Monday, July 7, 2014

A few thoughts on oils...

As we start this series, indulge me for a moment while I share some thoughts I've had about oils...

Consider how much oil you order! I was suprised at my oil consumption, being that it is really quite low given the number of products I make. But when you consider how much we use in a recipe, it isn't a huge amount. If I'm making 100 grams of lotion and I'm using 20 grams of oil, then a 250 gram bottle will be enough for 1.25 kg or 44 ounces (weight) of lotion. That's quite a lot! And that's only one cup of oil (250 ml)! So think about how much oil you will really use when ordering. I know that 1 litre is cheaper per ounce or ml compared to the 120 ml or 4 ounce bottle, but will you use that much of that oil? If you're soap making, it's a different story. But if you're making lotions at home for yourself and your friends, a 100 ml or 250 ml bottle might last you quite a long time if you're combining it with other oils.

Also consider how many different oils you need. I know you'll see recipes like sweet almond and aloe lotion or apricot kernel and green tea cream, but you can switch those oils for different ones. When I first started making products, I didn't know I could use a different oil, so I'd buy sweet almond oil and use it in one lotion at 10%, meaning the rest of the bottle would go unused. Take a moment to compare the oils suggested in the recipe with oils you have - you can use this handy dandy comparison chart or the oil profile posts, both of which you can find in the emollients section of the blog - and see if contain some of the same things. Or don't compare them and just switch to another oil. It's very rare to find a situation where you can't change the oil for another one. (The exception to this is the interaction between beeswax and castor oil in things like non-petroleum jelly and lipstick. There's a neat interaction between these two ingredients that creates a jelly like texture that you won't get with other oils!) You may change the skin feel and viscosity of the product when you change the oil, but you aren't going to get an epic fail for exchanging one for another. (Having said that, I haven't found an emulsifier that can't handle a veggie oil to veggie oil change, but be careful when exchanging veggie oils for things like esters! Something like Sucragel AOF can't handle non-vegetable or seed oils, for example.)

More detail in this post - Can we switch our oils for others? (FAQ)

Can we use grocery store oils in our products? Why yes, yes you can! (FAQ)

A thought that occurs to me - It's always more expensive to create an anhydrous product because you don't have all that inexpensive water making up a goodly portion of the product. A body butter that is a lotion type product will be less expensive per gram or ounce than a body butter that is an anhydrous product, like a whipped butter.

Relating to this point is this one - always make small batches until you're happy with your product. If you want to make a whipped butter for the first time, make a small batch - let's say 50 grams to 100 grams (1.5 ounces to 3.5 ounces by weight) - instead of making a huge amount that you might not like. (I think this is good advice for every product you could make, but it's especially important with oils!) Plus, a little goes a long way. I know 100 grams of something doesn't sound or look like a lot, but you can get a lot of lip balms out of 100 grams - I think 20 is my average - and a lot of moisturizing out of 100 grams of whipped butter. I can't stress enough how much you might want to make small batches for oil based products!

Other questions relating to oil you can find in the frequently asked questions section!
Does heating & holding damage our oils or butters?
Heating, holding, freezing & thawing oils
How to temper your butter to avoid graininess! 
Why do we heat and hold anhydrous products? (Scroll down a bit).
How can grapeseed oil have a shelf life of a year?

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with sunflower oil!

1 comment:

miriamm1914 said...

Hi Susan I wanted to thank you for all the excellent information you provide online. I've been a subscriber for a couple of years. I have learned so much and have made lotions, shampoo and body washes. The first time I read your articles I was so scared to try to make anything but then I thought the worst that can happen is that it won't turn out good. I'm happy to say that Most of the things I've made turned out well! Thanks so much! If you can give out a recipe or directions on how to make a cleansing balm like REN
Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm, it would be so helpful.