How to improve this gardener's balm?

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Tara_H

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Along with the gardener's soap I made a while back, I also made a balm to go alongside to help with the moisturising and help with any odd scratches. I'm generally happy with it, but I have a nagging feeling that it could be improved. It's a touch too hard for my liking, and also a little on the greasy side.

These are the ingredients:
1619962726171.png


I melted the shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax and honey together gently, then put them in the stand mixer and beat them continuously as they cooled to try to produce a lighter, whipped type texture. Once it was barely warm to the touch I added the EOs and a little almond oil and kept whipping.

After it solidified it was much too solid, so I whipped it up again and added a lot more almond oil (the amount listed in the recipe includes this). It's basically ok, but I do just feel it could be better! I haven't a huge amount of experience with this type of thing; balm wise I've tended to stick to a couple of basic basics, but I'd like to learn more.

If they would be useful, I also have Polysorbate 80 and e-wax available (the latter just arrived and I haven't tried it in anything yet.) Would love to get some thoughts from people with more experience in this area!
 

AliOop

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I’m not a huge fan of coconut oil in balms, since its low melting point means that it’s consistency varies greatly within a small temperature range. So the same recipe that might be too hard at 85F will be too soft at 70F. This issue is magnified with greater percentages of CO.

Since my skin is not a fan of CO either, I personally like to use cocoa butter, tucuma butter, or mango butter as my hard oil. Since those are all firmer than CO, if you choose to try one of those to replace CO, you’ll want to alter the percentages of Shea and the hard oil. Here is one of my favorites:

1 part shea
1 part mango
1 part jojoba or other soft oil

EDITED: I just realized that I typed my recipe wrong. It should be 1 part shea OR mango, and then 1 part hard butter like cocoa or tucuma. It will probably be too soft if you use both shea and mango without a harder butter.

Then adjust up and down from there to get the texture you prefer. Again, a lot will depend on your temp and humidity. The ratios I used in hot humid Texas are very different from my ratios in dry cool Idaho. 😊
 
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Tara_H

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I’m not a huge fan of coconut oil in balms, since its low melting point means that it’s consistency varies greatly within a small temperature range. So the same recipe that might be too hard at 85F will be too soft at 70F. This issue is magnified with greater percentages of CO.

Since my skin is not a fan of CO either, I personally like to use cocoa butter, tucuma butter, or mango butter as my hard oil. Since those are all firmer than CO, if you choose to try one of those to replace CO, you’ll want to alter the percentages of Shea and the hard oil. Here is one of my favorites:

1 part shea
1 part mango
1 part jojoba or other soft oil

Then adjust up and down from there to get the texture you prefer. Again, a lot will depend on your temp and humidity. The ratios I used in hot humid Texas are very different from my ratios in dry cool Idaho. 😊
Oh that's a great point about the coconut oil which I hadn't considered!

Looking at your recipe then, and what I have available, would it make sense to do:
1 part shea
1 part cocoa
1 part almond
plus the same EOs as above?

Should I still approach that with the same melt+whip technique, or is there a better way to tackle this particular mix?
 

cmzaha

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Along with the gardener's soap I made a while back, I also made a balm to go alongside to help with the moisturising and help with any odd scratches. I'm generally happy with it, but I have a nagging feeling that it could be improved. It's a touch too hard for my liking, and also a little on the greasy side.

These are the ingredients:
View attachment 56828

I melted the shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax and honey together gently, then put them in the stand mixer and beat them continuously as they cooled to try to produce a lighter, whipped type texture. Once it was barely warm to the touch I added the EOs and a little almond oil and kept whipping.

After it solidified it was much too solid, so I whipped it up again and added a lot more almond oil (the amount listed in the recipe includes this). It's basically ok, but I do just feel it could be better! I haven't a huge amount of experience with this type of thing; balm wise I've tended to stick to a couple of basic basics, but I'd like to learn more.

If they would be useful, I also have Polysorbate 80 and e-wax available (the latter just arrived and I haven't tried it in anything yet.) Would love to get some thoughts from people with more experience in this area!
Meadowfoam oil and mallow root extract are fantastic in balms. The mallow is one of my secret ingredients in soothing type balms, there are a few other mucilage type roots/powders that can be used, by infusing in oils. Adding in castor is nice especially black castor oil, and Olive Squalane is fantastic. As for the mallow root you can purchase oil or water-soluble so be careful which you purchase if making an anhydrous product or you can infuse your own. I personally use both in balms.
 

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Oh that's a great point about the coconut oil which I hadn't considered!

Looking at your recipe then, and what I have available, would it make sense to do:
1 part shea
1 part cocoa
1 part almond
plus the same EOs as above?

Should I still approach that with the same melt+whip technique, or is there a better way to tackle this particular mix?
Yes, that would definitely work, although it might end up being too hard since cocoa is firmer than mango. All depends on your desired texture. I prefer to melt the cocoa and then whip in the shea and soft oil. The shea tends to get less grainy that way.

And I heartily second Carolyn's recommendation for MFSO. Kinda pricey but one of my absolute favorites in balms. It is so easily absorbed with no greasy after-feel. I haven't tried mallow, but I have a bunch of shredded mallow root that I will grind into powder and start infusing right now based on her recommendation. She's never steered me wrong yet. ;)
 

cmzaha

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I always used mallow in the balm I designed for radiation patients when their skin was very burnt and dry. Chemo patients also liked it. The lady I designed it for was miserable but she did take it to her doctor before using and he approved it. No, I never sold it as such. Yes, she loved it and it gave her some relief, but I am not saying it was magic. We tried one without the mallow and she did not like it.
 

