As I type this, I’m working on the formula for version 17 of a Chamomile Body Butter I’ve been experimenting on for
over a month almost two months. LOL! This started out as a simple side project for an emulsified butter and snowballed into a “ooh! what if I use THIS ingredient! Lemme see how this works!” undertaking. LOL!
Why was this on my radar?
I don’t think regular whipped butters are as “moisturizing” as I need them to be because they lack…well… moisture. They’re anhydrous (without water) and they tend to sit atop the skin for an extended period of time.
Most of my recipes and formulas at curlytea.com are for hair, and the skincare formulas tend not to be of the “body butter” type. I wanted to make a perfect emulsified butter. For me, I’m learning that there’s no such thing.
I found fault with almost every recipe I’ve created so far with the except of version 13. As I continued, though, version 13 turned out to be just ordinary as well. With that said, I wanted to have a place to post some information about my adventures, or misadventures, in chasing the “perfect for me” body cream.
Spoiler alert: There’s no such thing as perfect when you come into a project with a ‘perfectionist’ mindset. You just end up being a 🤡 but you won’t notice until you’re too far in to give up! o(^▽^)o
The very first version of this emulsified butter was a haphazard “hey, what if I use this too” type of recipe. I mean, I was trying to be all fancy and whatnot! But It contained two very good o/w (oil-in-water) emulsifiers:
Sucramerge Pro (nonionic) and Eumulgin SG (anionic).
Sucramerge Pro INCI: Sucrose Stearate, Sucrose Tristearate
Eumulgin SG INCI: Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate
It also contained a small amount of glyceryl stearate SE. This version had a Shea BUTTER and mango butter backbone.
I was ambitious from the start (as most 🤡s are) because I wanted to incorporate Niacinamide and NAG into the mix. Big mistake. Always start simple.
TIP: Get a good, stable emulsion first. THEN worry about the additives later. Make sure to factor in that you could be adding destabilizing additives and create your emulsification system in a way that can be forgiving.
Here’s the formula:
50.54% distilled water
0.16% sodium phytate
0.3% xanthan gum, regular
3% sucramerge PRO (o/w nonionic)
1.2% eumulgin SG (o/w anionic)
2% glyceryl stearate SE (w/o)
5% mango butter
10% distilled water
2% niacinamide PC (PC is a better version than USP in terms of irritation)
0.5% chamomile extract
0.2% vitamin E
0.5% euxyl PE 9010
pH adjusted to ~6
So, what’s wrong with this one? It wasn’t a butter. I didn’t like the viscosity. I wanted a very thick, emulsified cream; something that looked similar to a butter’s thickness but with the glide of a moisturizer.
The two emulsifiers are actually pretty darn good. Eumulgin, even though it’s a pain to work with because it’s lifted easily through the air, is pretty powerful for a simple powdered emulsifier. I didn’t get heavy-cream level of thickening from it. Same story with Sucramerge Pro.
Both of these emulsifiers are new to me. I like them because they are easy to use and they don’t need to be babysat in order to work like they’re supposed to, especially Sucramerge PRO. You can throw that powder into the water, into the oils or into one pot with the oils and the water! The only other emulsifier that works this well for me is the BTMS line (BTMS-25, BTMS-50). But I digress.
Glyceryl stearate SE is used here as a w/o, low HLB emulsifier to add to the stability of the mix. But here, it seems like the percentage is too low to add a good level of thickness; something I didn’t think I’d have to worry too much about because of the butters.
Speaking of butters for the skin, they can add to the creaminess of the emulsion. But don’t necessarily expect them to beef up the viscosity too much if you use them at the percentage I used them.
It also felt a little wonky. I couldn’t quite place it but I didn’t particularly care for the on-skin feel. I would later come to realize that I don’t like xanthan gum in skincare products; at least not the grades of xanthan I have. I just don’t.
Yes, xanthan gum is recommended by many who want to have stable emulsions with a long shelf life. But I didn’t like it all. Low quality xanthan? Maybe. I tried regular xanthan and xanthan gum CLEAR just to make sure. Nope. Didn’t like either. Eventually I moved on, but not after trying over and over again as you’ll see later.
Version 2 of the Chamomile Body Butter included the addition of “Moisture REG”, a “moisturizer complex” mean to help lock in moisture. Its said to add “exceptional, long-lasting moisturization and skin softness”. I mean, that’s the story.
