Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Esters: Using esters in hand lotions

We took a look at using esters in facial moisturizers, so let's take a look at using esters in our lotions and creams!

Why use esters in a lotion? Esters take a long time to go rancid, so your lotions would have at least a year long shelf life (depending upon the other ingredients). They tend to be lighter than oils, so they're perfect for summer time or non-occlusive lotions. And they feel less greasy, so they're perfect for hand lotions, especially if you want one to use at work or around the house when you're touching other surfaces. Oh, and if you like a really white lotion, you'll get that with the esters as most of them - if not all - have no colour.

How do we use esters in a lotion? Exactly as we'd use the oils, added to the heated oil phase.

But wait! If you're making your own emulsifier using the HLB system, you will need to re-calculate your emulsification amounts as the HLB of most esters is higher than those of oils.

Which ones to use in lotion? Why all of them, of course! You can use any of the esters we've covered in the last few weeks in your lotions, although you might want to save the PEG-7 olivate for water soluble applications!

So let's take a look at our basic lotion recipe and make into something light and awesome using esters! You can make this recipe and use one or two esters in the oils phase, but I think we need to tweak it to create something really interesting!

70% water

15% oil - choose 1 or 2 esters you like
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
5% emulsifier (BTMS, Polawax, or emulsifying wax NF)

1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
(This doesn't total 100% because of the difference in preservatives!)

Instructions for lotion making can be found here.

So what are the goals of our lotion? If we're making a hand lotion, we want something that glides nicely over our skin, something that feels occlusive, and something that feels light and non-greasy.

I'm going to use five of my esters - C12-15 alkyl benzoate, cetearyl ethylhexanoate, and ethylhexyl palmitate, cetyl esters, and isopropyl palmitate. The C12-15 alkyl benzoate and cetearyl ethylhexanoate are my oils - those will offer non-greasy feeling slip and glide as well as emolliency. (The C12-15 alkyl benzoate is occlusive, so it will take the place of the occlusivity I might get from my dimethicone as well.) The ethylhexyl palmitate is replacing the dimethicone I'd normally use in a recipe (for those who don't like silicones). The cetyl esters will replace the cetyl alcohol as my thickener, and the IPP will offer a little more non-greasiness to the mix. You could use Super Sterol in this mixture - I don't have much of it, and I'm saving it for sera, facial moisturizers, and lip balms, but it would be a really nice addition. And you can substitute IPM for IPP.

Because I want something lighter, I'm going with 10% cetearyl hexanoate and 5% C12-15 alkyl benzoate. If you want something a little thicker and more occlusive, you can switch the numbers or use half and half.

What else do I want to tweak here? Because we aren't getting those lovely fatty acids with all their wonderful properties from our oils, we want to consider including a few things to offer those possible healing, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing qualities we would normally get in our vegetable based oils. Instead of shea butter, I think I'll use my babassu oil. It'll thicken up the lotion but feel very light and non-greasy. You can use shea or mango butter for a slightly thicker and slightly more occlusive lotion, but I'm having a love affair with babassu, hence the inclusion in this lotion! I want to include some oat protein for the film forming properties and panthenol for the hygroscopic and wound healing properties. I'll use both of these at 2%.

I like my aloe vera, so I'll use 10% and remove that from the water phase, and I think I'll go with chamomile hydrosol for the anti-inflammatory properties at 10% as well. In the cool down phase, I think I'll include some green tea extract for the anti-oxidant properties (use at 0.5%) and more chamomile at 0.5% for extra anti-inflammatory properties. As usual, you can play with your favourite extracts. If you have something like liquid green tea extract with a suggested use of 5% in the water phase, just remove that much water and use it! And if you have something like green tea butter, you could use that in place of the shea, mango, or babassu oil as a double duty kind of product!

Oh, wait! I need a humectant! I think I'll go with honeyquat at 3% in this recipe, but you could use any humectant of your choice - 3% glycerin, 2.5% sodium lactate or sodium PCA, 3% Hydrovance. I'm choosing honeyquat because it offers skin conditioning and behaves like a really nice humectant.

A quick note: If you're using BTMS-50 or honeyquat in this lotion, remember you can't use Tinosan preservative with cationic ingredients. 

Okay, so what do we have? We've increased our oils amount by 6%, which means we need to increase our emulsifier to about 25% of the oil phase. With a total oil phase of 29%, we need to use about 7.5% emulsifier. (Click here to see my post on how much Polawax to use!)

34% water
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
2% protein of choice (I'm using oat protein)

15% esters - 10% cetearyl ethylhexanoate & 5% C12-15 alkyl benzoate
4% ethylhexyl palmitate
5% babassu oil
3% cetyl esters
2% IPP or IPM
7.5% emulsifier (BTMS, Polawax, or emulsifying wax NF)

3% honeyquat
2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% chamomile extract
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
(This doesn't total 100% because of the difference in preservatives!)

Use the lotion making instructions linked above for this lotion!

If you want all the goodness of the vegetable oils in this lotion, you can add something like sunflower oil mixed with the esters to get the properties you like. If you want to use silicones, then you can remove the ethylhexyl palmitate and add the 2% dimethicone and 2% cyclomethicone to the cool down phase (and add another 1% to your emulsifier amount).

This is a highly tweakable recipe for a body or hand lotion. It'll end up being quite light but slightly occlusive. It should have a shelf life of at least a year - the protein and the extracts have one year shelf lives - and you don't need to include the Vitamin E to retard rancidity because all the oils have two year shelf lives, including the shea butter.

So what do I think of this lotion? I love it! It's very light and non-greasy, and you can rub it in for a few minutes without it getting hard to spread, but I really do miss using my vanilla based scents. I think most of my favourites are vanilla based, and it was really hard to find something that wasn't. In the end, I went with pina colada and it does smell lovely. (And I can still smell the fragrance on my skin the next day, thanks to the fragrance fixing abilities of the C12-15 alkyl benzoate.) I really like it as a hand lotion, but I think I want something slightly more occlusive for a body lotion.

If I were to tweak it for that purpose, I'd add at least 5% more butter (probably shea), add my silicones back (2% cyclomethicone, 2% dimethicone), and switch the 10% cetearyl ethylhexanoate for something that can tolerate vanilla. Oh heck, let's just make the body butter tomorrow!

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