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Hmm I wonder why my whipped shea cream is separating??


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Ok, I made this recipe for a whipped shea, which is actually more like a heavy cream/lotion WITH shea butter, but anyways.....

I made it llike two weeks ago, and have been storing it just in a covered bowl, and it's stayed nice and whipped and fluffy (which is more than I can say for my original whipped shea (just shea butter and oil), so last night my daughter wanted me to put some in a jar for her, and it's sitting here at the computer table and it looks like it's separating all of the sudden. ????

Just some yellowy oil patches all the way through it??

What could cause that?

This recipe has ewax in it, so that should have helped bind it all, but it's weird that it was fine while it was in the original bowl, and now that I've jarred it, it's now separating??

UGH, this kind of stuff just drives me NUTS!!

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Try adding some stearic acid to it. That should thicken it up and maybe it will hold. I thought e-wax was to bind 2 unmixables like oil and water? That's been my understanding. Please correct me if I am wrong. With sugar scurbs, some recipes don't call for any water but you put e-wax in anyway. The e-wax in the sugar scrubs is so that when in the shower, and the water comes in contact with the oils and butters in the scrub, it will turn to a lotiony consistency. So does e-wax also help bind oils and butters to help keep them hard??? I thought these two were mixable? I hope I am making sense. :)

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Ok I got this recipe from someone else and had to 1/4 it since it was a huge recipe.

12.5oz. distilled water

6.25oz. shea butter

3oz. sweet almond oil

1oz. sunflower oil

1oz. ewax

1oz. stearic

.25oz. preservative

.25oz FO

I don't know if you need my directions also?? They're basically lotion instruction I believe, except that you whip it until light and fluffy.

It's just an oily mess now, it's soooo weird, since it had been made and sitting in the same bowl for over 2 weeks, and didn't start this until I jarred it??? :rolleyes2

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Few more questions - obviously, since it's whipped, you must have mixed it well while it was cooling. If you are sure that you mixed it well as it cooled (sometimes even the most perfect recipes will separate if I don't mix well until it's cooled for about 36 hours), then the next suggestion I have is to increase your ewax load. I usually use btwn 5-10% ewax (but then again, I don't use stearic) depending on how much oil/butter is in it. Since you have such a heavy cream, you may need to get closer to the 10%. I'd say that an 8% load of ewax wouldn't be too much.

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Are you saying that I needed to keep mixing it occasionally through th first 36 hours?? I'm confoooosed. LOL

I hate trying to add ewax (ro stearic or cetyl etc.) to a recipe that's already done, it always hardens up on me before I can get it mixed in. :(

Know any tricks/tips to incorporate it into an already made batch??

Unless I just melt it all down again?? Can I do that?

I hate to waste this, it feels/felt (while it was still "together") and smells really good.

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i beleive the problem is the ewax.. I would have to convert to % to be able to tell and I WILL NOT DO SO (i am at work!!) at this time... but yup, looks like 1oz of ewax will not do the trick... about the mixing, once it's incorporatesd it's incorporated, I dont see why you would have to continue mixing through out, maybe only to keep up the fluffyness.... and no I dont think you could add stearic or more ewax to the batch bc to do so, you need to melt it all down to ensure it mixes well which would only throw off your preservation.

wanted to add:

my scrubs seperate like that, maybe just throw some sugar in there and use it as a scrub...

.... or that may not work either!

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Water 50 %

Shea Butter 25 %

Sweet Almond 12 %

Sunflower 4 %

EWax 4 %

Stearic 4 %

Preservative 1 %

Fo 1 %

Yes, I agree.. Your ewax needs to be higher. You don't have enough of it in there to keep all the of the oils and water together. The rule of thumb is 1 part ewax to 5 parts oils/butters. So, you have 41% oils, so to mix that you need 8-9% ewax.

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I misread the first post and thought it was this recipe that had no water. After reading Bunny's reponse that the ewax should hold the oils and water, I re-read Michi's post and realized it is HER original recipe that has no water and not the recipe she is questioning. I read it to think it was this recipe that was just oils and butters. Big DUH!!!! for me. That's why I was confused as to why you were using e-wax. DUH!!!

