Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Newbie Tuesday: Get ready to make a cream

So what's the difference between a lotion and a cream? Or a body butter and a cream? Nothing, to be honest. It's just another name we give to a product that is generally thicker than a lotion and it tends to be found in a jar.

Here's the plan...We'll make this on August 21st, which gives you two weeks to get your supplies together. If that isn't enough time, you can always make the cream when they arrive - it's not like I'll take this post down and you'll be forever haunted by the fact that your supplies came in on the 22nd! This week, we'll take a look at the recipe, equipment, and supplies for making a cream. Next week on August 14th we can answer any questions you might have, and look at some possible substitutions based on your input. On August 21st, we'll make a cream together and on August 28th and September 2nd we'll share our thoughts and photos!

If you participated in the previous Newbie Tuesday posts, this'll all be familiar to you! If you didn't, scroll down to see those posts in order.

What other products would you like to see for newbie Tuesday? Let me know! 

59% water
3% glycerin or other humectant of choice

15% oils
10% butters
7% Polawax or BTMS-50 (8% e-wax NF)
3% stearic acid

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

  • a scale that can weigh 1 gram (available at supply stores or places like London Drugs in the culinary aisle)
  • 2 heat proof containers - one for your oil phase, one for your water phase - Pyrex jugs are good for this purpose, and a 2 - two cup Pyrex jugs would be ideal. 
  • a double boiler (make one up on the stove with a pot with warm water)
  • a thermometer (a candy thermometer works really well here)
  • spoons (metal ones...)
  • mixer (with beater attachments) or a stick blender
  • a notebook and pen/pencil. Print out the lotion recipe and make extensive notes while you craft!
  • an oil - at least 100 grams. I'm going to suggest a low cost oil like olive, sunflower, rice bran, or soybean oil. If I had my way, we'd all be using soybean oil, but I know some of you will to use what they have in the workshop. Feel free to get something from the grocery store instead of sending away for something. (I'd get two oils - one that's described as less greasy and one that's normal greasiness). Click here for more information on oils.
  • a butter - at least 100 grams, although again, get more if you think you might like to make a whipped butter, lotion bar, or other anhydrous product in the near future. Any butter will do for a cream, but I generally suggest shea, mango, or cocoa butter as they are cheaper. Shea and cocoa butter will feel greasier than mango, and anything made with cocoa butter is going to be thicker than one made with shea. (Click here for more information on butters.)
  • a humectant. You can use glycerin, sodium lactate (at 2.5%), sodium PCA (at 2.5%), honeyquat (3% in the cool down phase), and so on. (Click here for more information on humectants.)
  • an emulsifier - at least 50 grams. I'm going to suggest one of two emulsifiers - Polawax (not e-wax, but actual Polawax as it's less faily than e-wax and it's the same around the world) or Incroquat BTMS-50. If you can't get either of these for whatever reason, then use something else, but this series will be tailored to these emulsifiers. 
  • cetyl alcohol - at least 25 grams. Yes, this is a tiny amount, but it really does make a difference to the product. We aren't using it in this product, but if you wanted to make another lotion or body butter, you really want to have this. 
  • stearic acid - at least 25 grams. This is an essential ingredient for a cream, in my humble opinion.  
  • a preservative. I like liquid Germall Plus, but you can choose whichever one you want with two things in mind - preservatives are never optional, and Optiphen can curdle a lotion if you don't follow the procedure just right! 
  • distilled water - it's about $2 for 4 litres where I live (a gallon), and you don't want to be using tap water. 
  • a container of some kind - creams really are better in a jar, I think, so I suggest you get a jar or two for this product. Splurge and get a really lovely frosted one instead of using a Mason jar! 
  • a fragrance or essential oil - I know this isn't essential, but isn't the point of making our own products to create things that we can't get anywhere else. I know I'm not the only one who wants cupcake scented shampoo! Start small - consider that a 30 gram or 1 ounce container of fragrance can scent up to 3000 grams or 6.6 pounds of products!  
Questions, comments, suggestions? Write 'em down and share them in this post!

Related posts:
Newbie Tuesday: Let's make lotion
Newbie Tuesday: An update
Newbie Tuesday: A little more information about lotion making
Newbie Tuesday: It's time to make lotion! 
Newbie Tuesday: Are you a newbie who made lotion?
Newbie Tuesday: You made lotion!
Newbie Tuesday: Next week's project - body butter
Newbie Tuesday: It's time to make body butter! 
Newbie Tuesday: You made body butter!

