amy merrickDIYdiy projects

made with love: rose body lotion [updated]

by amym

We’ve reached that time of year when off go the heavy coats and thick tights and on go the sandals and sun dresses. I don’t know about you, but the first day my bare legs are exposed sans tights to the world is rough. Winter tends to leave my skin not only deathly white, but parched and miserable. Enter homemade lotion. All it takes is olive oil, water and a little bit of emulsifying wax to create thick, yummy moisturizer for a fraction of the cost. I’m crazy for natural rose fragrance so I substituted some of the water for rosewater, but in the future, I think i’ll just stick to adding essential oils instead. A nicer texture and cheaper, to boot! –amy m.

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

What you’ll need:

– pyrex measuring cup
– canning jars
-Hot Water (1 1/2 cups or 375 grams) (12 oz by weight) (Amy substituted with rose water)
-Oil (1/4 cup or 50 grams) (1.8 oz by weight).
-Emulsifier (1/4 cup volume or 28 grams) (1 oz by weight)
-Essential Oil (drops) 7 grams or 1/4 of an ounce
-Preservative (.5% – 1% per manufacturer recommendation) = 2.3 grams – 4.6 grams range

A note on preservatives (and an updated ingredients list), courtesy of Kelly Bloom of Southern Soapers, is below. Thanks Kelly!

There are several options for preservatives. These three are the most commonly used by small home crafters, hobbyists, and even small indie businesses. They are easy to obtain in small hobby size. Here is a quick skinny on them:

Optiphen – very popular broad spectrum (prevents bacteria, mold, & fungi growth) because it is paraben free. About 2% of population experiences some sensitivity on face or tender skin (like babies). Always add this preservative to your formula last, after the emulsion has cooled down a bit.

LiquaPar Optima – very popular broad spectrum (prevents bacteria, mold, & fungi growth) and it has 50 years of cosmetic industry testing behind it. It does contain parabens, so not a choice if you want to market product as ‘paraben free’. Always add this preservative to your formula last, after the emulsion has cooled down a bit.

Germall Plus, Liquid – very popular broad spectrum (prevents bacteria, mold, & fungi growth) that is both paraben free and very effective, without sensitivity issues that Optiphen might pose with some products. Always add this preservative to your formula last, after the emulsion has cooled down a bit.

Determining how much preservative to add:
Generally, most preservatives are a very very small percentage of the total formulation. About .5% to 1% by weight of the entire product formulation. The total lotion weight before preservatives is 460 grams, or about 16 oz by weight. To calculate preservative, you take 460 grams and multiply by .05 (the .5% rate) for a total preservative use of 2.3 grams. You can see how amazingly little this is to protect the formula!


– Combine wax and oil in measuring cup.

– Heat on stove top slowly, until melted. Add several drops (around 20) of essential oils. In separate container, microwave water for one minute.

– Pour hot water into melted wax/oil mixture. It should turn opaque and require no stirring.

– Pour hot lotion into jars and seal. Let set overnight.

– As your lotion contains no preservatives, be sure to refrigerate and be on the lookout for mold. [Some lotions without preservatives can go bad as quickly as one to two weeks, so be sure to toss anything if bubbles, lumps or mold appear]

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  • where can i find the emulsifying wax other than that website? i can’t wait to try this!!

  • Oooh! Brilliant! I just figured out what I’m giving as Christmas presents this year. How much (and what size jars) will one batch make?

  • what a perfect gift for some upcoming spring birthdays…you continue to amaze and inspire me…

  • Britton, Everything has a bit a bacteria in it, even opened shop-bought stuff chock full of preservatives and our own skin has bacteria on it all the time. You only need to worry about bacteria when a) the numbers are very high b) it’s going INSIDE your body, not on skin and c) if you have an immune deficiency. This moisturiser, kept in the fridge and used quickly, won’t cause anyone any harm. Plus it’s free of the palm oil and other environmental nasties in most shop-bought stuff!

  • oooh pannacota… i’d much prefer to learn how to make pannacota :-)

    this is cool though.. making your own lotion? i never knew how to do such a thing…

  • will be trying this out…..and actually rosewater is the less expensive option since Rose EO is one of the more expensive EO’s along with Jasmine given the number of petals they have to use to make the oils…..but soooo worth it! I use http://www.mountainroseherbs.com for my supplies of oils, EO’s and waxes….great sustainable practices….

  • This looks like a nice Spring treat from my girlfriends…or a great guest gift for the umpteen bridal and baby showers I am hosting/cohosting the next few months. However, I don’t own a microwave. I know, dark ages. Would the consistency of the wax/oil combo hold up if I did it on the stove top? Perhaps in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water?

