You guys, today is a big day. A day many of you have been waiting for. It’s time for another lotion recipe.
First, a little background story…
A few years ago, I started thinking about making the switch from a laundry-list-of-toxic-ingredients that I’d used to clean my home and care for the outside of body. My family had already been enjoying “real food” for a few years at that point.
Now, let me pause here, and go down a bit of a “rabbit trail.”
There’s an idea going around, which I first believed when making the cleaning and bodycare switch, that chemicals are bad. Friend, I would suggest just the opposite. When I talk about making the switch from toxic products to “more natural” products, I’m not talking about banning chemicals from our homes, because that’s impossible! Everything from baking soda to water has a chemical composition, and we certainly know those ingredients aren’t toxic.
When I talk about making the switch, I’m talking about choosing or making products that aren’t made with highly questionable/toxic ingredients. If you’re curious about some of the questionable/toxic ingredients used to make many of the beauty and cleaning products in the US, many of which are banned in Europe due to health concerns, I recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Database. On the EWG site, you can check out overall safety ratings for products and brands, as well as individual ingredients.
Just remember, my natural living goal is to source or make safer products, not eliminate chemicals. Because that would mean having to eliminate my beloved baking soda, water, and vinegar, too.
Okay, back to the lotion story ;)…
My switch to more natural products started with bodycare items, particularly foundation powder and moisturizer.
I had read about coconut oil being a miracle product, so I switched out my store-bought moisturizer for coconut oil. Within a few months, it was clear that my skin didn’t think coconut oil was a miracle product. After much research, I determined that coconut oil just wasn’t something that I could use every day as a moisturizer.
Side note, I still use coconut oil for DIYs, so I’m not saying coconut oil is bad news. Rather, I’m just suggesting that everyone is different, and so the products we love and use will vary, too. My skin tolerates coconut oil in deodorant, and as an occasional post-shave moisturizer.
At that point, I decided to create a homemade lotion that would be shelf-table, and could be used in place of the coconut oil. After lots of trial and error, I developed a homemade lotion, which technically is a body butter, that’s thick and luxurious. My skin loved the change from 100% coconut oil to this new product. And here’s where my backstory meets today’s DIY lotion recipe…
I shared that lotion/body butter recipe two years ago on Live Simply. Since that time, I know many of you have tried that recipe, and love it! I also know, based on comments and emails, that many of you would like a creamier/less thick lotion that has more of a store-bought consistency.
Today, I’m excited to share with you a new lotion recipe that’s soft, creamy, and even “pumpable.” Before I share the recipe, let’s chat about a few things to keep in mind…
1. This recipe is “pumpable.” This means the lotion is smooth and liquid enough to be used in a pump bottle. My ultra-moisturizing lotion/body butter is very thick, which means you have to store it in a jar (it won’t pump). While you can store this lotion in a pump bottle, cleaning the “straw” (what is that little thing at the base of the pump called?) is tricky, because well, you’re dealing with lotion.
If you use a pump bottle, know that you may need to replace the pump and straw if you can’t thoroughly clean them out before making a new batch of lotion. Alternatively, this lotion could also be stored in a bottle or jar, and then poured on your hand, or spooned out. I personally go with the jar (other than for photos here), since I store this in the fridge.
2. This lotion does require a number of ingredients, and is a bit of process to make. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of making one more thing, let me encourage you…
You don’t have to make lotion to use “cleaner” bodycare products. It’s perfectly okay to purchase pre-made lotion.
Yep, that probably sounds contradictory for a homemade lotion chat. Here’s the thing, simple living isn’t about “doing it all.” In fact, if you’re “doing it all” you’re probably not living simply. It’s okay to say, “You know what, I’m going to make a homemade dinner for my family, and purchase a ‘cleaner’ lotion from the store.” I personally don’t make lotion the majority of the time because I have to prioritize other tasks and I know my health food store sells some decent lotion options.
If you’re going to purchase lotion, I highly recommend checking out the EWG. I personally like Every Day Shea brand.
With that being said, today’s recipe is for the folks who want to make a silky smooth lotion at home.
Silky Smooth Homemade Lotion
- 3/4 cup sweet almond oil 157 grams
- 3 TB refined mango butter 40 grams
- 2 TB cocoa butter 14 grams
- 1 TB beeswax pellets 8 grams, or finely chopped beeswax
- 1 tsp vitamin E oil
- 43 drops lavender essential oil or orange essential oil, can be reduced to 20 for young children
- 1 cup distilled water or a floral hydrosol – rose lavender or calendula all work well – must be room temperature or lotion is more likely to separate, 220 grams, the hydrosol is my preference
- Make sure that your blender or immersion blender (you can use either one--I prefer an immersion blender because it's easier to clean), bowl and all utensils are very clean when you make this. If they’re not fully sanitized, then your lotion can grow bacteria or mold. Clean everything with hot soapy water, then swab with rubbing alcohol or vinegar, and let air dry.
- In a heat safe glass bowl, combine the sweet almond oil, mango butter, cocoa butter, and beeswax.
- Place the glass bowl on top of a saucepan partially filled with water, over medium heat. This creates a type of double boiler. Stir occasionally until everything is melted and combined.
- Allow the oil mixture to cool for a few minutes before pouring it into your blender (if using a table-top blender). Let this mixture cool until it’s room temperature. It should look creamy, thick and opaque, but don’t let it get solid. Optional: You can place the blender in the fridge for about 35 minutes to speed up the process.
- Add the vitamin E oil and essential oil to the cooled oil mixture. If you're using a table-top blender, blend the mixture with the lid on for a few seconds. If you're using an immersion blender, place the stick in the bottom of the mixture (in a high-rimmed bowl), and blend for a few seconds, pulsing up and down at the bottom a few times.
