Discussion: What are your favourite ingredients? Top 5 oils or butters?

I was considering the discussion we had in this post – Discussion: What are your favourite ingredients? Lotions and facial products – and thought we should talk emollients! What are your top 5 oils or butters?

I always tell this story in my classes and presentations…When I started making products, I’d see a formula like sweet almond & aloe hand lotion. I’d drive down to Voyageur Soap & Candle, pick up the ingredients, make the product, and rejoice! Then I’d see something like apricot kernel & chamomile body lotion. I’d drive down to Voyageur Soap & Candle, pick up ingredients, make the product, and rejoice. I’d see something like…and so on.

Yeah, I know, envy me! I can drive to a bunch of supply stores like Aquarius Aroma & Soap, Suds & Scents, and Otion (Brambleberry’s store). 

Every morning before work, I’d go to a local coffee house and read all the formulas I’d printed out for that morning and plan my trip to get supplies as well as my creation time. A-ha! I realized these were the same formulas with different oils. Could I substitute any oil for any oil and still have the formula work? Yes, I could!

This realization led to me creating what I consider template formulas in which any oil or butter can be used. In any lotion formula I create, you can substitute any oil for any oil, any butter for any butter, any butter for any oil, and any oil for any butter without ruining the formula, unless I say otherwise. (Post from the FAQ about this.)

This meant I didn’t need to run down to Voyageur Soap & Candle every time I saw a formula I liked. I could substitute any oil or butter in the formula for those which I had in my workshop! Yay!

What’s the point of this story? I like stories… I mean, I’m sharing it because I realized I don’t need to have a million different oils in my workshop, and could use my favourites. So what are my favourites? In no particular order…

  1. Kukui nut oil. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I have a love affair with this oil. It’s a light oil with a non-greasy skin feel. I love combining it with…
  2. Babassu oil! This is a solid oil with many of the same characteristics of coconut oil, but it leaves a light, non-greasy, silky skin feel. It’s one of my favourites to use in a body butter as it melts on contact with skin. Damn, I really love this oil!
  3. Fractionated coconut oil! This very light, non-greasy oil is the perfect addition to any moisturizing product. It’s inexpensive and has a super long shelf life.
  4. Soy bean oil! I know it’s a greasy feeling oil, but I like greasy feeling oils! It has a ton of Vitamin E, so it has a shelf life of a year, and loads of linoleic fatty acid to help speed up skin’s barrier repair mechanisms. It also has a ton of phytosterols to help with inflammation. Finally, it’s inexpensive as heck, so you can buy a litre for something like $9 or so.
  5. Pomegranate oil! This is a fancy and more expensive oil, but I save it for fancy products, like facial sera and moisturizers. It’s considered a light oil, but it has a unctuousness that we find in a thicker oil. It contains a neat fatty acid called punicic acid, which is regenerating to skin, and offers anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It can help with sunburned or chapped skin and improves skin’s elasticity, and can stimulate regeneration in skin cells!(In all my classes, I’ve only met one person who didn’t like it.)

Darn it! Why did I restrict this list to 5? There are so many other great ones, like squalane and rice bran oil. 

I realize there are different oils we like for different reasons in different products, so it may be hard choose just 5, but do your best and share your thoughts!

I hope you check out the other discussions we’ve been having on the blog!