Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back to basics: Solid scrub bars

If you can make a lotion bar or bath melt, you can make a solid scrub bar.

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

50% cocoa butter
20% mango, shea or other butter
3% cetyl alcohol
4% Incroquat BTMS or Incroquat CR
2% wax of choice - beeswax, soy wax, etc. For candellia wax, please use 1% as it is very hard.
3% sodium lactate
12% oils
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% fragrance oil
1% Vitamin E (if you are using oils with less than 6 months' shelf life)

Add up to 100% sugar, salt, beads, seeds, loofah, and so on. It really is your preference. If you are using sugar, you may need to add more than 100% because the sugar will melt into the warm oils - if you can stand the waiting, let it cool a bit before adding the sugar. You can add the salt right away into the hot oils. It will melt slightly, but not enough to be concering. Clay and jojoba beads will melt in the hot oils so you will need to let the mixture cool a lot - they really aren't a great choice here because you'll have to wait so long, the bar might actually solidify while you're waiting for the right temperature. Personally, I'd leave those for oil based or emulsified scrubs.

As an aside...the amazing Apres Glow Bar on the Dish uses baking soda. You can try this - add 80% exfoliant with 20% baking soda. It feels really nice.

Melt everything except the silicones, fragrance oil, and Vitamin E in a heat proof container in a double boiler until all the ingredients are well melted. Remove from the heat and add the silicones, fragrance oil, and Vitamin E. Add your exfoliant and mix well. Then pour into a mold and put in the fridge or freezer until set. Let sit for 24 hours before using.

A couple of notes...
  • If you are going to add colours to this, make sure they are oil soluble - water soluble colours are going to sit there in tiny droplets and look really weird.
  • The sodium lactate is in this bar as a hardener, not as a humectant, as it will wash off when rinsed. 
  • If you don't like silicones, then replace the dimethicone and cyclomethicone with equal amounts oils.
  • If you don't have Incroquat BTMS or Incroquat CR, you can use e-wax or Polawax in its place. It's there because we want an emulsifier and a conditioning emulsifier does two great jobs in one! 
The key to making this recipe your own is how you choose your butters and oils (click here for the posts on butters and oils). I definitely suggest having a cocoa butter base for this scrub because it is simply too soft if you use all mango or shea butter. You could use one of the butters that equals cocoa butter in hardness - illipe, sal or kokum butter - as your base butter, then tweak the other butter to be mango, shea, or any other butter you like.

I like to use a combination of sunflower, olive oil, and rice bran oils in this bar. All of these oils are light, inexpensive, with shelf lives of 6 or more months, which is always a great bonus.
  • The sunflower oil offers lots of linoleic acid and a ton of phytosterols to help with inflammation with great levels of Vitamin E. 
  • The rice bran oil offers a balance of linoleic acid and oleic acid, which is a great moisturizing fatty acid, as well as Vitamin E, Vitamin B, and squalene. The ferulic acid in rice bran oil is great for moisturizing and weather damaged skin. 
  • And olive oil contains a lot of oleic acid, which is a great moisturizer, as well as squalene, for more moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is fantastic for sun exposed skin, which is what I need at this time of year. 
You can use one or various oils in your 12% oils in this recipe. I just like playing with oils!

Here are a few ideas for modifying the solid scrub bar, but I really encourage you to read up on the various oils and butters and come up with some combinations you really love!
And if you want to get a little more adventurous, why not try making an emulsified scrub? Click here for the dry skin version, here for the oily skin version.

Join me tomorrow for fun with oil based sugar and salt scrubs.


p said...

This post reminds me that I should try making a sugar lip buff based on a solid scrub bar recipe. A while back I made an ground apricot seed lip buff, but I kept ending up with bits in my mouth! Sugar will be much nicer. :)

I poured my lip buff into lip balm tubes and had the problem that the ground apricot seeds mostly settled to the bottom - any advice on keeping this from happening? I could wait until the balm stiffens a bit, then stir to disperse the seeds, but if I do that I'm worried that I wouldn't be able to pour the buff into my tubes!

lissa said...

LOVE the link (why oils) you added - don't think I saw this before.... Thank you!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi p. Sounds like a nice scrub. I think you have two choices - wait until the balm stiffens, or create a thicker scrub. Or use a different exfoliant. So I guess there are three choices. If you like your product, then the only choices would be to wait and run the risk you won't get it into the container or try a different exfoliant. You could use some really really tiny jojoba beads, but then you run into the whole melting in warm oils thing, so you're back to waiting.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

MadeaJ said...

