Monday, January 16, 2017

Newbie Tuesday: Creating a facial toner (part three) - introduction to cosmeceuticals

When last we met - which was a while ago, sorry! - we were looking at modifying a basic toner recipe using humectants, hydrolyzed proteins, cationic polymers, and more. This week I'd like to take a look at modifying the recipe further using what we call cosmeceuticals.

What's a cosmeceutical? They're "cosmetic products with properties very similar to a pharmaceutical product (drug-like benefits)". (p. 295, Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology.) In other words, they are active ingredients we add to our products to offer a specific benefit, like anti-aging, creating a more uniform skin tone, alleviating acne, and so on. You can never make a claim that the product you make with those ingredients will fix, heal, or repair anything, but that doesn't mean you can't include ingredients in your products that might be of benefit. Ingredients like co-enzyme Q10, niacinamide, or MSM would be considered cosmeceuticals.

You already know of my love of allantoin, and we've already been working with it in our toners, but it's a great example of a cosmeceutical or a cosmetic ingredient that offers all kinds of benefits, like protecting our skin from the elements or increasing the water content.

How can we add these kinds of ingredients? First check to see if they're water or oil soluble. Toners are all about the water, so our ingredients have to be water soluble. If they aren't, then check to see if you can use something else or if you could add something to the toner that would make them more soluble. Or consider using it in something more suitable, like a serum or a moisturizer.

I'm having a love affair with niacinamide. Studies have shown that 2% in a facial moisturizer can increase skin's keratin, ceramides, and barrier lipids which results in a reduction of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and an increase in collagen synthesis. 2% can result in a 23% reduction in sebum production and pore diameter. It can reduce hyperpigmentation of age and sun spots. And it can reduce the damage from environmental causes, which reduces the irritation, inflammation, and skin redness from things like the sun, cold, or weather as well as application of straight SLS.  Even at 5%, there's a lack of irritation and redness on our faces ('cause sometimes niacin can make our skin flush, but not at 2% or 5%). It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and decreases skin blotchiness and "pebbling" or roughness on facial skin. It also behaves as an anti-inflammatory and enhances skin's barrier functions.

It is a water soluble, heat tolerant ingredient, so you can use it in the heated phase of a product, and it's suitable for toners. I generally use it at 2% in the heated phase or dissolved into a little warm water that I add to my toner.

Related post: Making a facial toner with niacinamide

Niacinamide works very well with n-acetyl glucosamine, so I've been using that at 4% in toners lately. It's a bio-identical ingredient that can reduce hyperpigmentation in the skin, that can also increase hydration by increasing the production of hyaluronic acid in our skin.

Related post: Making a water in silicone serum

We could also add a water soluble oil, something like PEG-7 olivate or water soluble olive oil, that's been modified to mix easily with water. Adding 3% to a toner can offer some great moisturization for skin that likes oils without having the hassle of using a sticky solubilizer.

Related post:
Oil free gel moisturizer with water soluble olive oil
Making a facial cleanser with water soluble olive oil
As a note, there are so many links to making things with this ingredient in the post above, so check it out if you're interested in learning more!

An ingredient I'm asked about a lot is salicylic acid, which is great for acne prone skin. Unfortunately, it dissolves very poorly in water - 1 gram dissolves in 460 grams of water, and that's not even close to the 0.5% to 2% we want to use in a product - but works well in alcohol or glycols, like propylene glycol, so if you wanted to use it, you'd have to first mix it with one of those ingredients, then add that to the toner and mix well.

For instance, you can dissolve about 2 grams of salicylic acid in 10 grams of alcohol or propylene glycol, then add to that to the toner.

On top of knowing how to dissolve SA, you do have to consider how to reduce the pH of the product as well, as it should have a pH of around 3.5, so you'll need to get a good meter and find different ways of reducing the pH, like using citric acid.

If you're interested in learning more about incorporating salicylic acid into your products, please visit this post in which I included a whole bunch of links from Friday, January 13, 2017.

