Monday, February 28, 2011

What can you share about lotion making? What do you want to know?

As I've been writing this series on lotion making, I've realized there are so many little things I do to make lotions, both in formulating and the process itself, that I wasn't taught by someone else but learned along the way. And we all have those little things that we've figured out ourselves based on our supplies, our workshops, our equipment, and so on. So I'm asking you, my wonderful readers, to share your helpful hints on lotion making. Whether it's about ingredients, process, equipment, bottling, or anything else, please share it!

And what do you want to know that I haven't covered here yet? Those little questions that are driving you nuts or just one of those "why do we do that" moments? Please post your thoughts here. It's easier if it's all in one place so I can refer to it, but it's also a way that others can share their thoughts and help out!

Sponsored by readers like you: Fabric stencilling with freezer paper

I admit I'm addicted to stencilling because it gives me a chance to make funky personalized t-shirts and other fabric items with an X-acto knife, some freezer paper, and fabric paints. My How's That Made group has spent the last two weeks stencilling. Week one, we learned how to make stencils. Week two, we decorated some shirts! You can see some of the wonderful designs the kids made the in the group. (This adorable Hello Kitty is courtesy of Chayla!)

I didn't get a picture of Greg's fearsome Dalek or Samara's two shirts of zombie doom or many of the other 20-odd shirts that were created, but I think you can get a good idea of what is possible here.

I've found that Speedball inks are a good investment if you really want to make some serious stencilled items. They're cheaper in the long run - about $7.00 for a container, but one can last for years as you use so little - they're longer wearing, and they look nicer on the fabric as they sink in, rather than sitting on top. I've noticed the freezer paper is thinner than it used to be - Reynold's is now plastic instead of wax backed - so if you want to make a few copies of a shirt, visit your local butcher and get some thicker, wax backed butcher paper (ask nicely and they'll give you some for free!)

If you want to make your own freezer paper stencils, here are my instructions:

Page 1
Page 2
Some cute little stencils - great for newbies and kids! I love the little robot! He's so cute!

As you know, our youth groups are funded by readers like you who donate by buying the e-books, Back to BasicsHair Care Products: Shampoos & Conditioners, and Lotionmaking 101. If you'd like to learn more about our groups and what we do, please click here.

I'm posting these pictures here to encourage you to make these projects for yourself or share it with others in your life, and to thank you for all the support you've given to our youth groups. We couldn't do these programs without the donations you've offered, and we can never thank you enough for all that you've given to us! This is our way of showing you what you've given to our youth and how well they're using the resources! Aren't they fantastic?

Learning to formulate: More tweaking of light lotions

We know that a light lotion has about an 80% water phase, 19% oil phase, and 0.5% to 1% preservative.  And we know we can tweak that lotion silly with any ingredients we want as long as we stay within those guidelines if we want it to remain the consistency of a light lotion (You can reduce the water, increase the oil phase, and make your way to the 70% water lotion or even 60% lotion, if you wish!)

So what kind of changes can we make? Well, it depends on the goals of your lotion!

Let's say we want something that's a little thicker but still want an 80% water amount. We can add a butter to the mix - say 5% of something like cocoa butter, mango butter, or shea butter - or we can add more thickener. Adding stearic acid will make it thicker than cetyl alcohol or cetyl esters. I'd suggest using about 2% to 3% thickener in a recipe like this.

So let's say we want a more occlusive lotion and we don't want to use dimethicone for that purpose. Let's use 5% cocoa butter and 10% oils. This will give us a thicker, more occlusive lotion than one without cocoa butter. Or we could use 5% cocoa butter, 2% stearic acid or cetyl alcohol, and 8% oils to make a much thicker, occlusive lotion than the original.

Or if you wanted to make something occlusive with dimethicone, you could use 2% dimethicone (in the cool down phase), 3% cocoa butter, 2% stearic acid or cetyl alcohol, and 8% oils.

Or we could use something like babassu oil - did I mention I love this stuff? - along with a less greasy oil (let's say camellia seed oil as I have a lot at home) and some IPM and BTMS-50 to make a drier feeling product. Say 5% babassu oil, 8% camellia seed oil, 2% IPM, and replace the emulsifier with BTMS-50 for a light, non-greasy feeling product.

Or let's say we want to make something that would be considered oil free (although technically the C12-15 alkyl benzoate lotion was oil free because we used an ester instead of an oil). We could use 10% esters, 3% cetyl alcohol, and 2% cetyl esters, cetearyl alcohol, stearic acid, or another thickener to make an oil-free but thicker product.

There are hundreds - if not thousands - of different combinations you can try in all the lotions I've been writing about here. It all depends on what you want in a product!

Join me tomorrow for a quick summary of what we've learned so far!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An aside: Oily roots, dry ends

Take a look at your local drug store's shampoo aisle and try to find something just for oily hair. You can't. It's all for oily roots, dry ends. And this actually makes some kind of sense. If you have longish hair, your ends will be less healthy than the roots because they have been subjected to the outside world for longer, and have experienced the fun and excitement of increased friction. No matter how well you care for your longer hair, the acts of washing, drying, brushing, straightening, curling, dying, and other things will damage it, let alone things like getting longer hair caught in doors, laptops, and Dremels! (Having said this, I've always found the greasy roots, dry ends products never seem to do a good job of either!)

Don't try to solve this problem with your shampoo: This is a job for your conditioner. For your shampoo, concentrate on those things that will clean your hair and remove the sebum. Choose surfactants that will remove grease, like C14-16 olefin sulfonate, DLS mild, and so on. You don't really need to do much washing of anything below your shoulders because the goal is to remove the grease. If you're rinsing and repeating, wash the length of your hair to get rid of any environmental pollution and styling products, but only do it the once and very lightly.

Choose a good conditioner (click here and scroll down for recipes). You can go with something more oily for the ends, but keep it away from your scalp, because what's the point of getting all the oil out only to put it back? (During the colder times of the year, my husband and I often use my conditioner bar for the above shoulder hair and a more intense conditioner for the below shoulder hair as we don't want the oils we put in our liquid conditioner on our scalps.) And load your conditioner and leave in products with things that will reduce friction - silicones, silicone substitutes, oils, and so on - don't brush it so much, and definitely don't do the towel drying violently!

Learning to formulate: Light lotions

As I've mentioned before, a light lotion is one that consists of about 80% water and doesn't contain lots of butters or other thickeners. This is something you'd use as a body lotion or facial moisturizer as it's not sturdy enough to handle being a hand or foot lotion. It works out to about 80% water phase, 0.5% to 1% preservative, and 19% oil phase (the cool down phase comes out of the water and oil phase).

BASIC LIGHT LOTION RECIPE
HEATED WATER PHASE
80% water

HEATED OIL PHASE
4% emulsifier
15% other oily things like oils, cetyl alcohol, and so on

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% to 1% preservative

Pretty basic, eh? So let's do some tweaking within this basic recipe today, and then take it a few steps further tomorrow.

For our water phase, you know we can replace a lot of the water with some very interesting things like aloe vera, hydrosols, hydrolyzed proteins, humectants, cationic polymers, and so on. For the oil phase, we know we can use oils, butters, thickeners, and so on. And for the cool down phase, you know you can add extracts, panthenol, silicones, and so on. So let's figure out what we want to make!

What kind of product do I want to make? Is it a moisturizer, body milk, lotion, cream, or butter? For which body part is this intended? What kind of skin feel do I want? Do I have a specific outcome in mind? For what skin type am I making this?

