Make Lotion from Scratch on Soap Queen TV

In this special throwback episode of Soap Queen TV filmed in 2010, I show you how to create lotion from scratch. After watching this video, you will have all the tools you need to make luxurious, moisturizing, and perfect lotion every time!

First, lotion ingredient uses and benefits are reviewed. Then I show you how to make lotion from start to finish. Labeling requirements are also covered if you plan on selling your product. A note on semantics: I use the term sterilize which is technically incorrect. I should be using the term disinfect when talking about cleaning my tools for lotion making.

As an extra bonus, the label template used in the video with the correct INCI names is available for download. Just download the PDF template, print it on label stock, cut out the labels and write in the fragrance you used and your contact information.

Want to make your very own lotion from scratch? Our Lotion Kit includes everything you need to make 48 oz. of handmade lotion!

Kit Includes:

8 oz. Sweet Almond Oil
8 oz. Avocado Oil
8 oz. Shea Butter
1 oz. Phenonip
1 lb. Stearic Acid
1 lb. Emulsifying Wax or Ceteryl Alcohol
12 – 4 oz. Clear Reverse Tapered Ovals w/White Caps
1 oz. Lavender 40/42 Essential Oil
1 oz. Cucumber Melon Fragrance Oil
Lotion Making Booklet

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  1. Kathy says

    I’ve made many batches of this lotion and have always been successful up until yesterday! I made four(4) different batches using the same recipe and method! ONE of the four batches separated on me! The only difference between that batch and the others was the FRAGRANCE OIL USED! Is it possible that the fragrance oil is the culprit? Is there anything I can do to fix this, as I really do like the fragrance! Thanks!

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Kathy!

      Because that one batch was the only one acting up, I’m thinking it may be the fragrance oil. Certain fragrance oils can do some weird things in lotion, and I’m thinking that may be one of them.

      I would recommend making another small test batch with that fragrance and seeing if the same thing happens. If so, it may just not like lotion and a different fragrance may be a better option.

      As for the batch now, I would recommend stick blending for another couple minutes. It may just be that the fragrance needs a bit more blending than the others. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  2. Cadence Chung says

    I’ve finally succeeded in making lotion from scratch! Yay!
    The first time I tried it failed, and ended up separating and had pools of oils everywhere. It also smelled terrible, not quite sure how that happened. I tried again today, and succeeded! I used cocoa butter and cinnamon bark essential oil to scent it, and it is really great! It worked! I’m super pleased right now :) This site has been super helpful to learn about making lotion! Thanks so much!

  3. Mike says

    Hello There,

    I’m afraid I’ve tried this three times and failed!

    It emulsifies perfectly and then when the Phenonip is added it splits slightly but comes back together. The instant the fragrance is added it splits and will NOT come back.

    I’m using a Parma Violet fragrance. Is that the problem. Too much of it or just that only essential oils can be used?

    One of my earlier disasters came with using a coloured dye in the water. That seemed to have killed it too.

    Most diappointed in myself as it looks great to that point.

    Please advise if you can.

    Best WIshes, Mike in London

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Mike!

      I’m so sorry to hear that! It sounds like the fragrance may be the culprit. I would recommend making a small test batch without the fragrance to see if it still wants to separate on you. :)

      After you add the fragrance and preservative, you can stick blend for a couple more minutes! That will ensure everything mixes in well and that lotion is emulsified.

      I know it can be a bit disappointing, but don’t give up just yet! Making that lotion without fragrance will help you narrow down what’s happening, and get you one step closer to making luxurious handmade lotion. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  4. TJ says

    Hi Kelsey.
    I have been making the kissably soft lotion recipe with great results ( it won’t let me comment on that page sorry )
    I have two questions about lotions.
    1- can I make larger batches by simply doubling the recipe?
    2- is there any product I can use that would have a shimmering effect on the skin?

  5. Sheena says

    I would like to make this but I would like to replace the water with aloe very juice and want it to be the same consistency of the aloe lotion base. I noticed that with all of the recipes with aloe very juice that optiphen was the preservative and not phenonip. Is their a specific reason why?

  6. JackieL says

    I purchased the lotion kit from the brambleberry website that includes the “How to Make Lotion” PDF booklet. In the instructions for creating personalized lotion recipes it suggests adding things like glycerin, aloe vera gel, liquid silk, and Vitamin E. Are the percentages added in addition to the oil and butters or subtracted from them? For example, if I wanted to add one of these would by total be 100% regular recipe ingredients + 2% preservative and FO + 2% say aloe vera gel = 104%?

