Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lotions: A basic recipe

Making your first lotion is a very exciting moment! Watching oil and water come together in a creamy emulsion seems almost like a magical event!

The basics....
Oils - you will want to choose an oil that offers some nice qualities. Something with a decent shelf life. And something not too expensive for your first try. I'm going to suggest olive oil, sunflower oil, or rice bran oil. You'll want to use this at 10% to 20% of the recipe. The lighter the oil, the lighter the lotion. If you use fractionated coconut or sunflower oil, you'll have a light lotion; use rice bran, medium; use olive oil, heavier. Olive oil is great for body lotions, not so great for hand lotions. Normally I'd use a few different oils, but for your first recipe, choose one oil so you can determine if you like it or not. If you mix them up, how do you know which one you love?

Emulsifier - you'll want an all in one kind of emulsifier, so I'm going to suggest either Polawax (non-ionic) or BTMS (cationic). I like Polawax over emulsifying wax NF as Polawax is made by one company and is the same every time. Emulsifying wax NF is cheaper, but I've found different companies offer different results, and you want something you can count on when you're making lotion. (The NF stands for "National Formulary" and it is a standard, but they can add things - fillers, as it were - that could have an impact on your emulsification.) BTMS is going to create a cationic (positively charged) lotion with a powdery after feel; Polawax is going to to create a non-ionic (neutrally charged) lotion with an oily after feel. You are going to use your emulsifier at 25% of the oils and butters amount. So if you are using 20% oils and butters, we're going to use 5% emulsifier.

Water - you'll want at least 70% water in your first lotion. You can eventually substitute hydrosols or aloe vera for this water, but for the first one, it's easier to use water. The water will determine how thick your lotion will be...so if you use 80% water, it's going to be thinner than a 60% water lotion (60% is almost a cream, 70% is still pourable, 80% is more for facial moisturizers).

Preservative - you will need this at 0.5% to 1% based on your preservative of choice. I use Liquid Germall Plus, which is suggested at 0.1 to 0.5% (I always use 0.5%) or Germaben II at 0.5% to 1.0%. There are many different preservatives available - here's a link to the list at Voyageur - but these are the two I know best and like.

Preservative is not optional; it is essential. I know a lot of people get into making bath and body products because they want to be natural but failing to use a preservative in a lotion or surfactant mix will result in natural fungi and bacteria and other nasty things to grow in your lotion, which could make you sick or hurt your skin. As of March 2009, there are no proven "all natural" or organic preservatives available to the home crafter. So choose something that doesn't require a lot - 0.1 to 0.5% - and enjoy your ick-free lotion!

Grapefruit seed extract or GSE IS NOT A PRESERVATIVE. Studies have shown the only preserving power this ingredient has derives from the preservative used to preserve the GSE. If you use this product, you are not preserving your lotions properly and gross things could grow on it.

Vitamin E is not a preservative. It is a great anti-oxidant, meaning it will prolong the shelf life of your oils. It will not keep nasty things from growing in your lotion!

Now that I've scared you...

So know you know the basics...what's next?

Butters - you can add cocoa butter, mango butter, shea butter or other butters to add more emolliency, some great skin loving additions, and thickness. Let's use 5% shea butter in this recipe. (Check out the post on butters for more information.)

Thickener - we want to add a thickener to help make the lotion thicker. (Wow, that was clear, eh?) If you want a body or foot cream, stearic acid is a great choice as it makes a thick cream like texture. If you want a glidy lotion for your body or face, you'll want to use cetyl alcohol. (I think of the difference this way...stearic acid reminds me of whipped butter, whereas cetyl alcohol reminds me of Cool Whip.) I'm going to use cetyl alcohol in this first recipe at 3%, which means it is more of a body and face kind of lotion than a foot or elbow lotion. (Cetyl alcohol is considered an "oil free" moisturizer, but with the amount of oils and butters in this recipe, it's kind of a pointless comment!)

Fragrance - a nice lotion needs a nice fragrance. If you choose to fragrance your lotions (and I recommend it!) then you are going to use 1% of your total weight in fragrance oil. Choose something you don't mind smelling all day! If you wish to use essential oils, 1% is a good place to start for things like lavender or vanilla, but some essential oils need to be in lower amounts for leave-on products like lotions and creams. Ensure you are using your essential oils at safe levels.

Skin loving goodies - you know I love the hydrolyzed proteins and panthenol, and you can include those at up to 2% in your lotion. I like using silicones for glide, so you could add those at 2% each as well. And I do love me some humectants! I'm doing a series of posts on various ingredients you could add to your lotions over the next week or so with modified recipes, so if you're not research girl (or boy!), don't worry!

  • a scale that can weigh 1 gram (available at supply stores or places like London Drugs in the culinary aisle)
  • 2 heat proof containers
  • 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
If you make this recipe with 1% = 1 gram, you will have 100 grams of lotion. If you want to double or triple it, feel free!

70% water
15% oil (sunflower, soy bean, rice bran, or olive oil)
5% shea or mango butter
3% cetyl alcohol
5% emulsifier (BTMS or Polawax)
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative
(This doesn't total 100% because of the difference in preservatives!)

1. Weigh out your water in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. (As a note, weigh more than 70% because it will evaporate when heated, so you'll have less than 70% in the end).

2. Weigh out your oil, butter, cetyl alcohol, and emulsifier in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler.

3. When both containers have reached 70C, weigh out your water again, then add it to your oil container. (This is a very cool moment...watch closely. It's emulsified! It's lotion!)

4. Blend with a hand mixer or stick blender for at least 3 minutes. Repeat this process as often as you would like until the temperature reaches 45C.

5. Let cool to 45C, then add your fragrance or essential oil and preservative. Mix well with your hand mixer or stick blender, then let cool.

6. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature (a few hours), put into a bottle (with a pump, if possible), jar, or malibu bottle, then use.


My tip on how to get lotion in a bottle...put the lotion in an icing bag (or a plastic bag with the corner cut off) and pipe it in, banging the bottle lightly to get the lotion all the way to the bottom. Some people will bottle the lotion when warm as it is easier, but I worry about condensation, so I prefer not to do this.

If you are using a malibu bottle, you can use a funnel. Put the funnel in the malibu and squish it so the air comes out. Then pour the lotion into the funnel and release the bottle. It will suck the lotion down and you will get a nicely filled bottle!

In a jar, just spoon it in and bang the jar lightly so it settles well.

And I suggest labelling this with some kind of ingredient information so you know what you made. If you like it, then you will want to make it again!

Well, there's your first lotion. Pretty awesome, eh?

Tomorrow I'll introduce you to one of my favourite ingredients...the humectant. These are hygroscopic ingredients that draw water from the atmosphere to your body, making you feel more moisturized.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lotions: Emulsification - what's that then?

A few times I've mentioned using polysorbate 20 or 80 to mix your oils into water. But what are these ingredients? They are emulsifiers. (If it's in bold, you know it's important!)

Normally, oil and water don't like to mix. Water is polar, oil is non-polar, so the oil just floats on top of the water, not mixing and being all oppositional to each other. If we add an emulsifier - an ingredient that is both hydrophilic and lipophilic (water loving and oil loving) -- it will bring the two together in a stable mixture.

Why does this matter? Because bringing together water, oil, emulsifier, and other goodies makes a creamy concoction that will be your skin's best friend. Learning how to emulsify is the key to making your first lotion.

If you made the water soluble make-up remover or the water based fragrance spray, you've already used an emulsifier (polysorbate 20). If you made the conditioner, you've actually made a lotion using BTMS as the emulsifier to bring together the water and silicones, oils, and fragrance or essential oils!

We need three things to emulsify our lotion properly.
  • Chemical emulsification - choosing a good emulsifier will save you heartache in the end. If you want to learn more about emulsifiers, the HLB (hydrophilic-lipophilic balance chart) is a great place to start, but I generally choose emulsifying wax as it is a good all around emulsifier for basic lotions. (Polawax, emulsifying wax, and BTMS-50 are all-around emulsification systems, so they're easy to use).
  • Heat emulsification - we have to heat our ingredients up to a place where they are happy to emulsify.
  • Mechanical emulsification - we have to blend our ingredients together using a hand or stand mixer or stick blender.
I like to make oil in water lotions, meaning the droplets of oil are suspended in a water base, so there is far more water in the recipe than oils. (Water in oil recipes are thicker, like cold cream, and require different emulsifiers to work well.)

