How To Make Basic Lotion From Scratch
Do you want to learn how to make your own lotion?
Making lotions can be challenging, but this basic lotion recipe makes it a fun and easy project.
A basic lotion can be easily customized with essential oils and skin care additives. Once you have your own lotion base, feel free to tweak and add to create a lotion perfect for your skin type, scent preferences, and specific benefits.
This is a perfect recipe for anyone who is new to making emulsions. Feel free to substitute the oils used here for other oils that appeal to you–your choice may slightly alter the end result but there are many great options available.
(NOTE: You can follow along with one of our expert chemists making this recipe. Check out the video and its transcript below.)
Stats for Basic Lotion Recipe
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Approximate yield: 1 Pound (16 oz)
Approximate cost per pound: $3.68
Suggested packaging: 4oz – 6oz bottle with a pump top
Suggested retail price: $5.00 – $10.00
Equipment You’ll Need
• 2 Stovetop-safe pots or beakers
• Stick blender
• Measuring cups/spoons or scale
• Emulsifying Wax
• Stearic Acid
• USDA Certified Organic Olive Oil
• Deionized Water
• USDA Certified Organic Pomegranate Juice Powder
• USDA Certified Organic Vegetable Glycerin
• Xanthan Gum
• Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate
Ingredients By Phase
We’ve organized the ingredients into tables so the recipe is easier to follow.
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Cool Down Phase:
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(NOTE: You can get all of these skin care ingredients from our website. Just click on the ingredient name above to visit its product page or search in our site’s search bar.)
Instructions for How to Make A Basic Lotion
1. Start by combining all Melt Phase ingredients into a stovetop-safe pot or beaker. In a separate stovetop-safe pot or beaker combine all Water Phase ingredients. You should now have 2 pots or beakers. One with the oil phase ingredients and one with the water phase ingredients.
2. Heat oil phase until fully melted. This will be approximately 165F – 170F. On a separate burner, heat water phase to 145F – 155F.
3. Take water phase and grab your stick blender. Slowly sprinkle Xanthan Gum into water phase while mixing with your stick blender. Mix until fully blended.
4. With your blender still immersed and mixing the water phase, slowly pour oil phase into water phase while constantly mixing. You may need to increase the speed on your mixer as you add the oil phase. Don’t be afraid to aggressively mix.
5. Finally, add Phenoxyethanol and Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate. Mix again.
6. Let cool to room temperature. Fill your packaging and enjoy!
Ways to Customize Your Lotion
Popular Essential Oils You Can Use to Scent Your Lotion
Watch The Step By Step Video For This Basic Lotion Recipe Below
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Intro (00:01): Hey, everybody. Welcome to Kitchen Chemistry with Essential Wholesale & Labs. I’m Dominic and I’m going to show you how to make a basic lotion.
I’ve heard that everyone wants an actual recipe for basic lotions. That’s what we’re going to do today. I split it up into my water phase and my melt phase. And I’m going to take these two which are my preservatives (phenoxyethanol and tetrasodium glutamate diacetate), and I’ll leave those off as a final phase during the cool down.
Equipment (00:36): So what I’ve got here is an immersion blender. Ours is nice and industrial because we use it eight hours a day. And I’ve got a thermometer or two, just so I can measure the temperatures of the oil phase and the water phase as we heat them up. So I’m going to clear all this out and I’m going to start melting the oil phase and heating the water phase.
Step 1 (00:58): Alright, so I’m going to start by combining my olive oil, my emulsifying wax, and my stearic acid. Now, I’m going to toss my thermometer in there and stir it up and just let it go because this is going to take a minute.
So now, I’ve got my water phase and my emulsion blender. I’m going to take my water phase and add my pomegranate juice powder to it. And my emulsion blender can start off slowly mixing it up until it’s fully hydrated. And I’m going to say, that’s pretty good right there. Now, I could go ahead and add my glycerin but I’m going to disperse my Xanthan in my glycerin before I add them.
Step 2 (02:23): So we’re going to pull back this melt phase, and we’re going to plop this water phase on here, too. You’ll see I’m leaving my emulsion blender head in there because if I pour a hot oil phase on cold metal, it’s going to cool down real quick and it’s going to congeal and we’re just going to have a mess. And we’ll be back when it’s melted.
We now have a 150-degree melt phase, which I’m going to take off [the heat]. And if you’re doing this at home, you obviously want to record your temperatures just for posterity so you can recreate what you’re doing. This water phase is sitting at 108, so that is not hot enough. You’re going to want your oil phase and your water phase to at least be close to 20 degrees apart. I’ve got a 150-degree melt phase so I’ll at least want 130-degree water phase.
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Step 3 (04:05): My water phase is now nice and heated to 130.2 F. I’m going to disperse our xanthan gum into our vegetable glycerin just so it doesn’t fly all over the place when I try and pour it in there.
We will add the vegetable glycerin / xanthan gum mixture. We’re using the xanthan gum as a stabilizer.
Step 4 (05:29): Now slowly add the oil phase (or melt phase), and then, we will high shear it for a minute or two. You’ll notice it getting whiter. That is the water phase and melt phase combining to form micelles.
Step 5 (06:25): I’m about to add the final phase, and I took the temp and it has already dropped down to 124F and it’s going to continue dropping as I mix it. Our final phase includes phenoxyethanol and tetrasodium glutamate diacetate, which is the chelator. So let’s toss these in there.
Step 6 (07:03): And now my favorite part because I can do it with a small amount like this, is a cold water bath. Now obviously, this isn’t going to work if you were trying to do a cold water bath on a five-gallon pail, but in this case it will drop the temperature real quick.
This has cooled down, and you can see it’s nice and thick. One thing to keep in mind is if you’re worried about an emulsion not thickening, if you have a stainless steel surface or any cool surface, while you’re mixing it in that first emulsion stage, you can take some out and put it on that cold surface and it will thicken pretty quickly because it cools down very quick.
Customization Options (08:34): Since this is so basic you can add any essential oils you want to it and any actives you’d like to add to it. You can swap out the oil. You can try different preservatives. When you try different preservatives, though, you need to make sure you know how much they need to go in at, and also you need to pay attention to if you start adding more essential oils or adding more additives that you look at the percentage that the preservative is in at because you are dropping it every time you add other stuff to it.
Outro (09:13): So other than that, this is a fun little emulsion that is easy for beginners and can go a long way for people who have made these a million times.
Thanks for joining us. Again I’d like to say that I do enjoy doing these videos and if you have any comments or suggestions for other videos you would like to see me in or at least my hands and hear my voice, let me know. Thanks. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notified when we publish other how-to skin care videos like this one.