Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weekend Wondering: What does it mean if a product advertises itself as "oil free"?

In this post, on coco-caprylate caprate, John asks: I see coco-caprylate appearing in a lot of "oil-free" moisturizers. What constitutes an "oil-free" moisturizer? It seems to me a lot of them use oil-derived ingredients anyway. 

This is a great question, and the answer really is "I don't know."

I don't buy cosmetic products from stores, I make them. But I was having trouble with my mascara smearing all over my eyes when I applied it, so I stopped at my local drug store with an awesome cosmetic section and talked to the store clerk. She told me my problem was that I was too oily. (True, but in the end, not the issue.) She recommended an "oil free" product that contained shea butter. Shea butter for oily, acne prone skin? I politely declined the product, then ranted all the way home in the car.

In the end, I wonder if that product wasn't "oil free" because it didn't contain an oil. It contained a butter - which I would argue is a solid oil, but whatever - and esters and fatty alcohols - behenyl alcohol, if I recall correctly - but there were no oils. If you look at any lotions labelled as "oil free", you'll see all those fatty ingredients there.

Let's take a look at Neutrogena's Oil free moisturizer for sensitive skin:
Water, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dimethicone, Petrolatum, Cyclomethicone, Soybean (Glycine Soja) Sterols , Isopropyl Isostearate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG 10 Soy Sterol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Diazolidinyl Urea, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Everything from ethylhexyl palmitate to C12-15 alkyl benzoate is an oil soluble ingredient that can be used in place of oils when we're making lovely creations in our workshops. They are right: There are no oils in this product. There are soybean sterols - which are probably quite lovely if they're anything like Croda's Super Sterol or the olive oil sterols (I think I've written about them, but can't find a link!) - which are phytosterols from soybean. This isn't soy bean oil; it's an ingredient derived from soy bean oil.

The short answer to your question is that there is no definition for "oil free" in a moisturizer, except they don't contain oils. They contain all kinds of oil soluble ingredients and silicones, but no real "oils". 

Friday, May 27, 2016

One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - body scrub bars

Stearic acid is a great bar hardener, and I like to use as both a bar hardener and emollient in my body and foot scrub bars. Let's take a look at the body scrub bar today and the foot scrub bar on Monday.

What do I want in a body scrub bar? I want something that contains physical exfoliants that will exfoliate my skin and leave it feeling moisturized.

The first thing we want to think about is the butter you're using. Normally I use butters like cocoa butter, mango butter, or kokum butter to harden the bar, but I can substitut a little stearic acid in the mix to help as well. Stearic acid is not only less expensive than any butter you can find, but it's also a nice emollient. I think I'll use it at 10% in this recipe to make a really hard bar.

The down side of using so much stearic acid is that it can be a bit draggy on your skin, so consider using a greasier butter like shea butter or coconut oil as the secondary butter in this bar.

Do not use coconut oil as the primary butter in this bar as it will be very soft and fall apart in slightly warmer temperatures! 

For oils in this recipe, I definitely encourage you to use a liquid oil that will offer some greasiness. We want to get some glide and slip to this product! I generally use soy bean oil here as it has a nice long shelf life and offers all kinds of emolliency and phytosterols. You can use anything you want as an oil, but I do encourage you to use something inexpensive as it's not on our skin very long and we aren't getting all the benefits from the oil when it's being rinsed off.

I make mine emulsified so they will rinse cleaner than using all oils, so I definitely want something like Incroquat BTMS-50 or Polawax in the recipe to make sure it emulsifies well. You can use any emulsifier you like here.

Before you ask, yes, you can use any emulsifier you want. If it's an emulsifier, you can use it here. I suggest these ones as they tend to be less expensive and more readily available than some of the newer ones like Montanov 68 or Olivem 1000. You can use those, too, as you can use any emulsifier you wish in this recipe. 

What combination do I like? I generally go for cocoa butter with shea and soy bean oil for a greasier feeling product with Polawax or Ritamulse SCG. I really liked the black cocoa butter version I made as well. (No, I don't know where you can get it. The shop from which I bought it, Creations from Eden, doesn't carry it any more. If you're in Canada, check them out for other butters, like the golden shea butter, which is less greasy feeling and much stiffer than the refined stuff I normally buy!)

