Sunday, May 8, 2011

Duplicating products: Lush's Dream Cream

Sonja suggested that we take a look at Lush's Dream Cream as a possible product to duplicate, so let's review the ingredients. As usual, click on the links to read posts on those ingredients.

Before you go any further, I've created a new version of this formula using a stearic acid-triethanolamine emulsifier like the one in the ingredient list for this product. I like the version in this post, but I thought I should try to make the duplication more authentic by using this emulsification system. Continue reading the post to get more information about what each ingredient brings to the product, then click the link to get to the new version. 

Oat Milk (Avena sativa): This would be water with oats in it.

Rose Water (Rosa centifolia): Rose hydrosol, which is good for all skin types, it offers anti-bacterial properties and may help control sebum. It also smells really lovely.

Olive Oil (Olea europaea): With a shelf life of a year, olive oil offers great phytosterols and fatty acids for moisturizing and reducing transepidermal water loss.

Fair Trade Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao): A very thick and brittle butter with a two year shelf life, it is an approved occlusive ingredient.

Glycerine: Our humectant, it draws water from the atmosphere to our skin to make it feel more moisturized. Glycerin has been shown to accelerate the recovery of barrier function following damage to skin, and like the other humectants, it acts as an anti-freeze for the water in our products, lowering the freezing point and keeping surfactant mixes clear.

Stearic Acid: A thickener and emulsifier when combined with triethanolamine, it can behave as an emollient. Products made with stearic acid will be thicker and stiffer than those made with cetyl alcohol.

Triethanolamine (TEA): Using this in combination with stearic acid will emulsify your lotions, but it can lead to the dreaded soaping effect (those annoying very white streaks in some lotions).

Tincture of Benzoin (Styrax benzoin): (Click here for the Wiki link.) Used as an anti-oxidant. It is not a preservative.

Rose Absolute (Rosa centifolia): (Click here for the Wiki link). "Rose absolutes are obtained through solvent extraction or supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, with the absolute being used more commonly in perfumery." Rosa centifolia is known as the cabbage rose. It's used as a fragrance.

Chamomile Oil (Anthemis nobilis): An essential oil from chamomile, it contains phytosterols that are good for reducing inflammation.

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia): An essential oil used for anti-septic purposes.

Lavender Oil (Lavandula hybrida): An essential oil used for its scent as well as soothing purposes.

Cetearyl Alcohol: A thickener that feels slightly more waxy than cetyl alcohol.

*Geraniol, *Limonene, *Linalool: Components of the essential oil.

Perfume: Smells pretty!

Methylparaben, Propylparaben: Our preservatives. Methylparaben is more water soluble than propylparaben, but they should be combined with another water soluble preservative to create a broad spectrum system.

What kind of product is this? We have an oil in water lotion that is likely very thick thanks to the cocoa butter, stearic acid, and cetearyl alcohol. It looks like stearic acid and TEA are used as the emulsifier. 

Are there any ingredients we can leave out? The essential oils are optional - rose and chamomile are really expensive, and I'd suggest using chamomile hydrosol or extract to lower the price - as is the benzoin, although I'd substitute another anti-oxidant for that, like Vitamin E (although this should be at least a 1 year shelf life product). 

What should we change? I'd use a broad spectrum preservative for this product - the parabens aren't broad spectrum ones - and I'd include an anti-oxidant like Vitamin E instead of the benzoin (simply because I don't have it!) I have no idea how to make oat milk, short of soaking oats in water and using that water which will be very hard to preserve, so I'm going to use 2% hydrolyzed oat protein instead. I'd suggest using chamomile hydrosol or chamomile extract (0.5% in the cool down phase) instead of the essential oil (and that's mainly because it's expensive and because I really don't like the kinda musty smell to it), so I'll use that instead of oat milk. 

And finally, I'm not using stearic acid and TEA as emulsifiers as it that combination feels really stiff and draggy to me and I find those white streaks annoying. Instead, I'm going to use Polawax. If you want to use the HLB system, there'll be a little thing at the bottom for you! 

This seems like a body butter kind of consistency, so I'll go with a 60% water recipe to start. I think I'll use 16% olive oil and 10% cocoa butter with 3% stearic acid and 1% cetearyl alcohol for a 30% oil phase. If I'm using Polawax, I'll need 7.5% emulsifier here. My oil phase is a total of 37.5%. 

As a note, this will have a different skin feel if you aren't using the same emulsifier. I'm hoping this will be less draggy than the original. If you want it to be less draggy still, substitute the stearic acid for cetyl alcohol. 

For the water phase, I'll use chamomile hydrosol, rose hydrosol, 2% hydrolyzed oat protein, and 3% glycerin. I think I'll go with 25.5% chamomile hydrosol and 25% rose hydrosol, although you can take both of them down to 10% and use water for the other 35.5% (20% hydrosols with 35.5% water) if you want to save some money. 

For the cool down phase, I'll use 1% essential oil blend (rose, chamomile, lavender, and tea tree at whatever combination you want), 0.5% liquid Germall Plus, and 0.5% Vitamin E for a total cool down phase of 2%. 

