Friday, February 11, 2011

Learning to formulate: Making a basic lotion

Okay, so you've learned about the different phases (heated water, heated oil, and cool down phases), let's take a look at tweaking a basic formula for a lotion.

Let's consider our questions about the lotion....

What kind of product do I want to make? Is it a moisturizer, body milk, lotion, cream, or butter? For which body part is this intended? What kind of skin feel do I want? Do I have a specific outcome in mind? For what skin type am I making this?

I think I'd like to make a lighter feeling body lotion for the upcoming spring months with some occlusive ingredients to protect me from the elements and some nice humectants. I would like a light to medium skin feel with some glide. I don't mind a little greasiness in my body lotions. And although I have oily skin on my face, on my body it tends to be normal - not too greasy, not too dry - and I'm not worried about comedogenic ingredients.

Okay, so I'm looking at making a basic lotion recipe, so I'll choose my basic 70% water recipe. (When I use the word "basic" I mean to be a base for where we start, not basic as in skin feel or ingredients. We can make this as elaborate as we want!)

HEATED WATER PHASE (69.5% of the lotion)
69.5% water

HEATED OIL PHASE (29% of the lotion)
15% oil
5% butter
3% thickener
6% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)

COOL DOWN PHASE (1.5% of the lotion)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)
(This doesn't total 100% because of the difference in preservatives!)

How can I achieve the goals of the lotion? Where to start first?

Let's start with the water phase as that's the least complicated phase (in my humble opinion). I think I'll add some glycerin at 3% to act as my humectant, and I like to include 10% aloe vera for its film forming and soothing qualities. I think I'll include 0.5% allantoin to behave as my barrier ingredient. (I could go with cocoa butter or dimethicone, but if I'm making this a light lotion, cocoa butter isn't my first choice.)

So my water phase looks like this...
56% water
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin

You'll notice the water phase still works out to 69.5% total.

Now on to the oil phase. I'm going to stick to our carrier oils and butters for the purposes of making this post less than 50 pages long, but you can use whatever emollients you like. And I normally like to mix my oils up to get different properties, but I'm going with one oil, one butter in this recipe.

If I don't mind a greasier lotion, then soybean oil (light, greasy), rice bran oil (medium weight, greasy), and sesame oil (medium, greasy) are all good choices thanks to the high levels of linoleic acid (which is great for increasing skin's barrier repair functions and reducing transepidermal water loss) and they're not expensive. If I wanted a drier lotion, then I could consider some of the drier oils like hazelnut (light, drier), avocado (medium to heavy, drier), or macadamia nut oil (light, drier), although they have less linoleic acid than the greasier feeling oils.

What butters could I use? I could use cocoa butter for the occlusion and barrier protection, shea butter for increased slip and glide, or mango butter for dryness. I think I'll use some mango butter for the simple reason that I just bought a ton of it and want to use it, plus it will be a little more astringent. I'm including allantoin as my barrier ingredient so I can forego cocoa butter, and I want it a little less greasy than shea butter might offer.

Then we come to thickeners. Since I want this to be for my body, light and glidy, I'm going with cetyl alcohol. (Stearic acid tends to form a cream type product with less slip and glide. As Sarah notes, "Cetyl is slick and stearic is thick!")

Finally, I'm going to throw in 2% IPM because I like the way it reduces greasiness without feeling powdery dry.

You need to make a decision here. If you're including 2% IPM do you reduce the amount of liquid oil from 15% to 13% or do you add the IPM without taking any of the oils out? If you include 2% IPM and remove the 2% from the oils, then you don't need to do anything. The oil phase is same the percentage of the lotion it was before - 29% - so your emulsifier amount remains the same. (We'll deal with the idea of adding to the oil phase on let's go with the idea that you're substituting 2% IPM for another oil today.)

HEATED OIL PHASE (rice bran oil + IPM = 15% oils)
13% rice bran oil
2% IPM
5% mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
6% emulsifier

So let's take a look at the cool down phase. Right now we have 1.5% to 2% in our cool down phase - 1% for fragrance or essential oil and 0.5% for preservative. If you are using a different preservative at a different amount, you'll have to remove that amount from your water amount. And if we add a few things like 2% panthenol or an extract at 0.5%, we'll have to remove that amount from the water phase as well.

