Sunday, September 26, 2010

Experiments in the workshop: Golden shea butter sugar scrub

I think we all know by now what I think of emulsified sugar scrubs. (Do a search for sugar scrub and you'll find a ton of them), so I thought I'd try this recipe using the golden shea butter. For some reason - and I'm not sure why now - I decided to use 25% golden shea butter in this recipe when I'd normally use about 20% butters and 56% oils. I can't offer an explanation for this change, but I'm pleased with it, so I guess it's a happy accident. (This is why I tell you to write everything down as your play in your workshop!)

25% golden shea butter
10% emulsifier - BTMS-50, e-wax, or Polawax
5% C12-15 alkyl benzoate
10% cetyl alcohol
20% fractionated coconut oil
20% apricot kernel oil
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
2% fragrance oil
1% Vitamin E
1% Phenonip

125% to 150% sugar

Weigh the shea butter, emulsifier, oils and esters into a heatproof container and put in your double boiler until melted. Remove and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well, then put into a fridge or freezer to solidify (the freezer is a better choice with unrefined butters, but since we're adding sugar to this, grains aren't really an issue!). When the mixture has a solid layer on top but some liquid underneath, remove from the freezer and start whipping with the whisk attachment on your mixer. Add your sugar - I like to use about 140% sugar, but it's your choice - and whip until it has almost doubled in size. Spoon into a container and enjoy!

As I'm trying to be more experimental, I chose to use the C12-15 alkyl benzoate as both an emollient and a fragrance fixative, the apricot kernel oil as I haven't used it in a while (and because I'm out of my usual soybean oil), the fractionated coconut oil because I wanted very light oils in this mix, and the two silicones because I wondered why I didn't include those regularly when I really like silicones. I chose BTMS-50 as my emulsifier because I thought it would be interesting to see what this butter would feel like with a drier emulsifier.

As usual, substitute whatever oils you want in this recipe for other ones or esters, and leave out the silicones if you want, just add 2% to the oil phase. And choose the emulsifier you like!

Realistically, I should have made the exact recipe I make every time and just change the golden shea butter, but I really wanted to play in the workshop with something new, so I changed just about everything!

So how did it turn out? I was a little worried it was too liquidy at first, but it solidified very nicely by the next day (this picture shows the consistency just after making it, the one at the top shows it the next day). In the shower, it was easy to scoop and scrub, and my skin felt very nice and moisturized after rinsing. In short, this one's a winner!


Tola said...

Susan, your blog is an inspiration and it always has me itching to formulate. That's why I've nominated you for a Sunshine award.

Naomi said...

Susan, what differences did you find in this scrub? I made my emul scrub (based on your original recipe - no esters, no silicones) and subbed my usual regular shea with the painya and it softer and liquidy (though, it was much more humid than usual) and when rinsed off, greasier and waxier, though after drying off, my skin was super soft with no greasies and waxies. I did use PKO flakes in addition to soybean, olive, and rice bran oils. Do you think the PKO is a good addition?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tola! Thanks so much for your kind words. The whole point of this blog is to share my experiments and information with people so they'll become as addicted...I mean, as inspired to make their own bath & body products as I am!

Hi Naomi. I found this scrub didn't stay on my skin as long as my usual scrub, but I was trying something new by making it lighter and drier. I'm not really a light and dry person - I want my scrubs to be very moisturizing during the day.

Next time I make this, I'll use a heavier oil in the place of the AKO and FCO - probably olive oil, because it's a lovely humectant for the winter time with a touch of sunflower oil for the linoleic acid - but I'll keep the C12-15 alkyl benzoate because I really like the fragrance fixing properties of that ester, and I'm sure it will last longer on my skin.

Kat said...

As a newbie learning to formulate, I just wanted to ask a clarifying question. It's kind of self-evident, but I wanted to make sure I understand. Your percentages with something like this are calculated off the total ingredients BEFORE adding the sugar - is that right? And you never end up taking the sugar into account wen calculating things like the amount of preservative to use (if using a preservative)? What's the concept behind this? I'm asking because I'm thinking about other products where this might come into play - where an ingredient is NOT included in the weight/percentage calculation. Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kat. My sugar/salt/pumice scrubs are the only products in which I don't take into account every single ingredient when calculating the 100%. Part of this is because this reflects only my desired scrubbiness level and part of this is because if you're using salt or pumice or another exfoliant in the mix, you might need more or less, so it's easier to create a recipe for the base of the sugar scrub and let you choose how much or how little exfoliant to use. Most of our exfoliants don't need preserving, so it's not essential to include the exfoliant when calculating my preservative. If you're using a botanical exfoliant that might need preserving, then adjust the levels accordingly.

I use my Phenonip at 1% (the suggested usage is 0.25% to 1%) to take into account the ingredients in the sugar scrub base (although if you consider that you could use Phenonip at 0.25%, it can compensate for up to 400% of the recipe amount). My main concern is to preserve the oils and butters and retard rancidity, so I use only the base recipe without the exfoliant for my preservative amount.

Birgit said...

I love you, swift! I mean, I just learned something new from you again, thanks. I never thought about the scrubbies not needing a preservative and always added it in the end calculating based on the entire combined weight. Looks like I have been over-preserving my scrubs. Is there any harm in that or is it just a waste of preservative? -Birgit