Vol.1, No.8

Homemade lotion

Making lotion at home is simple, useing many items that you already have at home. Best of all, you control what goes into the lotion.

Homemade lotion in pump
Photo Credit: Pat Coughlin
Making lotion is a very simple process and can be made using many of the things that you already have in your home. You will need some beeswax, cooking oil, coconut oil or cocoa butter, distilled water, any colorants or scents that you wish to use, borax, a microwave or double boiler and two microwave-safe bowls. You will also need a blender and a container to put your finished product in.

The type of cooking oils that are used in the lotion will determine how greasy the lotion is. Avocado oil is much greasier than sunflower oil. Use avocado oil sparingly. Avoid strong smelling oils such as Dark Sesame oil. This oil will darken your lotion and will give your lotion a strong sesame smell that cannot be covered up by anything that you might add to it. If you, or the recipient of the lotion, have a nut allergy, avoid using oils made from nuts. Avoid rancid oils. They have a smell to them that will not change after being mixed with the other ingredients and are not going to be very beneficial to you at all.

Borax is used as a preservative. Alternatively, you can use baking soda. Use distilled water because it contains no additives, such as chlorine, which is often found in drinking water.

Basic Lotion Recipe

1-2 T beeswax

¼ c cocoa butter or coconut oil

¼ c light cooking oil

1/8 tsp borax

¼ c distilled water

½ tsp favorite cooking extract, or 5 drops essential oil

To make the lotion, break up the beeswax into very small pieces. Beeswax normally comes in thin sheets and can be easily broken up. It is also possible to find colored beeswax, so the use of colorants is not necessary because the colored beeswax will color your lotion. If the beeswax came in a large block, it will need to be grated.

Put the beeswax and the coconut oil or butter into a microwave-safe container and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue microwaving at 30-minute intervals - stirring after each break - until the wax and oils have melted. Alternatively, put the wax and oils into a double boiler and stir over medium-high heat until the wax and oils have melted. Remove from heat.

In a second container, mix together the water and the borax. Heat this mixture until it is boiling. Pour the wax mixture into a blender and slowly add the boiling water mixture to it as you blend. Blend on high. If you do not wish to use the blender, or do not have a hand blender, you can mix it using a fork or a wisk. Continue mixing until the wax and water mixtures have combined together. It will thicken as it cools.

If you wish to add a colorant, you can do so at this time. Allow the mixture to cool completely before adding a scent. Flavorings used for cooking can be used, or use essential oils. You will need more of a flavoring than you will an essential oil. However, the flavorings are less expensive then the oils. If you want your lotion to be scented with roses or oranges, you can use rosewater or orange blossom water as part of the distilled water in your mix. Do not use fragrances designed to be mixed with wax for candlemaking. These fragrances are not designed for cosmetics and may contain harmful ingredients. Pour the finished lotion into a container and let it finish cooling - if it's not cool already. Your lotion is now ready to use.

Making lotion is an art and makes a great chemistry experiment. Results can vary depending on the types of ingredients that are being used. If you find that the mixture is too runny, add more beeswax to your next batch. If the batch is too thick, use more water, or less beeswax. If it is too greasy, use more cocoa butter and less cooking oil, or check what type of cooking oil you are using. Remember, the lighter the oil, the better. If you make changes to the recipe, be sure and make note of the changes so that the next time you make a batch you'll remember what changes worked best for you.