Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Formulating with oils - less greasy hand lotion.

So let's say you want a winter hand lotion but you're not a fan of the greasier feeling lotions like I am! (Here's a post that goes into a little detail about less greasy lotions...)

You want something occlusive to provide barrier protection, something to help with skin barrier repair, and something to moisturize and soften. So let's take a look at the butters, starting with mango butter. This is a much drier feeling butter than cocoa or shea butter, so it's a great place to start. Or consider using something like avocado butter - it's a very dry butter with a fatty acid profile similar to avocado oil, that will offer moisturizing and softening with a drier feel. Or consider kokum butter, a very hard butter that has astringent qualities.

Hey, I haven't covered kokum or the other butters yet! It's on my to-do list, so look for it soon!

As for the oils, you could use grapeseed oil - high linoleic oil to help with skin barrier repair with some good phytosterols - with hazelnut oil - high oleic oil with a lot of Vitamin E and phytosterols - or camellia oil - high oleic oil with a long shelf life and anti-oxidizing properties (great in the place of olive oil, but lighter!). A combination like this would be quite astringent for people who don't like really greasy lotions, especially on their hands!

If you want something to feel drier, you can switch the emulsifier to BTMS, and use some drier oils (just remember you can't use the preservative Tinosan with a cationic product). And you can use either stearic acid or cetyl alcohol - the cetyl will glide more but feel a little greasier, but in the name of not having a lotion that is so non-greasy it just sits there, I'm going with cetyl alcohol.

Hydrosols, aloe, allantoin, and all those other things won't contribute to a product being more or less greasy, so we'll include them at the rates we did yesterday. I am going to keep in the cyclomethicone but remove the dimethicone to be less greasy. And the IPM will make it feel less greasy! I have to add some Vitamin E because I'm using shorter shelf life oils - 1% should be just fine.

WINTER TIME HAND LOTION, modified to be less greasy
38% water
10% aloe vera
10% hydrosol of choice
2% sodium PCA or sodium lactate
3% glycerin or other humectant
2% hydrolyzed protein
0.5% allantoin

15% oils of choice
5% mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM
6% emulsifier

1% Vitamin E
2% panthenol
2% cyclomethicone
1% fragrance oil
0.5% to 1% preservative

So what's the difference between my previous recipes and this one? The oils have changed, the emulsifier is different. I've returned to cetyl alcohol and added Vitamin E, and I've removed the the dimethicone to make for a drier lotion.

There isn't a huge difference in these three recipes on paper, but you'll notice a difference on your skin! And that's kinda the key to lotion making. There are only so many variations you can make on a lotion, and it's the changing of the oils, the water, and the additions that makes each lotion different.

Let's take a closer look at lotion tweaking tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

When you say "astringent" it makes me think "drying out" - but that's not the case with "astringent" oils and butters? I used to think I liked drier lotions too until recently. I find they don't leave the (greasy, if you will) layer that I guess I like! But I do like them to eventually soak in. Do the astringents moisturize as well? I look forward to your info and take on Kok!

Anne-Marie said...

Thanks for the notes on your new lotion recipe. I love experimenting with recipes too =)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Great question! I've addressed this in this post. Short answer - astringent butters and oils are as moisturizing as non-astringent butters and oils.

Marcia said...

A review :)

Water Phase:
44% Water
20% Aloe Vera Extract
2% Sodium Lactate
2% Hydrolyzed Oat Protein

Oil Phase:
15% Grapeseed Oil
5% Shea Butter
3% Cetyl Alchohol
6% Polawax

Cool Down Phase:
1% Vitamin E
1% Fragrance Oil
1% Germall Plus

I weighed everything, used the heat & hold in a water bath method and a hand mixer .
The ingredients from your original recipe that were left out, were left out only because I didn’t have them on hand, unfortunately . I increased the percentages of other ingredients to make up for their omission-hopefully correctly!! I had Shea Butter on hand so I used it instead of Mango butter.
Even though I left out some of the ingredients it still made a rich thick non greasy lotion that I love. I am still in the rejoice stage!! Its not a lotion that disappears into the skin, it leaves a bit of a barrier layer on the skin but not sticky or greasy. I bottled it in small screw top plastic bottles.
I would definitely make this again! Other makers of this recipe should know that it can be made without all the exact ingredients. Some can be omitted successfully by increasing the amounts of other ingredients in the same phase and some can be substituted. Keep in mind that by doing so, this won’t be the exact same lotion as if you followed the recipe, neither will it have the exact same feel.
One thing, and this is not a criticism, just an observation: The recipe calls for Aloe Vera. Not knowing or thinking, I ordered Aloe Vera Extract from Voyager. I realized when I was getting ready to make my lotion that hey, this might not be the right form of aloe vera. Sure enough, after using the search on your blog, I read that you use aloe vera juice. Uh oh. I went to Voyager’s site and read that the extract is in a glycerin and water base and is water soluble. As glyerine is in the water phase of the original recipe and the extract is water soluble, into the water phase it went in the same percentages as the juice. I would really appreciate your thoughts on where you would have put the Aloe Vera Extract and in what percentages.
Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge!!!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Marcia. Thanks for the review. Email me at and let me know which e-book you would like to have. As for the question, I'd use the aloe vera liquid in the heated water phase the way you did. In fact, that's the aloe vera extract I use.