Learning to formulate: Modifying creams


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see face wash for oily, acne prone skin! I haven't seen many face washes on here, unless im looking in the wrong place

melian1 said...

i found my nice instant read thermometer at the grocery store. it isn't quite instant, but it is very fast and quite legible.

i found a lovely little scale that weighs to .01 gram at tkb. in case anyone already has got the scale to 1 gram and wants to make those tiny batches. it is called the "awesome" scale.

Ellbie said...

Hi Susan,

Can you at some time during this Newbie series talk about a good technique for weighing your preservative? Specifically Germall Plus liquid. I have the dangest time trying to figure an accurate means of weighing this viscous liquid out. I am a tween (not really a newbie and with enough knowledge to be dangerous).

and Melian1 - what is tkb? :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous! Click here for my facial products tutorial PDF, which includes at least two facial cleansers - one in a foamer bottle, and one not in a foamer bottle. I have a number of facial cleansers on the blog - click on the label "facial products" or do a search for "facial cleansers" (I found a ton by doing a search!) Finally, check out this post on formulating facial cleansers for your skin type for some ideas on how to tweak the recipes you find! You have the same skin type as I do, which means most of the recipes are about oily and acne prone skin.

Hi Ellbie! TKB is TKB Trading, a supplier with a ton of mineral make-up ingredients. Here's the scale to which melian1 refers. I think I need to get one! If you're interested in making mineral make-up, they are the first place to look!

As for weighing your preservative, I have two thoughts - one, I generally suggest making a batch of 200 grams so you can use 1 gram of liquid Germall Plus or two, get a smaller scale and weigh it out that way. In the case of the 200 gram batch and a scale that weighs to 1 gram, weigh your entire container and product because most scales have trouble going from 0 to 1, and you could have 5 in there before you know it.

Hi melian! Great suggestions! I have a 0.1 gram scale I bought at a beading show, and I love it! But I want one of those now! How much was it? They don't have the price on the site.

melian1 said...

swift, the scale was $12, believe it or not! i really like it. i don't know if it is still that same price, tho.

i've found when weighing tiny amounts, especially on my 1-gram weighing scale that if i put a drop in, pick the container up and place it back down, it will give me a better reading. in a thread some time back on the dish, ande (of brambleberry) or jen (lotioncrafter) - not sure which - explained why that works better than just continuing to drip stuff in, because you can get 2 or 3 grams (or more) of stuff in that way before it goes up to the next gram. anyway, by lifting and then setting it back down, it works.

melian1 said...

ok, i just cruised thru their site, and the "awesome" scale is still shown as $12, but it is out of stock. http://www.tkbtrading.com/category.php?category_id=53&page=4

Becca said...

So I started this new hobby a couple of weeks ago to a) curb my body product addiction and save a little money and b) be able to make things that smelled/looked/behaved they way I wanted them to. Seems I traded in one addiction for another, however, since I just placed an order for 3 more surfactants from the Herbarie and was giddy over a great SLSa sale at the Chemistry store. With 5 daughters, however, I'm still going with the idea that this will save me money...eventually :)

To melian - I had the same issue with the thicker liquids- I use those little measuring boats from Lotioncrafter (found some on Amazon too) and use a rubber glove to wipe out as much as I can. It's not a perfect system but it seems the most efficient.

I'm going to give this one a try tonight - I did a whipped body butter as my very first project a few weeks ago but it's a little oily for me and doesn't have very good slip. I'm thinking about adding some silicones to this recipe. I looooove silicones - just ordered some raspberry tonight...can't wait to play and compare.

My only big question so far is the smell of wheat protein. It seems to get pretty stinky when it's heated and held - stinkier than it is out of the bottle...that or I'm overheating and scorching something because my body was did not smell so nice on first attempt. It's also possible that I screwed up what was in what phase...I'm trying to read supplier data sheets on heat sensitivity and solubility but some companies are better than others...maybe you already have this (I've spent HOURS on your blog but I have many more to go) on how to read an MSDS sheets?

Sorry for the long first post - I did want to add that I LOVE your blog and the information here. Recipes are great but actually understanding each ingredient and it's qualities is really helpful. I've always loved to cook - I mean, dried cranberries are great...and you can substitute some for mushrooms in a good stuffing, but I maybe not on a homemade pizza. Knowing what ingredient does what, where, and how is really making this a true hobby/obsession for me versus just blindly following recipes.

Thank you soooo much!


Mary said...

I'm not sure if you'll see comments on an old post like this but your blog has been really helpful for me and I have a quick question. Can white petroleum be substituted for the butter in this recipe? Most butters break me out and I love petroleum for its occlusive properties. For PM I normally moisturize with safflower oil and then layer Vaseline on top, I'm looking to make a cream to combine those steps.