It took about two years of musing and reading the backside of my lotion bottles before I even attempted to make my own water-based lotion. For some reason, every time I did some research, I landed on body butter recipes. I did try a whipped body butter recipe which was very nice. But it wasn’t lotion… I use a lot of lotion. My mother taught me the importance of moisturizing and it stuck: a large bottle lasts me only 6 weeks. I just couldn’t understand how to bind water with oil. Until I posed the question to an employee at Coop Coco & Calendula and she told me about emulsifying wax!
Joy of joy I thought, my addiction to Vaseline intensive care (and petroleum based products) is over! She even showed me a basic lotion recipe: e-wax, water and sunflower oil. I took a pic of it and left with my wax, happy as a clam. I went home, set up my work-area and instead of following this recipe, I decided to try another recipe. A more “fun” recipe with jojoba and almond oil oh my (I had realized that the search term was “lotion” not cream… All of a sudden I’d found a bunch of recipes). I didn’t have a thermometer but I figured I could do a finger test – right? Wrong! Anyhoo, long story short: I did it, changing things here and there, and voila! I got cream. Richly, greasily clotted, separated cream. I poured out the water and settled for more body butter.
Flash forward. A month later, I’ve gotten some literature at a garage sale, a thermometer, watched some videos, and am feeling confident again. I decided to do a recipe I found in “Do it Gorgeously” called Geranium and Apricot Moisturizer. Here is a pic of the recipe and this was my set-up:
After looking over the ingredients I quickly decided (in my regular fashion) to replace half of the jojoba with a rosehip maceration I made in safflower oil, because I was low on jojoba and the recipe calls for rosehip oil anyway. Then I replaced the rose-infusion with a chamomile infusion mixed with rosewater. Finally, I replaced the geranium with jasmine oil, and also added a few drops of Grapefruit seed extract, as a preservative. But I kept the ratios of course, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work out. Sophie Uliano insists that you don’t need a thermometer, but as I had my two bowls, the e-wax had finally melted and I pulled them off to cool down – as prescribed – the oil mix started going opaque and the e-wax went hard right away in the water solution. Clearly, something was wrong. My guess was the cold weather. I remembered that other recipes said to heat the solutions to 70 degrees Celsius. So I took out the thermometer and reheated both solutions. While they got really really hot, I couldn’t get either to 70 degrees! So, following the overall suggestion by all recipes – I simply brought them both to the same temperature then poured the water solution into the oils whisking vigorously. The first time I had used an electric whisk and it separated quickly. So this time I followed Sophie and did it by hand. At first the mix looked waaay too liquid, and it stayed liquid. Didn’t seem to want to thicken. But I kept at it, working against the pain of my RMD, and lo and behold, it did thicken!
Then… I saw the water pooling at the bottom. Sigh…. But I started whisking furiously again, until it looked OK and more or less stable. Of course, at this point it looked more like butter than cream. I scooped it all up into a container and kept an eye on it. It didn’t look at all like lotion, and it looked grainy, almost like creamed corn, although it applied smoothly on the skin. When it was clear that it hadn’t separated yet, even though I thought I could detect sweat drops on the surface (?) I put it in the fridge. This was last night (next to some sunflower heads I received from a city farm 😀 )
This is what it looks like now: Pretty much the same. So I guess I made lotion. Albeit, thick, greasy lotion, almost like a balm! I applied it to my legs last night and my skin felt amazing this morning, so it’s nice and works. But it’s certainly not lotion. Today I am gearing up for my third attempt – going back to the basics. The recipe I got when I bought the e-wax, from a book by Sylvie Fortin: 75% water, 10% e-wax, 15% Oil.
If anyone has any advice, thoughts or comments about making lotion – please feel free to leave comments below 😀