Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Newbie Tuesday: You made lotion!

I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to wake up every morning to your e-mails and comments about your first time lotions! (And Lise is right - the excitement of seeing your emulsification happen never gets dull!) This we'll rejoice in your successes and trouble shoot some issues, then do it all again next week with body butter! If you have no idea what I'm writing about, check out the post on last newbie Tuesday for the first time lotion recipe. If you want to play along, but don't know where to start, click here.

Alex wrote to say: My name is Alex, and I am having a great time following along with your "Newbie Tuesday" posts! I've been reading your blog for a while, but I was intimidated to make anything myself - until now! I posted about my first lotion making experience on the newest post in the series. I'm very happy with the finished product! It went really well, and your instructions were so thorough and awesome! I have attached some photos of my process to this email. Feel free to post the photos if you think they will be helpful to others. I am really looking forward to the rest of the series, and I can't thank you enough for all of the wonderful information and encouragement!

I followed the recipe above and I aimed for a 100 gram recipe, so all I did was weigh the percents as grams (i.e., 69 grams water, 15g oil, etc). The directions were really helpful and I thought every detail was covered really well! I used shea butter for my butter and sunflower oil for my oil. I also used pink grapefruit essential oil. One mistake I made was I tared the water phase container while weighing the water phase initially...I should have written down the weight of container + water (as Susan said in the directions hehe... I guess I got too excited!!) I just chanced it and added 10 g water at the end of the heating and holding. One other problem i had was that my containers were bouncing around my double boiler a little bit during heating and holding. Maybe they are too light?

The consistency of my final product was fluffy and thick enough to put in a jar rather than a pump container. On the skin it was a tad oily, but I didn't mind! It absorbed fine after a few minutes. I think it's a pretty decent thicker, oilier winter lotion and I'm very happy with the result! lol I guess the real test whether this is a true success will be if the consistency stays the same over time! :)

This was super fun and I cant wait for the rest of the series!! Thanks so much for the great info and encouragement!!!

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Alex! 

If your containers are bouncing around in your double boiler, then they are too light and/or your water is boiling a little too vigourously. If you are planning to do more lotion making, I suggest investing in some glass containers that have a little weight to them - Pyrex type jugs are a good choice - or putting more stuff in the containers. This is one of the down sides to using plastic. They can actually float and spill out into your container if you aren't paying complete attention to them as you're video taping next week's body butter recipe. (Yes, this happened to me yesterday!) 

If you find it too oily or greasy, are you already thinking of ways to reduce the greasiness in the next batch? Are you already thinking of ways to convert this into a spring or summer lotion? 

Rosi commented in this postHello Susan. I made my lotion yesterday and I also made some modifications on it. I added 70% water, 4% glycerin, 2% cetac, 10%, 5% coconut butter. It is supposed to be for the hair. It came out wonderful, until now it is still together, it has not separated. How long does it take for the lotion to separate if it will separate? I would like to make it less thick though, so what should I do add more water or reduce the the BTMS. I used BTMS 25. Thank you so much,  I keep looking at the lotion all the time and also touching it. My first lotion!!!!!

I think we all share the same sentiment. When made my first lotion, I think I used it up in a few days as I kept putting it on, making my friends and family try it, and I really did march around the house singing, "I made lotion! I made lotion!" It was such a great feeling! 

If a lotion is going to separate, you can't predict when it will separate. It could be right away, it could e a day or two later, it might be a year later. Ideally, you'd use BTMS-50 instead of BTMS-25 when making an emulsified product with 15% or so oils, but BTMS-25 can still emulsify things. And at 6%, odds are pretty good that you'll stay emulsified. I love the fact that you modified it yourself - using BTMS instead of Polawax! 

How can you make it thinner? Using 2% cetac will definitely reduce the viscosity - quite dramatically, in fact - so do you want it thinner still? 

Leman wrote in an an e-mail: I have made the newbie basic lotion recipe with success :-)) and here are my notes and photos attached if you like to share it. 

(Click here to see all the photos! How organized can you be? Wonderful!)

Measuring the water phase - here you will see a paper tissue between the scale and the beaker because once I pour the boiled water into the beaker my scale becomes unstable due to heat (the numbers keep going down) so I put a tissue to prevent the heat affecting this!

Heating up my water and oil phase to 70C - don't you love my new thermometers :-) I used mercury thermometer in the past and broke them twice they were just pain, these are called milk thermometers and as you can see the red zone is clearly marked for 70C :-) I am in love with them!

Now this looks silly I know! I put spatulas underneath my beakers to stop them from bouncing! they bounce so much when heating. I need to find proper wired rings!

Now this is the point of emulsification!!!! yupiiii.... the picture is not very clear I am afraid as I had to ask my boyfriend to take the pictures while I was pouring the oils phase into water phase as I was afraid I would either drop the camera into my double boiler or ruin my lotion and he took the picture of my hands rather than the process!

