How to Make Lotion ~ A Photo Tutorial

I usually make my soap and body care products after supper, when all my other work of the day is done, which means I don't take photos of the process. Photographing under fluorescent kitchen lighting is just nasty. But today since I had natural light I thought I'd share it all with you so you can whip up a batch (or two) for yourself.

1. Choose Recipe

I'm using an updated version of my basic recipe. You can see it written out in the photo below.

2. Gather supplies

3. Sterilize tools and containers

Very easy to do, just put stuff in a pot of boiling water, boil for one minute or so, remove from heat and drain water. Pour the drained hot water over a plate to set all your tools on once they are sterile. This will deter bacterial growth.

4. Measure

5. Melt

Melt oils and beeswax over low heat. In a separate bowl, mix water with borax. The oils will melt in a couple minutes. Remove from heat and add water/borax mixture. As you stir them together they will look something like this:

Whisk until well combined. Add your optional ingredients (see recipe photo above), whisk to combine.

6. Pour

Today's recipe is double the amount of the recipe above. It makes this many jars of lotion (as pictured below). I re-used the empty cocoa butter container that held the cocoa butter I used in the lotion.

One recipe will probably last a family for 6 months or more. Store extra jars in the fridge till needed. I also made lip balm. But you'll have to see this post for the instructions.


29 September 09


Once again you and your

Once again you and your family are amazing Renee!
Please let Laurent know I'm looking forward to starting a knitting project on those lovely needles he made! I'm starting to get the itch as the weather cools off here :)

Oh, I just might have to

Oh, I just might have to torture my relatives with handmade lotion this year! So is this just for hands and body or do you use it on your face too? It looks (and actually smells) quite wonderful through the computer screen :)


[...] without parabens and such, but it is pretty pricey. So, when I saw that Renee of FIMBY had posted her lotion recipe and tutorial I thought that might be a perfect solution — safe and cost [...]


[...] her blog for other tutorials on making different types of homemade soap and body care products. How to Make Lotion- A Photo Tutorial made it so much easier than I thought it would be. Basically, you sterilize the equipment by just [...]

I am so excited to try making

I am so excited to try making this! Just waiting on my beeswax (had to order that, can you believe it???) and I'm hoping to get started this weekend! Just the thing for my mom's approaching birthday :)

BTW would you recommend a scale rather than measuring cups? I don't have one of those but could borrow one.

Just made this delicious

Just made this delicious lotion! My kids are hovering..."what are you making? It smells like honnnnneeeeey" (that means they think it smells really, really good)

Now, while it's cooling, I tried some on my hands. Does it always leave this sort of shiny film? It's not necessarily bothersome, I'm just curious.

I think when I make it for myself, I'm going to skip the cocoa butter - I think the smell of the coconut oil with shea butter is going to be intoxicating! Right now I'm a little overwhelmed with the cocoa butter scent, and I just used 1 oz of that.

What's your favorite combination? Can I just say how thrilled I am you inspired me to do this? It's wonderful! :)

Any recommendations on mixing

Any recommendations on mixing techniques? I have found there is always separation between oil & water, no matter the speed or temperature. Also have you used any alternatives to beeswax & lanolin? Candelilla & glycerine has be recommended. Also what is the role of borax?

Just wanted to say a great

Just wanted to say a great big thanks to you for this post. It inspired us to try it and we finally got around to it yesterday. Lovely stuff. I will never buy lotion again! We can't wait to try other kinds now. Plus we love the lip balm!

Wow looks really good, now i

Wow looks really good, now i was thinking of adding 50g of melted dark chocolate or 3 heaping teaspoons of cocoa power (its really good for your skin) so do you think it'l work out?


[...] down – I’ve done it enough times that they’ve got me pegged.  Tree sculpture how-to’s, homemade lotion recipes, sweater knitting patterns, spectacular climbing photos, and start-from-scratch recipes.  They all [...]


[...] started making lotion using my friend Renee’s recipe. She has a great photo tutorial here. I would never have tried making things like lip balm and lotion and soap without her inspiration [...]