  • what a fabulous gift idea!! you could even make a big batch and split it up to be party favors. i’m excited to give this a try. thanks for sharing!

  • One more vote for a stove top method. I feel microwaves are unhealthy and since I’m making natural products why would I stick them in a microwave?

  • Any recommendations for those that don’t have a microwave? i love the idea of homemade lotion and would just wing it but i know the odds of me either a) burning down my kitchen or b) ruining the recipe are high. thank you!

  • Those of us who don’t have microwaves can use a double boiler, or potentially stick it in a low (< 325) oven for a while.

  • Love these ideas! this might seem like an odd question – but does one need the bio-high end grapeseed oil, or can we use the grapeseed oil we cook with? Also are you aware of where we can get that wax in canada? (’scandals and sundresses’..ymmm)

  • i have to chime in with britton on the potential health hazards of water-based products, which can very quickly produce mold. this recipe seems wonderfully well-intentioned. but the health risks are real and shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you’re giving things away as gifts! more information from an herbalist whose products i’ve used is available here – http://lilithsapothecary.wordpress.com/2009/10/14/ingredients-101-chemicals-are-bad-arent-they/#comments

  • Awesome! And I love those pretty little jars. I’ve tinkered around with making some bath oils and scrubs, but I’ve never tried to make lotion. Likely will now though! Lovely.

  • Don’t want to be a downer but that wax has Polysorbate 60 in it which is not good – link with cancers. Are there emulsifying waxes that are non toxic out there?

  • Oooh this sounds like fun. Maybe something nice to do with my mum when she comes to visit. I would be careful to add preservatives though, I don’t even eat food that been in the fridge more than a few days.

  • I just heard a doctor speak re: beauty and health and she advised you should not put anything on your skin you wouldn’t eat since your skin is an organ and it absorbs it. This is a perfect, easy natural recipe that fits that recommendation! Thank you.

  • hi everyone, gosh amy this looks like such an amazing piece of work! i live in germany and can’t figure out what emulsifying wax is. any german readers out there who might be more clued in than this non native? : )
    thank you,

  • I go through so much lotions, which are highly overpriced, this is such a great idea! Are the tags homemade too? I would love to see how to make those too!

  • I like the idea of this very much – but I agree with several posters – more care with the ingredients should be taken.

    Emulsifying wax is not a good choice for skin care products. On Mountain Rose Herb’s website you can get several types of ingredients that you can use instead – like beeswax, cocobutter, shae butter, etc. They have many, many options.

    When using water in things such as this, making sure it is distilled water will lengthen shelf life. I also add pure vitamin e and aloe to my lotions to protect them.

    When using more natural ingredients the process is a bit longer, but it is still very simple and produces a great yield and is very cost effective.

    I recommend Rosemary Gladstar’s book ‘The Family Herbal’ for her lovely lotion recipe.

    I’m not affiliated with MRH or Ms. Gladstar – just putting my two cents out there! I want everyone to experience wonderful, homemade goodies!

  • Definitely research this before making water-based body care products. Also, I was really surprised about the microwave and wax. Not at all a healthy approach to natural lotion. She was well intentioned, though, as someone mentioned, and I’m feeling really inspired to create my own lotion. My favorite brands are Kiss My Face and Shi Kai. I’d love to figure out how to make something like that, especially with shea butter. Shea is so thick and sticky. This is a challenge, but how exciting! Thanks for this post!

    • carla

      can you explain what’s unsafe about the wax and microwave? i must admit i’ve melted wax for more projects than i can count that way.


  • do you want to correct the sentence – ‘as your lotion contains for preservatives..’
    I really like the idea of making this in small batches, and keeping it refrigerated. Safe, inexpensive, and I’ll know exactly what is in it! thanks a lot

  • I really love this project. But the main thing I love? That you would post this project. Sometimes I wish people would realize you can be helpful, without making things such a big deal that no one wants to contribute anymore.

  • @grace: wax is an oil-based product and has a flashpoint. if it reaches flashpoint during heat, it will combust.

    it is difficult to monitor the temperature in a microwave, and if the microwave heats unevenly, you could end up with a fire.

    @christina: neither vitamin nor aloe are preservatives. and “natural” ingredients ensure nothing. hemlock is a “natural” ingredient and i wouldn’t use it in my lotion.

