Luxury lotions at a fraction of the cost

Homemade Lotions and Toiletries

by Deborah R. Dolen

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Tired of paying $10 or more for 8 ounces of luxury lotion? You can make ten times 8 ounces for under $5 and have a much higher quality product if you make it yourself. Making your own Bath and Body Works type lotion is easy and also allows you flexibility to add the ingredients you want to have in them, not what some commercial manufacturer chooses.

Making your own lotion is as easy as melting a few natural ingredients in the microwave and mixing them together at high temperatures, such as 110 to 120 degrees with a hand held drink mixer. When the base is done being mixed, you simply add a few fragrance or essential oils if desired, and then pour your creation into pretty bottles to cool. The lotion cools and thickens within a few hours. We prefer to pour our lotion into pump bottles you can get at any beauty supply store.

Making your own lotion is second easy to making your own lip balms and healing balms as discussed in our previous article Making Your Own Balms. It also lends itself to making many other toiletries such as bath salts and bath seltzers that will be discussed in future articles. By the way, because of the lip balm article, we received many people asking us if petroleum jelly was not good enough? Our response is would you eat that? We would not. Remember that you tend to eat your lip balms, so we would rather be eating vitamin e oil or healing oils of that nature.

Once you understand the simple chemistry of basic balm and lotion making, you are then learning the bases for other bath products. This article is aimed at just getting you started at the second easiest level there is in saving money making your own quality toiletries, which is body lotions and cremes. Mastering lotion making is probably the most rewarding in all of the toiletry products. One reason is that it is, beyond soap, one of the most used. Making lotion has also been one of the few areas I consistently failed at until I read a simple article one night. I did not believe it could be that easy and was about to trash the instructions. I just saw no complicated ingredients. Then I decided to give making lotion one more chance. I have always liked the Bath and Body works sweet almond oil based products, but they can be $10 a tube. You can make your own for under $2 including a nice reusable bottle. Other sources seem to sell inferior non-oil based lotion, or worse, with mineral oil and alcohol! To make a long story short, my lotion came out awesome.

Related: Recipes for Homemade Toiletries

Basic Lotion Recipe

First of all, you may want to select containers with colored caps that remind you of the scent you made. Wal-Mart carries empty bottles with different colored caps in their beauty and travel section. So, I would pick a clear bottle with a purple cap for lavender, as one example.

Heat up 3/4 cup of oil of your choice in the microwave with 2 teaspoons of stearic acid and 1 teaspoon of emulsifying wax until melted. In a separate plastic bowl with a pour mouth preferably, heat up 1/2 cup of water of your choice (such as rainwater) in the microwave with a 1/2 teaspoon of borax (the Mule Team stuff) until boiling hot.

Then use the same plastic pour mouth bowl you boiled the water in and slowly whip in the oil mixture with a hand blender. Keep mixing until fairly cool. At this time, you can add vitamin E oil, a little color, fragrance, whatever you consider great stuff! When the lotion seems well mixed, funnel into pretty plastic lotion bottles. If you are going to take longer than a month to use this, I recommend putting a touch of Germaben II to body products; they will tend to form black little microbes after a few months. Vitamin E is a natural preservative and may help.

How Much Does All This Cost?

3/4 cup of the most expensive oils cannot be more than $2. This recipe makes 12 ounces.


Once you get the chemistry down, the interplay is wide open. You can use green tea instead of water or rainwater, or water infused with whatever herb you like. On the oil side, you can soak the oils in elements such as we do with bee pollen, strain and then use for the oil part. The possibilities are endless and these variations also apply to Cremes below. For those with eczema or psoriasis, adding 10% of pine tar at the mixing stage may help them tremendously. In that case, I would use castor oil as my oil of choice. You can offset the smell of pine tar with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Related: Recipes for Homemade Facial Masks

Making Cream at a Fraction of the Cost

In making cream, you simply increase the oil to 90% and the water to 10% of the mixture beyond perhaps adding a bit of beeswax to the oil part when heating. You will still need the emulsifying wax and stearic acid as described in the oil lotion section as well as the borax in the water portion because it is these trace items that make oil mix with water. Beeswax is not necessary but does help to get a frothy creme. As I stated above in lotion making, if you are going to take longer than a month to use the final product, I recommend putting a touch of Germaben II to body products or they tend to form black little microbes after a few months. Vitamin E is a natural preservative and may help. Making your own lotions and creams will not only save you money, but also you will have the healthiest possible products around. I should know. That is all I use on my skin!

For more information on where to obtain base, flavor and containers, please visit us at

Reviewed March 2018

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