This question comes up a lot, so let me give you the short and long answers...
The short answer: There isn't any drawback to using so many oils and they won't cancel each other out, but it just doesn't seem like we get all the benefits of an oil if we're using tiny amounts of a bunch of oils. Check the suggested usage rates for each oil, but in general consider that less than 5% probably isn't that helpful. I generally choose one oil and one butter for a project, then branch out to see what would complement or supplement them.
- Why did you pick the oils you did?
- What does each of them bring to the mix?
- What are the suggested usage rates?
- What is the skin feel of each oil?
- What is the climate and skin type of the user?
- Do the properties that interest you overlap with another oil or ingredient?
- What is the end goal of this product?
You don't have to answer all these questions, but I do suggest you consider them!
As a note, all of the oils and butters we use should help moisturize your skin, and they will all behave kind of occlusively, meaning they will form a barrier on your skin to protect it from the outside world. You can slather on Crisco, mineral oil, or the fanciest oils you can buy in the exotic section of our suppliers and they will do those things for you. What we're trying to do here to choose oils that have good phytosterols, polyphenols, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other features that will bring all kinds of awesome properties to the product.
If you want to be able to compare these things, please visit the emollients section of the blog or download the oils, butters, or exotic oils comparison charts found in that section or in my e-books! If you want a handy dandy reference to the chemistry of oils, click here for the oil chemistry PDF.
If we consider a whipped butter might have 80% butter and 20% oil, consider that the butter will most likely be the main thing we feel in the product, so I would start choosing my ingredients from there.
shea butter. Shea butter contains 3 to 7% palmitic acid (C16), 35 to 45% stearic acid (C18), 40 to 55% oleic acid (C18:1), and 3 to 8% linoleic acid (C18:2). It also contains some nice polyphenols and phytosterols that will offer anti-oxidizing and moisturizing properties. I know that a butter made with shea butter will be more whippy and soft than one made with mango or cocoa butter. And I know it will feel more greasy. So I'll see what oils will make this feel less greasy - if that's what I want!
You have seven oils in mind - let's take a look at how a few of them might feel or perform with shea butter.
Olive oil: A medium to heavy weight oil that brings some great moisturizing and softening properties. It contains 55 to 83% oleic acid (C18:1), 4 to 21% linoleic acid (C18:2), 1% linolenic acid (C18:3), 10.5% palmitic acid (C16), and 2.6% stearic acid (C18), It has great phytosterols, which would be great for reducing redness or inflammation, and squalene, which is fanastic for softening and soothing chapped or cracked skin. Combine this with shea butter and you'll have a greasy feeling whipped butter that offers moisturizing, softening, and soothing of chapped or cracked skin that may help with redness and inflammation. It will hae a lot of oleic and stearic acid, with up to 29% linoleic acid and very little linolenic acid. Your product could have a shelf life of up to one year.
Sweet almond oil: A light oil that contains 3 to 9% palmitic acid (C16), 2% palmitoleic acid (C16:1), 3% stearic acid (C18), 60 to 78% oleic acid (C18:1), 10 to 30% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 2% linolenic acid (C18:3). It contains 164 ppm tocopherol and about 58.1 ppm cholesterol. Combine this with shea butter and you'll have a greasy feeling whipped butter with lots of oleic acid, up to 38% linoleic acid, and 2% linolenic acid that will have a shelf life of one year.
Macadamia nut oil: A light, not so greasy feeling oil with 8.9% palmitic acid (C16), 18.7 to 22.6% palmitoleic acid (C16:1), 2.9% stearic acid (C18), 58.4% and higher oleic acid (C18:1), and 1.8% linoleic acid (C18:2). (Palmitoleic acid offers some wound healing properties, which is a nice feature.) It also contains some good levels of phytosterols and squalene. Combine this with shea butter and you'll have a less greasy feeling whipped butter with lots of oleic acid and very little lineoleic or linolenic fatty acids. It will have a shelf life of a year.
Just looking at a combination of one oil with shea butter tells us that there will be a lot of oleic acid in the product - which is great for moisturizing and cell regeneration. This fatty acid offers some anti-inflammatory properties and can help soften our skin.
Are we getting all that we could in a product by using these oils? Mostly. I admit I'm obsessed with using something with linoleic acid in every product because I love the barrier repair functions of this fatty acid, but you don't have to be!
Are we getting the skin feel we wish using these oils? If you want a greasy feeling product, you'll want to go with olive oil or sweet almond oil and shea butter. If you want a less greasy feeling product - but still greasy feeling - you'll want to use macadamia nut oil and shea butter. If you want a far less greasy feeling product, then turn to mango butter!
A few more thoughts for this product:
- You mention you might like to use avocado butter. Why the butter and not the oil?
- Check what butter is with your aloe butter. It could be coconut oil or shea butter.
- At what temperature will this product be used and stored? Coconut oil melts at 76˚F or 24.4˚C, which can be room temperature in some offices and homes, and is an easy temperature to reach in the summer in most places.
Have you tried this recipe yet? If not, why not? I think we learn about our oils and butters best by using them and testing the skin feel. One of the first recipes I tried was a cocoa butter whipped butter with mostly cocoa butter and a few oils. It whipped well, but went hard as a rock pretty quickly. I learned that cocoa butter needed to be mixed with something like shea butter to be less hard and it helped me figure out what I liked in a body butter!
If you get stuck on what oil to use, create a chart, then get into your workshop and see how they feel on your skin. We could spend weeks gathering information on oils and butters, but if you hate the way they feel on your skin, what is the point?
BUT BUT BUT...Please don't get bogged down by the different oils you could use! You can make amazing products with one oil and one butter! You don't have to know the fatty acid profile of this or phytosterol content of that to make something that feels great! When I started I had a bottle of olive oil, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil. I soon figured out that I hated grapeseed oil - it goes rancid quite quickly (3 months) and it feels quite dry - and that sweet almond oil and olive oil kind of fit into the same fatty acid profile. If I didn't write the blog, I'd probably only have a few oils in the workshop with a couple of exotic ones like kukui or evening primrose thrown in for good measure. Many of them fit into the same fatty acid profile or property profile, and we don't need to have all of them in one product to make something awesome!
If you've zoned out and just scrolled to the end, I suggest you confine your choices to one or two butters and one or two oils...Wow, you can tell I'm on holiday time, eh?