Oodles of Oils

You sit down to create a new cosmetic product. The oodles of oils to choose from makes things confusing. Indeed, it seems that I learn about a new oil each day. With the huge number of oils available, how do you choose those that will make your creation a success?

Consider a few key points and you will be on track to making good choices.

But first, let’s examine what an oil is.

What is an oil?

The term, “oil,” in the title is broad and refers to lipids of any type or consistency, liquid or solid. However, makers break down these greasy, viscous substances into three categories, oil, butter and fat.

Oil – Oil is the term makers usually assign to lipids that are liquid at room temperature. While most of them are plant-based, exceptions exist. Mineral oil is one as it is derived from processed, purified petroleum. Emu oil is another as it is liquid, but animal based.

Butter – The butter category typically refers to plant-based lipids that are solid or nearly solid at room temperature. Shea, mango and cocoa butters are among the most common.

Fat – The word “fats” is generally used for animal-based and lipids that are solid at room temperature. Lard from pig and tallow from cows are most common.

Now that the definitions are taken care of, let’s look at factors that help you choose the best ones.

What are oils comprised of?

Except for mineral oil, oils, butters and fats are all lipids and comprised of fatty acids and properties such as vitamins, minerals and more. Besides liquidity, fatty acid composition and other properties such as vitamins, polyphenols and phytosterols separate one from another.

What else should I consider?

Along with consistency, fatty acids and other properties, consider the following:

Shelf life: While shelf life may mean little to a hobbyist, it is a major consideration for those selling. The hobbyist can buy small quantities and use them quickly, but sellers need to know that customers can purchase and use the product before it goes rancid..

Price: If your target market wants expensive oils and will pay for them, offer those oils and charge accordingly. If your market demands a lower price point, choose oils that deliver at a reasonable cost. Oils rise and fall in popularity, so it may pay to jump on the proverbial bandwagon if it does not compromise the integrity of the product.

Availability: When it comes to commodities, a steady, inexpensive supply is never guaranteed. It is a wise business owner who keeps an eye on climactic changes, natural disasters, politics and every other factor that affects the price of the oils they use. Also important, however, is to choose well to begin with. If a description of an oil includes terms such as “rare,” or it is available only from one source, think twice. It is a great marketing edge to offer something no one else does–until you can’t get it.

If you want to be a crack formulator, learn all you can about the fatty acids and what they do for skin. Familiarize yourself with the other properties of oils, as well. Be smart when it comes to price and availability. Choose the best oils for the application and formulation is an easier task.

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