48% cocoa, mango, or kokum butter
25% shea butter, coconut oil, or babassu oil
5% Incroquat BTMS-25, Incroquat BTMS-50, Rita BTMS-225, Polawax
5% stearic acid
5% cetyl alcohol
10% oils

1% Phenonip
0.1% Vitamin E (anti-oxidant, optional)
1% fragrance or essential oil

Add physical exfoliating ingredients at up to 100% into the product. (See more below)

Melt everything except the the cool down phase in a heat proof container in a double boiler until all the ingredients are well melted. Remove from the heat and add the preservative, fragrance oil, and Vitamin E. Add your exfoliant and mix well. Then pour into a mold and put in the fridge or freezer until set. Let sit for 24 hours before using.

Add up to 100% sugar, salt, beads, seeds, loofah, baking soda, and so on. It really is your preference. If you are using sugar, you may need to add more than 100% because the sugar will melt into the warm oils - if you can stand the waiting, let it cool a bit before adding the sugar. You can add the salt right away into the hot oils. It will melt slightly, but not enough to be concering. Clay and jojoba beads will melt in the hot oils so you will need to let the mixture cool a lot - they really aren't a great choice here because you'll have to wait so long, the bar might actually solidify while you're waiting for the right temperature. Personally, I'd leave those for oil based or emulsified scrubs.

To forestall the question I always get asked about scrubs with exfoliants, I add them extra to the recipe. My base - the recipe above - should total 100%. Then I add exfoliants on top of that. That's because I like to use the base for a few different products, including foot scrub bars, and I use different levels of exfoliants for other products.

My personal preference as an exfoliant is sugar. It's inexpensive, it rinses off well, it melts away in the shower, and it feels great. You can combine exfoliants to make all kinds of combinations. You'll see on Monday that I like pumice and baking soda at 80/20 for a foot scrub bar.

Another question I'll get is about the preservative. I have chosen Phenonip because it can handle heat. I can't really use liquid Germall Plus here because it needs to be added at 50˚C or lower, and our bars will be getting quite solid by then. You can use any preservative that can handle heat in this recipe.

If you want to make a less greasy feeling product, use less greasy feeling ingredients like mango butter, babassu oil, any of the BTMS emulsifiers or Ritamulse SCG. If you want to make a greasier feeling product, go for cocoa butter, shea or coconut oil, and a greasier oil, like soy bean oil. It's up to you. I suggest you make a small batch to see if you like the combination you've chosen before making hundreds of these as gifts. (Because you will want to give them to everyone you know! I know I do!)

Related posts:
Back to Basics: Emulsified scrub bars
Black cocoa butter emulsified bars
Incroquat BTMS-50 in solid scrub bars
Formulating anhydrous scrub bars for different skin types
Road trip essentials: Solid scrub bars

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid
One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - a hand lotion
One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - foot cream

Join me Monday for foot scrub bars with stearic acid, and join me Saturday for another Weekend Wonderings!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - a thicker foot cream

Stearic acid is a natural inclusion in a cream. In fact, you can thicken any basic lotion into a cream by adding some stearic acid. We took a look at a hand lotion yesterday. Let's take a look at a cream today.

Actually, let's back up a second. What's the difference between a cream and a lotion? Or an emulsified body butter and moisturizer and creme and... There are no definitions for anything other than a lotion, which is a product that uses an emulsifier to bring together oil and water. You can call a thick, rich cream a facial moisturizer and a thin, sprayable lotion a body butter. There are no definitions for it. We have an idea of what it means when someone says a product is a cream versus a moisturizer, but that isn't necessarily so.

In this case, what I mean by a cream is a product that is quite thick and should be pumped out of a bottle or scooped out of a jar. For this product, I definitely recommend a nice, sturdy pump, not a teeny tiny treatment pump you'd use for a thinner lotion, like a moisturizer.

I'm basing this cream off the recipe you can find as a newbie recipe in this post, but we'll make some modifications. I want to use this as a foot cream, so there are some things I can change to ensure it'll be a nice lotion!

When I'm making a foot cream, I'm thinking greasy and thick. I want something that goes on well and moisturizes even better. I want something that will help my completely trashed heels feel softer and hydrate dry skin. And I don't want to use fancy and expensive oils here. This isn't some frou-frou moisturizer with live plankton and seaweed extract that comes in a 30 ml shiny glass bottle. Nope, this is a thick, buttery cream you can make by the bucketload intended to be slathered on your feet and covered up with your very thickest socks!

My first thought is to include two humectants into the mix to draw water from the atmosphere to my skin. I'll include glycerin at 3% and sodium lactate at 2% to get the most hydration possible. You could use something like hyaluronic acid at 1%, but why would you use something expensive and decadent like that on your feet? You probably don't mind the slight stickiness of glycerin on your feet all that much, and it's a great humectant.