The three emulsifiers I've mentioned above come in "pellet form", so they need to be melted. Non-Polawax emulsifying wax can be in flake format as well. So they need to melt before they are useful. Other emulsifiers come in other forms - polysorbate 20 and 80 are liquid.

In the recipe below, you'll see 3 "phases" or categories of ingredients.

Oil phase: These are the ingredients you'll weigh in your Pyrex jug then heat to 70C in your double boiler. This contains all the ingredients that play well together as oils and need to be heated. In your oil phase you will put your oils, butters, emulsifiers, co-emulsifiers, thickeners, and oil soluble goodies.

Water phase: These are the ingredients you'll weigh into your Pyrex jug then heat to 70C in your double boiler. This contains all the ingredients that are water based and need to be heated. In your water phase you'll put your water, hydrosols, aloe vera, witch hazel, sodium lactate, and other water soluble goodies.

Cool down phase: These are the ingredients you will add to your emulsified mixture when it has cooled below 45 - 50C. This phase will include your hydrolyzed proteins, panthenol, fragrance or essential oils, preservative, silicones, and other heat sensitive ingredients.

  • A scale - you can get a decent one from London Drugs or a kitchen supply shop or Voyageur for $40 or so. (You will see recipes in volume format, but weighing is far more accurate, especially for smaller quantities like preservatives or fragrance oils).
  • Pyrex jugs or other heat proof jugs or stainless steel pots. At a minimum, have 2 - 2 cup jugs (but you'll want more!)
  • Spoons - Metal spoons you only use for making things. Go to a restaurant supply store and get 50 for $5.00.
  • Stick blender or mixer with beater attachments (for lotion) or whisk attachments (for mousses)
  • Candy thermometer - inexpensive, accurate, and good for testing temperatures
  • A funnel to pour the lotions into bottles
  • A bottle (new and clean). Get these from the dollar store or from your local supplier.
20 grams of oil
5 grams of emulsifier (I prefer Polawax)

75 grams of water


Use 25% of your oil amount in emulsifier. So for 20 grams of oil, we'll want 5 grams of emulsifying wax.

1. Weigh your oil and emulsifier in a heat proof container. Put into the double boiler.

2. Weigh your water in a heat proof container. Put into the double boiler.

3. Heat the oil and water until they reach a temperature of 70C and hold for 20 minutes. This ensures any badness (bacteria, etc.) will be heated out of your mixture. (This is called the heat and hold method.)

4. After 20 minutes, you will want to pour the oil phase and water phase into a heatproof container and mix with an electric mixer for 3 to 5 minutes. The mixture will be hot. (You can pour your water phase into your oil phase if you don't have many Pyrex jugs lying around!)

(This is the point of emulsification - watch! The water and oil come together in a creamy white mixture the moment you pour the oil and water phases together. You've got lotion. We still need to work on the mechanical emulsion - using the mixer - but right now you're seeing the moment the water and oil stop hating each other and learn to live together!)

5. I leave the lotion in a safe place to cool for about 10 minutes, then I check the temperature. I mix it again.

6. I like to leave it for a few minutes, then mix again. (I think I'm obsessed with mixing, to be honest.)

7. When the temperature is below 45 to 50C, add the heat sensitive ingredients like fragrance or essential oils, preservatives, silicones, and hydrolyzed proteins.

This is not actually a recipe I want you to follow. This is a sample recipe so you can see the basics of lotion making. This doesn't have a preservative (ESSENTIAL FOR LOTION MAKING) or any goodies for your skin.

You said it was an emulsifier, and I have tons of it lying around from other projects!

This is what is called a high HLB emulsifier - it has a value of 16.7. If you want to use it, you would have to pair it with another emulsifier, a low HLB emulsifier like glycol distearate (1) and do all kinds of math and create the perfect balance between the low HLB emulsifier and the high HLB emulsifier. Once you've mastered using Emulsifying Wax NF, Polawax, or BTMS, and you want a challenge, you'll probably want to learn more about how to make your own emulsifiers.

If you find this all very interesting, then check out the great post at Lotioncrafter.com on the HLB System (created by the most amazing cosmetic chemist, Maurice, whose work has inspired me to learn more!)

Remember, the recipe above is only an example. It doesn't contain all kinds of wonderful skin loving ingredients or preservatives we want to include in a lovely lotion...so visit us tomorrow!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Water based fragrance spray

We're going to learn all about emulsification tomorrow (the pre-cursor to lotion making! Yay!) but here's a tutorial to give you some of the basics in the form of a fun, water based fragrance spray.

Oil and water don't like each other, so oil based and water based things don't like each other. But we want them to like each other because that means we can't make lovely sprays with lavender hydrosol or aloe vera and essential oils. So how do we get them to fall madly in love? Cupid is played today by an emulsifier...in this case, polysorbate 20.

Polysorbate 20 is a non-ionic emulsifier. This means it is neither positive (cationic, like our conditioners) or negative (like our surfactants). It does not carry a change. It has a hydrophilic (water-loving) head and a lipophilic (oil-loving) tail. It attaches to the oil at one end, the water at the other, and holds it all together. Polysorbate 20 is not the most powerful emulsifier out there, but it does a great job on small amounts of oil - like fragrance or essential oils - and lots of water. We've found the right product for the job - polysorbate 20 is our emulsifier for the day! (Choosing the right emulsifier can mean the difference between awesome lotion-y goodness and oil slick on top of fancy hydrosols!)

If you want to make a perfume spray, this is easy as heck and cheaper than the oil based or silicone based sprays from (the other day).
95% water or hydrosol
0.5% preservative
2% polysorbate 20
2% fragrance or essential oil
Pour your distilled water or hydrosol or combination into your spray bottle of choice. Shake to mix.
In a shot glass sized glass container, mix 2% polysorbate 20 with 2% fragrance or essential oil and mix until clear. Pour this into your spray bottle. Shake. You're done.

If this is a cloudy mixture that doesn't need shaking to use, you've emulsified it well. If it is a cloudy mixture that needs to be shaken before use, you'll need a little more polysorbate 20. Every fragrance and essential oil is different - some follow a 1:1 ratio, some a 2:1 ratio, and some a bizarre 3:2 ratio! Keep notes on how much you used for each fragrance oil.

(If you use water soluble oils, like those at Voyageur, you don't need to include an emulsifier. But that kind of defeats the purpose of this recipe as it's intended to show how much fun emulsifiers can be, so I'm only putting that in as an aside...)

This is a nice spray for freshening your hair or freshening a pet who stinks (yes, the Blondie dog has her reeky moments, although she'd deny that!) but don't use essential oils in mixtures for cats! Put in some lavender hydrosol with lavender essential oil for a headache spray. Use peppermint or spearmint essential oil for a summer cooling spray. Use your child's favourite fragrance and call it a "monster spray" to get rid of anything living under the bed or give it to a precocious child to keep her out of your Chanel No. 5.

This may seem like a really easy recipe, and it is. But it's a good place to start off on the wonderful world of emulsification, something vital to making lotion.

And if you've been following along as I post these tutorials or having a look through the archives, yes, this is a modification of the toner recipe from earlier in the month and the subsequent toner modification recipe (with fewer ingredients). I thought it was a great example of emulsification that anyone could try!

Tune in tomorrow for the first in a series of posts on lotion making! We'll start with emulsification!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Make-up remover: Water based

My favourite make-up remover is water based. I don't wear waterproof mascara, so this is perfect for my needs. It leaves a nice slightly oily feeling on my skin but doesn't leave that oily film on my eye lashes.

The key ingredient in a water based remover is a non-ionic surfactant. You'll remember from the surfactants posts there are four types of surfactants...For our lathery, foamy products, we want to use anionic (negatively charged) and amphoteric (positive or negative depending upon the environment). For non-foamy products, we want to use non-ionic (not charged) surfactants, known as emulsifiers.

What are emulsifiers? (I've got a huge post coming up on this topic, but let's summarize here). Water and oil don't mix. Water is polar, oil non-polar, so they repel each other. If we add an emulsifier, we make water and oil like each other and mix together. An emulsifier has a water-loving head and an oil-loving tail, and if each end holds on to the right molecule, your oil and water will live in harmony together.