25.5% chamomile hydrosol
25% rose hydrosol
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein

16% olive oil
10% cocoa butter
3% stearic acid
1% cetearyl alcohol
7.5% Polawax

0.5% chamomile extract (powdered) - optional
0.5% Vitamin E or benzoin
0.5% preservative
1% essential oil blend

Using the basic lotion making instructions for this product. 

If you want to use an HLB emulsifier for this product, I'd suggest using 5% of your HLB emulsifiers as this is really thick and has a large oil phase (30%). Here's how I'd calculate it...

16% olive oil = 16/30 = 0.533 x 7 = 3.733
10% cocoa butter = 10/30 = 0.333 x 6 = 2.000
3% stearic acid = 3/30 = 0.1 x 15.5 = 1.500
1% cetearyl alcohol = 1/30 = 0.0333 x 15.5 = 0.517
Required HLB is 7.75.

If you're using glycol distearate (HLB 1) and ceteareth-20 (HLB 15.2) for a total of 5% emulsifier, you'd want to use 2.6% glycol distearate and 2.4% ceteareth-20 (52% glycol distearate and 48% ceteareth-20). 

If you're using glyceryl stearate (HLB 2.9) and ceteareth-20 (HLB 15.2) for a total of 5% emulsifier, you'd want to use 3% glyceryl stearate and 2% ceteareth-20 (60% glyceryl stearate and 40% ceteareth-20). 

Replace the 2.5% difference between using the HLB emulsifier and Polawax with more water or hydrosols. 

Join me tomorrow for more fun with duplicating products! 


My Soap Factory said...

Thanks for the explanation.
I was looking for the TEA in another product. (sabon bodyscrub
So now I see, I can substitute it for another combination of emulsifiers.


Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! I so envy your chem Swav! How would one turn this into their dream cream shower cream?
Thanks Again and keep up the great work!


Anonymous said...

I'm very anxious to try this cream. However, when I add it up, I come up with 95.5% and don't know what to modify. I always put my recipes in a sofware program and it won't save the recipe unless I reach 100%. Maybe I'm missing an ingredient?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous! (Please put your name in your comment somewhere in the future as I don't allow un-named comments any more! Thanks in advance!) Add 4.5% water to the mix - it won't make a huge difference, but it's enough that we want to make it to 100%! I'm all about the balancing to 100%! Thanks for the catch!

Susan Feiler said...

Thanks so much! Anxious to try it this afternoon.
Susan Feiler, Cozumel, Mexico

Anonymous said...

Hello Susan. I so much would like to try this recipe but once again I need to bother you with something. Where I am its VERY hard to find most products and international shipping is so incredibly expensive. So the thing is: No Garmall Plus at hand so I need to use Methylparaben, Propylparaben. How do I go about that? and no Hydrolyzed Oats protein either . Can I make this cream without it?
Please help me?
Best regards,
Marisol from México

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Marisol. Just use a good broad spectrum preservative, and you'll be fine. As for not having oat protein, it's not necessary. It's nice, but not necessary to making the product work.

Alyce said...

I find it a bit problematic trying to replicate dream cream without the oat milk base because this is what makes it so soothing on the skin. I feel like dream cream without oat milk is quite beside the point? I'm a regular user of the original lush dream cream and the consistency is actually quite thin... Much more "lotion" than "buttery".

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Alice. Have you tried my version? There are loads of reasons to use this lotion, including the oat protein I used as well as the lovely moisturizing oils. Not sure why you are being so negative about this...

dee said...

Is this meant to be a good idea?? Lush work really hard to create beautiful products with lots of time and effort used to make sure the products are perfect. The ingredients are used for a reason and no duplicate is going to be the same as the original. It's ridiculous to think that a wonderful company is being exploited just because they're honest enough to tell customers exact what they use in their products.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Thank you for your thoughts, dee. Not really sure how analyzing the product is exploiting Lush in any sense of the word, though...

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi again, Dee. I've had time to think about your comment and I wanted to add something. Lush isn't being more or less honest than any other company by printing out an ingredient list. They are doing what is required by law. The figuring out of what might be in there is all about my knowledge and experience in formulating. I might be wrong, I might be right - does it matter? I'm not selling this or encouraging others to sell it. Figuring this all out is great fun and if what I have written here turns out to feel kind of the same, then that's a bonus.

I do think it really amazing how people do the posting equivalent of hit and run when it comes to Lush, as if the giant company needs defending in some way. There's a loyalty one sees in Lush customers that we only see in something like Apple (and I'm a huge Apple fan), and I wonder if that's healthy.

K Russell said...

Hi I would like to substitute another more natural emulsifer like btms...the regular one. Is that ok?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi K Russell. You can try other emulsifiers, but know that BTMS is not considered a natural emulsifier in any way.

LucifeLMartelL said...

