Thursday, February 16, 2017

Updated oil comparison charts for download

I've finally amalgamated all the information I have on oils into one handy dandy little chart for download as a PDF file. I'll have this permanently linked in the side bar and in the emollients section of the blog.

I'm sad I have to say this out loud, but considering the recent plagiarism I've had to deal with, it's not okay to copy this chart and use it to make money by selling it as part of a book or in a class for which you're being paid. Please post a link to this page if you want to share it. Please don't post the chart to your own blog; please just post the link so people will visit here and not get the idea that you're the one who compiled it. Have I covered all the potential bases so it's really clear that it's not okay to make money from my work or make other people think it's your work? Wow, this makes me really sad that I have to write this here...

You can, by all means, use it as a reference or quote from it - that's what we all do every day, and citing one's sources is what we do every day as writers, at school or work. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Newbie Tuesday (on Wednesday): Gels, gels, gels! An introduction to Sepimax ZEN

We took a look at how to use Ultrez 20 yesterday, so let's take a look at using Sepimax ZEN in our gelled products today.

Sepimax ZEN (INCI: Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6) is a pre-neutralized polymer we can use to create thick gels without having to do a lot of mixing.

It works well with electrolytes, so we can use it to make gels from aloe vera and surfactant mixes easily. It can handle acidic pH levels, so we can use AHAs and glycolic acid at up to 4%. As it’s anionic or negatively charged, we can’t use positively charged or cationic ingredients, like honeyquat, polyquat 7, or Incroquat BTMS-50 in it. (Having said that, I have been able to make some things work, which you'll see shortly...)

Sepimax ZEN is awesome with surfactants. At as low as 2% it increases foam and lather, and leaves behind a moisturized feel.

Sepimax ZEN can be thickened by mixing for about 10 minutes. Start with a lower speed – around 500 rpm – and move to 1500 rpm. Or weigh all the ingredients into a container, mix a bit to integrate the ZEN, then leave it for up to 8 hours to hydrate. But you have to leave it alone! (Okay, you can take a look from time to time, but don’t mix it or you’ll ruin it!)

It advertises on the fact that it can incorporate vegetable and seed oils as well as esters, like C12-15 alkyl benzoate, to create cream gels. It says it can do up to 40% oils, but I've had trouble going above 10%.

As an aside, it’s a great addition to a product that wouldn’t normally handle electrolytes, like a lotion made with Aristoflex AVC. (Look for those posts soon!) 

Sepimax ZEN is fantastic for making aloe vera gels as it can handle all those electrolytes! I’ve used up to 30% aloe vera with 3% ZEN to make a thick, hydrating gel. (Easiest way to do it – aloe, water, preservative, ZEN – let sit for 8 hours.)

I've found it makes really clear gels, too, like the one you see to the left. It may make a clear gel for surfactant blends, but won't for products that contain oils thanks to the joys of emulsification.

How much can you use in a product? I’ve found that 3% is a very very thick gel, so I generally stick to 2% to 2.5% in a product. You can go lower, depending upon the ingredients you use. I suggest playing with it in your favourite recipes and keeping great notes on how it works! You'll see me using all kinds of amounts in the recipes we make in this series as well as others.

BASIC SEPIMAX ZEN GEL
96.5% distilled water
0.5% liquid Germall Plus or preservative of choice
3% Sepimax ZEN

Add the distilled water and preservative into a container and mix. Sprinkle Sepimax ZEN on the water. Wait 8 hours. Do not mix during that time. I know you want to, but don’t! After 8 hours – ta da! You have a lovely thick gel!

Or you can put the powder in the water, mix lightly with a fork until the product is wetted, then start mixing. Start at a lower speed with a beater on a hand mixer, then move to a higher speed for about 10 minutes.

I've found that when I mix the product, it's not as thick as the version that sits for a while. But choose whatever works for you best!

We can create the gel the way I've done above, then add ingredients to it, or we can add the ingredients into the container, then gel it. In general, I tend to put all the ingredients into the container, then let it sit for 8 hours. You'll see examples of those kinds of recipes next week and the week after. 

As an aside, I know I didn't suggest buying Sepimax ZEN when I shared the shopping list, but you can get it at Voyageur Soap & Candle (Canada) and Lotioncrafter (USA), so I'll be discussing it in this series as well as the Ultrez 20. 

Join me next Tuesday to play around with Ultrez 20 and ZEN to make some awesome facial products! 

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)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Newbie Tuesday: Gels, gels gels! An introduction to Ultrez 20

I do love playing with gels. I can thicken a toner, make an eye gel, create a new facial cleanser, formulate an after sun gel with aloe, and so on. Let's take a look at two ingredients I've been using a lot to make gels lately - Ultrez 20 and Sepimax ZEN.

