Friday, April 3, 2009

Lotions: Body butter creams

So what makes a body butter cream different than a foot cream?
  • We want the same thickness, but we're going to be adding more light oils so it's not as heavy.
  • And let's change the stearic acid to cetyl alcohol so we can get something more glidy.
  • And we're going to increase our butters to make it thicker and give it more stay-on-ability (I can't think of the word I want to use there...)
In the last two recipes, we chose a single oil and worked with it so you could get a sense of what the oil brought to the lotion. In this recipe, I'd like to choose a combination of oils to achieve my goals of a moisturizing body butter. I like to mix a light, medium, and thick oil together for body butters. I'm actually going to reduce the oils and increase the butters for a very thick cream. So let's use our oils at 10% in this recipe, choosing 4% light, 4% medium and 2% heavy.

Light - sunflower oil is very emollient and inexpensive. It's great for aging skin. You could use fractionated coconut oil if you want something very light or soy bean oil for a light feeling with great emolliency.

Medium - rice bran is my usual choice for a medium oil. It's got a great shelf life and it feels wonderful. Shea oil would work well here, but it is going to be greasier.

Heavy - you guessed it, olive oil. You could use avocado oil here for very dry skin.

And we're going to adjust our butters. Believe it or not, I'm going to increase them as I want something very smooth and emollient, so I'm upping our butters to 15%. I'm going to use shea here, but you can use mango or aloe or other butter of your choice.

60% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin

10% oils (4% light, 4% medium, 2% heavy, or just 10% of the oil of your choice)
15% shea butter (or butter of choice)
6% emulsifier*
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

**Note the increase in emulsifier...I have a total of 28% oils (oils, butter, cetyl alcohol), so I'm going to use 25% of that total amount (rounded up) so 6% would be suitable for Polawax or BTMS here.**

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, 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. (Again, I'm a fanatic mixing fool, so I like to mix a lot!)

5. Let cool to 45C, then add your fragrance or essential oil and preservative. 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.

This is going to be a thick, emollient cream that is a little oily (way too oily for your hands!) Maybe you're not an oily person - what can you do? You can choose lighter or drier oils (like hazelnut or grapeseed - shelf life 3 months!) or you can reduce the shea butter to 10% and increase the light oils by 5%. You could use BTMS as your emulsifier, which will leave a powdery feeling behind.

Or you could add some IPM to increase absorbency and add cyclomethicone to give it a powdery after feel. If this sounds like crazy talk to you, then tune in tomorrow to learn all about other ingredients you can add to your lotions to increase glide, reduce greasiness, and increase awesomeness!


Anonymous said...

Thank for the formulation am going to try it right now!

tessa mabanta said...

Why is glycerin part of the water phase and not of the oil phase? What happens if I increase the percentage of glycerin?

If I'm going to make castor oil and mineral oil , vitamin E and titanium dioxide part of the recipe, in which phase do I add it in?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tessa. Welcome to the blog. I've answered your question in today's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer - glycerin is water soluble, not oil soluble, so it goes into the water phase. Check out that post for more details. (I also encourage you to check out the before you write to me, read this post re-posted today as you will find all the information you need to do searches and find ingredients on the blog here.

If you're trying to come up with a recipe and you've never made one before, I really encourage you not to do this. Find a recipe that works well and you know works and use that instead. Please don't make your own as you can't possibly know all you need to know to make something work well, and you'll get frustrated and annoyed and might never want to make something again. I suggest this to make this a more enjoyable and fun experience!

Creme Chemist said...

Hi Susan,
I dont quite understand the math:
In your post you stated that since you are using 28% oil/butters/cetyl alcohol and need to use 25% of this as emulsifier. You came up with 6% rounding up, and I came up with 7%. Please explain.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I made a mistake.

maxine moore-thomas said...

hi susan regarding your basic body butter recipe what do you mean when you say "water" phase? i didnt knot know u used water when making a body butter i tght that was reserved for lotions. i never use water in my butters, i just use shea butter mango butter coco butter avacado butter (not necessarily all together but ths are my base butters) i use rice bran oil sunflower oil macademia nut oil jojoba oil olive oil coconut oil apricot kernel oil etc. and some vitamin e and a lil cornstarch and it seems fine the only problems i haveis that it will melt a bit in my hot climate ( i live injamaica) and sometimes my scents dnt stay (i use fragrance from brambleberry.) thanks again

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Maxine. There isn't a definition of a body butter, so it can be something with water or without. This post makes a body butter that contains water. If you'd like to learn more about making lotions, check out the post on making lotions under the bath & body ingredients section of the blog.

cest cheese said...

