We receive a ton of emails each week. Some are so easy to answer and others really challenge our brains. Sometimes I sit in front of my computer rubbing my forehead and reading your emails over and over again. I learn as I go. Not only does making things in our lab challenge my thought process but also your questions. Sometimes I must lean on hobbies outside of work to answer a few of your emails. Today’s email is one that really stresses “how” to work with a product and the reasons “why” we add in the first place. Read on for a quick lesson in how to use Hydrovance – which is my favorite humectant.
From the email bag:
Happy New Year! To say that this is my favorite site to research and order my goodies is an understatement! I absolutely adore you guys and look forward to another year with The Sage.
To the question at hand, I live in the desert and its INCREDIBLY dry here with little humidity as it is in Utah. My poor skin is having a devil of a time holding on to what little moisture (read lots of water drinking and using a humidifier) I can get. I’ve been using a butter mixed with lanolin, argon, comfrey, horsetail, vitamin e, lavender and or chamomile, meadowfoam, allantoin and beeswax for a few years, and wondered if adding Hydrovance was a successful possibility. I know that Hydrovance is lovely in lotions but I’m just trying to figure out any other goodies I can add in to help my poor skin. I’ve taken to applying the butter right out of the shower and following it up with a nice layer of lotion and that seems to help, but it is more to do. I don’t have any allergies nor am I taking an medications; I’m pretty healthy overall.
I’ve been with the Sage team for 10+ years now and follow the blog with all of those great ideas. I know if anyone can help me improve this recipe, you folks can!
The only alterations I have made to this email are for clarity and for privacy. Here is my answer:
I would not recommend Hydrovance in this situation. Hydrovance is a water soluble ingredient and your mixture is anhydrous. Years ago I thought this would be OK because the lanolin can hold 2 times its own weight in water. What happened was a superheated liquid on the bottom of the pan (all the oils floated on top) and when it started to boil it foamed out of control. Up over the top of the pan and much like a lava it flowed and oozed across the stove. To move the pan I jumped in and pulled the handle, just as the hot oil and Hydrovance flowed over my thumb. It resulted in the worst burn I have ever had. The oil mixture was sticky and I could not wash it off. I tried wiping but it just clung to everything and was so hot I cried. It doesn’t take much to get to this stage. Oils hot enough to melt the beeswax (140°F) will burn the body terribly. So, based on this experience I would skip this idea.
What I would do are two different things. First, I would add Orchid Extract to your list. I know it is one more thing but I really find that this one extract is a powerhouse. Holy cow! I can leave
calendula oil extract alone if I had to take only one extract with me. Calendula is my second favorite extract. Now, I would make a lotion that I apply before the shower. I know this seems counter
intuitive to apply a moisturizer and then go wash it off but the Hydrovance in the lotion makes the shower more hydrating. AMAZING! Once out of the shower I would apply a tiny bit more lotion once I was dried off. Then I would follow up with the butter in really tough areas (elbows, feet, hands, knees).
Butters can really help, but only if they don’t get in the way of living life. Ultra thin coats that can be reapplied during the day are awesome butter applications for the skin.
I hope this helps. May I use your question for our blog? I think you have some great things to share here.
T graciously gave permission to use this email question on the blog. YEA!
Here are some bullet points for using Hydrovance:
Use when you have an emulsifier or can use water. This product is water soluble and not oil soluble.
Use in smaller percentages when you change from another humectant to Hydrovance. If your recipe uses 3% glycerin, just swap out the glycerin and swap in the Hydrovance. Don’t jump to 10% Hydrovance immediately. Most often we find Hydrovance to be very effective at lower rates.
Watch when heating. All water soluble ingredients will be on the bottom and the oils will float to the top. If you have a small quantity of water soluble items they can easily heat to boiling while the top part appears to be melting. Stir often if not constantly.
Apply lotions containing Hydrovance to the skin before showering, bathing or swimming. If your schedule allows apply the lotion 30 minutes before entering the water. This pre-water application will make a huge difference to the skin.
If you are going outside don’t forget your sunscreen. I know applying a lotion feels like you have already coated the skin but sunscreens are important, don’t forget them!
If your skin feels like it needs more help trapping moisture inside then drop all fragrances (they are solvents and essential oils are included in this restriction). Apply your lotion and follow up with something heavier like a butter or lotion bar stick.
Great question! I hope everyone liked today’s lesson.