Monday, April 9, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: Creating a basic lotion

Now that we've seen what ingredients we could use to create a lotion for dry skin, let's take a look at creating a basic lotion with those ingredients. I'll use my basic lotion recipe as the base for this product, but I'm adapting it to include humectants every single time for dry skin. (I generally use humectants in all my products, but I left it out of the basic lotion recipe to make it more basic and easier to follow for beginning formulators!)

HEATED WATER PHASE (69.5% of the lotion)
66.5% water
3% glycerin

or 67% water and
2.5% sodium lactate or sodium PCA

HEATED OIL PHASE (29% of the lotion)
15% oil
5% butter
3% thickener
6% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)

COOL DOWN PHASE (1.5% of the lotion)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% preservative (I use liquid Germall Plus)
(This doesn't total 100% because of the difference in preservatives!)

So what do we want to include for dry skin?

We definitely want a humectant, maybe three, so I'm going to add 3% glycerin, 3% honeyquat, and 2% panthenol. I like honeyquat for doing double duty as a humectant and a skin conditioning agent, so I'll add it to the cool down phase. We could add some chamomile hydrosol at 10% and aloe vera at 10% in the water phase, as well. I think I'll add 2% silk protein into the water phase - you can use any hydrolyzed protein you want, but I think silk works best for dry skin. I'll include 0.5% allantoin here in the heated water phase.

For my oils, I think I'll use 10% sunflower oil, 5% rice bran oil, and 5% cocoa butter. I'm going to use cetyl alcohol as my thickener here and Polawax for the emulsifier.

For the cool down phase, I'm adding 3% honeyquat and 2% panthenol (as noted above), and I'll be using a fragrance oil at 1% and liquid Germall Plus at 0.5%. If you are using another preservative, then adjust your water amount accordingly.

Have we covered all the bases for a dry skin product?
Occlusive ingredients - cocoa butter and allantoin.
Emollient ingredients - sunflower oil (high linoleic acid), rice bran oil (high linoleic acid), aloe vera
Humectant ingredients - panthenol, glycerin, honeyquat

39.5% water
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed silk protein
0.5% allantoin

10% sunflower oil
5% rice bran oil
5% cocoa butter
3% cetyl alcohol
6% Polawax

3% honeyquat
2% panthenol
1% fragrance oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Use the basic lotion making instructions for this recipe. This product will have a shelf life of about 6 months due to the use of sunflower oil. If you want this to last longer, remove the sunflower oil and use all rice bran oil for a shelf life of about a year. Or add about 0.5% Vitamin E in the cool down phase for a longer shelf life (not sure how much longer, but slightly longer!)

I'd use this lotion as an all over body lotion or hand lotion. Join me tomorrow for a few more ideas on creating lotions for dry skin!

If you want to learn more about formulating lotions, I encourage you to start at the beginning of the learning to formulate series and hit "newer post" at the bottom of each one to continue through the series!


Sciarretta Farms said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so making this!

Lisa Long said...

Hi Susan,

 Here is my recipe for my Dry skin face cream. A slight variation of your recipe for dry skin lotion. I wanted a thicker cream like product. I heated and held for 20 minutes for both oil and water phase. Which was hard as my hydrosols were evaporating. I mixed at 70 degrees. Elmusification was great. Mixed in my cool down phase at 45 degrees. I used a stick blender for all my mixing. I mixed some more and helped it get to room temperature before putting it in a 4 oz tub.

 I really love this stuff. Absorbs great into the skin. I use it at night. I'm 50, have dry skin that is sensitive with hormonal breakouts. Does this ever end?! Lol. I'm in AZ and use this cream at night. I love it and wind up putting 2-3 thin layers on.

 Here are my thoughts /questions.  Within and hour my skin is sticky. When I wake up in the morning, my skin is cushy and feels ok. It is not as sticky but has a flat shine (not greasy ) to it. Doesn't feel as moisturized.

 I skipped the Allantoin, but I am going to put it in my next batch. I want something to seal in everything and have a matte finish. Will Allantoin do this? And/or shall I take out the Glycerin and replace it with Honeyquat? Will this help with the stickiness?  Is the Aloe causing the shine? And... Should I add a silicone to seal in all the goodness?

I will have to order the Allantoin, Honeyquat and a silicone, but I don't mind if I can perfect this. My skin has never been better!

 I just love your blog. I have a few of your ebooks. Your daily emails get my brain going! And then the next thing I know I'm crunching numbers for a recipe. Let know your thoughts.

THANK YOU!!! Lisa Long

 Water phase
20% Aloe Vera liquid 
20% Lavender hydrosol
 23% Distilled  Water
 3% Glycerin
 2% Sodium PCA
2% Hydrolyzed Silk Protein

 Oil Phase
12% Borage Oil
6% Squalane
5% e wax
3% Cetyl Alcohol

 Cool down Phase
 1% Germall plus
2% panthenol
. 5% Green Tea Extract
. 5% Chamomile Extract 
1% Vitamin E

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks for the review! Email me at to claim your e-book! Please let me know which one you want.

Paige B said...

Isn't the max usage for Germall Plus 0.5%?

Lisa Long said...

Page, thanks for pointing that out. I was used to using Germaben II. Now I know for next time. =)