As a note, I once made a foot lotion that was 25% glycerin! I know, right? Sounds insane, but it was totally awesome. I can't share the recipe here as it wasn't my original creation, but I can suggest that you could substitute 25% glycerin for 25% water in this recipe and see what you think. It will make your feet feel quite cold, so be aware of that, and you may even have pruny toes in the morning as it's quite hydrating! 

When I make foot creams, I generally include an oil that contains a lot of Vitamin E, which softens skin, and linoleic acid, which will help speed up skin's barrier repair mechanisms. My first choice is generally soy bean oil because it's got a lot of both, and has a one year shelf life. It's a greasy feeling oil, but do you care that much about greasiness when you've got a lovely pair of socks on? Rice bran oil is another lovely choice, and has a shelf life of about a year. It's less greasy feeling than soy bean oil. I'm actually going with rice bran oil as I'm out of soy bean oil, but either would be lovely here.

When it comes to butters, I can use just about anything here. Cocoa butter is generally my first choice as I always have it in my workshop, plus it's a great barrier protectant, but any butter will do. Shea butter will feel a bit greasier, mango butter less greasy.

We're using stearic acid here to make a thick, tenacious lotion that will go on and stay on for quite some time. You could substitute cetyl alcohol or another fatty alcohol if you wish, but doing that will miss the point of this series!

One thing I love to add to foot lotions is menthol. I use menthol crystals at 3% in the heated water phase, but you could use peppermint essential oil at 1% in the cool down phase. Menthol can make your feet feel cooler and increases circulation, both of which are awesome for foot products.

Sometimes I add up to 1% camphor essential oil and 1% eucalyptus essential oil into the cool down phase to make the product smell like Vick's, but I didn't have any of either, so I left it out. It is a really neat smell and clears your sinuses up something fierce!

54% distilled water
3% glycerin or other humectant of choice
2% sodium lactate
3% menthol crystals

15% rice bran oil
10% cocoa butter
7% Polawax or BTMS-50 (8% e-wax NF)
3% stearic acid

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

Please use the basic lotion making instructions for this product. If you want more detailed instructions, click here for the cream making tutorial. As with all my lotion recipes, you can substitute any oil for any oil, any butter for any butter, and any oil with any butter and vice versa. You can substitute 10% aloe vera for 10% distilled water, add a nice water soluble extract, or change the essential oils. It's really up to you!

What did I think of this lotion? I really like it. I do think sometimes I want to leave out the menthol because it's annoying to have to get up and wash my hands of it before going to bed, but I do like the cooling effect it has. It's a very thick cream that still feels like it's on my feet in the morning. I think I'll up the glycerin to 5% next time (removing 2% from the distilled water amount) as I do like the feeling of hydration it offers.

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid
One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - a hand lotion

Related posts:
Using peppermint in foot care products
Foot lotion becomes foot cream
Body butter becomes foot cream
Creating a foot cream, part one (click "newer post" to get to the other parts)

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at making a solid scrub bar with stearic acid!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - a hand lotion

If you've never used stearic acid in a lotion before, this is the lotion recipe I recommend as a great starting point. It's a small variation on the basic lotion you'll find in the newbie section of the blog, but it's a great way to learn what stearic acid brings to your product. As I mentioned yesterday, stearic acid will thicken your lotion more than cetyl alcohol, and it can feel a bit draggy on your skin. I know that doesn't seem like a selling point, but a hand lotion made with stearic acid feels a bit more occlusive and a bit more long-lasting than one without it or with a fatty alcohol.

For a hand lotion, I like to use less greasy oils. I'm normally a greasy lotion girl, but I don't necessarily want to get oily marks on my keyboard or iPhone after using it. (I will get some no matter what because lotions are inherently oily, but I want to reduce that feeling.) I'm using a less greasy feeling oil like hazelnut oil, macadamia nut oil, or evening primrose oil as the oil in this recipe. Fractionated coconut oil is always a great, extra light feeling oil that you could use in this recipe. 

When it comes to butters, my first choice is always mango butter. However, I have a slight addiction to babassu oil these days. It goes on greasy, but turns silky and dry in about 15 seconds. It's a great addition to this hand product! I'll use that in this recipe, but you could use any butter and still make something awesome. 

There's a joke that I'm getting paid off by the Babassu Advisory Council because I talk about it so much. I'm really not! I just love the stuff. It's a lot like coconut oil, but it has a less greasy and silky feeling finish! 