We know I want to make a light lotion, so I think I'll make a light lotion for winter skin (since it's winter and the last time I made a detailed post about light lotions I made a summer product). I want something that's light and glidy and I'm not too picky about it being greasy because it should sink in quickly. Ideally I'll include some occlusive ingredients to help act as barriers to the outside world.

For light lotions, I'm generally concentrating on the water soluble ingredients to pack as many goodies into the product as possible, simply because I don't have a huge oil phase. I want to pick one or two oils at the most, and I want to maximize their qualities because I don't have a huge oil phase. So if I want something with anti-inflammatory features I could choose an oil full of phytosterols or I could use a hydrosol or extract that offer the same qualities. If I want an oil that feels less greasy, I could use a less greasy oil, an ester, or I could use BTMS-50 as the emulsifier. Because I have a small oil phase, I can't be using tons of oils to get the skin feel I want, so I have to rely on the water soluble ingredients more than with other products. (It's the same with moisturizers - focus on the water soluble ingredients to give your skin the benefits you want!)

I want to include aloe vera at 10% for its film forming and soothing benefits. For winter skin, I like to use either chamomile or lavender hydrosol for anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits. I think I'll go with lavender hydrosol today because I'm out of chamomile and use the chamomile as an extract at 0.5% in the cool down phase.

I want to include my humectants - let's say 2.5% sodium lactate and 3% honeyquat (it'll do double duty as a skin conditioning agent and humectant) - although I could use any humectants or cationic polymers I like. I think humectants are important in any lotion but more so in a light lotion or moisturizer because I'll be getting a lot of the moisturizing qualities from the humectants and film formers. Since I won't be including cocoa butter as a barrier ingredient, I think I'll add 0.5% allantoin to my water phase and 2% dimethicone to the cool down phase to take its place.

Oh, and I want to use some hydrolyzed protein as a film former and moisturizer in the water phase. Let's go with my usual 2%, but this time I'll use silk because it's a nice film former and moisturizer! And I want to add 1% fragrance.

We need to decrease our water amount by 29.5% to make up for the addition of these other ingredients. So our 80% water is now 50.5%. (We aren't removing 2% for the dimethicone as that comes out of the oil phase.) We still have 80% water soluble ingredients in this lotion in the form of water, aloe vera, hydrosols, humectants, cationic polymers, and extracts!

HEATED WATER PHASE
50.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
0.5% allantoin
2.5% sodium PCA
2% hydrolyzed protein

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% chamomile extract
2% dimethicone
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil
3% honeyquat

For the oil phase, I think I'll use some esters today. I want something really light but occlusive, so I'm thinking I might use C12-15 alkyl benzoate as the main oil in my product. It's occlusive and light and will fix my fragrance, if that's what I want. Since this is a dry feeling ester, I don't need to include any IPM or IPP to reduce greasiness. If you don't have this ester, consider using a light oil like fractionated coconut oil, sunflower, safflower, soybean, hazelnut, camellia seed, evening primrose, or borage oil if you want a light feeling (click here for the emollients list). Some of these are dry, some aren't. If you want a drier feeling product with sunflower, soybean, or safflower oil, then add 2% IPM or IPP.

I think I'll add a little cetyl alcohol as I really do want some thickening, so I'll go with that at 3%. (Cetyl esters would be a great choice here, but considering I'm fairly suer this is the ingredient messing with the vanilla in my cupcake fragrance, I think I'll give it a miss. But it is a great choice for a light lotion if you aren't using a vanilla based fragrance oil!)

So my oil phase right now consists of 2% dimethicone (cool down phase), 3% cetyl alcohol, and 10% C12-15 alkyl benzoate. As we're still using 15% oil soluble ingredients, we don't need to alter the emulsifier.

HEATED OIL PHASE
4% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol
10% C12-15 alkyl benzoate

So let's take a look at our finished light lotion.

LIGHT LOTION WITH C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE

HEATED WATER PHASE
50.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
0.5% allantoin
2.5% sodium PCA
2% hydrolyzed protein

HEATED OIL PHASE
4% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol
10% C12-15 alkyl benzoate

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% chamomile extract
2% dimethicone
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil
3% honeyquat

If you want to alter this recipe - because that's what this series is all about! - then consider using a light oil in place of the ester. Something like sesame seed or rice bran oil would be great choices here because they offer tons of linoleic acid and phytosterols, and they aren't that heavy (although some might consider them greasy). Feel free to remove the dimethicone and use an oil in the oil phase instead. Leave out the aloe vera and hydrosols and use all water! The possibilities are endless. 

In the meantime, check out this light lotion recipe for the summer. Please note, the hydrolyzed protein should go into the heated water phase. This recipe was created before I knew that!

So let's look at a few possibilities for light lotion tweaks tomorrow. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Learning to formulate: Lotions with minimally processed ingredients continued

Yesterday we made a lotion with minimally processed ingredients, let's make a body butter in a similar fashion. Again, I'm going to use an emulsifier and a preservative, which means I can't have a 100% minimally processed product. But we can go for something on par with 92% minimally processed ingredients!

So what ingredients do we want in a body butter? I definitely want a butter, and the one you choose will depend upon the skin feel you want. Choose a greasy feeling butter, and you'll have a greasy feeling product. Choose a drier feeling butter, and you'll have a drier feeling product. Because we aren't using things like IPM or IPP or other esters in this recipe, you really have to choose your oils and butters well with your preferred skin feel in mind.

If you want something with great barrier protection, choose cocoa butter and allantoin (at 0.5% in the heated water phase). If you want some less greasy, choose mango butter. For something with more greasiness, choose shea butter. There are tons of other butters to choose from - avocado butter is dry feeling, babassu oil will feel drier and melt on contact with your skin but isn't as thick as the true butters, and so on. We'll experiment with a few for this body butter recipe in the next few days.

I think it goes without saying that we also need to choose our oils well for the skin feel. I think I've gone on and on lately about what will give you a drier or greasier skin feel, so you know which ones to choose (hazelnut, avocado, and macadamia nut for less greasy, the rest for more greasy).

What water soluble ingredients do you want in this product? This will also depend upon why you are making this product - oops, did you notice I didn't ask myself the essential questions? This is why I'm kind of flailing!


What kind of product do I want to make? Is it a moisturizer, body milk, lotion, cream, or butter? For which body part is this intended? What kind of skin feel do I want? Do I have a specific outcome in mind? For what skin type am I making this?


I want to make a body butter for my husband's really itchy winter skin. He's scratching his back and chest horribly right now, leaving big scratch marks and sores (we're experiencing record lows in temperature and humidity right now!). I want to choose something occlusive and really moisturizing to alleviate the itchiness he's experiencing. I want to choose something that won't be bad for broken skin, and I want to try to do what I can to heal the wounds that are already there. He's not a fan of greasiness on his hands after he's applied his product, so I have to choose something that will do all these things, but not feel too greasy (although I'm really the one putting it on his back...)

My first thought is to put it some cocoa butter as a barrier ingredient, which will offer both emolliency and a layer of protection for his poor sore back! I think I'll also use some mango butter not only to decrease greasiness but to add some great polyphenols, like gallic acid, that will help heal wounds (not a claim, but a wish!).

