Q&A: What does palm- or coco- etc. mean in an ingredient name?

When we’re looking at INCI names, you’ll see things like stearate, palmitate, cocoate, and more. What do these names mean? When an ingredient is derived from fatty acids, you’ll see a name like sodium stearate or ethylhexyl palmitate indicating which one they’ve used. If you see laur- in a name, it means it’s derived from lauric…...

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Q&A: Why use cream of tartar instead of citric acid for fizz in bath bombs or solid bubble bath?

I wrote this last year, but didn’t share it, for some strange reason. It was supposed to come after the ingredient entry for cream of tartar last November… So why use might we use cream of tartar (INCI: Potassium bitartrate) instead of citric acid? Why do I use it in my bubble bath bars instead of citric acid?…...

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Viscosity: How to measure it?

Let’s take a minute to talk about viscosity. What is viscosity? The easy way to think about viscosity is about the thickness of a fluid. Water is thin, so it’s low viscosity, while glycerin is thick and has higher viscosity. I liked this definition that “Viscosity is resistance to flow” (reference), that more viscous things require…...

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Ester: Cetearyl olivate (simple ester)

Cetearyl olivate is an ester that’s derived from Cetearyl Alcohol – which is a combination of cetyl alcohol (16 carbon) and stearyl alcohol (18 carbon) – reacting with olive oil, which is a mixture of fatty acids that have been esterified, like cetearyl palmitate, cetearyl oleate, cetearyl stearate, and so on. (It’s like cetyl esters in…...

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Esters: Stearyl palmitate, simple ester

We took some time away from the ester series over the holidays, but it’s time to get back to learning more about these awesome non-greasy, silky, glidy emollients. Let’s take a look at another simple ester, stearyl palmitate. As a note, you can find all the posts from this series in the emollients section of the blog…....

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Reference post: How I’m calculating cost per gram for ingredients

I’ve been trying to include the cost of each ingredient in grams for the products I’ve been making lately, so I thought I should share how I’m figuring that out for future reference. You can see this in action in the recent Sisley Paris Floral Lotion duplication. I go to the supplier where I bought…...

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Esters: Cetyl ricinoleate – simple ester

Catch up on this series: Part one, the chemistry and nomenclature of esters; part two, types of esters and their sensory characteristics; and part three, chemistry of the sensory characteristics. We also took a look at the hydrolysis of esters, and simple esters!  Cetyl ricinoleate is derived from ricinoleic acid from castor oil, so it’s a palm-free…...

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#alltheingredients: Cream of tartar (INCI: potassium bitartrate)

I’m shocked I’ve never written about this ingredient before, so let’s rectify that mistake, eh? Cream of tartar is an an acidic ingredient also known as potassium bitartrate or potassium hydrogen tartrate* derived from wine making, and used a few different ways in cooking and creating bath and body products. We use it as a…...

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Esters: Cetyl palmitate, simple ester

Catch up on this series: Part one, the chemistry and nomenclature of esters; part two, types of esters and their sensory characteristics; and part three, chemistry of the sensory characteristics. We also took a look at the hydrolysis of esters, and simple esters!  Cetyl Palmitate is a simple ester, a white, waxy flake used as a…...

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Esters: The hydrolysis of esters

In the post on simple esters, I noted that we don’t want to use these in products that have acidic or alkaline pH ranges lower than 5 and more than 10 because they’re unstable and can hydrolyze. What exactly does this mean? Hydrolysis is “any chemical reaction in which a molecule of water ruptures one…...

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