How to Make Homemade Lotion

by Merissa on March 7, 2013

in Featured, Make Your Own

How to Make Homemade Lotion - Little House Living


How to Make Homemade Lotion

If you are trying to avoid harmful chemicals in your beauty products, homemade lotion is a great place to start. Reading the ingredient list on a bottle of commercial lotion is scary! Our skin is our largest organ, and it deserves as much care as everything else. Actually, many studies suggest it needs even more attention. Chemicals or toxins that we ingest orally can at least be partially broken down in the digestive system. But substances that enter through our skin bypass that step and enter directly into the bloodstream.

It takes mere minutes to learn how to make homemade lotion and this recipe has just four ingredients. This lotion will moisturize and soothe even the driest winter skin, and little bit goes a very long way! You can customize it with your favorite essential oil, such as lavender for the spring or peppermint for the winter holidays. My daughter has a patch of eczema on her cheek, and this lotion is the only thing that helps it. I love knowing exactly what I am putting on my baby's delicate skin.

How to Make Homemade Lotion

Homemade Lotion
Makes 30 ounces

As this lotion contains water, it should be refrigerated in warm weather.

How to Make Homemade Lotion

In a microwave safe bowl (I use a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup), combine the oil and wax. Microwave for about two minutes or until melted. (This can also be done in a double boiler on the stove if you prefer to not use the microwave.)

How to Make Homemade Lotion

Heat the water in the microwave or on the stove until simmering.

Combine the water, oil/wax mixture, glycerin and essential oil, if using. Stir thoroughly.

Pour into desired bottle(s). I divide mine up into a few 4 ounce mason jars, then store the rest in a bigger jar in the refrigerator.

If you want something super easy you could also check out our Coconut Oil Lotion and find a bunch more DIY Health and Beauty Projects here on Little House Living!

Did you know how to make homemade lotion before today? Will you try now if you haven't before?

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dianna March 7, 2013 at 9:29 am

I’ve noticed that distilled water is called for here and in other recipes for body products such as soap. Do you know why? What will happen if I use tap water?

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2 Amanda March 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Distilled water is free of bacteria and minerals that could interfere with the shelf life of a homemade product that does not have preservatives. You technically can use tap water, but I would boil it first to ensure it is sterile.

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3 Dianna March 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Thank you for clearing that up!

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4 Tracy Lynne February 5, 2014 at 11:27 am

also tap water contains all sorts of icky add ins like Chlorine and other chemicals that alter the pH of the water and change how it behaves when mixed with other things- so it may really ruin your lotion. Even bottled water contains all these contaminants. Go to any bottled water brand’s website and look at their water report- you will be shocked. While distilled water is literally just H2o. This is why it behaves differently when poured.

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5 Debra March 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm

You can also make it easier by just using the Coconut Oil as your lotion/moisturizer. I have very dry skin and use exclusively Coconut Oil as my moisturizer all over my body. Not only does it moisturize but I have noticed a decrease in my fine lines and elasticity of my skin. Just remember that a little goes a LONG way!!

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6 Amanda March 7, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Sometimes I use just coconut oil, too! It really is amazing. It can be a little oily for me, though, so I like to have it lotion form as well. Also, I find that combining it with the wax helps to lock in the moisture.

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7 Laura/Readerwoman March 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Can you use beeswax for this? I have all the ingredients at hand, except I have beeswax, which I use successfully in other recipes. Thanks!

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8 katydidsoaps March 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Beeswax isn’t an emulsifier, so no, it wouldn’t work :-( E-wax is the only way to go.

Also, be sure to use a preservative such as Phenonip, Germaben, or Optiphen. Non-preserved lotions can grow yeast and mold in just days, if not hours (even if kept in the fridge)

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9 Merissa March 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

You could also use a natural preservative like vitamin e oil. I use that in most of my homemade health and beauty goods to get them to last longer :)

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10 Amanda March 8, 2013 at 8:06 am

If all the tools and jars used are sterile, and the lotion is kept in a cool climate or in the fridge, then it will not mold that quickly. Dipping dirty or wet hands into the jar or using non-sterile equipment will cause it to spoil, though. My lotion keeps for months with no preservative, though I do add lavender essential oil which could help hinder spoilage.

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11 Amanda March 8, 2013 at 8:08 am

katydidsoaps is correct, it needs to be emulsifying wax. Beeswax is a thickener, and though it might hold the lotion together for a little while, it will eventually separate.