So let's say I'm going to add 2% panthenol and 0.5% chamomile extract to my lotion. This means I need to remove 2.5% from the water phase to compensate for the addition of these ingredients. This means my water goes from 56% to 53.5% to make up for the extra 2.5% in the water phase.

And we're done the lotion!

53.5% water (reduced by 2.5% for the increased cool down phase)
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin

13% rice bran oil
2% IPM
5% mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
6% emulsifier

1% fragrance oil
0.5% preservative
2% panthenol
0.5% chamomile extract

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at another way we could have made this lotion, then on Sunday for how to increase the oil and emulsifiers!


Tara said...

I always use BTMS-50 because it is simpler. Do you find that since it contains cetyl alcohol, adding any extra thickeners makes it way to darn thick??

Patrick said...

Do you really think chamomile does anything real and tactile enough to justify its crazy expense? I like the smell, but I almost need a second job to buy it.

Frank (and family) said...

An idea for an entry that I don't think you've covered.

(My wife and I are making our own lotion now!)

Something near and dear to my heart. Diaper wipes.

I use them like crazy on my hands and my face.

These are an uber fancy ones compared to the real diaper wipes I buy to keep in my truck.

No man should be without them! It makes life civilized.

I have no idea what's required here and what's foof.

How about common-sense engineering something like this: Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure Detoxifying Wet Cleansing Towelettes -- Oil Free.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Isopropyl Palmitate, Myristyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Methylparaben, Perfume (Fragrance), Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Linalool, FIL

Will said...

I like this facial wipe idea, too. Just something that could be really used as diaper wipes, too.

Why am I guessing that the 1% division occurs very quickly in this list of ingredients? As Panthenol and Vitamin E are costly, do you suppose the break occurs that early?

I see gelling ingredients in the ingredients - what does gelling ingredients bring to a wipe - slower evaporation, maybe?

I always wondered the same thing about chamomile. It smells calming, for lack of a better word, but it's $14 for a 1/3 oz where I shop! Not in my price range, either.

You're being overtaken with men today!

Thanks, Will

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tara! I do find that some times I don't need to add a thickener with BTMS-50. If you consider that 6% BTMS-50 contains about 3% behentrimonium methosulfate (the 50 in the name means 50% active behentrimonium methosulfate), then we've got no more than 3% cetyl alcohol in there (probably closer to 1.5%, but that's just my guess). So we're not getting a lot of cetyl alcohol in the mix. I like to add the extra cetyl alcohol because it does act as an emollient and boosts the conditioning power of the BTMS-50. But it depends on which kind of product and skin feel you want. For a light lotion, leave out the cetyl alcohol; for a body butter, I'd put it in because I"m looking for a thicker product. But it's all about personal preference!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Patrick! I'm using powdered chamomile extract, not an essential oil, and it costs about $2.85 (plus 12% tax for a total of $3.19. So adding 0.5 grams to a lotion costs about 16 cents or so (and if you buy it in slightly larger quantities, it's about 10 cents to add it). I can't afford the essential oil - I buy too many expensive supplies as it is! - and I like the water soluble ingredients chamomile contains (the polyphenols, flavonoids, and water soluble vitamins). Click here for a post on chamomile extract.

Hi Frank & family. I don't have time to analyze this product today - we have to pack up and leave for video game club by 9:30 - but it's a great idea. I will get to it tomorrow or Monday (I hope, it's a busy weekend for me) and look through the ingredient list and suggest some formulations for wipes (I have a few in my archives from manufacturers).

Hi Will! I welcome men - this is an equal opportunity hobby! It seems like these wipes are mostly some kind of solvent - a humectant like glycerin or alcohol - then a lot of ingredients to improve skin feel, cleansing, smell, and preservation, so they're not that complicated. What is complicated is the preserving because they're so exposed to the air!

Inger Marie Berning said...

HI googling for deodorant recipes, I found this which looks very promising, but I need to ask if you (or anyone) have tried this recipe? Is 3 % behenyl alcohol enough for dissolving the 6 % stearic acid?

very well aware this is an old post, I appreciate any answers! Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Inger. I don't understand your question. This is a post for a lotion, not a deodorant. Behenyl alcohol is a solid, waxy substance and it isn't a solvent. Stearic acid isn't dissolved into it.

I'm sorry, I'm just really confused here. Can you find a more appropriate post in which to write this as it seems like it has nothing to do with lotion making.

