Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tweaking lotions!

So we've made three hand lotions over the last three days - one for summer time fun, one for winter time moisturizing, and a less greasy winter time hand lotion. We didn't make huge changes, but what we did alter was just enough to make each lotion feel different.

I think I've said it before (yep, I have!) but it bears repeating - you can use any oil and butter combination you want in a lotion as long as you check your emulsifier amount (or re-calculate the HLB value).

Here's an exercise to consider - visit a few sites or scour your files and write down your favourite lotion recipes or ones you want to try. Make up a chart with each ingredient listed - water, humectant, oils, butters, and so on - and see what the differences might be. I think you'll be surprised at how similar the recipes are: A lot of the changes are suggestions in which oils or butters to use, which additives to include, and how to mix it, for instance, making it very fluffy. (Here are a few ideas for substitutions in your lotions and creams...)

Here's an example chart with the three lotions I've made. It's easy to see where I made changes and what the differences are, especially with the oils and butters. I use charts like this to see what ingredients bring what to the party. I can see quite clearly in the non-greasy formula why it's a non-greasy formula - BTMS instead of polawax, no dimethicone, very dry butters and oils - and I can play with those ingredients if I want it a bit greasier.

Making charts can be quite useful to see what ingredients you might want to include in your workshop. If you have only one recipe calling for Hydrovance, check to see what you could substitute so you don't have to order that ingredient for one product.

Let's take a look at how I could have formulated the summer lotion differently while achieving my goals...My goals were including oils good for during and post-sun exposure, reducing ingredients that could make you sun sensitive, reducing the feeling of oiliness, and increasing barrier protection without being too heavy. I need an oil, a humectant, a greasiness reducer, and a barrier ingredient.

For the oils, sesame and wheat germ looked nice - high levels of phytosterols and Vitamin E, so let's use those at 10% each. For the humectant, I can't use sodium lactate or sodium PCA, so I think I'll use Hydrovance at 3%. For the film former, I'll try honeyquat. And for reducing greasiness, I'll try 3% Dry-flo in the water phase.

62% water
3% Hydrovance
2% honeyquat - humectant, conditioner, and film former
20% oils - 10% sea buckthorn, 10% rice bran oil
6% emulsifier - Polawax or BTMS or other emulsifier
3% cetyl alcohol
3% Dry-flo - to reduce greasiness without using IPM
0.5% preservative
0.5% fragrance oil

Take a look at the oil phase - we only have 23.5% oils (oils, cetyl alcohol, fragrance oil), which means we need 1/4 the amount of emulsifying wax. 1/4 of 24% is 6%, so we have the right amount. But I need more water to make up 100% - I only have 94% so far - so I'll add 6% to the water phase, for a total water amount of 62%.

This lotion will feel different from the summer time lotion I posted the other day, but it achieves our goals...success!

Join me tomorrow for more fun tweaking lotions!

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