Ok, this post is a response to the products we made ourselves-how, what did we like, do again, etc?

I played around with the basic body butter recipe, but wanted to add a bunch of oils, different thickeners and try a different emulsifier, barrier products to try and influence the end feel. I read lots of your posts on these different ingredients and tried to make up my own product.

I wanted a not-too-thin, but not uber thick product with nice glide, emollient properties without greasiness, but also that didn't dry immediately on touch.

I don't really have a handle on what I'm doing yet, but this is what I did and how it turned out. I over-poured in some areas, so this is how the recipe ended up.

Heated water
46% H20
14% rosewater
15% allantoin
3% propylene glycol

Heated oil
11% hemp oil
6% mango butter
7% aloe vera oil
3% stearic acid

Cool down
1% honeysuckle essential oil
1% vitamin E
1% liquid germal plus
3% dimethicone

I heated up the oils and waters in one huge saucepan of water using 2 glass, 2-cup measuring cups. I used a digital thermometer, but had trouble getting both the containers to heat to the same temp and hold. The oil seemed to heat faster and keep rising while the water stayed more even.

I noticed when I poured the oil ingredients into the water after the 20-min. hold, that the cloudiness seemed "thick." I used a stick blender to blend for 1-minute in 15-sec intervals.

I poured the cream in plastic jars and put a paper towel over the top until cool enough to put a lid on.

The product looked like it had a waxy sheen on the surface and was grainy to the touch even after a few days, so I reheated the product in the microwave and blended again, but it made no difference.

The scent was very subtle and probably wouldn't hold for very long. For this scent, I'd add more next time.

I don't know if it was technique, products I chose to blend, measurements or all three that resulted in an undesirable lotion!

Not something I'd do again, until I can determine what and where I went wrong.


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Traci. Did you use 15% allantoin???

cest cheese said...


Sorry, I was in a hurry when I read my lotion notes.

I used .5% allantoin in the recipe.


Nanci Nix said...

Could goats milk be used instead of water?

klara said...

Hi! I am so perplexed. I have plays with the 3 different water to oil/butter ratios that I have seen and non of them come out well:

I tried yours and it is so watery even after I stuck it in the fridge.

I tried the equal portions ratio using
66ml (fat: 26.4ml avocado oil and 39.6 illipe butter)
66ml h20
16.5 ml beeswax with emulsifier (25% of the fat)
this one was water too, even after sitting in the fridge for 20 min. So I started blending with a hand mixed and it formed a beautiful thick cream. But then it started to look like cottage cheese and started separating.

Do you know what I may have done wrong? If I didn't mis it, would it have thickened on its own, keeping a nice emulsified texture?

Thank you!


Klara said...

Ahh sorry for all the mistakes in my previous comment entry: here is correct email:

Hi! I am so perplexed. I have played with the 3 different water to oil/butter ratios that I have seen and none of them came out well:

I tried yours and it is so watery even after I stuck it in the fridge.

I tried the equal portions ratio using
66ml (fat: 26.4ml avocado oil and 39.6 illipe butter)
66ml h20
16.5 ml beeswax with emulsifier (25% of the fat)
this one was watery too, even after sitting in the fridge for 20 min. So I started blending with a hand mixer and it formed a beautiful thick cream. But then it started to look like cottage cheese and started separating.

Do you know what I may have done wrong? If I didn't mix it the second time around, would it have thickened on its own, keeping a nice emulsified texture?

Thank you!


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

What emulsifier are you using? What process are you following? This is a failed recipe that is separating and the issue is either poor emulsifier or poor process. Please provide more information.

Victoria said...

Hi Susan!
I cocked up a batch of cocoa body butter here's my shameful recipe which clearly i mis calculated something wicked :(
water 38%
glycerine 2%
cocoa butter 29%
ewax 8%
ceteryl 3%
vit e 2%
preservative 1%

so I didnt add enough water, and completely forgot to add oils LOL
I'm relatively new to this but still *facepalm* my question is:
1. can I heat this back up... add the missing ingredients and more of the others to bring the butter content down to 15%
2. do I just add the difference in needed preservative or do I add a brand new 1% of the new recipe (using optiphen) since reheating may deactivate the current preservative content.

Its a putty like texture so worst case I'll just use the 2x 250g jars of it for myself and start all over with a fresh batch.

Thank you for reading my sad situation and hopefully you have some advice :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Victoria! No, you can't heat it again. Sorry. You'll have to use it as is. As a question - why make so much? 500 grams is a pretty big batch for a first time recipe!

Autumnonapia said...

