Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Creating a body butter for the colder, drier winter months

We might not be getting snow this year, but it's still dry outside! (The lack of snow is so bad, local mountains are calling the ski season over!) Raymond's skin needs some serious moisturizing and hydrating, and I thought I'd make him a lovely body butter to help his skin get back to normal!

If you've never made a body butter, check out this Newbie Tuesday post on making one with a recipe and process! 

The goal of a body butter is to be thick and luxurious with loads of moisturizing and hydrating ingredients. My first thought is to include at least two humectants to draw water from the atmosphere to the skin. My choices were sodium lactate at 2% and glycerin at 2%. I could have chosen others, but these are handy, inexpensive, and effective. You could include something else, like hyaluronic acid at a lower rate - say 0.5% - or honeyquat in the cool down phase at up to 3% (and this would substitute for the polyquat 7, too). I'm adding panthenol to the cool down phase to help with wound healing and improving skin's barrier mechanisms.

I'm adding chamomile hydrosol and aloe vera to the mix as they both offer great soothing and moisturizing properties, as well as anti-itching properties.

In a product like this, I want a good barrier ingredient. The approved ones are cocoa butter, dimethicone, and allantoin. I wanted to use shea butter in this product because I like the features it offers - increased softening of the skin, increased wound healing, reduced irritation - so cocoa butter doesn't really have a place. I mentioned that I substituted the dimethicone I would normally use with the bamboo isoflavones, so there's no place for dimethicone here. I will keep my allantoin, though, because it offers so much for such a tiny amount!

I thought I'd try using baobab oil, a new oil they're carrying at Voyageur Soap & Candle, and bamboo isoflavones, which is a substitute for dimethicone.

Bamboo isoflavones* (INCI: Lactobacillus/Arundinaria gigantea Leaf Ferment Filtrate) is considered a natural substitute for dimethicone as well as an anti-oxidant. It is added to the cool down phase to products with a pH of 4 to 7, so it is suitable for our lotions, moisturizers, and hair care products. Bamboo isoflavones are water soluble, so you can add this to products like toners or cleansers where you don't want to include an emulsifier, but want the silky smoothness of dimethicone! Substitute it 1:1 for dimethicone.

One down side I noted - the colour was strong enough to make my body butter a slight shade of beige. I don't mind much, but some might want a whiter product! You can see this in the picture above. Again, not a big deal, but something to think about when you're worried about appearances.

Baobab oil contains a lot of unsaponifiables, which is where we find our lovely phytosterols. They behave as anti-inflammatories, something I really like to have in a body butter for my husband's itchy skin. It contains squalane, which our skin recognizes as being something it contains, so it's absorbed quickly. It's a thicker feeling oil, which is something I don't mind in a body butter.

22.5% distilled water
11% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
5% liquid cucumber extract
2% sodium lactate
2% glycerin
2% niacinamide
2% oat extract beta (protein)
0.5% allantoin

10% shea butter
10% baobab oil
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM
7.5% Polawax

5% bamboo isoflavones
2% panthenol
2% polyquat 7
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil

Use the general lotion making instructions for this product.

As usual, if you don't want to use the hydrosols, just switch them out for distilled water. If you want to learn more about how to modify this recipe, please click here for the Newbie Tuesday post on body butters.

What do I think of this recipe? Wow! Do I ever love this! It's thinner than I expected - and that's because for some reason I used 10% shea butter instead of 15% - but very rich and moisturizing. I put it into a tottle bottle, and it squeezes out nicely. It goes on the skin nicely and feels like it sinks in a bit, but you know there's a layer of oil on your skin offering moisturizing and hydrating. This is not suitable as a hand lotion - it is greasier than you'd like for that application - and probably way too heavy for a facial moisturizer, but it's suitable for all other lotion applications.

Raymond reports that he really likes it. It isn't too greasy, and feels nice. He does note that he can still get itchy in the night, something he didn't feel happened when I was using the hand protectant on him. (He also notes, though, that it's really hard to scratch when he's covered in the hand protectant because it is so occlusive!) I think next time I need to up the shea butter to 15% (and alter the emulsifier accordingly) and think of a few more ingredients to help with itching. Maybe more humectants? Hmm...

There is one down side to this recipe - it goes on quite white and stays that way for a few minutes. This is called the soaping effect, and the normal way to get rid of it is to include dimethicone. If you really dislike this feature, then substitute the bamboo isoflavones for dimethicone in the cool down phase.

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating!


B. said...

Susan, thanks for another interesting recipe. I noticed you put extract into heated phase? I thought extracts were heat sensitive. Have you learned something new?

Emily SC said...

This recipe sounds amazing - very soothing.

Have you ever tried Haus of Gloi pumpkin butters? They are my favorite for very dry skin, because they're very hydrating yet they absorb quickly & aren't greasy - I always use them when I have extra-dry itchy winter skin. I know you don't have any interest in trying to copy recipes, but I bet looking at the ingredients list would be interesting for you :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Emily! Their pumpkin butter looks very nice, a thicker body butter using Lotionpro 165 as the emulsifier, which makes for a very light, whippy butter. Their prices are a little low, though. I'd like to see them higher for handmade products!

Hi Birgit! I'm not sure why I used it in the cool down stage before because this liquid extract can handle being in the heat being that it is glycerin based.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Birgit! I didn't really answer your question, did I? Not all extracts have to go into the cool down phase. There are extracts that can handle heat - you have to figure that out via your supplier's data sheets or information. The powdered ones generally go into the cool down, unless otherwise indicated. It could be any phase for the liquid ones!

B. said...


thanks for clarifying. For some reason I was under the impression that all extracts go into cool down phase, so I didn't think twice about it. Good to know, I will check my data sheets, and make notes about which extract goes into which phase.
P.S. I am still planning to make the scrub bar with the new recipe, just life has been busy, and workshop time limited.
Take care,

Michele said...

Hey Susan,
I just saw your comment on Haus of Gloi's pumpkin butters pricing and mentioned it was a little low for homemade products in your opinion.
I am thinking of selling body butters once all the challenge testing and all goes through.
Do you mind giving your opinion of how one can factor in pricing after labour, ingredients, packaging and the lot? What would you consider fair pricing IF you had to sell one of your concoctions...like say...the above Winter Body Butter. A pricing that would say be fair to your hard work, the increased percentages of awesome ingredients as compared to commercial formulas but also fair to your consumers.
Thank you for all you do.

Gay Holman said...

Do you know if you sub avocado butter for shea butter or coco butter? I seem to react to both of these. Or do you have a better suggestion?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Gay! Sorry I missed your comment ages ago. Yes, you can substitute any butter for any other butter in any of my lotion recipes.