    • h

      i’ll have to do some research on the wax flashpoint- do you know if that flashpoint is easily achieved in a microwave? i’ve been following microwave directions in various craft projects online and in books for a while now and haven’t seen any mention of that warning. yikes!

      also, i understand that “natural” doesn’t ensure anything per se, but nothings as immediately life-threatening as hemlock is being used here. just wanted to add that in, as sometimes people read these comments and then assume that’s in the post above…


    • hi guys

      just a quick update. there are plenty of natural preservatives (including vitamin E like christina mentioned) that are commonly used in homemade and store-bought lotions (i’ve been researching this since the post went up).

      the most common is “Citrus paradisi” (http://www.myalchemilla.com/Herbarium/Grapefruit.html) which is found in grapefuit. i also found a lot of research online about tea tree and thyme essential oils- along with raw honey interestingly- being a natural preservative used in lotions as well, so if you’d like to go the all natural route you can certain add in natural preservatives. please note that these are not as strong as chemical preservatives, so keep your lotions in the fridge and be sure to toss them at any sign of mold, etc.


  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ll make for my grandmother – she loves rose water!

  • can’t wait to make this!! i’m guessing that beeswax would be a good substitute if you can’t find emulysifying wax. it makes skin really soft and smells great too.

  • This rose lotion sounds absolutely LOVELY! But, I would not use a microwave to melt wax. One has no control over the temperature and it could reach it’s flash point very quickly and ignite. Be very careful and always keep a fire extinguisher handy when heating wax.

  • @h-
    I’m not sure why I got targeted for hostility. If you read my post, I never once said that Vit E or Aloe would preserve the lotion – I simply stated it would protect them a bit more. I don’t think anyone expects home made lotion to last for years.

    Also, I never mentioned using hemlock, so I’m not sure where that came from. I simply stated that using more natural ingredients produces a product that is better for your skin. I was referring to the wax, and I stated that.

    I guess I’ll think again next time I want to contribute to a discussion in this manner – I don’t like the way I feel after people blast me like this. :(

  • I love making natural products. I do prefer to make creams instead of lotions because they do not contain as much water and so you don’t have to worry so much about bacteria growing.

    Also, I use natural beeswax and a mixture of pure cocoa butter and sheabutter and sometimes instead of plain water I brew a cup of scented tea (usually jasmine green tea) for the health benefits and use that water instead. Sweet orange essential oil smells amazing with the jasmine tea.

    Lastly, I also put a couple of drops of pure vodka at the end of my mixture right before it cools down. This helps to sterilize the water mixture.

  • FYI, there is no such thing as a natural preservative. Trust me, as an indie biz-owner and soap and cosmetic formulator, we’re all on the look-out for it! Vitamin E, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oleoresin are all great antioxidants – and will help keep oils from going rancid- but will not preserve your lotion. Be safe, everybody! Preservatives always spark controversy…thanks everybody for the discussion and open-mindedness as to the options, benefits, and risks of using or not using preservatives. Thanks, Amy, for a lovely, simple recipe! E-wax is a great emulsification system. :)

    • jen

      i’ve been online looking at this for the past day or so and found a ton of places (selling natural lotions in reputable stores) claiming that their products use “all natural preservatives”. is that the natural-ingredient version of green-washing? i was under the impression that natural preservatives were indeed preservatives, but just much weaker ones than chemical preservatives?

      do you have links to any concrete info on this? i’m going crazy trying to find a concrete, reputable source online.


  • @ christina: my apologies, i used hemlock as an example of a natural ingredient that is not safe for lotion use. natural is not always better.

    beeswax, shea, cocoa and other butters and waxes are not substitutes for emulsifying wax in this recipe. they will not emulsify; you will simply get an oil/wax mixture floating on top of water.

    as for honey as a preservative: it’s fine all by itself, but once added to water, it becomes a germ farm. any lotion with honey in it needs a preservative to prevent it from becoming moldy; additionally, it should be used at less than 1% of the total weight of the product due to these issues.

  • Every product that contains water MUST be decently preserved. If not molds, funghi, yeast and bacteria will grow in it and they will make you sick. It’s dangerous to say it’s perfectly safe, cause it’s not! Even if kept refrigerated the product will go bad within 3 days!

    • M

      Can you send me some documentation or a link about that claim and timeframe? There are a lot of claims being made here (many of which contradict each other) and I’d really appreciate if people could provide some info beyond that.

      I’m doing my best to find research to back up anything we say/post because I’m taking these comments and issues raised seriously, I would appreciate the same in kind if you have a particular health claim you’d like to leave- thanks.


      • hi guys

        i’ve been researching and the timeline i keep seeing online for handmade lotions (with water and without preservatives) is one to two weeks:


        i’ve updated the post to reflect this timeline (rather than a month) and will continue to look for more facts and documentation. if you have documentation that says otherwise please feel free to share it and i’ll update the time frame.


