We're going to learn all about emulsification tomorrow (the pre-cursor to lotion making! Yay!) but here's a tutorial to give you some of the basics in the form of a fun, water based fragrance spray.
Oil and water don't like each other, so oil based and water based things don't like each other. But we want them to like each other because that means we can't make lovely sprays with lavender hydrosol or aloe vera and essential oils. So how do we get them to fall madly in love? Cupid is played today by an emulsifier...in this case, polysorbate 20.
Polysorbate 20 is a non-ionic emulsifier. This means it is neither positive (cationic, like our conditioners) or negative (like our surfactants). It does not carry a change. It has a hydrophilic (water-loving) head and a lipophilic (oil-loving) tail. It attaches to the oil at one end, the water at the other, and holds it all together. Polysorbate 20 is not the most powerful emulsifier out there, but it does a great job on small amounts of oil - like fragrance or essential oils - and lots of water. We've found the right product for the job - polysorbate 20 is our emulsifier for the day! (Choosing the right emulsifier can mean the difference between awesome lotion-y goodness and oil slick on top of fancy hydrosols!)
If you want to make a perfume spray, this is easy as heck and cheaper than the oil based or silicone based sprays from (the other day).
95% water or hydrosol
2% polysorbate 20
2% fragrance or essential oil
Pour your distilled water or hydrosol or combination into your spray bottle of choice. Shake to mix.
In a shot glass sized glass container, mix 2% polysorbate 20 with 2% fragrance or essential oil and mix until clear. Pour this into your spray bottle. Shake. You're done.
If this is a cloudy mixture that doesn't need shaking to use, you've emulsified it well. If it is a cloudy mixture that needs to be shaken before use, you'll need a little more polysorbate 20. Every fragrance and essential oil is different - some follow a 1:1 ratio, some a 2:1 ratio, and some a bizarre 3:2 ratio! Keep notes on how much you used for each fragrance oil.
(If you use water soluble oils, like those at Voyageur, you don't need to include an emulsifier. But that kind of defeats the purpose of this recipe as it's intended to show how much fun emulsifiers can be, so I'm only putting that in as an aside...)
This is a nice spray for freshening your hair or freshening a pet who stinks (yes, the Blondie dog has her reeky moments, although she'd deny that!) but don't use essential oils in mixtures for cats! Put in some lavender hydrosol with lavender essential oil for a headache spray. Use peppermint or spearmint essential oil for a summer cooling spray. Use your child's favourite fragrance and call it a "monster spray" to get rid of anything living under the bed or give it to a precocious child to keep her out of your Chanel No. 5.
This may seem like a really easy recipe, and it is. But it's a good place to start off on the wonderful world of emulsification, something vital to making lotion.
And if you've been following along as I post these tutorials or having a look through the archives, yes, this is a modification of the toner recipe from earlier in the month and the subsequent toner modification recipe (with fewer ingredients). I thought it was a great example of emulsification that anyone could try!
Tune in tomorrow for the first in a series of posts on lotion making! We'll start with emulsification!