Personal Formulator FAQ 
UL Prospector article about using salicylic acid

If you don't want to go through all the hassle of using salicylic acid, consider using another version of the ingredient. Would something like willow bark extract, which is water soluble, work in this product? Yes, it would, and you can get it as a powder or a liquid, both of which are easy to incorporate into a water only product. When I have a powder, I use it at 0.5% in the cool down phase. Use a little water to dissolve it, then add it back to the product and mix well. The down side is that you do end up with a toner that's a little on the brown side, but it won't show up on your skin that way. If this really bothers you, consider getting a liquid willow bark extract that is clear, like the one you see here, that can be used at 2% to 5%.

Related post: Formulating facial products with willow bsrk

What if we wanted to add something like co-enzyme Q10, an oil soluble cosmeceutical that behaves as an anti-oxidant that promotes collagen and elastin synthesis? Because it's oil soluble, you'd need to use a solubilizer like polysorbate 80, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, or PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil to incorporate the it into the water soluble toner, but I'd like to suggest saving something like this for a serum or moisturizer as these solubilizers can feel quite sticky on the skin when used like this. If you really want to make a toner with this kind of ingredient, my suggestion is to dissolve the powder into a light oil like squalane or fractionated coconut oil, then mix that with the solubilizer at equal parts - which may or may not work, depending upon the oil and solubilizer you use, so consider starting at 1:1 then moving to 2 parts solubilizer, one part oil, and so on until it mixes in well.

Having said this, when we start working with gels, you'll see how we can incorporate a bit of oil soluble ingredients into them to create oily gels, gelled toners, and other spot treatments. 

There are so many ingredients we could use in a toner, and it could take me all year to go through them one by one. We'll take a look at a few tomorrow, but I'd love to hear what interests you! Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)

If there's an asterisk beside a link, it means it'll take you away from my page to a supplier of those ingredients. These are not affiliate links; I receive nothing from these companies for clicking through or buying anything. As usual, I'm sharing where I get my ingredients from awesome suppliers.

Join me tomorrow as we look at a few cosmeceuticals we can include in our toners.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The new schedule for my classes at Voyageur Soap & Candle is here!

Hi everyone! It's a little late in the new year, but here's the schedule for the classes I teach at Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C.

I'm offering a few extra classes this season: Shorter themed classes like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day, as well as all day classes based on my e-books, like Lotion Making 101, Hair Care, and Facial products. As well, we're offering an Eco Skincare class in which all the recipes use plant based, green, and/or ECOcert ingredients, like Ritamulse SCG. Click on the link for all the classes and dates!

If you call and find out the class is full, please put your name on the waiting list and we'll do our best to create another date or two for another one, especially the more time sensitive classes, like Valentine's Day, for instance. And people could cancel, so you could be slotted into the first available date!

As well, I'm free to teach on Monday and Tuesday, so if you find the weekends don't work for you, please let us know and we may be able to offer the classes on another day. In short, let us know what interests you and we'll figure something out!

Thanks so much to Emily for the awesome picture of all the products we made in the facial products class at the top of this post! I absolutely love this picture! 

And to the right are the products we made in the Gels, gels, gels! class based on the e-zine with the same name! I love playing with gels! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Update on the Newbie Tuesday facial products series

I thought I'd share an update on my plans for what we're making next. I'm sorry we got off track recently, but I think I planned more than I could handle given what's been happening with our family lately. I think this schedule I'm planning out here is do-able, although there may be side trips to other topics, the way I ended up adding today's post on salicylic acid and acne.

Monday, January 16 - Toners and cosmeceuticals (theory)
Tuesday, January 17th - Toners and cosmeceuticals (recipes)
Tuesday, January 24th - Toner summary and recipe round up
Tuesday, January 31st - Gels, gels, gels - introduction to carbomers
Tuesday, February 7th - Gels, gels, gels - part two
Tuesday, February 14th - Gels, gels, gels - part three
Tuesday, February 21st - Gels, gels gels - summary and recipe round up
Tuesday, February 28th - Micellar waters - introduction
Tuesday, March 7th - Micellar waters - part one
Tuesday, March 14th - Micellar waters - part two
Tuesday, March 21st - Micellar waters and make-up removers
Tuesday, March 28th - Water soluble facial product round up
April and onwards: Facial oils and sera, moisturizers, products that contain oil

I'll put out the shopping list for the moisturizers and products that include oils shortly. Please note, we'll be working with oils with a longer shelf life - at least six months - as we probably won't get making those things until mid to late April and I'd hate to have your oils go off before we get to the end!

