Sunday, May 6, 2012

Formulating for dry skin: Making an emulsified scrub

If I were to make a sugar scrub for dry skin, which ingredients would I want to include? Occlusives, emollients, and humectants! But an emulsifier scrub is an anhydrous product, so it's hard to include things like glycerin or sodium lactate as they will come out of the product and make a mess. So what can we include?

Occlusive ingredients - Allantoin won't work in this product, so go with cocoa butter or dimethicone. Personally, I prefer cocoa butter in this product. 

Emollient ingredients - This recipe is all about the emollients, and I like to use a combination of soybean or sunflower oil with olive oil. I like the heaviness olive oil brings to the recipe. You can use any oils you wish. This is a greasy feeling product, but the emulsifiers mean it will rinse off quite nicely. I don't like to use all cocoa butter in the product as it can be too stiff, so I tend to use 10% another butter. If you want it to feel a little less greasy, use mango butter. I like to use shea butter - the picture above is of yellow shea butter from Creations from Eden - and I feel mango butter feels a little too ungreasy. (In the black cocoa butter version, I use all black cocoa butter because it's softer than regular cocoa butter.) 

Humectant ingredients - Olive oil behaves as a humectant, which is one of the reasons I use it. I don't like to include water soluble ingredients in my anhydrous products because it messes with the preservative and it can come out and float on top of the product. If you want to try using a humectant, don't go over 2% to 3%. It seems kind of pointless to use a humectant here, to be honest, because it's such a small amount. Choose olive oil and remember that the goal of this product is to trap water against your skin from your bath or shower. 

10% emulsifying wax or Polawax
10% cetyl alcohol
10% cocoa, sal, illipe or kokum butter
10% butter of choice
30% soy bean oil
26% olive oil

1% Vitamin E
2% fragrance or essential oil
1% preservative (I use Phenonip)

*Note: To turn this into a body scrub, start with 100 grams of sugar per 100 grams of sugar scrub. You can increase it as high as 200 grams for 100 grams of sugar scrub - it depends upon your taste (I like it really scrubby, so I go for 200 grams per 100 grams of sugar scrub.) If you are using another exfoliant, you'll really have to play with it to see what you like. Consider using salt (although this can sting broken skin), loofah, or seeds. I've tried this recipe with jojoba beads and really didn't like it. It wasn't scratchy enough for my tastes!

**Note: We're using 2% fragrance oil because we're actually making 200 grams of product by adding the sugar, so the increased fragrance amount will actually make the product smell nice. If you're using essential oils, check your safe usage levels before adding to the scrub.*

Weigh all ingredients except the fragrance or essential oil in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Heat and hold for 20 minutes at 70C. Remove from the double boiler and put into your fridge or freezer until it reaches 45C. Add the fragrance oil, then return it to the fridge or freezer to cool further.

When the mixture starts to harden slightly on the sides of the container and gets a thick film on the top, remove it from the fridge or freezer and start whipping it with a hand mixer with whisk attachments or your Kitchenaid with whisk attachments. Whisk until it looks like vanilla pudding - this might take a little while - then add the sugar and whisk until well incorporated. Pour into jars and let sit until hardened, usually over night.

As a note, some people whip this in a Kitchenaid for hours to make it extra fluffy. I'm an impatient woman so I don't do that. But if you have a Kitchenaid mixer, try it with the whisk attachment to see how fluffy you can get it.

Related posts:


Tara said...

If it's an "emulsified" scrub can't you use water soluble ingredients??

kerzuke said...

I love emulsified scrubs! I would also like to read about facial scrubs. Do you only do facial scrubs with surfaktants? Do you have some suggestions for making face scrub without surfaktants? Thank you! :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tara. I find small amounts of water soluble ingredients might stay in the product, but the emulsification doesn't really happenuntil you rinse it off your skin. It's really an oil soluble product before you use it in the shower. (Having said this, I have managed to get water soluble things to stay in my scrub, but it's not something I like to suggest for people who aren't experienced formulators.) I really don't think we need the water soluble stuff in here - there are so many nice oil based things we can play with in this product, so why not use those ingredients?

