Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gift Series - Lotion Tutorial (from scratch)

For the next installment in the Holiday Gift Idea series, I will wow you with how easy it is to make your own lotion - from scratch! Of course, you can always purchase a pre-made lotion base and add your own fragrance. But by making your own lotion from scratch you can choose the ingredients and make it as luxurious or as economical as you like.

This recipe only costs 64¢ per 4 ounce bottle (not counting the distilled water or label). That's right, $.64 for something you would pay a minimum of $8 for in most any store (even the one that sounds like "Sash and Shoddy Shirks" if you say it fast).

Lotion1Ingredients (by weight):

18 oz. Distilled Water
1.2 oz. Shea Butter
1.7 oz. Sweet Almond Oil
1 oz. Avocado Oil
1.2 oz. Emulsifying Wax
1 oz. Stearic Acid
.2 oz. Phenonip
.1 oz. Fragrance

Buy the Gift Series kit here or the Lotion Kit here.


Digital scale
Stick Blender
one 16 oz. wide-mouth container
one 32 oz. wide-mouth container
Five 4 ounce bottles

Lotion2step 1 Sterilize all of your tools and containers by dunking them in 5% bleachwater solution and drying them with fresh, off the roll, paper towels.

step 2 In the large 32 oz. container, add the Sweet Almond oil, Avocado Oil, Stearic Acid and Emulsifying wax. Make sure this is all weighed out (no volume measurements). Put in the microwave on 30 second bursts to melt the E-Wax and Stearic Acid (p.s. despite the scary name, Stearic Acid is derived from Palm Oil and isn't acidic or scray. It actually adds to the fluffiness factor of the lotion).

step 3 Add the Shea Butter to the hot mixture and stir to melt.

Lotion3step 4 Warm up the distilled water and add it to your oil mixture. Vigorously stir with a spoon by hand to start. Then switch to the hand blender. The reason you warm up your water is because you don't want your waxes to immediately solidify upon contact with the water.

Lotion4step 5 Once the mixture is fully mixed and emulsified (usually about 2 to 3 minutes), take the temperature and add the preservative and fragrance. For Germaben II, Optiphen and Phenonip preservatives, you want the temperature to be below 140 degrees. Usage rates of all three of these preservatives start at .5% by weight. Fragrance usage for lotions is very low (remember, you don't want to inadvertantly make a perfume!) so start small. This recipe literally calls for .1 ounces of fragrance and that is more than enough to make a lovely smelling lotion.

Lotion5step 6 Pour into prepared bottles while the mixture is still warm. If the mixture is too thick to pour, heat it up for 30 seconds in the microwave and stir. Repeat as needed until it's thin enough to pour. If the temperature during re-heating goes above 140, you'll need to add an additional .5% preservative.

step 7 Allow to cool with the lids off. Then put on lids and label and impress your friends and loved ones with your handmade goodness!

If you're feeling adventurous and want to experiment with other oils and butters, you can design your own recipe. To create your own recipe follow these guidelines:

70-80% Distilled Water
3-5% Stearic Acid
3-6% Emulsifing Wax
add the rest in your choice of oils and butters

To this add
.5 - 1% Preservative
.5% Fragrance