Hi Susan

Do you use the lotion scrub bar in the shower like soap or after soap? I use my lotion bars after the shower, does this mean I could bring it into the shower and use it that way too? Would it work in the bathtub too?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Madeaj: I use the scrub bar as the final step in my shower. I use my body wash, rinse, put conditioner on my hair, scrub away, rinse, rinse my conditioner, and step out of the shower. You could use a lotion bar in the same way or just after you turn off the shower. (I tend to use the lotion bars after I've lightly towel dried when my skin is still damp...)

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan. Love the recipe. I have tons of shea butter to use up and no cocoa butter. Could I replace the cocoa with more shea and increase the beeswax to make it stiffer? What % would you suggest to increase the beeswax amount to so the bar doesn't fall apart?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Jane. You could try it, but I can't guarantee it will work. I tried it with mango butter once, and it was just too soft, even with more wax, and shea butter is softer still. But try it and see if it works for you! How much to use - I honestly don't know. Try 10% and see if that works. But remember, only make a small batch as there are no promises that this will work!

IrishMolly said...

I just wanted to let you know I tried the scrub recipe. I did not have sodium lactate so I added the 3% to the 2% wax (I used bees wax) totaling in 5% bees wax and since you were using sodium lactate as a hardener I also used 60% cocoa butter and 10% mango butter. Everything else stayed the same. The resulting scrub was amazing!! It was not oily, had this amazing glide on my skin and left a powdery soft feeling after. My only question is that it never hardened. Did I do something wrong? I heated and held, the oils I used were 4% coffee infused Olive Oil, 4% coconut oil, and 4% Camellia Seed Oil. I added the Silicone's, E and EO when it cooled down to 45C. For the exfoliants I added 55% out of the recipes total weight which was 100 grams. 55 grams of exfoliants were used in the form of 15g coco powder, 20g Baking soda, 20g of finely ground coffee. Did I do something that would cause the bar not to harden? It never did - it was almost like a soft body butter consistency - amazing but not what I expected. I cannot find the error unless it was omitting the sodium lactate?

Julia said...

I always have questions about preserving :) So here is another one.
I love this scrub bar. BUt so far I have always made it without sodium lacate. WHich is fine until it reaches about 27 degrees celcius, it starts getting soft and mushy.
So I want to add the sodium lactate. Problem Ive run into: It is 60% Salt to 40% Water ( advertised as bacteriostatic). SO if use this in my anhydrous scrub bar, will it even mix since it is part water? ANd then it raises the question if I should use an additional preservative due to the water.
I havnt been able to find any 'pure' sodium lacate, they all seem to be mixed with water.
What are your thoughts?

Lesley, said...

Hi Susan,
I was reading through the Christmas gift ideas and really liked the idea of a scrub bar. Tried the recipe - It didn't harden well, basically crumbled. I used Polwax in place of the BTMS. For the exfoliate I used a fine-medium coarse sea salt with blueberry seeds. All the other ingredients were exactly the same. The oil I used for the 12% was rice bran oil and the butter was Shea butter. Please help, I would love to get this one right. Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lesley. Can you please write up your complete recipe and the exact process you followed so we can figure out what happened? My first instinct is that the seeds weren't a great choice, but it could be something else as I've used BTMS in this recipe many times and it's never caused a problem.

Lesley said...

Hi Susan,
My recipe is below. I chopped up the cocoa butter so it would melt easier and partially melted it in the microwave. I added the shea butter, stearic acid, polwax, beeswax, and seaseme oil - melted those in the microwave. Then I added the silicones, sodium lactate, vitamin E and fragrance. I do have lovely scale that is pretty accurate. I was wondering about the mixture of the seeds and the salt. I had tried something similar with sugar and didn't like it because it melted so I used salt.

50.00% cocoa butter 2.5
20.00% shea butter 1
3.00% stearic acid 0.15
4.00% polwax 0.2
2.00% beeswax 0.1
3.00% sodium lactate 0.15
12.00% seaseme oil 0.6
2.00% cyclomethicone 0.1
2.00% dimethicone 0.1
1.00% Vitamin E 0.05
1.00% fragrance 0.05
100.00% 5

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

What are your amounts for the seeds and the salt? I have found that using more than 100% of the exfoliant can result in a crumbly mess. And why not try it without the sodium lactate. It's a bar hardener, so it might have made it too hard.

Lesley said...

well, shame on me, I didn't weight the salt or seeds. I do feel that I added to many seeds and they don't make a nice scrub bar. I am going to try again with maybe a few specks of seeds for visual interest and maybe some organic sugar (it has larger crystals and melting is less of an issue).

Rachel said...

if this will get wet in the shower, shouldn't we add a preservative? confused about this...we add them to anhydrous scrubs in jars for that reason?