Lotion Making (part 2) is back by popular demand as we’ve had countless people asking for more recipes. If you are new to making your own creams and lotions, or want a refresher, please have a look at Lotion Making 101 for all the basics. Part 1 discusses emulsifiers and preservatives as well as the basic chemistry of lotions and creams, and includes some easy to follow recipes.
Here we pick up from Lotion Making 101 and explore some more advanced recipes and focus on tailoring your creams and lotions to suit dry or mature skin, since these were the most requested recipes. The key to combating both dry skin and wrinkly skin is in moisture. In the recipes below, we've incorporated some excellent moisture attracting elements such as hyaluronic acid, vegetable glycerine, aloe vera, and highly emollient oils and butters. Honey and floral waters are great additions to combat dry skin too.
You've seen it in conventional skin care creams and serums and it is advertised in commercials, so what is hyaluronic acid?
Sodium hyaluronate or hyaluronic acid, is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in our connective tissues and skin. It is a wonderful storer of moisture and lubricates tissue layers. The amount of hyaluronic acid present in the body sadly declines with age, but luckily there are ways to incorporate it back.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural humectant, attracting and binding moisture to the upper layers of the epidermis (our skin). It can absorb 600 to 1000 times its weight, the highest humectant known. Hyaluronic acid is hydrating and moisturizing and smooths and softens the skin giving it a plumper look. It also improves the appearance of wrinkles and aids tissue regeneration and wound healing. Hyaluronic acid is famous for good reason, and it is natural!
Here is a more advanced cream recipe using hyaluronic acid, anti-aging oils, vitamins, frankincense and even a hydrosol - this is the perfect serum for mature skin, or to keep skin looking young and fresh.
Tip: remember that percentages can be directly converted into whichever unit of measurement you are using, just keep it uniform (don’t mix milliliters and milligrams for instance, unless you know what you are doing with conversions!).
75.5% frankincense hydrosol
4% Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) or use D-panthenol (Provitamin B5)
0.8% Vitamin E
1% preservative - Geogard 221
0.5% hyaluronic acid
Weigh the oil phase ingredients (the emulsifier, oil, shea butter and pomegranate seed extract) into a bowl.
Weigh the water phase ingredients (the hydrosol and Vitamin B3 powder or D-panthenol, if using) into a second bowl.
Create a water bath and heat both bowls until they reach 70 degrees C.
Once both phases reach the same temperature remove them from the heat and slowly pour the oil phase into the water phase, stirring at the same time with a manual hand whisk. Do this for about 3 minutes until the mixture whitens and homogenizes as it cools.
While it is cooling add the hyaluronic acid powder (note: this could also be added to the water phase).
Once cool, add the preservative, Vitamin E and essential oil and stir thoroughly. Pour into a jar and store in a cool place.
This water-in-oil lotion recipe is quite advanced. It has many ingredients and makes use of the ‘hot process’ of making creams (just like in soap making, lotion making can be made hot or cold process). Only try it if you feel comfortable making lotions. But it is a wonderful lotion containing hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, a range of skin-loving oils and anti-aging frankincense.
Heated water phase
17.67g | 32.14% distilled water
10g | 20% hyaluronic acid
10g | 20% aloe vera gel
1.5g | 3% vegetable glycerine
1g | 2% D-panthenol (Provitamin B5)
Heated oil phase
2.5g | 5% Olive M1000
3.5g | 7% macadamia nut oil
1.5g | 3% refined shea butter
1g | 2% cetyl alcohol
Cool down phase
0.03g | 0.06% vitamin E oil
0.25g | 0.50% frankincense essential oil
0.1g | 0.20% bergamot essential oil
0.1g | 0.20% mandarin essential oil
0.25g | 0.50% preservative - Geogard 221
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3 cm of water to just simmering over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed pan.
Weigh the 'heated water phase' into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or bowl.
Weigh the 'heated oil phase' into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup or bowl.
Place both measuring cups in the water bath to melt everything through for about 30 minutes.
After about 20-30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove from the heat then pour the oil part into the water part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate (silicone is easier to clean but you can use anything to sir).
Use an immersion blender and begin blending the lotion, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid lotion doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, blend for another minute or two, and repeat this blend-cool-blend cycle until the outside of the glass measuring cup is barely warm to the touch and the lotion is thick and creamy. When the lotion is cool it’s time to incorporate the 'cool down phase' ingredients. Stir well to blend together. And that’s it! Transfer to a 50ml jar and store in a cool place.
We’ll end off on a slightly easier recipe so this blog doesn’t seem totally overwhelming! This is a lovely recipe for a spicy-floral moisturizing body lotion for dry skin using rich mango butter, rose water and honey.
7g mango butter
30g rose water
2g raw honey (or vegetable glycerin, an excellent moisture retainer)
3 drops benzoin oil
1 drop coffee bean oil
4 drops cardamon essential oil
1 g broad spectrum preservative such as Geogard 221
Combine the emulsifying wax, mango butter and sunflower seed oil in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat.
While the emulsifying wax mixture is melting, combine the rose water, water and honey (or glycerin) in a small measuring cup and gently warm.
Once the emulsifying wax mixture has melted, add the water mixture. Heat through to ensure everything is melted before removing the pan from the heat.
Whisk the mixture as it cools - it will thicken into a nice white cream (the thickening may take a few days to fully work, this is normal).
Whisk in the cardamom essential oil, rose oil and benzoin oil. Add your preservative and decant the mixture to a pump-top bottle or wide-mouthed jar.
We hope you find these cream and lotion recipes helpful on your journey to chemical free and natural skin care.
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