Before we start, prepare a little chart for yourself that outlines the name of the oil, the colour, the viscosity (very light, light, medium, and heavy), the skin feel, and your thoughts. Include other information you think might be valuable such as the reason you might want to include it - full of polyphenols! - or not include it - too expensive!!! - and the name of your supplier. Write down whatever information you think would be helpful for future reference. I like to put in my research or notes I've learned about the oil.
If I can make a suggestion, start with either a really dry oil or a really greasy oil so you have some kind of benchmark. I'd choose sunflower or soy bean oil as the really greasy standards or grapeseed, hazelnut, or macadamia nut oil as my dry standards. That way you can say "greasier than sunflower oil" or "greasier than hazelnut" in your notes.
Click here for a Word doc I've created as a sample chart. It isn't that exciting, but it's a start! And click here for the emollients page of the blog!
Here's an example of how my chart might look...and note, I would be writing this by hand in the workshop, so if you plan to use the chart above, make sure you put in a bunch of spaces before printing it!
Why bother with this information? What's the point?
Name of the oil: You want to know what you're using, right? The INCI name is the name given to the oil that you will see on cosmetic labels. If you plan to sell your products - but don't for quite some time! - you need to use this name on your labels.
a really white balm like this one, fractionated coconut oil really is the only choice if you aren't planning to use esters.
Viscosity means how thick the oil is, and you want to know whether it'll pour out of the bottle like water - like fractionated coconut oil - maple syrup, or liquid wax!
I realize this seems obvious, but don't pour a ton of oils into the sample cup because you'll be throwing it away!
Other thoughts are important. This is where I put my research, costs, supplier, and anything else that doesn't fit into the other categories. Consider writing something about how that oil compares to another one that seems similar. Compare the lighter oils to other ones, especially sweet almond, apricot kernel, and sunflower oils to see if you notice a huge difference. And consider the smell. (I can't stand earthy things, so something like unrefined hemp seed oil really offends my nose!) If you might be using this in something unscented, this is a really important consideration.
titer point, the point at which fatty acids will solidify. If you find your oils doing this, you need to heat them slowly until they become liquid again. Shaking them isn't enough. You might be able to leave them at room temperature and see them come together again, but I really recommend heating them to room temperature. Surfactants also have this problem.
We're all set for testing. Grab a pen, print off the chart (or make your own), get out the shot glasses, and get ready to cover yourself in oil! Choose two of the lighter oils - my suggestion is to try sunflower or soy bean against hazelnut, grapeseed, or macadamia nut oil. Pour each into a shot glass - label them if necessary - and write down your first thoughts about viscosity and colour.
A few questions you might ask yourself...
- How did it pour from the container?
- How does the viscosity compare to water? To each other?
- How clear is the oil? What colour is it?
- Is there a smell to the oil? Is it pleasant? Nutty? Earthy? Sweet?
A few questions to consider...
- Does it feel greasy? Does it feel dry?
- How well can you rub it on the back of your hand?
- After a few seconds of rubbing, does it feel sticky? Greasy?
- Does it feel like it creates a coating on your skin or does it feel like it sinks in?
- After 10 minutes, what does your skin feel like? How about 30 minutes?
- Does your skin look shiny? If you've applied it on your nails, does it look shiny or matte?
- And anything else that might be meaningful to you.
If you stick to the list of oils from last week's post, they are all edible. If in doubt, ask your local supplier!
And finally, stop by the post about that oil in the emollients section of the blog and see what it has to offer you by way of interesting vitamins, polyphenols, phytosterols, fatty acids, and everything else awesome!
When you've accumulated information on at least three oils, I'd love it if you made a comment to share your thoughts. There are no right or wrong answers here, and the more we share, the more we learn! I can't wait to see what you think!
Join us next week to compare some thoughts about our oils before moving on to making a body oil!