For my oils, I want one filled with phytosterols and linoleic acid to help with healing skin's barrier repair and reducing itchiness. I'm thinking evening primrose as it's filled with GLA, which is great for skin's barrier repair, but it's not filled with phytosterols. Pomegranate oil with its wonderful punicic acid and phytosterols would be another good choice. Because I'm using 10% oils, I'm considering these exotic oils because they are dry feeling and because I'm not using a ton. Or I could use my great-for-everything soy bean oil, which is brimming over with linoleic acid and phytosterols.

So I think I'll go with a mango, cocoa, and soy bean mix for my butters and oils.

On to the water phase! I definitely want some aloe vera in this product, and I think I'll go with some chamomile hydrosol and some chamomile extract for double chamomile-y fun (it's an anti-inflammatory and possible wound healer)! I think I'll use some witch hazel at 10% because it could be a good wound healer.

Because his skin is really dry, I want to load up on humectants. I realize that humectants draw water from the atmosphere and I realize we don't have a ton of water in our atmosphere right now, it can't hurt to use a few of them here for when the weather gets a little wetter (as we're expecting today with a snowfall warning!) I'm going with at least 3% glycerin here. But I'm not sure what other humectants I own are considered natural. I do have some tamarind seed extract, and it's recommended use is up to 5%, so I think I'll use this at the maximum amount (link to the Herbarie, where I bought this).

I'm not sure if hydrolyzed oat protein is considered natural, but I want to use it here at 2%. (If it isn't, leave it out.) It's a great moisturizing ingredient that has some hygroscopic qualities, and I think it will help my husband's skin. And I need to include allantoin as it behaves as a humectant, moisturizer, and barrier ingredient.

Let's take a look at the recipe!

BODY BUTTER FOR ITCHY WINTER SKIN WITH MINIMALLY PROCESSED INGREDIENTS
WATER PHASE
25% water
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% witch hazel
2% hydrolyzed protein
5% tamarind seed extract
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin

OIL PHASE
10% soy bean oil
7.5% cocoa butter
7.5% mango butter
7% emulsifier*

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% chamomile extract
0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

As you can see from yesterday's and today's lotions, a natural lotion isn't that far off from one of my usual products, and it's easy to tweak any lotion you find to contain more minimally processed ingredients. The big changes I've noticed are twofold: I can't use my greasiness modifiers like IPP, IPM, or esters, so I need to focus on which oils bring which quality to my lotion. And I can't use my silicones. (And I'm not sure if ingredients like panthenol and sodium lactate are considered natural, so I left them out.)

If you want to make natural lotions, there are a few options for emulsifiers that are considered organic or Ecocert. The two that I'm experimenting with at the moment are Sucragel and Ritamulse (also known as Ecomulse or Natramulse at some suppliers).

And no matter what lotion you're making, don't forget the preservative. Better to have 0.5% to 1% preservative in your product than 50% bacteria and mould!

Join me tomorrow as we embark on the fun and excitement of modifying light lotions!

Friday, February 25, 2011

An aside: Let's talk about drier feeling oils...

A few people have asked me about astringent oils lately, and the main question is "are they drying?"

Allow me to recap a post from last year with a bit more detail...


An astringent is actually defined as "chemical that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues, usually locally after topical medicinal application." By definition an astringent isn't necessarily a drying thing, but we do perceive moisturizing ingredients with astringent qualities as drying. These more astringent oils and butters still moisturize well, but they will give you the perception of being drier than regular oils.

Let's take something like mango butter, considered a dry or astringent butter. The tannins in the butter may make it feel astringent, and it may "shrink or constrict" your skin, but the fatty acids and phytosterols are still offering amazing moisturizing qualities, so you are still getting a nicely moisturizing creation!

If you take a look at non-oil based astringents, like alcohol or witch hazel, these can be drying because they don't contain all the lovely emollients we find in our esters, oils, and butters. (This is one of the reasons that cetyl alcohol isn't drying - it might be an alcohol by chemical definition, but it's a fatty alcohol, so it has that fatty or emollient part on it, which overcomes the drying possibilities of the alcohol part!) Witch hazel is less astringent and drying than alcohol, and can actually offer some moisturizing features for oily skin (click on the post to learn more).

Let's say you want to use an astringent butter or oil on dry hair or skin, will it still moisturize? Of course it will, because it contains all those lovely fatty acids. If you use an ester on dry hair or skin, will it still moisturize? Yep, because it's still an emollient. The chemistry of our drier feeling or astringent oils and butters means it feels drier but it will still behave as an emollient moisturizer that will do all the great things the non-astringent feeling butters, oils, and esters!

Learning to formulate: Lotions with minimally processed ingredients

At least once a day, I get an e-mail from someone wanting to make a natural lotion. I tend to answer this with another question - what do you mean by natural? Infuriating, I know, answering a question with another question, but apparently that's how I roll. After almost five years of making my own products, I still have no clue what this designation means.

As I've said in the past, I'm going to consider the word natural to mean minimally processed because everything we use is processed in some way. So I'm going to make something with tons of botanical and minimally processed ingredients that offer great benefits to our skin! We will be using Polawax in this recipe, but feel free to use the emulsifier of your choice and modify it accordingly. (Note: This won't translate for an emulsifier like Sucragel, but if you're using something different, you probably know how to modify a lotion for that emulsifier already!) And we will be using a preservative. This will make up around 7% of the recipe, so you can make a 93% minimally processed lotion easily. This recipe is suitable for vegans (although most, if not all, of my recipes are vegan friendly, except those with beeswax and silk).

I'm going to use the six ingredient recipe with shea, soybean, and sesame oil as the basis for this recipe because I've been using it throughout the last week or so and I figure we might as well be consistent in our tweaking! You can apply this to any of the base recipes we've used in the series so far or any other recipe you like (I'd suggest using the 60% water recipe here.)

WATER SOLUBLE INGREDIENTS
If you really want to use a tea or infusion in a lotion, please don't unless you're really experienced at this kind of thing. Instead, choose powdered extracts or hydrosols from reputable suppliers who preserve the product well.

Please don't use all aloe vera as your liquid. It can get kind of sticky. There is a good reason to use water in our products and that's mainly because it's a good hydrator. It's not there as filler; it's there to offer water to our skin. You can use all aloe and hydrosols and other liquids as your main liquid, but don't discount the value of nice, pure water.

So let's say we want to make a lotion for chapped or very dry skin. What can we use? I'd go with lavender hydrosol, chamomile hydrosol or extract, or rosemary hydrosol or extract. (Click here for extract information.) If you want something cooling, consider using peppermint hydrosol as well. So let's choose lavender and peppermint hydrosol with rosemary extract and chamomile extract. We'll use 20% of each hydrosol and 0.5% of each extract. (You could also use rosemary essential oil, but that might be much on your skin. Although lavender-rosemary is a really nice combination.) And make up the rest with aloe vera (18%). Remove 1% one of the water phase ingredients for the extracts.

What can we use as a humectant? We could use glycerin, tamarind seed extract, and other ingredients. I'm going with glycerin - vegetable glycerin, although I have no idea where you'd get non-vegetable glycerin.

And you can include allantoin if you want a barrier ingredient in there at 0.5% in either the heated water phase or the cool down phase.

OIL SOLUBLE INGREDIENTS
Our oil are easily considered natural or minimally processed. So choose what you like here. As I've said a hundred times this week, if you want a less greasy lotion, choose drier feeling oils and butters. If you want a greasy feeling lotion, choose greasier feeling oils and butters. You can keep the shea, sesame, and soybean oil for a greasier feeling lotion and something like hazelnut, macadamia nut, and mango for a drier feeling product. If you want a barrier ingredient in there, choose cocoa butter for this product.

