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Topic: Lotion recipe hunt  (Read 2973 times)
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"This is my art, and it is dangerous! Do you think I want to die like this?" Delia Deetz
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« on: May 07, 2013 08:16:32 AM »

Hi All,
I'm looking for a good basic lotion recipe (maybe using beeswax and aloe?). My mom starts chemo next week and was advised to keep her skin well moisturized. We found a local beekeeper that makes their own lotion, but my Mom asked if I could try to make some that was less expensive. I can update this later when I can grab the ingredient list off the jar.

So basically I'm looking for an unscented, as natural as possible (without having to store in a fridge would be nice) lotion recipe. Any ideas??? Undecided

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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013 05:49:13 PM »

maybe body butters?? I hope your mom is doing better ...

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"This is my art, and it is dangerous! Do you think I want to die like this?" Delia Deetz
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013 05:15:39 AM »

Hi smittenheart!

I ended up using this recipe. And it worked really well! I'm actually making a bunch more this weekend to give as Christmas gifts along with lotion bars and lip balm Grin

My Mom's doing great, thanks for asking! She finished chemo in August and is now working on getting her strength and hair back. She's rocking the cutest little mohawk right now!

« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013 11:22:43 AM »

I hear you on having your mum going through chemo.   Mine went through the strongest radiation possible and the strongest chemo possible along with two stem cell transplants.  But she was dealing with a very aggressive and rare brain cancer as there are such few survivors they are still trying to learn about the best way to treat this cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN.  And cancer won the war for our family.  I hope your family wins the war.

What you ended up making really isn't a lotion but instead more of a non-petroleum jelly.  It has more in common with a body butter than a lotion/cream.  The reason why is it doesn't contain water, and is made with beeswax instead of a proper emulsifying product.   Body butters include both liquid oils and butters, such as shea butter, mango butter.  non-petroleum jelly and body butters contain a high percent of oils to 100% oils as they do not contain water. 

But it's actually a good choice for your mums skin, but if you wanted to take it up a notch replace the basic coconut oil and olive oil with other skin loving oils that have more benefits.  In your recipe it's the beexwax that gives its consistency.


I have a cousin (but she is so much older than me, so I don't know her well, but she was with my aunt at a family get together my dad had at his place with some of his siblings.  I wanted to make care packages for all my aunts and her since she was there.  But I wanted to use ingredients that would benefit her skin and was looking into which EO's would be best as I have several to choose from or if there was one I didn't have but it was beneficial, I was planning on ordering it.   But multiple sources it said to avoid scented products of all kinds, including deodorant, soap, shampoo if it's still being used.... EVERYTHING.  But EO because they are basically an OTC drug without being regulated with medicinal properties is why it shouldn't be used for those going through chemo.   Some FO do have EO in them so those should be avoided as well.  So just make unscented for her.  If she wants the aroma use a tart warmer with scented wax tarts.  I can't stress this enough!!!!!

I would also suggest learning to write you recipes in percents and use actual weight measures to be more accurate.   There is a calculator on the WSP site that you can enter the ingredient name and the percent and once you give it the total batch size you want to make it will tell you how much of each ingredient to use.   The benefit to this is that you can make a small 1 oz batch of your lotion, cream, body butter, non-petroleum jelly to test out.  Then if you like it you just increase the batch size and it's EXACTLY the same, and not just close.

If you want to make an actual lotion I suggest going to a soapmaking forum rather than blogs written by someone who makes it once and thinks they are an expect.  When it comes to lotions, creams and the like there is so much BAD INFO being passed around on the net because it looks good.

Given the reduced immune system of your mum because of the chemo you will want to stick with body butters that don't contain a preservative because they don't contain water.  But be extra careful not to put wet fingers into the jar when using it.   Personally I would NOT gift these types of items because of the preservative issue and just use them for personal use.  You don't know how the user will use them and if they will follow directions or not.  So best be safe right from the state.   

But if you wanted to make an actual lotion or a cream that contains water (or I like to use aloe juice instead of water) along with a percent of oils.  Usually lotions contain anywhere between 8% and 13% oils where creams are usually between 10% and 35% oils.  So the type of oil used and how much will make a difference on greasy it feels.  I haven't found a body butter yet that didn't feel greasy to some point to me.  With the rest of the percents equaling a number of other things to finish up and make 100% of the product.

If you make a cream or a lotion with water (or aloe juice with or without milk) I would highly suggest using a preservative.  This is critical if you are going to gift it.   Especially with your mom's immune system you will want that preservative to keep her safe.  Remember many germs, bacteria and mold are present long before it can be scent with the naked eye.  So that's another reason why I don't recommend them.   There aren't any affordable and natural preservatives being made.   There have been some made with natural preservatives being sold at Whole Foods and even they aren't very good and will mold.

Here is a good example.  Whole Foods brand Lotion made with so-called natural preservative.  Not very good stuff, and the crud is there long before it's seen to the naked eye, and IMHO that can be dangerous to many people.... like your mum.   Even storing the lotion in the fridge won't help, the products need a preservative.