So what does this have to do with water based make-up removers? I've been referencing "water soluble oils" in the last few posts. What are those? They are what the name implies - these are oils that can mix with water instead of repelling it. You could get water soluble olive or shea oil at the Herbarie or water soluble soy oil at Suds & Scents, or you can make your own using a non-ionic emulsifier/surfactant. (As a note, I have both the olive oil and soy oil and love them! But if you can't get these products, you can make your own...)

Polysorbate 20 and polysorbate 80 are very high HLB emulsifiers (more on this in a few days) that mix oil and water together. Poly 20 is best used for fragrance oils in things like surfactant mixtures; poly 80 is better with carrier oils. So I'm going to make my own water soluble oil by using polysorbate 80 and a carrier oil.

3 parts oil of some sort (olive, soy, shea, etc.)
1 part polysorbate 80

Mix together well, then add to your water based system. You may have to increase your polysorbate to a 1:1 ratio depending upon the weight of your oil.

What are the goals of a water-based make-up remover?
Something with glide, something emollient, something cleansing - the water soluble oil

So let's be honest...this really is more about the water soluble oil than it is about the other ingredients. But if you don't like an oil based remover, then you need something else. So we're going to make up a remover that has a few other goodies in it to make your skin feel nice as this is meant to remain on your skin.

What do we want in our make-up remover?
  • Water soluble oil - this is the backbone of this recipe. 10 to 20% or so. The higher the oil amount or the heavier the oil, the higher the oiliness will be, so choose according to your desired oil level.
  • Water or hydrosol - lavender and aloe are both lovely for soothing, so let's add that at 70 to 80%
  • Preservative - as this is water based, you'll need 0.5% (Germall Plus) to 1% (Germaben II)
  • Protein - this is will add extra conditioning, so we'll put in 2%
  • Panthenol - never a bad thing to add, so let's include 2%
  • Humectants - if you are using olive oil, you have a humectant in here. And the protein acts as a humectant. If you wanted to include glycerin (2%) or propylene glycol (2%) or sodium lactate (2%), that wouldn't be a bad thing.
15% water soluble oil
78% water, aloe vera, or hydrosol of choice
2% humectant of choice - sodium lactate, propylene glycol, glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein (oat, soy, wheat, silk, etc.)
2% panthenol
0.5% to 1% preservative

(For a 100 gram batch of make-up remover, to create you own water soluble oil make up a batch of 12 grams oil to 4 grams polysorbate 80. Mix well. If it looks emulsified, then add that to your mix. If it doesn't look emulsified, add more polysorbate 80 up to 12 grams - a little at a time. Keep a record of what oil you used and how much emulsifier you used! Now add 15 grams to a 100 gram batch.)

Heat and hold your water (aloe or hydrosol) and humectant in a heat proof container in a double boiler until the temperature reaches 70C. In a separate container, weigh out your water soluble oils and heat until the temperature reaches 70C. Mix together the two containers, then when the temperature reaches 45C or lower, add your protein, panthenol, and preservative. Let cool. Bottle, and use.

As a note, you could make this recipe cold without any heating, but I am always worried about preservation when I use water or hydrosols, so I'm suggesting doing this warm!

(If you'd like another recipe...May I suggest this great recipe I found at the Herbarie called the Fruit & Flowers Make-up Remover. If you have these ingredients, make this recipe. You will love it!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Make-up remover: Oil based remover

So you want to make an oil based remover. What are our goals?
  • Something with glide
  • Something cleansing
  • Something emollient
Fractionated coconut oil and shea oil are great glidy oils. Sunflower, safflower, soy bean - again, good glide. Avocado, hazelnut and grapeseed are "dry" oils, and not great with the glide, so save those for another formulation.

Castor oil is a great cleanser, so we are going to use this as the base of our remover.

Pretty much any oil is going to be a good emollient, but I like sunflower, soy bean, olive oil, and rice bran oils for my moisturizing bases, so let's use one of those.

Having said all of this, I think a combination of light oils is the best choice for an oil-based make up remover as we really don't want a ton of oils left behind on our eye lashes!

50% castor oil
20% fractionated coconut oil
20% sunflower or safflower oil or shea oil
9% polysorbate 80
1% Vitamin E

Why are we including polysorbate 80 into something without water? Isn't this an emulsifier? Yes, it is. But it's also a non-ionic surfactant with some basic cleaning power. If we add this to the mixture, it will act as a surfactant to remove your make-up, and it won't leave your eyes or face all greasy afterwards.

Mix together the castor oil and fractionated coconut oil. Mix your poly 80 and sunflower/safflower/shea oil and add to the container. Add 1% Vitamin E. Mix well. Pour into bottle. Rejoice!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Make up-remover: Basics & surfactant based remover

There are four ways to make a make-up remover, so this is going to use all the stuff you've learned so far....

Surfactant based - this will be a foaming make up remover composed of about 10% surfactants, a few goodies, preservative, and water. It is vital the pH will cause no more tears, so LSB or BSB will be our primary surfactant.

Oil based - this will be an all oil based formula composed entirely of oils.

Water based - this will be a water based formula composed of water, water soluble oils, goodies like panthenol and aloe vera, and preservative.

Lotion based - this will be a cold cream like formula (we aren't going to be going over these for quite some time).

How to choose? What do you want? What kind of cosmetics do you wear?

If you use a lot of water proof cosmetics - choose a surfactant, oil, or lotion based remover.
If you hate the feeling of oil on your eye lashes - choose a surfactant or water based remover.
If you are concerned about stinging your eyes - choose an oil, lotion, or water based remover

Now, how do we formulate this?

So what are we looking for in a make-up remover...
Something with glide - you do not want to have to pull on your tender eye area.
Something cleansing - you want the make up off!
Something emollient - you don't want that tight feeling afterwards.

You are going to use everything you learned in the surfactant post to formulate your remover.

We need low foam, low lather, and pH balanced. We want it mild. We want it moisturizing.

Surfactant choices:
  • BSB - the pH is perfect for no more tears. It's mild, and it's thick. (Use any "baby blend" as a substitute).
  • Coco betaine - I want it to be mild. This is a good foamer, but we'll take care of that with the oils.
Additive choices:
  • Aloe vera - soothing
  • Lavender or calendula water soluble - soothing
  • Crothix - anti-irritant and thickening
  • Conditioning polymer - (polyquat 7, polyquat 10, honeyquat) - conditioning, humectant-y
  • Oils - oils will add emolliency and reduce the lather. Ideally you'll use a water soluble oil (olive oil or soy are great!). If not, then use an emollient oil like sunflower or olive oil and add...
  • Polysorbate 80 - an emulsifier for oils in surfactant systems. Use at 1:1 ratio with your oils.
  • Protein - conditioning
  • Preservative - gotta have this!
  • Water - of course, but you could do all aloe vera and hydrosols if you wanted
Okay, so what we do have? We're making a shampoo for our eyes (yeah, that sounds weird, doesn't it?) but we are going to use our surfactants in really really low amounts. You will want to rinse this off after using...

80% water based ingredients - aloe vera, hydrosols, water
5% BSB
2% coco betaine
3% conditioning polymer
3% oils of choice - I'd suggest camellia oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, shea oil
3% polysorbate 80 - if you are using water soluble oils, leave this out, and add more water based ingredients.
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% crothix
0.5% to 1% preservative

Heat your water, surfactants, and conditioning polymer in a heat proof container in a double boiler, and mix until well blended. Remove from the double boiler. Now mix your oil and polysorbate 80 together, then pour into the mixture. (If you are using water soluble oils, heat with the other ingredients in the double boiler). When the mixture comes to 45C or lower, add the protein and preservative. Let cool completely. Add 1% Crothix. If you like the consistency, bottle. If you want it thicker, add 0.5% Crothix. Add up to 0.5% more for a total of 2%. Put in a disc or turret cap bottle and use!

You will want to rinse this off after using. And if you find this too foamy for your liking, take the BSB to 2% and add 3% more hydrosols or water.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An aside: Colouring oil based products

This is a lip balm left uncoloured on one side and coloured using ruby red mica on the other. It is intended as a lip gloss with a little titch of colour, so you are only using the micas to colour it.

