Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Lotion bar with candelilla is too soft…

  • Lotion bar with candelilla is too soft…

    Posted by luttie on March 22, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    Hi there! I’m your usual perfectionist that never gets anything done. After suffering for over-optimization and creating formulas with more than 20 ingredients I learnt my lesson and I’m going back to basics.

    Long short history, candelilla wax at 24% and 34% (sunflower oil up to 100%) wasn’t enough to make a lotion bar trial solid, while the same % of carnauba made it too hard. I know that despite being hard waxes they’re different in composition, but I’ve seen many recipes, formulas and blogs with people using about 30% of candelilla and getting a somewhat solid thing. What am I doing wrong?


    1) Weight the wax or hardener and oil

    2) (Double-boil) Heat it for long enough to melt everything. Ensure it is well mixed and there are no “blobs” or solid pieces left.

    3) Pour in mould

    4) Put in freezer (about 10ΒΊC). Room temperature is about 32ΒΊC.
    I’ve waited for about 3-4 hours before unmolding (or trying to).

    Just for context:

    I’m trying to test some hardeners for a solid lotion bar. I’m using sunflower seed oil for up to 100% and a hardener to get used to their feeling, visuals, processing, etc.

    I’ve tried the following combinations (each letter is a different test):

    For all of them -> Sunflower seed oil up to 100%

    A - carnauba wax 24% : Too hard, and cracked (but usable)

    B - carnauba wax 34% : Too hard, and cracked

    C - Beeswax 30% : would be better if a bit harder ; still usable

    D - Beeswax 45% : hard enough; usable

    E - Candelilla wax 24% : Too soft, like a smooth balm. I can’t even get it out of the silicone mold.

    F - Candelilla wax 34% : Too soft, but harder than F. I managed to unmold it but it looks like a butter.

    G - Cetyl Alcohol 30 % : Hard enough, usable

    H - Cetyl Alcohol 45%: Quite hard, usable

    I - Glyceryl Stearate 29% : Hard enough, usable

    luttie replied 8 months, 2 weeks ago 4 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • KMRCSMiami

    March 22, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Would love to help but I need formula and process information. The variations may have failed for a variety of reasons. Please share full info when possible.

    @Perry44 , I think a good addition to the site would be a button you have to click prior to posting to ensure people who require formulation assistance provide the full formula prior to posting πŸ˜…

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by  KMRCSMiami.
    • luttie

      March 22, 2023 at 3:25 pm

      Thank you for your reply!
      The full formula is right there. Sorry if I was not clear enough, English is not my first language.

      The formula is just the % or hardener/thickener with sunflower oil up to 100%;

      So for instance in experiment A whe have 24% carnauba wax -> so there is 76% sunflower oil.
      I’ve used only 2 ingredients per batch (hardener + sunflower oil) to make it simpler (for me) to understand what was going on in each case.

      • KMRCSMiami

        March 23, 2023 at 5:52 pm

        Oh, I read “over 20 ingredients” so I was confused. I would recommend making it extremely easy to assist you by clearly listing the formula. The last thing I want to do is guess what the other XX% is. Thanks

        • luttie

          March 23, 2023 at 7:43 pm

          I will do that. Unfortunatelly I can’t manage do edit the main post so I’ll update it in the replies…

  • ketchito

    March 22, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    Bars made with natural waxes only as hardening agents, tend to be hard but brittle. You’re better off using fatty alcohola and/or glyceryl stearate.

    • luttie

      March 22, 2023 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks. Do you have any recommendation about how to set my experiments?

      I’ll try some formulas this week to test these thickeners together (natural waxes, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol and stearic acid in different proportions). I’ve seen some suppliers formulas using like 4-5 waxes with 4-5% each and I was quite curious about how did they arrive at such composition.

      I’m think about experiments using 1:1 (combining 2 of them each about ~ 15% each) and 1:1:1 (when combining 3 of them each about ~12% each) for now.

  • luttie

    March 23, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    I can’t manage to edit the post so I’ll make the corrections here.
    The formulas that went too soft were:

    1. (E) - 24% Candelilla wax and 76% sunflower oil
    2. (F) - 34% Candelilla wax and 64% sunflower oil

    The process was just mix them, heat long enough to blend everything together, mix, still heating for like ~1min to ensure everything is melted and mixed. Pour in silicone molds. Put in freezer. Unmold after ~ 3-4 hours. I couldn’t even unmold (E) because it was too soft.

    The same formulas and procedure, when using Carnauba wax instead of Candelilla, give a quite hard bar for both cases. Are these wax SO different? I’ve seen some online material and people using them and it really looks like something in my process is off.

  • SnowBunnyChemist

    March 25, 2023 at 7:27 pm

    Hi Luttie,

    Are you not aware that lotion bars/ body bars have a standard recipe ratio of 1/3–1/3–1/3.


    Oil 1/3 any Oil

    Butter 1/3 think Shea, Mango, etc

    *Hard Butter or Bees Wax 1/3

    This is a standard recipe for success.

    You can see this β€œthirds ratio” recipe being made on a multitude of YouTube videos where you will see the bars turn out perfectly firm right before your eyes like magic.

    This one thirds ratio recipe is really that simple.

    **I don’t know if you’re purposefully leaving out the butter portion - but this is why it’s not setting up. There is no body in your formula to build up the bar.

    It’s like making chocolate chip cookies with the hard chocolate chips and an oil - but leaving the flour out - so you have no substance or body to build your bar.

    I really suggest next time you want to develop something you see what information is available first on the internet from reliable formulating resources and take it from there.

    This step can save you a ton of time repeatedly reformulating and avoid lots of trial and error as you are experiencing.

    I have literally never had a lotion bar not turn out.

    For coconut oil just keep in mind it may get slightly soft above 76 or so. I have still never had a bar melt tho. I just use a harder butter like Kokum to firm it up.

    I have made literally hundreds of bars of every oil/wax/butter combination possible and I have never had even one bar not set up.

    Just stick to the thirds ratio for success.

    The above recipe is super simple and will work for virtually any combination you can even think of. The 1/3–1/3–1/3 ratio is foolproof. I promise. Good luck πŸ€

    • luttie

      March 26, 2023 at 5:49 am

      Thank you for the help Snow!
      I’ve seen this 1/1/1 formula before. I researched in humblebee, brumble berry, this forum, soapmaking forum, ulprospector and many “mommy bloggers”. Since I was trying to get used both to the “feeling” of each wax or hardener and to it’s “hardening effect” I decided to limit my trials to only 1 harderner at time + sunflower oil. I’ve seen some of them listed as “fast-absorbing” or “slippery” and wanted to give them a kind of neutral test.

      I just can’t manage to understand why my candelilla samples did get so soft πŸ™ . They were the only ones too soft to be used from all tests.
      I’ve made 2 other lotion bars succesfully before, using a butter, an oil, cetyl alcohol and stearic acid. But since I was using quite a lot of ingredients (about 10-20 in these samples) I decided to try each wax on its own.

      I still have no idea if I made any mistake in the process or the combination of candelilla and sunflower oil is just no great for hardness. 34% wax should be at least hard enough to be unmolded… But is a kind of an ointment consistency.

      For instance, the carnauba version was so hard that I think if I used 33% of it + 33% of a butter it would be quite diffcult to use the bar, so I would reduce the wax to about 20%. I can see however how beeswax for instance is VERY likely to result in great products using these ratios. I found it to be the easiest to work with.

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