Friday, January 30, 2015
Can we substitute one ingredient for another in a product? Lotion bars
Yep, it all comes back to knowing your ingredients! I know, I know, right? There's just no way to get around it! Learning about the ingredients you have - learning what they do, how they do it, what they feel like, and what they bring to the product - is the only way to get to the point where you can make substitutions or create your own recipes from scratch!
LOTION BAR RECIPE
33% mango butter
33% soy bean oil
1% fragrance oil
If you wanted to use kukui nut oil instead, you might take a look at why the soy bean oil is in the recipe in the first place. A liquid oil is necessary in a lotion bar to keep it from being too hard. It will also contribute to the skin feel and greasiness level. Soy bean oil is a light and greasy feeling oil with a lot of Vitamin E and phytosterols. It will make the lotion bar feel medium to heavy greasiness. Kukui nut oil is a light and non-greasy feeling oil that has a very silky after feel with an unknown (to me) amount of Vitamin E and phytosterols. If I used this in the product, it means my product would feel less greasy and more silky. Can I substitute one for the other? Yes! We can almost always substitute one liquid oil for another liquid oil in our products!
The exception? If you're working with castor oil and beeswax together, there is a neat effect they have when they are together in something like a mock Vaseline or lipstick. The beeswax becomes more plastic when combined with castor oil. Don't make changes in these two products!
Can we substitute one oil for another?
mango butter for another hard butter, like coconut oil. Could we? What does the mango butter bring to the product? It has a high melting point, which means the product will stay solid, and it offers a dry, powdery feeling instead of a greasy one. Coconut oil has a low melting point, which means the product won't be solid any more when it reaches 24˚C or 76˚F, and it has a greasy skin feel. Can we substitute the coconut oil for the mango butter?
No. The mango butter has an important role here, to keep the bar more solid, so we can't substitute something that might melt at slightly above room temperature for it.
Could we substitute another high melting point butter for the mango butter? Yes! We could use cocoa, shea, kokum, and so on for it because they will maintain the shape of the lotion bar.
What about substituting one wax for another? Beeswax is a plasticizer and hardener, helping the bar keep its shape and stiffness. Could we use something like carnauba or candellia wax? Yes, but we would have to modify the amount we use as these other waxes make lotion bars much much harder. In general, we divide the amount of beeswax in half for the wax, then make up the rest with the butter and liquid oil. So we might use 16% candellia wax and 40% oil, 39% butter instead of 1/3 of each.
*This isn't to say that you can't alter the type of oils or butters in a lotion. I can't think of a situation in which a lotion using an all-in-one emulsifier like Polawax, e-wax, Incroquat BTMS-50, or Ritamulse SCG couldn't have the oils changed as long as the concentrations stayed the same. (So, not going over 25% oils for something like Ritamulse SCG.) What I mean is doing things like not including an emulsifier. We'll take a look at substituting things in a lotion next week!
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