Need help with lotion formula please

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Mollywolly

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Hello friends! It's been a while since I've been here. I hope you're all doing well. I need some help with formulating a lotion recipe. I'm struggling with what percentage of water to put. What difference would putting 65% water have as oppose to 75%? I don't really like lotions that are too watery, so what kind of scaling would I do to fix this? Do I keep the water content at a steady percentage every time for every recipe and only change the texture through adding harder butters or could I possibly use less water and lower the percentage? Thank you for your time <3.
 

DeeAnna

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The percentage of water, choice of fats, choice of thickener, choice of emulsifier all interrelate. If you use one recipe except to vary the amount of water, it's been my experience that -- More water = lighter feeling lotion. Less water = heavier or thicker lotion.

Whether a lotion feels thin and watery versus lighter and creamy isn't just about the water content. This skin feel will also depend on your choice of thickener and emulsifier as well as the amount of water.

Based on my experience with the lotions I make (your lotions might perform differently), a lotion with 65% water is probably going to be pretty thick and harder to spread, so better for spot treatment, not covering large areas of skin. At 75% it's going to be like a moderately thick hand lotion -- fine for hands and body and for winter use. At 85% the lotion will be creamy and more spreadable, nicer for face and for summertime use. At 90%, the lotion will be pretty light bodied, more like a "milk" for facial use or a light summer lotion.

Fats that are solid at room temperature tend to act as thickeners and fats that are liquid at room temp tend to make the lotion more flowable. You can certainly modify the thickness by your choice of fats, but that has to be tempered by the skin feel of the fats -- some fats are greasy and heavy feeling on the skin and others are lighter and more absorptive on the skin.

I don't think I'd advise choosing certain fats only for their thickening power if you want to make a lotion that feels right on your skin. Once I choose a blend of fats I like on my skin, I will alter the water content, type and amount of thickener (examples: cetyl alcohol, stearic acid), and sometimes the amount and type of emulsifier to get the texture I want.
 
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Mollywolly

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The percentage of water, choice of fats, choice of thickener, choice of emulsifier all interrelate. If you use one recipe except to vary the amount of water, it's been my experience that -- More water = lighter feeling lotion. Less water = heavier or thicker lotion.

Whether a lotion feels thin and watery versus lighter and creamy isn't just about the water content. This skin feel will also depend on your choice of thickener and emulsifier as well as the amount of water.

Based on my experience with the lotions I make (your lotions might perform differently), a lotion with 65% water is probably going to be pretty thick and harder to spread, so better for spot treatment, not covering large areas of skin. At 75% it's going to be like a moderately thick hand lotion -- fine for hands and body and for winter use. At 85% the lotion will be creamy and more spreadable, nicer for face and for summertime use. At 90%, the lotion will be pretty light bodied, more like a "milk" for facial use or a light summer lotion.
Noted, also this clears up a lot of confusion and answered like 5 other questions I had, so double thanks. So to know that the factors of the recipe all interrelate, I feel like this gives me some sort of freedom to make something perfectly tailored to my tastes. Normally use stearic acid as a thickener, I don't have much experience or knowledge about any others, but I'm trying to make a not so watery lotion that's thick, but spreadable. I like how bath and body works lotion has a nice thick texture without being too heavy, but doesn't run off your skin like water, so I'm trying to make something similar to that.
 
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It can help to purchase a good recipe that provides options for different thicknesses. Here is a link to one that I like. Her basic premise is to make a concentrate, aka a lotion base. The concentrate/base can then be used to make heavier creams or lighter lotions, as you desire. The e-book offers several different recipes for thicker and thinner products. I actually have a few different books from this source and have liked all of her recipes.
 
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I definitely second @AliOop's suggestion. I use that base for all my creams and lotions. In addition, you can add up to 5% additives and you can sub other ingredients for the water (i.e. 1% Hyaluronic Acid solution, floral waters, and more). There's definitely room to play with ingredients while knowing you have a stable, customizable base.

That said, if you want to start from scratch in formulating your own recipe, I would also recommend Swift Crafty Monkey. There is a wealth of information, along with recipes, on her site; it is a paid website (anywhere from $1-$10 monthly for different levels) but I've found the information well worth it.

 

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Mollywolly

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It can help to purchase a good recipe that provides options for different thicknesses. Here is a link to one that I like. Her basic premise is to make a concentrate, aka a lotion base. The concentrate/base can then be used to make heavier creams or lighter lotions, as you desire. The e-book offers several different recipes for thicker and thinner products. I actually have a few different books from this source and have liked all of her recipes.
Much thanks! I'm not much of a base person, but it wont hurt to look or try since I don't have much intel in that regard. Are there any hidden benefits to using a base over making it from scratch or does it not really matter?
 

Mollywolly

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I definitely second @AliOop's suggestion. I use that base for all my creams and lotions. In addition, you can add up to 5% additives and you can sub other ingredients for the water (i.e. 1% Hyaluronic Acid solution, floral waters, and more). There's definitely room to play with ingredients while knowing you have a stable, customizable base.

That said, if you want to start from scratch in formulating your own recipe, I would also recommend Swift Crafty Monkey. There is a wealth of information, along with recipes, on her site; it is a paid website (anywhere from $1-$10 monthly for different levels) but I've found the information well worth it.