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Well........ I tried to "fix" it tonight, slowly melted the original batch then added 5oz. melted ewax (couldn't bring myself to add another 8 ounces seemed like too much) for a total of 6oz. added this and hand stirred just until I got it over to my mixer, and started whippin' it-YUCKKKKKKKK

It turned into pink cottage cheese, at least it had the look of cottage cheese, it didn't feel like cottage cheese, but it sure is messed up, and currently sitting in my garbage can!! :(

I hate wasting and will try just about anything to "save" my experiments, but this was just too gross and it felt extra waxy, just not good, not good at all. :(

Ok, back to the drawing board, but not until next week.

Tonight I'm just sticking with my multi base that I add a little shea butter to. ;)

Thanks for trying to help me out with this ladies, I'll be sure and let you know if/when I try it out again.

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Please try again with fresh ingredients Michi. Adding too after the fact for one - compromises some or all of the preservative. Without a lab, you have no way of knowing how much more to put in, if any. Some of them are very temperature sensitive. Two – you won’t get a stable emulsion, as the water and oils need to be mixed at about 170. It’s all about changing the molecular structure. Three – if for some reason it did turn out, what are you going to do to recreate it? It won’t be the same when you make it the next time, as it will have combined differently. Make a bad batch just to make a better batch?

Make small batches, test, play, experiment, and most of all, have fun!

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Can I hi-jack your thread Michelle? BTW you jinxed me :cry2: -LOL. I made one for the first time last week and it was fine (expect for one that did the cottage cheese thing due to too much FO). It looked GREAT after a few days, I even put some in a jar and put it in the heat and direct sun outside for 2 days and NO seperation. So I'm thinking all is good and sent some off to mystic as part of the sample swap and guess what?? ...... 2 days ago I transferred each differ scented emulsified butter into storage containers and at that point they were fine, then yesterday they looked the same as Michi described (:cry2: noooooooooooooooo! and the WORST part is they went off to the swap :cry2: 2 days ago).

So onto recipe repairs.... I need help

First, Danielle I'd like you to explain (please :)) .... "If you are sure that you mixed it well as it cooled (sometimes even the most perfect recipes will separate if I don't mix well until it's cooled for about 36 hours),...."

Do you mean mix it good (how long should that be 20 min, an hour .... ??), then mix again in 36 hours or mix it periodically during the 36 hours?

I need help w/ this recipe

½ recipe = 16.1oz

50%/ 7.8 ozs Water

5%/.8 ozs Stearic Acid

5%/.8 ozs E-wax

24%/ 3.8 ozs SAO

10%/ 1.5 oz Shea Butter

2%/.2 ozs Fo

1%/.1 ozs phenonip

1%/.1 ozs Vit E

1%/ 2 tsp/1 ozs Dry Flo/corn starch

(the 1%s really registered on my calc as 0 so I put 1%)

oils are 34% so I should be using 6.8 oz ewax ? I divided 34/5 (1:5) Is that correct?? Is the stearic amount ok?

Bunny you said "The rule of thumb is 1 part ewax to 5 parts oils/butters. ", what's the rule of thumb for the stearic? The supplier directions say 1-25%, but that's a huge difference what's a happy medium? At what point do I stop adding each before it gets waxy feeling on the skin??

I'm not total not sure on these waxes... how do I know when to add more of each? Like in the seperation issue could it be due to both waxes not being high enough so the butter is both not thick enough, plus it doesn't have the right amount of ewax to bind the total amount of butters/oil to the water. Am I even close here? I am so green to emulsions :yes:

THANK YOU~ THANK YOU~ THANK YOU for any and all help! :)

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Where did you get your ewax, does it have an INCI besides Ewax NF? There are lots of different things that can be ewax, and they can work differently depending on your formula. Even though someone can give you a rule of thumb about how much to use, you'll never know until you do your testing to see how the emulsion lasts... and even then there's always something else, like Maryann found out after *her* temperature tests..

Stable emulsions aren't always easy things.. One thing I learned is your result should be nice and shiny - that means the particles of emulsion are very small, and so more stable. And I've found that the more ewax I use, the draggier the lotion feels to me.

I usually end off my mixing with some hand whisking. Mixing with stick blenders and other mixers are what's called "high shear" - the energy from those are transferred into the batch. That energy can force a formula that might not be quite stable into an emulsion, and that can fall apart over time. It might work for smaller batches, but you'll run into problems as batches get larger. Whisking the batch by hand a little bit takes a lot longer, but changes the type of emulsion and makes it a bit more stable. I've done batches totally by stick blender, and the same formula by hand whisking, and they look and feel totally different.

