Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Newbie Tuesday: Let's make a body butter!

If you've never made a product before, welcome to Newbie Tuesday.

If this is your second product from the Newbie Tuesday series, then get ready for some fun. You've already learned the basics from making the lotion two weeks ago - this is just a variation on a theme! If you were successful last time, then do what you did before to make this lovely body butter in a jar!

If you didn't do well last time or this is your first time making a lotion, please follow the instructions below! (If you need some idea on what equipment and supplies you might need, click here!) And when you're done, please e-mail me at sjbarclay@telus.net or comment below to share your adventures and photos with everyone for next Tuesday, February 14th!


59% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin (optional)

10% oils
15% butter
3% cetyl alcohol
7% Polawax (e-wax)

0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil

Note: Check your preservative's suggested usage rate to ensure you're putting it in the right phase. Most will go into the cool down phase, but some won't! (Click here for the list.) 

You can do this! It's not rocket science - it's cosmetic science, which much more awesome and useful in your daily life! You will not pre-suck! (We define this in craft group as saying you suck before you've even started so when you fail, you can say "I told you so", and not lose face. Or saying "I'm not good at this new thing", and you won't be, because it's something new and we're not going to be perfect the first time out!)

Just think...in about an hour, you can say you've made a lotion and have something to show for your hard work and research. (Take a picture of it and send it to me at sjbarclay@telus.net so I can see what you've made! I'm quite excited by all of this!)

Ensure that your space is clean and tidy. Make sure all your containers, utensils, and everything else have been cleaned well. (Click here for related link.) Get a bottle (or two) ready for your lotion. (You don't need to clean your bottle. If you bought it from your supplier, then it's assumed to be clean!)

This recipe will make a little under a 4 ounce jar of body butter - I got a little more than 3/4 of a jar out of this recipe.

First, turn on your double boiler apparatus (or turn on the burner on the stove) and get the water in the double boiler warming. I'm not sure of the exact amount of water you should add to your specific double boiler: Add enough that the tops of containers aren't covered by the water and it won't spill into the containers if the water accidentally starts boiling. I generally find that getting the water half way to 3/4 of the way up the side of my Pyrex jug should take me through to the end of the heating and holding phase. You can boil up the water in a kettle or pot before using it in the double boiler, if you like.

Next, get your supplies and equipment ready. You'll be using a scale for all the measuring, so make sure it has a prominent place on the counter top. You need two heat proof containers (Pyrex jugs, for instance) - one for the heated water phase, one for the heated oil phase. And you'll need a spoon for each container because you won't be able to resist having a stir as they heat!

Have your notebook beside you with the recipe printed in quite large font and a pen or pencil at the ready. Writing notes is vital to make sure you know what you did this time and what to do (or not to do) next time!

Put your Pyrex jug on the scale. Now weigh out your heated water phase - just the water in this recipe - into your heatproof container.

Weigh your container - hit tare on the scale (zero out the number) so you can get the "before" weight of your heated water phase. (We need this number to know how much water evaporates during the heated water phase so we can compensate for it before we combine the two phases). Now put this container into your double boiler.

Put the second Pyrex jug on the scale. Weigh out everything from the heated oil phase - your oil, butter, emulsifier, cetyl alcohol - into the jug, then put the jug into the double boiler.

I forgot to take a picture of this container on the scale, but this is what your heated oil phase will look like - some oils with the pellets of emulsifier and flakes of cetyl alcohol sinking to the bottom or maybe floating around the top. Depending upon the butter you use, it may or may not be showing as large chunks in the container.

Monitor your containers. Use your thermometer regularly. (If you're using glass containers, try not to let the thermometer hit the floor of the container or you'll be taking its temperature, not your product!)

When the temperature of both phases reaches 70˚C or 158˚F, start your timer for 20 minutes. The containers should heat and hold for 20 minutes at 70˚C or 158˚F. (The temperature might fluctuate and get up as high as 85˚C. That's okay, as long as the temperatures of both containers are over 70˚C and relatively the same when you combine them.)

