How do you make your lotions?

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Arimara

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I've read somewhere that a few you home lotion makers heat up up your oil and your water phases in one container. I was curious as to how that's panning out for you?
 

cmzaha

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I did but do not anymore, since I no longer heat and hold. After a lot of reading and researching I find some bacteria actually activates when the temp gets up to 170º F or so. I now melt my oils and heat half the distilled water to emulsify with. After it emulsifies I add in the balance of cold water to get it cooling down. My bucket is also in an ice bath to facilitate cool down as quickly as possible. My preservative, LGP, has to be added no higher than 122º F and I want my lotion cooling as quickly as possible.

When I first made lotion I was taught to put it all together, heat and hold 20 min then SB. I never had a fail, but I like this other method better. You will need to weigh your total filled container weight because you will have water loss even with the all in one method. The theory was that the oil on top would keep it from evaporating but it does not.
 

Arimara

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When I made my creams and lotions (all small batches), I kept everything separate but I remembered hearing that a few hobbyists added all of the ingredients into a single container for heat and hold. I decided to try it once and I did. Product was okay and all but after using that method, I see why I like using 2 or 3 containers when I make lotions. In a way, I have more control, especially in regards to the oils since I prefer things to be heated to about 160 F in general.
 

Aline

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Goodness, I have never heard of heating everything together. And re heat and hold: surely the potential microbes would be in the water, not the oil, so doesn't it make more sense to simply boil the water first?
 

DeeAnna

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The point of heating the oils and emulsifier and other oil soluble ingredients (in addition to sanitation) is to help with the formation of micelles. Micelles are the structures that form when oil and emulsifiers get cozy with each other and interact chemically. The heat and hold step gives the oils and emulsifier the time and energy they need to form micelles efficiently before they also have to interact with the water phase. This will help ensure the lotion will stay reliably emulsified during the life of the product.

I know you can heat and hold the water phase + oil phase in one container if you want -- the oil phase will mostly float on top of the water, so they stay more-or-less separated during the heating stage even if in the same container. I'm not comfortable with this, however, so I stick with the 2 container method. Be sure to account for evaporation losses of the water just as if you were doing a 2-container heat-and-hold method.
 

Arimara

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Noted, Aline and DeeAnna. I know boiling water is best, generally speaking, and warming oils, I've found that smoke points cannot be ignored. I'm glad to learn that the "one container" method is acceptable but it doesn't sound like the preferred method (don't mind, really). Let me not get presumptuous though. :)

Dahila- I'm such a slow typist. XD
 

Barbsbreakingbath

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I used some recipes from WSP. The preservative was optiphen plus. Their recipes don't do heat and hold at all- they say to melt the wax in the distilled water, then melt your oils/butters in the distilled water/wax mixture, sick blend, and add preservative. I didn't realize this was incorrect, although I will note that b the time you melt everything, you've been heating for a while (I use a double boiler). However, I've stopped making lotions for now because I want to reformulate, and also get anti microbial and challenge testing done. I will research the heat and hold method, although I can't believe that it would be good for fragile oils like hemp oil.
 

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I always heat my oil phase (all waxes and oils except eo's) in one bowl, water phase in a separate bowl. When ready, they're blended together. When fully emulsified, any additives and preservatives are added. That's how I was taught to make it well over 10 years ago and how I still make it. One of my go to books for creams and lotions is "Making Aromatherapy Creams and Lotions" by Donna Maria.

Until I read about the heat and hold method here, I'd never heard of it.
 
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DeeAnna

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Barb -- I wouldn't say that the "no heat and hold" method" is wrong. If you trust the performance of your emulsifier and trust your preservative to kill cooties for as long as your lotion is being used, the "no HnH" methods might be fine. It's just that the HnH method has two advantages over the other methods -- it sanitizes ingredients so the preservative will be effective for a long time and it helps ensure the emulsion is stable and long lasting. In a production environment with routine sanitation practices and consistent production methods, it's entirely reasonable that the no HnH methods work fine. For me as a hobbyist who only occasionally makes lotions, the HnH method gives me extra peace of mind that my lotion will be stable and long lasting.
 

dixiedragon

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I have never done HnH and now that I've read swiftcraftymonkey's post, I think I want to try it. I make small batches of lotion - 20 oz total. I am thinking of getting 2 2-cup glass measuring cups, putting water in one and oils in the other. Would it be better to put them in a pot of water on the stove or in a crockpot with some water in it?

For HnHers, what is your process?
 

cmzaha

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I have never done HnH and now that I've read swiftcraftymonkey's post, I think I want to try it. I make small batches of lotion - 20 oz total. I am thinking of getting 2 2-cup glass measuring cups, putting water in one and oils in the other. Would it be better to put them in a pot of water on the stove or in a crockpot with some water in it?