Because we can't rely on esters like cetearyl ethylhexanoate or IPM/IPP to reduce our greasiness, we have to rely on choosing our oils well to get our skin feel. Please remember as well, what we consider greasy in a commercial lotion isn't the same as what we consider greasy in a homemade lotion. Even with tons of shea butter, I have yet to find a lotion that is as greasy as something like Jergen's (click here for a post on this topic). So really think about the end skin feel you want as you review the emollients you have in your workshop.

I'm not sure if cetyl alcohol or stearic acid or any of our other fatty alcohols or acids are considered minimally processed or natural, so if you want to include any of those at 3%, feel free to remove 3% from the butter and add it to the mix.

So our oil soluble phase remains the same, although you can tweak it with whatever oils and butters you like.

COOL DOWN PHASE
I know liquid Germall Plus probably isn't considered natural, so you might want to consider another preservative for this product. Citric acid and Vitamin E are not preservatives; they're anti-oxidants. Grapefruit seed extract is not a preservative (see this post), and using something like potassium sorbate alone is not a broad spectrum preservative. I know preservatives are a hot topic in the natural community, so if you don't want to make a water based product with a preservative, then please consider making an anhydrous or without water product instead. You really need a preservative in anything that contains water as you will attract beasties to your product. You're only using 0.5% to 1.5% in this lotion, so please don't make anything without a preservative. I'll get off my soapbox now...

This is where we include our extracts. You can combine extracts in all kinds of ways, but make sure you aren't combining two exfoliating extracts (click here for my warning about combining extracts).

And consider your essential oils wisely. Although something like lime eucalyptus (50-50) smells awesome, too much can make you sun sensitive (as can most, if not all, of the citrus essential oils). You aren't necessarily using them at 1% each as we would with a fragrance oil, so consult some good references on essential oils and blending them before adding them willy-nilly to your products. I like a combination of lime and vanilla (75% vanilla - 25% lime) for a lovely key lime pie type smell.

So here's an idea for an oilier version of a botanical recipe.


BOTANICAL LOTION - 92% MINIMALLY PROCESSED INGREDIENTS
MORE OILY VERSION
HEATED WATER PHASE
20% lavender hydrosol
20% peppermint hydrosol
17% aloe vera
3% glycerin

HEATED OIL PHASE
10% refined shea butter
10% soy bean oil
10% sesame oil
7.5% emulsifier

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% powdered rosemary extract
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% essential oil

As a note, I've increased the emulsifier to 7.5% to make up 25% of the oil phase as I'm using Polawax here. If I were to use BTMS-50 as in the original recipe, I could keep it at 6% as it requires less to emulsify. The change has nothing to do with the botanical nature of this recipe. 

Join me tomorrow as we explore a few more ideas for minimally processed ingredient recipes. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun with chemistry: Anionic, cationic, and non-ionic

Will writes....I'd love to learn more about the whole _____ionic thing and how it applies to lotions/cream, etc. I've read about it, and the more I read the more confused I become. How about dumbing it down and explaining it in your excellent fashion? Just wishing...

Wish no more, Will! When it comes to chemistry, you ask and I will write (and it's not just 'cause flattery works well with me!).

Anionic, cationic, and non-ionic refer to the charge on the ingredient in question. Non-ionic means it has a neutral charge. Anionic means it has a negative charge. And cationic means it has a positive charge.

Take a look at this picture. The head is the thing that carries the charge. If the charge on the head is negative - for instance, something like sodium laureth sulphate with a sodium ion on the head - it will be an anionic ingredient.

If the charge on the head is positive - for instance, something like BTMS-50 - it will be a cationic ingredient.

If the head carries both a positive and negative charge, we get a zwitteronic ingredient (something like our betaines or sultaines, which are also called amphoteric when we're talking about surfactants), which can be positive or negative depending upon the pH level of the product.

This chart really only applies to our surfactants, those with a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic or lipophilic tail (not just bubbly surfactants, but anything that reduces the surface tension between the two phases of our products, like emulsifiers). If it doesn't fall into the category of surfactants, then we generally have a non-ionic ingredient.

Most of our foaming, bubbling surfactants are anionic or negatively charged. Quaternary cationic compounds like BTMS-50, cetrimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, and Incroquat CR, and cationic polymers are positively charged.

In lotions, most of our ingredients are non-ionic or neutrally charged, like our emulsifiers, fatty alcohols (like the cetyl alcohol molecule you see), fatty acids, oils, butters, extracts, hydrosols, humectants, and so on. So when it comes to lotions, we're dealing mostly with non-ionic ingredients.

You can add a cationic ingredient to a lotion - I do it all the time with things like cationic polymers (like polyquat 7, polyquat 10, polyquat 44, and honeyquat) or as our emulsifier, like Incroquat BTMS-50. Cationic ingredients are substantive, meaning they will adsorb to your hair or skin and are substantive. (For more information on substantivity, please click here.) You can add an anionic ingredient to a lotion, but I can't think of any I'd like to add (for instance, I really don't see adding something like SCI to a lotion, despite my love for it!)

You really don't need to worry about charges all that much when it comes to lotions because most of our ingredients are non-ionic and we can easily add some cationics to the mix without fear of any serious problems.

Why add cationic ingredients to a lotion or cream? Generally we add them to a lotion for the skin conditioning benefits (the whole substantivity thing). When we use Incroquat BTMS-50 as our emulsifier or add a cationic polymer to our lotions, we are increasing the skin conditioning features of the lotion (and in the case of honeyquat, we're also adding a humectant, so it's a bonus!)

As an aside, I've said this before but please indulge me for a moment. You cannot have a hair conditioner without a cationic ingredient. The very essence of a conditioner is that it adsorbs to the hair strand and offers substantivity. Without a cationic ingredient, you don't have a conditioner. You might have something else that your hair likes, but it isn't considered a conditioner. 

Do you have chemistry related questions? Ask away! And for more chemistry, please check out the "frequently asked questions" post to the right hand side of the blog!

Learning to formulate: Making more changes to a lotion...

So we've tweaked the formerly six ingredient shea, soy bean, and sesame oil lotion to the point where it's a completely different recipe...and that's the point of this series! To tweak recipes to make them your own, to offer the skin feel and properties you want! So let's take a look at tweaking this recipe even further - is that possible? - for different skin types and properties.


NOT SO MUCH A SIX INGREDIENT LOTION ANY MORE WITH SHEA, SOY BEAN, AND SESAME OIL
HEATED WATER PHASE
32% water
20% aloe vera
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2.5% sodium PCA

HEATED OIL PHASE
5% refined shea butter
7.5% soy bean oil
7.5% sesame oil
2% IPM or IPP
3% cetyl alcohol
6% BTMS-50

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% Vitamin E
2% panthenol
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil (Clementine Cupcake)

I originally create this recipe to help my husband with his itchy, winter skin. I chose my oils because they were high in phytosterols and linoleic acid. But what can we do to change this lotion?

What if I want to make this more occlusive? I turn to three things - dimethicone, allantoin, and cocoa butter, all of which are approved by the FDA as barrier ingredients. So if I wanted to make this more occlusive, I could switch the shea butter for cocoa butter and have a really occlusive lotion. It will make it thicker, but not a lot more greasy as shea butter is kind of greasy anyway.

