Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lotions out of the kitchen

I've been dabbling in homemade lip balms and body care type stuff for a little while.  Had pretty good success with the balms, some a bit firm but they last really nicely on the lips.  The last super moisturizing brown sugar Shea butter scrub I made sure was super moisturizing, but also way too greasy to use except in tiny amounts.  The fragrances or something in retail lotions tends to give me hives, eek!  :(  So even though I may love that hazelnut vanilla cream lotion from Bath and Bodyworks, I can't use it for more than one day.  Sunscreens do that to me too.  Maybe it's the SLS.  The nice thing about that shea moisturizing scrub though, was that it was completely edible ingredients.  All of it.  I will never have to worry about a reaction to the homemade stuff.

So my latest kitchen body creation was to attempt a non greasy hand and body lotion.  I am very pleased at how it turned out.  I may cut back on the Shea butter just a wee bit next time or go halfsies with cocoa butter.  (Yummy smell!)  You can choose whatever fragrance or essential oil you like to scent the lotion.  I'm sticking with the oils.  Fragrance and I are not friends.  So if you are feeling adventurous, here is how to make a thick, luxuriant body lotion.  A little goes a long way, think pea size for hands and carrot coin for legs.  I love to use it after doing the dishes or washing my hands.  They just drink it up, no greasy feel at all.  If they are just dry, it takes just a minute to soak in.  (I got all my specialty ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs.)

Update: you can also add 10 drops of Grapeseed extract (GSE) as a preservative.  (I put this in the leftover tub since I just scoop from it directly with fingers.)  If you choose not to add the vitamin E or GSE, I would suggest storing the unused portion in the fridge for longer keeping. Especially if you are not using a pump and may have contamination from dirty fingers in an open container.

Creamy Aloe and Shea Body Lotion
makes about 4 cups

8 tbsp Shea butter
4 tbsp almond oil
4 tbsp olive oil
3 rounded tbsp emulsifying wax
3 tbsp liquid vegetable glycerin
3 cups aloe vera gel
10-30 drops essential oil or 1 tsp fragrance
10 drops vitamin E oil (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat Shea butter slowly to 200ºF.  Turn off heat, add wax and leave to sit for 15 minutes.  Then add in the almond and olive oil.  In another pot, combine the aloe and glycerin and heat to 120ºF.  Remove from heat and slowly pour into the oil mixture, whipping with a stick blender.  Cool the mixture for 30 minutes and whip with the blender every 5-10 minutes.  After 30 minutes, add desired essential oil and Vitamin E oil, if using, and blend again.  Pour into four 8oz pump bottles.  (It may look a little runny right now, but it will thicken considerably when completely cooled so get it bottled while it's still easy to pour.)

Take a look at the ingredient list on your favorite commercial lotion.  Then enjoy your very own skin safe lotion that is practically edible.

Adapted from Glorious Lotion


  1. wow homemade body lotion! You are my hero!!

  2. Thanks! I do love having a lotion I can safely put on a dozen times a day if I happen to be washing dishes all day or doing wet laundry or housework.

  3. I'm impressed! Looks like the perfect body lotion. With the drying effects of winter heat this might be the perfect time to try this. Thanks!

  4. This is SO cool! I would love to try this. Thanks!

  5. Your recipe looks great (I'm about to make it actually). Do you know what the shelf life on it is? Should I keep in the fridge or is under the sink ok? Thank you so much!

  6. I am in the process of making this right now....I'm at the part where it has cooled for about 30 minutes and I've whipped it every 5-10 minutes but it's still very separated. Can you help?

  7. What I should have said is that there is a lot of liquid still standing even after I've whipped it Do I just keep whipping as it cools?

  8. @ d - I would keep spare bottles in the fridge, but working bottles can stay out for a month or so as long as your fingers are not touching the product.

    @ Lacey - There should not be any separation going on, have you made any substitutions or omissions? It might be thin at the start but should not separated. I am not certain if the temperatures are super important for proper emulsification as well. What kind of aloe gel are you using? I am out and actually planning on making a batch this week so I can do some testing.
    What I might suggest is to heat the whole batch back up to 130º and then whip with the stick blender. Are you using a stick blender? Otherwise, stick it in a regular blender or food processor to make sure that the initial emulsification has occurred.

  9. (Emulsifying wax has a melting point of 123º, so slightly above that to reintegrate the mixture is what I was thinking.)


Thanks for commenting, I love hearing from you! If you have any questions I will do my level best to answer them for you.