ULTREZ 20 (INCI: Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer) 
What is this exciting polymer that makes ooey gooey fun? From Lubrizol: "A self-wetting rheology modifier designed to impart moderate-to-high viscosity as well as stabilizing and suspending properties to personal care applications." In other words, it's a white powdery thingie that you add to water to create a gel that will thicken your creations.

Sounds awesome, but there's always a down side, eh? Gels don't tend to play well with electrolytes, cationics, or salts - three things we may want to include in our gels. Ingredients like aloe vera or sodium PCA contain a lot of electrolytes and salts. Cationic or positively charged ingredients are things like cationic polymers like polyquaternium 7 or honeyquat, as well as Incroquat BTMS-50 and some hydrolyzed proteins. (For instance, I know the silk amino acids from Voyageur Soap & Candle thins out Ultrez 20 thick gels.) As well, the final pH of a gel with Ultrez 20 should be around 4.5 to 5, so you can't add things like glycolic acid or AHAs easily.

Ultrez 20 notes that it can handle up to 10 to 12% surfactants, which isn't a lot, so this isn't the thing to thicken up a body wash or bubble bath with 40% to 50% surfactants. (Having said this, I have tried it and it will work well for a few months, so if you're going to use it quickly or want to make something like bubble goo for the kids, have fun!) It is great if you want to thicken up a facial cleanser with 10% surfactants that simply don't want to thicken any other way! Try thickening this foaming facial cleanser we made for foamer bottles with Ultrez 20.

I'll be sharing some surfactants that don't thicken well with Crothix or salt in the next few weeks, and they work well with this gellant! 

What do I mean by "it won't work well"? If the gel doesn't like your ingredients, it'll stop being a gel. It's not the worst thing in the world as the product will still work, but it won't be a gel any more. Or it'll thin out to be a thin gel instead of the thick version you want.

Here's the basic way to make a gel as recommended by the manfacturer (with my notes).

1. Add your Ultrez 20 to water and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon how much powder you have used. (0.5% takes 3 minutes, up to 3% takes 5 minutes). Mix gently to get all the flakes wet. You'll know they're wet enough when they are transparent or clear in the container, like the picture to the left.

2. Add your anionic surfactants (check the information on your surfactant - for instance, coco betaine is an amphoteric.)

3. Add the neutralizer. This is a very alkaline ingredient that you add to the very acidic Ultrez 20 to create the gel. You can use an 18% sodium hydroxide solution, an 18% potassium hydroxide solution, or triethanolamine.

If you're using an 18% sodium hydroxide or lye solution, you'll want to use 2.3 grams of this solution for every 1 gram of Ultrez 20. If you're using triethanolamine, you'll want to use 1.5 grams of TEA to 1 gram of Ultrez 20. You could also use something like an 18% solution of potassium hydroxide at 2.7 grams to 1 of Ultrez 20, but I haven't tried that, so I can't guarantee anything, but it should work well.

If you choose to make the 18% lye solution, weigh out 82 grams of distilled water into a heat proof container, like a Pyrex jug, and add 18 grams lye to it. Mix well, then let it sit undisturbed until it cools down. (The container will get very very hot. This is an exothermic reaction or one that generates heat. How awesome is that?) When it has cooled, put into a clean bottle with the words "THIS IS LYE. DO NOT DRINK. IF YOU DO, AND YOU DIE, IT'S NOT MY FAULT. I DID WARN YOU" on it and store in a safe place.

4. Add amphoteric surfactants, silicones, cationics, salts, etc. in that order.

5. Add pearlizing ingredients like mica, glycol distearate and so on.

6. Add fragrance, dye, and preservative (you don't need to add preservative if you've done it in the gel).

So basically what you are doing is adding these gel flakes to water, getting them wet, then neutralizing the process with 18% lye solution or TEA to create a gel.

MAKING A THICK GEL WITH ULTREZ 20
96.5% distilled water
1.2% Carbopol Ultrez 20
1.6% triethanolamine or 18% lye solution*
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or preservative of choice)

Follow the directions as noted above. As you can see in the picture, this makes a very thick gel that works well when you add liquids to them to thin it out.

When I'm using gels, I do one of two things - I make up a gel and add ingredients to it or I add the ingredients I'm using in place of some of the distilled water amount you see above. For instance, I might use 10% rose water and 86.5% distilled water for a product. Or I could make up this gel, then add 10% rose water. Adding something to the gel after it's made will thin it out, which isn't a bad thing as it's very thick.

