how to: make lotion

Yup, I made my own lotion. I’ve done it before, but never followed any legit recipe or anything. Just blended together a variety of oils, aloe vera gel, vitamin e oil, etc until I got a consistency I liked. This time? I followed for real recipes. And it turned out pretty darn good!

Ben & I both struggle with severely dry hands in the winter time. Dry to the point of cracked and bleeding knuckles (eewwww…). Dry enough that it hurts to bend my fingers. Two weeks in Hawaii cleared it right up for me (speaking of, I know I still owe you posts for our last few days on vacation… they’re coming, I promise). It only took a few weeks back home in winter weather for the dry skin to return.

Tired of it, I set out to make two types of lotion – lotion bars and regular lotion.

The lotion bars turned out great… here’s an “after” shot:

lotion bar

The regular lotion set up a bit more solid than I expected:

SOLID lotion... this may as well be a lotion bar recipe as well. (sorry about the suuuuper blurry photo here... my camera decided to focus on the cabinets in the background. *sigh*)

I had a fix for the hard stuff… I’ll explain more below.

A few weeks ago, I placed an order for bulk lotion supplies from Bulk Apothecary. They took about a week to get here, then I sat on them for about a week more. Finally, two nights ago, I’d had enough of the dry, cracking skin and pulled out the supplies. Here’s what I ordered:

Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Grapeseed Oil, Beeswax, Grapefruit Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil and Vanilla Essential Oil

I started with the lotion bars first. I used the “Easy Lotion Bars” recipe from Teach Soap. I used shea butter, yellow beeswax and grapeseed oil for the base. I waited and added the essential oil at the very end, which didn’t turn out so great… it really needs to be added while the mixture is still HOT so it can blend with everything else. I poured three plain lotion bars for Ben, and three scented bars for me.

My scale was essential for this project. Then, I subsequently dropped and broke it after completing my lotions. :( It was time to upgrade to digital anyway.

Using a double boiler method, I melted the oil and beeswax in separate containers, per the instructions.

ahhhh!! i'm melllting, meeelllting...

Dropped some essential oil in to my silicone molds (these things have seen a lot of action recently).

I combined the melted beeswax with the hot oils, the poured the mixture in to molds. It started setting up surprisingly fast. It must have been cold in our house.

And after they cooled completely (about an hour)…

Here’s what the ones with essential oils looked like.

boooo! the essential oils collected at the bottom.

The plain ones were fine, though.

Recipe #2 – “Regular” Lotion

I used this recipe from the “a sonoma garden” blog. I used a combo of grapeseed and olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, vitamin e and some essential oils for my version. I call it “the kitchen sink”. It smells A.MAZ.ING. I followed the same basic instructions and ratios of butter/oil (1 1/2 cups) to beeswax (1/2 cup), but the fact that shea and cocoa butter are hard at room temperature contributed to the fact that this set up much thicker than expected. More oil fixed that easily!

a one jar recipe. i like it already!

woohoo! melted!
(love the trivet? my cousin makes them... contact me @ if you want one!)

setting up... a little thick.

I noticed the lotion was a bit thick at this point and added more grapeseed oil. Then, I scooped some out in to a container more suitable for “solid” lotion (on the right), and added a little more oil to the jar… then, a lot more. All in all, I think I added nearly a cup of additional oil. We really wanted a squirt-able consistency – one that we could put in our hand pump and get out easily. It finally got to that point.

still setting up - I added vitamin E and essential oils at this point

As the lotion was cooling, I added liquid vitamin E (to both containers) and some vanilla essential oil (to the container on the right). I used a small whisk to blend it in, which worked very well (a fork would have also worked).

The verdict? Both versions turned out pretty awesome and seem to be helping my dry skin. Yay! I sent Ben off with his lotion bar in a baggie, and I have one on my nightstand. This project was easy and fun – it made me wish I’d tried it sooner!


2 Responses to “how to: make lotion”

  1. 1 cruz2lose March 9, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I have have nominated you for the Sunshine Award. : )

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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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