        • anne-marie

          thank you so much for your comment and your insight into the preservative issue. i never knew i’d be finding out so much about lotions this week, but it’s been really enlightening ;)

          i’ve updated the post to a conservative 2 week time frame (based on everything i found online), but will continue to research and update the timeframe based on advice from experts like yourself.


  • @h:
    I understand that you cannot use other waxes/butter to replace the emulsifying wax in this recipe – I stated in my original comment that it requires a different and lengthier process.
    And no, natural is not always better – but the format and nature of this post (and my original comment) led me to feel safe that no one would come to drastic conclusions about that.

  • Can’t wait to try this out. Have always wanted to try out homemade lotion, bath salts, yes, not lotion yet. Thank you Grace for all your research on getting us the latest info to make this the best possible product. I can’t tell you how much I love your website. It is like opening a little happy moment when I see it in my “in box”.

  • Grace,

    You are totally right. Preservatives *are* confusing. There are many companies claiming they use all natural preservatives or none at all. I listened to a preservative expert talk at The Soap Guild Conference last year and he asserted, from the stage, that most of the ‘no preservative’ group are hiding their preservatives in their fragrance systems and also said that “{large large company who claims to be preservative free} never met a labeling law they followed”.

    I’ve been making soaps and lotions for 16 years and have done a lot of research on preservatives over the years. Our company sells everything from Grapefruit Seed Extract (one purportedly natural preservative) to Germaben II (the most paraben-y of all the preservatives) and I strongly believe that a synthetic, broad-spectrum anti-microbial preservative is needed for any water/oil based mixture that is given or sold to the public.

    If it’s for personal use and stored in the refrigerator, you can make a personal choice about what preservative system (or antioxidant system, like Vitamin E) to use for you and your family. In my experience, oil/water mixtures last for a minimum of 2 weeks in the fridge without preservation. Much longer and it’s up in the air.

    I wrote a blog post on preservatives, complete with photos of an expensive “natural” lotion gone bad, here:


    I hope this helps. Preservatives can be confusing. Kudos to you for learning all you can about them, despite their complexity.

  • I LOVE your lotion recipe and tutorial! You have done a beautiful job showing how amazingly easy it is to make lotion and creams in your own kitchen. The variations are endlless: Oils and butters can be sub’d (I love cocoa butter! And I make a foot lotion using small amounts of Neem and Karanja oil, both stink to HIGH HEAVEN, so forewarned, ok?), Floral Hydrosols and Botanical Extracts (water based ones) can be sub’d for water. Small amounts of fancy additives can be added: IPM (alcohol ester from oil, and more natural than cyclomethicone) add silky slip, Hydrolized Silk adds luxuriousness, and you can even get adventurous and sub your Ewax for BTMS!! BTMS is an emulsifier similar to Ewax, but it is also an ingredient with dual purpose… it lets you make HAIR CONDITIONERS just like you make LOTION!! The BTMS product is “cationic” or pos charged, and it neutralizes the “anionic” or negative charge on the hair.. causing the shaft of the hair to lay flat, get silky smooth, and detangle. I actually ONLY use BTMS for my creams, lotions, and hair conditoner nowdays.

    The last thing that is super important though is to know that Vitamin E and Grapefruit Seed Extract are NOT preservatives at all.. not even remotely. They are both antioxidant, which means that they prevent oxygen from causing oils to break down and have that nasty rancid odor. I can see how people might associate that foul odor of rancidity with a product gone ‘bad’, but these antioxidants will not prevent the invisible development of bacterial, fungal, or mold growth in your water based emulsions. Bacterial growth can start as soon as the lotion is finished, and placing in the refrigerator only slows it down slightly. Many of you have seen mold and fungi on bread or oranges in the fridge, so you know it just grows slower in that environment.

    I understand that many people are reluctant to use a synthetic preservative. Can I give an example though? Generally, the amount of preservative to protect your lotion for COODIES (grin) is going to be less than 1/4 of the weight of your scent (essential oil or fragrance oil) that you added to your lotion. By percentage, preservative is about 0.5% – 1% of the total formula. Most basic formulas can easily use the lower threshold that the preservative instructions recommend. Lotion formulas with proteins and other delicious ‘food’ for coodies will need the upper limit usually.

    I have some tutorial pages I will share with you. There are some on preservative so that you can read and at least be better informed in your decision, :)

    Why Use Preservatives?

    This link provides links to short a short ‘bio’ of the many easily available cosmetic preservatives used by small independent manufacturers, such as yourself:


    Tutorials for Hair Conditioner, Body Butter, Lotion, Cream, etc.. Includes PDF formulas that show how VERY VERY small the preservative amount is in your formula, and how it protects you and your customers if you ever sell or give your products as gifts:

    I love your tutorial on lotion making though… It is clear, simple and easy to follow. Please just be safe though, :)

    Last, if I can offer any assistance please feel free to call us or email. I or my staff will gladly assist you any way we know how.

