• Sweet Skin Rituals

safety procedures 1st & emulsions (aka lotions and daycreams)

Today you may hear some ramblings. The events leading up to the making of this post were an unfortunate mishap of my own making. Three weeks ago, as I was working on my study project assignment through Formula Botanica, I disregarded one important detail. One of the number one safety rules that every cosmetic formulator knows is to use disposable gloves. I had run out and of course the stores don't have any at this time, so I decided to go ahead with my experimenting without them. I was using simple ingredients and none of them were new, so I thought nothing of it. I practiced good hygiene and disinfected before and after formulating. Afterwards I continued about my day, then attended Bible study with my family that evening.

That is when I first noticed the itchiness my my temple. I had a red patch there and by that evening it had gotten worse and spread to my neck. That night I dreamed about feeling itchy, using all my willpower NOT to scratch! The next morning, my rash had spread and was agonizing to the point of tears. I've never experienced an allergic reaction, so now I can feel for all of you who have been in my shoes, maybe multiple times! I tried waiting it out for a few days to see if it would improve, which it didn't. I suspected the preservative I had been working with. I've been formulating with it for years. All the areas the rash showed up on my face, neck, and chest were places I often touch without thinking when brushing my hair behind my ears etc. Finally, I called Poison Control and they were very helpful. I set up an appointment virtually with a dermatologist. She agreed with me that the culprit was most likely the preservative and what I was experiencing was an allergic reaction. I was given a prescription. Ah, such relief. Over the next couple of weeks my skin returned to normal. Which brings me to where I am now.

All that time I dared not formulate, at least a product with that preservative, and not until I had gloves. Lesson learned. Thankfully, it was only a reaction to the undiluted preservative and not products to which it has been added. Most products with a preservative only contain 1%.

If you decide to try the recipe below, I hope I haven't scared you from using preservatives! The one I use is one accepted in Organic skincare, so it is a good one. The point I'm making is this: it always pays to heed good personal safety procedures! Take it from someone who's humbly learned this firsthand.

Now for the recipe. I'm sorry I don't have a photo of the lotion recipe from before I diluted it with water and added food coloring! My study project from three weeks ago was on understanding the differences between types of emulsions. An emulsion is where an emulsifier is used to disperse droplets of oil into water and keep it suspended (thus a lotion or moisturizer) or disperse droplets of water into oil. I had to come up with my own formulas, then dilute some of it with water, and add food coloring. The food coloring either blended or just sank to the bottom of the beaker depending on the make-up of the emulsions.

I thought I'd share with this recipe from my formula for making a simple oil-in-water emulsion. It's a light lotion that can be used on the face or body. To use for babies and small children simply leave out the essential oil or just use a couple drops of lavender.

Simple Face/Body Lotion

Batch size 100 grams


20% / 20 grams extra virgin coconut oil

5% / 5 grams Olivem1000 (emulsifier)

68.7% / 68.7 grams distilled water

5% / 5 grams vegetable glycerine

.3% / .3 grams xanthan gum

1% / 1 gram Geogard ECT preservative

Equipment needed:

1. saucepan

2. optional: silicone lids or little mats to place in the saucepan so your beakers aren't so close to direct heat

3. beakers

4. glass rod or/and silicone spatula

5. clean, sanitized container

6. jewelry scale

7. digital thermometer

8. bowl of ice water

9. disposable gloves :)

How to:

Fill saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium low heat. If you have them place the silicone lids inside.

The emulsifier we are using is one derived from olives. Weigh out the Olivem 1000 in a beaker, along with the coconut oil.

In another beaker, weigh out the water.

Take another smaller beaker and weigh out the glycerine and xanthan gum. Stir to dissolve the gum. This mixture will be your thickener.

Place the beaker with the water and beaker with the emulsifer/coconut oil in the saucepan. Stir until temperature reaches 70 degrees C. At this point remove from heat. Now very carefully, with a slow steady stream add the water to the oil. Stir continually as you are doing this.

Add the gum/glycerine mix to the emulsion and stir to combine. Place it in the bowl of ice water. Keep on stirring until emulsion turns opaque and thickens. You should be able to make a figure eight.

At this point, place your emulsion back on the scale and weigh out the preservative. Stir to combine. Test the PH by diluting 1 gram of the emulsion in 10 grams of water. The ideal PH should be between 4.5 and 5.5. You may wish to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

Transfer to your container. Label and date, and you're done!

Enjoy anywhere you need some extra moisture. Maybe your hands from hand washing twenty-five times a day ;)

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