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Lotion/Body Butter separating


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I need help with my lotion recipe.  I've reformulated and reformulated and it comes out great initially but separates after approx 1 week.  Here is my recipe:


7% e-wax

3% stearic acid

15% butters

10% oil

60% aloe vera juice

2% glycerin

1% optiphen

1% fragrance oil


(Percentages may be slightly off, I just rounded but they are approx).  I heat the oils/butters and liquids and combine while hot (approx 135f), blend with immersion blender until creamy.  Wait till approx 85 degrees f to add optiphen and FO (I thought that may be the cause of separation in prior recipes because when added between 90-120 degrees f as recommended the emulsion would separate as soon as it hit 80-85 degrees).  This time it did not separate and stayed a beautiful, creamy texture for approx 1 week and then separated into a curdled oily mess.  Any advice on what's causing this?  I'm at a total loss now, I think the proportions are ok and the temps should be ok as well. =(  Help!

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Aloe is an electrolyte. Electrolytes are electrically charged. Emulsifiers are surfactants, which can be electrically charged (either positive or negative like a battery).


Water and oils have "polarity" like a magnet. They won't blend without something to keep them together (an emulsifier which is typically a surfactant). Think about vinaigrette salad dressing. Oil and water are charged oppositely and won't stay together in a bottle for any length of time no matter how hard you shake them. An emulsifier, like lecithin, mustard, etc. helps keep oil and vinegar blended in the bottle. 


Depending on the emulsifier and other ingredients, the total of the positive charge versus negative charge can mean the difference between stable emulsions or lotions that separate. 


Aloe juice, depending on where you get it, can have other ingredients incompatible with the rest of your formula. Some contain gelling chemicals, preservatives, stabilizers, etc that can cause an emulsion to fail. 


I would try your recipe with water and see and see if it is stable over a few months. This is called a knockout test, you are knocking out one ingredient at a time to see if it is the problem. If the lotion stays together out know the cause of the separation. If it separates then something else is the cause.


if the lotion does stay together then add back small amounts of aloe in the next batch to see if it stays stable. It is possible that you may use some aloe, just not the total liquid amount.

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