Picture of How to Make Lotion
Ever wondered which ingredient makes up the largest percentage in lotions? Water! If you look at the ingredients list on product labels, you will notice that water is almost always listed first, meaning it is the most predominant ingredient in the product. And, it is also 'free' and readily available. So what all are you paying for?

For less than a dollar and using common kitchen equipment, I want to show you how you can make a 12 oz batch of moisturizing lotion. That's even cheaper than your Wal-mart petroleum-based generic brand. Best of all, it is easy and fun!

Skin care lotion is nothing more than an emulsion of oil and water. As an introduction to this wonderful and useful craft, let's make a simple lotion with just olive oil, water, and emulsifying wax. Here's what you need to make approximately a 12 fl oz batch.

For more information on homemade skin care, check out our website blog at Wabi Sabi Baby.

Step 1: Tools and Ingredients

Picture of Tools and Ingredients
- 1-cup glass measuring cup
- 2-cup glass measuring cup
- saucepan just large enough to fit the 1-cup measurer

- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup emulsifying wax, available at some craft stores or online.
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jgoff31 year ago
You are creative and practical. Instead of spending $5 on an 8oz. bottle, you just make 8oz. for less than $2.5 total for about 16oz.
Marsh6 years ago
This will eventually go rancid as the oil oxydizes. The wax will probably extend the life some and adding essential oils may prolong the life too, but can you suggest any preservatives? For me, 12 oz. lasts a loooonnnnnngggggg time.
Whats with the picture?
1.5 gr Germaben II is a preservative
Essential oils like tea tree oil can help, but you could also use vitamin E (the type you ingest preferably) if you really aren't interested in using essential oils.
vbennett1 Marsh3 years ago
tincture of Benzoin is probably the best natural preservative I know of. I would use 3/4 teaspoon for a batch this size. It has a wonderful, light scent too but you might want to mix a drop with a drop of your essential oils (if you're using any) to see if the aromas clash. If you can't find the actual tincture (available at most herb suppliers) you can make your own very easily. Combine 1 tablespoon of powdered Benzoin with 1 cup 100 proof alcohol or higher. Shake vigorously then let stand 2-3 weeks shaking daily. Strain and it's ready to use. DO NOT INGEST! Sorry, had to put that in there. I'm more than sure you won't try to drink it, but I actually had someone try it.. so... LOL..anyhow.. hope this helps. Have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy! Lisa
roadnate Marsh6 years ago
Grapefruit seed extrat is a wonderful preservative. I use it in all of the soaps that I make and they last a very long time...in fact I have never had one go rancid.
Don't soaps naturally last longer than lotions anyway?

But good suggestion. I hadn't heard that about grapefruit seed extract, so I think I'll be looking into it more!
make half a batch, or add vitamin E
a few drops of vitamin E can be added as a natural preservative
PoniesSwag3 years ago
Question! Can you use anything else other than emulsifying wax?
I prefer to use Beeswax. There's a completely different process for making beeswax lotion and it's a little more oily, but it really softens your skin. Here's a link: http://asonomagarden.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/how-to-make-an-easy-beeswax-lotion/

It's waaaay easier to find too.
gbv33 years ago
Can shea butter be used instead of the emulsifying wax?
twoesel3 years ago
i juz tried it 10 min ago ... procedure muz hab gone wrong ..... the result was juz satisfactory... anywaz iz great!!!
camrunk6 years ago
Here's a better recipe; yours is good, but this mix is antiseptic, emollient, is easier to compound, less expensve, and doesnt go rancid. I have been using it for years as an after-shave and anti-itch reparative cream for dry skin. Try it, you'll like it. You'll need: 5 oz aloe vera gel 5 oz alcohol 3-4 Tbs olive oil 3000 iu vitamin E (3 caps/1000 iu) Combine all ingredients in a 12 oz pumper bottle and shake it real well. You'll get a very smooth cream that feels good, is absorbed into your skin quickly, and is odor-free. Enjoy! camrunk
iya camrunk6 years ago
Is alcohol the emulsifier? Can you add beeswax or shea, or cocoa butter to this at all?
gypseian iya5 years ago
Cetyl alcohol is an emulsifyer, yes.  Beeswax can be used as an emulsifyer, but it changes the properties of the lotion from a hydrating lotion to a protecting lotion; locking moisture out instead of allowing more moisture in.  Shea and cocoa butter can be added for additional qualities, but not as a replacement.
mann3 gypseian4 years ago
What can I use instead of beeswax to emulsify, and that will hydrate the sink? Is there anything that is organic or earth friendly? Or is there something I can use in conjunction with the beeswax?
What kind of alcohol?
Cetyl alcohol.  It's an emulsifyer.
Minke gypseian5 years ago
Except for the fact that any sort of alcohol in lotion dries out the skin which is why most commercial lotions don't work.