I have most of the ingredients to make this recipe except for one. Is there anything that can be substituted for the cetyl alchohol. I have read somewhere that it acts similar to steric acid, but I wasn't sure if that is in fact the case. And if is it, would you recommend a 1 to 1 replacement? Thanks for your help. I am super excited to make this up soon!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Autumnoapia! As I mention in the post on cetyl alcohol, you can interchange them 1:1. I encourage you to check out the posts on other fatty alcohols, which you can find in the ingredients list section of the blog.

Tess said...

Hi Susan!

I just want to say that I love love love your blog and it has allowed me to make this wonderful moisturizer for my very dry and sensitive skin.
I tried making this body butter and it turned out lovely! (With a few bumps here and there hehe) and I wanted to share my experience with you.
I used Olivem1000 (in spite of reading certain concerns about its stability) just because I have a lot of it, and it turned out ok. I also decided to use Argan Oil because I have been putting in directly on my face and neck as a night moisturizer and I just love how it absorbs quickly and does not leave a greasy residue.
I kept the butter for a month in a glass jar in a window (where the sunlight hits it directly during the day and the temperature can be up to 33°C) but then at night the temperature can drop down to 19°C.) and It has not separated at all. I started using it after observing it for a month and my skin loves it!
I also added 2% Vitamin E to try and keep the oils from turning rancid. I´m not sure if that works 100% but so far, no funny smell :), although it has darkened a little bit. I think this may be due to the amount of vanilla content in the fragrance oil.

Heated water phase
49% Distilled Water
10% Aloe Vera Extract
3% glycerine

Heather oil phase
10% cocoa butter
5% shea butter
10% argan oil
3% cetyl alcohol
6% olivem 1000

Cool down phase
1% preservative
2% vitamine E
1% fragrance

I used two separate double boilers. (a pot filled with water and the ingredients inside a glass pyrex container) One for the oils and waxes and the other one for the water phase. The oils and waxes did heat up faster, but since they were in a separate container I was able to adjust the temperature until both reached 70°c. Held for 20 minutes.

I then added the oils to the water container and started mixing with a spoon while waiting for it to cool down. It started to look like a wonderful lotion until it separated and looked like cottage cheese. I immediately started mixing it with a stick blender and it all came together, looking lovely.
Then, I added the fragrance and preservative and started mixing with the stick blender again. Not even a minute went by and it all separated and as much as I kept on mixing, it didn't fix itself.

I left it in the pyrex jug and covered it, determined to use it anyway the way it was so I wouldn't throw it away. The next day, after it had all solidified, I tried mixing it again with the stick blender and believe it or not, it all came together and did not separate at all!. Reluctant, I covered it and put it by the window under direct sunlight and it stayed like that for a month.

When I start rubbing it on my skin, there´s a little bit of soping effect but it goes away quickly while I keep on rubbing. It glides on very easily and It feels a bit oily in the beginning (nothing too over the top, it's a body butter after all) but then it absorbs quickly leaving my skin very soft. Even though the weather is very hot and humid, it doesn't feel too oily or sticky and it doesn't make me sweat like crazy.

I won't be buying body lotion from the store anymore!

Any thoughts on what may have caused it to separate twice so it won't happen again the next time I make it?

Thanks again!


Tess said...

Oops! I forgot to mention that when I took out the water container from the double boiler, I weighed the container to see how much water I had lost to evaporation. (I had already weighed the container by itself). Determined how much water I needed to add, but I forgot to add it at that moment!

The next day, when I mixed it again, I added the rest of the water and it all came together. I don't know how it worked, it just did!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tessa! I've had the same problems time and time again with Olivem 1000, which is why I don't use it. If you check out the post on Olivem 1000, you can see some of the suggestions people have made about using it.

Get the Vitamin E way down to 0.5% or lower if you're using it as an anti-oxidant for the oils.

This sounds like a great body cream. Sounds very moisturizing and thick, too! :-)

makemineirish said...

The vendor that I intend to order supplies from caries cetearyl alcohol, rather than cetyl. I have looked up the difference and am questioning if there is any reason that I cannot simply substitute one for the other?

The instructions indicate that you can use Polawax or BTMS-50. I have tried to do my research comparing the two to make a choice. It appears that the former is standardized and performs well, while the latter has a nicer feel but is a weaker emulsifier typically employed in conditioners. Some resources suggest using both for optimum results, but do not suggest a ratio. Do you have a preference in achieving the best "feel"(subjective, I know)?

Are there any considerations to keep in mind when using a liquid replacement for water such as aloe gel; is there any reason not to simply dissolve 50x powder in the liquid phase?