If you have suggestions for products you'd like to see in this series, please include your thoughts in the comments below. Please note we are not duplicating commercial products exactly, I'm just looking for some ideas for categories that look interesting, like micellar waters, for instance.

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)

A few resources that might interest you today about salicylic acid and acne

I found a few resources that might interest you if you're interested in learning more about formulating with salicylic acid in your products, something I'll be discussing as we get back to making toners in the Newbie Tuesday series on facial products, which starts again on Monday, January 16th.

What you see here is willow bark, not salicylic acid, but I don't have any of the latter at home and I really wanted a picture to go with this post! 

Formulating for acne for pharmacists - This is a really interesting document if you're interested in learning more about using salicylic acid and other powerful ingredients for acne. I will warn you that the formulae aren't by weight, but I trust that pharmacists won't steer us wrong, and they're using ingredients at much higher levels than we do at home. But it's an interesting read for learning more about how to formulate for acne prone skin.

As an aside, I had terrible acne as a teenager, and the only thing that worked for me was a prescribed sulphur product that I had to mix together myself. I think that's on this sheet! 

Solublity of salicylic acid in organic solvents - This is a great article if you want to learn about all the possiblities for dissolving salicylic acid. For instance, it dissolves at 1.592 M in propylene glycol or 2.087 M in ethanol.

Salicylic acid has a molecular weight of 138.122 g/mol, meaning that 219 grams of salicylic acid will dissolve in 1 litre of propylene glycol or 21.9 grams will dissolve in 100 grams of propylene glycol. So if you wanted to add 2% salicylic acid to your product or 2 grams of salicylic acid to 100 grams of product, you'd need to dissolve that 2 grams in around 10 grams of propylene glycol. (To be accurate, 2.19 grams will dissolve in 10 grams of propylene glycol.)

Using salicylic acid in our formulations - This is a great document from ULProspector about using SA, and I feel it offers a good picture of how much work it is to incorporate it into a product. (I prefer white willow bark as it is so much easier to use!)

Mixed-solvency approach (PDF) - This all about the different ways salicylic acid could be dissolved, and what combinations might be better than just one solvent alone. It really is a fascinating read, and the place where this picture arises. This is something I need to experiment with in the near future as I find it so interesting that we can add

Personal Formulator FAQ on salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is only slightly soluble in water, one gram dissolves in 460mL water. To incorporate salicylic acid to a formulation, the following methods can be used: 1) it can be added to the oil phase of the emulsion and heated to 80-85C 2) it can be added to a water phase containing sodium phosphate, borax, alkali acetates or citrates to increase its solubility in water 3) it can be combined with a glycol, such as propylene glycol and alcohol If crystalization occurs over time, the concentration of salicylic acid in glycol may be too high. The typical use level of salicylic acid is 0.5-2%.

Join me Monday when we start looking at adding cosmeceuticals to our facial toners!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It's all about the climate, baby!

What's the difference between these two bath bombs? Same recipe, same colourant, similar fragrance oils, same fractionated coconut oil, same molds. Why did the one on the right work out and the one on the right is making me sad with its powderiness?

It's all about the climate!

I became aware of this issue back in 2006 shortly after I started making products. I made a batch of that started to fizz and grow out of the molds only a few minutes after I'd packed them so tightly. After reading and researching, I learned this premature fizzing caused by too much water in the air - the humidity - and that it would be best to save bath bombs for a drier time of year. Well, that wasn't an option as I'm an impatient bugger and want to make things now now now!, plus there's really no such thing as a "less humid time" in this near rainforest place I live, so I adapted my bath bomb recipe to be all about the oils and not the water, and it works well...most of the time.

We have been experiencing a really dry spell of loads of snow and really cold weather for the last four weeks - which is not normal for us in southwestern B.C. - and the day we made our bath bombs at our youth program, the relative humidity was at 27%, the lowest it's been in three months! The kids who used their liquid colourants with reckless abandon were the ones who had the most successful batches because they added the bit of water to the mix that would normally come from the atmosphere.

As a note, you can save the crumbly bath bombs by spraying them with witch hazel or alcohol then pressing them into the molds again. Or you can throw about 50 grams of the mixture into 100 grams of Epsom salts and call it a fizzing bath salt! For a foaming, fizzing, salty experience you can add 20 grams or so of SLSa (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate), too. 

