Yeah, I know National Craft Month is over (sniff! sob!) but I'm having so much fun with the posts, I'm going to continue for a while longer. The mineral make up posts will be back next week (I'm thinking purples without purple?) and I'll keep posting these tutorials until I get too busy with the wedding (May 16th...and yes, presents are always welcome!)
I'm always going on about humectants and why you should use them...so let's find out what's behind my obsession with these ingredients.
What are humectants? They are hygroscopic ingredients that draw water from the atmosphere to your skin. They are used at 2 to 5% in your lotions to make your skin feel more moisturized. (I know there is some debate as to whether using humectants in a non-humid climate - like the desert states - will actually draw water out of your skin. I have yet to be swayed to believe this...but if you can find something, I'll read it!)
These are a few of my favourite humectants...my apologies to Julie Andrews...
Glycerin - cheap, easy to use, and plentiful. Glycerin helps to thicken your lotions slightly. It is fantastic in surfactant based systems as it increases bubble-age, so you'll want to use this in bubble baths, body washes, and shampoos! (If you look at these posts, you'll see we used glycerin in these mixtures!) Use at up to 5%, but 2 to 3% seems to be the less sticky option.
Hydrovance - this is a non-sticky, very nice humectant that can cause some pH drift (a change in your pH from acidic to basic or basic to acidic). Excellent in toners and other light, water based products where you don't want stickiness. Use at up to 5%, but 2 to 3% seems like a better range.
Propylene glycol - a lot of people don't like this product, but it's a great humectant. It doesn't impart the stickiness that glycerin can. Use at up to 5%, but 2 to 3% seems a better range.
Sodium lactate - At 3% sodium lactate has exfoliating properties, so you'll want to use it at 2%. Also has some anti-acne properties, but at higher amounts can be sun sensitizing, so make sure you weigh this ingredient properly! Fantastic where you want a humectant but not the stickiness or thickening properties of glycerin. Also great in surfactant or water based products as it doesn't thicken.
Olive oil - this is a great humectant, and can be used as a primary oil in something intended to be very moisturizing. Use at your normal oil usage amount.
Other humectants - tamarind seed extract, honeyquat (a cationic polymer derived from honey, use at 3% in body washes or lotions), and more...
How do we use humectants? For all but the olive oil, we add them to our water container and heat them with the water based ingredients. For the olive oil, use as you would a regular oil by adding it to the oil phase.
MODIFIED FIRST LOTION RECIPE WITH HUMECTANTS
2% glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
15% oil (sunflower, soy bean, rice bran, or olive oil)
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
5% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)
COOL DOWN PHASE
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
(This doesn't total 100% because of the difference in preservatives!)
*Note the change in the water to compensate for the addition of the humectant.*
1. Weigh out your water in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.
2. Weigh out your oil, butter, cetyl alcohol, and emulsifier in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler.
3. When both containers have reached 70C, weigh out your water again, then add it to your oil container. (This is a very cool moment...watch closely. It's emulsified! It's lotion!)
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 45C.
5. Let cool to 45C, then add your fragrance oil and preservative. Mix well with your hand mixer or stick blender, then let cool.
6. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature (a few hours), put into a bottle (with a pump, if possible), jar, or malibu bottle, then use.
What difference will you notice? You'll notice this lotion feels cooler on your skin and will draw water to your skin throughout the day. I love a good humectant on a hot summer's day - I can actually feel my skin has some coolness on it!