    Kelly Bloom, CEO
    Southern Soapers

  • Thank you so much, Grace, for your diligence. You’re a saint!! :)

    I have some lotion that I made for Christmas gifts last year (2009) and I kept a jar for myself, too. It sits right next to my computer and I use a little here and there – but there’s still plenty of lotion left in it. It’s not begun molding or smelling ‘off’ or anything, so I keep using it. I guess depending on what ingredients you use, your lotion will last -or- it won’t.

    I always make small batches – that way very little gets wasted if it does go bad quickly. :)

  • Chritina,
    You may be using a jar of unpreserved lotion and think that it is not spoiled, but please do be careful. Many micro-organisms don’t leaves signs of growth at all, just like a ham sammy with spoiled mayo can taste fine and poison you…..a lotion or cream can be the source of infection to small cuts, eyes, lips, nose for such things as botulism, MRSA and other nasties.

    Unfortunately infected products do not wear a sign, if it was so obvious there would be no need for caution or preservatives right ;-)

  • OOOPS forgot to add that the contamination of your producs is not only due to the ingredients in the jar, those are actually just the buffet waiting for the invisible airborn microorganisms as well as those you will be introducing each time you touch it.

  • Grace,
    That is true of any unpreserved lotion, cream or other product that contains water no matter how they are made.

    As soon as there is water in a formula, it becomes a petri dish for growths of all sorts. Think of it as a wet sponge sitting in a dish collecting whatever come on it and keeping it wet and well fed.

    For gifting and such it is possible to make cool waterless products like lip balms and body butters.

    If you really like to make your own lotion without preservatives you can make tiny mini amounts. Simply use a little milk frothers make only what you will use today and tomorrow and do not give any away.

    One can never predict what people will do; a child might fish it out of the trash bin or bring it to school, it may be lost in a drawer or purse for a long time…and no one will know that this product may be unsanitary. It’S just not worth the risk, KWIM.

  • I’m glad you’re looking into this more, since this is an important issue. Personally, though, I would post a retraction or at least a notification to your readers that you’ve updated your original post. Not everyone reads comments, and even fewer people probably go back and reread things.

  • Here you can find a study regarding molds, bacteria and funghi growing in lotions. It’s a test about packaging and contamination, but they’ve included in the test unpreserved and well-preserved lotions and shampoos. The tests showed TNTC (too numerous to count) contamination in unpreserved shampoos/lotions. Another point I’d like to make is, these shampoos/lotions were made in labs and had NO contamination at all when they left the lab. Something which is almost impossible to achieve in a household environment, so the results from homemade lotions without preservatives will be even worse:


  • I think its great to be given a tutorial on how to do this! With so much green-washing going on, alot of what is listed as “natural” and “organic” in certain products hardly seems possible when you read the ingredients list. I understand needing to use preservatives and such if you are a company needing not to be sued by product users, but in my own personal opinion I’d rather take a possible risk with a potential bit of bacteria in a homemade lotion than with ingredients that I don’t know what effects they might have. But I suppose its up to each reader to decide what they are comfortable with. Thanks again for posting this and despite the very varied opinions, I’d love to see more posts on making your own beauty and cleaning products!!

  • I would suggest measuring all your ingredients by weight instead of volume to be more accurate. You don’t need 1/4 cup of emulsifying wax to emulsify this recipe. The general rule is to use 25% of the oil amount. So if you have 1/4 cup of oil, it might weigh about 56 grams or so. 1/4 cup of water or rosewater would weigh about 62.5 grams. So you want to use about 14 grams of emulsifying wax, which will be far less than 1/4 cup.

    You may want to consider your choice of oils. Something like grapeseed oil might have a shelf life of 3 months, something like olive oil might be fine for a year. You can retard rancidity with anti-oxidants, but this is kind of pointless if you aren’t using a preservative as the lotion will contaminated long before rancidity occurs.

    Preservation isn’t an option with products that include water – it’s a necessity. There have been countless studies by published in reputable journals that show that a tiny bit of preservative in a product is not a health hazard. (There are, however, less reliable sources on on-line that will say preservatives are bad for you.) There are also countless reliable studies and case studies showing how not using preservatives can affect the health of the users. If someone chooses not to use preservatives, that’s your choice. But choice and opinion are not scientific fact.