Exploiting Lush...LOlzzz... I don't think Lush is simply sustainable, it doesn't matter how much you earn, of course unless your head's stuck in cloud no.9. I'm from India and Lush came and Lush left. People simply couldn't afford it. I simply cannot afford lush. And here i presume even westerners cant afford lush all the time and those who can also end up feeling the pinch of it eventually. I mean i have yet to see a third world person do tutorials of Lush Hacks and cutting bath jellies into little pieces to get more bang for your buckk...! In UK a pot of Shangri La cost 30 quid... I mean in india an entire lower middle class family's monthly grocery expenditure would be 30 quid. Yes an entire family lives off of that. That's how tight the ship's run. I, as an individual spend about 50 quid on my groceries. And trust me that's rich and lavish and i still cant afford lush. The only thing i ever bought from lush in Uk was a chunk of their Honeycomb soap and some samples. Yes ! It was wonderful but was it worth it ...? NO!
Even when they came to india i didn't use their products because 1. As Indian we have our own range of DIY skincare which works wonderfully and at times even better. To be frank when i tried their Angels on bare skin it was no different than the Indian Ubtan i make at home and HELL we have Heck a load of recipes to give away for free and no one needs to go to prison over intellectual property rights. I have used all my life 'ubtans' that my grandma made with ground almonds, kaolin clay (Multani Mitti). Rose petals, sesame seeds, Mung bean powder, all this powdered together. I use more almond and less mung bean and kaolin with pure saffron for face, but more mung bean and less almonds for my entire body . We just take spoonful of powder and as per liking mix it into a past with either rose water or milk or yogurt and was our face with it. SO i dont think taking out a few thing and substituting rose petals for dried lavender and mixing honey to make it into a dough is gonna ruin lush. There are so many verities of Ubtans for all the different skin types and ailments its madness... But a madness i Love. DIY foreverrrr...!! The way our grandmas did it.

LucifeLMartelL said...

I forgot to tell the main reason why i don't use lush is basically preservatives. I don't use anything with preservatives. So far i just whip small batches in the weekend of cleansers,lotions and body butter and use it in a week to 10 days off the fridge. And in one hour i prepare all of them. I wanted to try something different hence i came here but since this too has preservative and bit complicated with exotic ingredients .. i shall pass ... guess i'm better off with my old recipe... :P
But it was great going through it and appreciate the meticulous nature of chemistry.
Addios, Great job and keep it up.

Jeriel Sydney said...

I was wondering if there was a way to add a small portion of goats milk into this recipe?

Nenica said...

Hello again Susan...

It has been research day for me and I am super excited to share some stuff about "fresh fruit"
I came around a post from a Lush patent for a shampoo bar with "fresh eggs and fresh lemons" and it seems that... They use powder

So they powderise it (not sure if this is a word) in their lab and that is how they say that they started out with it being fresh... So perhaps we could use a home dehydrator, pulverize the stuff and tadah... fresh indeed... lol. Interesting study I found in the comments from

There you go!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Nenica! I've written about this in other posts. I don't get why people want to use food in their products. What does a fresh lemon bring to the mix that an oil or extract won't offer? It all comes down to marketing, and it obviously works!

Please do not make the recipe to which you have linked. There are so many things wrong with it, from not using an emulsifier to incorporate water soluble ingredients to not using a preservative.

Nenica said...

Thank you so much for the comments. I was not planning on making the recipe! It was just very interesting info that I found there. And the recipe did not work for them either. Mold started growing few days after they made it! I completely agree preservants are necessary!

Jennifer said...

For the oat milk, couldn't you just put colloidal oatmeal in a cheese cloth and place that into the water to infuse? That way it isn't soaking up all the water? If so, would the ratio change to 7% oat milk since I would take out the hydrolyzed oat protein, and you had mentioned a 4.5% water addition to make the recipe 100%

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Jennifer. No, this is not a good idea as this would be a nightmare to preserve! We don't make our own teas or infusions because they can cause serious contamination in our products.

Marisol Herrero said...

Hi Susan Once again T.H.A.N.K you for all that you share with us. I was about to make this cream and I couldn't do the math. Then I notice it does not add up to 100%, only to 96%. Is there something I'm missing??

CurlShoppe ca said...

Based off your "nightmare to preserve" for "teas or infusions" comment Susan... what about Flaxseed or Marshmallow root which is supposed to provide a gel-like consistency and help with slip? I see a lot of curl gel products use marshmallow root for the slip factor! I was thinking of incorporating any of the 2 products in some of my future products but worried about preservation...

- Natasha

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Marisol! No reason. Sometimes I make mistakes. You can add the 4% back in the water amount.

Hi Natasha! You can buy lovely extracts that are well preserved and standardized for things like marshmallow root. I use mallow and marshmallow extract and love them. (I've written about these on the blog...) I am a great preserver. I have very good success with preserving, and I wouldn't try infusing anything in a product as it seems like I'm just asking for trouble there. As well, how much marshmallow root infused into the tea? 1%? 10%? There's no way to know this, which is why extracts are standardized. So this batch gets 10% and the next 1%. You'll get very different results in that product every single time.