Guide to Swapping Butters & Oils in Lotion Recipes - Wholesale Supplies Plus
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Guide to Swapping Butters & Oils in Lotion Recipes

Understanding Butters in Lotion

When it comes to crafting lotions, the inclusion of various butters significantly impacts the final product. Butters like shea, cocoa, and mango are beloved for their nourishing properties. However, when lotions contain more butter than oil, they tend to be richer and more emollient. This richness provides intense hydration, making them ideal for dry, parched skin in need of deep moisturization.

Exploring Oils in Lotion

On the flip side, oils play a crucial role in lotion formulations, especially when they outnumber the butters. Oils such as jojoba, almond, and coconut offer lightweight hydration and quick absorption, leaving the skin feeling soft and supple. Lotions with higher oil content are perfect for daily use, particularly in warmer weather or for those with oily or combination skin types.

Swapping Butters and Oils: Finding the Perfect Balance

Are you looking to customize your lotion recipe to suit your specific needs or preferences? The good news is that you have the freedom to swap any oil for any oil, any butter for any butter, any oil for any butter, or any butter for any oil. This versatility allows you to tailor your lotion precisely to your liking, whether you desire a heavier, more indulgent formula or a lighter, fast-absorbing one.

Perhaps you've come across a lotion recipe that calls for ingredients you don't have on hand, or you're itching to experiment with new oils and butters. Fear not! By interchangeable oils and butters, you can create a lotion that meets your unique requirements, regardless of the season or your skin's changing needs.

Choosing the Right Alternatives

When selecting alternatives to butter or oil for your lotion recipe, consider factors such as skin type, climate, and desired skin feel. For instance, if you prefer a lightweight, non-greasy lotion, opt for oils like grapeseed or sunflower. Alternatively, if you're seeking a richer, more indulgent texture, shea or cocoa butter would be excellent choices.

Crafting Your Custom Lotion

Once you've determined which oils and butters best align with your preferences and skin needs, it's time to put your knowledge into action. Start by selecting a lotion recipe as your base and then swap out the oils and butters according to your desired substitutions. Be sure to make a small test batch to gauge the texture, absorbency, and overall feel of the lotion before committing to a larger batch.

Experimenting with Natural Oils and Butters

The world of natural oils and butters is vast and diverse, offering a wide array of options to explore. From exotic shea and mango butter to nourishing almond and avocado oil, there's no shortage of ingredients to incorporate into your homemade lotions. Don't be afraid to mix and match different oils and butters to create unique formulations tailored to your skin's specific needs.

Embracing the Possibilities

With the freedom to swap butters and oils in your lotion recipes, the possibilities are endless. Whether you're looking to create a luxurious body butter for dry winter skin or a lightweight moisturizer for summer, experimenting with different ingredients allows you to unleash your creativity and craft custom skincare solutions that cater to your individual preferences.

Let’s Try It

Let’s start with our Basic Body Lotion Recipe as a springboard for testing. Here is the ingredient list for this recipe:
Heated Oil IngredientsHeated Aqueous Ingredients
  • 0.32 oz / 9 g Glycerin (3%) (Available at pharmacies)
  • 0.21 oz / 6 g Sodium Lactate Crystals (2%)
  • 6.78 oz / 192 g Distilled or Deionized Water (64%)
Cool Down IngredientsThis recipe makes 300g of lotion which is a bit big for a test batch. For this purpose, it may be much more reasonable to make a 100g batch. To do this, take the percentage of each ingredient and use an equal number of grams. (For instance, this recipe uses 2% stearic acid. In a 100g test batch, you would use 2g.) This recipe calls for 16g or oil and 5g of butter for 21g total. You can substitute this with one or more of the butter or oil of your choice. You will want to use small heatproof cups, or beakers that are 200-300 mL in size to facilitate easy mixing. Additionally, it’s difficult to use a full-size stick blender to mix small batches. Instead, mix your batches with a mini cordless mixer.

Let’s look at some examples of test batches:

Original Recipe:

Oils and/ or Butters Used: 5% Shea Butter and 16% Avocado Oil

Skin Feel: This makes a medium-thick lotion. The shea butter adds some richness and greasiness, but the drier feeling of the avocado oil balances it.

What This Lotion Is Good For: This is a nice general-purpose lotion. It would be nice to use it year-round on many different skin types.

Variation 1:
Oils and/or Butters Used: 5% Mango Butter and 16% Hempseed Oil

Skin Feel and Other Properties: This cream is a tiny bit thicker than the original recipe but has a remarkably drier feel thanks to the polyphenols and tannins in both the mango butter and the hempseed oil. It’s also a little bit draggy from the mango butter. And check out that smashing green color!

What This Lotion Is Good For: This lotion is also a good year-round lotion for lots of types of skin. The big difference from the original is that is far less greasy, which you may prefer.
Variation 2:
Oils and/ or Butters Used: 5% Sunflower Oil and 16% Organic Golden Jojoba Oil

Skin Feel and Other Properties: While still fairly thick, this lotion flows a little more than the original. Both oils used are very lightweight on the skin and the jojoba oil absorbs quickly and feels dry. This lotion has a wonderful glide on the skin and a nice pale golden color.

What This Lotion Is Good For: This is a great lotion for summer legs! It glides over the skin and leaves a nice sheen without feeling heavy or greasy. Because sunflower and jojoba oils are non-comedogenic, this might be a great choice for post-shaving.

Variation 3:
Oils and/or Butters Used: 5% Cocoa Butter and 16% Shea Butter

Skin Feel and Other Properties: This lotion has a creamy-greasy feel (in a good way!) from the shea butter and a protective, occlusive feel from the cocoa butter. Because unrefined butter were used, you can smell an earthy, chocolatey scent before adding the fragrance oil. Oddly enough, it’s not appreciably thicker than the original, despite using 100% butters. It is, however, a lot heavier on the skin.

What This Lotion Is Good For: This would be a nice cream for winter elbows, knees, and feet. The cocoa butter and shea butter would prevent moisture loss in wintery skin.

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