MemberMarch 10, 2015 at 11:29 pm
Number 1 - If you are asking for help about a formula - Include the formula! You can not get a good answer to any formulation questions if we don’t know everything that is in your formula. If you can provide the entire formula with amounts of ingredients that is ideal. But at the very least, please list all the ingredients that are in your formula. If you don’t want to list this information, then you won’t get good answers.
Number 2 - Don’t ask for formulas. This forum was not created to give away formulas. Some chemists make a living out of coming up with formulas so if you need a formula, you can hire a formulator.
But if you want a free starting formula I’ve put together a list with all the sources I know that have free starting formulas. Just go to the “Resources” section and click on the “Where to find free formulas” discussion. These formulas are a good place to get you started. When you run into problems after doing some experiments, then post your question to this forum for help.
Number 3 - Don’t ask questions that you could have just typed in Google to find an answer. So if you have a problem, first search the web, look in books to find answers. When you get stumped, then post your question on this forum. While some members on the forum do not mind answering basic questions, there are many who get annoyed and may respond with snarky comments.
Number 4 - Use INCI names when talking about ingredients. If you’re working with an ingredient and only know the trade name please go the extra step of putting the name in Google and finding out what the official INCI name is. It just makes it easier for people to know exactly what you are talking about. Often you will be asked to clarify if you haven’t provided this information.
Number 5 - Don’t just be a “taker.” At the moment, no one is getting paid to participate in this forum. People are here discussing things and answering questions because they want to help others. Asking questions is fine but remember to respond to other people’s questions if you have something to add. So don’t just take advice. If you can, be sure to give advice too. Also, show gratitude to people who take time to address your question. You might not like the answer but everyone here is doing their best to help.
Also related to the “taker” issue. If you have asked a question and gotten some responses, please update your discussion when you’ve seen the results of action taken. It is extremely helpful for people in the future who might be facing the sam e problem you have and can learn from it.
Number 6 - Tell us where you’re located. If you are looking for a chemical supplier be sure to tell us where you are located in the world. Most of the people on this forum are located in the US but over 40% of people are located outside the US. We can’t be of much help if you don’t share this information.
Number 7 - Don’t ask questions privately unless you want to hire the person you are contacting. The whole point of this community is to share our questions and answers.
Number 8 - Don’t hijack other people’s discussion. If you have a new question even if it is related to a previous discussion just start a new discussion.
I previously mentioned snarky comments so this is a good time to address expected behavior. While I don’t mind a little snark, this is meant to be a friendly, welcoming place so insults and abusive comments are strictly forbidden. I believe in free speech and for the most part won’t edit your responses. But if something strikes me as abusive or inappropriate I have no problem removing posts. And if there are numerous complaints about a member’s behavior or you are spamming the site, you will be removed. Fortunately, that has only happened a couple of times over the years.
If you have a problem with a post that you think is spam or abusive, click the “Flag” link on the discussion. I will be alerted and then can decide what to do.
But also, give people the benefit of the doubt. Text is not always an efficient way to communicate exactly what you want to say so something may come off as rude when it wasn’t meant to be. Do your best to view all comments in a friendly light. And develop a thick skin. No one is trying to make anyone else look stupid, feel bad or become embarrassed. Ask for clarification of what has been said before you get upset and start throwing out insults.
Remember we have people on this forum with a wide range of experience and backgrounds. We also have people to whom English is not a primary language. Please have patience in your responses. If a discussion annoys you, feel free to ignore it.
Additionally, this is meant to be a place to discuss formulating products, science and the cosmetic industry. This isn’t the place to talk about politics or religion or even your favorite sports team. Of course, I understand that sometimes we all have other things we want to discuss so if you want to talk about some other subject please use the “Off Topic” category or go post on Facebook or Twitter.