I've noticed Raymond's and my hair is almost completely straight, and I've stopped using my anti-frizz spray as there's no frizz to eliminate! My body wash and facial cleanser feel a bit drying, and my lips are getting chapped quite a lot. I've noticed my lotions packed with humectants don't feel as "bouncy" as they would normally, they feel like they're absorbing way too quickly, and I don't feel I'm getting all the moisturizing and hydrating I should. Thanks, lack of humidity!

Humidity affects so many things, so it's not surprising it affects our products and the way we perceive them. Things rust quicker in more humid environments, which is why we see more airplane storage facilities in Arizona and fewer in places like Vancouver, B.C. Humidity is the reason we see those little "DO NOT EAT" silica packages in our shoes or new electronic devices, and it's why Crazy Glue more effective in Florida, Hawaii, and Vancouver Island. "The cyanoacrylate glue hardens very quickly when trapped between two surfaces. The reaction is caused by the condensed water vapour on the surfaces (namely the hydroxyl ions in water). The water comes from the surrounding air, so obviously the air humidity is a factor that may affect bonding capabilities, or cause them to differ from application to application." (Reference)

There are so many interesting ways climate can impact our products, so let's take a few day to consider this idea. This will also be a concept I'll be including in my future posts when relevant as I think it's super important and can't believe I haven't addressed it before!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Whereabouts do you live in the world? What's your humidity like? What have you noticed with your products, and how do you adapt recipes to meet your needs? Are there other impacts you've noticed - for instance, you can't make sugar candy recipes well - from humidity or lack thereof? Please comment below!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekday Wonderings: Inaccurate shelf life information from a supplier? Choosing a supplier?

In this post, Why did I buy this again? Cera bellina, CJ asks: Can you tell me the shelf life of Cera bellina? I think it would be several years, but would like to be sure before wasting any ingredients! Also, if it's not too much to ask, can you also tell me the approximate life of liquid crothix, polysorbate 80 and glycerin? I think I'm being told a much too short span by the seller and would like a second opinion! Thanks so much!

There are a lot of factors that go into the shelf life of a product, so it's hard to give a definite answer. In general, we can say that this ingredient should last "x", but that can change based on the environment in which you keep it - cool, dark place versus a bright, sunny window - when your supplier opened their container, and so on. (For the ingredients you list, the latter three are at least two years.)

On top of this, these ingredients could have different shelf lives based on manufacturer. For instance, polysorbate 80 from manufacturer ABC could have a one year shelf life, while manufacturer DEF claims a two year shelf life. Again, ask your supplier for more information.

If you don't believe what the supplier has written on their site, ask them for a copy of the data sheet they receive from the manufacturer, do a search on Google using the INCI name of the ingredient, or read up about the ingredient at a manufacturers' site.

An INCI name is the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients name that every ingredient we use should have. For instance, cera bellina has an INCI of Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax. If you'd like to learn more - and I really encourage everyone to do so - please click here to read the post I wrote recently on this topic

Having said this, please don't ask your supplier for every single data sheet for every single ingredient you order as this is an incredible amount of work for them. If it's something unique to that supplier, that's one thing, but if it's something you can learn about in a Google search, please try that first. (I have never met a supplier who wasn't so rushed off her feet that she wasn't all business all the time!)

If you can't trust your supplier, find another one. If it seems your seller doesn't know anything about the ingredients they sell, find another one. If you think they're out to part you from your money dishonestly, find another one. They might be the only place that carries all the things you want in one place, but if you can't trust them to accurately give you a shelf life, how can you trust them with any other information they provide or trust the quality of the ingredients they sell? The things you are seeking can be found at all manner of suppliers - just about everyone carries polysorbate 80 and glycerin - so find someone whom you can trust. (I have lists of suppliers from around the world, which you can find on the frequently asked questions page.)

If I had a dollar for every time I heard Canadian customers complain about a certain supplier who is renowned for terrible service and rude, vulgar, and downright offensive interactions with people, I'd have enough to buy myself that lab homogenizer I so desperately want, although I'm not completely sure what I'd do with it. The excuses I hear? "Well, they've never been rude to me," or "They've always sent me things on time," or "They're the cheapest". Why would anyone want to work with people like this? I know it's important to save money, but you could be the person who never got supply X or ingredient Y, and do you really want that when you've designed your products around things only they carry or are on a deadline? But I digress...

