Friday, July 23, 2010

Back to basics: Oil based body sprays

Oil based body moisturizers are best used after showering or cleansing as they can trap the water against your skin for maximum emolliency. Think of them as lotions without water, like a liquid lotion bar. As they are oil based, we won't use a preservative or other water based ingredients in our mix.

This recipe is rated E for everyone, and is fantastic for beginners, those who don't wish to use preservatives, or those who are seeking an all natural product. The shelf life of this product is dependent upon the shelf life of your oils.

If you're planning to get dressed after using this oil spray, you'll want to choose oils that are non-staining to clothes and other fabrics, so your choices are pretty much sesame oil or fractionated coconut oil.

Using all sesame oil will result in a medium weight body oil that feels a little greasy (in a good way). Using all fractionated coconut oil will result in a very light weight body oil that sinks in quickly but will be less moisturizing. Feel free to combine the two in whatever ratio you want. You could combine oils - sunflower, sesame, fractionated coconut oil, and shea oil would be great - with your Vitamin E and fragrance or essential oils to create a wonderful, customized oil blend that your skin loves!

98.5% light to medium oil
1% fragrance oil
0.5% Vitamin E

Get a spray bottle. Weigh the ingredients into the bottle. Label, use. Rejoice!

You could add a few things to this recipe - 10% IPM will help the oils sink in quicker and feel less greasy as will adding 10% cyclomethicone. 10% dimethicone will help create an occlusive barrier that will help trap in moisture further. You could try shea oil or rice bran oil (these are NOT non-staining) if you want something a little heavier on your skin.

If you wanted to create a drier feeling oil based body spray, then IPM is your friend. It is a light feeling ester that will help decrease the feeling of greasiness in any product while offering some emolliency. After some tinkering, I came up with this recipe that feels very moisturizing but far less greasy than the basic body oil spray recipe.

66% sesame or fractionated coconut oil - I used 33% of each
33% IPM
1% fragrance or essential oil

Pour all the ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake well. You're done.

This is a perfect opportunity to play with some exotic oils, so join me tomorrow for more fun with oil based body sprays!


Madeaj said...

Hey Susan

This is great. I have been looking for a good body oil spray. I used to use Neutragena's Sesame oil spray. I got tired of the heavy scent. Now I can make my own and change the scent as I want.
I have a few (a lot) questions.

What preservative would you use to increase shelf life?

Can I add exotic oils like borage, evening primrose or sea buckthorne?

I saw some aluminum containers, are those okay with the 'cones?

I am looking forward to tomorrow's post.

Thanks again for your blog.

Lynda said...

This is great! I also used to use Neutragena's oil spray. Also, Avon also had one I liked. Can't wait to make my own. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog. Thanks.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Madeaj!

You don't need to add a preservative as there's no water. You can add an anti-oxidant like Vitamin E to retard oxidation. You could add a preservative good for oil based products like Phenonip or one of the Optiphens, but it's simply not necessary.

You're reading my mind! Tomorrow's post is on the topic of including exotic oils.

Yep, you can use aluminum containers for silicones. Anything oil soluble is fine in aluminum, as long as you won't be taking it into the bath or shower or exposing it to a ton of water. (For instance, a sugar or salt scrub is a bad idea in aluminum because you're putting wet hands into it!)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lynda! Hope you like my version. The great thing is that you can play with the oils for each season - something lighter in the summer, like fractionated coconut oil, and something heavier like sesame oil in the winter.

I've just been in the workshop playing with different blends and I feel so moisturized...too bad I have to take a shower and wash it all off!

Lissa said...

Have you tried an ester in a body spray? C 12-15 Alkyl Benzoate? I love, love light weight sprayable lotions or after shower oil spray.
Thank you another great post!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lissa. I do use IPM, which is an ester, but I think I'll whip up something using C12-15 alkyl benzoate or one of the other ones I bought a while ago. I'll let you know what I think, but I imagine they'd be lovely as well! Great suggestion, thanks!

p said...

Hi Susan! What happens if you expose aluminum containers to water or water-based products? I had thought aluminum was pretty inert and have been using it for my shampoos.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi p. Okay, I'm embarrassed now.

What I should have been saying was "tin containers" not aluminum containers. I mean containers like these at Voyageur (seamless tins) not aluminum bottles like these that are intended to be used with lotions and other water based products! These aluminum bottles are inert and I've made shaving lotions, moisturizers, and other water based products in them.

Thanks for catching my mistake!

p said...

Phew! I was worried I was doing something wrong! :)

p said...

Hi again Susan,

What does it mean for an oil to be non-staining to clothes? If you drip a bit of any oil on clothing, won't it leave, well, oil stains? How are fractionated coconut and sesame oils any different? This has confused me every time I've read it.


MadeaJ said...

Hi Susan

I have a question about oils. I see oils in the supermarket. My local has sesame (not toasted;-), macadamia nut, sunflower (storebrand for frying), walnut, grapeseed, coconut oil and of course olive oil. Are these the same oil used in cosmetic products or is there a difference?

I usually cook with olive oil and I only use one source extra virgin olive oil because I prefer the taste to blended. Should I use light olive oil because it has a lighter smell?

Is the sunflower oil (ingredient lists only pure sunflower oil) in the big bottle for frying the same as the kind used for cosmetics?

