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I have been making lotion for many years now. I have been content with my style but often when I am in the middle of making a batch I start wondering if there is a better way, or if other lotion makers also deal with the little quirks and things that I deal with so I am finally taking the time to ask!
I would love to know what you other lotion crafters are using to mix your lotion? I have been using a basic stand mixer with regular beaters. It takes awhile for the lotion to thicken and I have wondered if using whip style beaters would make it quicker but the whip ones aren't available for my mixer. I know that some lotioners use a stick blender but I have wondered how they sterilize a stick blender with all the nooks and crannies a stick blender has? I am wondering if the whip would put more air into the lotion or be better?
Another concern is all the air getting beat into the lotion. My lotion usually ends up being light/fluffy so that when I pour it into my bottles it doesn't weigh what the bottle size is...ex. I can't fit 4 oz weight of lotion into the 4 oz sized bottle. Is this a common occurance?
I have many more questions I would love to bounce around with other lotion makers but I will wait to see what kind of response this gets. I don't have anyone local who makes lotion that I can talk with and share ideas with so I'm hoping I will be able to here!
I'd love to hear from you!
I've added wine for its antioxidant properties to lotion - it soothes a sunburn better than aloe vera-based lotions do. I noticed that my lotions with alcohol are thicker and creamier, so the alcohol is acting as something of an extra emulsifier and thickener.
I have found that beeswax and emulsifying wax together does not create as smooth and creamy an emulsion as emulsifying wax alone. I prefer to use beeswax alone in an herbal balm or salve that contains no water.
Does anyone use preservatives that they know works, I want to stay natural but have been considering Germaben II. was wondering what others use, I didn't know if customers would still use my products if I use this, I am currently trying grapefruit seed extract and not sure if I know its doing what it should. Thanks
Grapefruit Seed Extract is an antioxidant, not a preservative. It will slow down the rancidity of your oils and butters, but won't do a thing to prevent the growth of nasties. One of the current "trends" is "paraben free." The hype is that parabens show up in women who have had breast cancer, so therefore "parabens cause cancer and are evil." The truth is, the human body naturally contains 10,000 more parabens than are in a BOTTLE of lotion, and the skin barrier blocks a lot of parabens in cosmetics from ever entering the blood stream. In other words, parabens are generally recognized as safe.
Realistic or not, a lot of consumers believe that parabens are unsafe and won't buy products with parabens in them. You might consider Germall Plus, which is a broad-spectrum preservative as effective as Germaben with a smaller usage rate.
I agree with Sara. I use Germall Plus because it works in everything really well, and it's easy to use. Optiphen Plus is another choice, but that one is most effective at a pH of 6 or below, so make sure you know the pH of your products. When choosing preservatives, read the supplier's descriptions carefully. Some preservatives need to be heated to activate, some are inactivated at certain temperatures, and some are very pH sensitive.
The mistakes that most people make when first starting out are: believing that grapefruit seed and Vitamin E are preservatives (they are not - they are antioxidants which have nothing to do with protecting your cosmetics from bacteria and mold); using potassium sorbate as a sole preservative (it is only useful against mold, not bacteria, and only at lower pH levels), using essential oils. It is not wrong to add any of these ingredients, it is just that none of them are broad-spectrum preservatives. One of the trickiest aspect of becoming a formulator of natural cosmetics is having to learn some chemistry and admit that 100% Natural usually spells contamination. You can use all sorts of natural and organic ingredients, but you must use a germacide agent to keep your cosmetics safe from pathogens, and you can not have a truly stable lotion or cream without the use of emulsifying waxes, which are highly refined products.
For more information on these topics, scroll to the bottom of the Discussions list on the Homepage here and click on "view more". That will bring you to the archive of past discussions. Click on "Making Cosmetics" and you can scroll through lots of past discusions on emulsifiers and preservatives.
Most importantly, do your research and learn about every single ingredient you add to your formulations.
I do use herbal tictures in some of my products but not in the ones that are beauty cosmetics.
Katie, you are right that the alcohol may evaporate and I need to look into that.
I use potassium sorbate as a preservative and so far no problems but I, also, use Elm Bark in the oil. It is a preservative. What proportions of bees wax to e-wax do you use?
.........."Most importantly, do your research and learn about every single ingredient you add to your formulations." ...........I agree - Google is out best friend and our worst enemy.
Thank you all for your replies.