With all this talk about natural emulsifiers and surfactants, I thought we’d get into a little chemistry about sapogenins and saponins!  Saponins are steroid or triterpenoid glycosides that have amphiphilic or amphipathic features. They are grouped together by having “soap like foaming qualities they produce in aqueous solutions” – in other words, when you put … Read more


So what the heck are terpenes? We see them mentioned a lot in information about essential oils, but what are they and do they benefit us as bath and body formulators in any way? Terpenes are organic compounds, the major building blocks within nearly every living creature. For instance, steroids are derivatives of the triterpene … Read more

Experiments the workshop: Using disodium cocoamphodiacetate & decyl glucoside

Sorry, I didn’t get around to formulating with the emu oil as I’ve been running around testing everything with my pH meter, and got into the surfactants bin in the workshop! I’ll have some posts on emu oil shortly!  My husband has started calling me “magpie” because I’m easily distracted by shiny things!  Now that … Read more

Emu oil

Voyageur has recently started carrying emu oil (INCI Emu Oil), so I thought I’d try it out. So what’s the big deal with this oil? It’s reported to be a good anti-inflammatory, skin cell regenerator, anti-bacterial, and non-comedogenic oil. Are these claims all true? Interestingly enough, there haven’t been a ton of studies on this oil … Read more

Substitutions: Figuring out what’s important in a conditioner

If you want to make a recipe, but don’t have all the ingredients, substitute…with one exception – the cationic quaternary compound or conditioning agent. Identify the cationic quaternary compound (usually Incroquat BTMS-50, but sometimes Incroquat BTMS-25, cetrimonium bromide, or cetrimonium chloride) and make sure you don’t substitute that for something else. A conditioner is not … Read more