Today’s formulation stars three utterly lovely carrier oils to create a richly moisturizing Radiant Berry Hand & Body Cream. It smells fresh, tart, and juicy, and includes a few of my favourite moisturizing ingredients to leave your skin happy and hydrated. This is also a great formulation to use a homemade glycerite in if you happen to have one in your pantry that’s begging to be used. Let’s dive in!
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I’ve used three beautiful berry carrier oils in this formulation; cranberry seed oil, raspberry seed oil, and blackberry seed oil. All three oils are rich in linoleic acid, which supports barrier function and has been found to be a great ingredient for acne relief (I sense a facial formulation using these oils in the works…). Since linoleic acid oxidizes on the faster side I store these oils in my DIY mini-fridge and I’ve included more vitamin E than I usually would in a cream formulation.
For scent—cranberry seed oil has a wonderful, fresh, tart, juicy scent that comes through in the finished cream. It’s really lovely; not at all sweet or candy-like, but very authentically fruit-y. Yum! My cranberry seed oil was a gift from Plant’s Power, and I think it’s the most fragrant cranberry seed oil I’ve ever worked with. Whatever you purchase, make sure you read the description and the reviews to look for descriptions of the strength and character of the scent as there’s lots of room for variation with all-natural ingredients.
For awesome moisturizing goodness, I’ve included panthenol, vegetable glycerin and Lipomoist™ 2036. If you happen to have a berry glycerite on hand, I think this would be a beautiful place to use it! A glycerite is a glycerin-based extract that can be made with fresh fruits thanks to glycerin’s water-activity-reducing goodness. Simply replace the vegetable glycerin with your glycerite and enjoy the amped-up berry wonderfulness! If you’d like to learn how to make a glycerite (it’s definitely on my to-do list for this summer when local fresh fruit is in season!), click here.
Lipomoist™ 2036 is a rather neat blended ingredient, combining hydrolyzed proteins, humectants, and amino acids. According to Lipotec, the maker of Lipomoist™ 2036, it “forms a moisturizing protective film on the skin, increases the cellular protein levels, [and] induces formation of collage IV”. If you don’t have it I’ve included some substitution suggestions in its Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia entry.
I’ve included a bit of a berry-hued mica for that radiance promised in the title of the formulation. You don’t have to use it (details on that are in the substitutions list at the end of the formulation), but just know that the finished product will be a greeny-yellow colour if you don’t use it thanks to the carrier oils.
The final cream is thick and lovely; be sure to package it in a wide-mouthed jar or tub as it will not do well in a pump-top bottle! A squeeze tube or tottle might work, but I haven’t tried either. Enjoy!
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Relevant links & further reading
- Cranberry Seed Oil in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Raspberry Seed Oil in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Blackberry Seed Oil in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Olivem 1000 in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Cetyl Alcohol in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Panthenol (Vitamin B5) in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Vegetable Glycerin in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Hydroxyethylcellulose in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Liquid Germall Plus in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Lipomoist 2036 in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Other awesome lotion formulations:
- Can I use a different preservative than the one you’ve used?
- How long will ______ last? What is its shelf life?
- How can I make this thicker/harder/firmer?
- Why did my emulsion fail? How can I make a lotion thicker or thinner?
- How To: Glycerite with Fresh Blackberries from LisaLise
Radiant Berry Hand & Body Cream
Heated oil phase
5.5g | 5.5% Olivem1000 (USA / Canada)
4g | 4% cetyl alcohol (USA / Canada)
6g | 6% cranberry seed oil
3g | 3% raspberry seed oil
5g | 5% blackberry seed oil
0.3g | 0.3% hydroxyethylcellulose
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Weigh the heated water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or glass beaker. Weigh the entire lot (measuring cup + ingredients) and note that weight for use later. Weigh the heated oil phase into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat and weigh the water phase. Add enough hot distilled water to the heated water phase to bring the weight back up to what it was before heating, and then pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the lotion, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid lotion doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, and blend for another minute or two. At this point in time the product will probably be too thick to keep blending, so scrape down your immersion blender and switch to occasional hand stirring.
When the lotion is cool it’s time to incorporate our cool down ingredients. Because cool down ingredients are typically present at very low amounts you’ll need to use an accurate scale—preferably one accurate to 0.01g. As these more accurate scales tend to have fairly low (100–200g) maximum weights you won’t be able to put the entire batch of lotion on that scale without blowing it out. So—grab a smaller dish. Add a scoop or two of lotion, and then weigh the cool down ingredients into that, using the more accurate scale. Stir to thoroughly incorporate, and then stir all of that back into the master batch of lotion. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.
Once the cool down phase has been incorporated, all that’s left to do is package it up! I used a white 100mL (3.3fl oz) screw-top plastic jar from YellowBee. Use as you’d use any lotion or cream, taking care not to over-apply as a little goes a long way, and you’ll notice soaping. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative, this project may eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 100g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list (Lipomoist™ 2036, panthenol) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You could use a beautiful homemade berry glycerite instead of plain vegetable glycerin.
- You can use Polawax or Emulsifying Wax NF instead of Olivem 1000.
- You could use cetearyl alcohol instead of cetyl alcohol, though this will make for a fluffier finished product.
- If you don’t have all three berry oils you can use whatever berry oils you have, just make sure they total 14%.
- You don’t need to include a gelling agent; you can replace the hydroxyethylcellulose with more distilled water if you don’t have it.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
- The mica is optional; replace it with more water if you don’t want to use it.
- This product is fairly prone to soaping, especially if applied in large quantities. To reduce this you can replace the emulsifier as noted above and/or swap 1% cetyl alcohol for a silicone (include it in the cool down phase—pretty much any silicone product will help).