Thursday, April 14, 2011

Duplicating products: Soothing Touch Herbal Therapy Moisturizing Massage Cream

Tara asked about this product - Soothing Touch Herbal Therapy Moisturizing Massage Cream (click here to see the ingredient list she posted from the bottle). The problem I'm having is that the official site doesn't have ingredient lists and it seems like the lists are different everywhere I look! ARGH! (This is a huge problem when duplicating products!) And now I've realized that what I've found isn't the moisturizing massage cream at all but the balancing cream!

I'm going to go with the order in which Tara read the ingredients from the container as I figure that should be the most correct. (I mean, there are labelling laws, right?) Although when I look for this product on the 'net, I find aloe vera gel at the top of the list and no water listed. So it's going to be really difficult to duplicate this product when I don't really know what is truly the ingredient list! (And thanks to Tara for providing it!)

As usual, please click on the links to see more information about the ingredient.

Water: Our solvent

Octyl palmitate (aka ethylhexyl palmitate) : An dry or less greasy feeling ester that is liquid at room temperature. It can be used at 1% to 50%, but the general usage is 5%.

Cetyl alcohol: A thickener and emollient.

Triethanolamine: Geller for carbomers and pH adjuster.

Propylene glycol: A humectant.

Sweet almond oil: A light emollient with a 9 to 12 month shelf life. High in oleic acid.

Sesame oil: A light oil with a 12 month shelf life. Nicely balanced for linoleic and oleic acids.

Basil oil: Is this an essential oil?

Sage oil: I think this is also an essential oil.

Tocopherol: Vitamin E, our anti-oxidant.

Allantoin: A barrier ingredient, generally used at 0.5% in our heated or cool down phase.

Emulsifier 165 (Norfox 165): Its INCI is Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG 100 Stearate Emulsifier (Here's where I found it at Lotioncrafter.). It is used at 1% to 5% in our products.

Germaben II: A broad spectrum preservative.

Stearic acid: Thickener. It's what I consider using when I'm making a cream, rather than a lotion.

Chamomile extract: An extract with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Clove bud oil: An essential oil.

Peppermint oil: An essential oil.

Eucalyptus oil: An essential oil.

Sandalwood oil: An essential oil.

Arnica extract (scroll down a bit): An oil used in a 1:5 ratio with another light oil. Can be used at up to 15% in this diluted form. Good for anti-inflammatory applications but shouldn't be used on broken skin.

Calendula oil: An anti-inflammatory oil with a shortish shelf life. Add Vitamin E to the mix!

Aloe vera gel: This is great for soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits. Aloe vera can be gelled with a carbomer to make it more gel-like or it can be a juice (or an extract

As I mentioned at the top of this post, this is going to be hard to duplicate as I really don't think I have the right ingredient list in the right order. For instance, aloe vera gel is the last ingredient in this list but the first ingredient in other lists. And the allantoin, basil essential oil, and sage oil show up before the emulsifier, and we know we shouldn't be using those at higher than 0.5% to 1% (although likely much less because we have at least four other essential oils in the mix!) This is when we really need to know our ingredients and the general usage rates for each one.

A massage cream should be easy to rub into one's skin, but I understand from massage therapists that they like something a bit grippy, so we'll want a balance of oils that will be glidy and grippy. I think these oils - sesame oil, sweet almond oil, and ethylhexyl palmitate will offer that combination. The stearic acid will make it a draggier cream and the cetyl alcohol will make it a glidier product, so that's a neat combination to put together. Since I don't have that emulsifier, I'll go with Polawax for this application.

Do we need all those essential oils? I like to include clove bud, peppermint, and eucalyptus into my lotion bar for pain (not making a claim here!). I make up a blend of 2 parts peppermint, 2 parts spearmint, 1 part cinnamon, 1 part clove bud and use it at 3% in that bar. That's kinda high, but it does give a tingly feeling. I don't know if you'd want that in a massage cream, so let's go with 2 parts peppermint, 1 part clove bud, and 1 part eucalyptus and use it at 1% in this mix. If you want to include the sage, basil, and sandalwood, start with 1 part of each added to the mix then include a total of 1% in the product. (I won't be using those essential oils because I don't like earthy fragrances and they would make me cough!) Add these to the cool down phase.

I can use the chamomile extract at 0.5%, Vitamin E at 0.5%, and 0.5% liquid Germall Plus or 1% Germaben II in the cool down phase, along with the essential oils.

In the water phase, I'll use 10% aloe vera liquid, which might make it less thick than using the gel (I don't have any gel in my workshop). I'll use the allantoin at 0.5% in the heated water phase as well as I find it dissolves better and I don't get those annoying shards. The propylene glycol can be used at about 3%, so let's include that as well. If you don't want to use propylene glycol, don't substitute it for glycerin as that could be sticky. Instead use 2.5% sodium PCA or sodium lactate as your humectant.

Now for the oil phase! I can't stress enough how important adding 3% stearic acid will be to this mix. I don't have butters to thicken it up, and if I'm going to base this on a 60% water recipe (with about a 30% to 35% oil phase), I'll need all the thickening I can get! Cetyl alcohol alone isn't enough to thicken it properly, so I'll go with 3% of each. Without a thickener, this could be quite thin despite the high oil phase. As an example, this lotion is quite thin at 59% water phase. And this one is of medium consistency. The thickeners are vital!

So we know we have 6% thickeners, and we'll need about 7.5% emulsifier, so how are we going to make up the rest of the oil phase (about 24%)? We have sweet almond oil, sesame oil, ethylhexyl palmitate, arnica oil, and calendula oil. I don't suspect there's a ton of arnica and calendula in here, so let's go with 3% each to start. (I think they're here for label appeal.) So we need about 18% sweet almond oil, sesame oil, and ethylhexyl palmitate. The ester is generally used at 5%, so let's go with 6% sweet almond oil and 7% sesame oil.

If we total this up, we realize we need 46% water! Okay, let's try a recipe!

46% water
10% aloe vera liquid
0.5% allantoin
3% propylene glycol

3% arnica
3% calendula oil
3% stearic acid
3% cetyl alcohol
5% ethylhexyl palmitate
6% sweet almond oil
7% sesame oil
7.5% emulsifier

0.5% Vitamin E
0.5% chamomile extract
1% essential oil blend
1% Germaben II

Follow the basic lotion making instructions for this recipe. Heat a little bit of water and add the powdered chamomile extract to it to dissolve before adding to the cool down phase.

Play with this recipe! You can use just one oil if you want or another blend. If you don't have ethylhexyl palmitate, you can replace it with 2% dimethicone in the cool down phase and add 3% to the water amount. You can increase the arnica to up to 15% if you're using this on unbroken skin. You can increase the aloe or leave it out all together. This is just an idea based on not being able to try the product and not finding a good list.

Join me tomorrow for more fun duplicating products!

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