Got all the ingredients today

Got all the ingredients today and made one batch. LOVE it! Came out more yellow than I thought it would, and isn't as creamy. However, it works well and smells fantastic (I used orange and clove oils) A Tip, be careful which bottles you sterilize... mine cheap-o plastic ones came out of the water all wrinkled LOL

Update! I made a 2nd batch

Update! I made a 2nd batch and used 1 oz shea butter in place of 1 oz of the oil. Talk about hard bar lotion LOL. I can't seem to get a good balance, but what I learned is I have to let the mixture cool a bit after the initial mix, then mix the heck out of it again. Is that normal? It worked, so I guess that's ok to do?
It is fantastic, made all the difference in the world. This batch, I used small glass canning jars, no warping!

P.S. Renee, I have now purchased enough "stuff" to make lotions, lip balms and soap. You have converted me! I can't even look at the "junk-filled" lotion in my cupboard and will be giving it all away as it does not compare, even to my first effort!

I just made a recipe of

I just made a recipe of homemade lotion for dry skin. I like it but about an hour after putting it on my skin starts to feel a little dry. Do you know what I can do to make the moisture last longer? I used bees wax as the emulsifier. Do you think I need more or less bees wax to lock in moisture? Or should I add some cocoa or shea butter or something?

You should probably note that

You should probably note that GSE and vitamin E are not preservatives. They are antioxidants, which means they can retard the oxidation of your oils, but they don't have anything to do with preventing bacteria and mold from growing in the lotion. In the 'study' that supposedly demonstrated that GSE acted as a preservative, they used a batch of GSE that was contaminated with parabens. Obviously, the parabens did the preserving, because GSE preserves about as well as prayer. Even if you can't see fuzz growing on the top, nasty things like staph can (and will) grow in it, which is quite dangerous. If you have a product with water, you really need to use a real preservative!!

I make and sell handcrafted

I make and sell handcrafted bath and body products. If someone is not comfortable with using borax in their lotion they do sell emulsifying wax that is vegetable waxed base and not petroleum based. It is not 100% natural but is pretty close and will keep your lotion from separating. Also, GSE and Vitamin E are not preservatives. They are antioxidants. Antioxidants are not preservatives. They are excellent for extending the shelf life of your oils to keep them from going rancid but it will not stop unseen bacteria and eventually mold from growing. I have read several research studies in the past when I first started my business and even ran my own tests. You can buy kits online to test for bacteria growth that cannot been seen with the naked eye. In using GSE after 2 to 4 weeks my lotions were growing unseen bacteria that if the lotion was used would be spread onto the body. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean that it's not there. Mold started growing anywhere between 4 and 7 months. Lotion kept in the fridge will only stop bacteria growth for about 4 weeks. I understand that you are trying to share lotion recipes that are "accessible to the common kitchen" as you stated above but if someone is going to be making it to either give away as gifts or to use it on themselves then they should really be making it safely. Optiphen like someone suggested above is an excellent paraben free preservative that is not that difficult to get. There are tons and tons of soap and bath and body supplies websites that offer it for literally only a few dollars (about $3-$4 for 1-2 oz and you only need a tiny, tiny bit in a batch of lotion) and shipping is only a couple more dollars and to be safe with the products that you are spreading on your body a few extra dollars is well worth it.

This is a blog post written by a woman who runs her own supply company and a teaching store and has been doing this for years.

I know this is several years

I know this is several years old, but in case it helps:

A little tapioca starch can take the greasy feel out of homemade lotions. It doesn't take much - in this recipe, I'd say maybe half a teaspoon would do it - and it's pretty easy to find. Just check the Asian specialties section of the supermarket, or look for a Bob's Red Mill products rack. (Tapioca flour is the same thing, at least for this purpose.)

Looks great! Can you please

Looks great! Can you please tell me where you found/bought the jars that you used for the lotion? I'm looking around a lot for the right jars for my cosmetics and these looked perfect! Thank you

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