    Thanks for the help!!!

  7. Faith says

    What is the temperature of the water and the oils when you were just about to mix them? Should they be at the same temperature when attempting the emulsification?

    What do you think about the “heat and hold” method when making hydrous products for 20 minutes? Some say that it helps in emulsification and helps avoid separation of the waters and oils. Have you tried this? Just wondered. thanks

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Faith!

      Your oils and water should be between 150 – 160°F. You want them hotter so the water won’t start to solidify the waxes in your mixture. :)

      Heating and holding your ingredients is an optional step you can do if you’d like. Some people do that method to kill any bacteria or microbes. We’ve found disinfecting the equipment beforehand works well for us, but you can do that step to be extra careful!

      What you do is you heat your water and your oils (separately) to 160F and hold them at that temperature for 20 minutes (do not include your preservative or fragrance in this process). You will need a double boiler or a water jacket tureen. Then, make your lotion. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  8. Michelle says

    I made this yesterday, my first lotion attempt. The first time it was great! I felt it was a little too thick and a little greasy do my second attempt I added one more ounce of water and then added 2 tsp. of tapioca powder to the hot water before adding it to the oil and wax. First, the powder didn’t play well with the water, there were some lumps and a bit sticking on the sides. I added it anyway to see what would happen. Well, the lotion never thickened and it got sort of foamy on top no matter how much I stick blended. Finally I just called it an epic fail and chucked it. So how/when do you add tapioca to a lotion and how much?

  9. ~Eugenie says

    I’m really looking forward to making this – my plan is to develop an insect repellent which can spray on so I will need to add more water, at what stage should I add more water? Also would I be able to replace the sweet almond oil with wheatgerm oil do you think? Or perhaps go halvers with the sweet almond oil to prevent the smell of the wheatgerm being too strong? And is Vitamin E an OK preservative to use?
    Thank you! :)

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Eugenie!

      To make the lotion thin enough to spray, I would recommend adding more water. To get the perfect consistency, you may have to do a bit of experimenting to get the perfect texture. Also, we didn’t use wheatgerm oil in this recipe, so I’m not entirely sure! I believe that would be OK! That would be another benefit to making test batches – you can try different amounts of oil and see if the smell is too strong. :)

      Also, vitamin E oil a wonderful anti-oxidant, but it isn’t considered a preservative because it has no antimicrobial properties to it. That means it won’t prevent mold and bacteria growth. We recommend using Phenonip or another preservative like Optiphen in this recipe. You can read more in the Talk It Out Tuesday: Preservatives post:

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  10. Steve says

    I love this lotion recipe… I do have a question about it though I fallowed the recipe the way you have it and put it in bottles but after is sat it got very thick and hard to get out of my bottles almost like a thick body cream or body butter rather then a lotion… Is there a way to use this recipe but thin it out just a bit? I didn’t know if I could add something or reduce something to get it to a more fluid consistency with out changing the quality… One thing I love and my customers love it it doesn’t leave a greasy feel like other name brand lotions.

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Brandi!

      Yay, so glad you enjoy the recipe! Collodial oatmeal is considered an additive, so you wouldn’t have the change the recipe. It adds some moisturization and soothing properties to your lotion. :)

      You can add about 1 tsp. of oatmeal per pound of lotion. I would recommend adding that oatmeal to your oils, or right before stick blending. That way it mixes in well and doesn’t clump!

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      Collodial oatmeal:

  11. says

    I am so excited finding this clear and well explained video, it has inspired me more (was getting skeptical) for my new social venture of making natural skincare and hair range especially soaps, body creams and lotions with primary focus on helping manage different skin conditions working neem and other healing natural African oil.
    I hope to get it all here and hope to get all the guide

  12. Lisa says

    I purchased you lotion kit and I have a recipe for lotion with out preservatives. How much preservatives would I add to the following recipe. I love the recipe but I can’t risk mold growing.
    • ¼ cup shea buter, ¼ cup mango butter
    • ¼ cup almond oil, ½ cup coconut oil
    • 2 oz beeswax
    • 1 tbsp jojoba oil, 1 tbsp castor oil
    • 1 tbsp lecithin, Vitamin E
    Water Group:
    • ½ cup rose hydrosol
    • ½ cup Aloe Whole leaf Gel
    • 1 tbsp Witch hazel
    • 10 drops neroli
    • 10 drops sandalwood

  13. Faith says


    I would like to substitute the oils and have instead Shea Butter, Safflower Oil, Meadowfoam Oil.