As you can see from the lipstick making post, if you are going to colour any oil based product - bath melts, whipped butters, oil based scrubs, and so on - you'll need to use an anhydrous (without water) colourant. I use powdered chocolate colouring (available at chocolate making shops) because adding hydrous (water based) colours to anything without water equals ick! (So food colouring, LabColours, liquid colours are right out!) You can also use iron oxides, micas, and other ingredients you'd use in mineral make-up.

Please note: If you are selling your products - which I don't recommend until you have mastered preserving, retarding rancidity, and have tested your products - chocolate colourants may not be acceptable for sale. They are, however, fine for gifting and using yourself.

It's a fairly simple thing to colour oil based products. Take some of the powdered colouring - a titch, to begin - and sprinkle it into the product when it is still liquid. Make sure it is not clumpy going in, as it will take longer to break down the clumps! Now stir well until the colour is dispersed. If you want a little more colour, add a little more. If you can get your hands on some of the little 0.15 cc mineral make-up spoons, those are great for keeping a record of how much you added.

Pretty basic, eh? But it's something we all forget in our enthuasism - water plus oil equals ick!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lip balms and lipsticks

Lip balms are fun and easy to make - to be honest, it's the flavouring that's the hardest bit. A lot of companies use scent, not flavouring, so go for a lip safe fragrance (Brambleberry has some great choices) and you'll save yourself the headache of learning to sweeten properly. (You can include some essential oils that also have a taste, but avoid the citrus ones - I know, I love lime! - because they can make you photosensitive! Mint is always nice, as is vanilla.)

There's quite a simple formula you can use, and you can tweak to your heart's content. (This is a formula created by Majestic Mountain Sage and it's the best one I've found...)
20% beeswax
25% soft butter (coconut oil, shea butter, mango butter)
15% solid butter (cocoa butter)
40% liquid oil

(If you want to make this a vegan friendly lip balm, use 10% candellia wax and up the soft butter by 5% and the solid butter by 5%)

My personal favourites...
20% beeswax
25% soft butter - aloe butter (10%) and shea butter (15%)
15% cocoa butter
40% liquid oil - aloe oil (10% soothing), calendula oil (2%, soothing), castor oil (10%, for shine), and shea or fractionated coconut oil (18%)

NOTE ON OILS: I am a big fan of olive oil as a humectant, which is something lovely in a lip balm, but it tastes kind of weird, very olive-y. You can try it. I didn't like it, and I really wanted to like it! Try to find ones that don't have a lot of flavour like the fractionated coconut oil or shea oil.

Melt all ingredients in a heatproof container in a double boiler. When all the ingredients have melted, add your fragrance or flavour oil, sweeten (optional), then pour into lip balm tubes or pots.

If you are using the lip balm tubes, note that as your lip balm cools, it is going to get a dent in the top. You can live with it, or top it up with a little bit of your left over lip balm, or make it too high and cut the top off. I don't worry about it too much, but some people like it to be pretty! (See above for picture of dent!)

Please check out the Majestic Mountain Sage site for this great recipe on how to incorporate honey into your lips balms. Personally, I love glycerin or honey in a lip balm, but some people aren't fans of lanolin because they think they are sensitive to it. Very few people are, in fact, sensitive to it, but it's an ingredient people want to avoid. The lanolin acts an emulsifier in this recipe, so it is necessary.

FLAVOURING: You will want to use about 3 to 5% of your total weight in flavouring. Most supply stores offer great flavourings for lip balms (or you can use icing/chocolate flavourings by Lorann Oils from cake or chocolate decorating shops), all of which are not sweetened. If you are going to sweeten your lip balms, you can try using powdered stevia or liquid stevia (oil based, not water or glycerin based) and it is a matter of trial and error. Try a drop, taste it, see if you like it. If not, add another drop, and so on. When you like it, pour it into your lip balm containers and let set.

The lipgloss to your right was left uncoloured on one side...but ruby red mica was used in the other side. This is coloured just enough to give it and your lips a tiny hint of colour, as it was intended for a 5 year old!

Anne-Marie (The Soap Queen, fantastic owner of Brambleberry and Otion) has an amazing blog you should check out regularly, and she has posted fantastic tutorials on lipstick making...
When incorporating colours, here are a few hints...
  • use oil soluble titanium dioxide in lipsticks. The water soluble will not mix well!
  • if you want a sheer lip colour, use micas only. If you want an opaque one, use some titanium dioxide and lip safe ultramarines, iron oxides, and magnesium thingies.
  • before pouring into the tube or pot, pour some on a piece of paper and let set (or a wooden popsicle or coffee stir stick). Try it on your lips. If you like it, pour it. If you want more colour, mix it in, then try the test again.
  • WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! I cannot stress this enough. Even if you think you're going to hate the colour, write every single bit down so you will remember later. Because you'll probably like it and want to kill yourself for not making notes!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oil based fragrance sprays and solid perfume

We made a water based fragrance spray that was incredibly easy (1% poly 20, 1% fragrance oil, 0.5 to 1% preservative, and 97.5% to 98% water), so why are we making something more difficult to do the same thing? Because we can. And because there are different reasons for making a oil based spray.
  • It can act as a moisturizer as well - which is a bonus; and
  • It will stay on your body longer than a water based mist.
An oil based fragrance spray is just that...it is composed of oil based ingredients. We won't need a preservative as it is oil based, but you will want to add 0.5% to 1% Vitamin E to keep the oils from going rancid (which is the LAST thing you want in a fragrance spray!)

When making a fragrance oil, you will want to use something with a long shelf life, so grapeseed, hempseed, and walnut oil are not good choices. Fragrance based things tend to end up in the back of your cupboard for months on end, and we want them to keep their lovely scent. As well, we want oils that don't really have much of a smell, so choosing olive oil or sunflower oil would probably be a bad idea as well. So we'll want to use light feeling oils with very little natural smell and a long shelf life.

97% fractionated coconut oil or shea oil
2% fragrance oil (if you wish to use essential oils, check the usage rates for your choices...)
1% Vitamin E.

Pour each of the ingredients into a spray bottle, then using sparingly as a wonderful fragrance.
This is a great after bath spray as well, as a note, if you are using fractionated coconut oil (non-staining).
(As a quick note, you probably don't need Vitamin E with either of these two oils as they have long shelf lives. I'm recommending it anyway because you might just end up leaving it at the cabin and not using it for a year and because it gets you in the habit of putting Vitamin E in everything oil based you make!)

Solid perfume is a great way to carry your favourite scent with you in an easy, non-spill container. You can put this recipe into a small pot or a lip balm tube, and use it whenever you need a fragrant pick me up! This is intended to be solid but will melt at body temperature. We're using ingredients that have very little scent of their own.

20% beeswax (use refined for extra non-smelliness)
30% shea or cocoa butter (or a combination of the two - both refined and deodorized)
39% liquid oils (fractionated coconut or shea oil are great choices)
10% fragrance oil
1% Vitamin E

If you want to use essential oils here, please check the safety levels.
If you use only shea butter, you'll want to put this into a pot as it will be soft.
Using 15% cocoa butter or all cocoa butter will make this hard enough to put in a lip balm tube.

Melt everything, except the fragrance oil, in a double boiler until the ingredients are liquid. Remove from the heat and add the fragrance oil. Pour into a lip balm pot or lip balm tube and let set. Give it a funky name that's all your own, and you have a solid perfume!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bath oil and after bath moisturizers

In your bath oils or lotion bars and apres bath misters are intended to trap the water from your shower or soak in by using oils. Think of them as lotions without water, much like the lotion bar. As they are oil based, we won't use a preservative or other water based ingredients in our mix.

As usual, if you are intending to keep any oil based product longer than 3 months or plan to give them as gifts, please use 1% Vitamin E to keep your oils from going rancid. (I just found an emulsified scrub from THREE YEARS AGO. I preserved it well - no mold or other nasties - but it smelled awful because I didn't use Vitamin E. Having said that, if it were 50% Vitamin E it would have gone off, but still...rancid oils pong!)

This one's easy. Make a lotion bar you like. When you step out of the shower (or even in the shower) you can rub this on your body to trap in moisture! Make it a nice size - bar of soap size - so you can rub it more easily.

