Thursday, June 7, 2012

Emulsifiers: Making an all natural lotion with Ritamulse SCG

After asking for your opinions in this post and this one, I think I can come up with a lotion using what I call minimally processed ingredients. What ingredients will I include in this lotion? I need the following...
- preservative
- humectant
- emollients
- emulsifier
- barrier ingredients
- water or water like ingredients

We know what we will use as our emulsifier - Ritamulse SCG, although we could use Sucragel AOF as well - and we know which preservative to choose - Leucidal - so it's just a matter of figuring out the other ones!

For the humectant, we could use honey or glycerin at 3% in the water phase or even sodium lactate at 2.5% in the water phase. I think honey is the most natural and most minimally processed, so let's go with that. (I admit I'm a little wary about honey because it can be hard to preserve and I'm not sure how Leucidal plays with honey, so if you're in doubt about your preserving abilities, I recommend another broad spectrum preservative.) For the barrier ingredients, our only choices are cocoa butter and allantoin. I'm going to include 0.5% allantoin in the water phase and some cocoa butter in the heated oil phase.

Pause for a second. How will we thicken this recipe? And do we need to thicken it? What the heck are we making? I think we'll be making a basic body lotion with a medium consistency, something we could put in a pump bottle that feels glide. Is cetyl alcohol or stearic acid considered natural? We find stearic acid in our butters - shea, mango, cocoa, and other thicker emollients - so we could add some extra butter to thicken the product. Cocoa butter would be a great inclusion here - it behaves as an occlusive ingredient that will also thicken our lotion. So let's go with at least 5% cocoa butter in the heated oil phase.

How about our other emollients? What kind of skin feel do we want? I find that lotions made with Ritamulse SCG can feel powdery, so if we want a less greasy feeling lotion, we don't have to work too hard! If I'm making a body lotion for the summer months, I really want some lighter feeling oils in the product. You can choose any oil you want for this application - click here for the emollients section of the blog - but I think I'll use macadamia nut oil because I like the palmitoleic acid and phytosterols as well as the less greasy feeling, and some soybean oil for the great levels of linoleum acid and Vitamin E. I'll use them at 10% each in the heated oil phase. (If you like hazelnut oil, use that as it's very similar to macadamia nut oil. I just don't have any in the house!) So we have a total of 25% in our oil phase - 5% cocoa butter, plus the two oils - and we have 8% emulsifier, which brings our oil phase to 33% total.

I saw some great suggestions for emollients, but they were all kinda pricey. Meadowfoam and raspberry are really expensive for me, and I don't have jojoba in the house. Remember, I have to buy all my ingredients, so I can't play with the more expensive oils unless I have a good reason or a windfall of some kind! You can substitute any oil for another oil in any recipe, but you will get a different viscosity and skin feel. 

For the water phase, I think I'll use my usual combination of 10% aloe vera with a hydrosol. Which one? And should I include an extract? I like to include 0.5% powdered chamomile extract or 10% chamomile hydrosol to help with redness and irritation in the summer. Powdered banana extract at 0.5% in the cool down phase will offer a bit more moisturizing, which I need because I'm not using proteins in this product. Both of these behave as anti-oxidants, which is never a bad thing. I think I'll use chamomile hydrosol and lavender hydrosol at 10% each in the heated water phase. And I think I'll use 10% witch hazel to behave as a slight astringent and anti-inflammatory. (For me, the summer is all about too much accidental sun exposure, so I'm always trying to reduce redness and inflammation!)

Is that it? What can I use as a fragrance oil? I think I'll go with the lime vanilla combination my best friend made using essential oils. (3 parts lime to 2 parts vanilla, then use 1% in this product). Sounds good to me! Let's formulate!

Quick and important note: Make sure any citrus oils you're using are folded or have the compounds that cause photo-toxicity removed! (Click here for more information.) The lime I have is supposed to be free of those thingies, so I'm using it in this product! I admit, this is one of the reasons I find it easier to fragrance oils - little to no fear of photo-toxicity and consistency between batches! (Thanks for the reminder, p!)

19.5% water
10% aloe vera
10% chamomile hydrosol
10% lavender hydrosol
10% witch hazel
3% honey or glycerin
0.5% allantoin

5% cocoa butter
10% macadamia nut oil
10% soybean oil
8% Ritamulse SCG

2% Leucidal preservative
1% essential oil
0.5% powdered extract - chamomile
0.5% powered extract - banana

Follow the basic lotion making instructions to make this product. But make sure that you mix the product until it reaches the cool down phase and add that phase when the product is under 45˚C or 113˚F because it could curdle the lotion if you add the preservative at a higher temperature. Mix until the product reaches 30˚C or 86˚F.

Click here to learn more about how we use our powdered extracts! 

This recipe looks very similar to most of the recipes I make, although I've left out the thickeners, esters, proteins, panthenol, and other more processed ingredients. It's simple to modify any recipe to include those ingredients you prefer to use, but you will have to learn what each of them brings to the party so you can make those changes. If you don't like or have macadamia nut oil, take a look at the emollients section of the blog and find an oil that might be similar or have qualities you like. If you don't have Ritamulse, try using another emulsifier (click here for some ideas). If you don't like Leucidal preservative, find another that works well with this emulsifier. The more you learn about your ingredients, the easier your decisions will be when you're in your workshop!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at facial moisturizers made with Ritamulse SCG.


Tara said...

I always use 0.5% xanthan gum in the water phase when I use Ritamulse, but then I always use the emulsifier at 6%. It turns out great!

p said...

Great post, Susan! As subjective as "natural" is, I think you've found a recipe that most people can agree is quite natural.

I wouldn't recommend using lime essential oil in this lotion (especially since it's a summertime product), since lime's high bergapten content makes it phototoxic. Smells lovely, though! Distilled lime essential oil is bergapten-free.

Mychelle said...

I just tried it myself. Took my body butter and removed the silicones, panthenol, proteins, quats, sodium lactate and replaced the e-wax with Rita/ECOMulse. I meant to use honey but grabbed the glycerin out of habit. Damn! I don't have Leucidal so I used my Liquid Germall Plus. I'm sure it won't be as glidey as the version with the cones, but I'm so curious to see how it turns out. I'll report back. :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tara! Thanks for that information! I'm going to put that in my next post on Ritamulse!

Hi p. What I have is not photo toxic, so I didn't think about that! I'll put a note on the post about it!

Hi Mychelle! What do you think?