As a present, I wanted to create a body lotion that was the ultimate daily “treat yourself” experience for my friends and family — all of whom are different ages and have unique skin concerns.
To keep it as luxurious and universally appealing as possible, I decided to fill it with nourishing yet lightweight plant oils, vitamin B5, and allantoin — moisturizing enough to help with to help with my mother’s eczema yet non-greasy and silky enough to be worn daily.
On the fragrance front, I made a simple blend building off the base of the cocoa butter and adding some gorgeous, warm winter time favorites. For those that are formulating in the warmer months, I recommend adding a small amount of grapefruit or lemon essential oil to give the warm, gourmand scents a little uplifting pop.
What I ended up with is pretty spectacular. When I went on a 2-day juice cleanse, I found this lotion was the next best thing to popping a few lemon profiteroles.
At a glance:
Silky and moisturized
Approximately 85% of ingredients are minimally processed and plant-based.
A special note on the ingredients
Originally, I hesitated to share this formula because it contains a number of synthetic ingredients. But, since I am more in support of transparency around ingredients skincare products versus being against the use of safe synthetic ingredients, I decided to share here.
I still feel great that 85% of the ingredients are minimally processed and plant-based which is much better than your standard high-end body lotion.
Note: For those who are uncomfortable with the use of silicones, there is a product called Nature Silk that might be worth trying. I haven’t used it yet but will be sure to write about it when I do.
About the Ingredients
Because the needs of the target for this lotion was wide ranging (not everyone likes the feeling of lotion), I wanted this lotion to have that allusive balance between moisture rich and a quick absorbing non-greasy, almost powdery feel.
Aloe Vera Juice or Liquid
Aloe vera has a great reputation for being a healing tonic. It contains vitamin B complex, folic acid, vitamin C, and carotene. There are loads of studies that show aloe vera is safe for use on the skin and effective for a number of topical uses. You can read more at the Natural Medicine Journal.
Note, aloe vera This is not the same as the gel. In fact, adding aloe vera gel might work, but the lotion would be a much different consistency. Aloe vera juice is very easy to find at natural grocery stores. The organic aloe vera juice I use comes from Whole Foods.
I include sodium lactate in many lotion formulas because it’s a workhorse that adds a lot of benefits. First, it’s a natural moisturizer, and a humectant, meaning that it attracts water to the skin. Also, it helps reduce the stickiness when used with glycerin and helps reduce the greasy feeling the oils leave. Lastly, it is a PH adjuster that can reduce the PH of the lotion to be more compatible with the skin and work more effectively with certain preservatives.
Glycerin, also referred to as glycerol and glycerine, is another multi-functional ingredient acting as both a humectant by attracting water to the skin and as an emollient to make the skin soft to the touch. As the old saying goes, there can be too much of a good thing — using too much glycerin can leave the skin feeling sticky.
I’ve used a few vegetable-derived versions of glycerin from Brambleberry and Lotion Crafter, but you can also find at places like Walmart, CVS, and health food stores.
Allantoin is known for its calming and skin smoothing properties by helping to increase the water content of the skin, aiding with the desquamation process (shedding the top layer of skin), and then promoting the growth of healthy tissue.
Allantoin is a naturally occurring nitrogenous compound found in the comfrey plant, although almost all allantoin commercially available comes from a synthetic origin.
Allantoin has been classified by the FDA as an Over-The-Counter (OTC) Category I (safe and effective) active ingredient skin protectant and used in creams for diaper rash and radiation burns.
DL-Panthenol is the pro-vitamin of D-Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5). It acts as a skin conditioning agent to provide deep penetrating moisture to the skin, Also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties for professional skin care formulations where it also acts as a powerful redness reducer.
My current favorite multi-purpose oil. Babassu oil comes from the seeds of the babassu palm and is a light, mild moisturizer that, similar to coconut oil, melts on contact with the skin.
Unlike coconut oil, babassu is low-comedogenic oil and won’t clog pores t feels lighter, drier, and less greasy on the skin. It’s said to be great for inflamed skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne, and other distressed skin conditions.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot kernel oil is skin-loving, easily absorbed that is a favorite with those with combination skin. Apricot oil is similar to sweet almond oil in chemical makeup.
Moringa oil is a beautiful oil that comes from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree, a fast-growing leafy tree species native to the Himalayas, which some have dubbed “the tree of life”. Moringa oil is similar to Argan oil due to its high percentage of oleic acid and it’s relatively high price point.
Cocoa butter is a rich natural fat derived from the cacao beans from the Cocoa/Cacao Tree.
This hard butter thickens the texture of emulsions. It is great for dry chapped skin and many say it helps reduce and prevent the appearance of scars. It is a high comedogenic oil so I find it more suitable for use on the body a deep moisturizer. With a melting point of 93–101 °F (34–38 °C), it will be the last of your oils to melt.
I love crafting fragrances, and love it even more when I can incorporate the natural aromas of butters and oils into my formulas. Coconut butter, even in small amounts, adds a beautiful scent base of which to build off.
Cetyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol used as an emulsion stabilizer and opacifier, adding body and viscosity to creams and lotions, and improving texture and feel with a velvety texture. Some people who suffer from eczema can be sensitive to cetyl alcohol, although I have not had this experience.
