Saturday, December 4, 2010

Substitutions: Modifying a lotion with ingredients you have (part 1)

Almost 18 months ago, I wrote this post on substituting things for other things, and I find it weird that I didn't return to this idea. Considering we're in crunch time for making products, and a lot of us have to wait for mail ordered items, I thought it was time to re-visit this idea!

So let's say you see this recipe and you really want to try it, but you're missing a few things. (Originally from this post)...

46.5% water
10% chamomile hydrosol
3% propylene glycol
2% sodium PCA
2% phytokeratin

20% oils - 8% C12-15 alkyl benzoate, 6% wheat germ oil, and 6% matcha green tea butter
6% Polawax
3% cetyl esters

1% fragrance oil (Cream cheese frosting from Brambleberry, as usual!)
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% Vitamin E
5% liquid green tea extract

But you're missing a few ingredients. How can you figure out what to substitute? Break the recipe down!

Water: Well, this is essential, and we all have access to it, so that's not an issue.

Chamomile hydrosol: This hydrosol the benefits of chamomile in a liquid form. It offers anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties, and might reduce redness. You could leave it out and use water, use powdered extract in the cool down phase, or find a hydrosol or extract that offers similar properties (lavender hydrosol has similar properties).

Propylene glycol: A humectant. Can be substituted with glycerin or other humectants you might like.

Sodium PCA: A humectant. Again, you can substitute it with the humectant of your choice. In this recipe, we have two humectants, so you could leave either one or both out if you don't want one. (I wouldn't leave out a humectant in a lotion - to me, it's essential - but it won't mess with the chemistry of the lotion if you omit it.)

Phytokeratin: A hydrolyzed protein. You can substitute any hydrolyzed protein of choice. Silk will penetrate, oat will film form, so choose your product accordingly. Or you can leave it out. I like to include proteins to film form, but we already have a ton of film formers in the recipe, so you could consider omitting it.

C12-15 alkyl benzoate: An ester used as an emollient in this recipe. It's a light feeling, high spreading emollient, so you could substitute any light oil you might have. I'd probably go with fractionated coconut oil, but you can choose anything you have in your workshop.

Wheat germ oil: It's a high linoleic, high Vitamin E, high phytosterols, slightly greasy feeling oil, so if you wanted a direct substitute, I'd go with soybean oil as my first choice. Rice bran or sesame oil would be good choices if you are interested in high levels of linoleic acid or phytosterols. (Click here for the list of oils.)

Matcha green tea butter: This isn't a true butter - it's sweet almond oil and hydrogenated vegetable oil with green tea leaf powder. You could substitute this with any butter and add the green tea extract in another form, for instance, liquid or powdered extract. It's a slightly dry feeling butter, so using mango would probably be my first choice, but any butter will do.

Polawax: Our emulsifier. You can use Incroquat BTMS-50 or any other emulsifier you prefer. If you're using an HLB system emulsifier you're creating, you will have to work out the value because something like C12-15 alkyl benzoate has an HLB 13 and cetyl esters have an HLB of 10, but I'm sure you already know that!

Cetyl esters: Our thickener. You can use any fatty alcohol or fatty acid of your choice. Cetyl esters tend to feel lighter than cetyl alcohol and the product will feel thicker if you substitute it with cetyl alcohol. If you use stearic, you'll probably end up with a cream type product.

Fragrance oil: You can leave this out or use essential oils at safe levels.

Liquid Germall Plus: Our preservative. Choose any other preservative you like, but make sure it's suitable for products containing water.

Vitamin E: Our anti-oxidant. If you're including green tea extract, odds are good you have enough, but I included this just to make sure because the wheat germ oil has a shorter shelf life. If you're using a long shelf life oil - for instance, soybean oil - you won't need to worry about adding this at all.

Liquid green tea extract: You can add powdered extract, but the powder can mess with the emulsification of your product. Use 0.5% in the cool down phase dissolved in a little warm water - take the water out of the water phase! Or consider using another extract you might like. I love liquid calendula extract!

Each ingredient you substitute can alter the skin feel of the product. Substituting glycerin for sodium PCA might make your lotion feel a little stickier than the original product, switching oils can make the product feel drier, greasier, lighter, or heavier, and changing emulsifiers can have a similar effect.

As this post is getting far too long, join me tomorrow to take a look at our substitution recipes!


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, I have a question,anytime I make something and an ingredient needs to be diluted in water or alcohol for example, whatever amount of liquid used has to be deducted from the water phase? If something only dissolves in oil-then deduct from the oil phase? I know this is probably very basic but I'm new at this and this is one of the things that worried me about messing up.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

It's a good question and yes, you would remove the percentage from the water phase or the oil phase when you add something that is diluted in some way.

If you start on this post from the formulating series and click "newer post" at the end of the page, you'll see a series of posts on this very topic.

mamirican said...

thanks for the prompt response, you know I've been reading on this lotion making stuff for over a year now, and have been afraid to try because I didn't know how those details would affect the product and I was afraid of the epic fail. By the way I did create my first lotion, a total success and now I'm hooked. I will let you know how it all progresses. You have really inspired me to finally do it and it is all because you are so patient and take so much effort explaining even those details that to somebody like you who have been doing this for a while probably wouldn't seem important.