You will want to choose oils that are non-staining to clothes and other fabrics, so your choices are pretty much sesame oil or fractionated coconut oil. You could use 98.5% sesame oil with 1% fragrance or essential oil and 0.5% Vitamin E in a spray bottle for an apres bath oil. Or for a lighter recipe 99% fractionated coconut oil with 1% fragrance or essential oil (you don't need the Vitamin E as the fractionated coconut oil has a very long shelf life.) You could combine oils - sunflower, sesame, fractionated coconut oil, and shea oil would be great - with your Vitamin E and fragrance or essential oils to create a wonderful, customized oil blend that your skin loves! (Keeping in mind that if you choose your oils, they may stain fabric or linens if you use a lot of them!)

98.5% light to medium oil
1% fragrance oil
0.5% Vitamin E

Get a spray bottle. Weigh the ingredients into the bottle. Label, use. Rejoice!

You could add a few things to this recipe - 10% IPM (isopropyl myristate, a very very light oil) will help the oils sink in quicker and feel less greasy. 10% cyclomethicone (a silicone) that will help trap in moisture. You could try shea oil or rice bran oil (these are NOT non-staining) if you want something a little heavier on your skin.

A bath oil is a liquid version of the bath melt - you bottle it, and add it to your bath as you need it.
80% oils of choice
20% polysorbate 80 (emulsifier)
Mix your oils together, add the polysorbate 80. Add 2% fragrance or essential oil and 1% Vitamin E.

You can choose any oils you wish - consider the oil posting for more information on the benefits, shelf life, and costs - and this is a great chance to play with some awesome fragrance or essential oils. Try citrus for uplifting, lavender & rosemary for calming and relaxing, or other blends of your choice. Mint is not a good choice for in-the-bath products - the tingle is great for some products, but not for a soaking blend!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Body scrubs - oil based.

(This is a photo of my much beloved manicure scrub. As you can see, I really need to make more!)

Making a sugar or salt scrub is fairly simple. You need two major ingredients - salt and oil at equal amounts.

97% liquid oil of choice (I love sunflower and olive oil mixed together...)
2% fragrance or essential oil
1% Vitamin E

Mix your oils together well, pour into a clean jar, then add...
100% salt

Mix well, then you're done. This will need to be mixed every time you use it. (Buy a few little spatulae from your local supply store, like Voyageur, to ensure you aren't contaminating it!)

MANICURE SCRUB - this is just my suggestion...use whatever oils you like.
40% light weight oils - sunflower, soy bean, apricot kernel, sweet almond, something really moisturizing
20% medium weight oils - jojoba oil or rice bran
20% heavy weight oils - olive oil is fantastic here!
17% exotic oils - camellia oil is fantastic in this recipe, as is shea oil.
2% fragrance or essential oils
1% Vitamin E (both for awesome-ness and for anti-oxidation of the oils)
Add 100% of the recipe weight in fine sea or dead sea salts.

Mix your oils together well, put into a container. Now add the salts. Mix well.
Wash your hands before using, so the water can be trapped in by the oil.

If you enjoyed the whipped butter post, you might want to consider turning it into a scrub, which is pretty simple. You can add pumice (for feet), jojoba or clay beads, sugar or salt, walnut shells or apricot scrubby things! Add between 30 to 100% of these scrubby ingredients to your whipped butter. (So if you have 100 grams of whipped butter, add 30 to 100 grams of the scrubby ingredients.) How much you add is all about personal choice. I like something really scrubby for my feet; not so much for my face.

For your feet, I'd suggest 100% pumice or salt, or a mixture of both. For your face - if you can tolerate all that oil! - you'd want a very light exfoliant at 30 to 50%. Something like jojoba or clay beads would be great here. For your body, 100% salt or sugar or a mixture.

Before using shells of any sort, try them out in a small amount. I have found they are very very scrubby and can be very uncomfortable for some people (like me). You can also get loofah bits and use those. I have found they aren't scrubby enough. (Yes, I'm a difficult woman. There, I've finally said it out loud!)

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS: Make your whipped butter (butter, oils, Vitamin E, and fragrance or essential oil). Now add your chosen amount of exfoliant. Whip. Package. Rejoice.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE: In the shower or bath, rub on your chosen body part and rinse. If you are using this on your feet, don't use it in the shower as you might fall down and die. Should you choose to ignore this last sentence, the court will note that I advised you not to do it, so it's not my fault.

Try a combination of the two - 10% butter of some sort, 87% oil of your choice, 2% fragrance oil, 1% Vitamin E. Heat and hold your oil and butter until melted. Then add 80 to 100% your weight of oils, etc., in salt. Now add your fragrance or essential oil and the Vitamin E. Pour into a jar and let set. This is going to be a bit thicker than your oil only scrub.

I'd recommend using fine sea salt or fine Epsom salts. Although coarser salts can look pretty cool, they don't feel all that nice when you're using it on your body. And fine Dead Sea salts are great, but as they are a humectant, mix them in with at least 50% of another salt. And remember that salt can sting open wounds or chapped areas, so keep this away from newly shaved legs or really trashed feet. Instead, choose sugar...

I find plain, everyday white sugar is a great choice. I've tried other sugars, but as sugar is a humectant and brown sugar and the other sugars are really good humectants (look at your brown sugar container to see what I mean), these tend to get very clumpy. I would suggest sugar is best kept for the whipped butter recipe - sugar can dissolve in heated ingredients, and you're going to end up with frosting (for cakes, not your body), not a scrub!

It's Saturday - why are you still sitting in front of the computer? Hie thyself to the workshop and get creating!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Exotic oils

Before you go on, if you want more detail on any oil - more detail than you see here - please visit the emollients section of the blog. There are whole posts on a lot of these oils!

Exotic oils (not a term you want to search for as I think I made it up?) are usually quite expensive (compared to carrier oils like olive or sunflower oil) but we add them in small amounts because they contain vitamins, minerals, or fatty acids our skin just loves! I'll give you some examples of how to use these oils in our creations for specific needs. I've added the shelf-life and INCI information for your reference.

A few things to note...
Essential fatty acids - these are fatty acids required by the body for growth and function that we cannot manufacture ourselves. They are are prized for their ability to replenish lipids (oils) that are found naturally within the skin layers.

Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA - an essential fatty acid (sometimes called "Vitamin F") that is not produced by the body, but is needed for healthy skin. The body uses it to manufacture prostaglandins, which are hormone like substances that balance and regular cellular activity.

Vitamin A - improves skin's texture, firmness, and smoothness. Essential for the generation and function of skin cells.

Cost scale - these prices will be higher for cold pressed or organic oils.
$ = $1 to $5 for 1 oz or 30 grams
$$ = $6 to 8 for 1 oz or 30 grams
$$$ - $8 to 12 for 1 oz or 30 grams
$$$$ - $13 for 1 oz or 30 grams

Aloe vera oil ($)
An oil based extract from the aloe vera plant in a soybean or sunflower oil base. Antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing. Contains allantoin, which is an FDA approved barrier for wind and cold chapped skin.
This is a great way to get the awesome-ness of aloe vera in an anhydrous lotion bar, serum, or manicure scrub.
Recommended usage: 1 to 50%

Borage oil ($$): INCI: Borago officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil
A very rich source of GLA (between 22 and 27%), it is known to restore moisture and smooth dry, damaged, or aging skin.
Shelf life: 9 to 10 months

Calendula ($): INCI: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (and) Calendula officinalis (Flower) Extract
Regenerative and anti-inflammatory, a great treatment for burned, irritated, inflamed, or chapped skin. Effective for aging skin.
Shelf life: 12 to 14 months

Camellia seed ($): INCI: Camellia sinensis Seed Oil
Camellia Seed Oil is very high in oleic acid, and has great anti-oxidant properties. It has been used in Japan for centuries to moisturize and condition the skin, hair and nails. Contains Vitamins A, B, and E, and is great for hair and hand care products. It is described as non-greasy, and is absorbed quickly.
Usage rate: 1 to 100%
Shelf life: 6 to 12 months

Carrot tissue oil ($): INCI: Helianthus annus (and) beta carotene
Effective for prematurely aging and dry, itchy skin. Rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, and other nutrients. Generally infused in sunflower oil. It may have an earthy scent.
Shelf life: 12 months

Comfrey oil ($ to $$): INCI: Symphytum officinale.
Comfrey oil and salve are used treatment of dry skin and chapped lips. As a note, some people have concerns about this oil on open wounds - it can sting - so use only in products that are not going to be used on open cuts or scrapes. (I'd suggest doing more research before you include comfrey oil in your products as it contains an ingredient - can't remember the name at the moment - which Health Canada doesn't like very much).