    Would this affect the amount of phenonip and emulsifying fax? Do you sell meadowfoam oil and safflower oil.



  14. rebekah says

    I made this according to the recipe and love it! But after about a week I noticed it seemed a little grainy like maybe the shea butter was solidifying? My house stays cool….around 65 degrees. As soon as I rub it in the teeny lumps melt. Has anyone else had this problem? How can I avoid it?

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Rebekah!

      Shea butter is a little persnickety and can get grainy if it is heated up too much. To prevent this, melt your waxes and oils in the microwave. Then, remove the hot oils from the microwave, add the shea butter and stir well. That method heats it gently and helps prevent graininess. :)

      With your lotion now, it may help to heat it very gently in the microwave on 30-second bursts for just about a minute or two. Then, stick blend the mixture. That may help remove the graininess. If not, the lotion is still totally fine to use!

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

        • Kelsey says

          Hi Rebekah!

          You’re welcome! Tempering your shea butter can also prevent graininess. To temper your butter, melt it fully and then pour into a container. Put it into the fridge or freezer to cool very quickly. When it’s fully cooled, take it out and store in a cool dark place. This should eliminate the grains you’re finding in your products. :)

          -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Adonech!

      You can replace some of the water if you like! You can keep the same preservative amount for this recipe. Keep in mind, adding the goat milk will shorten the shelf life of the lotion, even with a preservative. If you’re using 100% goat milk in your recipe the lotion will last about 6 weeks, maybe a little longer in the fridge. However, if you’re only using 10% goat milk in your lotion recipe it will probably last about 6-9 months.

      Hope that helps! :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      • TJ says

        What if I did half water Half milk? Would I keep the same amount of preservative and would this work for any lotion recipe? My mom purchases goat milk lotion and they said it would last one year. I’m trying to figure out how they can get it to last so long with the milk any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  15. Lizzy says

    Hey Kelsey,

    I have been using Peach Fragrance Oil from a local supplier. Do you think the Fragrance may be the culprit? I re-used that fragrance oil in the batch with 17oz of water and that lotion is holding really well. I am thinking the water content needs to cut back…but let me know your thoughts.

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Lizzy!

      Some fragrance oils can be tricky in lotion. I would recommend contacting the manufacturer to find out more.

      Also, if using less water worked better for you I would definitely recommend trying that again! That may help the lotion stay together. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  16. Lizzy says

    Hi Anne-Marie/Brambleberry, I have bought the lotion kit and made this lotion exactly as the recipe stated, with the exact type and quantity of ingredients. The lotion is super nice! However I’ve noticed after some times, lets say a couple of months, one of my earlier batches started to separate, in that i started to see a watery-looking layer starting to form at the bottom of my lotion bottles, and the lotion sort-of “floating” on it. This week I tried the recipe again, and did the exact same ingredients and quantities and the lotion was very runny, not thickening. I left it for a while to find the same separation happening, this time not in months, but in hours. I am selling this lotion and cant afford this to happen to my customers! I noticed too that I had a lot of air bubbles in the mixture this week…..I put the exact 1.2oz of emulsifier from BB in the lotion, and I am not sure why its separating, if not right away, then why is it separating months later? Am i doing something wrong? Please Help!

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Lizzy!

      It sounds like your lotion may need a bit more stick blending. It can take a good amount to get it to fully emulsify. I would recommend pouring your lotion into a bowl and stick blending for another 5 minutes or so.

      A trick I like to use is to walk away from the bowl for 5 minutes. If the lotion starts to separate in that time, stick blend it some more until it stays together. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      • Lizzy says

        Hi Kesley, Thanks for replying! That batch of lotion that separated, I’ve put it aside covered under plastic wrap on my table. I haven’t touched it since about 2 days ago. It has separated a great deal over those 2 days. Would it be possible to go back and stick blend this batch of lotion, even though it was made 2 days ago? If the lotion starts to emulsify now…would it separate again later on? Can the water content be the culprit? I put the 18oz as the recipe recommended….has anyone else ever encountered this?

        • Kelsey says

          Hi Lizzy!