A quick side note: Remember, you can substitute any oil for any oil and any butter for any butter in any recipe on my blog and in the e-books. In fact, you can substitute any oil or butter for any oil or butter in just about every recipe you find! (Click this link from the FAQ to learn more!) When you do that, however, you can end up changing the skin feel, viscosity, colour, and so on. Not the biggest deal in the world, but for this recipe, if you use a more greasy feeling butter or oil, you may get a more greasy feeling product. 

For the emulsifier, you can use Polawax or Incroquat BTMS-50. If you wish to use generic e-wax, you want to increase the amount to 7%. If you want to use Ritamulse SCG, increase the emulsifier to 8% and make sure you don't accidentally go over 25% total oils, butters, stearic acid, essential/fragrance oil, and other oil soluble things as it could ruin the lotion. 

The lotions made with Incroquat BTMS-50 and Ritamulse SCG will be thicker than those made with Polawax. That's just the nature of those emulsifiers! 

Please note, this recipe does not work with BTMS-225, which has an INCI of Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol. Check what you have before you order it from your supplier or use it in this recipe! 

I'm adding glycerin at 3% as a humectant and 0.5% allantoin as a barrier protectant ingredient that can help with cracked, chapped, or wind burned skin. As usual, if you don't have these ingredients, feel free to leave them out and just add 3.5% water to make up the difference. 

I'm adding dimethicone to the cool down phase as I am a little worried there'll be a soaping effect with the product. Again, it's not a huge deal to have that effect and I like dimethicone, so it's win-win! 

66% water
3% glycerin 
0.5% allantoin

13% evening primrose oil 
5% babassu oil 
3% stearic acid
6% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)

2% dimethicone
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
(This doesn't total 100% because of the difference in preservatives!)

Please use the basic lotion making instructions found in this post. If you want more detailed instructions, please check out this post on beginner lotion making

You can change a lot in this recipe, if you wish. Add some proteins at 2% in the heated water phase. Add a hydrosol or aloe vera at 10% in the heated water phase in place of 10% distilled water. Try 2% beeswax in place of 2% of the oil for a longer lasting lotion. 

What do I think of this lotion? I think it has just the right amount of greasiness and silkiness for my tastes. It's a little thicker than my normal version with cetyl alcohol, but I feel it stays on longer. There was a tiny soaping effect, so I might try 3% dimethicone in the next batch, but I'm really not that worried about it.

Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid
One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - a hand lotion
One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - foot cream

Related posts:

Join me tomorrow as we make a thicker cream using stearic acid! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid

Poor stearic acid. It's often overlooked for its glidier, silkier cousin cetyl alcohol, but this fatty acid is an inexpensive way to thicken a lotion, anhydrous body butter, lotion bar, and more.

Stearic acid is a saturated, long chain fatty acid with 18 carbon molecules, which is to say it is a chain of carbons and hydrogens with a carboxyl group (that COOH you see at the end of the chain) at the head. It's called an acid because this carboxyl group is called a carboxylic acid. It's found in most of our oils and butters, and can be found in the human body in our muscles.

It isn't an emulsifier, but it can help to stabilize an emulsion and it's a great thickener for our lotions. It is considered as part of the oil phase in the HLB system - its HLB value is 15.5 - and it has a melting point of 69.6˚C, which is why we must heat and hold our lotions at 70˚C or higher when using stearic acid. (We should do this all the time, but it's especially important when we're using stearic acid or a butter or oil that contains stearic acid!)

Related posts:
Why do we heat & hold our lotions?
Why do we heat & hold anhydrous products?

There is an emulsifier you can make from a combination of stearic acid and triethanolamine (TEA). (As an aside, Lush uses this emulsifier all the time in things like their Dream Cream and Helping Hands lotion.) These combine to make an alkaline soap that emulsifies oil in water. I have never tried this combination before, so I'll refer you to this great article about vanishing creams and how to make this emulsifier!

I know I mentioned this a few paragraphs above, but I think it bears repeating: Stearic acid on its own isn't an emulsifier. When combined with TEA, it creates a type of soap that can emulsify. You can't just use stearic acid as an emulsifier as it will fail. 

You're probably quite familiar with how to use stearic acid in lotions if you've read my blog for any length of time. It's suggested to include it in the heated oil phase at up to 5%, but I like to use it at 2% to 3%. The more you use, the thicker the product will be. You can add it to shampoo and conditioner bars to make it more solid, although cetyl alcohol is probably a better choice as it works in conjunction with the cationic quat compounds to offer more conditioning. Because it is saturated, it is considered resistant to rancidity, so it's got a long shelf life.

