With every product you make, ask yourself why you're making the product. What's the goal? The goal for my after shaving product is to offer something that will feel cooling, soothing, and fresh. I want something that will reduce redness and inflammation, and something that can moisturize without oils. I don't want something that feels sticky, so I'll have to choose my humectants carefully.
I'm going to try something different today - I'm trying to choose minimally processed ingredients that will offer the properties I want! What does "minimally processed ingredients" mean? It's my way of trying to include more botanical and less processed ingredients into this product. I'm still using preservatives because to not include them would be foolhearty with all these botanical and hard-to-preserve ingredients.
When we take a look at the goals of the product, we can see that including cucumber extract will offer loads of those qualities to a product intended for use after shaving. What else should we use?
I'm going to make this like a toner, so it'll be filled with water soluble ingredients. We could make an apres shaving lotion - see below for loads of ideas - with cucumber extract in them. (Look for a lotion recipe in a few days using cucumber extract.)
What kinds of ingredients do I like in an apres shaving product? I think I'd like to include some witch hazel. It's astringent and moisturizing at the same time. 20% to 30% seems to be a good amount. I think I'll use a little chamomile in here as well as it's a great anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-irritant ingredient. Should I go with the hydrosol or the extract. Let's think on that for a moment...
An aside: How do I decide whether to use a hydrosol, essential oil, or powder for an extract? Let's say I have an ingredient like rosemary. I could use it as a hydrosol, essential oil, or powdered extract. If I'm making something that's water soluble, I would use the hydrosol or powdered extract. If I'm making something oil soluble, I would use the essential oil. Let's say I'm making a lotion - I could use any of the three versions because a lotion contains oil and water soluble ingredients. How would I choose? If I don't want the smell of rosemary in my product, I would not use the essential oil because it will impart a fragrance. If I don't mind the smell, then rosemary essential oil would be a good choice.
There are also differences in what is oil soluble and what is water soluble in a plant, which could also determine the choice. There could be more anti-inflammatory power in an extract than an essential oil - or vice versa - which would make your choice more apparent.
In this case, I'm going with powdered chamomile extract because I have no other powders in the mix and it's what is in my workshop.
I think I'm going to add 0.5% powdered honeysuckle extract as it can be an anti-irritant that soothes irritated skin and reduces redness. This means I'm going to use my liquid cucumber extract to ensure that I don't have a bunch of powder in the product.
I think I'm going to add some peppermint hydrosol to the mix at 10% because it is supposed to offer a slight cooling sensation while behaving as an anti-septic and astringent. It can be problematic for open wounds, so if you have a tendancy to cut yourself a lot, I would suggest leaving it out for now.
I know you're asking why I'm not using aloe vera liquid in this product. I find it to be a bit sticky even as low as 10%, and that's not something I want to include. Feel free to use it at up to 20% in the heated water phase, if you wish.
Which humectants should I use? These wonderful ingredients draw water from the atmosphere to your skin to moisturize and hydrate. I think I'll use sodium PCA at 2% in the heated water phase. I could use glycerin, but I don't want that stickiness, so sodium PCA seems like a better choice to me.
To those who might say that sodium PCA isn't a natural ingredient, it's found in our skin in our natural moisturizing factor (NMF), so I figure if it's found in our skin, that's about as natural as you can get!
Hydrolyzed proteins are fabulous form filmers and moisturizers. They're a perfect fit for this product! You can use any hydrolyzed proteins you might have in your workshop at up to 2% in the heated phase of this product. Silk hydrolyzed protein might be really nice here in this application.
What about panthenol? Don't you love the stuff, Swift? I do, and considering that it's found in our bodies, I think we can consider it natural. It's supposed to help with redness and inflammation, as well as speeding wound healing, which is a great feature. So let's include it at 1% in the cool down phase. (It can get a bit sticky, so I don't want to have too much in there.)
Have we covered all the bases? We've got loads of ingredients that will help with reducing redness, soothing inflammation, and speeding up skin's healing, which are all the kinds of things we want when making a product like this! But this post is getting really long...so join me tomorrow as we look at the recipe!
Related posts - Shaving lotions:
Experiments in the workshop: Rita BTMS-225 in a shaving lotion
Modifying conditioner into shaving lotion (part one)
Modifying conditioner into shaving lotion (part two)
Shaving lotion with green tea extract
Modified shaving lotion with honeysuckle extract
Conditioners become shaving products: Shaving lotion bars
Solid conditioner bar becomes shaving bar
Related post: Leave in conditioners become beard conditioners
Related post: Pre-shave formula idea
Related post: After shave lotion
Related section: Products for men!
Other posts in this series:
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a basic toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in a more complicated toner
One ingredient, five products: Cucumber extract in an eye gel