Lotion-Making Fun: My Very First Time

As you all may remember from a few of my previous posts, especially “Happy Mother’s Day from PBWB,” I have wanted to try making my own lotion for some time now and I ordered lotion-making supplies last Mother’s Day weekend. Well, my supplies have arrived and I made my first batch of lotion this weekend! I was so excited! And the more amazing thing is that I was able to eat lunch, plan and calculate ingredients, and make my lotion all within the timeframe of my daughter’s nap time on Saturday afternoon!

I used a recipe that’s been on my Pinterest board for awhile from a blog post called “Gift Series-Lotion Tutorial (from Scratch)” on a blog called Soap Queen. I used many of the same ingredients as Soap Queen except for the type of preservative used. I also left out avocado oil. I used her recommended percentages of ingredients for the most part. The process wasn’t too bad at all. There are definitely some changes that I would make for next time that I will explain later, but as I said it was a pretty quick process. I probably spent no more than an hour to an hour and a half actually making the lotion, including planning and a lazy cleanup (I didn’t wash all of the dishes right away.)

Carla’s Lovely Lavender Lotion Ingredients 😉

–    70%    Distilled Water
–    15%    Shea Butter
–    7.75% Sweet Almond Oil
–    3%      Emulsifying Wax (to bind the water and oil/butter together)
–    3%      Stearic Acid (for texture–known to make lotion thicker and fluffier)
–    0.75% Optiphen Plus (a paraben and formaldehyde-free preservative)
–    0.5%   Essential Lavender Oil

Tools & Equipment

I used the same items as the Soap Queen with the exception that I used three (expected to use 4 but I’ll explain later) 4 oz jars and plenty of paper towels. I also used pH strips because of the type of preservative I used.

Ingredients with website
I had a pot of boiling water on the stove. I used a strainer on top so that the steam could help melt the emulsifying wax and stearic acid. Looking back, it would’ve been a lot simpler to just use the microwave to melt these like the Soap Queen blog suggested. That was me doing too much. Smh.

The emulsifying wax and stearic acid before I melted them.

The emulsifying wax and stearic acid before I melted them.

Once the emulsifying wax and stearic acid were in liquid form, I added sweet almond oil and Shea butter to the warm mixture.

I stirred the shea butter in until it melted. For a few seconds, I put the mixing bowl inside the strainer that was on top of the pot of boiling water I had on the stove to speed up the process.

I stirred the shea butter in until it melted and even heated the bowl a little on my makeshift double-boiler on the stove.

Once the oil/butter mixture was liquefied, I measured and added distilled water. I didn’t warm the water first, but I definitely will next time. The distilled water was room temperature, but it caused some pieces of wax to form in the bowl, which could’ve been avoided if I’d warmed the water. The lotion turned out pretty smooth after mixing, but I have noticed some tiny clumps that feel waxy. If you try making your own lotion, avoid my mistake and HEAT UP YOUR WATER!

After adding distilled water, I stirred the mixture with a spoon, then used a hand mixer until it seemed well blended.

After adding distilled water, I stirred the mixture with a spoon, then used a hand mixer until it seemed well blended.

During the mixing process, I wished that I’d used a bigger mixing bowl because tiny drops of lotion splashed from the bowl from time to time. It wasn’t a ton, but I think it could’ve been avoided by using a deeper bowl.

The pH looked okay to me. Optiphen Plus can work above a pH of 6, but that's not an optimal environment for it.

The pH looked okay to me. Optiphen Plus can work above a pH of 6, but that’s not an optimal environment for it.

After the lotion looked smooth and fluffy (despite air bubbles that eventually went away as the lotion settled), I checked its pH and temperature. The preservative I used, Optiphen Plus, is most effective in products with a pH of 6 or below. The temperature of the product must be below 176 degrees Fahrenheit/80 degrees Celsius before adding Optiphen Plus as well. Once everything seemed fine, I added the fragrance (essential lavender oil) and preservative.

me pouring lotion
Overall, I consider my first try at making homemade lotion to be a success. I love how it feels on my skin. Hubby even likes it too and we tend to differ in our lotion preferences. I’m usually #TeamAveeno while he’s #TeamVaselineBrand all day, everyday. My skin feels very moisturized, but not too greasy. The consistency of the lotion is good for warmer weather. It’s not heavy, but not too watery either. It absorbs right into the skin after rubbing it in for a few seconds. Because of the Shea butter, a little bit of this goes a long way. I can’t wait to experiment with scents! The lavender smell is present in this batch, but it’s kind of overpowered by the Shea butter scent.

Besides for the things I’ve already mentioned, here are a few more things that would’ve made the process run more smoothly.

For next time…

–    Get a scale that has .1 g or .01 g precision! It was tough to get the measurements right because my scale would only show me 317 g instead of 317.5 g, which is kind of a big deal, especially as I start to repeat recipes and need the same results each time. I was able to get a little more precise by checking my weights in ounces, but I think my lack of precision is why I didn’t yield as much lotion as I expected. I planned to make 16 oz, but only yielded about 10 or 11 oz.

–    Think about using a pipette to remove and add ingredients while weighing things on the scale. This would make it easier to go from say 0.11 oz to 0.12 oz when measuring ingredients. Yeah, I definitely have my Type A personality moments. I like things to be just right.

–    Use a larger beaker for measurements, especially for measuring out the distilled water, and use a large beaker for making the lotion itself so that it will be easier to pour the finished lotion into their jars or bottles.

That’s one more item checked off of my 101 Things in 1001 Days list! Will any of you try to make your own lotion? Have you made some in the past? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook!

11 thoughts on “Lotion-Making Fun: My Very First Time

  1. Shahidah says:

    Yo go girl! My daughter makes body butters and scrubs. I love this stuff. Never tried the lotions because butters are s much heavier for my dry/eczema prone skin but I’m going to pass this on to my daughter to try!

    Liked by 1 person

    • poppedblackwomanblog says:

      That’s awesome! I want to make body butters and scrubs as well! I’ve read that you don’t need a preservative for the body butters too because they don’t have water, which makes sense. What’s your fav recipe? My skin is on the oily side so I would be walking around EXTRA shiny if I use a body butter when it’s hot out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shahidah says:

        Right now she does a lemon essence body butter and scrub that I LOVE!!! I love just about anything lemon. For her scrub she uses coconut sugar. My brother loves the butters for his hair, I was shocked when he asked to take some with him when he went to Denver a few weeks ago. You are blessed to have oily skin and will appreciate it when you are uhhhhhmmm 47ish and people tell you look in your late 20s or 30’s 😉
        I don’t know if you tried avocado oil but right now I’m obsessed with it and use it everywhere and in everything. I put it in my conditioner, my pre-poo treatment, and body butters. Love it

        Liked by 1 person

      • poppedblackwomanblog says:

        Omg I love lemon verbena! I’m dying to make a lemon verbena lotion/butter one day…And your skin looks radiant from the pics in the POP Women feature so gimme whatever type of skin you got! I have some avocado oil and I’m gonna use it in a lotion soon…probably will try cooking with it too! I used it in my hair a few years ago but stopped for some reason. I look forward to using it for more things soon 🙂 And it sounds like your daughter should be selling her products if she doesn’t already; it sounds like she’s got that good stuff!


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