Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Substitutions: Only six days to go until Christmas!

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and if you're like me, you're frantically rushing to finish the last of your Christmas presents only to find you're missing an ingredient and there's no time or opportunity to visit a local supplier. No fear - let's take a look at some substitutions you can make for those last minute gifts!

Let's say you want to create a lovely lotion bar - 33% butter, 33% oil, 33% beeswax, and 1% fragrance - but you are missing one of those components. What can you do?

If you're missing the beeswax, you could substitute another wax like candellia wax or carnauba wax at half the amount of the beeswax. Remember to increase the oil and/or butter amount. You could also use something like soy wax, but you will have to play around to see how it works with the oils and butter you've chosen. (Related post: Waxes!)

Here's an example of a wax substitution...
17% candellia wax
41% oil
41% butter
1% fragrance oil

If you only have a bit of wax left - say 10% to 20% of what you need, make yourself a balm! What can you do if you're completely out of wax? Make a lovely whipped butter, body oil, or an oil based scrub!

What if you're missing your favourite oil for a product? Consult the oil comparison chart to see what you could use instead! (Or visit the emollients section of the blog for detailed posts on each oil!)

My favourite oil has to be rice bran oil. It has a lovely balance of oleic and linoleic acid, high levels of phytosterols, and lots of Vitamin E. It is light to medium weight, and it doesn't have much of a smell. It is a greasier feeling oil. If I don't have any, what could I substitute instead? Quickly - to the chart! Sesame oil seems like a great choice, as does soybean oil, although that one is slightly greasier feeling than sesame or rice bran.

As an aside, here's the reality of using oils - we can pretty much substitute any oil for any other oil in a recipe and make a great product. There might be a difference in skin feel, viscosity, and properties of the product, but you will still make a great product. (The only exception to this would be coconut oil because it is closer to a butter than an oil...)

What this means is that you can make that awesome sounding product without having to spend a fortune on oils! Seriously! Anyone interested in seeing a detailed post about this? Let me know! 

What if you're missing your favourite butter? That's a bit of a harder substitution because the three butters we use the most - cocoa, mango, and shea - are so different. It's easier to substitute something like kokum or sal for cocoa butter and get a similar stiffness and skin feel than to substitute shea for cocoa butter! If you do need to substitute shea for any other butter, be aware that your product will probably be a little thinner and greasier feeling than normal. I suggest making a tester lotion bar without fragrance that you can pop in the freezer for a few minute to test the stiffness. I find that I generally use 33% wax with shea butter, but can go as low as 25% with mango butter, so there is a difference!

Are you missing an ingredient? Post it here and we'll see what we can suggest! The amazing readers of this blog will have loads of ideas! 

Related posts:
Click here for all the posts labelled "substitutions"


catherine said...

I've used good ole vegetable shortening in place of cocoa butter and was pleasantly surprised that it made a glide-ier lotion bar than cocoa butter.

Lyn said...

We need some "Like" buttons!

marjo said...

first± thanks for your blog it is AWSOME! I got all into formulating and it is fun and addictive.
This post really came handy, i have different suppliers and materials so have to subtitue things quite often so this pos was really handy!
I have trouble subtitute-ing honeyquat /PEG something in the recipes... i substitute it with glycerin.. can i use Capric triglyceride?
is there another alternative for honeyquat? THANKS