There are a lot of blogs written by people who don't know what they are talking about, and yet others read it and accept it as gospel.  Not very cool IMHO....  But things like Grapefruit Seed Extract, Rosemary Oleoresin, Tocopheryl, and other things like Citric Acid are being called natural preservatives and they are anything but a natural preservative! 
So that's why preservatives are not optional but essential.  A good option that is paraben free is Liquid Germall Plus.  You can buy this at several sites but WSP also carries it.   Use it at the rate of 1% as suggested by someone who had their lotion lab tested and they were told that by the lab.

The fun thing with lotions is you can have fun.  But you also want to keep food products to a minimum as they are hard to preserve.  No more than 10% or a total of 10% should be used of these types of products.

If you are using green tea extract that was purchased by a cosmetic ingredient vendor that would be safe, but don't make tea and try to add it to your own lotion.  Tea is one of the hardest ingredients to preserve so it's best to avoid it, and not use even small amounts!!!   

Adding oatmeal is also great but it also needs to be kept to a minimum.   Oat milk can also be used if you don't want the grit of oatmeal, but again it needs to be kept to a minimum.

Cows Milk, Goats Milk, Yogurt (natural and unsweetened), Heavy Whipping Cream are all fun and great to include into your lotion.  But again, no more than 10% or a total of 10% if you are using multiples into your product so the preservative can handle it.

But also great ingredients can be bought and added into lotions as well to really benefit the skin.

One other thing is using the right emulsifiers.  Beeswax is not a good emulsifier for lotion, the product will separate and it doesn't make for a nice product to use.  That's why few people use it and serious lotion makers buy the right ingredients.  Emulsifying wax is most likely the most common and is cheap.  BTMS is a bit more expensive but IMHO it's a lot nicer to use.  Stearic Acid is often used to thicken a product up more from what the emulsifier has done.  The job of an emulsifier to to blend the oils and water together and keep them together without separating.   

If your new to lotion making I would suggest reading up on SwiftMonkey blog on lotion making and the importance of heat and hold.  http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/2010/01/if-youre-new-to-lotion-making.html
Read up on her blog in different articles about the safety of making your own.  Yes it's very important if not critical! 

If you are going to gift this please go to the FDA website and read up under cosmetics for labeling requirements.  Granted it you are not required by law to label properly if your gifting, but it makes a more professional looking product.  But eventually someone is going to ask you to sell it and in that case it will NEED to be labeled according to the law.  You can get in trouble with the law if it's not and that's not good at all.  If your going to sell then you will need insurance (not homeowners) to cover your butt in case someone has a reaction or any issue with your product and decides to sue you.   If your selling or giving lotion away without a preservative this is a good reason not to..... they can sue you over it and if they say cut their leg while shaving and applied that lotion to the leg after.  The mold and bacteria wasn't seen to the naked eye yet but present and they used it.  Got an infection that required medical care.... well you would be held responsible.   So please read up into stuff like that before deciding to sell.

If you want help formulating a recipe just let me know what you have to work with and I would be happy to create one for you.

I make soap and other "cosmetics" as defined by the FDA and in my spare time I sew.... Sewing is therapy for me in dealing with life stresses and my chronic pain.  When I hurt and can't sew, I plan what I want to sew.  I also have a great husband, three kids and three fur kids.....
My Motto: If you can't find it, buy another one.
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2014 07:43:50 PM »

Krissy.me, I told her the same exact information back in May but she never replied back to me. Sometimes people have a hard time believing they can become instant lotion makers without testing and being careful with the products being made. Being careful with products given to Cancer patients is extremely important.

"This is my art, and it is dangerous! Do you think I want to die like this?" Delia Deetz
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014 09:01:49 PM »

Hello all, sorry I wasn't more specific, but I thank you all for your advice! As previously stated all my free time last year was devoted to taking care of my mother. It was difficult to remember what day it was sometimes, so I apologize for not replying Lique. The recipe I linked to above was merely a starting point. I did do a ton of research before beginning this and also consulted her oncologist to see what he considered safe. He's a fantastic doctor who did his own research and was happy to work with us on it. I did go with unscented body butter for numerous reasons, but the main one being she doesn't like "stink". Before gifting it I did create ingredient labels and the recipients were made aware of all the variables and offered to be my guinea pigs.  I would like to try more of a lotion one day but for obvious reasons there are too many variables to consider and I'd rather be too cautious at this point.


« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014 08:09:03 AM »

Hi there, I love the recipes by Susan Barclay at http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/.  She's a very knowledgeable cosmetic chemist.  Her Lotionmaking 101 recipe has worked very well for me.
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2014 01:45:45 PM »

Elements has a good making video series (that's actually from soapcrafters.com) on making a basic lotion. All the ingredients are quite natural and it walks you through everything, step by step. She puts a teaspoon of fragrance in at the end but you could leave it off if you want something unscented. It's basically Shea butter, wax, olive oil, almond oil, and aloe juice emulsified - http://www.elementsbathandbody.com/Video-Tutorials-c-283.html
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