What if I wanted to make this less greasy? I'm already using BTMS-50 and I've included IPM, but you could choose mango butter instead of shea butter and less greasy oils like hazelnut, macadamia nut, camellia seed oil, and avocado oil in place of the oils in the product. I could substitute my oils for some esters - I'd go with cetearyl ethylhexanoate and C12-15 alkyl benzoate or ethylhexyl palmitate - and make a lighter, less greasy product. Or you could add more IPM or IPP, up to 5%.

What if I want this to be more greasy? Remove the IPM or IPP, use Polawax or another emulsifier instead of BTMS-50, and choose greasier oils and butters (although shea butter is pretty much the greasiest you can find out of our standard butters).

What if I wanted this to be a lighter product? Replace the butter with oils. Remove the thickener or use less. Use lighter oils (since I'm already using soy bean and sesame seed oil, you could do something like use fractionated coconut oil in their place).

What if I wanted to turn this into a body milk like or sprayable product? Start with another recipe as the tweaking for this would take all day. But a quick summary would be to remove the butter, remove the thickener, use Polawax instead of BTMS-50 (as it will make a slightly thinner product), increase the water amount, decrease the oil amount, and recalculate it all. Or you could use something like Sucragel, which makes quite thin lotions even with 25% oils and butters.

What if I wanted to make this for sunburned skin? I could increase the aloe vera to 30% or higher (don't use all aloe vera as it can make a lotion feel sticky), and choose an extract and hydrosol good for that purpose. Lavender hydrosol is always nice and chamomile hydrosol and extract are good at soothing burned skin. So I could use 10% lavender hydrosol and 10% chamomile hydrosol or use 0.5% chamomile extract (which I've already done, but I'm trying to make a point here). I'd probably remove the butter as I don't want it to be too occlusive. And I could include up to 1% lavender essential oil as this is good for soothing as well.

What if I wanted to turn this into a body butter without messing with the emulsifier? I'd increase the butter to 15% to 20% and reduce the oils accordingly (so 0% to 5% oils).

What if I wanted to turn this into a foot cream without messing with the emulsifier? I'd increase the butter to 10% or so, use heavier oils, and use stearic acid as my thickener. I'd include some foot friendly essential oils - spearmint, peppermint, camphor, and eucalyptus in equal parts - at 3% and reduce one of the oils by 2% (because I already have 1% fragrance oil in the recipe).

What if I hate silicones? Remove them and use oil in the same amount in the right phase. Or use a silicone alternative.

What if I want to leave out the preservative? Don't.

Join me tomorrow for more fun learning how to formulate!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Learning to formulate: An aside on choosing your carrier oils

If you're reading this article from the link at Dempeaux, please do not make your own sunscreen! It is a dangerous thing to try because you have no guarantee that it will protect your skin, and this can lead to badness in the future. I will write more on this topic in the next few days, but I really want to discourage you from this process. Please do not make your own sunscreen! 

Will and Patrick's comments and quest for an inexpensive lotion got me thinking about making lotions on a budget. Yes, I have a workshop filled with exotic oils and more spendy ones, and I realize I'm an enabler to the point where your credit card companies and suppliers love me and your partners, spouses, and children hate me, but that's because I want to experiment and share my findings with you, my wonderful readers.

You don't need to have a full complement of every oil your supplier carries to make awesome products! I'd suggest having a very light, light, and medium weight oil along with cocoa butter and another butter in your workshop. Your choice of oils will depend upon the application - are you making lotions and balms or do you want something good for hair as well? - and your preferred skin feel. But for the most part, having four oils and a butter will get you started.

I think fractionated coconut oil is awesome and I suggest it for everyone. It's very light, it's odour free, and it is non-comedogenic, so it's great for pretty much every application. Products made with fractionated coconut oil can be considered "oil free" as it's really more of an ester than an oil, and it's not very greasy. It's not terribly expensive, and I find it use it in many of my products. Plus, with a two year shelf life, you can buy a litre of it and know you'll definitely use it in time!

For the light oils, I always suggest soy bean oil first. It's lightweight, contains a ton of phytosterols and Vitamin E, very moisturizing, and it contains a lot of linoleic acid, which is great for speeding up skin's barrier repair mechanisms. It's really inexpensive - probably the least expensive of all the oils - but it is greasy feeling.

If you want a light oil that's less greasy feeling, then hazelnut or macadamia nut would be my first choices (grapeseed oil's shelf life is far too short to be one of your main oils!). Macadamia nut doesn't have that lovely linoleic acid, but it does have a ton of oleic acid, which is great for moisturizing your skin, and it has quite a lot of phytosterols. Hazelnut oil has more linoleic acid, more Vitamin E, and about the same level of phytosterols as macadamia nut oil, and it's about the same price.

Sweet almond oil and apricot kernel oil have less linoleic acid than soybean oil, but they are both considered light and drier than soybean or sunflower oil. If I had to choose between these two, I'd go with apricot kernel oil as it has higher levels of Vitamin E and phytosterols.

For a medium weight oil, I like rice bran or sesame seed oils. Both are well balanced in linoleic and oleic acids, both contain a ton of phytosterols and Vitamin E, and both are inexpensive. They are considered to be more greasy than something like avocado oil (which is considered astringent and heavy) but on par with olive oil (which is considered medium-heavy). All of these oils are considered inexpensive.

For your butters, I consider cocoa butter a staple as it's inexpensive and is approved by the FDA as a barrier ingredient. If you want to make lotions for the winter, I consider this ingredient almost essential. Mango butter is a good choice if you like drier feeling products; shea butter if you don't mind a little greasiness. The more refined the butter, the less likely you are to find grains in your products.

So what about coconut oil? Coconut oil is a great choice as it's fantastic for hair care products, is less greasy feeling thanks to the tannins, and is really inexpensive. For some reason, I don't use it a lot, I think it's because it's a drier feeling oil and doesn't thicken as well as the butters, but it's a great choice for products, especially if you're budget conscious!

As for exotic oils, well, there's no saving money there! All but a few cost a lot more than our carrier oils, and it's really about what you want in an oil. Click here for the posts on exotic oils (scroll down a bit).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A few points of interest for formulating...

When I use aloe vera in my creations, I mean the liquid not the gel. Or you could make your own liquid with the 99X concentrated aloe vera (don't forget to preserve it once you've made it). But you definitely want to use the liquid.

If you don't want to use silicones, don't. Use an oil in its place or leave it out and modify your recipe that way. If you're making a hair care product, leave the silicones out and use an oil or silicone substitute of your choice or just leave it out and increase your water amount. If you're making a lotion, use an oil or silicone substitute in its place in the proper phase or leave it out and modify the water phase and emulsifier accordingly.

If you're using more than 1% essential or fragrance oils, you might want to consider adding more emulsifier. Although 1% isn't a lot, going higher than that - say 3% in a foot lotion - means you're adding more oil to your product and you need to compensate to keep your emulsification stable. So let's say you're adding 1% Vitamin E and 3% essential oil blend. I'd add 1% more emulsifier to my heated oil phase (and remove the water amount as needed) to compensate for the increase in oils.

Beeswax is not an emulsifier! You might see water-in-oil recipes calling for beeswax and borax, but that's the only time beeswax is an emulsifier. If you see an oil-in-water recipe (meaning there's more water than oil, the kind I make) and it calls for beeswax in a recipe as the emulsifier, ignore it. The only way to make beeswax an emulsifier in a recipe is to include borax, and that only works in water-in-oil recipes (like cold cream). Please consult the post "How can you tell if it's a good recipe" for more information.