Here’s the formula:
53.37% distilled water
0.2% sodium phytate
0.3% xanthan gum
2% moisture REG
5% creammaker moringa (o/w nonionic)
1% olivem 900 (w/o nonionic)
1.2% eumulgin (o/w anionic)
10% shea butter
5% mango butter
2% caprylic/capric triglyceride
0.54% chamomile extract
0.2% vitamin e t-50
0.5% euxyl pe 9010
pH adjusted to ~6
The first thing I noticed is that I didn’t like it too much. The Creammaker Moringa bulked it up a little with some of it probably coming from the Moisture REG as well. I noticed it felt a little better on the skin the next day.
I also noticed that Niacinamide and NAG should be added to water and not just something like propanediol.
TIP: If you’ll be using additives like Niacinamide or NAG in an emulsion, set aside a portion of your water to dissolve the powders into. Don’t necessarily depend on adding them to solvents or glycerin during the cool down phase.
It was just…nothing special and I wasn’t impressed with the feel. Maybe that xanthan wrecking things again, idk.
Version 3 of the Chamomile Body Butter saw the testing of Siligel in the water phase instead of regular xanthan gum, along with sunflower lecithin in the oil phase. I just wanted to know what would happen. lol!
Note that this isn’t really how you’re supposed to test in the step-by-step way. You normally change 1 thing at a time until you get to something good. I, however, with limited resources, prefer to see which path fits best, pick that path and then start a step-by-step changes if I’m unsatisfied.
Version 3 was a bust from very early. I knew right after the emulsion cooled that I didn’t want to waste any of the valuable Cool Down ingredients in it.
No need to post the full recipe for this one. Just note that I used Cupuacu butter instead of Shea butter, added Creammaker ANIO (o/w anionic liquid emulsifier) and introduced Sunflower oil to the mix. It was…blah.
By version 4 of the Chamomile Body Butter, I didn’t want to risk wasting any more of the Niacinamide or the NAG, so they were taken out. Get a good base emulsion first then concentrate on adding the additives later. Version 4 also saw the addition of HP starch, aka Hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, to the water phase and a complete overhaul of the emulsification system.
I added Helisoft, a new-to-me lamellar emulsifier made from “sunflower phospholipids and fatty esters and alcohols” that’s supposed to provide an “unctuous touch” (2). It’s also supposed to soften the skin while leaving a protective layer after application.
INCI for Heliosoft: Behenyl Alcohol (and) Glyceryl Behenate (and) Lecithin
I also switched out the chelator to Biochelate, aka Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate. It’s easier to use as it’s in liquid form and I simply have more of it.
Here’s the formula for version 4:
56.6% distilled water
2% HP starch
2% sucramerge PRO
1% eumulgin SG
2% stearyl palmitate
11.4% sunflower oil
18% shea butter, unrefined
1.5% chamomile extract
0.2% vitamin E T-50
0.5% euxyl pe 9010
pH adjusted to ~5.5
Now we’re talking, right? Well maybe. I have this version of the Chamomile Body Butter listed as a B in my notes. Again, I let my eagerness to test stuff overwhelm my sense of getting a feel at how Heliosoft would perform alone. I kept thinking “Well, what if it doesn’t give me enough thickness. Lemme add this. Oh and I need another emulsifier just in case it has trouble by itself” blah blah blah.
This one felt a little waxy after rub in. Was it the Stearyl Palmitate? In my notes, I wrote “there’s seems to be too much going on” in this mix. What if the Heliosoft was trying to GIVE, but the Stearyl Palmitate won’t let it be great? What if Sucramerge Pro and HP Starch are fighting over a man? I can’t have that. What if the Biochelate threw a brick through the windshield of the whole formula? I’ve got to get a handle on this! 😛
I had no problems with the Shea butter at 18%. Shea butter softens my skin quite well. But there are no esters to help give the mix a nicer feel. It still wasn’t quite as thick as I wanted it to be.
So, the two powdered emulsifiers along with the Heliosoft wasn’t horrible. But what about adding a quick breaking polymer to the mix? Would that do something good or be ‘just meh’?
Thank you and stay tuned for Part 2! o(*￣︶￣*)o