Q&A Quickies: Let’s talk about water – distilled, spring, mineral, alkaline, and reverse osmosis

For the love of all that is good and holy, do not use tap water in your products! It’s full of all kinds of things – chlorine, fluoride, metals, bits of soil, and so much more – that can mess up the clarity, stability, preservation, and general goodness of your products. Check out this post…...

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A few thoughts on how much fragrance oil to use in my formulas…

I’ve been formulating since 2006 and writing this blog since 2009, and fragrance oils have changed a lot during that time, becoming much, much stronger, so we need to use far less. Products into which I would have used 1% are now a bit strong at 0.3%. – so my recommendations are to use 0.1%…...

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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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Tips & techniques: How to add new ingredients into a formula that contains water

In my formulas, you might see me say something like – use 10% hydrosol in place of 10% distilled water – or – use 0.5% powdered extract in the cool down phase, remove 0.5% distilled water – and I thought maybe I should explain that a bit? Our formulas should always total 100%. There are…...

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Testing the shelf life of your products: Observing a naturally compliant lotion for rancidity

I realized I haven’t shared much about testing our products – a great question that came up in the live Zoom meeting about oils yesterday – so I thought I’d share my experiences with one of my favourite lotions for shelf life. Whenever I make a product, I like to observe it for 6 months…...

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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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