HOW TO ACTUALLY MAKE A LOTION/CREAM?
As explained in the “Theory pt.1” post a cream is made of water and oils kept together by emulsifiers (one or more in the same formulation).
So, when you attempt to actually make a cream, you have to start preparing the ingredients separately. There will be at least:
I think it is better to actually show a very basic recipe of a cream so you can understand what I am talking about.
Every recipe is made for 100 grams of product and every number written after the ingredient indicates the grams (“water to 100” means that the water will be enough to make the recipe reach the 100 gr value)
BASIC BODY CREAM:
water (demineralized) to 100
xanthan gum 0.3
emulsifier 3 (imagine I have chosen one which need to be heated)
Active ingredients 5
2 drops fragrance oil or essential oil
So what does it mean to “make a phase A and a phase B”?
Once you have the recipe you start weighting the ingredients and you cannot put them all together like an unknown mixture: there are rules to be followed and the most important rule is to keep the two phases separated in the beginning.
So you will need at least two bechers and in one you will add the phase A, in the other you will add the phase B.
The PHASE A usually contains water, glycerin, one or more jelling agents (mainly: xanthan gum, different kinds of carbomer or hydroxyethyl cellulose) which help the emulsion to keep stable and they give consistency to the cream. There are different kinds of jelling agents and each gives a final texture to the cream.
The PHASE B instead contains the oily ingredients and the emulsifier, the thickeners if needed and so on. I have not been specific in this recipe neither for the fats nor for the emulsifiers; this because too much must be said about these two subjects and I will make other posts about this.
What we will consider, however, is that the emulsifier in this cream is one of those which have to be heated at 70°C to actually emulsify water and fats.
So, in this case, now that we have the phase A and the phase B we need to heat them up to 70°C (measuring the temperature is important).
Once they have both reached the same temperature, you need to add the Phase B to the Phase A (never otherwise) and you have to start mixing them possibly with an immersion mixer (pay attention at this point: avoid incorporating air or it will result in bubbles inside your cream). Notice that when you pour the Phase B into the Phase A you should actually pour it little by little, mix, add some more, mix, add some more… this will give better results! 😀
Once the liquid (it should still be quite liquid at this point) looks emulsified you have to keep stirring with a spoon until it cools down completely.
When it is cooled down (you will notice that now it looks more like a real cream because it has become thick and creamy 🙂 )
this is the time you can add your PHASE C: the preservative, the active ingredients (the ingredients which are extremely good for your skin) and, if you wish to, two drops of your favourite fragrance oils or essential oils (bear in mind that if you want to add fragrance oils they need to be of cosmetic grade: not any fragrance oil will do).
If it sounded very easy… well it is not really 🙂
I’m not trying to take the motivation away from you, but it is not easy to get a stable emulsified cream; sometimes it gets bubbles inside, sometimes it separates after few days (usually if there are many bubbles it means it is not really emulsified… but I will teach you a trick to get to know if it is emulsified or not). Sometimes things go wrong and you don’t even manage to know why.
So I would suggest that you start reading more and more about how to make creams, also from other websites (I am just summing it up, here… but there are many websites which helped me in learning this wonderful thing so I am sure you can find them interesting also!).
There are so many things to be said about this wonderful subject! 🙂
I feel I forgot to say so much, but I will try to add everything I can to this blog.
Anyway if you decide to study about making creams… ALL THE BEST! 😉 You won’t be left unsatisfied 😀