Why use stearic acid as a thickener? It's inexpensive and has a long shelf life. You could thicken a lotion with 5% butter, but 3% stearic acid will be more effective and much cheaper than any butter you find.

Why use it instead of cetyl alcohol? It's great for products where you want a lot of thickening, like a foot or elbow cream. It easily changes your body butter into a more tenacious cream. Yeah, it can be more draggy than a fatty alcohol, but do you care about that if it makes your cream stay on longer?

It also offers a slight cooling sensation, which is another reason I use it in my foot creams!

There are a few down sides to using stearic acid. The first is that slight draggy feeling you get when you apply it. I don't really mind it all that much, but some people say they don't like that skin feel.

The other is the potential for the soaping effect. This is when you get that white film on your skin after applying your lotion. You can compensate for this by using dimethicone at 2% to 3% in the cool down phase of the lotion, use less lotion on your skin, or not really worry about it as it's just there for a few minutes, then it goes away!

Related posts:
A few questions about stearic acid

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at how we can use stearic acid in a lotion! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Are there any oil soluble humectants? A reminder about coconut oil in the summer

Happy Victoria Day, everyone! I'm off today, lying on the couch, and trying not to get upset about last night's Game of Thrones. (And to those of you who might yell "spoilers!" at me. Every episode makes me cry. I have no idea why I keep watching it!!!)

Thanks for all your positive thoughts on me going part time, and thanks for all the great ideas on how I could supplement my income! I really appreciate all the expert advice you have offered, and encourage you to keep it coming! I'm not a business woman - as you can probably tell with all the giving things away for free stuff I do around here - so this is a very unfamiliar place for me. So many of you entrepeneurial types have approached me to offer support and guidance, and I feel so lucky!

Also, thank you for all your kind words on the spammers. Last night, we had only one who posted a few things, then seemed to give up. Woo! We may be winning the fight! I am still moderating comments on posts that are more than 2 weeks old, but if we can make it a week with only a few spammers - we'll never be rid of them, unfortunately - then I can go back to the previous commenting system.

In this post on humectants, SwiftyNoLonger wrote: Are there oil-soluble humectants?

Fabulous question! Hmmm, not that I know of off the top of my head. I know it's been said that olive oil is a humectant, but I haven't found any evidence for that. Lecithin might behave as a humectant, so that might be a choice for an anhydrous thing.

Humectants are hygroscopic because of the hydroxyl groups attached to the chain. This is a glycerin molecule - the hydroxyl groups are the OH groups representing bonded hydrogen and oxygen atoms. You might recognize OH from alcohol - the majority of humectants are poly-alcohols or polyols. The strength of the humectant is dependent upon on the ratio of hydroxyl groups to the carbon atoms. Glycerine has three carbons and three hydroxyl groups - a very nice ratio indeed!

Oils don't have hydroxyl groups or those "OH" groups, so if this is the only way for something to be a humectant, then an oil cannot be a humectant. There may be some molecules within our oils that contain these groups and they might be able to be a humectant, but I haven't found any proof of this yet.

Related posts:
The humectants section of the blog
Glycerin: The science

A quick reminder for everyone as we go into the summer months, neither coconut nor babassu oil works as a good base for a whipped butter, lotion bar, or other thing that could melt at 24˚C or 76˚F. All you have to do is leave that fabulous lip balm in your pocket or in the car, and you'll have a pile of greasy mess before you know it! You can use it in lotions without issue, but anhydrous or non-water containing products that contain it as the main ingredient will end up all over your stuff!

A few relevant posts that might interest you...
Coconut oil? Coconut oil! 
Why don't we use coconut oil in sugar scrubs?
Coconut oil in warmer temperatures

Friday, May 20, 2016

Comment moderation is on for posts older than 14 days....

Update: I have moved to asking everyone to log in with a Google name or Open ID for the time being. As well, any comments on posts older than 14 days will be moderated as that's how the spammer was working. I will allow anything that isn't spam or something mean! 

The spammer, Aiken Barlow - - won't stop spamming me. So we're moving to moderation until Google listens to me that this person is a spammer. I have reported each comment as spam and the Google+ page as being owned by a spammer. It still won't stop.

I definitely encourage you to visit Aiken Barlow's Google page to see what he/she is doing. Report them as spammers. Look at this spam on this post and know that I'm dealing with this BS all day and night. 

I have to see all the notifications in my inbox and go through the spam. I'm done for a bit dealing with this. Wondering why I haven't responded to your comment or message? It's probably lost in this endless morass of crap from Aiken Barlow's spam.