Saturday, February 26, 2011

Learning to formulate: Lotions with minimally processed ingredients continued

Yesterday we made a lotion with minimally processed ingredients, let's make a body butter in a similar fashion. Again, I'm going to use an emulsifier and a preservative, which means I can't have a 100% minimally processed product. But we can go for something on par with 92% minimally processed ingredients!

So what ingredients do we want in a body butter? I definitely want a butter, and the one you choose will depend upon the skin feel you want. Choose a greasy feeling butter, and you'll have a greasy feeling product. Choose a drier feeling butter, and you'll have a drier feeling product. Because we aren't using things like IPM or IPP or other esters in this recipe, you really have to choose your oils and butters well with your preferred skin feel in mind.

If you want something with great barrier protection, choose cocoa butter and allantoin (at 0.5% in the heated water phase). If you want some less greasy, choose mango butter. For something with more greasiness, choose shea butter. There are tons of other butters to choose from - avocado butter is dry feeling, babassu oil will feel drier and melt on contact with your skin but isn't as thick as the true butters, and so on. We'll experiment with a few for this body butter recipe in the next few days.

I think it goes without saying that we also need to choose our oils well for the skin feel. I think I've gone on and on lately about what will give you a drier or greasier skin feel, so you know which ones to choose (hazelnut, avocado, and macadamia nut for less greasy, the rest for more greasy).

What water soluble ingredients do you want in this product? This will also depend upon why you are making this product - oops, did you notice I didn't ask myself the essential questions? This is why I'm kind of flailing!

What kind of product do I want to make? Is it a moisturizer, body milk, lotion, cream, or butter? For which body part is this intended? What kind of skin feel do I want? Do I have a specific outcome in mind? For what skin type am I making this?

I want to make a body butter for my husband's really itchy winter skin. He's scratching his back and chest horribly right now, leaving big scratch marks and sores (we're experiencing record lows in temperature and humidity right now!). I want to choose something occlusive and really moisturizing to alleviate the itchiness he's experiencing. I want to choose something that won't be bad for broken skin, and I want to try to do what I can to heal the wounds that are already there. He's not a fan of greasiness on his hands after he's applied his product, so I have to choose something that will do all these things, but not feel too greasy (although I'm really the one putting it on his back...)

My first thought is to put it some cocoa butter as a barrier ingredient, which will offer both emolliency and a layer of protection for his poor sore back! I think I'll also use some mango butter not only to decrease greasiness but to add some great polyphenols, like gallic acid, that will help heal wounds (not a claim, but a wish!).

For my oils, I want one filled with phytosterols and linoleic acid to help with healing skin's barrier repair and reducing itchiness. I'm thinking evening primrose as it's filled with GLA, which is great for skin's barrier repair, but it's not filled with phytosterols. Pomegranate oil with its wonderful punicic acid and phytosterols would be another good choice. Because I'm using 10% oils, I'm considering these exotic oils because they are dry feeling and because I'm not using a ton. Or I could use my great-for-everything soy bean oil, which is brimming over with linoleic acid and phytosterols.

So I think I'll go with a mango, cocoa, and soy bean mix for my butters and oils.

On to the water phase! I definitely want some aloe vera in this product, and I think I'll go with some chamomile hydrosol and some chamomile extract for double chamomile-y fun (it's an anti-inflammatory and possible wound healer)! I think I'll use some witch hazel at 10% because it could be a good wound healer.

Because his skin is really dry, I want to load up on humectants. I realize that humectants draw water from the atmosphere and I realize we don't have a ton of water in our atmosphere right now, it can't hurt to use a few of them here for when the weather gets a little wetter (as we're expecting today with a snowfall warning!) I'm going with at least 3% glycerin here. But I'm not sure what other humectants I own are considered natural. I do have some tamarind seed extract, and it's recommended use is up to 5%, so I think I'll use this at the maximum amount (link to the Herbarie, where I bought this).

I'm not sure if hydrolyzed oat protein is considered natural, but I want to use it here at 2%. (If it isn't, leave it out.) It's a great moisturizing ingredient that has some hygroscopic qualities, and I think it will help my husband's skin. And I need to include allantoin as it behaves as a humectant, moisturizer, and barrier ingredient.

Let's take a look at the recipe!

25% water
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% witch hazel
2% hydrolyzed protein
5% tamarind seed extract
3% glycerin
0.5% allantoin

10% soy bean oil
7.5% cocoa butter
7.5% mango butter
7% emulsifier*

0.5% chamomile extract
0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

As you can see from yesterday's and today's lotions, a natural lotion isn't that far off from one of my usual products, and it's easy to tweak any lotion you find to contain more minimally processed ingredients. The big changes I've noticed are twofold: I can't use my greasiness modifiers like IPP, IPM, or esters, so I need to focus on which oils bring which quality to my lotion. And I can't use my silicones. (And I'm not sure if ingredients like panthenol and sodium lactate are considered natural, so I left them out.)

If you want to make natural lotions, there are a few options for emulsifiers that are considered organic or Ecocert. The two that I'm experimenting with at the moment are Sucragel and Ritamulse (also known as Ecomulse or Natramulse at some suppliers).

And no matter what lotion you're making, don't forget the preservative. Better to have 0.5% to 1% preservative in your product than 50% bacteria and mould!

Join me tomorrow as we embark on the fun and excitement of modifying light lotions!


Frank (and family) said...

Why use a body butter instead of a thick lotion?

Aren't they almost the same, just one's in a jar?

I think most of these are fluffed up, so when you think about it, wouldn't a fluffy tablespoon of butter (as it's a lot of air) have about the same moisturizing-ness as a comparable amount of lotion.

Wife thinks my reasoning is stupid, but...

Thanks, learn new stuff every day, can't wait to try something new, but we're enjoying what we've made, but as soon as it's gone, then the difficult decision will be what to try!

Frank (and family)

Tara said...

What fragrance(s) do you use (if any) on your husband's open skin? Do any of them irritate his skin?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Frank (and family). You could call this a body butter or a cream - it's the same thing. I like to call it a body butter because it sounds nicer than body cream. You could call this one of many things - thick lotion, thick cream, body cream, body unguent, skin custard, and so on!

As for the fluffiness, your reasoning isn't stupid but it is inaccurate. The body butters I make aren't fluffed up at all! I get at least 105 grams into a 120 ml container. My fluffy mousse works out to about 60 grams in a 120 ml container. So although I think your reasoning is great, it's not applicable in this case (so you both win this argument!).

Hi Tara. This time I used Clementine Cupcake from Brambleberry, and it doesn't bother my husband's skin one bit. I use 1% and I haven't found anyone that finds that annoying in the products I make.