This Raspberry Lavender Soothing Body Milk is a lightweight, drizzle-able, all-natural body milk made with a new-to-me palm-free emulsifier. It’s a gorgeous way to moisturize and soothe summer skin without feeling weighed down or greasy. Let’s dive in!
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
This formulation grew out of a series of “get-to-know-you” experiments I’ve been doing with new emulsifiers as patron-exclusive videos. I was pleasantly surprised by the low viscosity of the Montanov™ 202 test emulsion, I grew even more excited about this emulsifier as the thin emulsion remained stable as the weeks and months passed! Montanov™ 202 is part of SEPPIC’s Montanov line; you might be familiar with Montanov™ 68 (I definitely heard of 68 before I heard of 202). Montanov™ 202 is a natural palm-free oil-in-water liquid crystal emulsifier that forms beautiful emulsions and boosts moisturizing properties. As soon as I made that first test emulsion I thought it could be a very promising natural alternative for Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate as it doesn’t thicken emulsions the way emulsifying waxes like Olivem 1000 and Ritamulse SCG (Emulsimulse, ECOMulse) do. With warmer weather approaching (in theory… it’s snowing as I write this…) I thought a drizzle-able body milk would be a beautiful way to share this emulsifier with you guys for the first time.
In the spirit of summery lightness, our star emollient is lightweight, sunshine-soaked (mentally, at least) Raspberry Seed Oil. This vitamin-rich, fast-absorbing oil was a gift from Berry Beautiful, a small producer located on Vashon Island in Washington State, USA. I have loved raspberry seed oil for years and thought it would be a very fitting star ingredient for this sunshine-inspired formulation.
Our second star ingredient is softly fragrant lavender hydrosol. If you don’t have it (or don’t like the smell of lavender) you could easily swap it out for a different hydrosol. I think sweetgrass hydrosol would be divine here! Peppermint could also be lovely for more of a “refreshing” theme than a “soothing” one. If you prefer an unscented formulation you could simply replace the hydrosol with more distilled water. You could also opt to scent this formulation with an essential oil instead of a hydrosol, simply replace the hydrosol with distilled water and then add ~0.5% essential oil to the cool down phase, reducing the water to make room for it.
Spring 2023: Want to learn more about formulating emulsions? Formula Botanica is currently offering a free formulation masterclass that will teach you how to make a botanical face cream; you can sign up here 🙂
Geogard Ultra™ is our natural preservative; I really enjoy this preservative, but it does cause the pH of our products to drop quite a lot. To counter this, I’ve include 1.5% of a 10% NaOH solution in this formulation, which brings the pH up to the 4.5–5 range (and that’s still pretty acidic!). If you change anything in the formulation you’ll need to test and adjust the pH yourself. You could definitely use a different preservative if you wanted; swapping the Geogard Ultra for Liquid Germall™ Plus would allow you to skip the pH testing and adjusting altogether. Just remember that you’ll only need 0.5% of Liquid Germall™ Plus and it’ll have to go in the cool down phase, so adjust the formulation accordingly.
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
Relevant links & further reading
- Distilled water in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Vegetable Glycerin in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Panthenol (Vitamin B5) in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Geogard Ultra in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Raspberry Seed Oil in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Xanthan Gum in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Tocopherol (Vitamin E) in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- What’s up with hydrosols, distillates, and floral waters?
- Vitamin E in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- How long will ______ last? What is its shelf life?
- Can I use a different preservative than the one you’ve used?
- pH meter in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- pH measurement in cosmetic lab: why we dilute samples? from Skin Chakra
- How to adjust the pH of your cosmetic products from Skin Chakra
- Why do you create a 10% dilution of a formulation before measuring the pH?
- Amino Acids for pH Adjustment? from Realize Beauty
- Natural preservation
- Preserving Botanical Formulations Naturally – Part 1 from Botanical Formulations
- Preserving Botanical Formulations Naturally – Part 2 from Botanical Formulations
- Everything you wanted to know about Natural Preservatives from Formula Botanica
Raspberry Lavender Soothing Body Milk
Heated water phase
42.6g | 42.6% distilled water
30g | 30% lavender hydrosol (USA / Canada)
5g | 5% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
2g | 2% panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
1.5g | 1.5% Geogard Ultra™ (USA / Canada / UK / NZ / Aus / South Africa)
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 before switching to hand stirring. You’ll need to be fairly diligent with the stirring at first, but once the mixture has thickened up a bit and is uniform you can switch to stirring occasionally. Once the outside of the glass measuring cup is just warm to the touch (40°C or cooler, if you have a thermometer) we’re ready to proceed.
Now 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.
To test and adjust the pH: create a 10% dilution by weighing 2g product and 18g distilled water into a small bowl or beaker and whisk to combine (wondering why?). Check the pH with your pH meter (I have this one [USA / Canada]). Depending on the shape of your bowl/beaker you may need to tilt it in order to fully submerge the sensor on your pH meter. The pH should fall between 4.5–5. If it’s lower than 4.5 or higher than 5.5, you’ll want to adjust it. Please read this article to learn more about pH adjusting.
Once the cool down phase has been incorporated, all that’s left to do is package it up! I recommend something that takes advantage of the low viscosity. I put one batch in an airless pump bottle and another in a now-discontinued 100mL (3.3fl oz) plastic bottle with a disc top. I think something like this would work well, too.
Use this body milk as you’d use any lotion. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this body milk 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 formulation 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 please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- If you change anything about this formulation I recommend leaving out the NaOH solution and doing your own testing and adjusting to ensure the pH is just right for what you’ve made.
- You can use a different hydrosol for a different scent, or replace it with distilled water for an unscented formulation.
- You can replace the glycerin with Propanediol 1,3.
- You could replace the panthenol with Colloidal Oatmeal.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
- You could use Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate instead of Montanov 202. Whatever you use, it needs to be an emulsifying wax that works at low concentrations and doesn’t thicken the emulsion or you’ll end up with a cream/lotion instead of a body milk.
- You can substitute another lightweight, summer oil instead of red raspberry seed oil. Cranberry Seed Oil, Blackberry Seed Oil, Cherry Kernel Oil, and Apricot Kernel Oil would all be lovely!
- You can replace the isoamyl laurate with a different lightweight ester, like Coco-Caprylate or Neossance® Hemisqualane. You could also replace it with more raspberry seed oil.
- You can use normal xanthan gum instead of soft xanthan gum. Hydroxyethylcellulose, Solagum AX, and Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN) would also work as an alternative.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
The glycerin, panthenol, airless pump bottle, and green bottle with the disc top were gifted by YellowBee.
The shea butter was gifted by Baraka Shea Butter. Links to Baraka Shea Butter are affiliate links.
The red raspberry seed oil was gifted by Berry Beautiful.
The isoamyl laurate and soft xanthan gum were gifted by Formulator Sample Shop.
Links to Amazon are affiliate links.