    Many very knowledgeable and reputable lotion makers have written comments on this blog post, and I ask you to listen to them. They write from a position of experience after years of hard work, research, and experimentation. They are not sharing their opinion on this topic; they are sharing facts. And they are sharing their knowledge because they feel so strongly about creating safe products. Don’t dismiss them because you’ve formed a different opinion.

    If you don’t want to use preservatives, don’t make water based products. Make yourself a really nice body butter using a butter, some oils, a fragrance or essential oil. Make yourself a really nice lotion bar with butters, oils, waxes, and essential oil. There are endless possibilities for anhydrous products, so play with those and reduce the risk to those who might use an unpreserved lotion you’ve made.

  • Telling people to make lotions without preservative is like showing them how to make preserves wihtout sealing the jars….just because you can, does not meat you should !

    • nora

      i have to disagree. there are generations of women who’ve taught me (and amy) how to make handmade lotions, creams, and balms over the years without preservatives and to discount something like that seems a little extreme (we made a batch of this at my quaker elementary school every year and never used preservatives). i think we’ve all learned here, through the comments of professional soap makers and other experts, that natural preservatives don’t work nearly as well as chemical ones, so these lotions are short lived and need to be refrigerated, all of which are made clear in the post itself. i don’t think the post, updated with everyone’s advice and feedback, is dangerous or a bad idea. will they last as long as shelf lotions? absolutely not. is it the same as telling people to leave them unopened? i don’t think so.


  • For those looking for a different emulsifying wax, a company called Koster Keunen carries organic emulsifying wax, which is comprised of Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera) Wax,
    Cera Alba (Bees) Wax, and Lecithin.

    For a botanical preservative, you can use Biopein made by Bio-Botanica, which is a combination of pure essential oils. Test results from 3-year old lotion containing have shown it to hold up with virtually no bacteria found.

    As others have stated, just because you can’t “see” the bacteria, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Using a preservative is absolutely necessary with any product containing water, but there are alternatives out there.

  • It looks lovely to me, Grace. :^)

    I’ve been making my own face cream for many years now, and while it doesn’t have the same keeping-properties of commercially produced lotions, it keeps my skin soft and hydrated quite nicely.

    I made small batches, and when I make one, I split it into 2 equal parts; one goes in the fridge in a sealed jar, and one goes into my cupboard in the washroom. I use a little plastic ‘shovel’ to scoop it out onto my hand, to prevent contamination every time I use it. This seems to help.

    It basically consists of: rosewater, honey, beeswax (not emulsified wax), olive/almond/coconut oils, and a little borax (presumably to emulsify). No preservatives, natural or chemical. I find by the time I get down to the ‘dregs’, it’s about ready to be tossed. And….it hasn’t been dangerous for me yet! So, I agree with your last comment. You have to be aware of homemade lotion’s limits, but it isn’t the scary bogeyman or anything. Our grandmothers have been making such things for donkey’s ages! And why not? They are so much nicer than store-bought!


  • Nora says that teaching folks to make this lotion is like teaching someone to make jam without teaching them how to seal the jars. This is true, in a way, but folks make freezer jam without having to seal jars. and you can make a small amount of preserves and eat them immediately so you don’t need to seal jars.

    I guess what I’m saying is that although preservatives are important if you want your lotion to last for months, but if you use it quick and store it properly you won’t have any problems.

    Many things are dangerous if you don’t treat them properly – you could die froom eating a tuna salad sammy left out in the sun- but I don’t hear anyone giving internet lectures to the folks posting tuna salad recipes – although maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough! As a fairly responsable adult I’m sure I can handle the responsability of home made lotion. Thanks for the recipe, Grace! It looks great.

  • Grace kindly removed my previous post.

    Laura, you are wrong unfortunaltely. it would be really cool if one could just pack it quickly and be safe. It’s not true however.

    As I posted previously, if you intend to use it for yourself only, make micro batches to be used only ion the next few days, and keep refrigerated.

    Otherwise be cautious as micro-organisms will not show on a lotion until they have proliferated a lot….meanwhile you will be spreading pathogens on your skin daily….and it’s just like smoking:

    Some do it all their lives without any incidents and some get lung cancer at 35….why risk it ?

    The recipe is very enticing the look is awesome cute, but buying preservatives that are affordable and available at the same places ewax is available is simply the right thing to do.

    Tuna sammies ae meant to be eaten right away, I can ganrantee you that if someone posted a recipe and indicated that the left over tuna salad can be left on the pantry for a month people WOULD comment.

    And the jam example was about not teaching someone how to reserve. …obviouly freezing IS preserving..

