Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Creams vs. lotions...

Is there a difference between a lotion and a cream? Yes.

A cream is defined as an emulsion in a semi solid form that doesn't flow well. It has a heavier consistency than lotion, so the key differences are viscosity and flow. A cream is generally found in a jar because it's not easy to pump out of a bottle. I always think of a cream as being 50 to 70% water, whereas a lotion has 70% or more water. And I always include a ton of butters in a cream, fewer in a lotion. (These last two sentences are just my opinion.)

I tend to use stearic acid as my thickener in creams for really dry areas, like my feet or elbows, because it seems to stick to those areas better. I tend to use cetyl alcohol for body or hand or facial creams because it is nice and glidy over larger areas. Plus, if you're using BTMS, the cetyl alcohol is going to help boost the substantivity and conditioning of the cream.

So how do you cream up a lotion? Let's say you like an after shave recipe but want it as more of a cream consistency. Let's play!

AFTER SHAVE LOTION (click here for the original post)

WATER PHASE
51% water
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
2% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed protein (I like oat protein)
1% allantoin

OIL PHASE
19% oil - I like 4% jojoba oil, 5% sunflower, 5% safflower, and 5% soy bean oil but 4% jojoba and 10% FCO would be awesome!
2.5% cetyl alcohol
5% e-wax (I like Polawax)
1% IPM

COOL DOWN PHASE
1% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil (consider some face friendly essential oils at safe levels).
1% Vitamin E

We could reduce the water phase from 61% to 51% and add a butter for that 10%. Let's say something like mango butter (HLB: 8 if you're going to use your own emulsification system). This probably isn't the best idea for a facial product as some people can break out with the butters, but it would be nice for other body parts.

We could use heavier oils like olive oil, rice bran (medium), or avocado oils for the lighter oils.

We could switch the cetyl alcohol for stearic acid.

So let's play a little...

WATER PHASE
38% water (reduced from 51% - removed 3% for the increase in emulsifier)
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
2% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed protein (I like oat protein)
1% allantoin

OIL PHASE
19% oil - 5% olive oil, 5% avocado oil, 5% jojoba oil, and 4% rice bran oil
10% mango butter (added)
2.5% stearic acid (changed from cetyl alcohol)
8% Polawax (increased to be 25% of the oil phase)
1% IPM

COOL DOWN PHASE
1% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil (consider some face friendly essential oils at safe levels).
1% Vitamin E

By increasing the oils and emulsifier, switching to stearic acid, adding the butter, and reducing the water, we are going to end up with a much thicker cream than a lotion.

If you want to do this HLB style, you can still use 4% emulsifier. And don't forget to include the Vitamin E (tocopherol) in your oil phase. (The HLB of this specific recipe is 7.89.)

A few links to cream making...

Making a cream (this blog)
Body butter cream (this blog)

Zinc Oxide Cream (from Voyageur, scroll down)
Soothing Aloe Body Butter (from Voyageur newsletter, scroll about half way down!) Also check out the shaving cream near the end of the newsletter.

And if you want to practice using the HLB system...
Olive Leaf Moisturizing Cream (from the Herbarie - uses ceteareth-20 and glycol stearate as emulsifiers)
Olive Tree Moisturizing Cream (from the Herbarie - uses PEG 7 olive esters and glycol stearate as emulsifiers)
Virgin Coconut Cream (from the Herbarie - uses ceteareth-20 and glycol stearate as emulsifiers)
Oryza Silk Cream (from the Herbarie - uses SBL, behenyl alcohol, and glycol stearate as emulsifiers)

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