Trial and Error

Lotion-making like life is trial and error. You can research as long as you can. Get a bunch of different advice. Yet, there are some things you only learn and get better at by doing.

I’ve been feeling encouraged by random people and a friend commenting on how soft my skin looked (or felt in the friend’s case) after consistently using the first batch of lotion I made. It felt good to know that it was because of my own little homemade concoction. I’d never really considered myself good at making things with my hands. This new hobby of mine is one more reminder of my little internal theme for this stage of my life: no limitations (cuz “I’m a No Limit Soldier known to keep it rowdy”–virtual dap if you know what song that’s from) and no labels.

Last weekend, I decided to make a Vanilla Shea Butter Lotion. This was the second time that I made lotion on my own and the third time I’ve made it in general (remember that class I took at Magalie Naturals?). I still had a teensy bit of those little butterflies of excitement that I had the first time I made lotion during Memorial Day weekend.

This time, I was very pleased with the consistency of the lotion. I used a little more sweet almond oil than shea butter this time. For some reason I thought the result would be a lighter lotion. However, the lotion was actually a little thicker and creamier. My skin absorbed it pretty quickly, but I did notice a little more dewiness (or shine) than from my last batch, which actually doesn’t bother me. It just means I can use even less of it at a time to have soft, glowing skin!

The only thing that I wasn’t super crazy about is the scent of this batch. I wanted to get all fancy and make some kind of green tea vanilla lemon goodness but wasn’t able to. Hopefully next time though!

Check out my ingredient list for my latest batch of Vanilla Shea Butter Lotion:

  • 70%    Distilled Water
  • 12%    Shea Butter
  • 10%    Sweet Almond Oil
  • 3%      Stearic Acid
  • 3%      Emulsifying Wax
  • 1.25% Vanilla Extract (McCormick brand)
  • 0.75% Optiphen Plus (non-paraben/non-formaldehyde preservative)

For more info on the equipment I used and measuring methods, check out my first post on lotion-making. I never got a more precise scale, btw, for those of you that remember my measuring dilemma from the first post. Oh well.

ingredients vanilla lotion

I gathered my ingredients together on the kitchen counter. You can see the regular-ole McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract that I used to add fragrance to the lotion. I’m wondering if I would have liked the vanilla scent a little better if I’d used a fancier brand/quality or even better figured out how to incorporate actual vanilla beans in some way. But hey, I’m lotion-making on a budget for now. I hope to use the A+++ ingredients one of these days though.

oil phase vanilla lotion

This is the oil phase. I melted the emulsifying wax and stearic acid in the microwave in 30 sec bursts, then added the sweet almond oil and shea butter. Since the mixture was warm, it didn’t take long to stir the shea butter until it melted completely.

two phases vanilla lotion

Here you can see the bowl with the oil phase and the other with the water phase. It may be hard to see the water in the second bowl. I tried to warm them in the microwave just a little to get each mixture to be about 70 degrees Celsius before I added the water to the oils in the large bowl. This is why I believe the consistency was so much smoother than the first time I made lotion at home. Remember in the post, Lotion-Making: My Very First Time, I said there were tiny waxy pieces throughout the lotion that needed to be rubbed in the skin a little bit longer than the rest.

mixing vanilla lotion

Mix. Mix. Mix.

vanilla lotion

And voila!

When was the last time you made something from scratch? It may be a little confidence-booster after you see how crafty you can be 😉 Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

2 thoughts on “Trial and Error

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