Experimenting with Xanthan Gum

I'm currently experimenting with gums (xanthan, next in line guar gum) and open to other thickeners for FSG. I'm interested in hearing from any and all curlies & wavies (different porosities and textures etc) with using thickeners in FSG.

I have a few faithful curly test-tubes who are helping me in my product development by generously globbing on whatever goop I give them and reporting back, but if I can get the feedback and advice of you expert ladies (if I try to explain porosity and texture etc to my friends they roll their eyes) I would be much indebted.

In return for any advice & or wisdom on thickening FSG, I will pay you back by sending you free bottles of my product once its fully developed, preserved, packaged, etc. If I ever get that far!
Texture: fine-medium
Porosity: high-normal
Elasticity: normal
Experimenting with making my own products. Hair loves protein.

Comments

  • mesuemesue Registered Users Posts: 244 Curl Neophyte
    I think I used too much with my first batch although I added the amount suggested in the forum and also put it through a blender. I kept having to thaw out plain FSG and add it to the portion with the Xanthan gum and I still never liked it as much as without it. The consistency was what I wanted, but the batch with XG didn't spread through the hair as well and I don't think it worked as well either. I have a new batch without it ready to go but I haven't used it yet. When I see how that does, I will decide if I want to try adding XG again but in a smaller amount.
    Sue

    Axed the perpetual ponytail and went curly on 1/6/2011.
    Hair Properties: 3a/b, fine-medium texture, thick density, normal porosity.
    Location: FL
    Still experimenting with products and routine.
    So far, I like: FSG, GTTTT, V05 Conditioners, protein treatments, this towel.

    "Well, as soon as we get ourselves cleaned up and we get a little smellum in our hair, why, we're gonna feel 100% better about ourselves and about life in general." - Ulysses Everett McGill
  • IAgirlIAgirl Registered Users Posts: 2,540 Curl Neophyte
    I've used Xanthan gum and it was too hard or else not enough (no middle-ground). I once made a gel with 3/4 cup (6 oz) water and 1/4 teaspoon each of Xanthan and Guar gums (not even any FSG) and it held... okay. Maybe a combination of the two, added to your FSG will work well. Guar gum is a little bit "conditioning" by itself, so that's a good thing!

    Last week I also tried cornstarch and it was comparable to Xanthan gum. I would use 1/2 teaspoon, dissolved in cold water first -- then added to the strained FSG (1 cup/8 oz/250 ml) and re-heated to boiling to thicken. This MUST be beaten with a blender or it becomes a little too rubbery. As a thickener, though, it was adequate and inexpensive. It made the gel a little whitish and I don't know how that would work for a brunette. Arrowroot powder or tapioca starch would not give any "color" and those might be better options.

    My favorite thickener is still hydroxyethylcellulose because it gives a lighter, less rubbery feel and seems to add hold. It is not terribly expensive. You buy it as a powder (online).

    The good thing about these gums is that if you decide you don't like one or the other, you can use them in food! I made chocolate pudding with guar gum once.

    I did try fruit pectin, used to thicken jams and jellies and I was not impressed with it at all for FSG. It got too thick, like jam, and did not spread well.
    Good luck!
  • Farah85Farah85 Registered Users Posts: 90
    Girls,

    Thank you for your generosity again! It is truly appreciated!

    So, I think I'm going to give hydroxyethylcellulose a try. Anyone other than IAGirl have adventures (or misadventures) with it?

    I'm getting xanathan gum to work for me personally, but what ends up happening is that I have rainfall of little white flakes falling out of my head when I scrunch out the crunch. Like some curls would be covered with little white flecks where the gum didn't dissolve properly (DOES it dissolve?) and it would all fall out as I SOTC. I personally don't mind it, but I bet clients would. Last thing I want to do is give them dandruffy shoulders.

    My faithful curly test tubes are giving me mixed reviews about the gum. The finer-haired curlies seem not to like it much. The curlies with thicker individual hairs are enjoying the extra hold.

    On to guar gum and sourcing some hydroxyethylcellulose.

    The chemistry geek in me is on cloud nine. I just wish I wasn't so rusty on my chemistry.