When you get an ingredient, write down on the bottle when you received it. I have a cheap pricing gun my husband bought me to make this easier, and it's been a life saver! (Although, as you can see, the labels don't stick to every kind of bottle well...)

If you think you might not get to an ingredient for a while, consider freezing it. Almost everything you buy can be frozen - oils, butters, emulsifiers, water based ingredients - just make sure you leave some space for expansion for anything that might contain water. (You can't freeze finished products, like lotions and such. And I wouldn't freeze surfactants because it's a pain in the bum to heat them to integrate all the bits back in.)

So the short answer to your question is...find a supplier whom you can trust and ask them for that information.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: Other names for ingredients? Will this preservative be effective for this product?

In this post, Road trip essentials: Solid scrub bars, Neha asks: Can I use sodium benzoate as a preservative in emulsifying sugar scrub? My local vendor is unable to understand optiphen. Or can you help me with any other name for this preservative?

If you want to know more about preservatives, the first thing to do is consult the preservatives section of this blog. In that section, you'll notice I have general information about what we find in preservatives, a list of preservatives we can buy by name, and a downloadable chart, amongst other things.

If you click on "organic acids" - which I get might not be an obvious place to look - or search for "sodium benzoate", you'll reach this post on the topic. And here's what I wrote about it...

Sodium benzoate, a salt of benzoic acid, was the first chemical preservative allowed by the FDA for food products. It converts to benzoic acid, which is a good anti-microbial and fungicidal preservative, when it's in an acidic mixture. (Benzoic acid isn't very water soluble, so we use the sodium benzoate in water so it will dissolve and become benzoic acid.)

Sodium benzoate is bacteriostatic, which means it limits the growth of bacteria by messing with its metabolism, but doesn't kill it. It is also a recognized fungicidal ingredient.

The main problem in using sodium benzoate in our products is the pH level - sodium benzoate works best at pH 5 or less (possibly 6 or less), which means its use is limited to products more acidic products like toners or moisturizers with AHA or salicylic acid. You definitely want to own a pH meter if you're using this as your main preservative! Sodium benzoate is approved for us at up to 0.1% for food products and up to 1.0% for cosmetic and medicinal products. You don't want to use this with Vitamin C as studies have shown that together they can form benzene, which is carcinogenic. Geogard Ultra contains sodium benzoate as its preservative.

Reading this, does it seem like a good choice for an emulsified sugar scrub? No, because it isn't a broad spectrum preservative. (A broad spectrum preservative is one that kills off bacteria, mould, yeast, and other fungi. The preservatives we buy are called synergistic preservatives, which are combinations of preservatives intended to eliminate all the various contaminants we could see in our products.) We want something that protects us from all kinds of contamination, not just one or two types.

The other reason is that an emulsified sugar scrub is not acidic enough. Its pH is definitely above 5, which means sodium benzoate won't work well.

What could you use as a preservative? Is Optiphen a good choice? Again, check out the post I've written about it, then the update post on the topic as it relates specifically to scrubs. Optiphen isn't a broad spectrum or complete preservative as it doesn't contain a fungicide, so you'd have to combine it with something else.

A quick aside: If you want to know what's in Optiphen, look at the INCI name. It contains Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol. If another company is making Optiphen under a different brand name - we see this all the time for surfactants - the INCI name will be the same, and you can buy that instead.

To summarize: In an emulsified sugar scrub, you can't use sodium benzoate or Optiphen as they aren't broad spectrum preservatives. If your supplier doesn't know the name of what you're asking for, refer to the INCI name as that should be the same around the world.

Before I leave this topic...If you commit to learning one thing this year, learn about INCI names! It will save you gobs of money as you won't order the same thing three times from different suppliers, and save you time as you might be able to get all you want from one place. I know this isn't a particularly sexy topic, but it will save you more time, money, and sanity that you would believe possible. Check out at least the first two links below to learn more!

Related posts:
Weekend Wonderings: Learning INCI names
Learning this one weird trick will save you money...
What's an INCI name?
Substitutions: Reading INCI names
Reading INCI information
Getting to know INCI names