Monday, January 11, 2010

Making a basic lotion

I've been thinking a lot about lotions lately - which is probably a good thing, considering the posts I've been writing! - and I realized I should go back to the beginning, to a basic lotion recipe which I can then tweak. I have my basic conditioner template, as it were, so let's take a look at a basic lotion recipe (click here if you're new to lotions!)

70% water
15% oil
5% butter
3% cetyl alcohol or stearic acid
5% emulsifier of some kind
1% fragrance oil
0.5% to 1% preservatives

This is the place I start with every lotion. As I add water based things, I remove a percentage from the water phase. If I want to add more oils, I need to compensate by increasing the emulsifier and removing a percentage from the water phase.

Let's say I want to make a lotion to take camping with me. I want something that will work for sun exposure and post-swimming fun! I want something filled with polyphenols and phytosterols and carotenoids and other good things for post sun exposure. I want something that's easy to pack - so a tottle or malibu probably - and I don't want something heavily scented so I might choose to leave out the fragrance oil all together or use an essential oil instead. And I don't want something too greasy that will stay on the hands because it's a pain to go to the water pump and wash my hands!

What can't I use? I don't want anything that might make someone sun sensitive, so citrus based essential oils and sodium PCA or sodium lacate aren't options. I don't want something too thick, so I'll leave out the stearic and use cetyl alcohol instead.

What can I use? For the summer, I like humectants! But I can't use sodium lactate or PCA, so I'll go with glycerin or honeyquat or hydrovance. I like to use film formers - hydrolyzed proteins - to keep moisture in without oils. I like to use aloe vera in summer products at 10% or more. And I will include some panthenol because it's good at helping with burn or wound repair.

So know I know I want to add a humectant (usually at 3%), hydrolyzed protein (2%), panthenol (2%), and aloe vera (10% minimum), for a total of 17%, which I'll remove from the water phase. So now I have 53% water and 17% non-water in my water phase when I include these ingredients. Oh, and I like a hydrosol like lavender for soothing, so I'll go with that at 10%! (Or other soothing hydrosol.)

How do I choose my oils and butters? But wait - do I need a butter here? I want something that's easy to apply and not too greasy. Do I want a thick, tenacious cream or a lighter and easier to apply lotion. I think I'll go without butters in this one because I do want something light and easy to apply.

So what oils should I choose? I don't have any butter in here now, so I can use the heaviest oil I have and still have a relatively light lotion.

I know olive oil is great for sun exposure, it contains squalene, it has great polyphenols for reducing inflammation, and it behaves as a humectant.

If I want a very light oil, fractionated coconut might be a good option as it is very light and moisturizing. But I do like to have some linoleic acid in my lotions to reduce transepidermal water loss and increase skin's barrier repair mechanisms.

Sesame oil might be nice - high levels of Vitamin E, and good phytosterols, with a nice mix of oleic and linoleic acids. But I would like some UV protecting oils (not making a claim here, don't use it as a sunscreen!) so I might consider rice bran oil instead as the ferulic acid can help with light or radiation induced skin damage. Wheat germ might be a very nice choice here - very high levels of Vitamin E, lots of phytosterols, squalene, carotenoids (for UVB damaged skin), and anti-oxidants.

Too many choices! But wait - there's more. We could also consider some of the exotic oils like borage (GLA, ferulic acid, good phytosterols and anti-oxidants), camellia oil (high oleic, good polyphenols), carrot tissue oil (carotenoids and anti-oxidants), cranberry oil (phytosterols, high levels of Vitamin E and phytosterols), evening primrose (GLA, gallic acid), rosehip oil (carotenoids), and sea buckthorn oil (high levels of Vitamin E, good phytosterols, carotenoids, and palmitoleic acid).

ARGH! Stop! Okay, back to the beginning. What do I want? Oils that are good for sun exposure and moisturizing. I want a balance of oleic and linoleic acids. I want a good level of Vitamin E, carotenoids, and phytosterols. In short, I want it all! So how to choose?

Because I've removed the butter, I'll have a lighter lotion so I can use higher weight oils. I really like the idea of including sea buckthorn in this recipe at 10%, but does it match well with olive oil? Olive oil and sea buckthorn are definitely good for sun exposure, but we don't have much linoleic acid here. Okay, I'm going with rice bran oil instead of olive oil. It has a nice balance of oleic and linoleic acids; it has ferulic acid, which can help with UV damaged skin; the oryzanol offers moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties; and the squalene will moisturize well.

So I've chosen my oils - 10% sea buckthorn, 10% rice bran oil. Done.

Do I want silicones in here? Cyclomethicone will help it glide better and dimethicone acts as a barrier and emollient. Yeah, I'll add them at 2% each. And what about IPM? I do like it for the non-greasy feeling it imparts, so I'll add that at 2% as well.

