might be considered oil soluble as well, like cetyl alcohol or stearic acid, and stay away from things like butters. 
  • You can use silicones, like cyclomethicone or dimethicone, in small amounts, like 2%. 
  • Consider adding something to your shampoo to help remove more oil, like a titch of a citrus essential oil or d-Limonene at something like 0.5%. 
  • Try using a clarifying shampoo every now and then - maybe once a week or every two weeks - that doesn't contain conditioners or silicones. 
Having said this, consider that the reason the shampoo might stop working is that it isn't completely removing the oils from her scalp and hair and it takes time for that titch of oil left behind each time to build up. I used to get so excited to find a new shampoo in the shop - something that was usually "oily roots, dry ends" - that worked for a week or two before I felt greasy before my hair had dried. When I switched to making my own shampoo, I used a clarifying shampoo - one without conditioner, oils, or other ingredients of that nature - and it was awesome! I have found that I can use one of my conditioning shampoo bars for weeks on end, but then I might need a clarifying shampoo to do a bit more oil stripping. (I don't use any styling products or appliances on my hair, so the clarifying is just about getting rid of sebum and dirt.) Perhaps alternating between a conditioning shampoo and a clarifying one might be an idea? 


*Please note: I provide these links to suppliers to help you, my lovely readers. I receive nothing if you click through and they aren't affiliate links. I do like Voyageur Soap & Candle and think they're a lovely supplier of our products, but I receive nothing from them for anything other than teaching classes. 

Let us know if any of this works for you! Do you have any oily hair tips or tricks or modifications to recipes you'd like to share? Comment below!