Thursday, July 19, 2007

Making Your Own Lotions

I really wanted to learn on how to make my own lotions. The time I spent trying to learn on how to make this type of product this is what I learned. There are many recipes and ways to learn how to make your own lotions. Here are my trials and tribulations. First there are the kits that you can purchase Michael's or Joann's. These kits include a lotion base, fragrance, coloring, bottles and labels. The good thing about these kits is that everything is included to make 4 bottles of lotions. The bad thing is that you do not have any control over the ingredients and you might have a difficult time finding more ingredients to make more lotions so you will have to purchase another kit. And these kits cost around $20.00.

Second, finding books on this subject are very rare. I found a book titled "Natural Bodycare" by Julia Meadows. It does not have too many recipes although it has a basic recipe. The author claims to be simple to make through an one jar process. It did seem simple enough, but what not as simple was some of the ingredients. For example, the recipe calls for 2 tbsp sorbitan monstaerate, 2 tsp isosteroyl lactylate and 1/2 tsp modified lecithin. I am thinking what are these ingredients and where do I purchase them. So, I through the book and I found out what the ingredients were. Sorbitan monstaerate is derived from the berries of the mountain ash tree, sorbitan monstaerate powder is a food-grade emulsifier and humectant used in natural lotions and creams. Isosteroyl lactylate is a derivative of lactic acid (a natural component of human skin), isosteroyl lactylate is an excellent alpha hydroxy acid which is an excellent humectant that maintains the skin's pH level. Adding this ingredient will emulsify and stabilizers oil in water. And modified lecithin originates from soybean oil. Lecithin is a natural emulsifier and contains phospholipids, an integral part of all human and planet cells. Phospholipids from lecithin are remarkable emollients, moisturizer and cell-regenerating substances when added to skincare formulas. Even more difficult pronouncing these words was trying to find vendors to purchase these ingredients. The book was no help and I got lost finding them on the Internet, so I gave up on this recipe.

Next I found a recipe from a show called Creative Living. Creative Living is a show that airs on my local PBS channel. They had a guest who was demonstrating some bath products. I went to the internet and found site ( and located a down loadable book entitled "Creative Living - 5000 Series". The recipe I was looking for was under the health section on page 2. The recipe was simple enough but once again I stumbled on one main ingredient which was Velvachol. Oh no here I go again! I was trying to figure it out since it ended with "achol". I thought it might be an alcohol based ingredient. According to the author this ingredient is an emollient based which can be found at drug stores and it may be special ordered for approximately $20.00. I am not sure that was very reassuring because sometimes the employees of these establishments are not always knowledgeable. Since I was currently in the internet search mode, I found alot of sites that had recipes. But I was still at a major roadblock.

The best option for me was taking a class on the subject. I was lucky enough to know someone who taught such a class. And I knew of her reputation because I had previously taken some bath and products from her in the past through DeAnza College's Community Eduction. This class was offered at her studio (www.thenovastudio) in Pt. Richmond, Ca. Sure at first I was hesitant to drive but I really wanted to take the class. So I decided that I was going to venture out on BART to get her studio. Once I planned my route taking BART was not so bad as it sounded. What was great about her class is that Lori is very knowledgeable in her craft plus was really great is that she created this recipe all by herself. So she really knows that this recipe works. She combines distilled water, carrier oil, preservative, glycerin and antioxidants into a luxurious lotion. Plus she tells you were you can purchase the ingredients! What is great about this recipe is that once you learn this process you can use any carrier that you wish as long as you stick to Lori's amount. The one thing you should know that her recipe is more involved than mixing it in a boil. So prepared to use more equipment than a boil and a spoon. I don't want to scare anyone off, but I once I got over the fear of measuring precisely and heating the ingredients to the correct temperature then I felt it was worth the time and effort to making a better product. So, if you live in the bay area and are interested in learning about making lotions and creams then I recommend taking a class at the Nova Studio.


Hannah said...

Lecithin seems less than desireable -
But borax and emulsifying wax are equally bad... please email me if you come up with anything good.

Lori Stoia said...

I never used lecithin in my lotion recipes. And the only thing that I have used is e-wax and most recipes have called for it to make the water and oil emulisify. If I hear of anything, I will let you know.