MemberMarch 11, 2015 at 3:48 am
@Perry If I am not mistaken I had taken up this issue with you few months back, I agree with @Iaskedbetter that we are here to advise on a current effort but we cannot initiate an effort for others. Let us all try to keep it a discussion board and as@Bobzchemist always mentions that there is Google for all the human needs )cheers
MemberMarch 11, 2015 at 8:14 am
This about Google is absolutely right! I think we are not here just to have company and chat but to ask about our real needs and problems on cosmetics. So if you have a problem, first you must search well the web or your books to find answers and then talk about it to the forum. It’s better to find the answer by yourself than to take it from another person…
Personally, the most of the needs that i have, are about performance of various ingredients in formulas.
MemberMarch 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm
Here is my Top 5
1) Do not request complete/finished formulations.
The best way to get help on this forum is to show that you
actually need help and are not trying to use us to do work for you. With that,
if you have an existing formula that isn’t working out, post it and ask for
some feedback on your problem. If you don’t have a formula, do some research
and try to come up with one yourself first. If it doesn’t work out, then ask
for help or feedback.
BAD: I’m trying to make a nice hair conditioner. Can anyone
provide a formula I can use to start?
GOOD: I’m trying to make a rinse-out hair conditioner that
improves wet combing and gives the hair a lot of shine. I tried this formula:
When I tried it I didn’t get the shine or the combing
performance I was looking for. Anyone have any advice on how to improve it?
2) When asking about stability issues, provide as much formula
composition (INCI names with percentages) and batching procedure information as
BAD: HELP! My cream is showing separation at 45C. Anybody
know why? I’m using (list of ingredients).
GOOD: My cream is showing separation at the top of the jar
in 45C after 1 week and I’m not sure why. Here is the formula:
(Insert formula and percentages)
Here is how I am making it:
(Insert batching procedure)
Anyone have any thought?
3) When asking about specific chemicals, try to use standard
BAD: I’m having trouble dispersing my pigments in a BB cream
formulation. Anyone know if I should try Salacos HS-6C?
GOOD: I’m having trouble dispersing my pigments in a BB
cream formulation. Anyone know if I should try Salacos HS-6C (INCI: Polyhydroxystearic
4) Avoid the word “best” at all costs. 99.99% of the time,
there will be no objective “best” anything for whatever you are looking for. If
you do use the word “best”, at the very least, make sure it is specific to a
certain formula, chemical(s), or attribute.
BAD: What is the best natural emulsifier for a skin cream?
BETTER (but not good): What is the best natural emulsifier
for a skin cream with 5% Jojoba Oil, 5% Shea Butter, and 2% Isopropyl Myristate?
BEST: I want to make a nice, silky skin cream that spreads
nicely during rub in. I am thinking about using ~5% Jojoba Oil, ~5% Shea
Butter, and ~2% Isopropyl Myristate. Does anyone have any advice for which
emulsifiers I can use that could be considered “natural”?
5) When asking about replacements of a chemical or raw
material, in addition to adhering to rules 3 and 4, include the following:
-the reason you want to replace the chemical
-the purpose the chemical is serving in the current
-any other attributes that need to be maintained in the
BAD: Can anyone suggest a replacement for PEG-40
Hydrogenated Castor Oil?
GOOD: Does anyone have any suggestions for replacing PEG-40
Hydrogenated Castor Oil in my sulfate-free shampoo formula? The formula is:
It is being used to solubilize the fragrance. I need to
replace it because our team doesn’t want PEG’s. The final product also needs to
MemberMarch 11, 2015 at 5:18 pm
IF you show up out of nowhere and start asking for too much help or complete formulations you just aren’t going to get what you are looking for. It is obvious most times when people have tried to research and just need a hand or whether they are looking for someone to do all the work for them for free.
Also those people that take, take, take and never have time to help anyone else just aren’t getting a response from me. Most here make a living from development in some form or another. While
many of us are happy to help each other, there has to be give and
take. Not all take.
MemberMarch 11, 2015 at 6:17 pm
Partly agree with you @DavidW. You can easily spot the people who are “takers”. However, I realize that a lot of people use this site as an educational tool, and aren’t in a position to give sage advice. I think a general “best practice” would be to:A) Show gratitude towards those who try to help and,Update your thread with results of the things you have tried. Even if the suggestions you tried don’t work, it is helpful to get feedback and sometimes knowing what doesn’t work is just as, if not more valuable than knowing what does work.