In the meantime, while you're waiting for the heat and hold phase to come to an end, you can fill up a kettle or another container for heating water and heat some water. You'll add some of this to the heated water phase just before your combine the two to ensure you have a water phase of 70%.

If you haven't written any notes yet, write them now! What oil did you use? Which butter? Did you go a little over the suggested amount for anything? How long did it take for the phases to get to 70˚C? And so on. Also while you're waiting, put away the things you don't need and get out those things you do need like a funnel or plastic bag to get the lotion into the bottle, the bottle, perhaps a label, and definitely your cool down phase ingredients. Check on the water in your double boiler and make sure you have enough so you won't run dry before the 20 minutes is up. Maybe do a little air guitar, or check your e-mail on your smart phone. Twenty minutes isn't that long, but it might feel that way when you're excited to see your lotion finish!

When you've heated and held both phases at 70˚C/158˚F for 20 minutes, remove just the water container from the heat and measure it. How much water did you lose? Add up to the amount you should have had originally. Let's say you measured 500 grams for your container and water phase - if your container now reads 475, add 25 grams from the water you boiled up separately. (It is okay if the water in the kettle is a little hotter than the water phase, as long as it doesn't make the water phase 85˚C or 100˚C while your oil phase is around 70˚C. This is unlikely to happen with so little water and your water phase being over 70˚C, so don't worry!)

Add the oil phase to the water phase and watch the emulsification happen. Isn't it awesome? The way the everything the oil touches turns into milky white without you having to do anything! This is chemical emulsification and it's awesome! (I remember the first time I saw emulsification - I was so excited! I love it when the kids in my craft group see it for the first time - it really is quite awesome!)

This is the part of lotion making where we mix. I like to use my hand mixer on setting 1 or 2 using the beater attachment and mix for a few minutes - maybe 4 minutes or so? Then I set it aside and let it cool down. Put a thermometer in the container and wait a bit. The temperature of the room is important here. If you have an unheated workshop like mine, it can take a really short period of time to cool down - maybe 10 to 15 minutes. If you have a warm room, it might take longer. Some people use an ice bath to cool it down. I guess you could do that if you really wanted it to cool down quickly - I've never tried it because it never seems to take very long to cool in my house!

And yes, it's okay to have a stir with a clean spoon while you're waiting for it to cool down. See how the viscosity changes as the product gets closer to 45˚C. It can take up to three days for a lotion to come to its final viscosity, so don't worry that you are currently seeing something with the consistency of slightly thickened milk!

When the product reaches 45˚C or 113˚F, add your cool down ingredients. In this lotion, that would be your fragrance/essential oil and preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus, which goes into the cool down phase. Your preservative may vary. Check before you start making the lotion!) Mix again. Maybe 2 or 3 minutes? Now leave it alone. You're done. We're just waiting for it to get cool enough to bottle.

If you're going to put this in a jar, you can do that right away and let the product cool in the jar. Do not put the lid on the product - we don't want condensation! Cover the jar(s) with a paper towel until cooled.

You could put this product into a pump bottle as it will pump well, or you can choose to put it in a jar. Put a clean cloth or paper towel over the top of the container, and let it cool down to where the jug isn't warm to the touch any more (room temperature - around 20˚C or 68˚F).

If you're putting your product into a bottle, you can try using a funnel to get your product into the bottle, but I prefer to use a piping bag (that you'd use for icing - find them in the cake decorating section of your favourite craft store or Daiso!). Some people suggest using a plastic bag with the corner cut off - for some reason, I can't make this work for me and end up with lotion everywhere.

Put some pressure on the bag, then let it off, then add a bit more, until your container is getting quite full. Bang the container on the table to get rid of the air, then add some more. Keep doing this until you reach a point where you want to try putting the pump into the bottle. Make sure it doesn't overflow because it'll get into the pump mechanisms!

If you're putting this into a jar - get a clean spoon and spoon it into the jar. Bang the jar now and then to make sure you're getting it all into the container. Close jar. You're done. (Yep, that was way easier than using a bottle! But it's more prone to contamination...there's always a trade off for convenience!)

And now you're done! Rejoice! Do a happy dance to celebrate the making of the lotion! You've done it!