Myoc said...

Hi. Firstly thanks for all the helpfull info!
Still there are many things that are not clear to me. (Im not good at chemistry and my english is not so well too :(() Can you help me find out?
I made 100g body cream yesterday, and here what i used. (All counts in gram)
[A] Distilled water 60g - Xanthan gum 0.2 - Glycerin 4g
[B] beeswax 0.5g - Grapeseed oil 5g- Rice bran oil 4 - Sunflower oil 4- Sweet almond oil 2- Avocado oil 3- Emulsyfing wax 5 - Cetyl alcohol 3
[C1] (oil-phase) Titanium dioxide 1
Vitamin E 1
[C2] (water-phase) Germal plus 0.6
Dry flo ts 1 - Vitamin B3 1 - Zinc oxide 1.5 - Kojic acid 0.5 - Licorice root extract (water dissolved) 0.5
Allantoin 0.4 - 4 drops of fragrance oil
Here the question.
Can you check if my recipe is ok? If not, why?
I want a thick-enough cream (but still soft), which gives light touch, quickly/immediately absorbs to skin, and doesnt leave greasy, sticky feeling. (cause im living in a hot, humid weather, thats why i never try making body butter though it is basic cream 4 beginer, cause i know 100% i cannot use it here, it will, greasy to death, and cause skin problems :)). But my cream gived a over-thick touch, still so greasy and took more than 30mins to completely absorbed. Is there any solution?
I read somewhere that it gives better result if using an immersion mixer (which we use to make soap). I used it but my cream is too thick. I think the problem is my mixing method and my recipe.
The first time i mixed for 4mins. Rest 4mins.( Wait till it cooled down a bit) then continued mixing for 2mins. This time the cream is light thick. (The temperature now is 40°C). Then I added the two phase C. (Except the dry flo ts and kojic acid). Then mixed. This time it thickened very quickly. (Not soft as i imagined). Then when i added dry flo and kojic (without mixing quith water), at that time the cream is defenitely hard, thick. I checked the pH and it gived a light green color (7-8). I think maybe the kojic is stilll not dissolved completely. When I applied on skin somtime it causes hot. I think my cream is ruined :(((
Can you explained me why? I still dont know when exactly to add kojic acid, because when i bought kojic, the selller told me that it only works at <40°C, means that i have to wait for the cream to cool down, but unfortunately when it reach <40°C, it already turned thick. I thought, mix kojic with drops of water and put it into a thick-cream, but i worried it cannot completely dissolve in the cream, and water and oil in the cream will separate after few days. And then i thought, add kojic to the phase A when there is water, glycerin and gum. But the problem is, i have to heat up the phase A to 70°C, which completely destroys the kojic. :(( So what do i do now :(( please help me
And, i worried about the pH.
And when to add dry flo ts? And seems allantoin doesnt dissolve very well in the mixture.
One more thing, if i want to use alpha arbutine , can i mix it whith kojic, and water, and then add all to the cool down phase?
I read somwhere that it cannot, beacause alpha arbutine and kojic works in different degrees, so cannot mix it together. What is your opinion? Can you help me?
Have a good day. And thanks a lot.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Allie! You are asking for many different things here, and you'll have to pick one of them. A thick cream won't be light and fast absorbing. It will be thick and probably greasy. What I think you want is a light lotion that sinks in well and feels moisturizing. That is what I think you should make next.

You have far too many ingredients for a starter recipe and it's hard to know what you like and don't like. Lots of those ingredients are making it thicker and waxier feeling.

Here's my suggestion - make a new recipe with very few ingredients.

74.5% Water
20% Oil - pick one oil and use it. If you want a less greasy feeling one, try using something like hazelnut or macadamia nut oil. You have grapeseed but that has a short shelf life. Try that one, but know that it's only a short shelf life lotion.
6% Emulsifying wax
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

That's it. Just those ingredients. Nothing more! Follow the instructions you find in this post. Make a 100 gram batch, and try it.

Next time, add cetyl alcohol at 3% and glycerin at 3%.

67.5% water
3% glycerin

20% oil
7% emulsifying wax
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5% liquid Germall Plus

and so on.

If you write to me after the first lotion and give me all your thoughts, I will help out further. But make that first lotion exactly as I have written it in 100 gram batch with only those ingredients. Then we'll talk.