Cranberry oil ($$ to $$$): INCI Name: Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil
Cranberry seed oil is rich in antioxidants, omega 3 & 6 and Vitamin E., and can be a barrier on the skin. It contains a variety of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and selenium.

Evening primrose ($):
Contains about 10% gamma linoleic acid, and high levels of linoleic acids. Eases inflammation, has superb moisturizing qualities, and treats dry skin. Great for aging skin.
(As a side note, I use this in a moisturizer for my acne, and it feels lovely. It's a great addition at up to 10% of your oils, and it is not expensive compared to the other exotic oils.)

Neem oil ($): INCI: Neem (Melia Azadirachta) Seed Oil
An effective anti-fungal and antiseptic oil. Rich in fatty acids and glycerides.
This oil smells very funky - a bit garlicky!
Usage rate: up to 10%

Pumpkin seed oil ($): INCI Name: Cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil
High in linoleic acid, omega 3 and 6 fatty oils. Also contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium & zinc as well as vitamins A, D, B1, B2, & B6.

Rosehip oil ($): INCI: Rosa canina (rosehip) fruit oil.
Rosehip oil is very high in essential fatty acids, retinoic acid (a derivative of retinol or Vitamin A), and Vitamin C. It contains high levels of GLA, which has uses in treating eczema and psoriasis. It may treat stretch marks, wrinkles, and soften scars. It may diminish broken capillaries, but may aggravate acne or blemished skin.

Sea Buckthorn oil ($$$): INCI: Hippophae rhamnoides Oil
Used for acne, dermatitus, irritated, dry, itching skin. Great source of vitamins A, C, and E, and contains essential fatty acids and phytosterols. Rich source of various B vitamins. A good oil for hair care products or facial serums.
Usage rate: up to 10%

Shea oil ($): INCI Name: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Seed Oil
Anti-inflammatory and soothing, shea oil contains phytosterols which soothe skin. Great in lotions and shaving products. Especially good for sun care products for dry, irritated, or chapped skin.
Shelf life: up to 2 years, very stable

Squalane ($ to $$):
This is steam distilled from olive oil (squalene comes from sharks...) It is soft, silky, and non-greasy. It is absorbed into the skin very quickly, and resembles human sebum so you skin can "breathe" (allows your skin to function normally). Helpful for acne, dry scaly skin, and rashes (shaving or diaper rashes, for instance). Anti-bacterial and protects from environmental factors such as sun, cold, and pollution.
Can be used alone as a moisturizer or in other lotions or serums at 2 to 10%.

So how do you use these oils? I'll give you a few examples...

Outdoor bar - when I was formulating a bar I intended for people who might be outdoors during cold or windy times, I wanted to include aloe vera (chapping and soothing), calendula (anti-inflammatory), and evening primrose (inflammation and dry skin), on top of the other non-exotic oils. I used them at a total of 10% (4% aloe, 3% calendula, 3% evening primrose) for their qualities.

Hair care - sea buckthorn and camellia oils are my choice in my intense conditioner at a total of 10% (6% camellia and 4% sea buckthorn) because both are great moisturizers and emollients. You could use shea oil (a bit heavy, but really nice) or jojoba here (more like a wax, but good for your scalp).

Moisturizer - for a moisturizer for my acne-prone, irritated, slightly dry and aging skin I wanted to include ingredients with high GLA (evening primrose), good emolliency that would allow the normal functions of my skin (squalane), and anti-inflammatory properties (calendula). I didn't include aloe oil as I was using aloe vera juice, but I would include it here for its great properties if I weren't including the liquid. (As a note, it would seem neem oil would be a great inclusion for a moisturizer, but I couldn't get past the smell!)

Serum - if you wanted to make an anhydrous (oil-based, no water) serum for your skin, you'd want to pick a really lovely carrier oil - I'd suggest jojoba, fractionated coconut oil, or olive oil, or a combination of all three - at about 80% and add about 20% exotic oils to the mixture. If you were looking for anti-aging ingredients, you might consider rosehip oil (or for acne prone skin, evening primrose oil), sea buckthorn, carrot, and squalane in your mixture. If you were looking to soothe really dry or chapped skin, aloe oil, calendula, and shea oil. You'd only want to make a bit, as you only put a few drops on your skin with a serum! (If you wanted to be really decadent, you could use squalane as your base, then add your exotic oils on top of that.)

So as you look at the anhydrous creations we're making in the next week, think about how to incorporate your exotic oils into the mixture. Ooh, some evening primrose and shea oil would be great for my elbows right now!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bath truffles (a.k.a bath melts)

Bath melts are updated versions of those little packages of bath oils you used to get in the shapes of penguins or hearts or stars in your stocking every Christmas combined with a bath bomb. (I loved those things!) They offer moisturizing and fragrance in your tub, and are super easy and fun to make. We add the citric acid and baking soda to make them bath bomb-y, and the butters make them emollient.

1 part citric acid
2 parts cocoa or shea butter
3 parts baking soda

16% citric acid
32% cocoa or shea or mango butter
48% baking soda
1 to 2% fragrance oil

Melt the cocoa or shea butter in a heat proof container in a double boiler until liquid. Remove from the double boiler, then add the baking soda and citric acid and stir well. Add oil soluble colouring (for instance, powdered chocolate colouring or micas), and fragrance oil. Pour into molds and let set. If you can set them in the fridge, all the better: They'll be harder sooner, and, if you're using all cocoa butter, they will get a lovely shine that makes them look even more chocolate-y.

(As you'll remember from the butters post, shea butter isn't as hard as cocoa butter, so making these with all shea or mango butter will make them softer. I recommend using a 50-50 mix so you can ensure your melts will be hard enough to package and transport. Or feel free to use only cocoa butter. It's less expensive than shea or mango butter, and it is very moisturizing in the tub.)

You can use melt & pour soap or chocolate molds or silicone ice cube trays for these bath melts, but please make sure you don't use those molds for future edible projects (if you are fragrancing your melts). Ideally, a 100 gram batch would make 5 - 20 grams bath melts. You don't want to use more than 1 or 2 per bath because you don't want to get a ring around the tub!

Melt, colour, and fragrance some cocoa butter and dip in the hardened melts to make them look like truffles. Or you can melt, colour, and fragrance your cocoa butter and drizzle it over top.

Anything you can do with chocolate, you can do with your bath truffles. You can roll them in coloured fine sea or Epsom salts to look like sugar. You can pour them in layers, then cut them to make them look like layered mints or tiger butter.

Package these in candy foils to make them look tasty! But label them very clearly with DO NOT EAT because someone is going to try to eat the wonderful smelling treats you've made!

AS A NOTE... Bath melts will make your bathtub slippery, so you can add an emulsifier to this mixture. You can add something like emulsifying wax at 4% (I do have an emulsification post coming up, so if you're not sure about it, then wait until I post that next week!) and reduce your butters to 28%.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Whipped butters

I'm going to be honest...this is a picture of a green tea sugar scrub, but it looks a lot like a whipped cocoa-mango butter, so I included it. I really need to take more pictures when I make products, eh?

Whipped butters are anhydrous (they do not contain water) and they are super easy to make if you have a double boiler and a hand or stand mixer with a whipping attachment. Buying whipped butters in a store will cost you a fortune, but making your own is a really affordable decadence that doesn't take a lot of money and even fewer supplies!

Because this is an anhydrous product, you do not need to add preservative to the mixture. You may, however, want to add Vitamin E to delay rancidity. If you do this, add 1% Vitamin E in place of 1% of the oil.

If you want to know more about butters, click here for the previous post.
If you want to know more about oils, click here for the previous post.