The next part of lotion making? Making cute labels. Marching around the house with the bottle or jar in your hand saying, "I made lotion! I made lotion!" E-mailing your friends and family (and tutor - sjbarclay@telus.net) and telling them tales with attached pictures! And generally rejoicing in the fact that you set out to accomplish something and did it! You're walking on sunshine, and don't it feel good? Indeed!

Please write your comments in the section below to inspire others to give it a try! Next week's Newbie Tuesday post will be the troubleshooting and sharing part of the process, so please e-mail me (sjbarclay@telus.net) or comment below and let me know how it went for you. I want others to learn from your experiences, but I also need to know if this tutorial was helpful! If you encounter a problem - like a lotion fail, for instance - please write out your recipe and process, letting me know about any changes (for instance, type of oil and butter), so we can trouble shoot it next week! Please send pictures and let me know if it's okay to use your experience and photos in the post next week. (And let me know what screen name you want!)

Congratulations! You did it! Now use it all up very quickly so you have a cheap excuse to make another one in two weeks when we make a cream!


Kathy said...

Susan - can you tell me about those triangular shaped containers you show in today's blog? They look like they are plastic but they are in the boiling water? If you could share what they are and where you get them - thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kathy. I bought those from Lotioncrafter. They're 400 ml plastic tri-corner beakers. You can get all sizes, but 400 ml to 500 ml seems to be the best choice for my needs. I love these containers!

ebuzzle said...

hey Susan , I did it-I made a lotion!! weehoo:D (I hope its ok to post here rather than at last week's post). Of course I do have some questions!

1) Is it normal for the light lotion to be very whippy and frothy looking when done with the process? The bubbles are very very tiny, but I can see them--is this safe? I used the recipe for your basic facial moisturizer from e-book- LOVE IT. (recipe has a 82% water phase.

2) Is it normal for an 8oz recipe by weight to translate into about 12 oz by volume, for a light facial moisturizer? Kinda looks/feels like light mousse...

If you need my recipe, I can post it--made a few minor tweaks of course;P

thx, love your blog!!!!

Ruth said...

i was going to ask the same thing as Kathy, about the Beakers...So they can take the boiling water, and holding for 20 min. Without melting?
I have some but never thought to use them for that..

As always, I love your Blog..

Diane said...

Hi Susan, nice recipe!

I use a good whisk instead of electic stuff, since in the past I have always had too many bubbles. I keep it up for aminute or two. Currently it is like a frothy syrup but I imagine it will firm up. It feels loooovely. I used sodium lactate since I am fair and oldish and residing in NV so glycerin seems to actually take water out of me - but the sodium lactate works nicely.

I did have a question about the heat and hold: 175/F is the minimum, yes? My water part always gets there first by a long shot and sometimes I take it out, put it in, etc., sometimes at the end I pour it in and out of a couple of glasses - anyway you slice it, it's a pain. Is this really necessary?

I made this with cocoa butter; would using solid coconut oil make it significantly thinner? I like coconut oil both kinds and am counting on the fact that it washes out of clothes easily.

And I came up with an "aha" moment - maybe others have figured this out but not me,,, I used the leftover water from processing to immediately wash out the oil container - this is a real trial if left for later. I like the idea of putting in enough water to meet or even go into the upper double boiler pan- since i have just used the db for steaming vegs that never occurred to me until you suggested it.

thanks again - great recipe, good times =)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Ebuzzle! Yay! Lotion! Thank you for sharing that with us! Are you still thrilled with yourself? You should be!!! It sounds like you made a bit of a mousse with the bubbles suspended in the lotion. It's fine, and it explains why you have 12 ounces of product! One of my favourite recipes - a body mousse - makes almost double because of the whipped bubbly texture. I love it!

Hi Ruth! Yes! I've used them again and again, and there's no problem with them in the hot water. Funny, I didn't even stop to think there might be an issue. Hmm....