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12 Katy March 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Where is the best place to get these ingredients? I have psoriasis and want to give this a try soon! :)

Thank you.

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13 Merissa March 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm

We linked to many of them in the article, Amazon pretty much carries everything :)

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14 Amanda March 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I really like Wholesalesuppliesplus.com. They have great prices on bulk products, and free shipping on orders over $30. Amazon is awesome, too.

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15 Heather March 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I made a lotion that called for glycerine and I found that the lotion felt sticky on my hands. Anyone else experience this with glyverine? I haven’t tried this recipe yet, and am hesitant because of the glycerine.

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16 Amanda March 10, 2013 at 9:16 am

I can’t speak for other lotions, but I do know that this one can feel sticky only if you use too much. It is very potent, so just a tiny dab is enough and should not feel sticky, especially if you use it on damp hands (which is the ideal way to use lotion anyway). You can always scale the recipe back by half, that way you won’t be wasting too much if you don’t like it! (2.25 oz coconut oil, .75 oz emulsifying wax, 8 oz water, 4 oz glycerin) :)

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17 Janeen Utley March 12, 2013 at 2:15 am

This is Amazing!! I can’t wait to try this recipe! & I’m glad you cleared up that you have to use Distilled or Purified water, & also about the Beeswax, very important!! Thankyou! Also, I wanted to know, where do you get your Essential! oils from? Thanks again

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18 Amanda March 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Thank you, I hope you like it! I buy my essential oils mostly from Amazon, but also Mountain Rose Herb(really good organic oils) and WholesaleSuppliesPlus.com. I compare prices between the three and go with the best deal.

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19 Canada's March 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Where do u buy the wax and the glycerin to make this lotion?

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20 Merissa March 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm

The wax, glycerin, and coconut oil sources are linked in the ingredients list above.

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21 Connie March 25, 2013 at 9:10 am

This is really great! I have a lot of allergies so I need to try this. Would love you to link it up on Wednesday at my place. Hope to see you there! Family Home and Life

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22 Paula Parrish March 27, 2013 at 5:36 am

Thanks for sharing this homemade lotion recipe. I love making homemade skin care products to avoid harsh chemical in commercially made products. ;o)

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23 Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above March 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

This is a great recipe. I have been looking for lotion recipe for a while. I just pinned this. We have a link party called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop and would love to have you share this and any other posts with everyone. It runs from Tuesday night through midnight Sunday. We also have a $50.00 Visa Gift Card Giveaway. Here is the link to the party.
http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2013/03/wednesdays-adorned-from-above-blog-hop_26.html
We hope to see you there.
Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

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24 Julia Forshee March 28, 2013 at 8:50 am

I have never heard of making your own lotion before. I’ve been in a soap making class, but never lotion. I really love this idea. It’s so rewarding to make your own stuff!! I know our readers would love to see this, too! Our Weekly All Things Thursday Link Up party is going on now at allthingswithpurpose.com, and we would LOVE for you to join us :) Hope to see you soon!!

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25 Miz Helen March 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

Hi Amanda,
I can’t wait to try this lotion, just love homemade lotions and creams. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

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26 K. Lesli April 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Well, after doing a little more research, I guess all or most (haven’t found one that says it doesn’t) emulsifying waxes contain polysorbates and even the possibilities of other ‘nasties.’ I’m kinda bummed. Not sure if this is a route I want to travel when I’ve stayed so far away from anything carcinogenic in my bath and body products. Please delete the above comment tho’ and this one as well so as to not cause confusion. This is another of those things we each have to figure out for ourselves… I like your blog very much and will have to wander around and do some reading! Thank you!

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27 Andrea April 17, 2013 at 11:41 am

Can you use fragrance oils as opposed to essential oils?

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28 Amanda April 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I don’t see why not, but honestly, I have never worked with fragrance oils so I cannot say for sure.

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29 Amanda April 24, 2013 at 11:54 am

I was looking into making a caffeine lotion… What do you think the result would be if I used coffee/espresso instead of part of the water in this recipe?

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30 Amanda July 12, 2013 at 9:02 am

That is really interesting! I have never tried anything like before, so I’m not sure. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, though. Maybe try making half a batch first to see how it turns out.

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31 Lana June 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I’m going to give this a try! Thank you!