    I knwo this will be erased like my toher post, hopefully enough people will read it and understand that I all the people who posted cautions HAVE NOTHING to sell to you, we just are trying to say one simple thing:

    BE SAFE don’t assume that you CAN SEE the spoilage…you can’t !

    • nora

      no one erased your comment. if you sent a comment that didn’t go through, please resend it and i’ll put it up. i’ll check with my editors, but unless your post contained a personal attack or curse word it should be put through. you can always email me as well if you think your comment should be up when it’s not.

      i’ve been taking all of these comments seriously and we’re looking into modifying the recipe/post to reflect people’s desire to have preservatives in the lotion. i’ll update here when everything’s ready to go and changed.


  • Grace,
    You are a very creative person and to be honest your presentation is really very pretty !

    The jar is to die for !

    I would love to make those too, though I would tweak it may way with oils that are more stable, but graeseed oil is nice too.

    The reason why people don’t know a lot about preservation is that too many companies are using fear tactics to trick people into buying their product (without talc, without paraben, without ….)

    In fact many of these “natural” product have hidden ingredients and/or they actually do go bad.

    Since home made cosmetics are new again and understandably so it is better to post recipes with all the basic information. If then someone chooses to not use a preservative, then it will be their decision.

    In real life, I am a business owner and have been doing this for 10 years now. It is incredible what people will do without thinking (myself included). Like: leaving the jar in the car, touching the lotion with unwashed hands, forgetting how long ago I made it, sneezing near it, leaving the lid off for a few minutes while answering a call…

    In my facility I have had the air tested and we have mold spores that drift through the air intake and when doors are opened…yet is it spotless and everthing we use is made of SS here.

    A lotion is really a mayonaise, the egg being the ewax. Our skin is even more sensitive than our guts, because there are no gastric acids to kill off pathogens.

    That is why people can get MRSA from a simple little torn on a cuticle. MRSA is an extreme example, but after putting on lotion, we rub our eyes, fix a booboo on a child’s knee, chew a nail….totally without thinking.

    If there was a contamination we may never even know that it came from a lotion.

    BTW preservatives do not make lotions last longer, as we may think. The lifespan of the recipe depends on how long it takes for the ingredients to loose their freshness, aka oils to go rancid for example.

    Preservatives do not prevent micro-organsm for landing on the product either. What they do is that they prevent the bad guys from multiplying. Broad spectrum means that they prevent spores and bateria (gram positive and gram negative) from reproducing.

    Some natural and effective preservatives are salt, alcohol, vinegar etc, but at high enough concentrations to do the job they are also not skin friendly.

    Some readily available ones are Germall liquid plus and Paragon. These are available, inexpensive and foolproof.

    Even though I make lotions for sale, I still don’t make unpreserved ones for myself, other than what I am using on the spot and till tomorrow.

    I hope you update your recipe with a simple few drops of a broad spectrum preservative. I also hope that you do learn more and post more, your pictures are beautiful and your style is really adorable.

    If I find jars like your I will make a lotion for them and call it Grace ;-)

  • OK OK I think we have got it –Take precautions when using homemade products because they are not loaded with chemicals and will spoils easily… Nora your comment is still listed above and Grace you are a marvelous mediator. This very reason is why the FDA exists (and please no comments pro or con it is a statement of fact that they do exist) So lets all go out and have a great day in the, hopefully, spring sunshine… please..namaste!

    • nora

      take a deep breath. the post is going to be updated soon, and i’m consulting with some long-time natural lotion companies to come with up a preservative we can list that will be easy for home shoppers to buy and safe for them to use.


  • Oh, I think another post of mine did not make it. Maybe because I cited addresses where to buy preservatives.

    I won’t post them again, but I will tell you that there is an ingredient called GSE (grapefruit seed extract) it is ofetn sold as a natural preservative but alas it is a quaternium compound, that is not natural nor effecytive.

    I hope this saves you time and energy.

    • nora

      i checked and i don’t have any comments of yours in our spam filter, and we’ve confirmed with editors, no one deleted it. i did however send you an email regarding your previous comment, please email me back about that and i’m sure we can move forward when you can clear up my question. thanks.

      and please do cite addresses for preservatives, we’re going to update the post with a preservative added to the recipe and i’m open to any resources and tips.


    • nora

      please respond to my email regarding your waiting comment. i’d like to clear up the issue i have with that last post in regards to the thread.


  • Ah now my posts appear again, somehow I tried 3 times to answer you here and mention that but my posts would just not appear.

    Thanks for the email and good luck on your quest. Cheers

  • i will go through the many many comments to see if it’s addressed but–does there happen to be a typo in the amount of water? i tried with the recipe posted but wound up with a sort of crust of cream atop a very watery mess. is it, perhaps, 1/4 cup of water rather than 1 1/4 cups?