I'll definitely check it out, but from you experience are there any hidden benefits to making your own from scratch as oppose to a base or vice versa?
 

Mollywolly

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You might want to check out the Swiftcraftymonkey blog. It will cost you $1. per month as the cheapest rate. If you don't find it worth the money, you can always cancel your subscription.

Will definitely check it out when funds are available, I've heard good things about it ,but I may check out some lotion bases for now and how to use them. Those seem to be easier to work with according to some. Any thoughts on bases over making it from scratch?
 
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I'll definitely check it out, but from you experience are there any hidden benefits to making your own from scratch as oppose to a base or vice versa?
I see it as a starting point. If you've never made your own lotions before, you benefit from having a formula you know will work. It's easy to customize and the results are pretty darned good. It will also give you a feel for formulating because you can choose what you'd like to add (5% custom additives), you can choose the thickness you'd like (from a body butter to a lotion) and you have the benefit of support from an entire group who have been using the lotion concentrate recipe for, literally, years (a FB group that's very supportive and helpful).

I use the concentrate recipe and what I've learned from other makers (Swift Crafty Monkey, for one) in addition to what I've learned over the years by doing a lot of reading and making. I'm happier with using the concentrate recipe than I've ever been with making any of my other creams and/or lotions from scratch. Just to put it into perspective, I've been making, and experimenting with my own creams and lotions for about 20 years (no bases).
 
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To clarify, this e-book teaches you to you make your own lotion base, completely from scratch. So you are not starting with a premade base at all. It uses fairly typical and normal lotion ingredients that you would use for any other recipe.

Once you’ve made your own base, then you can use her suggestions to customize it into thicker or thinner creams and lotions. That would let you try your different dilution rates to see how you like them. It also lets you experiment with different oils, to see how you like them, as well.

Good luck, and have fun!
 

redheels40

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Noted, also this clears up a lot of confusion and answered like 5 other questions I had, so double thanks. So to know that the factors of the recipe all interrelate, I feel like this gives me some sort of freedom to make something perfectly tailored to my tastes. Normally use stearic acid as a thickener, I don't have much experience or knowledge about any others, but I'm trying to make a not so watery lotion that's thick, but spreadable. I like how bath and body works lotion has a nice thick texture without being too heavy, but doesn't run off your skin like water, so I'm trying to make something similar to that.
Try taking a dive into Humblebee and Me website.(Marie Rayma) She has hundreds of FREE formulas, many have Yourube video so you can watch them made. Plus, she has an encyclopedia of ingredients that comes in so handy! All free! She’s done experiments on individual emulsifiers so you can see how each one performs before purchasing it. Such a gem!!!
 

LynetteO

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It can help to purchase a good recipe that provides options for different thicknesses. Here is a link to one that I like. Her basic premise is to make a concentrate, aka a lotion base. The concentrate/base can then be used to make heavier creams or lighter lotions, as you desire. The e-book offers several different recipes for thicker and thinner products.
@Misschief @AliOop
I already have a pretty decent lotion recipe that I make regularly but the thought of a concentrate base on hand to whip up custom batches sounded wonderful. So I purchased/download the Lotion/Cream Concentrate ebook last night. 😻 Then a WSP order. Can hardly stand the long delivery wait. I have no Cetyl alcohol on hand at the moment. Pretty excited! Online reviews were gr8 but ordered mainly because of these posts. Thanks for sharing! 🤗 🤗 🤗
 
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I will tell you a little secret, water is certainly not all that will control the thickness of lotions which is why I advise doing little batches and lots of testing. Types of emulsifiers and thickeners play a huge difference. One day I decided I wanted to make it really thick like cream by just cutting the water down to around 65% using the normal recipe I had been making and selling for years which had a water usage rate of 74.5%. Guess what, the stupid 2 gallons decided to separate shortly after bringing it to emulsion and it started to cool down. After mulling over for a little while how to fix it, I reheated my leftover water which had already been heated and held, measured out an additional 10%, and started mixing it in increments waiting to see if the emulsion would go back together and hold. Thankfully it did and I had a couple of weeks before my show so I had time to bottle so I was able to let it sit and determine if it would hold.

The point of the above explanation is I have made creams with 65% water using Ewax with no issues, but my formula that separated it uses Polawax. I have also made very thick lotions with 86% water just using different emulsifiers such as NCD-20 and Glyceral Stearate, so there is just no easy answer. I am sorry, leave it to me to complicate the issue, but with lotions, I never found just one answer. Not being a cosmetic chemist or any chemist for that matter, I had to experiment and test test test, which fortunately I enjoyed when it came to lotion making.

@AliOop, I found my lotion notes on my computer!! It was Arnica-infused lotion that grew bacteria and mold, but I see it was before I was using my 2-system preservative and used Germall Plus as the preservative. When I get relocated I just might re-address this so Autumn will have something new to put under her microscopes.

Our recipe is loosely based on this one, but this is the recipe my daughter originally learned to make lotions with and Swift Crafty Monkey site. The kit is no longer available and I do not agree with Ann Marie's lotion-making methods, but the recipe is nice and stable. One of WSP's emulsifiers is the same or similar to Polawax, just check the ingredients.
Make Lotion from Scratch on Soap Queen TV - Soap Queen

@LynetteO I just made my own base un-fragranced and stored it in new HDPE buckets which you can buy from paint stores, so I always had lotion ready to go.
 
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