In my continued effort to make a world where more people make their own basic self-care products, I will describe my most recent foray into homemade lotion. I have made many different lotions, balms and belly butters, but this is the first time I’ve made something I can confidently say was absolutely perfect; better than store-bought. It’s creamy, smooth, light, and not greasy.
Making homemade lotion from scratch is essentially an act of emulsification. Because the two primary ingredients are oil and water, convincing them not to separate is a real challenge. Thus I discovered the magic of emulsifying wax, and the plant-derived co-emulsifier stearic acid. Don’t worry, they are easily found at “The Soap Dispensary” on Main street here in Vancouver, or any supply store that carries soap-making supplies, or online.
The method is also really important. When I made my countless failed attempts over the years, I had mixed the ingredients by hand. This time, however, once everything hit the right temperature, I drizzled the water into the oil while it was spinning in a high speed blender. The emulsifying effect of the super fast blades turned it immediately into a creamy light delicate lotion that absorbs without any greasy residue. And (probably I say this a lot) it is so much simpler than you think.
Here’s the recipe and method that I used.
75 grams of distilled water (you can substitute rose water or aloe vera liquid if you prefer)
4 grams of stearic acid
4 grams of emulsifying wax
17 grams of an oil of your choice.
Melt the oils, stearic acid and emulsifying wax together on low until totally combined. Don't let it get too hot, just warm enough to combine.
In a separate pot, warm up the water to approximately 38 C
When the temperature of both are around 38 degrees, place the oil in a high- speed blender and slowly drizzle in the water. At this point, add essential oils if you like. Blend this until it’s totally combined and creamy.
Pour this beautiful lotion into squeeze bottles or screw-top jars. Remember there’s no preservative in this lotion, and since bacteria and mold love water, and this lotion is mostly water, you’ll have to keep it in the fridge if you plan to have it for more than about a week.
And there it is. There are also lots of websites that have step-by-step helpful instructions. They are all slightly varied in their method and ingredients, but essentially the same.
If you’ve even been suspicious about the long list of unknown ingredients in your lotion (or you’re averse to spending the big bucks on pure, organic products), try this incredibly simple, healthful, pure lotion. In my opinion, if you’re slathering something all over your skin, you may as well know what’s in it.
By the way: this lotion recipe looks exactly like the picture.