Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lotion Making

My goal this year was to learn how to make lotions.  I don’t know about you, but I like to research things thoroughly before I jump in. When I was learning to make soap, I spent quite a bit of time (weeks!) reading and studying anything related to soap before I was brave enough to jump in and try batch of my own. I like to be prepared :)

In this case to prepare myself, I purchased and read Susan Barclay-Nichols’ e-book on lotion making, Lotion Making 101. Then I decided to jump in by trying out 3 lotion kits, so that I could see the difference in consistency between the creams and lotions and to see which ingredients I liked before investing in bigger quantities. These particular kits are from Nature’s Garden and came beautifully packaged with the instructions and recipes in a spa bag, and each kit included the necessary ingredients, and even included the jars for packaging.


I chose to start with the Facial Night Cream kit, because that is the one I need the most. I am getting tired of putting stuff on my face that I can’t read the ingredient list for. I want to know what it is I am putting on my skin. Calendula infusion? Cocoa butter? Vitamin E? Avocado oil? Those are words I understand and feel good about putting on my skin!  


 At its most basic, lotions and creams are simply oil and water mixed together, but of course oil and water don’t mix. So, you need something to emulsify them (BTMS or emulsifying wax, for example), so that the oil and water will mix and stay combined.

Lotions and creams are prepared in 2 phases; the Water Phase and the Oil Phase. The water phase can be water, milks, flower or herbal infusions, aloe vera, glycerine, etc. The oil phase will be your oils and butters, emulsifiers, vitamin E, thickeners, etc. As per Susan’s e-book, both oil and water phases should be heated to 160F degrees and held for 20 minutes to kill any bacteria; when recipes call for ‘heat and hold’, this is what they are referring to. The water and oil phases should also be fairly close together in temperature when you combine them.

To start, I needed to gather some basic equipment:
2 Candy thermometers
Scale (I have 2 scales; one that measures by 1g and another that other measures by 0.1g)
Cooktop (portable or stove)
Pots (to make a double-boiler) and Pyrex measuring cup
Spatula 
Stick blender

Cleaning and sanitizing your work space and equipment: The most important part of the lotion making process is to have a clean work space and sterilized equipment. There are different methods for sterilizing, Heather from Winberg Bathworks covers the bleach method here: http://winbergbathworks.blogspot.ca/2012/10/cream-pictorial.html and Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks has additional information here: http://www.greatcakessoapworks.com/handmade-soap-blog/index.php/preparations-for-making-lotion/

I ran my equipment through the dishwasher and then sanitized with rubbing alcohol and clean paper towel. The dishwasher may have been enough, but I wanted to be extra cautious. I spritzed the insides of the jars and lids with rubbing alcohol and let them air dry.  

To avoid contamination, it is recommended that you wear disposable gloves and have your hair tied back or in a hair net while preparing lotion. 

Let’s get started!

Preparing the Water Phase:

Measure out calendula flowers into a coffee filter and set aside:  



Place distilled water in a small pot and heat and hold for 20 minutes:



Place the coffee filter filled with calendula flowers inside of a bowl and pour the hot distilled water over top, so that the infused water runs through the coffee filter. Allow to steep and then remove the coffee filter, so that all you are left with is the Calendula infused water. Then, mix the vegetable glycerin into the infused water. 



Preparing the Oil Phase:

Use a double boiler to melt the together the cocoa butter, avocado oil, castor oil, grapeseed oil, vitamin E, emulsifying wax and stearic acid. Melt until the temperature reaches 140F degrees, I held the temp here for 20 minutes, same as I did for the water phase.



Emulsification Phase:

Pour the calendula infusion/vegetable glycerine into the oil phase mixture and mix:


Take the temperature, and once it reaches 120F degrees, you can add the preservative. Use a stick blender to thoroughly mix until the consistency is that of a thick cream. 


Allow to cool completely to room temperature and then package into jars.

Verdict?


I can’t see myself ever buying store-bought lotion again….I’m in love!  

I also want to give a huge shout-out to Tina (hi Tina!), who took the time to share with me her lotion making technique along with some valuable hints and tips. You really gave me the courage to jump in and try it, and I appreciate your kindness in sharing your information with me! :) 

Thanks for reading everyone, I hope you all have a great week!
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43 comments:

  1. Cee, I felt the same way after trying my own lotion, too! What's really nice is you can formulate it for your skin and use any fragrances you want. Completely customizable!

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    1. I am so excited about those possibilities Dana, it will take a lot of R&D, but I am looking forward to the challenge! :)

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  2. Awesome, Cee! Handmade lotion is the best. I bought Susan's e-book 2 years ago and it is worth every penny - so much info! I make a lighter formula for summer and a heavier one for winter and am working on a facial moisturizer now. Love mango butter and meadowfoam oil in lotions. :)

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    1. It's a fantastic book, isn't it? I love that the money goes towards her youth programs too, so your purchase is helping the kids too!

      I have never tried meadowfoam, but I see it mentioned a lot...I'm going to have to try it! And thanks for the tip about mango butter, I see a lot of experimenting in my future!

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  3. Congratulations on making lotion! Isn't it fun? I make my own too. I love it.

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    1. Hi Milla, thanks! The whole procedure looked very daunting, but now that I've done it a couple of times, it's not so scary! :)

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  4. Way to go! The lotion looks great - very creamy :)

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    1. Thanks Deirdre, I do like lotions that are a bit thicker and this one is a nice consistency!