Hi Kerzuke! You can make a facial scrub just like this one quite easily...just call it a facial sugar scrub. If you can handle that level of oils on your skin, then use them! If not, use oils that work for your skin type.

I've written more about adapting this sugar scrub on May 8th, or you can look up the formulating label and start reading that series.

Candice said...

Hi Susan -

A quick thousand thanks for your wonderful site, which I consult daily for advice!!

And so, my first question:
When calculating the amount of preservative, should the weight of the sugar be included? If I make 100gr of scrub a,d add 140gr of sugar, do I include my preservative (1% optiphen in my case) as 1% of 240gr or 1% of 100% (only the emsulsion part, pre-sugar)?
Thanks in advance!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Candice. I hope I've answered your question in today's post. The short answer is that you don't count the sugar in the amount to preserve.

Kim said...

I made this without it being a scrub
10% emulsifying wax
5% cetearyl alcohol
5% stearic acid
10% cocoa butter
10% mango butter
20% mustard seed oil
20% macadamia oil
16% apricot kernel oil
0.5% germall plus
2% fragrance oil
I use it like a shower/bath lotion and totally love it!

Paige B said...

Kim, I was just going to post something to this effect! I'm with you, I love moisturizing my skin, but am usually too lazy to do it once I'm out of the shower. In the past, I had tried using oil on my skin right before I get out, but it made the tub sooooo slippery! I don't always want to scrub, and I notice that the emulsified scrub tends to get stiff and clumpy, making it fall all over the tub. So I did something similar to you and tried it without the sugar. It worked great, but was still too stiff to put in a squeeze or pump bottle - even with a preservative, I've had things go off, so I'd rather not stick my hands in a tub and contaminate or get water in the whole product. So I made the recipe, without scrubbies, and reduced the cocoa butter by half (to 5%) and the fatty alcohols by half (so just 5% total) and increased the liquid oils. I still used 10% shea butter and 15% coconut oil. I made a test batch using just grapeseed oil as the liquid oil (I needed to use some up). Success!!! It works in a disc-top bottle and could probably even be pumped! It's not quite as occlusive or emollient as I'd like, but I used a pretty light oil. It turned out thin enough that I think I'll try increasing the cocoa butter again to about 7% and adding 2% cetyl alcohol back in. I'm also going to add 2% glycerin plus use some heavier oils. It works amazing in the dry winter, where you want a hot shower to warm up, but hate the way it sucks moisture out of your skin, which gets worse with the dry air once you're out of the bath.

The whole recipe (planned changes in brackets)is:

10% emulsifying wax - I've used Ecomulse that I made myself from the individual ingredients, or Polawax
5% (going to increase to 7%) fatty alcohol - Behenyl, cetyl, or cetearyl alcohol, or stearic acid
5% (going to increase to 7%) cocoa butter
10% shea butter
15% coconut oil
51% (will decrease to 45% with added butter, fatty alcohol and glycerin) mixed liquid oils
(adding 2% glycerin)
1% phenonip

1% Vit E
2% fragrance

I'm making some for Christmas gifts to give my family.

One thing Kim, you should remember that what you've made is anhydrous, so germall, which is water soluble, might not be your best choice of preservative.

Sahera Nasution said... can i get source of formula ?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Are you asking who created it? I did!

Linda said...

Hi Susan,

I've been reading your post about emulsified scrub.
Can we use salt in emulsified body scrub besides sugar? And can we leave the butter out, use only liquid oil? Thanks in advance.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Linda. Yes, you can use salt. It sounds like you want to make an oil based scrub. Do a search for that on the blog and make that recipe instead of this one. This one without the butters will be just awful!

Olivia said...

This is my first experiment with emulsified scrub. I try
10% emulsifying wax
10% cetyl alcohol
20% cocoa butter
57% oil
2% essential oil
1% preservative

It looks nice at the time I made it, but several hours later, it seems separating. I can see some oil on the top. It's not normal, isn't it? Can you help me what's wrong with my process? I heat for 20 minutes, mix with hand mixer. After it creates creamy consistency & cold, I add the preservative and essential oil. Lastly, I add & mix the sugar.


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Olivia. Can you tell me what oils and emulsifying wax you were using? And no, this isn't normal. I'm not sure if I understand your process. Did you heat and hold? Did you let it melt, then keep it going for a little while longer? I really need more information about your process.