And when I recommend weighing everything, I do mean everything, including your essential and fragrance oils. I see recipes calling for 20 drops of this or that - what does that mean? Is that a large drop through a pipette or eye dropper or from an orifice cap? If I want to make a double batch, should I go with 40 drops? When I see a recipe like this, I get out my tiny scale and I try to measure what that 20 drops might weigh. And remember, 20 drops of lavender essential oil from one company might not mean 20 drops from another company. It's all about relative density! So please, don't use volume measurements for any of your ingredients!

Learning to formulate: A few small changes to consider...

As you've seen over the last two days, making some small changes in the water, cool down, and oil phases can make a big difference to our products. So let's take a look at a few other small changes we could make.

Using beeswax will make your product feel a little waxier, but used in small amounts, it can make your lotions more tenacious and less susceptible to rinsing off when washing. I like to add 2% to 3% beeswax in my day time hand lotion, and I find it stays on well after washing. It doesn't make it feel super waxy or greasy. I like to include beeswax in my scrub bars because it seems to keep the oils and butters on my skin longer. Include it at 2% to 3% by either adding to the oil phase or substituting for another oil.

I generally add my fragrance oils at 1% to my products in the cool down phase, but there are some fragrances that are really strong and should be added at 0.5% and others that are quite weak and should be added at 1.5%. You'll have to play with your fragrances to get to know which ones will be overpowering and which ones are wimpy. And different products need different fragrancing levels. For instance, for a bubble bath I might use 1.5% to 2% because you're using a tiny bit of product in a lot of water. For leave on products, like lotions or lotion bars or anything that might stay on your skin or hair, I rarely go over 1.5%. For rinse off or bath products, I might go as high as 2%, depending upon the nature of the product. In general, I find 1% for a fragrance oil works best.

For essential oils, consult your safe usage rates. Every essential oil is different, and you'll want to make sure the products aren't being used by pregnant or nursing women, kids, or the infirm. I know everyone sees essential oils as natural and therefore better, they offer effects (unlike fragrance oils) that you must know before using. For instance, the citrus essential oils can make us sun sensitive, so making an orange or mandarin or lemon essential oil lip balm is probably a bad idea for the summer. So please learn more about essential oils before including them in everything.

Chelating ingredients like EDTA can help retard rancidity in our products and act as an auxiliary preservative in our products. Adding just 0.2% in the water phase can make a huge difference!

Anti-oxidants like Vitamin E can be added to our products at 0.5% to 1% in the cool down phase to help retard rancidity. We can use it as low as 0.05%, but who has a scale that can measure that low? So 0.5% is more than enough to help keep our oils nicer longer, plus it can have a moisturizing and softening effect on our skin, so that's a bonus.

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at light lotions and moisturizers, two products in which small changes can result in great products!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Learning to formulate: Small changes make big differences in the oil phase

Yesterday, we took a look at making some small changes to the water phase to create a more humectant-y product. Today, let's take a a look at making small changes to the oil phase! Keep in mind that if you change the oil phase by increasing the oil amount, you need to modify the emulsifier and modify the water amount. For more information on this, please click here or click here. For now, let's take a look at modifying the oil phase without increasing it.

Some small changes I like to make in my oil phase include adding some IPM or IPP - usually at 2% - to decrease the feeling of greasiness. I like to include cyclomethicone at 2% and dimethicone at 2% in the cool down phase. Cyclomethicone will increase the slip, glide, and skin feel of the product, making it feel more powdery. Dimethicone will increase slip and glide and behaves as a barrier ingredient. Adding 1% Vitamin E will help retard rancidity in my oils (although they are longer shelf life oils). And I don't have a thickener in here! I think including 3% cetyl alcohol will make this lotion much thicker, a more body butter-y type consistency with all that shea butter, so I'll include that as well.

These small changes add up quick! I need to increase my oil phase by 10% here, which is quite a bit. So I think I'll do it by removing some of the oils in the product so I don't have to mess with increasing the emulsifier and decreasing the water amount. I think I'll reduce the shea butter to 5% as I would like a product that that can go into a pump bottle, and 10% shea butter plus 3% thickener tends to equal more of a body butter consistency. So where do I find the other 5%? I think I'll reduce the oils to 7.5% each. This will make every still equal 30% (7.5% soybean oil, 7.5% sesame oil, 5% shea butter, 3% cetyl alcohol, 2% IPM, 2% cyclomethicone, 2% dimethicone, 1% Vitamin E for a total of 30%.)

As with yesterday's small changes, here's the recipe we'll be using - the six ingredient soybean, sesame seed, and shea butter lotion (click for the original version).


NOT SO MUCH A SIX INGREDIENT LOTION ANY MOREWITH SHEA, SOY BEAN, AND SESAME OIL (modified to include some small oil phase changes)
HEATED WATER PHASE
32% water
20% aloe vera
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2.5% sodium PCA

HEATED OIL PHASE
5% refined shea butter
7.5% soy bean oil
7.5% sesame oil
2% IPM or IPP
3% cetyl alcohol
6% BTMS-50

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% Vitamin E
2% panthenol
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil (Clementine Cupcake)

If you didn't want to alter the butter and oil amounts - you want to keep them at 10% shea butter, 10% soy bean oil, and 10% sesame seed oil - you'd have an oil phase of 40% (30% original oils and butters with 10% more added). This means you'd need to increase your emulsifier - if we're using Polawax as an example, you'd add 2.5% more emulsifier - and decrease the water amount by 12.5% (10% more oils, 2.5% more emulsifier). With BTMS-50, we're not as picky about increasing or decreasing the emulsifier because we don't need to follow the 25% rule, but I'd increase it to 8.5% anyway. With other emulsifiers, you'll have to consult your notes or your supplier.

So what will these small changes do to the skin feel of the lotion? My original creation was a medium weight lotion with about a medium greasiness level. Decreasing the shea butter and adding the IPM will result in a less greasy lotion. Adding the cyclomethicone will also have this effect. Adding the dimethicone will increase the greasiness a bit (and the shine!) but adds a much needed barrier ingredient (as will the allantoin from yesterday's recipe), which is a good thing during the winter months! Adding the cetyl alcohol will increase the slip and glide, as well as the thickness of the lotion. Despite reducing the shea butter, we should see the same or slightly thicker consistency thanks to the cetyl alcohol.

Join me tomorrow for some more ideas on small changes...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Learning to formulate: Small changes make big differences in the water & cool down phases

Yesterday we took a look at how adding 3% of a fatty alcohol or fatty acid (like cetyl alcohol or stearic acid) could change the thickness of our lotion, and I'm sometimes surprised at how adding a titch of something can change a lotion so much! So I thought we'd take a look at how a small change can make a big difference. (For the purposes of this post, I'm considering 3% or lower as a small change.)

If we take a look at the water and cool down phases, there are all kinds of small changes we can make to our lotions to make a big difference! Consider humectants. I consider humectants essential to all lotions because they add extra moisturization very easily and they're generally pretty inexpensive. I've found a huge difference in lotions that don't contain a humectant - I live in a humid area, and adding up to 3% glycerin, honeyquat, sodium lactate or sodium PCA offers enough hygroscopic power to keep my skin feeling moisturized all day! You can combine humectants to offer more moisturizing power if you want. You could use 2.5% sodium lactate with 3% glycerin and 3% honeyquat (the latter in the cool down phase) for a very humectanty product.

