Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lotion: Body butter with speciality ingredients

I don't tend to take pictures of lotions - surfactant creations are much prettier! - but this is an example of a little kit you could put together of your body butter, scrub and, and bath salts. Plus, I was getting tired of not having pictures on the site!

So you've made your first body butter but you want to tweak it further. (This is why I suggest using one oil at a time when you start so you can identify what you love and what you want to change!) Do you want a lighter or heavier oil? Do you want fewer butters or more? Do you need more humectants? Do you want it more glide-y or more sink-in-able?

Let's look over the recipe again and see where we can tweak it...


60% water - some hydrosols or aloe might be nice in here. I'd go with 10% aloe for all skin types, and 10% lavender hydrosol for soothing annoyed skin.

2% sodium lactate or glycerin - let's go with the sodium lactate instead of glycerin here. Remember not to go above 3% as it can be photosensitizing and exfoliating.

10% oils - tweak your oils - choose lighter, heavier, medium-ier oils.

15% shea butter - try mango butter (a bit drier) or avocado butter (very dry and heavy). I should be checking the HLB for this to see if I need to change the emulsifier, but since I'm using BTMS, Polawax, or emulsifying wax NF (which are complete emulsification systems), I'm not going to worry about that today.

6% emulsifier - no changes here, although you could use 6% BTMS for a more powdery feeling

3% cetyl alcohol - I wouldn't change this either because it makes it glid-y

2% IPM - addition. You could add IPM to the oil phase to make the lotion sink into your skin a little quicker.

0.5 to 1% preservative - ESSENTIAL, no change

1% fragrance or essential oil blend - lovely, no change

2% cyclomethicone - addition - this will give your lotion a silky feeling that will dry a little powdery.

2% dimethicone - addition - this will add glide to your lotion and acts as a protective barrier from the elements. This is a great addition to a lotion in a climate with wind chapping, lots of cold, and low humidity.

How do we incorporate these ingredients into our recipe? Our total is more than 100%!!!

I'm going to be honest here...I usually add these ingredients and get 106% and live with it (so a single batch at 1% = 1 gram is going to be 106 grams), but we really should compensate in some way. You could remove 6% water, which is going to give you a thicker cream, or you could remove some oils (say 2%) and some butter (say 4%) to total 100%. Or you can re-calculate this recipe - so the water would be 56.6% of the recipe - but this is going to be difficult to make if you don't have a scale that can go to 0.01 grams. I'm going to suggest something that is bad practice and I'm slightly ashamed of it...but just add the ingredients and make a 106 gram batch for now. If you aren't messing with the recipe so it's now 150% instead of 100%, then you'll have to recalculate (divide the previous amount - say 60% water - by the new amount - say 150 - to get the new percentage.)

40% water
10% aloe vera liquid
10% lavender or rose hydrosol
2% sodium lactate

10% oils
15% butter of choice
6% BTMS, Polawax OR Emulsifying wax NF
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone

1. Weigh out your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.

2. Weigh out your oil phase in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler.

3. When both containers have reached 70C, weigh out your water again (and add more hot water to compensate for any evaporation), then add it to your oil container.

4. Blend with a hand mixer or stick blender for at least 3 minutes. Repeat this process as often as you would like until the temperature reaches 45C.

5. Let cool to 45C, then add your cool down phase ingredients. Mix well with your hand mixer or stick blender, then let cool.

6. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature (a few hours), spoon into a jar and let set before using.

Remember to label your jar with the new version of the ingredients you've used to see if you like the additions. Make sure you keep notes on all the changes you've made. If you're obsessive like me, you can try this recipe with just one new ingredient at a time to see if you can feel the changes you've made.

Tune in tomorrow...why? Because we're going to review what we've learned so far!


France said...

OMG there is SO much to learn, and you do SUCH a great job of putting it in plain english so we can understand. My B&B time is very scarce these days (hence my not being on the Dish much, though not that you would have noticed! LOL!)...
Thank you for this amazing blog of information!!!
Jo from OZ told me about your blog!!! Yay!!!

