Create healthy lotions and butters.
Why should you create your own lotions and body butters when there are so many delightful products out there?
For one one thing, you have 100% control of the ingredients that you include in your DIY lotions and butters. You can minimise or even eliminate the chemical overload that is characteristic of big Company lotions and butters. (check out our workshop schedule here)
Coconut oil, Avocado Oil and more..
You can also keep the ingredients that you do choose for these products as natural as possible ensuring that your skin is nourished as well as moisturised. If you choose natural oils such as Organic Coconut Oil (my favourite), avocado oil, sunflower oil and sweet almond oil they will penetrate deep into the layers of the skin, unlike mineral oil-which is a key ingredient in those commercial Body products sitting all pretty and exquisitely packaged on the shelf.
If you are already creating your own lotions and body butters-this is an important choice especially if you have really dry skin. Here are some tips for eliminating some tiny and not so tiny challenges you may have.
1.Sanitise surfaces, packaging, mixers, spoons:
In short, sanitise everything! Lotions and Butters are stay on applications. Start with CLEAN as it is important to minimise bacteria and other ickies. If you are a practitioner who has made the choice to NOT include preservatives in your products, then this is DOUBLY important. Use bleach or rubbing alcohol to clean before you begin. Exclusion of preservative is not something I prefer but I do understand that some opt for this route.
2.Add preservative when the mixer is in motion.
Preservatives like Germaben tend to be very viscous and this, coupled with the fact that very small quantities will be used, means that there is some risk that preservative may not be well distributed in a thickened formula. Keep the stick blender in motion when you add the preservative and have an intention to mix it in thoroughly.
This eliminates the chance that fungus and bacteria will grow in pockets of the emulsion.
3.Add preservative to a cooled emulsion
All broad spectrum preservatives are amazingly effective at keeping out bacteria and fungi, but keep in mind that this effectiveness is compromised if you are impatient and add them to the mixture while it is hot. Optiphen for example, is an effective paraben free and formaldehyde free preservative which MUST be added to the emulsion at temperatures UNDER 176 degrees Fahrenheit.
Similarly, Germaben, an alternative broad spectrum, paraben preserving system should be added at even lower temperatures, that is, below 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is an extremely important consideration if you want your preservative to be effective.
4.Be conservative with fragrance.
I know, I know, it is tempting to add LOTS of fragrance in there. I’m not sure if any other body products can be a better carrier for all those exquisite fragrance oils. This really is a matter of preference, but I have noticed that even the most delightful fragrance becomes overwhelming if too much has been included in a lotion or body butter that you will wear all day. (Check out my top five fragrances here)
I’ve also noticed (have you?) that as the creator of the product, it is sometimes difficult to gauge how much is enough. Fragrances tend to really kick in the next day as well, so keep this in mind.
5.Pour lotions when thickened
I have also noticed that clients tend to pour lotions and butters a bit too early into jars and bottles. If you pour before the lotion or butter has thickened, this introduces air into the product, especially at the top. This results in foaminess on the surface which will eventually collapse.
Be patient. It also helps to pour onto the sides of the containers so that foaminess is eliminated.
6.Cover when completely cooled.
Patience is really a virtue and I don’t think anything teaches you more patience than creative projects. Cover those lotions and butters when they are completely cooled. If you cover them before this, that is, while they are still warm, condensation tends to occur around the rim of the cover.
This is the perfect place for fungus to grow. It would be such a pity to create these perfectly packaged body butters and lotions, only to have them spoil at the very last minute because you couldn’t wait 30 minutes.
Not making your own lotions yet? I highly recommend it.