Remember that we need three things for a great emulsion...
- chemical emulsification - this is where our emulsifier comes in. Pick a good emulsifier and use it at the right percentage!
- heat emulsification - in general, solubility of our ingredients increases when they are heated. Click here for more about the heating and holding phase of our products.
- mechanical agitation of some kind - mixing ingredients so they will stay emulsified.
How do we mix our products? A lot of the recipes you'll find will say something like "mix well" or "agitate" or something similarly vague. I've seen some manufacturers' recipes that say something like "mix for 10 minutes at 75˚C", which is very helpful, but how do you mix? We don't have fancy propeller mixers or those plates that move about - we have stick blenders, hand mixers, stand mixers, and milk foamers! So which is the best way?
I think to each their own - but the key is to mix the lotion well when you mix the two phases, then mix again when you add the cool down phase. I generally use a hand mixer on about 1 or 2 setting (which is quite high these days! I had to return a mixer because I couldn't control it at level 1!!!) for 5 to 10 minutes. I check the temperature as I go along because my workshop can get quite cold in the winter (see my posts in January and February! I couldn't get into the workshop because it was -7˚C some days and my distilled water was frozen and my oils had all reached the cloud point!), which can affect the rate at which my product cools! Then I make up my cool down phase, continue to check the temperature of my lotion, then add the cool down ingredients when it reaches 45˚C to 50C. I mix again for a few minutes. I let it cool completely, then bottle it.
I don't tend to use stick blenders as my husband has declared them kitchen accessories, but I understand they can be quite effective when creating products. (If someone who loves stick blenders could share in the comments, that would be great!)
Click here for a post with some ideas for mixers, blenders, and other things that can help with this part of creating your products!
So what do you think? How do you mix your products? Share your thoughts in the comments!