Monday, April 4, 2011

Duplicating products: Lush's Afterlife moisturizer continued

Yesterday we took at look at the first three steps we need to take when we're considering duplicating a product by analyzing Lush's Afterlife facial moisturizer (a discontinued product). Please refer to that post if this one isn't making sense!

Step 1: Get the complete ingredient list.
Step 2: Look at what each ingredient brings to the product.
Step 3: Figure out what's important in the recipe.

Step four is to figure out how much you're going to use of each ingredient. I don't know the viscosity of this product but from the picture I can see that it's more of a cream than a lotion. The fact that I see stearic acid as the third ingredient and see cetearyl alcohol in the list means that it will be a thicker product rather than a thinner one. I don't see any butters in the recipe, which means the only thickening I'm going to get in this product is from the stearic acid. 

The cetearyl alcohol is in the 1% zone, so I'm thinking I'll use that at 1%. 

I won't be able to figure out how much emulsifier to use if I don't know my oils. With Polawax, the rule of thumb is to use about 25% of your oil phase for your emulsifier. Since this is a cream and I don't see any butters, I think my oil phase will be quite high here - maybe 30% - so I'm looking at using at least 7.5% emulsifier. This will also help thicken up my product. 

And do I want to use all of those oils in the mix? Sure, why not. They're not strange and expensive oils and I have them in my workshop, so I might as well see how they work together. 

Olive oil is the first emollient ingredient, so I'm thinking of using that at around 7% to 10% or so. Then the evening primrose, avocado, wheat germ, and coconut oils. If I choose 30% as my starting point for the oils, I'm thinking I need to use 5% of each oil or so. (Remember, I'm just trying to get a starting point and I'll need to tweak this according to the skin feel I want or like in the product.) Coconut oil can be quite comedogenic, so I think I'll go with 2% to 3% of this oil. I think I'll use olive oil at 9%, evening primrose at 5%, avocado at 5%, wheat germ oil at 5%, and coconut oil at 2%. 

Let's go back to the stearic acid for a moment. I need this for thickening, but I'm going to get some serious thickening from the emulsifier I'm adding to this product. So I can reduce this down to something like 3% and still get the thickening in the product. I'm using my cetearyl alcohol at 1% to get some glide and waxy feeling to the product, so that's going to be another 4% to the oil phase. 

My total oil phase is now 30% plus 7.5% for my emulsifier. Which means this will be a 60% or so water lotion. 

For the water phase, I'm going to be using mostly water with a little glycerin, maybe some honey, and some mango extract (I can't find this, but perhaps you can!). I don't want to go over 5% for the glycerin because it might get sticky, and I certainly don't want to use a ton of honey because that will also make it sticky (click here for my thoughts on using honey in our products). So let's say 3% glycerin and 2% honey.

For the cool down phase, I'll be using fragrance at around 1% and preservative at 0.5% (liquid Germall Plus). I'll be adding 0.5% mango extract here instead of freshly squeezed mango juice. I might need a pH adjuster, but I won't know that until I actually make the product. So that makes my cool down phase 2% and my water amount 55.5%. (My oil phase is 37.5%, my non-water ingredients at 5%, my cool down phase at 2% which totals 44.5%. 100% - 44.5% equals 55.5%!) Oh, and as a note, since I can't get my hands on marsh cudweed and I have no idea what it does in this product, I'm leaving it out. 

As a note, most cosmetics companies don't use the concentrations we do in our products. If you look at a typical shampoo formulation, it'll contain 10% to 20% surfactants whereas I go for about 40%. Same for things like body washes and other surfactanty products. For lotions, I generally like to make a lotion with 60% to 70% water, which means I'm using 20% to 30% oils and butters in my products. If you take a look at a commercial recipe, they aren't using huge quantities of anything as they want to save money where they can (not to say they're bad products, but I'm not considering cost when I'm making something in my workshop. I'm considering awesomeness!). We know that aloe vera should be at 10% when we're making products for ourselves, but they might use 1% for label appeal, so you need to consider that when you're formulating. I'm going to use the percentages I like to use in my products when I'm duplicating, and as you being to duplicate on your own, you'll use the percentages you like. So you'll have to play with everything I suggest to get the right skin feel. 

Step five is to figure out a starting out recipe in percentages and try it. Remember that this is only our starting point. I have no idea what the skin feel or viscosity of this product might be as I've never tried it, so I'm trying to come up with a recipe that will work as a prototype so I can see if I'm on the right track. You'll be lucky to come up with a duplicate the first time you try it, but making it will give you an idea of where to go next.

55.5% water
3% glycerin
2% honey

7.5% emulsifier
3% stearic acid
1% cetearyl alcohol
2% coconut oil
9% olive oil
5% evening primrose oil
5% avocado oil
5% wheat germ oil

0.5% preservative (I'm using liquid Germall Plus)
0.5% powdered mango extract
1% fragrance or essential oil (optional in a facial product)

Please follow the basic lotion making instructions for this recipe.

Step 6 is to tweak the recipe to get the skin feel and viscosity you want. If you make this, try it out and see if it matches what you want in a lotion. How to tweak it? That's up to you! I have some ideas in this post on formulating, but you're the one making the product, so you have to be the one who tweaks it!

If you find this too thick, remove some of the stearic acid. If you find it too waxy, use cetyl alcohol instead of cetearyl alcohol. If you want it thicker or waxier, add more of each. If you want it to be glidier, use some cetyl alcohol in place of the stearic acid. If you find it too greasy, try another emulsifier like BTMS-50 or increase the non-greasy feeling oils (like evening primrose oil). If you find it too sticky, remove some or all of the glycerin or honey (you can also substitute a non-sticky humectant like sodium lactate or sodium PCA at up to 2.5%).

You could spend all your workshop time tweaking this recipe, so I won't go on much further. Suffice it to say, only you know what you want in this product, so only you can come up with the ideas for tweaking it!

Join me tomorrow as we review the 6 steps for duplicating products with Oil of Olay's Ultra Moisture In-Shower Body Lotion! 


Anonymous said...

New Directions Aromatics has powdered mango extract

Anonymous said...

This is great- if I can get anywhere close to making this at home I'll be so pleased!

p said...

Susan, how is LUSH's cream staying emulsified with ~1% cetearyl alcohol? Stearic isn't really an emulsifier, right?

Anonymous said...

One thing with this moisturiser is that it often had quite a pin colour. Which ingrfedient would be causing this?

rebeckology said...

Just in case anyone is interested, Everlasting Essential Oil is better known as Helichrysum which can be obtained from some of the better essential oil suppliers. Rose, Frankincense, Helichrysum and Patchouli would be included for their wonderful theraputic skin properties.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi p. I have no idea how it is staying emulsified, which is why I suggested using another emulsifier.

Hi Anonymous. Do you mean pink colour? If so, that could be one of the essential oils, one of the extracts, or it could be a pinky bacteria. This isn't preserved well, so I'm thinking that might be a strong option. (I've seen the pink bacteria - it's very pretty!)

Hi rebeckology. I've just written a post about this. It isn't helichrysum. It's marsh cudweed.

Madeaj said...

I was thinking about the pink bacteria too.