    On that note - IAGirl, do any books on hair chemistry exist? Or the chemistry of cosmetics? Or anything related? You seem to be pretty knowledgeable on all things physical and chemical when it comes to hair. It's badass! :headbang:
    Texture: fine-medium
    Porosity: high-normal
    Elasticity: normal
    Experimenting with making my own products. Hair loves protein.
  • kathymackkathymack Registered Users Posts: 9,999 Curl Neophyte
    I, too, prefer the hydroxyethylcellulose. I notice that it's used in a lot of my favorite products. Here's a link to it on lotioncrafers.com: Hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) - Lotioncrafter LLC It gives you a lot of information on using it, or any other thickeners you might choose to use.
    3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
    SE PA

    HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • curlyserfcurlyserf Registered Users Posts: 858
    kathymack wrote: »
    I, too, prefer the hydroxyethylcellulose. I notice that it's used in a lot of my favorite products. Here's a link to it on lotioncrafers.com: Hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) - Lotioncrafter LLC It gives you a lot of information on using it, or any other thickeners you might choose to use.

    This is the one I use, also. The only problem I had was one time it left tiny little globs in the FSG at first. They disappeared overnight with no additional issues. The package is going to last me a long time. I've made 6 or 7 batches and have hardly made a dent in it.

    Kerri
    2?/3a ??? ; fine; high density; normal porosity and elasticity
    color treated

    CURRENTLY USING:
    cleanse:Organix Vanilla Silk, Use Me Cleansing Cream
    rinse out/li:Ion Effective Care, Tresseme Naturals Radiant Volume (both with NPF added)
    stylers:Curl Keeper, UFD Curly Magic, & Alba Botanicals Strong Hold Gel
    PT:CJ Repair Me

    mod CG since August 2010
  • IAgirlIAgirl Registered Users Posts: 2,540 Curl Neophyte
    Why, yes there are books on the chemistry of hair/hair science. I was floored by the "usual college textbook price" and decided I could live without one (although if I can ever get one for a lower price, I'll grab it ;) . I searched Amazon.com. Another source (I know you have international shipping...) is Alibris.
    But mostly you can apply whatever you know about chemistry to hair. Hair carries a net negative charge, like most cells and tissues. Anything with a positive charge will bond to it (temporarily).
    Most of the gums and polymers (more-or-less interchangeable terms) you're using form a "cast" around the hair to hold it in place while it dries. Modified gums have added positive charges to help them bond to the hair (kind of pointless for a hair gel which you want to rinse off later).

    If you've had any biochemistry, then the protein structure of hair looks pretty familiar. But for most of us, it's what happens on the surface that matters most because we're not brushing our hair and handling it roughly.

    You might enjoy this blog: THE NATURAL HAVEN: The Academy
  • mesuemesue Registered Users Posts: 244 Curl Neophyte
    I have to amend my previous post where I blamed the Xanthan gum in my last batch of FSG for the poor results. I later remembered that the batch had been made with re-boiled seeds. I think it was the 3rd or 4th batch made with the same seeds. I made a new batch with fresh seeds and it is working much better, but I also cut down the amount of xanthan gum in addition to using fresh seeds.

    I think twice boiled seeds is the most I am going to do anymore. That said, I didn't like the texture that the xantham gum gave to the gel, and I still think it makes harder to distribute in the hair.
    mesue wrote: »
    I think I used too much with my first batch although I added the amount suggested in the forum and also put it through a blender. I kept having to thaw out plain FSG and add it to the portion with the Xanthan gum and I still never liked it as much as without it. The consistency was what I wanted, but the batch with XG didn't spread through the hair as well and I don't think it worked as well either. I have a new batch without it ready to go but I haven't used it yet. When I see how that does, I will decide if I want to try adding XG again but in a smaller amount.
    Sue

    Axed the perpetual ponytail and went curly on 1/6/2011.
    Hair Properties: 3a/b, fine-medium texture, thick density, normal porosity.
    Location: FL
    Still experimenting with products and routine.
    So far, I like: FSG, GTTTT, V05 Conditioners, protein treatments, this towel.

    "Well, as soon as we get ourselves cleaned up and we get a little smellum in our hair, why, we're gonna feel 100% better about ourselves and about life in general." - Ulysses Everett McGill

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