80% hard butter
19% oils
1% fragrance oil or essential oil

Weigh the butter and oils in a heatproof container and put into the double boiler until softened. Add your fragrance or essential oil and whip until fluffy. This might take a while, but it's worth it. With a spatula, put into a clean jar.

As with all recipes, think about what you want in a whipped butter. You can combine pretty much any oil and butter for a whipped butter, and some do not need heating.

80% shea butter
19% oil (I recommend shea oil or fractionated coconut oil, but you can choose any oil you like)
1% fragrance oil or essential oil

Blend the shea butter and oil together with your mixer until whipped. Package. Enjoy.

80% mango butter
19% oil
1% fragrance or essential oil.

Melt the mango butter and oil slightly, then remove from the double boiler and mix with your whisks until whipped. Package.

You can try many variations with butters and oils. Although cocoa butter is a great choice, you won't want to use it as the only butter as it goes very hard and will be difficult to spread on your skin. If you are using any hard butters, use 1/2 hard butter, 1/2 softer butter for a nice whipped consistency.

40% cocoa butter
40% other butter (aloe butter is a great choice here because it is so soft, but you can use shea or mango)
19% oils
1% fragrance or essential oil

Melt the cocoa butter completely, then add the mango butter and oil to the melted cocoa butter and begin to mix. As the cocoa butter is liquid now, you might want to put it in the fridge or freezer for a few moments until the edges start to harden. Remove from fridge or freezer, add fragrance oil, then whisk until it is fully whipped. Package.

Try a whipped butter with avocado, olive, almond or other butter and see what you think! And don't forget about your wonderful exotic oils! (Will be posted March 20th).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cookie & cupcake decorating links

(As a note, I have no idea what is going on with the fonts in this post! Sorry about the mess!)

Sorry for the chaos in the group today. I usually get there early, get organized, and gear up for a wonderful class. Because of my dead car battery, I didn't have a chance to do that today. I appreciate all the help everyone offered today, and I promise there will be a big thank you in the next group!


3 tablespoons Meringue Powder

4 cups (about 1lb.) confectioners' sugar (454 grams)

6 tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

*When using large countertop mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

Thinned Royal Icing: To thin for pouring on to cookies, add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Use grease-free spoon or spatula to stir slowly. Add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until you reach proper consistency. (What is the proper consistency? Hold a teaspoon of the mixture over a cup and let it drip off. It should re-incorporate into the icing in the cup by a count of 10!)

Using a #2 tip, outline the cookie in the stiffer consistency icing.

Fill the cookie using the thin icing and a spoon.

As a note, there are great pictures on the Wilton website for these cookies!

Some basics...
How to fill and use the piping bag
Decorating Cookies!
Cake decorating basics!
How to Eat a Cupcake - awesome recipes and ideas!
Cupcake Bake Shop
Hi-Hat Cupcakes at Martha Stewart - very challenging, and ignore the stupid video (turn your sound down!)

How to make cream cheese cherry filling (or other flavoured fillings!)
1 - 8oz package of cream cheese (regular, not light!)
1 tin of pie filling (any flavour) - about 500 ml
Cream the cream cheese until it is soft. Leave it out of the fridge to get soft before using.
Then blend up the pie filling until the berries or bits are blended. We used a food processor -- you can use a blender or chopper here.
Mix together. Put into piping bag with a berliner tip on it (some call it an eclair tip) and pipe into your cupcakes!

I hope you enjoying decorating the cakes (and then, of course, eating them!) As a note, did you know that you can get almost 80 mini cupcakes from one box of cake mix? (So 3 mini cupcakes work out to about 1 large cupcake...with more icing! Which is always a bonus!) And don't forget to bake the cupcakes at about 2/3 of the time as the large cupcakes -- so for a recipe calling for 17 minutes for a regular cupcake, try it at 12 minutes or you'll burn them!

Lotion bars

This is the first in a series of posts about anhydrous products. What are anhydrous products? It means "without water", and they are products made with oil soluble ingredients. Because they don't contain water you don't need to use a preservative (although I suggest 0.5% to 1% Vitamin E to keep the oils from going rancid), and you can usually package them in something other than a bottle (like a chocolate foil, bag, or tin). You also don't have to worry about emulsification (bringing oil and water together) because all your ingredients are in one phase (oil being one phase, water being another).

Oil based ingredients are pretty obvious - oils, butters, essential oils, fragrance oils - and include silicones, as well. When buying an ingredient, check the INCI or the information from the supplier to see if it is oil soluble. Water based ingredients would be things like water, glycerin, aloe vera, hydrosols, and surfactants. So you can't include those things in your anhydrous products. (Again, you can find oil based aloe vera oil or butters, so that's not to say you can't find things that might work well with an oil based product.)

What happens if you mix a water based thing into an oil based thing? You will get separation. Oil and water don't like each other (check your salad dressing to see this in action). If you add a water based thing - glycerin - to an oil based thing - shea butter - it will eventually seep out as the water and oil repel each other (this isn't exactly true, but it's easier to explain it this way...)

As I've noted above, you can include essential and fragrance oils into your anhydrous products without effort, but colouring can be a pain. (I'm doing a post on colouring in the future, but you will need to use oil based or powdered colours. Food colouring or icing colouring is right out!) So if you use water based colours, they will sit there in little watery balls in amongst your whipped butter or lotion bar - it's not pleasant to look at, and when the watery ball touches someone's skin, it's going to leave a big mark.

What exactly are lotion bars? They are solid, oil and butter based (anhydrous) bars made with beeswax, liquid oil, and butter. You melt, fragrance, then pour them into a mold or something like a deodorant container or tin and use them to seal in moisture wherever you need it. I think of them as giant lip balms for your body!

A basic recipe for lotion bars...
33% beeswax
33% liquid oils
33% solid butter
1% fragrance oil

Weigh all three ingredients in equal amounts in a Pyrex jug, then heat until all the solids have melted. Add 1% fragrance oil (by weight) and pour into a mold or deodorant container. Let set. Use. Rejoice.

This is a fairly basic recipe and the lovely thing is that you can tweak it to your heart's content, using a variety of oils and butters. (Check out the posts on oils and butters to see what would work for you!)

For your first bar, try something really basic and use that as an example bar of what you want. Try sunflower, safflower, or soy bean oil (all available at the grocery store) with cocoa butter and beeswax. This will give you a good baseline for what a basic lotion bar feels like.

The hardness of your butters is important here. If you use all cocoa butter in your lotion bar, you're going to have a very hard bar. If you use all shea butter in your bar, you will have a softer bar. So consider how soft you want your bar to be. A softer bar will be squishier, but will definitely melt at body temperature (great for a massage bar).

For an after bath bar, I'd choose...
  • sunflower oil - a great emollient (about 20% of the bar)
  • hempseed oil - I can use this in a lotion bar as I'll be using it quickly, and it is fabulous for my skin (about 13%). I will need to add 1% Vitamin E in this bar for sure!
  • cocoa butter - it lays down a protective barrier to trap in moisture
For a foot lotion bar....
  • avocado butter or avocado oil - a heavy oil great for really dry and chapped areas
  • mango butter - if I use 33% mango butter, it'll be quite soft, but very emollient
  • avocado butter & mango butter (equal amounts) - a quite soft, but emollient bar
For my lips...
  • olive oil - a great humectant (draws water from the atmosphere) about 1/2 the oils amount
  • aloe oil - a great healing oil (not making a claim here, but it is awfully good!)
  • aloe butter - the goodness of aloe in a butter - but very very soft (about 15%)
  • cocoa butter - to harden the bar and offer great emolliency
You can add anything you like to a lotion bar recipe, as long as it is oil soluble. So hydrosols, water, aloe vera liquid, and other water soluble ingredients are right out! Hunt around for butters and oils. I've recently picked up aloe butter and aloe oil, so I can have the goodness of aloe in an anhydrous bar.

MY FAVOURITE LOTION BAR RECIPE28% beeswax - to harden the bar
10% fractionated coconut oil - this is a very light oil, very emollient
25% sunflower oil - conditioning for the skin
3% rice bran oil - high in Vitamin E
30% mango butter - creamy and emollient
2% IPM - (an ester) IPM helps greasy things feel less greasy and sinks in quickly
2% cyclomethicone - this silicone helps with the glide
2% vitamin E - to prevent rancidity and good for my skin
1% FO

Melt all but the cyclomethicone and fragrance oil in a heat proof container in your double boiler. When all the ingredients have melted, add the cyclomethicone and fragrance oil, then pour into a mold or twist up deodorant container. Let set. Use!

