Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tweaking suppliers' recipes

When you see a recipe, it reflects the formulator's preferences. Whether it's from a blog, forum, or supplier, the formulator has chosen what she has chosen not only to fulfill the goals of the product, but based on what's in the workshop, what's easily available, what's new in the store, or what's popular. And for the most part, you can alter the recipe to use what you have on hand.

Let's take a look at a recipe from Voyageur (scroll down a bit). This is a very nice lotion, but let's tweak it!

Part A
6.5% Hemp Seed Oil
5.5% Sunflower Oil
2.0% Avocado Oil
2.5% Glycerin
5.5% Polawax
2.5% Stearic Acid

Part B
74% Purified Water

Part C
0.5% Panthenol
0.5% Cromoist
0.5%Germall Plus

Fragrance to desired level.

What can we tell about this formula? There are no butters, so it won't be a very thick lotion. It does have 14% oils, so this won't be a very light lotion but a lightish lotion. The stearic acid will make it more creamy than lotion-y, and it has a 3 to 6 month shelf life, thanks to the hemp seed oil. This will be a not-too-greasy, not-too-dry lotion because of the mix of hempseed and sunflower with avocado.

Let's say you want to increase the shelf life. Switch out the lowest shelf life oil for something that oxidizes less slowly, like borage or evening primrose for the GLA or wheat germ oil for a similar fatty acid profile. The avocado has a shelf life of 1 year, sunflower 6 months if you're not using the high linoleic version. So this version would give you a shelf life of 6 months. Switch out the sunflower oil for soy bean oil (1 year) and the hemp for cranberry oil (2 years) or rice bran oil and you have a lotion with a 1 year life span.

As a note, the oils aren't the only consideration for shelf life. You have to consider your additives like glycerin, hydrolyzed proteins, and so on. Please check out this post for more information.

Let's say you want to make this less greasy. Switch the hempseed oil for a drier oil with high linoleic acid levels - evening primrose, borage, rosehip, grapeseed - and the sunflower oil with similar oils, and use BTMS instead of Polawax, and add 2% IPM and you've got a more powdery lotion.

Let's say you want this thicker. Keep the stearic acid and add a little butter in place of one of the oils. How about 2% shea butter instead of avocado oil. It'll add a little thickening, but it will be a little greasier. Or 2% mango butter instead of avocado oil. Or 2% avocado butter to keep the avocado-y goodness in there. I'll try aloe butter because I have it in the house and I like aloe!

For the glycerin, consider another humectant like sodium lactate, sodium PCA, honeyquat, or hydrovance. Adding honeyquat will keep the thickness of the glycerin in; the others will reduce the thickness slightly as they are much more watery!

If you want this more glidy, then switch the cetyl alcohol for the stearic acid. Add 1 to 2% cyclomethicone.

So let's take a look at what I have in the workshop and modify this to be a lotion with a one year life span!

6.5% rice bran oil
5.5% soybean oil
2.0% aloe butter
2.5% sodium lactate
5.5% Polawax
2.5% cetyl alcohol

63% water
10% aloe vera

1% cyclomethicone
0.5% panthenol
0.5% cromoist
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Okay, so you can't call it hemp hand & body lotion - you'll have to find another name for it! - but you've altered this recipe so you have a slightly more glidy lotion with a one year life span!

Join me tomorrow with more fun tweaking recipes!


Anonymous said...

If you're looking for other supplier formulations, check out Desert Whale's formulation guide:

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Although I always appreciate information about suppliers and formulation sites, could you please post your name or an alias next time so it doesn't feel so much like an attempt at advertising on my site. (I say this because this is the second time this link has been posted on my blog.)

There are some nice looking recipes on the site, but there are far too many ingredients we can't access or for which it's hard to find good substitutes. Do you have any suggestions for where we might be able to find these ingredients?