Friday, August 10, 2012

Substitutions: Modifying lotions with what you have in your workshop

Let's take a look at modifying my six ingredient lotion with shea, soy bean, and sesame oil. (Click on the link if you want to see why I used each ingredient as this post doesn't need to be any longer!)

SIX INGREDIENT LOTION WITH SHEA, SOY BEAN, AND SESAME OIL
HEATED WATER PHASE
39.5% water
20% aloe vera
3% glycerin

HEATED OIL PHASE
10% refined shea butter
10% soy bean oil
10% sesame oil
6% BTMS-50

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil (Clementine Cupcake)

Use the general lotion making instructions with this recipe.

First, take a look at each ingredient and see what it brings to the party.

Water: It's the water part of the oil-in-water lotion.

Aloe vera: Great for damaged skin. Offers more moisturizing.

Glycerin: Our humectant. Humectants draw water from the atmosphere to our skin, making our product more hydrating.

Shea butter, soybean oil, and sesame oil: Our oils and butter or emollient part of the product. (Click here to see the various oils, butters, and ester listings!)

Incroquat BTMS-50: The emulsifier. It makes lotions feel more powdery than those made with Polawax or emulsifying wax.

Liquid Germall Plus: The preservative.

Let's say you don't have any BTMS-50 - but you do have Polawax and Ritamulse SCG. What changes would we have to make?

For Polawax, it's advised to use it at 25% of the oil phase (click here). We have an oil phase of 30% - 10% each of shea, sesame, and soybean oil - so we would want to use Polawax at 7.5% (1/4 of 30 = 7.5). So we'd have to increase the emulsifier to 7.5% and remove 1.5% from the water phase.

WATER PHASE
38% water

OIL PHASE
10% shea butter
10% sesame oil
10% soy bean oil
7.5% Polawax

For e-wax NF, generally we use it at 25% of the oil phase plus 1%, which works out to 8.5% in the oil phase. We need to remove another 1% from the water phase.

WATER PHASE
37% water

OIL PHASE
10% shea butter
10% sesame oil
10% soy bean oil
8.5% e-wax NF

For Ritamulse SCG, I have found that using it at 8% makes for a stable product. I've tried it at lower levels - 6% - and I had lotion fails. So we need to remove 2% from the water phase.

WATER PHASE
37.5% water

OIL PHASE
10% shea butter
10% sesame oil
10% soy bean oil
8% Ritamulse SCG

Let's say that you hate the stickiness of glycerin and want to use sodium lactate instead. The recommended amount is 2.5%, so we have to add 0.5% back into the water amount.

WATER PHASE
40% water
2.5% sodium lactate

That was easy, eh?

Let's say you want to use only Ecocert ingredients in this lotion. This means we can use Ritamulse SCG, but we'll have to find a different preservative. We could use Advanced Aloe Leucidal at 2% to 4% in the cool down phase. If we use this at the maximum 4%, we'd have to remove 3.5% from the water amount.

WATER PHASE
36% water

COOL DOWN PHASE
4% Advanced Aloe Leucidal

Why am I using 4% in the cool down phase? Because I always use the maximum preservative allowed in a general recipe like this. I don't know what you are going to use in the recipe when you make it at home, and you could be using ingredients that are hard to preserve like teas or infusions, honey, and other botanicals. To be on the safe side, I always include the maximum amount. 

If you wanted to use an Ecocert humectant, you could consider using Zemea propanediol, which is a substitute for propylene glycol. (I haven't written about this yet, but I have tried it a few times. I haven't noticed a big difference between using it and glycerin, to be honest.) You could use honey, but I'm always wary of making that suggestion because it's hard to preserve.

You already know that you can switch our butters and oils for other butters and oils, so let's alter those to be mango butter, wheat germ oil, and grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil has a three month shelf life, which means this now has a three months shelf life instead of the original one year shelf life. one year shelf life to 3 months maximum.

MODIFIED SIX INGREDIENT RECIPE WITH ECOCERT INGREDIENTS
WATER PHASE
36% water
20% aloe vera
3% Zemea propanediol

OIL PHASE
10% mango butter
10% grapeseed oil
10% wheat germ oil
8% Ritamulse SCG

COOL DOWN PHASE
4% Aloe advanced Leucidal
up to 1% essential oil

Note: The aloe vera I suggest is a liquid, not a gel. 

When you know your ingredients, it's so much easier to substitute on the fly! There'll be more on this topic in the near future! Do you have a suggestion for something we could play with in another post?

If you don't know why I remove water from the water phase when I alter the amount of other ingredients, I encourage you to read this post on the water phase. The short answer is that when we add anything to a lotion, we remove some of the water as that is the most easily changed thing in the recipe. We want the recipes to total up to 100% - click here - as it's easier to see what's going into a lotion and ensure we have the right amount of things we need in it. 

Related posts:
Question: How do you know how and what to substitute?
Substitutions: Reading INCI names
Substitutions: Figuring out what's important in a conditioner
Substitutions - all 17 posts

3 comments:

Madeaj said...

Hi Susan

Still loving your blog and getting so many ideas from it.

I have some sorbitol 70% solution w/w. Can I use this as the humectant? I know its sometimes used in cosmetic preparations and I was wondering how I might use this. I am curious how if it makes a difference to skin feel of a lotion or cream.

Madea

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Madeaj! I wrote a post on sorbital a while ago - here's the link. I've created a humectants section where I can gather all the information on these ingredients - it was getting out of hand on the ingredients section!

Let me know how it turns out as I'd love to know more about this humectant!

Madeaj said...

Hi Susan

Thanks for the link. I knew I'd seen that somewhere. My dad gifted me a new unopened bottle and although that wasn't what he intended for (lol), I am curious to see how it works. I am still loving your blog and you have encouraged me to try quite a few things, learn more about ingredients and I've gotten better at picking out store-bought preparations.

Thanks again