There's science behind emulsions too - what's known as the HLB system.

http://www.paddocklabs.com/forms/secundum/volume_4_1.pdf has some information. You can google HLB to find more.

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Maryann, will you edit again and make the test larger. I can't read it.

Sorry about that, especially for the people trying to help me. Hopefully this is better. The orginal size and the size I just changed it to is coming out the same on my computer, let me know if its still not ok. :)

THANKS Robin! So do you recommend I handmix the whole time small batches or end with handmixing? I use a cheap handmixer, or should I use a SB?

Here's the INCI and more info from the site I bought it from:

Polawax, the nonionic self-emulsifying wax manufactured by Croda, is considered the industry standard for Emulsifying Waxes. It is a mild, cosmetic & pharmaceutical grade vegetable derived wax that provides excellent stability. Ideal for making thick or thin emulsions, it can be applied to water-in-oil emulsions, oil-in-water emulsions, and all-oil formulas. No other emulsification system or fatty acids or alcohols are needed with Emulsifying Wax NF. Store in cool, dry place. Biodegradable.

Cosmetic grade, Pharmaceutical grade

INCI: Emuslifying Wax NF

Applications: Lotions, creams, body butters, scrubs

Appearance: Creamy white pastilles

Recommended Usage: Melt wax with other fats and waxes at 2-25%. Typically 3-10% for lotions and 5-10% for creams

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Croda's Polawax is the good one, that's what I was hoping to see :) Can cross that possibility off the list.

I think first thing I'd try is 6% ewax and back down the stearic to 4%. I kind of played around with the HLB numbers, not that I really understand what's going on there :) This doc is still out there http://home.earthlink.net/~skinesscentuals/HLBSystem.pdf that has an even better description of HLB - boy do I miss Lab Rat :(

I'd just make sure you're on the slowest speed of your mixer, so you aren't just whipping air into it and thinking you've got an emulsion. Could be it's just that you're trying to do 2 things - create a stable emulsion, *and* whip it at the same time. I'd beat it to make the heavy lotion (since it's only 50% water, just about a cream), *then* whip it if that's the consistency you want. Though I remember some others here that whipped lotion and found that it usually deflated... (actually, maybe I've got the recipes mixed up, forgive me if you weren't going after a whipped lotion type of thing...)

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And to add one teeny tiny thing to what Robin said.. Pour your oils into your water super slowly while mixing.

I'm still working on understanding the HLB system too. Have a calculator for it, but am having a hard time finding some of the emulsifiers I want to try. UGH!

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Thanks ladies :) this is new territory for me, I'm not sure why I'm going there (I guess I need a differ challenge). I've never made lotion before (I've only use bases), but the recipe above is for emulsified butter.

I went to your first link Robin and printed it out to study... I may become a PITA again like w/ the soap, but boy did I learn under you :yes: !

I will say because I really don't know what I'm doing property wise just following a recipe I found w/ no understanding behind it, that I did whip it like crazy as if I was doing an all butter/oil body butter. I am beginning to understand now. Thanks for the tip Bunny re: adding the butter/oils slowly (learned that the hard way on my 2nd small batch I did last week that went right into the garbage as the water wasn't hot enough and part of the wax hardened instantly when I dumped it all in causing major clumps.)

So Robin you recommend I go up one % in ewax and down a % in stearic, and mix slowly. As all I'm trying to do (gently, w/out incorporating air) is bind the oils/butters w/ the water through the help of the ewax, and the stearic is just adding to the mixture by thickening it up - right?? So the key is to keep the temps at 170 so I can pour the oils/butter slowly into the water. Then mix on slow speed so it emulsifies before the warm mixture gets cold and the wax turns hard leaving clumps before doing its job completely, therefore the oil seperation that happens down the road under whatever conditions that may come about-right? Am I close at all?

If so that sounds like what my problem was... I need to make sure everything's around 170 and pour oils/butter slowly, and mix slowly, not on high. I didn't do any of that! How long should I mix this for? I don't know what to look for to know when to stop.

I'm off to read Robin's 2nd link :).

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