For HnHers, what is your process?
I am still looking on my computer the articles I have been reading about the heat and hold method and how there are some very dangerous bacteria only come alive and the heat and hold temp and above. The cool down has made me nervous for it to sit and wait to get to my LGP's working temp, so I go with the recommendation to only use half the water after it gets to approx 150º then add in the balance of water cold to hasten cool down. Somewhere I read on Susan's heat and hold method that she is starting to rethink the heat and hold.

I am certainly not telling anyone to change their method my any means. Using the all in one method you do still heat and hold. There is a lot of info out there and I guarantee it is good and bad just like soap info
 

DeeAnna

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Are you thinking of thermophilic bacteria, Carolyn? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermophile If there are some obligate thermophilic bacteria in one's ingredients, the lotion would have to stay within their required temp range for them to thrive, but HnH doesn't last all that long and these bacteria can't deal with normal room temperatures. The others that are less picky about temperature (the facultative thermophiles) -- well, if they survive a HnH process, then a good preservative should take over. HnH cannot kill all microorganisms -- the point of HnH (and other sanitary manufacturing practices) is to reduce the number of cooties. If you have a way to ensure the microbe count is acceptably low without using HnH, then that works too.

That's why a broad spectrum preservative is also important -- it takes over after HnH and other sanitary practices are done. I get the feeling that some people are of the opinion to just let the preservative do all the work, but that's not necessarily the best idea. A preservative is a like a battery in a flashlight -- you can use up a lot all at once, or you can use up a little bit over a long time, but it can only do so much. When the battery runs out of juice or when the preservative is gone, it's gone. I want my preservative to last a long time, so I want my microbe count to be at a minimum when I make the lotion. I make lotion and soap in my kitchen -- I don't have a dedicated work space that I can keep as sanitary as I would like -- so HnH makes sense to me.

Pasteurization of milk is based on the same principle -- reduce the number of microbes to a low level and then use refrigeration to control the growth to a minimum. It doesn't STOP microbial growth, but it slows microbial growth to a safe amount over the lifetime of the product.

Again ... I'm not trying to say HnH is the only reasonable way to make a lotion. I'm just trying to explain why one might want to use this method, so people can make informed choices. Y'all have to make your own decisions about what is best for you.
 
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Soapmaker145

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I am still looking on my computer the articles I have been reading about the heat and hold method and how there are some very dangerous bacteria only come alive and the heat and hold temp and above. The cool down has made me nervous for it to sit and wait to get to my LGP's working temp, so I go with the recommendation to only use half the water after it gets to approx 150º then add in the balance of water cold to hasten cool down. Somewhere I read on Susan's heat and hold method that she is starting to rethink the heat and hold.

I am certainly not telling anyone to change their method my any means. Using the all in one method you do still heat and hold. There is a lot of info out there and I guarantee it is good and bad just like soap info
The "dangerous bacteria" that come alive with heat is present in the form of spores. Spores are just about everywhere including in oils. They can be looked at as inactive or dormant bacteria that can't be killed by heat. The way to get rid of them is to heat the oils and let them cool for few days then repeat the heat and hold. The first heating activates the spores and they start growing. Once they are actively growing, they become susceptible to heat. The second heating kills them so the end product has a significantly reduced bacterial count.

The question really boils down to: is it necessary to do a double heating? It all depends on the quality of the starting oils and how strong a preservative you end up using. It also depends on the final bacterial count you want in the product. My vote is to reduce the bacterial count from the start since the product is going to sit at room temp for weeks or months.
 

Barbsbreakingbath

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Heat and Hold Now Im curious

Barb -- I wouldn't say that the "no heat and hold" method" is wrong. If you trust the performance of your emulsifier and trust your preservative to kill cooties for as long as your lotion is being used, the "no HnH" methods might be fine. It's just that the HnH method has two advantages over the other methods -- it sanitizes ingredients so the preservative will be effective for a long time and it helps ensure the emulsion is stable and long lasting. In a production environment with routine sanitation practices and consistent production methods, it's entirely reasonable that the no HnH methods work fine. For me as a hobbyist who only occasionally makes lotions, the HnH method gives me extra peace of mind that my lotion will be stable and long lasting.
Since I don't plan to give away any lotions for several months, I might experiment- get a few of the microbial test kits from Lotion Crafters and test a lotion made with h and h vs a lotion made with what I call the Heat and Dump method. Using the same ingredients, conditions, preservatives, etc.
I think H and H would be really helpful if you use a lot of butters in your lotions. I often take them out over and over for different products, and some of them are kept in plastic bags, not sealed jars.
I never use the same bottle of distilled water for lotion twice, unless I'm making 2 batches a day or so apart. Water is cheap enough, so why risk it?
I do agree with you, those of us kitchen manufacturers need all the help with sanitation that we can get.
 

cmzaha

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Are you thinking of thermophilic bacteria, Carolyn? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermophile If there are some obligate thermophilic bacteria in one's ingredients, the lotion would have to stay within their required temp range for them to thrive, but HnH doesn't last all that long and these bacteria can't deal with normal room temperatures. The others that are less picky about temperature (the facultative thermophiles) -- well, if they survive a HnH process, then a good preservative should take over. HnH cannot kill all microorganisms -- the point of HnH (and other sanitary manufacturing practices) is to reduce the number of cooties. If you have a way to ensure the microbe count is acceptably low without using HnH, then that works too.