MemberMarch 11, 2015 at 7:38 pm
Those are good ideas. I would just like people to participate instead of always taking.
MemberMarch 11, 2015 at 9:57 pm
@Iaskedbetter Great basic guidelines.
I would like to add that people should introduce themselves in the introduction thread before requesting information/help.
Also, if you are asking for suppliers of a particular chemical tell us how much you want and where you are located. There is no point you telling us that you want xxxx chemical and then we tell you that you can buy 200kg drums of xxxx from a supplier the USA if you are are only making 200 gram batches at home in Europe.
MemberMarch 15, 2015 at 7:00 am
yep I agree, Iaskedbetter. I’ve already answered a few questions that don’t meet those guidelines in the last couple of days!Is there anyway to “pin”/”stick” this thread to the top of the forum so it’s more visible?
MemberMarch 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm
I’ll make this one stay at the top.
MemberMarch 16, 2015 at 11:47 pm
Well, the simplest solution when you see a post where it is apparent that the poster has not first bothered to do their homework is to just not provide any information. You can’t stop anyone from asking, but you certainly can stop yourself from answering.
MemberMarch 17, 2015 at 5:02 pm
@MarkBroussard Unfortunately I think doing that hinders or even prevents growth. Ideally, we (or at least I) would like to see this small community grow. And it doesn’t have to be just experienced chemists and people within the industry. Home crafters, new techs/chemists, and small business entrepreneurs who are genuinely interested in learning about cosmetic/personal care chemistry can be great resources themselves if they are willing to share their hurdles/learning experiences. Ignoring people is basically slamming the door to our community in their face. I think we can get more people involved here if we at least try to help them help themselves first (if they seem to have put little effort into doing so).
MemberMarch 18, 2015 at 2:57 am
Well, I agree that the community growing is a laudable goal and I am more than happy to help anyone where I think I have some sound advice to offer. Likewise, I am very appreciative of the contributions other members have made in answering any questions I may have.But, here’s where we differ in viewpoint. I do not have time, nor am I willing to share my expertise and diligent research with someone who is simply looking for someone else to put together a formulation for them, or solve a problem for them, when there is no evidence that they have first tried to solve that problem on their own.You cited the perfect example in your first post. The “culprit” joined the community and immediately was looking for someone here in the community to put a formulation together for them. But, if you have time and the inclination, by all means, point them to the proper protocols.I don’t know if Perry has promoted the site to the members of the various chapters of the Cosmetic Chemists Societies, but certainly, we can all benefit from each others’ experience. Oftentimes, a question from a homecrafter raises some interesting issues.
MemberMarch 19, 2015 at 4:48 am
I’ve read a number of posts that are very demanding and rude and have been surprised by it. I can understand how the experts would be offended and not interested in assisting. On the other hand, I am keenly aware most of you are much more knowledgeable and experienced than I am. I’ve been nervous about asking anything or even initially making an introduction. I’ve spent a lot of time researching, learning, experimenting with formulas but it’s intimidating to ask a question here just based on all of your backgrounds. My question might be very obvious to those here even if I have spent time on the subject myself but can’t figure it out. How do I establish that I’ve done background work?
There are those of us new to this and trying to learn to do things the right way. There are brazen one timers, too. The brazen ones will probably never stop. I think Iaskedbetter has a good point in that those who are sincere may get lost in the mix.
Okay, that’s my supply of courage for the week. As always, thanks for all you guys share.
