Do you make your lotions and creams with a “phases” process? This refers to all water ingredients heated in one pot and all oil ingredients heated in another pot.
If you do this, you are using a technique called “phases.” Here at TheSage.com we teach how to make lotions by heating all ingredients together. We get more stable emulsions this way. If you are having difficulties with your lotions separating or becoming curdled, then change the technique which is causing the problem.
Almost each time I hear of someone having trouble with lotions, I find they use the phases method for heating and mixing. Phases are used to help very large manufacturing facilities heat and mix more economically, not because phases is the only method to make lotions.
If you MUST use phases (old habits die hard), then here are some things to remember:
Water ingredients: this includes water, water soluble humectants like glycerin and Hydrovance, and water soluble powders.
Oil ingredients: this includes fixed oils, butters, true waxes, and oil soluble solids.
Where does the emulsifying wax go? In the water! But it is a wax, right? Nope. Emulsifying wax is a fatty alcohol, and it looks like a wax. Treat it like the other water soluble items in your mixture.
When to add extracts, fragrance, essential oils, colors, and preservatives? Wait on these products unless the manufacturer advises to add during heating. I wait until the mixture is about 120°F and add these items. I then stir well, but I don’t use high-shear mixing at this stage – just gentle mixing.
I would like to try your method of heating all ingredients together, have you written any articles on this on your blog?
All of our recipes for lotion are written to use a dump and heat method. Here is a new recipe that you might like to try :
Awesome advice I plan to try.
Do let us know how things are working out. New techniques are always a bit stressful to try.
I don’t know if you will see this, Tina, but I just want to tell you that I LOVE you! Your conversation with me today helped me more than I can say…..I was seriously having a pity party before we talked! I will say it again….the thought of wasting and/or throwing out even a small amount of precious ingredients was very discouraging to me, but your advice and tutoring was SO what I needed! I will definitely pay it forward! Happy 2018, Tina at Majestic Mountain Sage!!
Thank you for such kind words! I am super excited to hear about your lotion adventures with the new techniques being used. I have a new post today regarding our chat. You can check it out at blog.thesage.com!
PS Be sure to post here your results from the dump and mix method.
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It’s late but THANK YOU!!! I’m tired of the water loss and then having to add the water back! This just takes more time and makes things confusing!. I don’t discount the way I was taught but this makes my production and teaching soooo much easier!
I’m so tickled that you tried this method and it is easier for you. I completely agree with phases when the quantity is sufficient, but the small batches we make and many of our customers match, yet this dump and mix is so quick for us multi-hat people that I just love it.