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Topic: Emulsify, Stabilize, Clarify. Lotion?  (Read 1009 times)
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luna*doll
« on: August 20, 2008 08:15:42 AM »

Emulsifiers and Stabilizers...how important are they in lotion/body butter making?

(Wait::before you scream IMPORTANT...read on, please!)

First off: I don't mind a two week shelf life. I'm completely over dry skin and as wholesome, basic, and nourishing as I can get is the goal.

Second:
If I'm mixing coconut oil, shea butter, some oil fragrance and various other oils and butters to create a lotion, how important is an emulsifier? Seems unnecessary, without any water based ingredients.

Third:
Stabilizing oil based products? Would the oils separate without it?

All info is appreciated. I can't seem to think of any water-based products I'd be using in a lotion, as I'm wanting to keep ingredients minimal, without the  use of scary sounding things like "stearic acid" and "polysorbate 20"....

Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2008 08:23:56 AM »

i may not be much help here but i made myself some body butter/lotion from cocoa butter, sunflower oil (it's what i had to hand) and a little water
this was about 2 months ago and the stuff i have left if just fine
the stuff blended well and once it was completely cooled the excess water just poured away
i knew i had to add water to make it more lotiony but not how much, so i just added some, gave it a good mix and let it be
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2008 09:43:36 AM »

If your recipe uses all oils and butters, I am happy to say that you probably don't need a preservative!  Smiley However, your hands should be clean while using it, can germs will be spread this way.
Emulsifiers and Stabilizers...how important are they in lotion/body butter making?

(Wait::before you scream IMPORTANT...read on, please!)

First off: I don't mind a two week shelf life. I'm completely over dry skin and as wholesome, basic, and nourishing as I can get is the goal.

Second:
If I'm mixing coconut oil, shea butter, some oil fragrance and various other oils and butters to create a lotion, how important is an emulsifier? Seems unnecessary, without any water based ingredients.

Third:
Stabilizing oil based products? Would the oils separate without it?

All info is appreciated. I can't seem to think of any water-based products I'd be using in a lotion, as I'm wanting to keep ingredients minimal, without the  use of scary sounding things like "stearic acid" and "polysorbate 20"....

Thanks!
Also, the oils won't "separate" because there are no water based products, just stir it well. However, because there isn't any water in your recipe, it will be A LOT thicker, but also more moisturizing.  It should last 2 weeks to a couple months.  This depends on your oils' shelf life.  One last note, don't be afraid of weird sounding things like stearic acid and polysorbate 20!  If you are making emulsified lotions, they will help you.  Quite a lot.  Polysorbate 20 could probably be substituted with emulsifying wax, though.  I'm new to lotions too, but I'm learning!  I'm waiting for my order to get in to make lotion bars.  Good luck!
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2008 09:57:07 AM »

If there's no water involved, it is not technically a lotion, it is a body butter and you are correct, you don't need an emulsifier. Emulsifiers, by definition keep water and oils combined.

If you are making a water based product and don't care if it separates and you have to shake it, you keep it in the fridge and don't sell it, it's probably ok to not use an emulsifier...althou gh I don't think it would be a good product, it technically would be like pouring water and oil into your hand and rubbing.

I'm not sure what you mean by stabilizer? Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and will improve the shelf life by decreasing the oxidation process of your all-oil products. Your oils really shouldn't separate for any reason I can think of. I'm assuming the end product will be a semi-solid body butter type thing? It can always get wonky in extreme heat or cold, but you should be fine. Are you planning on melting everything together or just whipping it? If you just whip it maybe some of the liquid oils could leak back out I guess....

Stearic acid really isn't scary, or a weird chemical (if it's vegetable based). Hopefully I'm not butchering my chemistry, but it is just one of the fatty acid chains that make up oils. It is also called palm stearic and is basically the thick parts that are in heavy butters like shea, etc. If you look on a saponifying chart, you will see that shea, cocoa, etc have high amounts of stearic acid. So if you add the palm stearic to a body butter it is a thickening agent. (I can't vouch for how it's extracted from the butters though, it could be a chemical process or more natural)

And, of course, if you do add water to a product you need to know that without a preservative it may grow mold and other yuckies (again, keep in fridge for personal use may be ok for a short term)

Personally, for dry skin I would recommend unrefined shea butter whipped with a bit of light carrier oil (sunflower, sweet almond, etc) at about 85:15-ratio with lavender essential oil. Also for a kick@ss rash balm, use this plus a little tea tree oil. I have contact dermititis (I basically break out in a rash from everything that touches my skin) plus am really allergic to bug bites and this stuff is awesome. I used it when I was studying in Costa Rica, and actually left some with my teacher, who was a local,  because he loved it and the stuff worked so well on bug bites.

I wouldn't really ever consider coconut oil as a "lotion" oil, but that just might be me.
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luna*doll
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2008 08:24:49 AM »

Well, I suppose it doesn't need to be said I'm a newbie at this.... Tongue
I had done a whole lot of reading on making lotions and absolutely *all* the websites insisted that emulsifers and stabilizers were necessary.

However, I knew I'd seen some recipe's about on here that didn't involve the things these sites insisted...

I think the point of "stabilizers" are to increase shelf life and none of the ingredients "freak out"...i suppose. (I have no clue how'd they'd "freak out", but it seems all things in the cabinet can have strange ways of going wonky...Huh)

Coconut oil was picked up at the store in a desperate attempt to fix a set of Sahara Desert legs...Of course in the contents of the jar was solid, upon arriving home did I find them to be totally oil. It's currently being used as an immediate after-shower oil in hopes of saving whatever moisture is there from escaping!

The ultimate goal is to create a penetrating, moisturizing, healing lotion. A body butter that does more than sit on the skin, basically.

All of your replies are greatly appreciated and have been helpful! I'll continue picking up goodies from the market and experimenting around here!
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jmk3482
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2008 04:07:25 PM »

Look into jojoba oil. It is very similar in chemical structure to the oil produced by your own skin and it absorbs quickly. You can use it plain or in any of your butters or lotions.
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