MemberMarch 19, 2015 at 5:49 am
@NVaughn: I’m self taught although I have been a chemistry teacher in the past, so at least I understand stoichiometry and acid-base reactions and so on. However, cosmetic chemistry bears only a superficial relationship to general chemistry.My first experiment involved using hair gel to obtain some off-the-shelf carbomer gel; organic shea butter, glycerine, some aloe vera, because that was what Evelyn & Crabtree had on the label of a tube of cream that actually worked.To my surprise I was able to create a reasonable copy, and decided to pursue the subject.Most of the people here are far more knowledgeable than I, although I do have a few useful specialities. I’ve posted complete formulae developed here, for anyone to use. I will help in an instant to the best of my ability a person who is developing or modifying a formula; but I find it a complete turn off if someone posts a LOI of INCI names a yard long, typically ending in “linalool” and asks how to make it.
MemberMarch 19, 2015 at 1:49 pmIt is easy to establish that you have done background work. Simply state the problem you are trying to solve, post your formula, and describe what happened. And don’t be sensitive. As scientists, we are in the business of educated trial-and-error, so we know all too well that a formula might work perfectly on paper, but when you actually try to make it, you will encounter problems.I think what you are encountering is more an issue with not providing the proper information for someone to even begin to have an idea of what might be causing the problem, much less how to solve it.
MemberMarch 19, 2015 at 5:05 pm
How can we all better
help the community when asking (or answering) a question?
(or your research) for you. Do not request complete/finished formulations
unless you have already looked at the sources for that information and found
nothing helpful. If you show up out of nowhere and start asking for extensive
help, or otherwise demonstrate that you don’t want to do any work yourself, you
just aren’t going to get what you are looking for. It is obvious most times when people have
tried to do research and just need a hand or when they are looking for someone
to do all the work for them for free.
2) Introduce yourself in the introduction
thread before requesting information/help. The newer you are in our
community, the more necessary it becomes to explain your situation and why you
need our help, especially if you are asking for information that most chemists
could find on Google with a quick search.
3) Do not DEMAND help. Being that rude is
a good recipe for getting nothing at all, ever. No one in this community is
getting paid to do this, and we have NO obligation to help you – or even to
respond to you at all. Asking nicely and politely works much better. Also,
those people that just take information but never have time to help anyone else
are eventually going to find this community much less helpful. While many of us are happy to help each
other, and even first-timers, there has to be give and take. Not all take.
4) Please don’t ask questions privately.
The whole point of this community is to share our questions and answers. If you
do need to ask a private question, due to privacy/trade secret concerns, don’t
be surprised if the person you’re asking requests a consultants fee for an
5) Please don’t hijack other people’s
discussions, but if you don’t understand something about that question or its
answers, ask us about it. If you want to ask anything that’s different than
the original question, START A NEW DISCUSION.
6) Do NOT ask for an amount of help of the
kind and/or quality that would ordinarily require you to pay a consultant for.
Don’t request complete or detailed manufacturing procedures, Standard Operating
Procedures, equipment info and/or sources, etc. This is all info you will have
to pay a consultant for.
MemberMarch 19, 2015 at 5:06 pm
use correct English, or at least as close as you can get to it. Proofreading
helps. Also, if you are not sure of how to say or ask something, tell us that –
don’t just assume that we will automatically know what you are asking,
particularly if English isn’t your first language.
have or develop something of a thick skin. Nuance is hard to communicate in
print – but we can guarantee that no one here wants to make you look stupid, or
feel bad, or embarrass you. It is much more likely that something here that
upsets you is the result of a too-quick and/or thoughtless response. Please ask
for clarification before getting angry or flying off the handle.
wait patiently for an answer. Or a response, etc., and please let us know how
things turned out. Asking a question, getting an answer, and then going
away without helping the rest of the community by sharing your results is going
to make most of us very reluctant to answer your next question. If multiple
suggestions are made, please identify what suggestion you used to solve your
problem in your follow up. It will help the community, add some credence to the
suggestion, and help future people looking at the discussion. In addition, thanking
the responders for their help is the only payment they get – please keep that
use a descriptive title. Not just “help, xyz does not work”. Also, post as
much information as you can relating to the issue – the more detailed you are,
the better we can answer. Consider refining or elaborating on your question if
you are not getting the answers you really think are helpful,
asking about stability or formulation issues, please provide as much formula
composition (INCI names with percentages), batching procedure and equipment
information, and any other information about your problem as possible. Be
SPECIFIC! Please also tell us what your status is. Our answers will be
different if you’re a professional chemist than they will if you are a DIY
kitchen formulator or if you are a small business.