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  5. I was so excited to see this post Cee! I have been wanting to try my hand at lotions but did not know how to start. As soon as I get some free time (LOL!) I'm gonna give this a try!

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    1. Oh yay! Now we can talk lotions too! You will love it Gloria, can't wait to hear what you think of it! :)

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  6. It looks like whipping cream! I also like home made cremes, but I have not tried one like yours. I have only used bees wax as an emulsifier. My problem is that most cremes are too oily for me and I need just something lightly moisturizing.

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    1. You could use less oils and more moisturizing stuff, if you like? Perhaps aloe juice and glycerin and some "dry" oil?

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  7. You are one super organized lady! I could learn lots from you about doing research and being prepared. Thanks for the lesson on lotions, it certainly makes it a little less daunting to attempt now that you've shown us how.

    Your lotion looks so wonderfully creamy and luxurious, can't wait to see your next one.

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    1. Thanks Monica, I'm not usually very organized, but I really felt like I needed to take the time to do the research before jumping in to this one! :) I've made it twice now, and the 2nd time was much easier, I have a feeling it will get easier each time (just like soap making did!)

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  9. I told you you would be hooked on lotions! Hihi, glad to know! It's really like magic happening in front of your eyes.
    I can't see from the photo,but did you heat both phases one by one (cos it looks so)?

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    1. You knew I'd be hooked once I tried it, and you were right! It's just like making soap, except you can use it right away ;)

      You are very observant Maja...I did heat those phases separately above, but I shouldn't have. The next batch, I made the phases simultaneously and it went much smoother.

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  10. That looks absolutely sumptuous! I think I need to learn to make lotion!

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    1. Thanks Cindy! You'd really enjoy the process, it's a natural extension of soap making...just like candles ;)

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  11. Thank you for the great tutorial, Cee! Like you, I like to research before jumping into anything. I already ordered the emulsifiers and preservative, so making my own lotion won't be far off. :-)

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post Silvia! It sounds like we'll be seeing some lotion from you soon too, can't wait! :D

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  12. I just can't buy lotion anymore, either! I remember when I made my first lotion, I was amazed by how good it felt. Funny, I've never tried herbal infusions, though, that must feel great on your skin!

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    1. Think of the possibilities with the herbal infusions! It's true Amy, I can't get over how good this lotion feel and smells, even unscented...what a treat!

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  13. Thanks for sharing this with us! The process is almost the same than I use, except that I heat both phases at the same time, then you don't necessarily need any thermometers. You could also let your herbal infuses stay longer (and infuse some oil as well), so you could get stronger affects from herbs - if you like, I mean. I bet you have all those lovely oils already in your cabins, waiting for soaping, so you just need to buy some emulsifier and preservative to make more those wonderful and healthier lotions and cremes! ;) Welcome to our "DIY Lotions World", you never want to leave it anymore...

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    1. Hi Signe, great idea to infuse the oils too, thanks! You are right, I have plenty of oils that I can use already, I just need to get my hands on some emulsifier and preservative, then there will be no stopping me! :D

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  14. Congrats on your lotion batch, Cee! It looks so creamy. I'll bet it feels great on your skin!

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    1. Thanks Jenny, it really is amazing to use, I wish I had tried this years ago! :)

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  15. Agreed. Making your own lotion is way better than the store bought stuff,
    I love Calendula-infusions in lotions =)

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    1. I really love the idea of infusions too Anne-Marie, it's a nice way to add that 'something special' to lotions :)

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  16. Oh no Cee - that's another thing you've inspired me to put on my ever increasing 'to do' list hahahaha :-D How long have you been using it - and can you feel the benefit yet?
    It looks awesome, and something I will definitely try in the future!

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    1. Lol, it's good and bad to be inspired...no? I love, love, love the homemade lotion...I haven't touched the store bought stuff since I made it and don't anticipate I will :)

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  17. Way to go Cee! I had the 'lotion bug'a couple of years ago. It didn't really stick. So far I've been unable to find any other crafting outlet that is more satisfying than soapmaking. So I kept on buying premade bases from NG, and I really love them. The goat milk base is especially luxurious.

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    1. I can see that it might be difficult to jump back and forth between lotion making and soap making - not to mention the investment in time and ingredients that is required to properly research and practice before you start selling. Bases are a wonderful option, thanks for the heads-up Ksenija about NG's goat milk base! :)

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  18. Great tutorial, Cee! I wish I had this when I started making lotions too!
    Indeed, using your own made lotions is safer than using the bought ones. And certainly you can't go back to the bought ones!

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    1. You're right Nat, I couldn't picture touching the store-bought ones now...just not even close to the same!

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  19. It's only matter of time to start playing with lotions once when you have all ingredients nearby! Great job Cee!

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    1. It definitely seems like a natural progression Gordana, from soap making to lotion making. Seeing yours posted inspired me, thank you!

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  20. Yeah!!! These pictures really help! I made my first lotion in December and let's just say, your pictures clarify many of my questions!!! Thank you sooooo much!

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    1. Yay, I'm so glad my post helped! Good luck! :D

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  21. way to go Cee! my goal for the new year is to make lotion too! i haven't yet but for my birthday I got the BB kit and cannot wait

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    1. You'll love it Anna - and kits are a great way to dip your toes in...have fun!!! :)

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  22. Congrats Christine! The facial cream looks so creamy and luxurious! I would like to make my own one day, as I'm never happy with what I get at the store. I didn't know NG had lotion kits...will have to put them on my list. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. Thanks Kalla, I think you would really enjoy the process. It was a lot of fun to make and the kits made it so easy! =)

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