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32 cristina July 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I have been making my own organic lotion for quite sometime now, as well as shampoo, deodorant, lip balm etc… Most recently a few people have wanted to carry some of my products in their stores. My concern is the shelf life of these products being as there are no preservatives. Do you have any recommendations?

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33 Amanda July 12, 2013 at 9:16 am

Ooh, that’s tough. Products that contain water are more likely to go bad quickly, especially in warm weather or with less than ideal conditions (multiple people sticking dirty hands into a container of lotion). I personally have had my preservative-free lotion, which IS made with water, last a month or more at room temperature, longer in the winter. My lip balm lasts many months without going bad, and it does not contain water. So I suppose it depends on the composition of your products, and if they could possibly be stored in refrigeration at the store. When in doubt, make the expiration date on the products earlier rather later. Good luck!

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34 Hollie December 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm

How long will it typically last out of fridge? Thanks

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35 Merissa December 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

It lasts months and months. I’ve had my jar last over 4 months.

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36 Susan December 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Is this recipe measured out by weight or volume?

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37 Merissa December 20, 2013 at 6:55 am

Volume

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38 Susan December 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Thank you :)

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39 Veronika February 3, 2014 at 5:11 am

Thank you for the nice recipe – I am testing out various things and make my own facial moisturizers and lotions, but I have really dry skin and I love coconut oil so it’ll be interesting to make a cream that is this simple – I plan to drop glycerin down to 10% from 20% and see if that makes a less sticky lotion to begin with.

Just a note to those worrying about e-wax. I am a chemist by education, and E-wax can describe several different things, but e-wax NF normally contains Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PEG-150 Stearate and Steareth-20, or some similar combo thereof. None of these have been implicated in anything remotely carcinogenic, and all of these are typically vegetable-oil derived (vegetable oil hydrogenates and the like). Please don’t worry about it, and ignore the sources which spread panic for no good reason. Not everything with a ‘chemical’ sounding name is bad – all the natural oils can be written in scary-sounding ways, but calling it ‘caprylic triglyceride’ or some such doesn’t make coconut oil any less wonderful for you!

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40 Lynne February 9, 2014 at 8:45 am

I love your site!! But reading through the natural lotion ingrdiedie is glyceri eand that is on my allergy doctors list of top ten offenders. Is there a substitute?

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41 SharonQ February 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I made this a while ago and it only solidified halfway through. I put it in the fridge and still did not solidify. I followed the instructions exactly so I am not sure what I could be doing wrong. Would it be okay to use less water?

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42 Merissa February 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Yes I would try using less water and see if that helps.

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43 Ashley April 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm

I just made the lotion and it was my first time making anything home made besides food. I feel like I did it wrong. I put it in little containers but the oil and water and separating. Is this supposed to happen? When it hardens up from the refrigerator am I supposed to mix it again? Please help!! I dont want the money I spent on supplies to go to waste :/

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44 Merissa April 16, 2014 at 7:49 pm

It shouldn’t separate. Where all the correct ingredients added and in the correct order?

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45 Sam July 6, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Can you use this lotion all over body & face or is it just intended for hands? (If not do you have a recipe for a better body lotion &/or facial lotion?) Also, do you need to store this lotion in a glass container or will plastic do? Lastly, what is the best way to sterilize the implements needed to prepare lotion? Thank you! :)

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46 Merissa July 6, 2014 at 8:40 pm

You can use this lotion over your body. Either plastic or glass should be fine, just make sure it’s stored in a cool dark place. You can simply wash any tools in warm soapy water in advance.

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47 Shell July 11, 2014 at 7:06 am

Homemade lotion (or any product that contains water) will start to grow bacteria within a day, even if refrigerated. The problem is, most people think their lotion is fine because they cannot SEE the nasties. They’re microscopic. Also, tap water has bacteria in it so please do not use it to make lotion. Distilled water is only $1 for a gallon at the store. Vitamin E is not a presevative! What it does is extends the shelf life of your oils (just oils) in your recipe. Also, if your vitamin E is not a brown color, it’s mixed with another oil. Pure vit E is brown. I own a business making bath, body & skincare products – I studied for years before opening. I hope this was helpful. Have a wonderful day :)

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48 Aggie July 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

Is this thin enough to put in a lotion pump container? Thanks!

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49 Merissa July 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Yes, this lotion is the right consistency to use in a lotion pump container.

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50 Caisie July 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm

What is the purpose of the glycerin in this recipe? I have never put it in my homemade lotions.

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