This is a bar intended to start melting at your body temperature, that's why I used all mango butter.

  • Packaging: Wrap them in foil and label them, then present in a nice cellophane bag.
  • Chocolate molds and silicone ice cube trays are great for molding lotion bars!
  • Packaging: Find some nice tins for portability!
  • Make sure you label your lotion bars so you know which one you loved best or so your giftee knows what they are getting! Please note on your labels that these are NOT EDIBLE even if they are adorable and smell great. (A co-worker tried to eat one I scented with pecan praline!)
Lotion bars are incredibly easy to make and wonderful to use. They're portable and non-liquid, so they're great for long flights or camping trips. Play with the butters and oils to find a recipe your skin loves!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oils: A short guide

May I suggest visiting the emollients section of the blog instead of just reading this page? I've written posts on every oil I've ever used, which you can find there, as well as posts on all the things you'll find in oils, like phytosterols and polyphenols, and comparison charts for all the oils and butters. This page is a good summary, but the emollients section of the blog will give you far more information! 

Almost every question you can think of asking me about oils will be found there. I'm not kidding! Check out the emollients section of the blog! now! 

It is great fun tweaking a recipe to suit your needs, and knowing your oils is a great way to make a creation your own. You can extend the shelf life of your oils by adding up to 0.5% Vitamin E to your creations or to the oils themselves. Unsaturated oils - meaning those with a double bond - will go rancid more quickly than saturated oils. The oils we use in bath & body products are called "carrier oils" (at the suppliers' sites) and they are all unsaturated oils. (Some of the butters will be saturated, but for the most part, you are going to be using unsaturated, liquid oils in your creations.)

(Why does something go rancid? For more information, click here!)

When you are considering your oils, think about the following...
  • What do I want in a moisturizing lotion or bar? If you are looking for help with dry, cracked skin, you will use different oils than if you are looking for anti-inflammatory oils that might help with acne.
  • How long is the shelf life of the oil? Hempseed oil, for instance, is fantastic stuff, but if it is going to be rancid in 3 months, it might not be ideal for something you are going to take a long time to use.
  • How much does the oil cost? If you find something you simply have to have, then use it! But if you are going to be using a lot of something, consider the cost when tweaking a recipe.
When reading this oil list, please note the following:
Light, medium, or heavy weight - this indicates how it feels on your skin
Low, medium, high - this indicates the comedoegenity of the oil, more relevant for facial products

This list is not the end all and be all of oils...it's meant to be a starting point to introduce you to the basic oils you'll find in your suppliers' inventory and introduce you to the various properties, in addition to cost and feel, you might want to consider when choosing your oils. Please feel free to e-mail or comment if you have some oils or qualities of oils I've forgotten! (As for my favourites...well, you'll learn more about those in the coming days!)

Finally, you can purchase a lot of these oils at the grocery or health food store. If you do, assume you have no more than a 6 month shelf life as you do not know how long they have been on the shelves. For something like hempseed oil that has been kept in a refrigerator, assume 3 months.

Finally finally...Let's say you find a killer recipe on the 'net for something like lotion, but you don't have the oils they suggest. You can substitute a similar weight oil for another, so check out this list to see what would work for the weight. For instance, let's say a recipe suggests apricot kernel oil: You could substitute sunflower, safflower, soy bean, or another light oil. Or if it calls for avocado oil...substitute olive or castor oil. (Most of the time recipes are formulated by a company to use many different ingredients so you'll buy more -- I know, it's shocking! -- or by people like me who only have so many products on hand or who have a preferred oil.) Substituting one oil for another may change the feeling of the recipe (especially if you go for a "dry" oil like hazelnut), but for the most part it won't mess up any of the emulsification (more on this another day) and it won't mess up the preservatives.

Apricot kernel oil - light weight, low comedogenity
Good for dry, sensitive, mature skin, or really any type of skin. This penetrates quickly without an oily feeling. High in oleic and linoleic acids.
Shelf life: 6 to 9 months.

Avocado oil - heavy weight, low.
Good for sensitive, dehydrated, cracked, and maturing skin. High in Vitamins A, B1, B2, B5 (panthothenic acid), minerals, protein, lecithin, and fatty acids. Improves skin elasticity. Great for feet.
Shelf life: about 1 year.

Castor oil - heavy weight, low
A humectant, it attracts and retains moisture to the skin. It is a thick, viscous oil, soothing and lubricating, and it is absorbed quickly. It is good for muscle aches. It acts as a barrier agent.
Shelf life: about 1 year.

Fractionated coconut oil - very light weight (technically, this is an ester)
Absorbed by the skin well and doesn't stain clothing or sheets. Great for hair care products.
Shelf life: more than 1 year

Grapeseed oil - light weight
A slightly astringent oil good for hypoallergenic applications, massage oils, and facial moisturizers.
Shelf life: 3 to 6 months

Hempseed oil - light to medium weight (if it is refined or unrefined)
Protects skin, offers anti-inflammatory properties. With a high content of fatty acids, it resembles the body's natural sebum, making it great for acne prone skin. It is quickly absorbed into the skin. It contains ceramides, which protect the skin. Very high in gamma linolenic acid.
Shelf life: under 3 months (store in the refrigerator and always add Vitamin E to any creation with hempseed oil.)

Hazelnut oil - light weight
Not great for mature, aging skin but good for oily skin due to its astringent properties. Highly penetrative and nutritive to skin and hair. Very high in fatty acids. (If you have full blown acne on your face, odds are good you have reduced linoleic acid levels, which means this isn't a great oil for your skin.)
Shelf life: 6 to 9 months.

Jojoba oil - light to medium weight
Great for premature aging and wrinkling skin and sensitive or oily skin. Anti-inflammatory, bactericidal properties. Adds denseness to skin lubricants as it is a liquid wax. It resembles human sebum, and is great for hair care and facial products.
Shelf life: over 1 year.

Macademia nut oil - medium weight, low comedogenity
Resembles the skin's sebum, so great for facial applications.
Shelf life: 9 to 12 months.

Olive oil - heavy weight
Acts as a humectant, attracting external moisture. Good for inflamed skin. Does not block the natural functions of the skin, and could be good for cell regeneration.
Shelf life: 1 year.

Rice bran oil - medium weight
Good for sensitive, mature, or aging skin. A great emollient with softening and moisturizing properties. High in fatty acids, Vitamin E complex, phytosterols, polyphenols, and squalene. It contains the highest amount of Vitamin E in all the natural oils. Can act as an anti-oxidant for other oils.
Shelf life: 1 year

Safflower oil - light weight, low
Great for mature or damaged skin, should be the first consideration when creating a moisturizing lotion. High in Vitamins A, D & E, lecithin, and omega 9. Can offer cell regenerating properties and excellent skin peentration.
Shelf life: 3 to 6 months.

Sesame oil - light to medium weight, low
Rich in fatty acids, Vitamins B & E, calcium, magnesium & phosphorus. A good emollient, it restructures and moisturizes skin. Great for massage oils as it does not stain clothes or sheets.
Shelf life: 6 to 9 months

Soy bean oil - light weight, medium comedogenity
Good carrier oil with 60% unsaturated fatty acids. A source of Vitamin E. (As this is a very low cost oil, consider this as the backbone of a lotion bar or other oil based product).
Shelf life: 6 to 9 months

Sunflower oil - light weight, low comedogenity
Great for mature, dry, sensitive, or damaged skin. High in essential fatty acids. Offers moisturizing, cell regeneration, and conditioning for the skin. Great for recipes designed to treat dry, weathered, aged, or damaged skin. Lays down a slightly oily protective layer on the skin that resists rancidity. (As a note, look for high oleic sunflower oil as this has a longer shelf life).
Shelf life: 6 to 9 months.

Sweet almond oil - light weight, low comedogenity
An excellent emollient and softener. It is lubricating, but not penetrating. Good for skin that is very dry or inflamed.
Rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and E.
Shelf life: 6 to 9 months.

There's a few basics to get you started for our project tomorrow -- lotion bars!