A few months ago, I went to make Kim’s Coconut Orange Body Butter and realized I was out of coconut oil. I looked through my recipes to find another lotion and re-discovered this lotion recipe from the Mom Photographer blog for a homemade lotion using common kitchen ingredients.
I remember bookmarking the recipe over a year ago, but never made it because the directions were not completely clear to me and I didn’t like the idea of storing lotion in the refrigerator. Out of options at the time, I decided to take my best guesses at how to make the lotion and get over the fact that I would have to store it in the fridge.
Two ingredients in this lotion make it less stable than other lotion recipes we’ve shared: milk and water. Milk will spoil at room temperature and water causes the lotion to go rancid more quickly. Since all true preservatives that would prolong the life of the lotion and allow it to be stored at room temperature are chemicals and most contain parabens and other harmful compounds, I don’t use them.
Although storing the lotion in the refrigerator is the best way to keep it stable, many of the natural ingredients in the lotion also help it stay fresher, longer.
Other than the lotion simply “expiring”, the biggest concern is bacteria growth. To prevent bacteria from getting into the lotion, it’s best to keep your fingers out of the jar and use a sterilized spoon as a scoop.
But, if you’re lazy like me, you can put a week’s worth of lotion into a small container and use your fingers. This way, if you do introduce bacteria into the lotion, you’ll only ruin a small amount of it. Since I usually apply lotion after I shower, I haven’t had an issue with bacteria growth yet.
Oatmeal, milk and honey are 3 foods found in most kitchens that will do wonders for your skin. They are full of vitamins to help heal and soothe your skin, antioxidants to rejuvenate it and healthy fats to moisturize.
Choosing top quality ingredients will result in the best quality lotion. Use real honey, not the cheap stuff which is mostly sugar. Choose an organic full fat milk produced by grass fed cows to add the most vitamins, minerals and healthy fats to your lotion.
You may use refined or unrefined cocoa butter, but remember that you will get a nutty, chocolaty smell from the unrefined varieties. I have unrefinded cocoa butter and although I don’t mind the scent, it’s not my favorite, so I covered it up with vanilla fragrance oil the second time I made the lotion.
Finally, the emulsifying wax in this recipe can not be substituted with beeswax. Emulsifying wax allows ingredients that normally don’t mix to combine so that they will not separate over time. In this recipe, it is necessary to help the oil and water mix.
The lotion feels creamy and luxurious and leaves me with soft, healthy looking skin. Over the past few months, I’ve made it twice because I enjoy it so much. My first batch lasted for five weeks until I accidentally left it on a counter overnight when it was 80 degrees. Needless to say, it spoiled. Barring that kind if mistake, the lotion should last a few months.
Since it’s summer and I only need to apply lotion once a day after I shower, I don’t mind that the lotion can’t travel with me and has to stay in the refrigerator. I also enjoy the feeling of the cold lotion on warm days. Although I never would have considered using a homemade lotion that required refrigeration a few years ago, I’m glad I tried it and I’ll keep an open mind about these types of homemade lotions in the future.