So what is the difference between a light lotion and a moisturizer? The "active" ingredients. We want to maximize every single drop of the non-water ingredients to make our skin fabulous (this isn't a claim...it's a wish!)
So we need the basics for our lotion - water, hydrosol, oil, emulsifier, thickener, preservative, humectant - in the same proportions as the light lotion, but we are going to choose our ingredients very very carefully. We want to avoid anything that could clog pores, cause pimples, or create drag on our skin.
There are three ingredients we want to maximize in this recipe - the humectant, the oils, and the additives in the cool down phase. We want the biggest bang for our buck, the ingredients that can make the most different in our skin and the ones that make people stop and comment on how lovely we look today! So these are the areas on which we'll concentrate the most.
WATER PHASE - about 80% of the recipe
Water - About 50%
Aloe vera - aloe vera contains allantoin, which is good for healing and regenerating new cells. Plus it is soothing, which is always a good thing.
Hydrosols - lavender is good for soothing inflamed skin, reducing redness, and toning dry and oily skin. Rose hydrosol is good for balancing sebum production, and soothes redness.
Humectant - choosing a fantastic humectant for a facial moisturizer is really important. You want something that isn't sticky and doesn't add drag, and something that offers as many benefits as possible. Sodium lactate is a good, non-sticky humectant for a facial moisturizer. It can be exfoliating at over 3% and can aggravate acne at over 5%, so keep it at 2%. You can use glycerin here at 2%. Or you could be really bold and try something like tamarind seed extract (from the Herbarie, a great humectant that improves skin's elasticity and hydration). Or honeyquat, a cationic polymer that will condition your skin and draw moisture from the atmosphere. Or try hydrovance, another great humectant. Or add 2% polyquat 7 (Condition-eze 7) to the mixture.
A note on sodium lactate - it is a mild AHA (lactic acid) so including it will actually add some AHAs to your lotion (more on this topic tomorrow). If you are sensitive to AHAs, please use glycerin, tamarind seed extract, hydrovance, or one of the quats (honey or polyquat).
OIL PHASE - about 15% of our recipe
Emulsifier - at about 4%. You could choose BTMS as a cationic (positively charged) emulsifier in this case. It will make a powdery lotion that is still moisturizing, and it will condition your skin. (Although, with BTMS the moisturizer won't be as glidy as with e-wax!) Or use 4% of Polawax. There are tons of emulsifiers to choose from - we want them at 4% in this recipe.
Thickener - at about 2%. We really don't need much of a thickener at 80% water, but we'll add cetyl alcohol because it adds emolliency without adding oils (so this is the "oil free" in the "oil free moisturizers" you see in the shops) and it gives a little more glide.
Oils - at about 8% or so. This is where we get to play. You will want to give serious consideration to the oils you want to put on your face. If you haven't already, check out my post on oils to see the list and the post on exotic oils for some ideas on what you'd like to include in your recipe. You will want to choose oils considered "low" on the comedogenic scale. (I'm only putting a short summary here, so check out the posts for more information on the oils!)
For all skin types, the following oils are fantastic choices...
- jojoba oil - light to medium weight - resembles the skin's sebum, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial
- hempseed oil - light to medium weight - contains ceremides, which protect the skin, and resembles the skin's sebum (very short shelf life, use 1% Vitamin E and keep in the fridge!)
- olive oil - heavy - a humectant, full of phytosterols, and good for inflamed skin
For acne prone skin, you might want to consider a combination including
- hazelnut - astringent, high in fatty acids
- macadamia nut - resembles the skin's sebum
- grapeseed oil - astringent and "hypoallergenic"
For aging skin, you might want to consider the following...
- safflower oil - very emollient, skin penetrating, cell regenerating properties, and filled with good vitamins
- rice bran oil - very emollient, filled with vitamins, highest amount of Vitamin E, great softening and moisturizing properties
- sesame oil - restructures and moisturizes skin, filled with various vitamins and minerals (like Apple Jacks! Although they used to have 10 vitamins & minerals and now only have 9...which one did they feel wasn't necessary?)
If you want something very light and sink-in-able, you might want to consider using squalane and fractionated coconut oil. This is a wonderful base and you can use an exotic oil (like evening primrose) to take it to the next level of awesome!
For regular skin (does anyone have that any more?) you'll want to choose nice moisturizing oils that contain various vitamins and good things. (Sorry for the passive-aggressive stance here, but I envy you every single day!)
As you can see, our regular oils are chock full with all kinds of wonderful properties, so you can go with those and leave it at that...and I suggest this for your first facial moisturizer. Let's not not complicate things by adding tons of various oils because we need to figure out what you love! (Having said that, we'll complicate this all tomorrow with our tweaking a facial moisturizer post...)
I'm leaving out the butters as most people's skin cannot tolerate that kind of intensity. If your skin can handle a little butter, then add a little, perhaps 2 or 3% maximum.
COOL DOWN PHASE - about 6% of our recipe
Preservative - at 0.5% to 1% - essential! You do not want to get bacterial and fungal growth in something you're putting on your face!!!
Hydrolyzed proteins - 1 to 2% - we want a film former and protectant in our moisturizer to keep the outside world distinctly out! I like hydrolyzed oat protein, but you can choose soy, corn, wheat, silk, and so on.
Panthenol - 1 to 2% - panthenol helps with cell repair and regeneration. An awesome thing indeed for a facial moisturizer.
Essential oils - 0.5% to 1% - there are many essential oils that are fabulous for your skin...tea tree, lavender, chamomile, and so on. Add these at low levels, and learn how much to add before adding them!
Botanical extracts, complexes, AHAs, salicylic acid, and so on - as directed by the supplier or at 1 to 2% - there are many botanical extracts you can use for your face (see the toner post for a complete list) and these are going to be the "active" part of your recipe. I'll get more into this tomorrow. For now, you can use the botanical extracts at 0.5% listed on the toner page.
FACIAL MOISTURIZER RECIPE
WATER PHASE - you can use 80% water if you don't have the hydrosols and aloe vera
15% aloe vera
15% hydrosol of choice (I'm using lavender hydrosol)
2% humectant of choice (I'm using sodium lactate)
8% oils - I'm going to use hempseed, macadamia nut, and jojoba for my dry-ish, acne prone skin
4% emulsifier - Polawax, e-wax or BTMS
2% thickener - cetyl alcohol for the glide
COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% to 1% preservative
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
0.5% chamomile extract (for soothing)
0.5% honeysuckle extract (for acne)
**If you are using oils with less than a 9 month shelf life, please add 1% Vitamin E to your cool down phase!**
1. Weigh out your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.
2. Weigh out your oil phase in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler.
3. When both containers have reached 70˚C, hold for 20 minutes. Weigh out your water again, then add it to your oil container. (Leave out about 1 tbsp of heated water and mix it with your powdered extracts in a shot glass.)
4. Blend with a hand mixer or stick blender for at least 3 minutes. Repeat this process as often as you would like until the temperature reaches 45˚C.
5. Let cool to 45˚C. Add the preservative, hydrolyzed protein, panthenol, extract, and essential oils and mix well with the hand mixer or blender. Let cool.
6. Pour the mixture into a bottle - one with a treatment pump, preferably - and let sit until completely cooled.
There you have it - a facial moisturizer filled with soothing, healing, and moisturizing ingredients (please do not make any claims about this lotion - just enjoy what you've made!)
This is a very nice moisturizer you've tweaked to be perfect for your skin...but I know you're itching to add a few goodies, right? So join me tomorrow for the tweakage!