Or consider hydrolyzed proteins. You can up to 2% of silk, soy, oat, or mixed proteins to your water phase to increase the film forming and moisturizing qualities of your product.

Or consider your extracts. We add these at up to 0.5% in the cool down phase, but they can offer a lot of anti-oxidizing, anti-inflammatory, and astringent qualities to our products! Consider salicylic acid (used at up to 2% in our products) or AHAs (used at up to 2%) and the benefits those two ingredients can offer in small quantities.

Think about ingredients like panthenol (used at 1% to 5%) or allantoin (used at up to 0.5%), which offer all kinds of great benefits to our skin, like increased wound healing and barrier protection. I like to use panthenol around 2% in the cool down phase, and allantoin at 0.5% in the heated water phase (although it can be used in the cool down phase - the key is to include before your mixture gets to 25˚C, which generally well after the cool down phase).

And consider things like fragrance or essential oils. At 0.5% to 1% in the cool down phase, they make a huge difference! Or preservatives. We don't need much, generally 0.5% to 1.5%, but they make a world of difference!

There are some ingredients I would never use in small amounts. Ingredients like aloe vera and hydrosols are best used at 10% and over, although looking at commercial products, you'd think 2% would be okay!

So if we take a look at the 62% water shea, soybean, and sesame seed oil recipe, we can do a lot of tweaking to get some interesting effects! And remember, every change you to make to the water phase or cool down phase should be removed from the water amount!

So let's add 0.5% allantoin, 2% hydrolyzed oat protein, and 2.5% sodium PCA to the water phase, and add 2% panthenol and 0.5% chamomile extract to this lotion recipe. This means we need to remove 7.5% from the water amount to compensate for our new additions (change in water amount noted in bold).


SIX INGREDIENT LOTION WITH SHEA, SOY BEAN, AND SESAME OIL (modified to include some small changes)
HEATED WATER PHASE
32% water
20% aloe vera
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2.5% sodium PCA

HEATED OIL PHASE
10% refined shea butter
10% soy bean oil
10% sesame oil
6% BTMS-50

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil (Clementine Cupcake)

Weigh the heated water phase in a heatproof container and put into a double boiler. Weigh the heated oil phase in a heatproof container and put into a double boiler. Heat both phases until both reach 70˚C and hold for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and mix. When the lotion reaches about 45˚C, add the liquid Germall Plus, and fragrance and mix well. Bottle, and rejoice!

Join me tomorrow for making small changes to the oil phase!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Learning to formulate: More fun with thickeners

I mentioned yesterday that increasing your thickening agents - like butters, fatty alcohols, and fatty acids - can make a lotion into a cream. Let's take a look at a 60% water lotion without thickeners, then consider what it would be like with different thickeners. Here's the recipe from which I will be working for this post...


SIX INGREDIENT LOTION WITH SHEA, SOY BEAN, AND SESAME OIL
HEATED WATER PHASE
39.5% water
20% aloe vera
3% glycerin

HEATED OIL PHASE
10% refined shea butter
10% soy bean oil
10% sesame oil
6% BTMS-50

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil (Clementine Cupcake)

Cetyl alcohol: If we remove 3% of the oils (any of the oils) and add 3% cetyl alcohol, this will thicken our lotion and offer some slip and glide to the product. Like all the other fatty alcohols and acids, it behaves as an extra emollient in the product. As a bonus, adding cetyl alcohol to a product with BTMS-50 as the emulsifier will boost the conditioning abilities, which could make for a more skin conditioning kind of product.

Cetyl esters: If we remove 3% of the oils and add 3% cetyl esters, this will thicken our lotion, but not as much as cetyl alcohol would. It will offer more slip and glide - thanks to the anti-tack properties - and you'll end up with a slightly thicker product than the original. (As a note, I think it's the cetyl esters that is morphing my vanilla based scents, so be careful in your fragrance choices.)

Cetearyl alcohol: If we remove 3% of the oils and add 3% cetearyl alcohol, we'll get a thicker, waxier feeling lotion than the original. It will feel more occlusive than a lotion made with cetyl alcohol or cetyl esters, and it will be thicker than either of these.

Stearic acid: If we remove 3% of the oils and add 3% stearic acid, we'll get a much thicker product than any of the previous ones with more drag and the possibility of the soaping effect. We'll also get a very tenacious cream, one that will offer a feeling of staying on the skin longer than those made with the fatty alcohols and esters.

What if I reduced the butter or replaced it with oils, what would these thickeners do? They'd thicken it! (Not meaning to sound sarcastic, but it's true!) If you have an all oil based lotion, adding 3% of one of these thickeners will increase the viscosity pretty dramatically. I'd say it's on par with adding 10% to 15%  butters to a product! And removing the thickeners will do the same thing. So if you have a body butter recipe you really love but want to make it into a lotion, remove the thickeners and see how you like it. You might still need to remove some of the butters - for thickness, as well for reducing the greasiness because 20% shea might feel great on your arms, but not on your hands - but you're on your way to creating a completely different lotion with a tiny change!

I remember when I switched thickeners for the first time. It was with a body butter recipe I found on the Dish. I didn't have any stearic acid, so I used cetyl alcohol. And the difference! It went from the consistency of whipped butter to being the consistency of Cool Whip! It felt much creamier and glidier, but it didn't feel like it stayed on as long as the version with stearic. I could really see the differences between the two products. Who'd have known that switching 3% of the recipe could make such a huge change in skin feel?

Join me tomorrow when we take a look at small changes making a big difference!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Question: Cod liver oil and omega-3 in lotions.

Will writes: A weird question for a Friday! I read in a press release where Dial Corp is attributing significant skin benefits in their new products to Vitamin F, aka Omega-3, aka cod liver oil (one of many). Have you ever experimented with cod liver oil in a lotion? I'm curious as heck, but I can't remember if it had a smell. What's your take on that? Seems Great-Grandma with her cod liver oil was ahead of her time ;D

I personally love cod liver oil: As a kid, my mom had to hide the bottle because I'd eat the caplets like candy. (I know, I was odd!) I have found that cod liver oil and the other omega 3 oils, like salmon oil, do smell and taste fishy, so I don't think it's the best idea to include those in a lotion. (The salmon oil has a "lemony taste" derived from some kind of flavouring oil, which really makes it more like lemony fish than anything pleasant!) People who find Incroquat BTMS-50 has a fishy smell will really hate this combination!

So what is an omega-3 fatty acid? It's a fatty acid with a carbon to carbon double bond in the n-3 position, which is the third bond from the end of the chain. It's related to linolenic acid, and we can find it as alpha-linolenic acid in our oils.

We can find omega-3 in a number of our oils, like hemp seed, acai oil, soybean oil, borage oil, rosehip, and sea buckthorn seed (and less so the pulp) so including those can give you the awesome power of omega-3 oils in your products without the fragrance of fish!

We know omega-3 fatty acids are supposed to be good from a nutritional standpoint, but does it do anything for our skin? Yep, it can help moisturize dry, scaly, chapped skin and can help us prevent further chapping, so it's a great option for winter time products! The main reason to include omega-3 fatty acids in our products is to assist with inflammation, which is borne out in recent studies, so something like soybean oil is an awesome (and inexpensive) combination for our skin with the linoleic acid and high levels of phytosterols!

