Question: Does glycerin draw water from your skin when the humidity is low? (updated)

I’m still on a quest to figure out the answer to this question…so let’s review information I’ve found so far. What is a humectant? “Humectancy or hygroscopy is the tendency of a substance to attract water from the surroundings by absorption and adsorption at defined conditions (temperature, humidity).” (page 26, this review). Is glycerin a...

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Chemistry Thursday (on a Monday!): Electrolytes

What are electrolytes? (And are they really what plants crave?) “An electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that make the substance electrically conductive. The most typical electrolyte is an ionic solution, but molten electrolytes and solid electrolytes are also possible. Commonly, electrolytes are solutions of acids, bases or salts.” (From Wikipedia). In other words, when you...

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Chemistry Thursday (on Sunday): Osmosis (updated)

What the heck is osmosis? “Osmosis is the movement of solvent molecules through a selectively permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, aiming to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides. It may also be used to describe a physical process in which any solvent moves, without input of energy, across a...

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Humectants: A lotion maker’s best friend or moisture thief?

I’ve always thought of February 27, 2009, as the official birthday of the blog as this is when I decided to blog every single day about some kind of bath or body thing, be it an ingredient, a recipe, or a fun fact to know and learn. One of the earlier posts was entitled Humecants are...

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Some questions I’ve been asked this week about xanthan gum

In this post on xanthan gum, Anonymous writes: Hi Susan! Just wanted to make sure I understood right, is it ok to use xanthan gum up to 2%, even for mild facial cleansers? Some say xanthan gum lowers the shelf life of products. Is that true? Lastly, I really like using polyquat 7 because it...

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Chemistry Thursday: What is a molecule?

What does it mean if something is a molecule? “A molecule is an electrically neutral group of two or more atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds.” (Wikipedia). In other words, a molecule is when you have two or more atoms bound together in some way. One atom does not make a molecule – hydrogen...

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Substitutions: Playing around with a basic recipe

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post on substitutions, I simply can’t make a substitutions list because substituting one ingredient for another is a matter of personal preference and context. There are some ingredients you can’t leave out – for instance, you must have an emulsifier in a lotion and no water containing product should ever...

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Substituting one ingredient for another

One of the things I’m regularly asked for is a list of things you can substitute with other things. (Recently from the post what do you want to know?) I’m happy to write something like that up…but every time I try, I’m bogged down by the idea that you can substitute so many things for...

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Question: What oils are good for your hair?

Sarah wrote in this post: I have a question… which oils would you please suggest for hair leave-in conditioners? I see you’ve mentioned coconut, camellia, sea buckthorn, jojoba, avocado in some posts, but is there a post that discusses recommended oils for different hair types (with reference to their properties)?  There doesn’t tend to be a huge...

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Question: How many oils is too many oils?

Darina e-mailed me to ask: My question is how many oils is too many?  What I mean is you are creating a formulation perhaps a lotion or a cream does there come a point where adding another base oil is just over the top and not beneficial. I’m experimenting with a cleanser at the moment....

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