Isopropyl Myristate (IPM) is an ester of isopropyl alcohol and myristic acid (a fatty acid that naturally occurs in coconut and palm oils). It is a lightweight emollient commonly used to make formulations feel less greasy.
When do you want to use Isopropyl Myristate? Any time you want something to feel lighter and less oily, spread more easily, or absorb more quickly. You can use it in lotions, body butters, lotion bars, and even body oils.
Do you have a lotion that just won’t rub in, leaving a white residue on your skin? Try adding 1-2% Isopropyl Myristate to the formula to combat the soaping effect. Love the properties of shea butter, but hate how greasy it is? Add 2-4% IPM to your shea butter formulation and see how much of a difference it can make.
IPM is not considered a natural ingredient.
For this blog, I’m going to make an anhydrous body butter with shea butter, cocoa butter, and avocado oil. With just those three ingredients, it would be super greasy feeling! A little IPM ought to change that. Come along to the workroom!
Anhydrous Body Butter
31% Shea Butter
31% Cocoa Butter
31% Avocado Oil
7% Isopropyl Myristate
100-gram Test Batch
31 grams Shea Butter
3.72 ounces Shea Butter
Weigh all ingredients into a microwave-safe container or double boiler. Gently heat until all the ingredients have melted; the Cocoa Butter will take the longest and will benefit from stirring to help it melt more rapidly.
Once melted, you may add your fragrance of choice. I chose not to add any fragrance; I love the natural scent of Cocoa Butter. If you do want to add a fragrance, choose something that will complement the smell of the Cocoa Butter like a minty or sweet fragrance.
After stirring well to incorporate any fragrance you may use, pour into jars to cool. Do not put the lids on the jars until the formula has cooled completely.
I decided to make a comparison batch of body butter without the Isopropyl Myristate just to see how much difference it made. I simply used 33% Shea Butter, 34% Cocoa Butter, and 33% Avocado Oil.
I was really surprised at how little difference it made to have 7% IPM in the formula. Both finished body butters were plenty greasy, though the one that contains IPM did rub in more quickly and thoroughly.
I’m going to go at this again, and I’ll make two changes. First, I will choose a less greasy liquid oil like Grapeseed Oil or Marula Oil. Second, I’ll increase the amount of IPM to 20% of the formula. Meet me back here for round two of anhydrous body butter with Isopropyl Myristate.