I mixed it with my milk frother for about 3 mins while the beaker was still in the double boiler but heat turned off. I took the beaker out of the double boiler and continued mixing for another 2 mins.

Letting it to cool to 45C. adding cool down ingredients. Hand mixing cool down ingredients for about 2 - 3 mins as my milk frother won't mixed it anymore! Consistency. This turned more like a cream than a lotion even though I topped up the water I lost during heating.

This is my lotion/cream in a jar! :-)) 

Few notes/questions:

- When heating for the 20 mins in double boiler the water phase was around and above 70C however the oil phase kept dropping below 70 even though they were in the same double boiler. Why is that? Sometimes I have this problem the other way round - oil phase going around 85-90C and water phase around 70-75C and it is a struggle to keep them both at around same temperature. Any tips here?

- I have weighed the water phase with the beaker together so I could add the lost water. Around 1g was evaporated so I compensated that.

- I am happy with the texture this time even though I used a milk frother. I think in the past I mixed it way too much and that's why I'd always have a lotion/cream more like a mouse consistency with lots of bubbles! This time it was perfect with soft silky texture, no bubbles. 

- I poured the oils phase into the water phase. This was the first time I did that, I usually pour my water into oil. I saw traces of oils in the oil phase beaker when the beaker has cooled down. I think it is more practical to pour water into oil. I think that's ok isn't it. We can do either way, right? I have measured my beaker with the traces of oil in it and then cleaned and dried and measured it so I could see how much oil I have wasted! It turned out that I have wasted 0.7g to be exact. Does that really matter? I mean since we are making small batches I guess it does matter. I think I am going to pour my water into oil from now on... 

Once again, thank you so much for the wonderful blog and sharing your knowledge with us. You are an angel! 

Amazing, Leman! Thank you for taking all those photos to share with us! Have I mentioned yet that I'm jealous of your beakers? I have one and I need to get more! And your lotion looks amazing! 

To answer your questions - I think the difference between the heated oil phase and heated water phase has to do with the way the water and oil conduct heat. I can get my water phase to 70˚C in what seems like a short period of time, whereas it feels like my oils take forever to get there and aren't that eager to stay around 70˚C. And it doesn't really matter whether we go oil into water or water into oil when we get to our mixing stage - just do what works best for you. (Click here for a post on that topic!)

HollyB wrote to say: Thanks for holding our hands. I'm definitely making more lotion. Next time I want to use some honey, since making things with hive products is my thing. Can hardly wait for the next Newbie Tuesday. Thanks again.

Wow, that's one gorgeous label, Holly! Are you thinking about modifying your recipe to include some honey and beeswax? 

Julie wrote to say: Bonjour Susan. First, thank you so much for your website! I have only found it a few months ago and I have not read everything yet, but it has been a delight to read so far. Following my discovery of cold process soaping, I have been trying to make lotion and other related products. I am still not done reading your book on making lotion, but reading your blog today while the kids were sleeping, I decided to give a try to your Newbie Tuesday lotion
making and bring the practice into the learning. As you ask for tale and pictures, here's mine:

The recipe I used:
- 69% water
- 15% avocado oil
- 5% mango butter
- 3% stearic acid (sorry I do not have cetyl alcohol yet, but it is on
my next order wish list)
- 6% BTMS
- 1% Optiphen
- 5 drops of each Lily of the Valley FO (NDA) and Bamboo FO (Saffire
Blue) (about 0.5%)

It was the first time I used an electric mixer to make lotion. I liked the results. I have used stick blender before, but mine died when I last try to make liquid soap and my other one is bigger and makes too much bubble for a small lotion recipe. The electric mixer made the lotion "fluffy" but no big bubbles. It was also the first time I use BTMS as an emulsifier (my usual been e-wax). I found the lotion a little waxy feeling at first, but very soft and powdery afterward. The waxy feeling actually feels very nice on hands and feet and is almost a little addictive (I can't stop rubbing my hands together). Maybe the stearic acid has also its part in the waxy feeling. I will be very curious to try cetyl alcohol when I get it.

Another thing I did different than your instructions (and I would love to have your point of view and experience on it) is the holding phase. Don't worry, I did it. But I used my oven instead of a double boiler. I melt my oils/butters in the microwave then I place the water cup and the oil cup in the oven at 175*F with a thermometer in each cup. Once it's reach 70*C (it actually goes up to about 75*C) I start counting the 20 minutes holding phase. I found this way easier than making a double boiler, but please let me know if you think it works the same or not.

Bonne travail, Julie! (And that's all the French I remember from grade 12! How sad is that?) Thanks for sharing with us! BTMS offers that powdery feeling that some people like and some don't. (If you're looking to reduce greasiness in your products, BTMS-50 is the first place I'd start!) Heating and holding in the oven works very well, so keep doing what you're doing! 