So, Will, it's not a weird question, although I still can't get over the idea of including this oil in my products. I like to eat the capsules, not wear them!

Learning to formulate: Butters, oils, and thickening

As we've been working with the 70% water recipe and the 60% water recipe, you can see the main difference between the two tends to be the amount of butters to oils. In the 70% recipe, we use more oils than butters; in the 60% recipe, we tend to use more butters than oil (not in the cream recipe, but we do in the body butter recipe). Butters contain stearic acid, which will thicken our products quite well, and this is one of the main reasons the 60% water creams are thicker than the 70% water lotions. (The other reasons are a lower water phase and an increase in our emulsifier, which is also a great thickener.)

If we made a 60% water recipe without butters, what would happen? We'd get something on par with a lotion, thinner, less occlusive, and more glidy (if you're using cetyl alcohol). If we chose our oils wisely and went with light feeling oils or esters, a 60% water lotion can feel as thin as an 80% lotion, especially if we leave out the thickeners.

Here's a 62% water lotion - the shea, soybean, and sesame oil 6 ingredient lotion - without thickeners and butters. Although I used 10% shea butter, it's still an easily pumpable lotion of about medium thickness. If I'd included 3% stearic in this recipe, it would have been quite thick. If I'd included 3% cetyl alcohol, cetyl esters, or cetearyl alcohol in this recipe, it would have been thicker with some glide. If I'd used something like mango or cocoa butter, it would also be much thicker than using refined shea butter. By leaving out the thickening agents - our heavier butters, fatty alcohol, and fatty acids - I made a lotion instead of a cream.

And consider this lotion with a 62% water phase - hand lotion with cetearyl ethylhexanoate and cocoa butter - which is very light and creamy feeling. This time I included cetyl alcohol in the mix as well as 6% cocoa butter, but it ends up being a medium weight hand lotion that feels really lovely and isn't too greasy. By using an ester like cetearyl ethylhexanoate, I've compensated for the greasy feeling of the cocoa butter but kept the barrier protection it offers. If we used a thicker oil, like avocado or jojoba, increased the cocoa butter to 10%, and used stearic acid instead of cetyl alcohol, you'd see a very different product.

So there's something to think about. Let's say you've made an awesome hand lotion and want to make it slightly thicker without changing the ingredients, then increase the butter amount or change your fatty alcohol or acid. If you've made an awesome body butter and want to use it as a hand lotion, decrease the butters and increase the oils to get a thinner product.

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with thickeners!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Learning to formulate: Modifying 60% water recipes

Unfortunately, I'm in a rush this morning with two craft groups to prepare for today, so analyzing how to make yesterday's cream drier will have to wait until the weekend! 

Not all lotions with 60% water will end up as a body butter or foot cream. I make what I consider a very nice hand lotion with 5% butters that is quite thick and occlusive, but not too greasy. So how can we modify the 60% water type recipe to be a lotion instead of a thicker cream?

If I go back to my basic body butter recipe, it looks like this...(I've modified the emulsifier to match the 25% rule...)


RECIPE FOR A BODY BUTTER
WATER PHASE
59% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin

OIL PHASE
10% oils (4% light, 4% medium, 2% heavy, or just 10% of the oil of your choice)
15% shea butter (or butter of choice)
7% emulsifier*
3% cetyl alcohol

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

And I know this will be far too thick for my hands (although having said that, I've been using a shea body butter as a hand lotion for the last few weeks as I'm experiencing a lot of dryness and itching lately, but only at night when I know I won't be picking anything up or touching my iPod!), so I need to make some modifications. I'm happy with the cetyl alcohol in there, but I want to change the oils and butter amount.

If I think about my goal - I want an occlusive hand lotion that isn't too greasy but stays on well - I know I have to choose my oils wisely. I personally like a slightly greasier product, so I'll go with my favourite combination - fractionated coconut and either rice bran or olive oil. These offer a nice range of skin feel, polyphenols, phytosterols, and fatty acids for my trashed hands! Fractionated coconut oil sinks in quickly and feels more like an ester than an oil, that is to say it feels light and non-greasy. I think I'll go with rice bran oil as it contains a ton of nice fatty acids and phytosterols to help with itching and dryness.

But I need to switch the amounts around. If I go with 15% butters, I'm going to have a body butter instead of a hand lotion, so I'm going with 5% butters and 20% oils in this mix. I think I'll throw a little IPM in there for good measure (at 2%).

I could go with any butter here - shea butter might feel too greasy for some people, but I quite like it. You could use mango butter (less greasy), cocoa butter (occlusive), and so on. I'm going to use shea butter because I like what it brings to the skin feel and the benefits to my skin.

For the emulsifier, you can choose any you like. I'm going with Polawax as I find BTMS-50 feels too dry on my hands. But use BTMS-50 if you want a drier product.

I think I'm going to include 2% beeswax in this product as I find this makes it more resistant to washing off, so I have to compensate in my oil phase for that. I think I'll take out 2% rice bran oil in favour of the beeswax.

So here's the new oil phase...


OIL PHASE
16% oils (10% fractionated coconut oil, 6% rice bran oil)
5% butter (I'm going with shea butter)
2% beeswax
7% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM

For my water phase, I want to include some allantoin at 0.5% to act as a barrier ingredient (remove 0.5% from the water amount). I like to include aloe vera as well (so remove 10% from the water amount - total 10.5% so far), and I think I'd like to include lavender or chamomile hydrosol for the soothing properties (remove 10%, for a total of 20.5%). I'm going to throw in a little hydrolyzed oat protein at 2% as well for the film forming properties (remove 2% for a total of 22.5%). I already have 2% humectant there - should I increase it? I'll go with the sodium lactate and add a little more in the cool down phase. 

For the cool down phase, I always include cyclomethicone and dimethicone at 2% each in hand lotions for the increased slip and glide and slightly powdery feeling and for the barrier protection. So I need to remove 4% from the water amount and increase my emulsifier by 1% (remove 5% from the water amount, not up to 27.5% removed). I like to include honeyquat in my hand lotions because I like the extra humectant and the skin conditioning properties. I'll add it at 3% in the cool down phase (so remove 3% from the water amount, for a total of 30.5% of the water amount removed). And I'll include panthenol as a film forming humectant that can heal wounds (not a claim, but a hope!). So I need to remove 32.5% water from the water amount in this recipe. 

So let's take a look at the changes. 

HAND LOTION WITH SHEA, FRACTIONATED COCONUT, RICE BRAN, AND BEESWAX
WATER PHASE
26.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% lavender or chamomile hydrosol
2% sodium lactate or glycerin
0.5% allantoin
2% hydrolyzed protein

OIL PHASE
16% oils (10% fractionated coconut oil, 6% rice bran oil)
5% butter (I'm going with shea butter)
2% beeswax
8% emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM


COOL DOWN PHASE
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% panthenol
3% honeyquat
0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

Ta da! There's your hand lotion recipe. You'll notice we've reduced the water amount a bit, but we make up for it in the cool down phase with another 5% water soluble ingredients (panthenol and honeyquat), which still keep this as an oil-in-water lotion. 

If you find this lotion too thick, then you can start with the 70% water recipe and go through the same process to create a lighter feeling lotion. You want to tweak the oils and butters, add water soluble ingredients, and so on. You can increase or decrease the greasiness of the product by modifying your oils and butters, including or leaving out IPM and cyclomethicone, and altering your emulsifier. 

Join me tomorrow for more fun learning how to formulate!