Making Lotions and Creams some Tips and How Tos

Making Lotions and Creams some Tips and How-Tos

Learning how to make lotions and creams is a great way to start, or expand, your horizons in the “make-your own,” do-it yourself  areas of things that are handy and useful to know. Making Lotions and creams is easy when you have the right ingredients and the know how, and have a few tips and tricks to help as you get started.

First, let’s figure out what the difference is between a lotion and a cream. Both lotions and creams are made by combining  different ingredients together, like water, oils and emulsifiers together, and made to soothe and hydrate dry skin, but there are differences.  Lotions are typically more water than oils. Lotions tend to be a little “lighter” and less oily or greasy than creams too. Creams tend to have more moisturizing ingredients, like oils or butters, than lotions, so they are a little “heavier,” but may be more moisturizing for a little longer too.

Getting Started Making Lotions and Creams – The basics

Let’s start with the basic supplies, and some tips about getting started, then move on the the basic ingredients. You will need a scale. The only way to make a good lotion is by weighing ingredients. find a good scale to use that measures ounces and grams. (it is easy to work with grams) You’ll also need some basic measuring cups and some heat safe bowls. Next, completely clean and sanitize the area where you will be working, and all of the utensils and bowls, cups, etc. You do not want to do any mixing or formulating until everything in the work area is spotless, clean and sanitary.

Ingredients:  Lotions have three basic parts- the water part, the oil part, and the emulsifier part. The emulsifier is used to combine the basic ingredients, the water and the oil(s)  to make the lotion. The emulsifier(s) are very important. It will greatly determine the feel of your lotion depending on the proportions of each ingredient,  and the type of emulsifier chosen and of course the oils used.  A note about emulsifiers. Some formulations (recipes) you see will only have one emulsifier. For long term stability, and to make a better quality product, it is best to have 2 emulsifiers, the primary one, and a co-emulsifier or secondary emulsifier.

Additives to the recipe will also greatly affect the feel and the performance of the lotion too. You can add basic things like glycerin that will add a little more moisturizing, or you can add allantoin powder for its properties, or any number of other beneficial things.  Other common additives are thickeners, exfoliants like pumice or jojoba beads, and colors too.

Simple Lotion recipe (Makes about 12 Oz)

2.0 Oz or 57 g  Emulsifying Wax

4 Oz / 113 g Glyceryl Stearate SE (Self Emulsifying)

3 0z / 85 g Mango butter (you can choose another butter)

4 Oz  / 113g  Almond Oil

8 Oz / 226 g deionized or RO water*

Fragrance oil (as needed)

Colorant Optional – as needed/ desired

A good broad spectrum preservative @ 0.5% or per manufacturer’s directions ( Germaben II is recommended)

INSTRUCTIONS (this recipe below is an expanded larger volume amount of the recipe in the video. And we usually do not reccomend using a microwave, as is depicted in the video. The microwave in the video is a very small watt one. If you do use a microwave, use it on the lowest setting. Best to use a double boiler though)

  • Boil the water for 10 minutes minimum. You will need to boil a little more than needed to compensate for the water that evaporated.
  • Combine the Emulsifying wax, Glyceral Stearate SE, the mango butter in to a heat safe bowl and gently melt these ingredients together in a double boiler. Gently blend them together with a spatula in yoru heat safe bowl. (Do not boil the ingredients. Just heat them gently.)
  • Add your pure, boiled, DI or RO  water. Warm up the water a little to help it all blend together.
  • Next add the Almond oil. Again, if it is warm it is easier to blend in and will not begin to make the lotion quite as fast.
  • The lotion should thicken quickly, and should start to be a nice consistency as you mix. Some people use spatulas and hand blend it quickly. Some us hand mixers on low. Cover the container so it does not splatter if you use an electric blender!  Stick blenders really help to thicken and get the lotion nice and creamy and smooth. Add a fragrance oil. Just a few drops to get started. You can adjust this amount later as needed.
  • Check the temperature and add your preservative if the temperature of the blend is below the point recommended by manufacturer, usually below 140 F.  Pulse/ Blend the lotion again.
  • You can adjust the thickness of this lotion easily by adding or subtracting the amount of the Glyceryl Stearate SE.
  • You could also try substituting out the Glyceryl Stearate SE or a little of the Emulsifying wax for the BTMS 50 or Varisoft EQ 65 for a different feel
  • Divide up your fantastic new lotion in to your preferred (clean & sanitized) packaging! DONE!
  • Congratulations – you made a LOVELY LOTION!

Video courtesy of Anne at Chemistry Connection, owners of and, a reliable supplier of ingredients and chemicals.

Where to buy Lotion and Cream making supplies and Ingredients

You can buy all of the lotion making ingredients used in this formulation from these sources

Emulsifying Wax, Glyceryl Stearate SE (Self Emulsifying)Mango butter ,  Almond OilFragrance oils, ColorantsPreservatives Germaben II and others