BTMS-50 is easily the most luxurious primary emulsifier I have used. It is a mild, vegetable-based emulsifier with built-in conditioning properties that is very easy to work with (every batch I’ve ever made with BTMS has turned out perfect) and it imparts a lovely, expensive feel onto the lotions that contain it. I’ve seen others describe as leaving a powdery feel on the skin, but I have not found that to be true without the addition of other “powdery” ingredients.
Cool down phase
With this product, I was hoping to impart a nourishing, non-greasy, silky glide and Cyclomethicone is great for achieving that skin feel. Too, it can help by plumping up the skin and giving the appearance of less noticeable fine lines.
I recognize this is a controversial ingredient. Although widely seen as safe when used on the human body, there is a concern around industrial silicones and its effect on the environment, particularly in the bioaccumulation of marine life.
For those who are uncomfortable with the use of silicones, there is a product called Nature Silk that might be worth trying. I haven’t used it yet but will be sure to write about it when I do.
Hydrolyzed Baobab Protein
I included this hydrolyzed protein to further my quest to create a soft, silky, non-greasy lotion. In general, hydrolyzed protein is humectant and helps to maintains healthy, supple skin with nourishing amino acids and improve the feel of creams and lotions giving it a near-velvet smoothness after drying.
Studies have shown that hydrolyzed oats retain significantly more moisture no matter what the humidity. According to Lotioncrafters, the seeds from this protein are obtained via ethical and sustainable methods and support local communities.
All water-based products must — 100 percent — contain a preservative. Germall Plus is a highly effective, broad spectrum, non-paraben preservative. I use a number of preservatives (the most common being Optiphen), but what I like about Germall Plus is that it is very stable, has no known inactivators, if effective from a PH of 3 to 8, and can be effective at very low usage rates.
Clementine Cupcake Fragrance oil
As mentioned before, this is a beautiful fragrance. It’s not an exact replica of the aroma of earl grey, but combined with the real earl grey tea and other oils, it creates a wonderful scent perfect for a luxurious, everyday soap.
Lemon Crème Body Lotion with Babassu & Apricot Oil
As a present, I wanted to create a body lotion that was the ultimate daily “treat yourself” experience for my friends and family -- all of whom are different ages and have unique skin concerns.
To keep it as luxurious and universally appealing as possible, I decided to fill it with nourishing yet lightweight plant oils, vitamin B5, and allantoin -- moisturizing enough to help with to help with my mother’s eczema yet non-greasy and silky enough to be worn daily.
- 11.22 oz Distilled Water (34%)
- 10.89 oz Aloe vera liquid (33%)
- .495 oz Sodium lactate (1.5%)
- .66 oz Glycerin (2%)
- .33 oz DL-Panthenol (1%)
- .165 oz Allantoin (.5%)
- 2.31 oz Apricot (kernel) oil (7%)
- 1.48 oz Babassu oil (4.5%)
- .66 oz Moringa oil (2%)
- .495 oz Cocoa butter (1.5%)
- 1.32 oz Cetyl alcohol (4%)
- 1.65 oz BTMS 50 (5%)
- .66 oz Cyclomethicone (2%)
- .33 oz Hydrolyzed protein (1)
- .165 oz Germall Plus (.5%)
- .165 oz Clementine cupcake fragrance oil (.5%)
- 2 Heat-proof containers/beaker
- 1 Glass stirring rod
- Immersion/stick blender
- Small scale
- Heat source like a microwave of water bath
- infrared thermometer
- 4 8 oz pump bottles
- Large, shallow container with cold water and ice
Organize workspace with ingredients and equipment. Sanitize all equipment with a diluted bleach solution or spray with isopropyl alcohol. I like to line my workspace with paper to make clean up easy. I wear gloves and put my hair up to prevent any contamination of the products.
Measure water soluble ingredients
In a medium sized beaker, measure out proper amounts of water, aloe vera, sodium lactate, glycerin, allantoin, and DL panthenol.
Measure oil soluble ingredients
In a small beaker, measure babassu oil, apricot oil, moringa oil, cocoa butter, cetyl alcohol. and BTMS 50.
Note: I like to break the cocoa butter up into very small portions to allow it to melt quicker.
Heat ingredients and create emulsion
In the microwave or water bath, separately bring water soluble ingredients and oil soluble ingredients to approximately 70 degrees C (~158 degrees F).
When using a microwave, heat in 20 second bursts to prevent overheating ingredients.
When both beakers of ingredients are right around 70 degrees C, it's time to create the emulsion. Slowly add the oil phase ingredients to the water phase ingredients while stirring with a glass rod.
You will immediately notice the ingredients start to emulsify and turn white. Start to stick blend the emulsion, until the emulsification thickens (usually around 30 seconds to 1 minute).
Transfer the emulsion to a water bath filled with cold water and ice and cool while stirring slowly with glass rod until emulsion reaches 40 degrees C (104 degrees F).
When the emulsion has cooled, it's safe to add the ingredients in the cool down phase. Put beaker with emulsion on the scale and measure cyclomethicone, hydrolyzed protein, germall plus, and fragrance oil(s).
Stir gently to incorporate the cool down phase ingredients.
Pour into container
Before the emulsion cools too much, use a funnel to pour lotion into bottles. Leave the top off for 4 hours to let condensation evaporate. Lightly tap bottle on the counter to release any air bubbles that may have formed.
The lotion will be ready to use immediately but is best after 24 hours.