SwiftCraftyMonkey said...

Hi France! I'd notice - I remember we had a few posts together a while ago! (And you're Canadian, aren't you? We have to stick together. There aren't many of us around!)

Thanks for the kind words. Feel free to comment on any or all posts so I know what I can offer. Right now I'm posting what I like, but it's great to know what others like!

Anonymous said...

I thought the requirement was at least 25% emulsifier for your total amount of oils. How do we get away with this in this recipe?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

The 25% rule isn't gospel - please see this post on Polawax in your creations. Some people use less, some use more.

I've made this recipe many times and it's worked well for me with 6% Polawax. It could be the thickener (cetyl alcohol) or the stearic acid in the shea butter or something else. If you wish, you can up the emulsifier to 25% of the oil phase (which is 34%) for a total of 8.5%. But the emulsifier amount depends upon what type you're using - I'd happily use 5% BTMS here but e-wax NF might need more.

Anonymous said...

So BTMS is generally more forgiving than e-wax? I usually use BTMS because I like the drier feeling and I also use it for my hair, so it is easier to have just the one product in the house.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

On the product data sheet, Croda claims BTMS-50 at 3.5% can emulsify up to 20% dimethicone, and in another case, 3% with 3.5% cetearyl alcohol can emulsify 50% silicones! So it is a little more forgiving if you're off by a bit because it is such a good emulsifier.

I'm personally not a fan of dry feeling lotions, but I do find I really like it in moisturizing products or products like this body butter, where I can compensate for the dry feeling with all those lovely oils and butters!

Jarm said...

New to this game.... Can you add caffeine powder to Shea butter to make your own firming/fat dispersing cream? All the science blows my mind!!!

Joseph Benedetto said...

Hi! Let me start by saying this article is awesome and such a big help! I made this today, however it seems MUCH thinner than a typical "all-oil" body butter. It's only a little thicker than a typical lotion. The only difference in my recipe was I used cetearyl alcohol instead of cetyl. What would I change to make it more similar to a thick body butter? Would I add more butters and reduce the water? Or would I add a thickening agent like stearic acid?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Joseph! Did you follow this recipe as it is written? I see you made a substitution: This will actually make it a little more waxy but the same viscosity. This recipe can take up to 48 hours to reach its final viscosity, and I can assure you that this is a rich body butter. Check it again after 24 hours of being at room temperature and let me know what it's like then.

You aren't going to get the stiffness you find in an anhydrous body butter in a body butter that contains butters. They will always be more fluid, which is part of their appeal.

If you add stearic acid, it'll be more like a whipped butter. Add it instead of cetyl alcohol and see if you like it. I didn't, but we all have different preferences!

Joseph Benedetto said...

Thanks so much for getting back to me. I should also mention that I used 5% glycerin instead of 2% sodium lactate (no SL on hand at the moment). I blamed that for the slight waxy/tacky feeling I noticed, but like you said maybe it was the cetearyl alcohol substitution. I also only had traditional emulsifying wax on hand as opposed to other options that can feel more silky. Maybe I jumped the gun and messaged you too soon. I will check it in a day or so and see if it's stiffened up. I am still very new to lotion making and I can't tell you how much your articles have helped me! Your knowledge with all of this is astounding. If I reduced the water and increased the butters, do you think the 'methicones' and IPM will still be able to combat the greasiness? I used avocado, mango and shea butter (15%) rice bran oil, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil (10%).

Joseph Benedetto said...

To answer your first question - yes I did follow the recipe as written with the exceptions of the changes I've mentioned. Thanks again!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Joseph. You've made a lot of changes, so I'm wondering if you could please write up your recipe with exactly what you used in percentages along with your process, I will be able to help further.

Jemila Suleiman said...

Susan u are such a rare gem. Thank you for sharing all these useful posts