Related posts:
Gels (revised for 2013)
One ingredient, five products: Gels
One ingredient, five products: Gels - making an aloe vera gel
How to make an eye liner sealant with gels
Formulating an under eye gel: Raymond's creation
Oil free gel moisturizer or make up remover with PEG-7 olivate
Gels: Hair styling products
Gels: Surfactant-y fun with gardener's hand scrub
Gels: Make a gelled toner
Gels: Hand sanitizer

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at using Sepimax ZEN as a gelling agent. We'll take a look at using these gels next Tuesday for the Newbie Tuesday post! As an aside, I know I didn't suggest buying Sepimax ZEN when I shared the shopping list, but you can get it at Voyageur Soap & Candle (Canada) and Lotioncrafter (USA), so I'll be discussing it in this series as well as the Ultrez 20.

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)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: How can you incorporate a preservative into a shampoo bar?

In this post, Liquid Germall Plus, Irina asks: Could you be so kind to show us the process itself, how do you incorporate a preservative in to solid conditioners and shampoo bars, please? Preservatives are heat sensitive, but bars are getting had, not pourable way before 40 C, how do you manage to put the preservative in the bars and make sure it mixed well? Also which one do you use for the bars? Please explain.

Not all preservatives are heat sensitive. For instance, Phenonip or Germaben II, the preservatives I use in my shampoo and conditioner bars, are fine at up to 70˚C, so you can use either. So many preservatives are not heat sensitive - Cosmocil CQ is fine at up to 80˚C, as are the Liquipar preservatives, like Liquipar Oil or Liquipar Optima. (Rather than me listing every possible preservative, please check out the preservatives section of the blog for more entries on preservatives.)

For my bars - I can't believe I haven't written about these bars in a while considering they're something I use all the time! - I add the Phenonip or Germaben II into the container as they are heating, then pour them or scoop them into molds.

Related posts:
Shampoo bars for dry hair
Conditioning shampoo bars for oily hair
One product, five recipes: Shampoo bar
Conditioner bars

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Facebook page for this blog

I wanted to let you know about the new Facebook page for the blog, which you can find under swiftcraftymonkey! I'll post there when I've written a new post here, when I've put out a new e-zine, when I have new classes coming up, when I find an interesting article or picture elsewhere, and more. I'm also on Twitter as @SwiftCraftyM

I admit I'm not great on social media as I tend to be more about the writing than the pictures, but I am trying! It's the wave of the future and all that stuff...

Please visit the Facebook page above rather than friending me or messaging me on my personal page. I definitely won't be answering any personal messages through my personal profile and the Facebook page any more as it's just too much work on top of writing the blog, answering e-mail, or writing on Patreon. Feel free to post on the Facebook page and I'll do my best to answer it, but my focus is always on the comments on this blog and the Patreon feed

I couldn't think of a picture relating to social media, so I put a picture of baby Sasja playing in her tubes. There's something about this picture that reminds me of the end of the theme song for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, season 2, when she sings "BLAM!" I know, weird, right? 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day class at Voyageur Soap & Candle

The rains have come to wash the snow away, so I'll be able to make it to Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, BC, this Saturday from 10 to 2 to offer a Valentine's Day themed class! Join me to make an awesome soy candle, a cocoa butter and babassu massage bar, a dry brushing and massage oil, fragrant soy wax melts, and a luscious whipped body butter in time to celebrate with your sweetie or enjoy for yourself.

If you're interested in this class - or any of my other classes - please call customer service at Voyageur at 604-530-8979

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Information on my Patreon site and how to subscribe, if you're interested

I'm seeing a lot of new people here, no doubt thanks to the issues around plagiarism I've been facing over the last almost two weeks. And a number of you said I should get the information out about my Patreon subscription site, so I'm sharing it with you again today. I post there regularly, and you can find things like how to duplicate a recipe and a question and answer section. This month I started a thread for sharing and troubleshooting your fails. There are different levels of subscription: If you are interested in the e-zines - which you can find here - subscribe at $10 a month to get one each month. If you don't really care about those, you can subscribe at lower levels of $1, $3, or $5. 

As you may or may not know, my work hours were cut to three days a week in May of last year. I took quite a few months off without pay to look after my mom. (I'm still off work as of today, but hoping to go back in March.) Patreon was a great way for me to be able to take that time off and create more content for the blog rather than looking for a second job. 

Thank you so much to all of you for your wonderful support. I really do have the loveliest readers!

Please note that the money raised by the e-zine and Patreon site goes to my family. We continue to donate every penny raised by the sales of the e-books to the Rated T for Teen youth programs Raymond and I run. 

That's what it looks like outside my door right now! We've had record snow falls since last week, and Raymond had to spend hours shovelling and getting the car out. (It's that pile of snow to the middle right of the picture!) It's been nice being in the house together with baby Sasja, and the forecast calls for more snow tonight then freezing rain, so I think we might be indoors a little longer! I'm hoping for a crafting day tomorrow, if the power stays on!