And I want some extracts in here. I've been reading a lot about green tea extract being awesome for post-sun exposure (more about this ingredient in the next few weeks) and I know chamomile is a good soothing extract, so I think I'll add each of these powdered extracts at 0.5% each.

Oh, one more step. Check my emulsifier. Right now I have 20% oils, 3% cetyl alcohol, 2% IPM, 2% cyclomethicone, and 2% dimethicone in my oil phase for a total of 29%. If I'm using Polawax, I need to include that at 25% of my oil phase, which makes 7% emulsifier, not 5%.

33% water
10% aloe vera
10% lavender or other soothing hydrosol
3% glycerin or other humectant (not sodium lactate or sodium PCA)
2% hydrolyzed protein

7% Polawax or emulsifying wax
10% rice bran oil
10% sea buckthorn oil
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
0.5% preservative
0.5% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% green tea extract (powdered)
0.5% chamomile extract (powdered)

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

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

3. Heat both phases to 70˚C and hold for 20 minutes.

4. When both phases reach 70˚C, pour the water phase into the oil phase and mix very well with a stick blender or hand mixer (or Kitchenaid if you're a lucky person!). Mix periodically as the temperature drops.

5. Heat a teaspoon or so of distilled water and put it in a small container. Add the powdered extracts and mix very well. When the temperature of the lotion reaches 45˚C, add all the cool down ingredients, including the now moistened extracts.

6. Allow the lotion to come to room temperature before bottling.

Join me tomorrow for more formulating fun!


Anne-Marie said...

I love making lotions - and your summer camping lotion looks great! It looks like it would absorb in nicely while having good slip. I can't wait to try it one of these days.

Hippy at Heart said...

I think I might give this a whirl.

Christina Kessler said...

Hi Susan,
How do you get your ingredients to hold at exactly 70C for so long? Or does the precision of the temperature not matter too much? I made conditioner for the first time last night and the temperature kept fluctuating. I am worried about it not sanitizing/heating properly when too cold, and about boiling off all my water when it's too hot. Any tips?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Christina. As long as the ingredients are heated and held at 70˚C to 80˚C or so (158˚F to 176˚F) it's okay if it fluctuates. You just don't want it to go down below that temperature. You will see a difference in your water amount once you've heated and held due to evaporation, so click here for some hints on how to compensate for that.

As you can see from this post, I use an electric fondue pot as my double boiler. You don't have to use something like this, but it's nice to be able to control the temperature in the pot. Just make sure you're keeping an eye on the double boiler - get a good thermometer so you can ensure you aren't going too low or too high.

Zoe said...

Susan, this looks lovely. I have to adapt it a bit as I don't have all the ingredients. I did notice, though, as I was adding up to make sure I was more-or-less in order with your basic lotion formulation, that you say the basic lotion is 70% water. This summer lotion is 58% water.

Is there are a particular reason you've made it less for this recipe? Or have I misunderstood something?



Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Zoe. You're right - this is a bit confusing because i start with 70% and end up with 60% (count the panthenol at 2% as part of the water phase for a total of 60%), but the goal of this post was to show you how we could adapt a recipe and have something at the end that was very different from the original. I changed the amount of oils to be a larger portion of the recipe, then I changed the emulsifier, which means I had to reduce the water phase as well by 10%. So in the end, it's a very different looking and feeling lotion than the 70% water basic recipe.

I feel like I was very confusing here...did that make sense?

Zoe said...

Thanks for the clarification, Susan. I don't have panthenol (yet) so didn't understand it was part of the water ingredients.

RE changing the emulsifier, no, I didn't get that.

I'll show you what I was thinking of with your recipe, bearing in mind that I don't have the silicones, nor Polowax, nor chamomile. After looking at your blog, I did order hydrolized oat protein, powdered green tea, cetyl alcohol.

Correct me if you're seeing something amiss here.

600 gm

198 gm, 33% water
60 gm, 10% aloe vera
60 gm, 10% rose or sandalwood hydrosol
18 gm, 3% glycerin
12 gm, 2% hydrolyzed oat protein
58% water

42 gm, 7% emulsifying wax
60, 10% fractionated coconut oil
60 gm, 10% camellia oil
18 gm, 3% cetyl alcohol

3 gm liquid Germall plus 0.5% preservative
3 gm? geranium and ylang-ylang (2 and 1), 0.5% fragrance or essential oil
3 gm, 0.5% green tea extract (powdered)

Thank you! This so stimulating to be able to connect with someone else about what to me, is an endlessly fascinating subject!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Zoe. It looks good, but you're at 90.5% for the lotion. Do you want to increase the water phase by 9.5%? When you take something out of a recipe, you need to add a similar amount to the water amount. So if you take out 2% panthenol and 4% silicones, you have to add 6% to the water phase. Your lotion will be thinner than the original if you increase the water amount. (Look for tomorrow's post for more information on this.)

