Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A few points of interest for formulating...

When I use aloe vera in my creations, I mean the liquid not the gel. Or you could make your own liquid with the 99X concentrated aloe vera (don't forget to preserve it once you've made it). But you definitely want to use the liquid.

If you don't want to use silicones, don't. Use an oil in its place or leave it out and modify your recipe that way. If you're making a hair care product, leave the silicones out and use an oil or silicone substitute of your choice or just leave it out and increase your water amount. If you're making a lotion, use an oil or silicone substitute in its place in the proper phase or leave it out and modify the water phase and emulsifier accordingly.

If you're using more than 1% essential or fragrance oils, you might want to consider adding more emulsifier. Although 1% isn't a lot, going higher than that - say 3% in a foot lotion - means you're adding more oil to your product and you need to compensate to keep your emulsification stable. So let's say you're adding 1% Vitamin E and 3% essential oil blend. I'd add 1% more emulsifier to my heated oil phase (and remove the water amount as needed) to compensate for the increase in oils.

Beeswax is not an emulsifier! You might see water-in-oil recipes calling for beeswax and borax, but that's the only time beeswax is an emulsifier. If you see an oil-in-water recipe (meaning there's more water than oil, the kind I make) and it calls for beeswax in a recipe as the emulsifier, ignore it. The only way to make beeswax an emulsifier in a recipe is to include borax, and that only works in water-in-oil recipes (like cold cream). Please consult the post "How can you tell if it's a good recipe" for more information.

And when I recommend weighing everything, I do mean everything, including your essential and fragrance oils. I see recipes calling for 20 drops of this or that - what does that mean? Is that a large drop through a pipette or eye dropper or from an orifice cap? If I want to make a double batch, should I go with 40 drops? When I see a recipe like this, I get out my tiny scale and I try to measure what that 20 drops might weigh. And remember, 20 drops of lavender essential oil from one company might not mean 20 drops from another company. It's all about relative density! So please, don't use volume measurements for any of your ingredients!


Rocio said...

Hi Susan:
Can I preserve Aloe vera with the same preservative that I use in my lotion?

My bes regards

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rocio. Yes, and use it at the recommended amount (I'd go for the maximum for a botanical ingredient like aloe vera.)

Rocio said...

Sorry Susan, but I have another question:

What pH Should a lotion have?
Is the same for a hand, body and face cream o lotion?


Have a nice day

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rocio. A lotion should have a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5, depending on the lotion. If you are making a moisturizer with AHAs, you'll probably have a lower pH because those ingredients like a more acidic pH to work well.

Mychelle said...

"Beeswax is not an emulsifier" - thank you Susan! I am always trying to explain this to newbies who are convinced for some reason that beeswax alone will emulsify their product. I don't get it. From now on I'm sending them straight to your blog. Though I already send people here all the time. :)