testtubesWelcome to the Soapnuts Creating Lotions Workshop

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Hopefully this may help some of you learn how to create your own lotion at home, if you've never done this before, then you're in for a treat.

Let me start off by saying that I'm not a professional lotion maker, this is to help those of you that have been having trouble with your lotions, want to create your own recipes, or those of you just looking for something new to try that's as natural as you want to make it.Before we get down to the real nitty gritty, I would like to address an important issue. I offer these tips for your own personal use. If you want to make lotions for sale, please be sure that you fully comprehend just what the legalities of doing such entails. I hate to see natural items not made and enjoyed only because they can't be sold for profit, they are so much to fun to make and good for you to boot! Family and friends will be forever asking you to make more, : )

I'm sure most of us have bought commercially manufactured lotions. The price tags on some of them make you want to take out a second mortgage just so you to can have beautiful skin. I've broken down the cost of several of my favorite creams and lotions, you may be surprised to find out that it really costs a matter of pennies to make your own homemade moisturizer.

First let's take a look at some of the ingredients you will need in order to make your own lotions and creams- now this doesn't mean you need all of these items, just some that are commonly used. We'll discuss on the next page what some of these items do and how much should be used.

Vegetable Oils/Butters, etc:
Aloe Gel
Apricot Kernal Oil
Avocado Oil
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil, Fractionated Coconut, Virgin Coconut Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Mango Butter
Shea Butter
Cocoa Butter
Vegetable Glycerin
Grapeseed Oil
Evening Primrose Oil
Emulsifying Agents, Preservatives, etc.:
Emulsifying Wax
Stearic Acid (vegetable based)
Xanthum Gum
Beeswax (you should use borax with this)
Citric Acid
Benzoin Tincture
Germaben II
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Distilled Water
Other items:
Digital scale (I consider this a must have.....don't worry, if you don't have one you can still make lotions, but if you want to create your own recipes or use other recipes without converting to teaspoons and tablespoons, plus be accurate, you should invest in one)
Thermometer (I consider this optional, good for beginners)
Mixing Bowls (I prefer glass bowls, two different sizes)
Standing or Stick Blender
Containers (sterilized)
Funnel (for lotions)
Muslin bag or small mesh strainer if using infused herbs
Small disposable cups (good for weighing and holding ingredients, 2 oz. solo cups work great)
Chopsticks (not really needed, but I consider these 'handy dandy' items to have around)
Fragrance Oils (my personal opinion is that if scent is wanted in homemade lotions, you should keep it as natural as possible by using safe essential oils, fragrances can cause allergic reactions and since we aren't washing these off of our skin, I'd rather stay natural)
Essential Oils
Colorant (again, my personal opinion is to leave these natural and not add coloring, you can infuse certain herbs and flowers if you want to achieve this)

     Here's a look at the lotion making process- a cream in this case-
   scaleStep #1-weighing out the ingredients

   waterStep #2-Heat water until just before boiling if using borax (sodium borate) or citric acid. Add the citric acid or borax and stir until dissolved, set aside to cool. You can use room temperature water, but I like to warm mine and let cool alongside the oils. Always start with sterile equipment, the water should be heated to 170 degrees F and held there for approx. 20 minutes to prepare the water, always start with more water than you need for your recipe since some will be lost to evaporation (more on that later).
    Preparing your equipment varies, you can use a 20% bleach solution to soak your items in (80% water/20% bleach) and/or boil what you are able to, dishwashers can be used as long as the water temp goes over 150 degrees F. Soak your items in the bleach solution for approx. 20 minutes and allow to drip dry.

  oilsStep #3-Melt the oils and waxes over low heat, using double boiler or microwave on short bursts, set aside to cool.

   first stepStep#4- After the oils and water have cooled to approximately 110 degrees (I judge by feeling the outside of the bowl or by sticking a clean finger in to test, should feel barely warm), slowly add the water to the oils while whisking or blending. If using a standing blender, open the feeding hole at the top and slowly pour the water in while the oils are gently blending. This is a bad shot, I know, but what do you expect from a kids' digital cam? : )

   blendingStep #5-My favorite part of the whole process.....the binding agent is reacting with the water to create an emulsion, you can see how thick this cream already is, and this picture is only a few moments after adding the water. Some people prefer high mixing speeds to blend, if it starts to splatter, you're bowl isn't deep enough so slow it down, I crank up the speed as the mixture thickens. I only blend for 1-2 minutes until I get a good solid emulsion, then I let it cool for about 5 minutes or so then come back and blend it again.

   full emulsionStep #6-This is a full emulsion, see the peaks just like when making meringue? Now we need to mix this for a total of 2 minutes or so.....let it rest, then whip some more. You should let the mixture cool on the counter for a few hours and then whip before storing away in your containers. This mixture had cooled all the way down and I was blending it just before spooning it into containers.

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