Lush's Afterlife Moisturizer and see if we can duplicate this! (As a note, this is the reason to send me the ingredient list. Because it's been discontinued, I can't find this product on the Canadian, American, or UK Lush sites!)
The first step is to get the complete ingredient list.
Ingredients: Honey Water (Mel, Aqua), Olive Oil (Olea europaea), Stearic Acid, Fresh Juiced Mango (Mangifera indica), Cold Pressed Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis), Cold Pressed Avocado Oil (Persea gratissima), Glycerine, Cold Pressed Wheatgerm Oil (Triticum vulgare), Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), Triethanolamine, Rose Otto (Rosa centifolia), Frankincense Oil (Boswellia carterii), Everlasting Flower Absolute (Gnaphalium uliginosum), Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin), Cetearyl Alcohol, Perfume, Propylparaben.
Step two is to look at what each ingredient brings to the product. So let's break down what we have here. (Please click on the links to see a detailed post about the ingredient.)
Honey water - What is this? I'm guessing it's water infused with honey in some way. Honey can behave as a humectant and moisturizer.
Olive oil - An emollient oil with lots of oleic acid that offers moisturizing, regenerating, softening, and anti-inflammatory properties. It's well absorbed by our skin.
Stearic acid - A thickener and emollient. Generally added to products to make them thicker, more creamy.
Fresh juiced mango - What is this? Are they really putting fresh mango juice into these products?
Evening primrose oil - A light, dry feeling oil that contains a lot of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) that can help restore skin's barrier functions quickly, reduce transepidermal water loss, increase skin's hydration, and increase skin's flexibility.
Avocado oil - A heavier feeling oil that is easily absorbed by our hair and skin. Good for sunburned or wind chapped skin.
Glycerin - A humectant. Glycerin has been shown to accelerate the recovery of barrier function following damage to skin and it draws water from the atmosphere to our skin, so it feels more moisturized.
Wheat germ oil - Very high in Vitamin E and phytosterols, as well as linoleic acid.
Coconut oil - Lots of phytosterols and moisturizing fatty acids, but it can be comedogenic.
Triethanolamine (TEA) - pH adjuster.
Rose otto - An essential oil from roses. It may have some therapeutic properties for our skin, such as helping with broken capillaries and reducing inflammation. It's probably in there for the lovely fragrance.
Frankincense - Another essential oil, it may be there for the fragrance or possible therapeutic properties.
Everlasting flower absolute - The only reference I can find for this ingredient keeps pointing me back to Lush. A search for the latin name - Gnaphalium uliginosum - comes up with this plant, the marsh Cudweed. I have no idea why this is included in the product as I can't find any information on its cosmetic benefits. It is used in Russia for hypertension and it contains phenolic compounds that might benefit our skin. (Click here for a study on this plant). It's one ugly plant, and grows everywhere, so it might be considered a weed.
Click here for a post I wrote on this ingredient and click here for more information on ingredient names. It isn't helichyrsum!
Patchouli oil - An essential oil. May be in there for fragrance or possible therapeutic properties.
Cetearyl alcohol - An emollient and thickener, it can be used as a high HLB emulsifier in lotions. It confers a more waxy feeling than cetyl alcohol. I think it's used as an emulsifier in conjunction with the stearic acid (which isn't really an HLB emulsifier, but it's the only other ingredient I can find in this list that might behave as an emulsifier).
Parfum - Generally a fragrance, but some companies are hiding their preservatives under this name.
Propylparaben - Our preservative, but not a broad spectrum one, which leads me to believe the parfum might also be a preservative. It should be combined with another preservative that has better bacteria fighting abilities.
As an aside, we know we're in the 1% ingredient list territory when we reach something like TEA. You aren't going to use more than 1% TEA in a product, so it's safe to assume that everything below it is at 1% or lower. The ingredients above TEA could be at less than 1% as well, but I generally find something that I know won't be over 1% and check what's listed around it to see what else might be something we'd use at less than 1%. Generally perfumes, preservatives, and pH adjusters are used at less than 1%, so if you see something like aloe vera listed amongst those ingredients, you know you're in label appeal territory not useful ingredient territory (that's if the ingredient should be used at more than 1%. We know our extracts and cosmeceuticals can be very effective in less than 1% land).
Okay, so there's the list. Step three is to figure out what's important in the recipe. We want to think about the skin feel, the viscosity, and what skin benefits each ingredient brings to the mix. Consider what's in there just for label appeal and what's really benefitting your skin or hair.
These ingredients aren't necessary: The honey water can be a mix of honey and water or honey powder with water. The fresh mango juice can be substituted by mango extract added to the cool down phase of the product. The rose otto, patchouli, frankincense, and parfum are all things we can add or not add depending on our preferences for those ingredients (I hate patchouli and frankincense, so I'd leave them out). I have no idea why the everlasting flower absolute or marsh cudweed is in the recipe, so I'm going to think about whether I need to substitute an ingredient for this (it could be filled with polysaccharides, which will bring moisturizing to the skin, or great polyphenols that offer benefits for all I know!).
We want to keep the various oils and humectants, but we need to find a complete emulsification system (BTMS-50, Polawax, e-wax, Ecomulse, etc.) and a complete preservative system if we're making this at home.
Since this post is getting way too long, join me tomorrow for figuring out how much of each ingredient I plan to use and how to create a basic recipe that I can try to see if I'm getting close! See you then! (And if you have some ideas on recreating this or information that could help, post it in the comments!)