Monday, December 11, 2017

Question from Patreon: Why did this lotion fail? Part one - oils & preservatives

In the November 2017 Q&A on Patreon, Marta wrote, I made your Silken Vanilla Latte Body Butter (Simusol 165) a month ago without any substitutions and followed your basic lotion-making instructions.  All of my lotions emulsified with BTMS-50 have been stable (as of three months - when I began all this fun).  The body butter emulsion failed after two weeks.  What recommendations do you have for using Simulsol 165 (Lotioncrafter 165)?  

A quick aside: When I’m analyzing a product fail or helping you troubleshoot something, I always ask people for their exact formula in percentages and their exact process is because different hands make different things. Some people measure over, some under, but we never make the same thing twice. I also need to know the exact fragrance or essential oils used as that might alter the viscosity or ruin the product completely, as well as the exact preservative and amount used. I also need to know how you mixed the product as that can have a massive impact on what we make.

I hope these questions don’t sound like I’m trying to make the lotion fail someone else’s problem: I have to ensure that everyone who wants to make this product makes something they love. I know this formula worked for me in my home as well as in a class I taught at Windy Point Soap in Calgary*, but if it doesn’t work for you at home, then I need to re-evaluate it.

Marta provided more information, which you'll see after the formula.

43% distilled water
10% aloe vera
3% glycerin
2% propanediol 1,3
2% silk peptides
0.5% allantoin

15% coffee butter
15% liquid oil of choice
5% Simulsol 165
3% cetyl alcohol

1% vanilla type fragrance oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Follow the general lotion making instructions.

Marta noted she made the following changes: She used coffee butter from Brambleberry, unrefined sweet almond oil from Lotioncrafter, 0.3% myrrh essential oil, and 0.7% Euxyl PE 9010.

This was Marta's process...
The weight of boiled, reverse-osmosis water was adjusted to give 100 g of formulation.
Followed your basic (lotion making) instructions on page 13 (of the Shiny Things, volume 1 e-zine) with the the following specifications:
1) poured heated water phase into heated oil phase;
2)  blended with KitchenAid mixer equipped with drink attachment on speed 4 for 10 minutes;
3)  mixed from time to time until lotion reached 113 F;
4) mixed 5 minutes after adding cool-down ingredients.
Packaged in a 4-oz natural HDPE tottle (w/ snap cap).  Perhaps the Lotionpro 165 requires faster (have a Minipro Mixer), longer blending?

Let’s take a look at a few things that might destabilize a lotion…

You’re using a different type of coffee butter than I used in this lotion. At Windy Point Soap, the coffee butter is INCI: Hydrogenated soy oil (and) Coffee arabica seed oil (and) Tocopherol.

At Brambleberry, the coffee butter is Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond), Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Oil

The hydrogenated vegetable oil and hydrogenated soy oil are such similar ingredients, I don’t think they’ll make a huge difference.

What about the sweet almond oil? I’m not worried about that as this formula can handle using whatever oils you choose.

Preservatives can have a massive impact on the stability of a product. We’ve all heard that some of the Optiphen preservatives, like Optiphen (INCI: Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol), Optiphen ND (INCI: Phenoxyethanol (and) Benzoic Acid (and) Dehydroacetic Acid), and Optiphen Plus (INCI: Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid), can curdle lotions. But what about Euxyl PE 9010 - INCI: Phenoxyethanol (and) Ethylhexylglycerin? Yep, it can be a picky bugger, too.

From the awesome Jane Barber of Making Skincare: "NOTE – caprylyl glycol which is in mikrokill COS, Jeecide CAP-5 and the optiphens can destabilise if your emulsion system is fragile or on the edge even if added at cool down.  Caprylyl glycol has an HLB of 7.5 – if you are using the HLB system to tailor make an emulsifier, you should include this item as well as Ethylhexylglycerin (HLB 7.5) if you are using Euxyl PE 9010 in your HLB calculations...Also for stability add a gelling agent like sodium polyacrylate."

Again, from Making Skincare, "Euxyl® PE 9010 ...INCI: Ethylhexylglycerin (oil soluble and soluble in glycerin) and Phenoxyethanol.  Do not use this preservative with water soluble oils or high load of surfactants. Use level: 1.1% cool down phase.  Not very water soluble so needs glycerin in an aqueous solution. Note: Ethylhexylglycerin can destabilise your emulsion if your emulsion is fragile or on the edge so do include it in your HLB calculation.  pH range: up to 12 (but more likely up to pH8)."

So what does this mean? It sounds like using Euxyl PE 9010 in this formula would require a gelling agent, like a carbomer, somethine like Sepimax ZEN. As well, you will want to use it in the cool down phase and mix with it glycerin as it's not very water soluble. It notes that it can destabilize the emulsion if it's fragile.

I know this lotion works using liquid Germall Plus, but it sounds like it might be too fragile for Euxyl PE 9010. What can we do about that? Simulsol 165/Lotionpro™ 165 likes an oil phase of up to 30%. I've used it and have seen it used many times at higher than that, but if we're using a preservative like Optiphen or Euxyl PE 9010 that can destabilize lotions, we should ensure we are well within the guidelines of the emulsifier.

We have glycerin in the formula, but it sounds like we should move that to the cool down phase to mix with the Euxyl PE 9010 and use 1.1% preservative.

Let's see what that modified formula might look like. I've altered the oil phase to be less than 30% by removing 5% of the liquid oil and adding that back to the distilled water amount so we have a formula that continues to add up to 100%. I'm adding 1.1% Euxyl PE 9010 preservative, so I have to remove 0.6% distilled water to get us to 100%.

47.4% distilled water
10% aloe vera
2% propanediol 1,3
2% silk peptides
0.5% allantoin

15% coffee butter
10% liquid oil of choice
5% Simulsol 165
3% cetyl alcohol

1% vanilla type fragrance oil
1.1% Euxyl PE 9010
3% glycerin

Follow the general lotion making instructions.

Are there other things we should consider? There are! Join me tomorrow for part two of this series...

Related posts:
When lotions go wrong!
Why did my lotion fail? Loads of links here!
Why did my lotion fail? Emulsifiers
Why did my lotion fail? Emulsifiers continued…
Why did my lotion fail? Heating and holding
Why did my lotion fail? Optiphen
Why did my lotion fail? Water in oil emulsions
How to make a successful lotion

This post appeared on November 27, 2017, on my Patreon feed. If you'd like to see these posts three to four weeks earlier, click here for more information on my Patreon feed. $10 subscribers get an e-zine as well as discounts from awesome shops, like Lotioncrafterbut you can subscribe at as little as $1 a month to gain access to the feed.

Why sign up for Patreon? Because this is my full time job now, and your subscription helps me write more and experiment with more ingredients and equipment for the blog!


Marcia said...


Paige B said...

Interesting! I've found LotionPro or Simusol 165 to be one of the most reliable emulsifiers and I frequently use 34 - 36% oil phase in butters...not including silicones or other OS ingredients in the cool down. That said, I've never used the preservative Euxyl PE 9010. I usually use either Germall or a combination of Amticide coconut and Leucidal or Synercide Asian Fusion, or Phytocide black currant (all from FSS). I haven't had an issue with any fragrances yet (and I LOVE vanilla scents), or any EO, but haven't tried myrrh. I certainly would be interested in hearing more on the subject of vanilla and/or other additives that can cause a lotion fail.

Kim L said...

I Love Love Love this recipe! Mine came out wonderful! Thank you!