Last time i talked about how, i feel, moisturising is the most important step and some oils you could possibly use suitable for facial use. Today i’m going to be talking about cream emulsions as a choice for your facial moisturising needs.
What is an emulsion?
An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that don’t usually blend together. So in this case, oil and water. Oil and water naturally separates but when emulsified create a stable cream or lotion.
The cons of emulsions
As emulsions or creams and lotions contain water they need preserving. High anti-oxidant ingredients like Rosemary extract, Grapefruit seed extract, honey and vitamin E are good at preventing oils from going rancid and may offer some anti-bacterial properties but they are not enough at keeping bacteria, fungus and other harmful nasty’s from breeding and growing in your creams. These little nasty’s could make you sick or be damaging to your skin and if you really weigh it up a small amount of preservatives in your creams (usually around 0.5 – 1% total) is better than a whole jar of bacteria! But some do prefer not to use creams to avoid having to apply preservatives to their skin. And that’s fine. It really is your choice. There are some good parabens free preservative systems out there now such as MicroKill and Geoguard Ultra that are considered safer than the controversial parabens system currently used by most cosmetic brands.
In order to get the oil and water to mix, an ingredient or ingredients known as emulsifiers need to be used to combine them. Most emulsifiers on the market are not considered ‘natural’ at the moment which can be a concern for some. But there are more and more plant based emulsifiers on the market now. Such as Cetearyl Glucoside derived from coconut and glucose, and Olivem 1000 derived from olive oil. Even some emulsifying waxes are plant based, but check the MSDS sheets just to be sure. Animal based emulsifiers are dying out now to be totally honest so that isn’t really an issue now. You could even use BTMS which is the conditioning emulsifier used in making conditioners for haircare. It has a dry powdery feeling to it which is good for oily/shiny faces as it creates a matt finish. Other emulsifiers are slightly greasier and are better choices for normal to dry skin types.
The pros of emulsions
The best of both worlds
Because emulsions contain both oil and water the scope is available to include all the water soluble and oil soluble goodies into one product. To me, that’s a huge PRO! So, things like Aloe Vera Juice/gel, Floral waters, humectants like glycerine, hydrolysed proteins and panthenol as well as the water soluble extracts like Green Tea and Multifruit extracts can all be added as well as all the lovely oils we discussed in the last post. You can blend anything you like and create something truly amazing! To see all the water soluble goodies you could include check out the post on Natural Toners and for oil soluble goodies check out Natural Moisturisers – Oils.
There are some great natural brands out there that are based on natural ingredients like the ones we have discussed already but one stands above the rest for me personally and that’s Liz Earle (of course). The ingredients are good and the performance is great. It is of course up to you and what works for me might not work for you so experiment with brands to see which one suits you the best.
Making your own moisturiser gives you the flexibility to tailor make it to suit your needs exactly. If you are interested in making your own cream emulsions, a good place to start learning how is HERE to learn the basics of lotion making and HERE for formulating facial moisturisers.
My own facial Moisturiser Recipe
Now even though my face is oily i have personally found that my face likes a little oil in the moisturiser. Oil-free moisturisers make my face feel too tight and dry. In saying this i just can’t seem to use straight oils as leave-on moisturisers as my face really doesn’t like it. Cleansing with oil is fine as it gets wiped and rinsed off but i can’t leave it on my face without getting negative reactions. So cream emulsions are the best moisturisers for me. I can get the little oil my face likes diluted in a water medium that spreads it out evenly. Adding things like Allantoin and Aloe Vera help to soothe and reduce irritation and adding Honeyquat and BTMS help to condition and soften my skin, for smooth, soft, irritation free skin. Here’s my recipe –
Aloe & Rose Soothing Facial Moisturiser – With Avocado & Safflower Oil and Seaweed Extract
Ingredient Amount (g)
Aloe Vera Juice 20
Chamomile Water 10
Lavender Water 10
Wheat Protein 2
Avocado Oil 2
Fractionated Coconut Oil 2
Apricot Kernel Oil 2
Safflower Oil 2
Cetearyl Glucoside 3
Cetyl Alcohol 3
Vitamin E 1
Essential Oils 1
Seaweed Extract 5
Heat the water phase and oil phase ingredients in separate bowls over boiling water. Once melted and hot (70 degrees Celsius) pour the water phase slowly into the oil phase whilst blending with a stick blender. Once emulsified allow to cool down (to below 45 degrees Celsius) before adding the finishing phase. Blend that in well. Voila, your all done! You could also add the oil phase into the water phase if you prefer. The emulsifiers i’ve used allow for either way.
As you can see, i kind of threw the kitchen sink at it. lol. But i have chosen my ingredients carefully, each one bringing it’s own unique benefits into the mix. I’ve included 8% oils in my mix. My face loves it! I haven’t reacted to it yet and i’ve been using it for a few months now so i’m very pleased. Next time i’ll adjust the essential oils to 0.5% (Rosemary, Ylang & Geranium used), take out the rosewater altogether and leave the more soothing floral waters in. I will also reduce the cetyl alcohol to 1%. I like the glide that it gives along with synergistic effects with the BTMS but 3% made it quite thick. I added the BTMS to give that powdery/matt finish and reduce the shine as well as bring in the conditioning benefits. It works great!
This sums up my Natural Skincare Series. I’ve shared with you my own journey on finding more natural ingredients for my facial skincare routine inspired by Kelly of The Kitchen Cupboard. I hope you have enjoyed it and that it’s given you some food for thought on creating your own products or choosing more natural brands that includes some of these ingredients and incorporating them into your own skincare regime.