It's like the same thing that happens when you drink alcohol, it doesn't hydrate, it dehydrates.
jtweed Minke4 years ago
some alcohols moisturize, some dehydrate.
i will try it sounds awsome
it rubs the lotion on the skin or else it gets the hose again
shooby6 years ago
I've often questioned the same issue - high water content - when it comes to shampoo. My Pap used to work in the shampoo business, and said that the mixing process was too complicated to sell dehydrated shampoo that could be mixed at home, but I'm not fully on board. Imagine if the shipped weight of all shampoo sold could be reduced by 60-70%.
Even if it's complicated it could be shipped as powder and mixed by a machine at the other end, they manage it with coke and such, either a machine instore or a wholesalers mixes it in the destination...
I think the only way it would be feasible is if it could be mixed at home. Your local drug store (or the UK equivalent) is not going to want to start their own shampoo bottling plant.
True but having small bottling plants in various countries could be more efficient considering the savings on shipping, which is getting more and more costly...
Maybe we should dry some shampoo out as an experiment... actually I'm bound to have something that'll do the job, drying it though... Heat may change the make-up of it a bit, leaving it in the air would take a long time, maybe using a desiccant or some such...
Maybe just put some on a saucer on top of a radiator or something. Heat may not do to much to it, considering that shampoo is almost always mixed with hot water when used (in developed countries anyways). As far as shampoo is concerned, even if it wasn't totally hydrated, but had let's say half of the water removed, then the volume would be reduced by approx. 30%, and mixing would be way easier. Just like it's easier to stir sugar into tea if it's already been dissolved in a very small quantity of tea before hand. Laundry detergent is the big one I think. Ever notice how many loads you get from powdered detergent compared to liquid detergent in the same volume of container? It's pretty ridiculous that liquid detergent is being shipped across oceans, so that we don't have to pour a little water and shake a few times.
I'd say that you could stand to take more water than that out of it, until it's a fairly thick honey like liquid, then you'd have a much smaller volume that should mix just fine. One issue would be people getting used to it, they'd almost certainly use the same amount and fill the shower with suds... I think liquid laundry detergent is pretty useless when you consider that most machines can mix powder or dry tablets themselves and almost all handwash stuff is already powder, meaning it's there as a sort of unnecessary form for those that prefer to pour compared to use a little cup... I do see that there's now arial gel which appears to be a thick one with the intended purpose of cold washing, I suppose then it starts to seem reasonable but how much effort would it really be to make powder work on cold washes?
If you DID make a concentrated liquid shampoo, detergent or soap, you could always use some type of metered pump couldn't you? And for powdered soaps I know that they used to put a little cup in the box (not sure about that these days) for measuring it.
I agree, just tried to pick numbers that were a compromise between the standard and the ideal. I've never seen laundry tablets before, sounds like a good idea, assuming you can easily break them up. If not, you can't control how much you use.
They're nothing more than powder compressed in to a block, they're pretty simple stuff and are measured as one being a load two for heavy, kind of like a cup... Dishwasher tablets? They're similar to them.
I actually wash my hair with baking soda/water solution and rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar. There's tons of site about it on the internet if you google "shampoo free". The argument is that shampoo is a detergent which actually damages your hair and requires you to use the conditioner. The baking soda solution takes away excess oil and the vinegar works as a shine and softening rinse. I was skeptical, but it's been working really well, and it has way less bad crap than shampoo. Also, I know some companies like LUSH make shampoo and conditioner bars that concentrate the shampoo bottle into small bar form.
Models and beauty pageant contestants are not allowed to wash their hair before a show. It's easier to get incredible looking hair if it has it's natural oils.
dehydrator maybe?
I make my own soda. When I see those big trucks hauling around 10's of thousands of gallons of water with just a couple of pound worth of flavorings I think it's terrible. Plus my recycling went from 3 times a week to once every two weeks without all the containers.
I'd love that to become the norm, I used to work in a shop and the wasting of space, plus it's hell to unload that much liquid...
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