Hi Diane! 70˚C or 158˚F is the minimum but you can go higher, if you wish. I wouldn't do all that work! I find that although the water gets to that temperature first, it eventually levels out and stays around 75˚C. (I have an electric fondue pot I use as a double boiler, and if I play around with the heat settings, it will stay around 75˚C or so. I don't think you have that with your double boiler, from the sounds of it!) You can put in the oil phase first, bring it close to temperature, then add the water phase and heat and hold them together instead of playing with the water so much!

I can't imagine living in such a warm and dry climate all year round. I'm going through hell right now with my sinuses because our humidity is around 35%!

Yes, you can change the butters, and making it with something like coconut oil - 76˚F melting point? - will make it much thinner.

Anne-Marie said...

Great Recipe!

Sciarretta Farms said...

I did it! My second ever batch of lotion!

Will said...

I've got a for-dummies question, which newbies may or may not run into.

How do you make a small amount of cream, such as an "eye cream" that you're going to dump expensive actives into, where your total desired quantity is about an ounce?

I'm guessing the answer is to make ten and share, but just in case it's not....

Thanks as always!


Chelsey Johnston said...

You are the most helpful person on the internet for this kind of stuff! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

I love coconut oil... like LOVE, but it melts really easily, so my question is: if I used it at a low percentage, would it affect the consistency (I assume it would to some extent), would I have to worry about it melting all the time? I mean, my house is freezing usually, but if I had it in my purse or left it in the car by accident. I've ordered a small amount of fractionated coconut oil for another project, should I order more of that and quit worrying about meltage? <-- is that even a word?!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Will! I can't believe I missed this great question. I've answered it in today's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer - divide your percentages to get the size you want. Want 50 grams instead of 100 grams? Divide the recipe in half. Want 33.3 grams? Divide by 3. And so on.

Hi Chelsey! Great question. I've also answered your question in today's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer - it's fine to use coconut oil in this recipe, but the viscosity might change.

Mariselys said...

Hello Susan,
Can I add coconut milk powder to the water phase of a body butter? Do I need to modify the quantity of the other ingredients?

Thank you.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Marelys. Just curious why you want to add coconut milk to the product? If it's water soluble, then you add it to the heated water phase. If it can't handle heat, then you add it to the cool down phase. You would compensate by taking something out of the heated water phase if it's water soluble. If you use 5% coconut milk, then take 5% out of the water phase.

Mariselys said...

Thank you Susan. I just want to make a coconut milk body butter : / haha I love coconut milk! and I currently have a bag of the powdered version. I will try it and see if it makes a difference in the product.

CariotaFamily said...

I have created a spreadsheet for calculating the weight of all ingredients based on the quantity of my batch and % of each ingredient. By entering the % of each ingredient and the desired batch quantity (let's say 1200g), it automatically calculates 120g of shea, 60g cocoa, etc.

However, I just discovered a problem... this only works if the total % equals 100%. Here's my question: I just made this body butter (although the recipe only totalled 97.5%) and I wanted 1200g of product. Afterwards, I added up the list of ingredients I actually used, and it was only 1150g. The lotion is a little 'waxy' with not a lot of slide, despite using cetyl alcohol. So I'm wondering what was off and where the other 2.5% is? It doesn't seem like much, but I'm thinking being 50g off somewhere can really make a difference.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Cariota family. When it comes to the percentages, it won't make a difference if you keep the ratios the same. For instance, if you're using 3% of something and 6% of something else, as long as you keep those ratios the same - so 1:2 - nothing will be changed when you make a larger batch. If you're using 7% Polawax and 3% cetyl alcohol at 100 grams, you're still using the same ratios at 500 grams and 2000 grams. If you want it to add up to 100%, just add 2.5% to your water phase if you need it to get to 100%.

How much glide you get in the product will depend upon how much Polawax you use and what oils and butter you use. If you use mango butter and hazelnut oil, you'll get a much draggier feel than if you use shea butter and soy bean, for instance. As well, if you're using 7% Polawax, you'll get a waxier feeling product than if you were using less or if you were using a different emulsifier.

As a question, did you add back the water that evaporated when you heated and held? Just a thought...