Olivia said...

Hi Susan,

thanks for your reply. I use Ritamulse SCG as my emulsifying wax, and I use coconut oil only (it is in liquid form, I live in country with hot weather).

I let it melt, then keep it going for 20 minutes, but I don't measure the temperature of my oil, so it might drop below 70 degree celcius. Can you explain why we have to heat and hold in this process? Is it the same logic as heat and hold process in making lotion? I'm quite confused because no water included in this process until it contacts with water.

Thanks a lot for your time, Susan.

Gail Storment said...

These percentages just make me crazy! How in this world do we adapt this to make perhaps a smaller amount of a product? I like to make a trial batch to see it I like it and if it works for me.
If I want to make says one cups of a scrub, how do I use the percentage of ingredients? Grams, fluid measurements? It is so confusing!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Gail! Check out the FAQ for information on how to convert recipes. We work by weight, so you wouldn't be making 1 cup, you'd be making 100 grams.

LeeAnn said...

I love the emulsified scrubs but I would like a harsher body scrub than sugar provides. Is there any reason not to try substituting larger salt crystals for the sugar?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi LeeAnn! You can use larger salt crystals if you want. It's just not my cup of tea!

Anonymous said...

I've tried a ton of body scrub recipes.. Here's one:

Suspension liquid soap base 43.8%
Coconut oil 10%
Argan oil 10%
Polysorbate 20 10%
Vit e .5%
Liquid silk 2%
F.o 2%
Germaben .7%
Walnut she'll powder 12%

Let me hear your thoughts :)

Mala said...

You've been asking people to post responses and reviews of recipes, so here's my contribution! I came up with this formula for an emulsified sugar scrub and I love it so much. It is a jelly-like consistency when it cools at a normal room temperature, though if your room is colder than "normal" it might firm up more. I generally just use a stick blender to make it "fluffy" rather than a mixer.

10% BTMS-50
10% Cetyl Alcohol
10% Cocoa Butter
10% Shea butter
15% Rice Bran Oil
25% sunflower oil
18.75 % Coconut oil
1% preservative
.25% Fragrance ( I like a light fragrance, which is why I started formulating my own products to begin with)

Sugar, salt, or ground coffee to the desired scrubbieness.

Why these oils? I love cocoa butter, but found that 20% was to stiff. I don't like shea butter (it's too greasy for me) so I didn't want all shea. I split the difference and have half of both (I don't use mango butter as I'm allergic to mangoes and don't want to see if the butter has the same result). After reading about and then seeing the results of using Rice Bran oil and Sunflower oil on my skin, they have become my go-to choice. I use them in almost everything. I use more Sunflower oil as I feel like my skin responds to it best. Coconut oil rounds out the scrub. I always scent lightly since I don't like to feel like I'm walking around in a cloud of fragrance.

This scrub is divine. I even use it, very gently, on the backs of my hands when they get cracked. You would think it would make the cracking worse in the winter, but it's the opposite. It's gentle enough, especially if I use half sugar and half fine ground coffee, to take off the dead skin without breaking the scabs and the oil combination heals the cracks very quickly.

This blog has been an invaluable resource in my journey to learn about formulation bath products! Thank yoU!

Tanya Bainbridge said...

Hi Susan,
Thank you so much for all your guidance on scrubs. Would it be possible to formulate with sucragel as the emulsifier instead? My supplier has said that their emulsifying wax includes palm derivatives which, as I am palm free, is not suitable. I am also looking for as natural an emulsifier as possible and although I know that sucragel can be a devil to work with, I thought I'd give it a go. Thank you.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tanya. I don't know the answer to that question. I wouldn't use it for that purpose, although it could make a nice oily gel if you get a propellor mixer going. If you try this, could you please please please come back and share your thoughts about it? I'll send you an e-book as my thanks!

Have you looked at emulsifiers like Ritamulse SCG or Montanov 68 or Simulgreen 18-2? What about Incroquat BTMS, which is derived from colza oil? Aristoflex? I'm doing loads of work right now on various emulsifiers, so do a search for some of those emulsifiers on the blog here, or look to the right hand column to see the links!