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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Q&A: De-ionized or de-mineralized water? Substitutions for liquid surfactants for oily hair? Corn starch in Neal’s Yard Products?

I’m working my way through the August Q&A now, but it’s hard to answer in short paragraphs when I see all the wonderful things you’re asking that send me off down rabbit holes! In the August Q&A, Melanie asked, I used to be able to buy distilled water easily, now it is almost impossible where I…...

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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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Members’ Q&A: Tips or tricks for using glyceryl caprylate/caprate?

In the April Q&A, Kirsten asked: Hey here’s a question…have you played with glyceryl caprylate caprate? I am considering playing with it, and wondered if you had any insights, or “for the love of God…don’t do ——-” lol. I haven’t used this ingredient, so let’s take a look at some of the things I found out…...

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Mixing surfactants: Slowly and gently with a fork?

I mentioned this on Facebook and the old blog in the digest for the week, but I want all my writing to be in one place, so I’m sharing it here, too.  When you’re making surfactant based products like shampoo, body wash, facial cleanser, bubble bath, and so on, mix very slowly in a zig…...

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Separation in surfactant based products, like shampoo or body wash? Let’s troubleshoot it!

I’ve also been receiving so many questions about surfactant based products, like shampoo, body wash, facial cleanser, and bubble bath, separating, and I don’t think I know what you mean by that term “separate”. I’ve only once had something that appeared to be separation in a body wash, and that was one that had glycol…...

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Using powdered surfactants like SCI or SLSa in liquid products

I’ve been receiving quite a number of questions over the last few months about adding solid surfactants like sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa) to liquid products, like bubble baths or body washes. The short answer is that you can’t incorporate these powders well into liquid products as they will either re-solidify…...

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