- If you're using a table-top blender, take the lid off of your blender, or just the top part of the lid if you have that option on your blender. With your distilled water or hydrosol in the glass measuring cup, slowly pour it into the oil mixture in a very thin drizzle while the blender is on medium/low. If you're using an immersion blender, with the blender on and at the bottom of the jar, slowly pour the distilled water or hydrosol into the oil, pulsing the immersion blender up and down at the bottom just a few times.
- If you're using a table-top blender, slowly increase the blender to medium speed and blend the lotion for 30 seconds more. If you're using an immersion blender, continue to blend, pulsing the immersion blender up and down, for about 30 seconds more.
- Immediately pour the lotion into a jar and store away from light and heat.
Extra Ingredient Notes
If you’re using cocoa butter wafers, you’ll need 12 butter wafers to equal the 14 grams/2 tablespoons.
Plant Therapy makes wonderful floral hydrosols. I used Plant Therapy’s rose hydrosol to photograph this recipe.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful Skincare recipe. My question is for how many months or days you can store it in an environment having temperature 40 degrees
Hey Sjivaa, Bacteria likes warm and wet environments, so 40F will probably help slow down bacterial growth. That said, I would only store it for a few weeks at this temp, personally.
Hey, Kristin! 🙂
Thank you for this.
I have a situation: after a few month my water separates from oils, in the jar.
How can I work this out?
Thank you, again, I just LOVE the texture, nurturing, softness of this lotion!
Dont you need emulsifying wax? Ive heard beeswax doesnt work in keeping the oil and water together!
Hey Sindhu, You can use one if you’d like. In this recipe, I use beeswax that way.
Is it possible to make this without using any essential oils?
Hey Kay, Absolutely. Just leave the EOs out.
Thank you so much for sharing this amazing blog post. It is really helping and I am trying it for a while, eager to wait for the best results.
Hi I made this recipe before and absolutely loved it. I made it again this weekend and it hasn’t gone as well. The distilled water just wouldn’t mix in with the oils. I poured off the excess water but the texture is completely different to last time and puddles of water are still forming on the surface. What have I done wrong?! Thank you
It sounds like it didn’t emulsify properly. A slow drizzle is key.
I am having a heck of a time trying to get the hard grainy feel to my body cream. At first when I make it the cream is smooth. After a few days it starts getting grit in it. Do I have to start from square one with a new batch to fix this problem?
are you using shea butter to make the lotion? That can be an issue with shea butter as it cools. Other than that, I’m not sure what would be causing the issue.
What if you don’t have beeswax and vitamin e oil? What other materials can be used to replace them?
Any kind of emulsifier could be used in place or beeswax, but I don’t know how much. Vitamin e oil is fine to leave out.
What if you don’t have beeswax and vitamin e oil?
Love this recipe! The emulsifying worked for me no problem and I substituted shea butter for mango butter (1:1). It has the same consistency and works great! I also added zinc oxide to half the batch to make a sunscreen and I love it! Thank you!
Awesome, Leah! Thanks for sharing.
does the shea butter make it smell less fruity? I’m tempted to try this recipe, but shying away from that mango butter…
Hey Ute, I don’t find mango butter is overly fruity smelling in this. Shea can have a stronger odor sometimes.
Hi, I can’t wait to try this lotion out! I’ve also been searching around for a DIY hair conditioner, but I haven’t been able to find anything appealing… do you think this could double as a rinse out hair conditioner? Thank you!
Why is homemade lotion so appealing? I cannot wait to try this out! I want to make a few scents, are there some essential oils I should avoid? I love peppermint and if I can use that then I would like too! Thank you so much.
Hey Sandra, Any skin safe essential oil is great.
How long is this lotion good for outside of the refrigerator?
If you’re not using a preservative, about 3-4 weeks. But always use your senses, if it doesn’t smell right then toss.
Can I use aloe juice instead of hydrosol or rose water?
Hey Som, I don’t recommend it.
i love your recipe, but it separated within moments of being completely mixed 🙁
i created a second batch right away, and made sure that my rose water temp was the same as the oil mix temp but again, it too separated. 🙁 i’m sure you cannot advise me what i am doing wrong as a number of factors come into play here, but can the lotions/cold creams be salvaged? They look rather yucky since there are water beads/puddles on the lotions. Thanks for your help!
Hi can I swap the beeswax for emulsifier wax.
I really like your recipe for the silky lotion, while looking at the ingredients I clicked on the link for mango butter, not knowing what this was, and the link takes you to amazon for a waterproof eyebrow pen???
Hey Angela, Hmmm, that’s weird. Thanks for letting me know. Will get that fixed.
Your recipe for the lotion seem very interesting and quite effective although i have not tried it yet. Just wondering if you would have a solution as to reason for face cream to be lumpy after the preparation.. I have made some but without beeswax, instead i have used arrowroot powder, shea butter, coconut oil and aloe vera gel.
Any suggestion please as its very disappointing!!
Hi Anni! Thanks for writing, Kristin is currently on vacation and will answer you once she returns!
Hey Anni, It sounds like the aloe vera gel didn’t emulsify with the butters. You need an emulsifying agent to do that from my experience.
Made a batch of lavender and came out perfect ! after I did make a huge 8x batch of peppermint I def added alittle too much water so now it’s separating from the lotion. Any ideas how to fix this batch? I was thinking of making some more to add more cocoa butter etc into the peppermint batch mix it together to see if it will get rid of the water/ make the correct consistency again
Very happy with the results except the lotion is thicker than I want. Will adding more hydrosol thin the viscosity a little to make it pumpable?
Hey Mimi, It might. I haven’t played around with adding more before.
Sorry I meant I have optiphen plus and polysorbate 20 as a preservative and emulsifier!