asking about specific chemicals, use standard CTFA/INCI nomenclature AND trade
names, and be as specific as possible. Please don’t make us have to look
information up ourselves if we don’t need to. When asking about alternatives
or replacements for a raw material, please include at least the following info: the reason you want to replace the
chemical, the purpose the chemical is serving in the current formulation, the
type of formula it is, and any other attributes that need to be maintained in
the overall formulation. If you are asking for suppliers of a particular
chemical tell us how much you want and where you are located. There is no point
you telling us that you want xxxx chemical and then we tell you that you can
buy 200kg drums of xxxx from a supplier the USA if you are are only making 200
gram batches at home in Europe.
MemberMarch 19, 2015 at 5:13 pm
Sorry about the formating glitches.
MemberMarch 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm@NVaughn, I think @MarkBroussard has it right. Here’s an example I came up with, based on what @Iaskedbetter wrote:BAD: HELP! My cream is not stable! I’m using (ingredient X). Why is my cream failing? What can I do to fix it? I can’t tell you any more about the other ingredients because I want to keep my formula secret!BAD: HELP! My cream is not stable! I’m using (incomplete list of ingredients). Which ingredient is wrong?BAD (but slightly better): HELP! My cream is showing separation at 45C. Anybody know why? I’m using (complete list of ingredients, but no percentages).GOOD: My cream is showing separation at the top of the glass stability jar in 45C after 1 week and I’m not sure why. Here is the formula: (Insert formula and percentages)Here is how I am making it: (Insert batching procedure and equipment settings)Anyone have any thoughts?
MemberMarch 19, 2015 at 5:33 pm
Here’s another example, again based on what @Iaskedbetter wrote:BAD: I’m having trouble dispersing my pigments in a BB cream formulation. Can I use Salacos HS-6C?BETTER: I’m having trouble dispersing my pigments in a BB cream formulation (Insert formula and percentages). Anyone know if I should try Salacos HS-6C (INCI: Polyhydroxystearic Acid)?BEST: I’m having trouble dispersing my pigments (list of pigments and percents) in 500ml of BB cream formulation (Insert formula and percentages) after 15 minutes of homogenizing with a Silverson L4RT mixer using the square-hole screen at 3,000rpm and at 60C. After homogenizing, I stir down to room temperature at 50rpm using a paddle stirrer, which takes about an hour. When the batch is finished, it looks beige/light brown, but turns dark brown when I rub it into my skin. Does anyone know if I should try Salacos HS-6C (INCI: Polyhydroxystearic Acid) for better pigment dispersal? Is there anything else that someone could recommend? Is my procedure OK?
MemberMarch 21, 2015 at 4:32 pm
Thank you to all.
@bobzchemist, I hope one day I can pose a question in that last “Best” format. In the meantime, I will always do my best to be respectful of the experience here and post as much detail as possible. But, sometimes I am just unsure of a general dilemna, ex, which thickener is best to use along with ECOmulse and sodium carbomer when trying to get a smooth cream with a soft, silky skin feel. If it is best that I figure that out through my own experiment I can handle hearing that, though. I just want to know if it is okay to ask something like that.
@belassi - thank you so much for sharing your beginnings. Gives me hope and I dare say other beginners who take a look here.
MemberMarch 24, 2015 at 6:25 pm
@Nvaughn, I wasn’t talking about the type of equipment you had access to, I was talking about the level of detail. You can do this with almost any activity. For example:Bad: I made some ice.Better: I filled an ice cube tray with water, put it in the freezer, and I used the ice after it was frozen.Best: Into a silicone rubber ice cube tray that has 12 square cavities arranged 2×6, I added 250 grams of Kansas City tap water. I then placed the filled tray into a Kenmore freezer operating at 10F for 3 hours. When the tray was removed from the freezer, the water had completely frozen into ice.
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