Thanks Susan
Because of you, I am trying a lot of new things and my internal product junky is going crazy with all the things I WANT to buy. :-)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Madeaj! Fantastic question! I've answered it in a post you can find here.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lissa! I've whipped up a body oil spray with cetearyl ethylhexanoate, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, and capric/caprylic triglycerides and I love it! I'll be posting the recipe soon but I need to leave it for a week or so because I've found the cetearyl ethylhexanoate can make fragrance oils with vanilla smell chemically and weird.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi p! Pretty much every oil will stain your clothes if you spill a few drops on them, but some of them - like FCO and sesame - are less likely to leave stains if you've put some oil on your skin and then lie down on a sheet. I'm not really sure why this is, to be honest, because they have such different fatty acid profiles and I'm not really sure how to find that information as I'm having some serious trouble doing searches lately (Google seems to hate me right now). Esters are also non-staining to fabrics, and I'm loving those right now!

I will do some research on this topic in the near future because it's something that's always intrigued me but gets pushed aside for more glamourous research like learning more about surfactants!

Lynda said...

Susan, I got to thinking about my problem with bug bites and thought instead of OFF maybe something like this with citronella essential oil or lemongrass might work. Have you ever tried any of these or made this as a bug-be-gone body spray? Whatcha think?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lynda. I think it's a great idea! I haven't tried something like this because I am a mosquito magnet - even with a 40% DEET product I managed to get bitten to death (my feet were so swollen I couldn't have worn normal shoes!) and I'm really sensitive to bugs. But I encourage you to try it with a disclaimer that you might end up with a few bites in the process!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lissa! I've created an ester based body spray as per your wonderful suggestions! Look for it in a few days!

Leanne said...

Hi Susan. I was searching for information on using IPM in a body spray and you've just answered my questions beautifully!

I was wondering why you chose 1% Fragrance? The FCO can hold more right?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Leanne. You can use as much fragrance oil in this recipe as you like - fragrance oil is oil soluble, so it's not a matter of emulsification - but it's ill advised to go over 3% because it will be very strong and could bother you and other people. I use 1% because that's the level I like, but you can go to the maximum allowed by your fragrance oil.

Jen said...

Hi Susan!

I just came across your blog while looking for "spray lotion" for my grandpa. I'm a chemist that went back to school to become a pharmacist so the thought of mixing up my own body spray sounds exciting! A few questions:
1. Between the oil-based or ester-based sprays, which is the most moisturizing? My grandpa has thin, dry skin (as most 89 year olds do) and I'm thinking a spray is easier to use than rubbing on a lotion.
2. If I don't use a fragrance, will the spray smell too chemically? I'm not against fragrance but I honestly think he wouldn't notice either way.

Thanks for any help you can provide! I have a feeling I'm going to do a lot of exploring on this site.


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Jen! I find both the oil based and ester based sprays are very moisturizing - the ester one feels much lighter and drier on my skin. Having said this, if your granddad has really dry skin, you'll want to use something that contains water or have him dampen his skin before using it because you will want to have something to trap against his skin! The smell will depend upon the oils and/or esters you use. If you use lots of olive oil, it's going to smell olive oil-y. If you use lots of castor oil...and so on. When you make it, have a whiff and see if you want to add a little fragrance to it.

Formulating for dry skin - hit the "newer post" at the bottom of each post so you can see the rest of the series.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found this! I will be bookmarking this today. I loved Neutragena's Body Oil spray (fragrance free) but it got too costly for me to use even with coupons. I do not like Avon's body oil spray (I put it into a spray bottle) that much but it was exceptionally cheaper. I look forward to making my own soon! Thank you so much!

Sandra said...


I was wondering how canola oil would be to use. I didn't see canola oil listed under your list oils so I don't know what weight oil it's considered. I'm having a hard time finding Sunflower oil at my local store. Thank you so much

alicia said...

Hey Susan, thank you so much for this thread on dry spray oils! I've been playing with cold pressed oils for a while and haven't had experience with using esters and silicones but was wondering about creating an all purpose type of dry oil that could be sprayed on hair/body/face. Would these proportions work for such a product?
35% virgin coconut oil, 15% sesame oil, 15% kukui nut oil, 15% cyclomethicone, 10% IPM, 8% dimethicone, 1% Vit E, 1% essential oil

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Alicia. Virgin coconut oil is a solid and wouldn't be appropriate for a spray. Fractionated coconut oil would be a great choice here!

alicia said...

Sorry about the delay as just found response! Thank you Susan. I've been successful in using up to 35% VCO in spray oils, tested at wintery temps.. but I thought this may be a better recipe for a drier spray:
35% VCO, 25% kukui nut oil, 22% macadamia oil, 12% cyclomethicone, 2.5% IPM, 2% dimethicone 350, 1% essential oil, 0.5% Vit E.
Not sure about the cyclo/ dimethicone component - will it be too thick or shiny.. as hoping this could be used on face as well.
I have the silicones & IPM on order so will get to playing soon and will update (:

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Alicia. I'm confused. Virgin coconut oil is a solid product, and you are getting it to spray in a mister bottle?

As for silcones, I think they'd be a great addition in a spray product. They may be shiny, so make a small batch and see what you think!

I'm very interested in seeing how this turns out. Please return and share your experiences.

alicia said...

aha. I can see why that's confusing to you in the other hemisphere!! I am in Brisbane, Australia and our climate is subtropical. For sure if I put a 35% VCO concoction in the fridge it would solidify, but even in winter I can successfully spray my oil here. I have had friends in Miami and Puerto Rico say the same, but no go in New Zealand (: