Lotion emulsifying to white 'soapy' cream on skin

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Fsm_Soap

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I've just started experimenting with lotion-making and my aim is to make a lightweight non-greasy lotion that is composed of a good amount of aloe vera. I used the below recipe & method.

50g distilled water
10g glycerin
26.5g store-bought aloe vera gel (aloe vera, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate & citric acid)
3g emulsifying wax (I think polawax)
10g sunflower oil
0.5g preservative

Beaker 1 - water, glycerin & aloe
Beaker 2 - emulsifying wax & oil

Heated both until wax was fully melted then combined both and whisked until cooled and thickened. Stirred in preservative.

The lotion looks OK...not great...a little runny but sufficiently good enough for now. My main problem is when I apply it, it starts emulsifying on my skin and becomes totally white. I need to spend a lot of time rubbing it in until the 'white' disappears. Even if I use just a tiny drop.

I read a fair bit online and saw that it could be due to the balance of ingredients or type of emulsifying wax used etc but being new to this I'm really not sure where to start. I've tried this around 3 or 4 times with slight variations in quantities and it's always the same. Any help would be much appreciated!
 

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DeeAnna

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It's call the "soaping effect" and in my experience it is often related to the type of emulsifier you're using, but fats and other ingredients can also contribute or minimize this problem. You say you've made "tiny changes," so it may be that you need to make bigger ones to get a useful result. For one thing, I see you don't have any thickener, and the type (or lack) of thickener can contribute to or reduce the soaping effect.

You need to do more research and testing to figure out how to prevent this in your formulation. Here's a reputable discussion about the soaping effect to get you started -- Lotion Whitening on Rub In - Possible Sources and Preventions? — Cosmetic Science Talk And a thread here on SMF -- Lotion goes on with white streaks and draggy

Unasked for advice -- You are going to have a very hard time preventing bacteria and molds from growing in this lotion, since aloe juice is a large percentage of the water-based liquid in the formulation you've provided. Along with the fats necessary for your lotion, this much aloe creates a great diet for microbes to flourish. There is no Superman-quality preservative that can prevent microbial growth in circumstances like this.
 
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Fsm_Soap

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@DeeAnna thank you!! Now that I know what it's called I can do my research. The links you shared are a great start.

Appreciate the additional advice too. I thought using store-bought preserved aloe gel would be fine as long as additional preservative was added to the end product. I will definitely do my research there too!
 
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I agree with DeeAnna, and would nix the aloe until you gain experience making lotion. You simply do not want to play with anything that is bug food. If you do keep the percentage low. Hydrosols are another water replacement that you need or should keep in low percentages to be on the safe side. As home lotion makers we just do not have the testing abilities as the big boys do, so we have to be extra cautious with our limitations.

I will mention you need to take notes for every change and ingredient since one little tiny change can cause a lotion to fail including in a small liquid change. Test test test. I found a thickener was necessary to help counteract the soaping effect and to help stabilize the emulsion, and I did find Polawax to have a bit of a soaping effect but a nice feel. It was my daughter's favorite emulsifier, but not mine. Also, study preservatives well and know what ingredients are compatible with your preservative. There is a wealth of info on this site that is easy to understand. (no title)

Please understand you cannot depend on all preservatives to work under all circumstances, sadly it is just not that simple. I happened to settle on using two preservatives to cover molds and fungi since some are stronger for one and weaker for the other, but this took a couple of years of research. Since I was selling I also had my lotions challenge tested.
 

Fsm_Soap

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@cmzaha thanks for the detailed explanation! Will attempt the next batch with no aloe & add in a thickener and see how it goes. It's only that this aloe gel along with jojoba oil has been great on my skin but a bit of a nuisance to apply separately. I thought a lotion was the best way to mix them into one! It's only for personal use so I will keep experimenting but I will certainly approach it with more caution.
 

justjacqui

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Usually the easiest way to reduce the soaping effect is to add some dimethicone to the formula. Try 0.5 - 1% to start.
 
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