Using powdered surfactants, like SCI, SCS, or SLSa in liquid products and why they fail

I’m seeing a lot of people trying to use powdered surfactants in liquid products – like shower gels, body washes, bubble baths – and although I hate to be the bearer of bad news, this isn’t a stable or easy way to use them. These will start to solidify, leaving you with a bottle of…...

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Q&A quickies: Why do we have to allow the product to cool before packaging?

Why do we always say to package your product when it’s reached room temperature? Because we don’t want all that condensation in the bottle or the cap, which can happen when the product is even slightly warm. Before you know it, you have mold and other nasty things growing in the cap that’ll end up…...

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Q&A quickie: You don’t need to add a solubilizer with surfactants or emulsions

I’m about to say something pretty controversial, which you already know after reading the title: You don’t need to add solubilizer to your foamy, bubbly, lathery surfactants as they’re by definition surfactants, and they can do the job themselves. The very nature of a surfactant is that it has a hydrophilic or water loving head…...

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Tips & techniques: How to use a foamer bottle with diluted soap or surfactants

Someone shared this video from Aromatics International with me of someone showing you how to use a foamer bottle with liquid soap, and I thought maybe I could share some of my thoughts and a formula for diluting castille soap in one of these containers. Foam pump or foamer bottles were designed to create more foam…...

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Pro tip: Allantoin goes into the heated water phase – not the cool down phase – of emulsions

On January 28 on this blog’s Facebook page, I shared the links to the post on allantoin from January 17th here on the blog, and an interesting discussion sprung up, which I thought I’d share here and add more of my thoughts and links because all of a sudden, people are using allantoin in the…...

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Formulating tips & techniques: Substituting oils, butters, and esters for other oils, butters, and esters

In this post, Let’s formulate: Chamomile & aloe botanical summer time body butter (formula), Andrea asked: Can I leave isopropyl myristate (IPM) out (don’t have any) and add a different oil? Or just leave it out? The short answer is yes, you can substitute it. The longer answer is that unless I indicate otherwise in…...

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Discussion: How do you handle your large (and growing) inventory of formulating ingredients?

In the July Q&A, Marta asked, I was wondering how you handle your large (and growing) inventory of formulating ingredients. Do you truly discard them when they are beyond the stated shelf life? Perhaps you just know which ingredients you can store for longer than recommended. Or, perhaps everything is refrigerated (seems impossible). In knitting we…...

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Discussion: How do you keep track of your formulas? (Originally on Patreon)

In the December Q&A, Terri asked: My question is about recipe management and keeping ingredient inventories low but adequate to cover a given time period. I have been using a digital cooking app called Living Cookbook to create recipes and ingredients because it allows me to quickly scale them and create a shopping list when…...

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Subscribers’ Q&A: Can we cover our containers while heating and holding? Is colloidal silver a preservative?

In the June Q&A, Charlette asked: I never hear other people doing this–but does anyone ever cover their water phase while it’s being heated/held? I have a small glass sauce pan cover that I wash real well and swipe with alcohol so it’s clean and use it to cover the water phase. I have also used…...

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Discussion: How do you clean up after a day of formulating?

In the post, Discussion: How do you sanitize your workspace before formulating, Sarah wondered: Does anyone here have a favorite grease-cutting cleanser/method for cleaning little glass bottles and jars? I’ve tried very hot water, dish detergent and d-Limonene, but it still took many round of cleaning and I still don’t think it’s enough…am I going to…...

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