Thursday, November 5, 2009

Evolution of a product...attempt #1

Petra wrote to me and proposed a challenge. Could we come up with a recipe to duplicate Lush's Sugar Babe Sugar Scrub, a bath bomb like scrub that manages to remain hard enough to cut into pieces when dry, but would offer exfoliation and moisturization in the shower? Here are the ingredients...

Fair Trade Sugar, Sodium Bicarbonate, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), Cream of Tartar (Tartaric acid), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Mimosa Absolute (Mimosa tenuiflora), Beeswax Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil (Cananga odorata), Cocamide DEA, Lauryl Betaine, *Coumarin, Benzyl Salicylate, Perfume, D&C Red 30.

The main ingredients are the sugar, sodium bicarbonate, coconut oil, cream of tartar, and fragrance. But what's with the sodium laureth sulfate, cocoamide dea, and lauryl betaine? It isn't a foaming product, so I suspect this is melt & pour soap added to keep the bar together. Since we don't have the exact percentages of ingredients, we're going to have to wing it and see what each ingredient brings to the mix.

Sugar - this is obviously the exfoliant. Petra had an interesting idea - what if it was held together with a sugar syrup? I'm dying to see the results of that experiment!
Sodium bicarbonate - baking soda is a good exfoliant as well.
Extra virgin coconut oil - this is the moisturizer. I don't have any coconut oil, so I'll use another soft butter like shea butter.
Cream of tartar - this will harden the bar.
Sodium laureth sulfate (and so on) - I think this is melt & pour soap.
Beeswax absolute - this is a perfuming ingredient. We can leave this out.
The rest of the ingredients are about the perfume, so I'm not worried about those.

My recipe - attempt #1.

50 grams plantation sugar (what I had on hand in the workshop)
10 grams baking soda
20 grams shea butter
10 grams cream of tartar
20 grams white melt & pour soap
2 grams fragrance oil (Cream cheese frosting! Yum!)

I heated the melt & pour soap (white) and the shea butter until liquid. In a separate container I combined the rest of the ingredients - except fragrance oil. I poured the shea butter and melt & pour soap into the dry ingredients and mixed well. I added fragrance oil, and mixed well again. It was starting to get quite hard to mix, so I spooned it into a mold, then put it in the freezer for about an hour (I think I could have taken it out sooner, but I got distracted!)

I haven't tried it in the shower yet, but this is a damp bar. It stays together well outside the shower, but it definitely isn't smooth like the Lush version. I don't think this comes close to duplicating the Lush bar, so I'll try a second recipe (see below). I think the raw sugar is a mistake - the grains are far too large to make a compact bar. I've put in too much oil and too much melt & pour soap.

Petra has tried a version of this with sugar (raw), baking soda, cream of tartar, and SLSa. She bound it together with witch hazel. She found it held together fine when dry, but crumbled in the shower. Although I think one of the ingredients is melt & pour soap, she's trying versions that don't include it. (I have a feeling she is right, but I'll try a few more batches with the melt & pour as that seems to be the binder for a lot of recipes for sugar cubes).

Stay tuned for attempt #2!

Update on this product: By day 3, this product seems softer than when I started. It almost falls apart in my hand walking to the shower, so I'm not going to bother with it in the shower! I would call this not a success in any way!


Esmée said...


I'm curious who is gonna do the trick!

Petra said...

Esmee, I hope you play along too!

I have now made two batches and I think I am getting closer. I will send my formulas and pics to Susan later today.

Esmée said...

Yes! That would be fun!