Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Substitutions: How to tweak that amazing sounding recipe!

How many times have you stumbled across an amazing sounding recipe only to realize you have maybe one or two of the ingredients? I know I sound like a broken record, but knowing your ingredients and their purpose in the formula can save you a ton of money and energy, and it might mean you can get into your workshop later today instead of waiting until the mail arrives.

31.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% lemon balm (melissa) hydrosol
1% hyaluronic acid
2% hydrolyzed protein

5% avocado oil
5% grapeseed oil
15% shea butter (or butter of choice)
9% Olivem 1000
3% cetyl alcohol
2% IPM or IPP

2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% Optiphen ND
1% fragrance or essential oil blend
0.5% Vitamin E

Remembering that every ingredient we change can change the skin feel, also keep in mind that you haven't tried this recipe and have no idea what the skin feel might be. You can try to match the skin feel of your substitutions for the intended skin feel of the product - in this case, it will be a slightly greasy product, so using greasier oils might make it too greasy for a lot of people - or you can just go with what your skin likes and what you have in the workshop.

Melissa or lemon balm hydrosol is supposed to be good for oily skin with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Rosemary, honeysuckle, or orange blossom might be good substitutions, or you could try any hydrosol you prefer. It will add some astringency to the product, making it feel drier. The aloe vera offers a ton of lovely features (click here for the full post), but as usual you can leave both of these out and use water instead.

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant and a very good one, but it's easily substituted with other, easier to find and buy humectants like glycerin, sodium lactate, sodium PCA, honeyquat, and others. I think I'll use 2.5% sodium PCA in this recipe and remove 1.5% from the water amount. (Glycerin can feel sticky, whereas the sodium lactate, sodium PCA, and honeyquat don't.)

You know I'm a fan of hydrolyzed proteins, but you can always substitute one for another or leave it out entirely if you don't have them.

Avocado is a heavy weight astringent oil and grapeseed is a light weight astringent oil with a terribly short shelf life. Any oils matching the fatty acid profile of either oil will do, and if you want to keep the astringent feel, make sure you look for that in the carrier oil description. (Click here for the emollients page for the profiles!) When it comes to the butter, shea butter is a greasy feeling, easily meltable butter. Mango butter will give you more astringency, and cocoa butter will thicken your product quite a bit, but either are good choices.

Note: The Vitamin E is included in this recipe due to the short shelf life of the grapeseed oil. If you use a longer lasting oil, you can leave out the Vitamin E. Or you can leave it in for the skin and anti-oxidizing benefits it offers. It's up to you. 

We know we can (for the most part) substitute emulsifiers for other emulsifiers, so feel free to use your emulsifier of choice. I'm not a fan of the Olivem emulsifiers - I've had a few epic lotion fails with Olivem 800, and I don't feel like investing in another emulsifier - so I'll fall back on my old favourite, Polawax. You can use Incroquat BTMS-50 for a drier feeling lotion or use your favourite emulsifier at the recommended amounts.

As a note, I say "for the most part" because some emulsifiers simply won't work well with substitutions. For instance, Sucragel AOF is intended for oils only; using esters will cause epic lotion fail. I figure if you're using something other than Incroquat BTMS-50, Polawax, or e-wax, you know what will work and what won't. You can substitute Polawax for most other emulsifiers, but sometimes it's hard to substitute other emulsifiers for Polawax. 

Cetyl alcohol can be substituted with stearic acid, which will give you a thicker consistency, or other fatty alcohols.

IPM and IPP are esters intended to reduce the greasiness of the product. You can leave it out and add 2% to the water phase if you don't have either.

Cyclomethicone is in this body butter to increase slip and glide and leave a silky finish, while dimethicone behaves as a barrier ingredient and emollient. If you want to leave them out, increase the oil by 4% or increase the water by 4% and reduce the emulsifier by 1%.

I don't have Optiphen ND, so I'll substitute my favourite preservative, Liquid Germall Plus, at 0.5% of the recipe. I should increase the water amount by 0.5% to replace the missing 0.5%. You can substitute your preservative of choice, as long as it is a broad spectrum preservative intended for water containing products.

So there you have it. A way to make an elaborate body butter with the ingredients you have in your workshop!

Join me tomorrow for substituting in surfactant based products!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Again, a big thank you. This is sooo helpful for a "beginner".

Best wishes