And why are you making 600 grams for a first batch I think it's a good recipe, but what if it isn't and you've wasted a bunch of supplies? I would suggest making no more than 300 grams of a product the first time. That's enough to make up 2 - 125 ml/4 ounce bottles or jars or a few smaller ones.

Courty said...

Hi Susan!
I love your website!

I tried your summer lotion the other day. I love it but have a problem i was hoping you could help with. It rubs in very well when my skin is dry but if i apply it after i get out of the shower it drags and skips and doesn't rub in smoothly at all!
Do you know why this happens and if i can fix it?
I used what i had so i simplified a lot when substituting your recipe.

Here's my formula:

71% Water
3% Vegetable Glycerin
20% Organic Olive Oil
3.6% Glyceryl Stearate
1.4% Cetyl Alcohol
.5% Potassium Sorbate
.5% Vit E

Thank you so much!

Katie Ziegler said...

Hubby and I took a trip to Curacao (the second "c" should have a curlicue on bottom, but I don't know how to do that!) with some friends this past October. Following your advice, I tweaked some of my normal products before we left. I was trying to make everything soothing because I knew we'd spend lots of time in the ocean and sun.

The most important product I made was a lotion that I adapted from this post. As careful as I was with sunscreen and keeping to the shade, I still ended up with a third degree sunburn on my shin. This lotion kept my skin hydrated and helped heal it (no, I'd never make those claims when giving it away). When we got home, my dermatologist was impressed by how quickly I healed, especially since I have health issues that normally make me a very slow healer. I don't want to think what could have happened to my skin if I hadn't had this lotion with me.

So, on to the recipe. I followed all of your normal instructions for making lotion.

Water Phase:
15% aloe vera liquid
15% witch hazel hydrosol
15% lavender hydrosol
2% glycerin
0.5% allantoin
0.75% water

Oil Phase:
8% Olivem 1000
3% cetyl alcohol
5% rice bran oil
5% borage oil
5% olive oil
5% sea buckthorn oil
3% IPM

Cool Down Phase:
3% panthenol
3% honeyquat
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
4% white peony tea extract
2% calendula extract
2% cucumber extract
1% vitamin E
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
0.25% essential oil mix (1 part carrot EO, 2 parts rosemary EO, 1 part chamomile EO, 1 part helichrysum EO)

Yes, I like to throw a lot of different things into my lotions. This came out a bright orange with a light herbal scent. I kept the scent as subtle as possible because I wanted my husband to agree to use it when he got sunburned. I found that this worked much better for us than regular aloe vera gel has in the past. Our mild to medium sunburns disappeared overnight with moderate application. It did turn the sheets and my clothes orange. The color washed out of my clothes when we got home.

Of course, all of this is my own experience, and I would never say that anyone else would have the same results. The best way to avoid the effects of a sunburn is to never get one in the first place!

CC Mirabella said...

Icy hot & bengay type adaption from basic lotion recipe
Heated water Phase
43% distilled water
2% glycerin
3% msm
Heated oil
8% btms50
4% cetyl alcohol
5% butter (I used cocoa )
2% ipm
16% menthol crystals
Cool Down
11% camphor
5% silicones (LC1684) or 2.5% dimethicone & 2.5% cyclomethicone
0.5% germal plus

Bengay type (ultra strength )

Water phase
24% distilled water
2% glycerin
2% msm
Oil phase
5% butter/oil
2% ipm
8% btms50
4% stearic acid
10% menthol crystals

Cool down
30% wintergreen essential oil
4% camphor
5% LC3569 (or 2.5% each of cyclomethicone & dimethicone )
0.5% preservative

I've made the first one (icy hot) several times and this is the best one I've made, & probably the one I will stick with. As for the bengay type I've only made that one 3xs due to the cost of wintergreen oil but this one I've posted is great I guess all my watery icy hots paid off and assisted me in getting it right for the bengay type.

Susan thank you so very much for sharing your incredible knowledge & being an inspiration

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi CC Mirabella! Can you send me an email at sjbarclay@telus,net so I can send you out the ebook of your choice? Thanks for sharing. Not to burst your bubble as it seems like a great recipe, but the menthol is suggested at 3% or lower, camphor at 1% or lower, and the wintergreen is really really high. For anyone making this recipe, I suggest you start at less than 3% menthol and less than 1% wintergreen.

CC Mirabella said...

Hi Susan thank you! And yes I meant to at least mention that about the menthol, camphor & wintergreen especially can be DANGEROUS .. And this may be too strong for most people. I got my percentages for the essential oils and menthol off the actual packaging of icy hot & bengay...but it was the highest strength they sell :/
Thanks AGAIN!

CC Mirabella said...

Actually before anyone makes this bengay type they need to look up side effects of Methyl Salicylate (a compound similar to aspirin) If you have an allergic reaction to aspirin you should not use this ingredient!