That's why a broad spectrum preservative is also important -- it takes over after HnH and other sanitary practices are done. I get the feeling that some people are of the opinion to just let the preservative do all the work, but that's not necessarily the best idea. A preservative is a like a battery in a flashlight -- you can use up a lot all at once, or you can use up a little bit over a long time, but it can only do so much. When the battery runs out of juice or when the preservative is gone, it's gone. I want my preservative to last a long time, so I want my microbe count to be at a minimum when I make the lotion. I make lotion and soap in my kitchen -- I don't have a dedicated work space that I can keep as sanitary as I would like -- so HnH makes sense to me.

Pasteurization of milk is based on the same principle -- reduce the number of microbes to a low level and then use refrigeration to control the growth to a minimum. It doesn't STOP microbial growth, but it slows microbial growth to a safe amount over the lifetime of the product.

Again ... I'm not trying to say HnH is the only reasonable way to make a lotion. I'm just trying to explain why one might want to use this method, so people can make informed choices. Y'all have to make your own decisions about what is best for you.
thankyou for the info. I may very well still decide to heat and hold but I do think I will go with half cold water to cool it down faster. With cold water and an ice bath I can get it down to my preservatives requirement quickly. I do appreciate the info.

The "dangerous bacteria" that come alive with heat is present in the form of spores. Spores are just about everywhere including in oils. They can be looked at as inactive or dormant bacteria that can't be killed by heat. The way to get rid of them is to heat the oils and let them cool for few days then repeat the heat and hold. The first heating activates the spores and they start growing. Once they are actively growing, they become susceptible to heat. The second heating kills them so the end product has a significantly reduced bacterial count.

The question really boils down to: is it necessary to do a double heating? It all depends on the quality of the starting oils and how strong a preservative you end up using. It also depends on the final bacterial count you want in the product. My vote is to reduce the bacterial count from the start since the product is going to sit at room temp for weeks or months.
Spores were mentioned but not the double heat and hold. That does makes sense to my tiny brain. Thankyou for the info. I am definitely going to double heat my raw shea which I do not necessarily trust to be as clean and sanitary as I would like. Might ruin some of the properties of the shea but oh well, better to be safe.
 

Aline

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The point of heating the oils and emulsifier and other oil soluble ingredients (in addition to sanitation) is to help with the formation of micelles. Micelles are the structures that form when oil and emulsifiers get cozy with each other and interact chemically. The heat and hold step gives the oils and emulsifier the time and energy they need to form micelles efficiently before they also have to interact with the water phase. This will help ensure the lotion will stay reliably emulsified during the life of the product.
Ah, I didn't know that Dee Anna. I use BTMS emulsifier and haven't noticed any separation of old lotions but that is definitely something I will be looking into...
 

Soapmaker145

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I am definitely going to double heat my raw shea which I do not necessarily trust to be as clean and sanitary as I would like. Might ruin some of the properties of the shea but oh well, better to be safe.
I believe most Shea if not all is heated during processing and for a lot longer than you would heat it when making lotion. I don't think any additional heating will affect its properties. A general rule of thumb: the less processed an oil or butter is, the higher the microbial count.
 

IrishLass

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I've always done the double heat-n-hold (water phase/oil phase) for all the reasons DeeAnna mentioned.

My chosen H&H method utilizes sanitized canning jars (I use StarSan to sanitize them), and a tall soup pot of boiling water, with a round cake cooling rack on the bottom of the pot to keep my jars from touching the bottom.

Basically, I place my oil phase ingredients in one jar, and my water phase ingredients in another jar. And I also have a 3rd jar that holds extra distilled water just in case there is any evaporation/water loss in my water phase during the H&H.

All 3 jars get covered tightly with foil, then I insert a (sanitized) thermometer through the foil covering of the oil phase jar and another one into the water phase jar before placing all 3 jars into my boiling water bath. There's enough boiling water in the pot to come up about 1" beyond the ingredients in the jars. I leave the pot uncovered.

Once things come up to the proper temp, I hover over the pot to adjust the heat up or down as needed in order to maintain it for 20 minutes. The water phase jar always gets hotter quicker than the oil phase jar, so I always adjust the heat based on the temp in the oil phase jar.

Once the 20 minutes are up, I weigh my water phase jar to see if there was any water loss. Usually there isn't any, but if there is, I add back as much needed from my heated jar of distilled water, and then I combine the 2 phases together and stick-blend.


IrishLass :)
 

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