Tara_H

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Meadowfoam oil and mallow root extract are fantastic in balms. The mallow is one of my secret ingredients in soothing type balms, there are a few other mucilage type roots/powders that can be used, by infusing in oils. Adding in castor is nice especially black castor oil, and Olive Squalane is fantastic. As for the mallow root you can purchase oil or water-soluble so be careful which you purchase if making an anhydrous product or you can infuse your own. I personally use both in balms.
I think I need to start keeping an eye out for some of these things - they're not particularly easy to come by here, but I guess almost anything can be got if I'm willing to pay enough for postage 🤭
One thing I forgot which I've been thinking of trying to incorporate is calendula-infused olive oil. I understand calendula is also a good one for the healing aspect of things but I haven't tried it yet. I do have a big jar which has been infusing and should be just about ready to use.

(ETA: )
I may try this today then:
1619969781988.png


That would let me incorporate some of the calendula oil and hopefully soften things up a little bit more. I guess there's nothing to lose by trying it, 'rebatching' a balm is so much easier than with a soap! 😁
 
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Tara_H

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Yes, or infuse it in your almond oil, which I find much nicer in skin balms than OO.
You're right, I probably should... I tend to be miserly with it since it's so much more expensive, but I did just get a decent sized bottle delivered so I should branch out with it a bit more.
 

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You might try using a little neem seed oil. It is supposed to be beneficial for the skin. Here is an recipe that I use. I got it from Ponte Vedra Soap CO.

  • 4 ounces Olive Butter (weighed) (I sometimes use shea butter)
  • 2 ounces Neem Seed Oil (weighed)
  • 1/2 ounce Beeswax (weighed)
  • 1 ounce Lanolin or Petroleum Jelly (weighed), (I use homemade vaseline-type jelly)
  • 1/4 ounce Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1/4 ounce Eucalyptus Essential Oil
In a small pan, over very low heat, melt the olive butter, beeswax, lanolin/petroleum jelly, and add the neem oil once liquefied. Remove from heat, let set for 2 minutes. Add essential oils, stirring as you incorporate them.

Pour into clean glass jars or tins. For longer shelf life, store in the refrigerator.
 

Tara_H

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You might try using a little neem seed oil. It is supposed to be beneficial for the skin. Here is an recipe that I use. I got it from Ponte Vedra Soap CO.

  • 4 ounces Olive Butter (weighed) (I sometimes use shea butter)
  • 2 ounces Neem Seed Oil (weighed)
  • 1/2 ounce Beeswax (weighed)
  • 1 ounce Lanolin or Petroleum Jelly (weighed), (I use homemade vaseline-type jelly)
  • 1/4 ounce Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1/4 ounce Eucalyptus Essential Oil
In a small pan, over very low heat, melt the olive butter, beeswax, lanolin/petroleum jelly, and add the neem oil once liquefied. Remove from heat, let set for 2 minutes. Add essential oils, stirring as you incorporate them.

Pour into clean glass jars or tins. For longer shelf life, store in the refrigerator.
Thanks! I guess I'll probably need to try a few recipes to figure out what I like and what works for me. I'll keep a note of this one to try when I can get those ingredients :)

In the meantime, I made a batch of the recipe from post #7 this evening, it's looking good so far. It whipped up enormously, so I was only able to fit 45g in jars that normally take 70g!

IMG_20210502_190030.jpg

I'll have to see tomorrow how it behaves once it's fully cooled.
 

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Ugh, I'm glad you didn't go with the recipe I wrote down earlier. I edited the post but will also copy that here:

EDITED: I just realized that I typed my recipe wrong. It should be 1 part shea OR mango, and then 1 part hard butter like cocoa or tucuma. It will probably be too soft if you use both shea and mango without a harder butter.
 

Tara_H

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Ugh, I'm glad you didn't go with the recipe I wrote down earlier. I edited the post but will also copy that here:

EDITED: I just realized that I typed my recipe wrong. It should be 1 part shea OR mango, and then 1 part hard butter like cocoa or tucuma. It will probably be too soft if you use both shea and mango without a harder butter.
Oh interesting, thanks for the updated info! Looks like my limited oil inventory worked in my favour then 🤣

Actually, I was browsing through some older threads later on and I saw what seems to be a variation on this recipe but including arrowroot powder, is that still something you would recommend?
 

Aromasuzie

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One thing I will mention is that honey contains around 13% water, so this may destabilise your recipe at a later date.
 

Tara_H

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One thing I will mention is that honey contains around 13% water, so this may destabilise your recipe at a later date.
When you say destabilise; you mean in terms of it potentially separating? Or something else?
 

AliOop

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Oh interesting, thanks for the updated info! Looks like my limited oil inventory worked in my favour then 🤣

Actually, I was browsing through some older threads later on and I saw what seems to be a variation on this recipe but including arrowroot powder, is that still something you would recommend?
I always add arrowroot to my lotion bars, and sometimes add it to my balms, depending on who is using it. Some folks feel like it cuts the greasy feel, and others don’t like it bc they feel the slight grit of it. You can certainly try it. When I use non-greasy MFSO or jojoba, I don’t need it in my balms.

RE the honey, anytime you introduce water to an oil-based recipe, it can separate unless an emulsifier is included. With small amounts of small batches, beeswax can sometimes work for that purpose.

But you've also got the issue of needing a preservative due to the water in the honey. There is a huge argument about whether the self-preserving qualities of honey (similar to white sugar) are sufficient to protect against the potential nasties. Won’t take sides but it is good to do your research (which I know you will).
 

Aromasuzie

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When you say destabilise; you mean in terms of it potentially separating? Or something else?
At risk of separating, the honey oozing out but also if the hands are used to scoop up the product, the possible introduction of microbes.
 
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