If you want it to be more glidy, then choose a different oil/butter combination and see if that helps. Or try another emulsifier. I think I have versions of this recipe for Ritamulse SCG somewhere. (Or just substitute 8% Ritamulse SCG into the recipe and reduce the oils/butters/cetyl alcohol to below 25%!)

Susanna Originals said...

Hi Susan,
Because my skin has bad reactions to many lab made products, I tend to stick to your basic recipes and have fun with changing the oils and butters. I love your body butter recipe and have done some experimenting:
Recipe 1, made for Christmas presents:
10% aloe
10% lavender hydrosol
40% water
3 % glycerine
10% almond oil (soothes dry skin)
10% hemp butter (a dry oil, quickly absorbed and I really just wanted to try it!)
5% mango butter( supposed to rejuvenate skin, beautiful emollient properties, love it)
7% polawax
3% cetyl alcohol
.5% germail plus
1% essential oils (for this batch I used patchouli and lavender)

I used an immersion blender and heated and held for 20 minutes. It made a lovely, creamy skin cream and the recipients raved about it.

Recipe 2:
I replaced the butters with a combination of shea and mango (15%, about half and half). It made an oilier feeling cream and stayed on the skin longer but I liked the feel of it more. Could be psychological - because it stays on the skin a little longer, you think it's giving you more skin help.
This cream is so nice I wanted to do a version that could be put in a pump bottle so I could slather it on after my shower, so more experimenting:
15% aloe
10% lavender
44% water
3% glycerine
10% jojoba
10% aloe butter
5% polawax
2% cetyl alcohol
.5% germail plus
1% essential oil
This was a very nice thick cream but still a little too thick for a pump bottle. And it did the soapy thing when it was applied, so I turned the bottle on its side and glopped it out as best I could until it was used up and then tried again:
I mistakenly blamed the soapy effect on the cetyl alcohol, so for this recipe I left out the cetyl alcohol and hoped the added 3% to the water would make it more pumpable.
15% aloe
10% lavender
47% water
3% glycerine
10% jojoba oil (I'm trying to use it up before it goes out of date!)
10% mango butter
5% polawax
.5% germail plus
1.5% essential oils (because the mosquitoes are bad, I used a mixture heavy with lemon tea tree oil and tempered it with lavender and a few other things, maybe a little frankincense - it was the mad cook approach, trying to keep it from smelling like furniture polish. but it smells citrusy and good and really does keep the mosquitoes at bay for a half hour or so)
I used the immersion stick blender again but did my heating and holding in the oven. What a treat learning that was possible! I use heavy glass pitchers to make my concoctions and they didn't fit well in my double boiler. I was never sure if the liquid in the top had heated as thoroughly as the liquid in the bottom of the jug. And by heating it in the oven, I can do more than one recipe at a time.
Whoops, sorry, I digress. Anyway, this recipe was the charm and it pumps beautifully. It still streaks white when it is applied but it feels so good on the skin and really softens. I don't notice any difference whatsoever in the smoothness or glide of the cream without the cetyl alcohol and it's one less thing to worry my skin.
Thanks so much for all that you do!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

No, thank you, Susan! Great recipes! Thanks for posting! Email me at sjbarclay@telus.net and let me know which e-book you want as my thanks!

Kelly Kemp said...

I am a newbie and reading lots before I try anything. My first question is what causes that "white streak" when applying lotion? My second question is I have only made some body butters that did not require any water, heat and hold, etc. The body butter mainly was butters, oils, EO or FO. Please explain the above technique to me as I said, I am new and curious. I am assuming the above technique must be a heavenly delight compared to what I have been making with just basics and my kitchenaid. Thank you in advance.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kelly! May I suggest a quick trip to the FAQ to look up the "soaping effect" about those white streaks, then a trip to the Newbie section as I've answered your other question there, too.

Isn't this the most awesome hobby ever???

Dopamine Pixels said...

Hi Susan, I've made this recipe and the lotion exactly as you say and both are great. My question is what difference would adding magnesium chloride salts to the water phase make? I have done it and both lotion and body butter end up much thicker and stickier... I would like to understand what needs changing/adding to lighten it up again?
Thank you! Your blog is amazing!