Sunday, January 9, 2011
Question: Can we substitute one oil for another?
I spent a small fortune on oils and butters when I started on this amazing journey of making bath and body products. I'm glad I tried them - it gave me an idea of which oils I liked and what skin feel I wanted - but it made me so nervous when I used soy bean oil in place of olive oil for the first time! The lotion worked, and it felt nice (both the lotion and my sense of accomplishment).
When you see lotion recipes posted on this blog, they reflect my personal preferences, the availability of the ingredients, and my style of making things. If you don't like olive oil or prefer apricot kernel to something I'm using, then go for it! I'm not saying you can't e-mail me to ask if you can substitute one thing for another, but why not try it! You'd be amazed at how much difference the substitution of one oil can make! (Hence the six ingredient challenge!) And it's such a great learning process!
the six ingredient lotion with shea, soy bean, and sesame oil - but you don't have any sesame oil. You can do some research on sesame oil (or use the comparison chart) and see what it brings to the party, then exchange it for something similar - rice bran oil tends to be my favourite substitute - or you can switch it for whatever you have in your workshop that day.
Let's say you have some brand new avocado oil and want to use that. Avocado is a slightly heavier, slightly more astringent oil than the sesame seed oil, so the lotion may feel slightly drier and slightly heavier. It will contain more oleic acid than the lotion I originally made, and you've reduced the amount of Vitamin E in the product, so it's a good idea to add up to 1% to get the same benefits.
Or let's say you like apricot kernel oil. Apricot kernel oil is lighter than sesame seed oil, with some linoleic acid and a lot of Vitamin E and phytosterols. So your product will be lighter and have a little less linoleic acid.
So if you made your shea, soy bean, and avocado oil lotion, you'd have something that might feel slightly heavier, feel slightly drier, and will contain more oleic acid. If you make the shea, soy bean, and apricot kernel lotion, you'd have something that might feel lighter. But you still have a lotion!
Most oils have an HLB value of 6 to 8, with the average being 7, so you can generally switch one oil for another without concern for the emulsification of the lotion. Where you will see a difference is in the fatty acid breakdown, in the amount of Vitamin E, phytosterols, and polyphenols, and in the skin feel. (And yes, you can use grocery store oils in your products. Click here to learn more!)