Monday, September 2, 2013

A Lotion Confession

Happy Labor Day everyone!  I have said good-bye to all our visiting family and decided to use the remainder of my Labor Day to tackle lotion making.  I had intentions of starting this little task all summer.  But since it's new to me, I was a little scared and always found one reason or another to put it off.  But then I had a customer request for a lotion scented in Acai Berry so I decided I better get after it.  You may find yourself asking "Don't you already carry lotions in your line?"  The answer is YES!!  When I started adding sugar scrubs to my line I had a few of you requesting lotions to match, so that's what I did.  But here is where the "confession" in the blog title comes in.  In the past, I made my lotions using a "lotion base" and then tweaked it and added a few fun ingredients to customize it to my liking.  But since I make all my other products from scratch (lip balms, soaps, scrubs) I decided it was time to learn to make lotion from scratch.  And oh my, I'm so glad I did!!  I actually enjoyed it so much and once again it made me feel like a mad scientist when I combined my ingredients and lotion literally formed before my very eyes.  It all happened so fast that I didn't get a chance to get very many pictures, but I did snap a few to walk you through the process.

So here is my ingredient line-up:  Distilled water, sweet almond oil, avacado oil, emulsifying wax, stearic acid, shea butter, a preservative and fragrance (in this case, it was Acai Berry).  Let's talk about what these ingredients do, because a couple of them sound pretty foreign and one even sounds a little scary!!  Obviously the oils and shea butter provide nourishing properties to a lotion.  I chose sweet almond oil and avacado oil because that's what I had.  I may experiment with some other oils later on but so far I really like how these two feel in the finished product. Now on to the emulsifying wax.  What this ingredient does is simply bind my oils and water together.  We all know "water and oils don't mix!"  And they don't, unless you have emulsifying wax.  Now on to the scary sounding ingredient:  stearic acid.  Stearic acid is derived from palm oil (a main ingredient in my soap making recipes too) and it's job is to thicken up the lotion and it also contributes to the light and fluffy factor.   It's not an acid at all.  And lastly, a preservative is needed in order to avoid the lotion from growing mold and bacteria.  Any product that contains water needs a preservative. Here is my set-up.  I used a double boiler method so I could control how hot everything got.

First I combined my oils, stearic acid and emulsifying wax to melt everything together.  This is what it looks like:

Once everything was melted, I added my shea butter so it could melt.

Now for the really cool part.  Once the water was added, the formulation immediately turned white and fluffy and almost instantly I had lotion!!

From here I whipped it for a couple minutes and then added the preservative and fragrance and then filled my bottles.  It started to thicken up very nicely.  This test recipe only made three, 8 oz bottles and the 4 oz jar is definitely going to be mine!!  This Acai Berry fragrance is so delicious.  One of these bottles is going to be paired up with a scrub and is headed to a customer who has been waiting patiently (I hope anyway) for this order all summer.  It's finally nearly ready to ship out!!

So I loved making this recipe so much that I was going to immediately get all stocked up for the upcoming craft fairs, but of course I was out of distilled water and lotion bottles.  Both of which I should have more of this week sometime. 

Of course I tested this recipe.  It felt really heavy at first, more like a cream than a lotion, but after I got it all worked in and it had a couple minutes to soak into my skin, it was so moisturizing and no greasy feeling left at all.  I may tweak the recipe a bit to make it a little thinner. But so far I really like it as is.

So there you have it!  My adventures in lotion making.  I can't wait to crank out more of this soon!


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