How to: Emulsified Scrub Basics


Emulsified scrubs are pretty beginner-friendly to make, fun to personalize, and wonderful to use.

Today we're going to look at how to compose an emulsified scrub that you can tweak and tailor to your hearts content.

The Secret is In the Name: Emulsify!

The 'secret' to an emulsified scrub is the emulsifier. (Not really so secret, come to think of it). The job of an emulsifier is to allow oil and water to mix.

Simple enough.

But.

An emulsified scrub is made without the addition of water.

So, why add an emulsifier?

When you add emulsifier to an otherwise water-free formula, it doesn't start doing its emulsifying thing until water is introduced.

In short, the product isn't fully activated until it is used.

And when water is introduced, the emulsifier magically morphs the scrubby mixture into a lotion-like solution that rinses away without leaving a greasy film on either your skin or your shower floor.

Yet your skin is left feeling soft, supple, and smooth as silk.

Cool, huh?

Are you ready to make an emulsified scrub?


LisaLise's Basic Emulsified Scrub Formula

Soft-ish butter: 5%
Hard-ish butter: 4 %

Oils: 45%

Emulsifier: 5%
Co-emulsifier: 5%

Preservative: 1%
Essential Oils: 1%

Exfoliating grains: 34%



Butter Notes

Soft-ish butters are butters with a low melting point such as shea. Both refined and unrefined can be used.

Hard-ish butters have a higher melting point such as cocoa or kokum butter.

There are also in-betweenie butters such as mango, which can as such be used in either category.

Try combinations of butters you personally like, and have fun with it.


Oil Notes

You don't need pricey oils in a scrub as they are rinsed off immediately, but do feel free to use any oil or combination of oils you like.

I have had lovely results using combinations of oils such as castor, sweet almond, apricot kernel, olive, and more.

Tip: Try using your own infused oils to add a bit of personalized ingredients magic. For example, the scrub pictured above contains a handcrafted coffee-infused sweet almond oil with brown sugar as the exfoliant. It smelled absolutely delicious and was a hit with my client.



Emulsifier Notes

Feel free to experiment a bit to find the ideal combination for your personal taste.

For emulsifiers, consider conditioning emulsifiers (often recommended for use in hair conditioners) such as BTMS, or try an emulsifying wax. These are sold under numerous names and are often composed of a combination of ingredients. One example is 'olive emulsifier' which is a combination of cetearyl olivate & sorbitan olivate.

A co-emulsifier helps stabilize and thicken. Cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, or (soy) lecithin are possible choices.


Preservative Notes

You can choose to leave preservative out but will then need to keep the container completely free of moisture (read: dipping wet fingers into the jar is a no-no).

As I am a 'dip wet fingers into the jar' kind of person when using a scrub in the shower, I add a broad spectrum preservative.


Exfoliating Grain Notes

This can be finely ground exfoliating grains such as walnut or almond shells (be sure to use grains suitable for body scrub), or if you prefer something that dissolves completely, go for any kind of sugar or fine salt.

I've had great results with brown sugar, raw sugar, normal castor sugar, fine Himalayan salt, and regular fine salt.

You can mix and match them up to your hearts content.

Tip: Take care not to use salt that is too rough or has sharp edges of any kind. The whole idea is to exfoliate – not scratch – the skin. Fine salt gives a lovely scrubbing action without scratching.



Method For Making Emulsified Scrub

  1. Melt emulsifiers and butters slowly over low heat
  2. Add oils
  3. Remove from heat
  4. Stir and let cool until trace
  5. Add preservative 
  6. Whip the mixture until you have the desired lightness and fluffiness. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. If you start whipping a titch too soon, you may need to alternate between whipping and chilling the mixture. If that is the case, then this step can take up to 15 minutes.
  7. Add exfoliating grains 
  8. Add fragrance / essential oils
  9. Whip a final time to distribute everything evenly
  10. Transfer to final containers (I find using a piping bag to fill containers quite efficient)



Do Tell

You've probably made a million fabulous emulsified scrubs already and are therefore more than welcome to share tips and inspirational ideas in a comment below.

Comments

Ilhem said…
That's so cool! I've made scrubs using a sucrose laurate based emulsifier but it's a gel texture. I can't wait to try with sorbitan olivate!
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Ilhem - wonderful! Feel free to come back and let me know how it goes!
Anonymous said…
Hi, do you think jojoba beads suitable for this recipe? Sorry I don't have google account. My name is Pie.
MAY said…
Hello, can I also use Stearic acid as a co emulsifier?
Lise M Andersen said…
Hello Pie - I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to use jojoba beads but then you are thinking of a scrub for face, right?
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi May - I’ve never troed this but in theory, you could. Give it a go and see what you think :)
Lu M said…
Hi Lise, when adding sugar or salt, it will last without dissolving in the cream?
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Lu - There is no moisture or water in this formula, so the sugar and salt will remain intact until it is used. ;)
Anonymous said…
HI it's Pie again. Thank you for answering me. Did you mean Jojoba beads only suitable for face?
Anonymous said…
Hi, what does percentage means? Are you preparing in 100gram? - FN
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Pie - Jojoba beads can be used for face and body but they might be a bit too ‘soft’ for body use. Percentage can be converted to grams easily if you make 100 grams of product. Percentage is used so you know exactly how much of each ingredient is used in the total batch. I hope this helps.
Fina Nasir said…
Hello, can we not include the soft butter in this formula?
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Fina,

Yes indeed you can use soft butters in this - it's all a question of preference. Have fun!