Monday, October 31, 2011

Experiments in the workshop: Behenyl alcohol in a lotion

I decided I'd try behenyl alcohol in place of cetearyl alcohol in this recipe - the rice bran oil based hand protector cream I made as a duplicate of the Body Shop's hemp hand protector cream for my husband.

The original recipe is a very thick lotion that feels slightly greasy going on your hands, but dries to a more powdery feeling. The cetearyl alcohol makes it feel a bit waxy, but that's not a bad thing if you want a lotion with some staying power (that's why I added the beeswax!) My husband really liked this recipe. But of course, I can't leave well enough alone, so I had to try the behenyl alcohol in place of the cetearyl alcohol! (I wanted to make my own version because I scented his with cedar & saffron and I really don't like earthy scents!)


47% water
3% glycerin
2% propylene glycol
0.5% allantoin

7% Polawax
3% behenyl alcohol
8% cetearyl ethylhexanoate
10% rice bran oil
10% C12-15 alkyl benzoate
2% beeswax
2% IPM

2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% fragrance
0.5% - 1% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)

Please follow the basic lotion making procedures for this recipe. 

I had a few ideas for some changes - cyclomethicone at 2% in the cool down phase (remove 2% of the oil from the heated oil phase), aloe vera at 10% in the heated water phase, and maybe try some other fatty alcohol. I didn't make those changes in this version as I wanted to figure out what behenyl alcohol brings to the party, and adding other things makes that very difficult, but I will try it out next time! I added 0.5% more fragrance and dropped the oils by 0.5%, but that shouldn't make a huge difference except to the awesome smelling-ness of the product (Clementine Cupcake from Brambleberry, as usual. Click here to get it in Canada from Karen at Soapcraft! Seriously. It's amazing!) 

So what did I think? It's much less waxier than the first version, and I like it a lot. It feels more velvety, as if I'd added cyclomethicone to it, and it has a nice slip and glide that make it easy to rub on my hands. 

In general, I really like behenyl alcohol. I tried it in a conditioner - more about that tomorrow - and I've tried it another lotion, and it really gives a velvety slip that feels a little less greasy than cetyl alcohol and a lot less waxy than cetearyl alcohol. I like that it feels a little more occlusive - but not by much - than cetyl alcohol, and it's definitely very different than stearic acid for making more creamy lotions. 

The down side is the cost. I pay about $4 a pound for cetyl alcohol locally, and I bought my behenyl alcohol from Lotioncrafter at $11.25 for a pound, plus shipping. (This isn't a complain against Lotioncrafter's prices - they are reasonable indeed, but a comment about the price of the other fatty alcohols in general!) As someone who doesn't sell my products, I won't go through more than a pound or two a year and I think the increased slip, glide, velvety-ness, and general nice feeling of behenyl alcohol is worth it, but if you're selling lotions, that price difference could make or break a profit margin! 

Can you change other things in this recipe, for instance the propylene glycol for another humectant or the esters for vegetable oils? Can you add lavender hydrosol or use an essential oil? Sure! That's the whole point of learning how to make products - customizing them to your preferences! I suggest you try substituting oils for other oils, humectants for other humectants, water based ingredients for your water, and so on!

If you want to learn more about formulating lotions, I encourage you to read the lotion formulating series I wrote back in February! Here's the start of the learning to formulate series. Click here for the post on substituting one oil for another! And click for more ideas on how to play with thickeners

Join me tomorrow to see how behenyl alcohol works in a conditioner! 

1 comment:

Tara said...

I bet if we kept bugging Randi, she might bring in behenyl for us as well. I've already dropped a hint, but I know she holds you in high esteem! ;-D