I have a confession to make. I really love lotion.
In my house, natural artisan lotion is a must have. It’s in every bathroom, it’s on our bags and cars, we travel with it, we take it to work. My mother, a doctor (and frequent hand washer!) swears she can’t live without it. Lotion use is not a simple luxury, for us it’s a necessity. I love lotion because it’s versatile. Beyond just moisturizing, lotion can add hydration and nourishment to your body, face and hair.
Out of all the natural skin care products I’ve ever made, lotion is by far my favorite product to create, but it is also one of the hardest to get right and the most difficult to safely preserve.
For these reasons, many makers shy away from lotion making. Intimidated, they opt for creating less complicated body oils or butters. They may claim these are superior to lotion for some reason or another or for the fact that they lack water, as if water was a bad thing to have in skin care.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Water is not cheap filler. Water is an essential step necessary to make lotion and is responsible for the hydrating benefits you can’t get from butters and oils alone...
But, let me back up; let’s start by talking about how lotion is made.
Lotion is an emulsion, it’s the chemical and manual combination of water and oil. Since water and oil don’t like to mix we also need an emulsifier to disperse the oil molecules into the water to create a stable lotion.
To make a lotion, you must heat and hold the water based ingredients and oil based ingredients in separate containers until they reach about 75C. Once everything has reached the right temperature, you combine the phases with a high shear mixer or homogenizer to disperse the oil molecules into the water molecules.
After an emulsion is achieved you can add all the additives that make natural artisan lotion awesome and special. This is when we add our botanicals, extracts, natural fragrances essential oils, absolutes and safe preservatives. Viola! Now you have a lotion.