Lorraine wrote to say: I found your fantastic blog a couple of months back after I got hooked on various newbie bath & body recipes and today graduated to my first lotion with your kindly-shared expertise! Here are a couple of pictures of the end product.
As I was out of cream rather than lotion, I actually decided to cut my teeth on the Lush Dream Cream dupe as my first foray and it seems to have come out great! As I’m not a huge fan of camomile I substituted that for some powdered green tea, hence the green tinge in the photos.
I’m absolutely made up with the feel of the cream, the fun of the process and excitement of emulsification -  XD – and now I’m hooked! I can’t wait to run out of my other ‘bought’ products so I can have fun making more up at home.   Think I'll be buying one of your e-books before long as I'd love to show some financial support to your youth groups.

These look wonderful, Lorraine. (And I love your e-mail name of Cupcake Crafts!) But you don't have to wait until you run out products - there's always an excuse to make more!

HB commented in this post: I forgot to reweigh my water phase and added it to the oil phase. As the emulsion was magically happening, I remembered. So I put it all back on the scale and added water to make 100%. Good thing I'd written down the weight of the container earlier! And now I'm marching around the house with the bottle in hand saying, "I made lotion! I made lotion!" 

Congratulations on your new lotion, HB! Isn't it a great feeling? Make sure that any additions you make - generally water that you've forgotten - isn't too out of what temperature wise with the rest of the product. That's why I boil up a kettle of water and let it cool down. After the 1000 gram batch of foot lotion that died horribly because the little bit of water I had to add wasn't at the right temperature, I make sure I have heated water around!

A few thoughts for you, our wonderful newbie lotion makers...
1. What's the first thing you want to tweak and why?
2. What oils and butters are you thinking of buying for your next project?
3. Are you lusting after cute bottles yet?
4. Are you still thrilled with your first lotion?

And are you ready for next week? We're making body butter! And don't hesitate to share your thoughts if you're a first time (or relatively new) lotion maker! I made lotion! I made lotion! Yep, it's still exciting for me all these years later! 


Anonymous said...

yay! i loved this! i loved reading about everyones comments and seeing everyones pictures!! congrats everyone!! so impressive how people tweaked the recipe and made all sorts of cool things! now i want to try all these variations!! :-D
i definitely want to try switching out olive oil for sunflower oil, and switch mango butter for shea, and also try combinations/mixtures of different oils/butters. i switched out some water for glycerin like susan suggested and liked the consistency much better.

i am SO lusting after cute bottles, and my sister actually sent me some adorable glass jars i cant wait to fill. i love my first 2 lotions i made, and i cant believe i actually reach for them over my store bought ones!! haha i am sending my sister a tube of one of them so i can get honest feedback that isnt clouded by my "yay! i made a lotion!" judgment :-)


Ellbie said...

This is awesome! I am not sure where I stand as a newbie. I think we are all newbies until we are masters. I really enjoyed everyone's comments and all the different ways everyone dealt with the mechanics. Loved the oven idea for holding.
Awesomeness at its best!

sib said...

It's very exciting reading about people's different lotions! I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has more experience in heating and holding in an oven. I found using a double boiler too difficult (I can't stand up for very long), but my oven only goes down to 120C - any thoughts? Looking forward to the body butter!

Little Bird said...

Thanks to your Newbie Tuesday I have committed tomorrow to making my first lotion. I've made solid lotion, solid shampoo, etc etc but never a water in oil lotion.

You are such an enabler/ inspiration.

Thanks Susan!


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hey Robyn! Did you make lotion? We're all excited to hear how it went!

I'm not sure what it means to be a newbie any more because I always feeling like I'm learning something! I think being a newbie means being open to new ideas and accepting that you have a lot to learn - and the more I learn, the more I know what I don't know and accept that I have to learn more!

Anonymous said...

I used my lotion on my hair today and it definitley gave me the result i was looking for. Yes, i do want to make it thinner, should i add more water? I did use 2% cetac. Thank you so much, i am very pleased with it.

Little Bird said...

Susan- I have now! Woo hoo! Naturally I refused to just use one oil and one butter (heaven forbid I start of simpler). But it worked out great. It's a creamy yellow thanks to amber resin infused olive oil and a couple of floral waxes. I can't stop sniffing my hands XD.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

I made my first lotion with the recipe from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfCfrZslhGw because she's from Kenya and I live near equator with high humidity (till 80-90%).

Here's the recipe in percentages :

38% oil
13% shea butter
7% ecomulse

26% distilled water
13% glycerin

2% leucidal liquid sf
1% carrot seed essential oil

I just love the results. My skin is dehydrated so glycerin helps my skin to retain water.


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, thanks for all the wonderful information! I've used your formulas to successfully make a few lotions. Now I'm trying a recipe of my own and I've hit a dead end. A few of my ingredients, such as carrot seed oil CO2, and rosehip botanical extract are only soluble in alcohol. How do I achieve this? I was wondering if I could use witch hazel in my cool down phase to dilute these ingredients with? Also, I like to keep things on the more natural side, so natural ingredients = better choice for me :)