  • also, i read many but not all of the posts because it got a little repetitive and argumentative–is it just me or is the timeline slightly moot?

    i don’t know any woman who can hold onto a soothing, lovely-smelling, emollient lotion for all that long before it’s used up anyway… :) especially if it’s fun and inexpensive to replenish one’s stock whenever needed.

    also, i’m no expert but i believe that we americans are awfully phobic of bacteria and microorganisms which have co-evolved with us for a reason.

    be respectful, sure, be cautious, of course, use common sense, always. but there seems to be a bit of a glass bubble mentality presenting here? a little bit?

    (and übersensitivity; none of this is directed at any particular poster or comment, these are only my thoughts based on the overview. honestly, i haven’t even read the names alongside the comments.)

    my plan is to enjoy making it, to divide it into many smallish portions and to craft a label which is clear to use it up quickly and share with sensible friends.

  • well, i’ve tried two batches and neither have worked. followed exactly the direx on the link and then tried to adjust ratios, little more wax, little less water–to no avail. would love to hear if anyone else has had any success. (i do get a creamy crust that i’m using on elbows and heels to feel that i’ve at least achieved some small success. but nothing that i could share with friends and not nearly enough ‘product’ for the cost of ingredients.) oh well. thanks for the idea anyway–was fun experimenting with home science.

    • heather

      i’m sorry to hear about that, we’re updating the recipe soon with a preservative added and the ratios tweaked a bit, so i hopefully we can make it a bit easier to get the desired result. :)


  • @Heather, It might just be that it needs more stirring. I know the instructions said no stirring but sometimes, whisking or using a stick blender can help that =))

  • Hi there all, I have been trying to make lotions for years to no avail,

    CAN SOMEONE PLZ tell me does emulsifying wax = beeswax? what is in this elusive substance?

    either way can I use beeswax? I would prefer it as it is local, thanks!

  • I just got around to making this and can imagine I’ll be making it again and again and again!! SUPER easy & love love love the result. Thanks.

  • I made this, but am frustrated b/c I used the exact formulation and my result was totally runny liquid. What did I do wrong? Does anyone with experience have suggestions?

  • Choosing a body lotion for me is important because I love when my skin feels youthful and soft to the touch. I have used the Aloe & Jojoba Cream Therapy from Made from Earth for over a year. The fragrance is very light and fresh, very soft. It does not feel sticky or wet and gooey. It absorbs nicely and quickly and makes your skin feel soft very quickly. It does not have any alcohol (its chemical free) because it has never burned my skin, even when I used it after I got a really bad sunburn from laying our by our pool.

    I have yet to find a small bottle to carry around with me so I poured some into a little bottle a bought. I am that addicted. Hopefully they will either make a small handsized one soon.

  • Hi there. Thank you so much for posting all of your hard work. I greatly appreciate it.
    I have made a ‘cold cream’ of sorts using beeswax/borax, oil and water. I turned out ok, but I was trying to find a tutorial that would help me make a lotion. Thank you. I have made this 2 times so far and both times worked like a charm.

    I want to thank you for this. I have been purchasing a lotion/cream that is made for rosacea skin. Stuff cost $20.00 an ounce. I have been able to come very close in doing a copy cat and which makes my cost so ridiculously low. For about $10.00, I would be able to make enough for 6 months. That sure beats $41.00 for a 2 ounce jar that would last 1 month.

    Thank you for your time and effort. My skin thanks you too!!! :)

  • This is awesome. I love making things on my own so this will be something that I will love to try. Just like so many other people have said it will be great for the price cut. It will cost so much less for this product that can actually help with rosacea. Can’t wait to try.

  • I am excited to begin this project. I am new to the making of spa products and was wondering if anyone knows how long this lotion lasts before opening? Also, should I treat it like other canning projects and seal it by boiling or will it be ok just putting the lid on?

  • Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to try it. However, where did you find the jars?


  • Hi there, this might be just okay but you need to remind your readers that all utensils should be sprayed till soaking wet with rubbing alcohol 70 percent to sterilize all tools, working bowls and containers. In order for cream to really really work one needs to heat and hold both the oil and water phase at 170 degrees for twenty minutes in a double boiler to kill nasty bugs, then pour the oil into the water and use a blender for at least three minutes top speed to emulsify the oil and water. After the cool down preservative should be added at the weight of the entire mixture. It’s very easy to do and you can duplicate your results with consistency.

  • This is an AWESOME! recipe and can’t wait to try. My husband Greg and I (Ash) just started using essential oils and there is just so much information to take in. So much fun though!