Chemistry: The chemistry of humectants – water binding, hydrogen bonding, polarity, osmosis, and so much more!

Before we meet a new humectant, AQUAXYL™, let’s take a look at how humectants work! Before we start… Take a look at my humungous humectants section of this site, found under the “ingredients” tab in the menu bar. What does it mean that humectants have “water binding” ability?  Humectants are hygroscopic, meaning they draw water...

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The big post on hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids! (Updated October 31, 2023)

Welcome to what I think of as the big post on hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids, the post in which I try to address all the things you might want to know about these ingredients! We use a lot of hydrolyzed proteins around here. and I figured it was time to put together all the...

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Demythifying the myths: Stearic acid is not an anionic emulsifier

I can’t stress this enough – stearic acid is a non-ionic fatty acid that thickens anhydrous products and emulsions. It is not an anionic (negatively charged) emulsifier.  Sight, I thought we’d demythified this one years and years ago, but here it is, out in the wild, messing things up again. Out there in the world...

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Chemistry fun: How to read a molecule!

On this site and in my e-books,  I’ve been sharing diagrams of molecules to show you how their shape or composition affects the viscosity, surface tension, melting point, and other properties. I’ve realized I haven’t shared how to interpret these if you haven’t taken a chemistry class or if it’s been ages, so let’s do...

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Q&A: Can I use tetrasodium EDTA in an acidic formulation? If so, how?

In the monthly Q&A, Free Drey asked, Hi Susan, I had some questions about Tetrasodium EDTA. I know it’s suggested to be used in high alkaline formulations, whereas Disodium EDTA is better for pH under 8. If I only had Tetrasodium EDTA, could I use it in formulations under pH 8 if I adjusted the pH...

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