          You can definitely stick blend the lotion now. It may also help to heat that lotion up slightly to help it mix a little better. Just make sure the lotion doesn’t get hotter than 140F so the preservative is still effective. The combination of gentle heat and stick blending should help it stick together. :)

          -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

          • Lizzy says

            Hi Kelsey, I’ve stick-blended the lotion after letting it sit for 2-3 days. It did start tot thicken a bit during the blending process. I let it sit for a while overnight and to my dismay the lotion started to separate again this morning. it seems the solution did not work. Can the water content be the culprit? I made another batch an insteaad of putting 18oz of water, I put 17oz and the lotion thickened like “jello”, to a really good consistency. Please let me know if there is anyhting else I can do to that batch of deflated lotion.

          • Kelsey says

            Hi Lizzy!

            Hmm, that’s strange! We haven’t experienced any separation with this lotion. What fragrance oil are you using? Sometimes fragrance oils are harder to incorporate than others.

            -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  17. Tracy says

    I have been making goat milk lotion for a few months and I use germaben ll
    as my preservative. So far, everything has gone well with my recipe. My question is, what is the shelf life of gm lotion with a preservative added?

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Tracy!

      Typically, soap with a preservative added should last about a year or so. However, because it has goat milk in it, that shelf life will be shorter. We typically don’t add goat milk to lotion, so I’m not exactly sure what the shelf life will be! I imagine it will last a couple of months, longer if it’s stored in the refrigerator before using or giving away. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  18. klairi says

    Hi, Im starting a business at school with some friends and one friend really wants to do lotions (which I agree with)so do you have any advice for us? I know carrier oils are good for the skin (not olive oil though) but I really need advice. We’re really excited to order from BrambleBerry once we have enough money to pay for the stuff. I’m new in soap making (really new, haven’t made anything yet) but I love your videos and I have watched a LOT of them. Any advice for me on that? Im saving water bottles for soap molds until we can afford some.

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Donetra!

      Emulsifying wax ensures that the oils and water mix together to form lotion. Beeswax does not do that, meaning your lotion will separate.

      I would recommend trying that recipe again with emulsifying wax. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  19. april says

    I have BUBBLES from the stick blender. I followed the recipe to make 4 6-oz bottles…and I probably have 2x that amount. It is probably all air and will be gone tomorrow….but what if it isn’t? Do I need to switch to a handheld mixer? IF the air leaves tomorrow, and my bottles will then be 1/2 full, can I heat it up to fill up the rest of the bottle?

    • Kelsey says

      Hi April!

      It sounds like there is some extra air in that recipe. You may try pouring your lotion back into a container and gently folding it. That may help get rid of some of those air bubbles.

      To prevent extra air in the future, make sure your stick blender is fully immersed in your lotion. Also, tap that stick blender on the bottom of your bowl to get rid of the air trapped underneath. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  20. Paula says

    I have read in a lotion making book, that the water and oils should be heated and held for 20 minutes. Do you find this to be true? I have not been brave enough yet to make lotion for fear that something will grow in it. And the book I read turned me off from making lotions because of all the many steps involved. This seems way easier than the book I read. Also do we have to challenge test before selling any type of water based lotions?

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Paula!

      The heat and hold technique is an extra, optional step to really ensure that there are no icky things in your ingredients. You can do it with this recipe if you’d like, or you can just disinfect with the bleach water.

      What you do is you heat your water and your oils (separately) to 160F and hold them at that temperature for 20 minutes (do not include your preservative or fragrance in this process). You will need a double boiler or a water jacket tureen. Then, make your lotion like normal.

      Also, we have done the testing to make sure that our lotion is protected from bacteria if you follow the recipe in the video. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry


  21. Cindi Sweet says

    Hi All,

    I used this recipe but used optiphen plus as the preservative. I waited until it was 120 degrees to add it. The lotion was well blended and thick until I added the preservative. Now it’s a watery consistency and has not thickened again. I saw in a different post that optiphen plus needs to have all the oils etc under 100 degrees to work. My question is this: can I still use the concoction like this or do I need to throw it out?

    Thanks so much, Cindi

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Cindi!

      You can definitely still use it. It sounds like it just needs to be stick blended a little longer. It can take up to 15 minutes of stick blending to get your mixture thick and creamy. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  22. says

    Thanks Ann-Marie…I haven’t made this recipe but I did the kissably soft one and love it. Although I find I have to mix it for 10-15 min to make sure it stays together. When I’ve only just mixed it, I find its runny. Is it maybe that I’m heating the oils too high?

    Thanks, Karen

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Karen!

      Lotion can definitely take awhile to emulsify, even if your oils are cooler. It sounds like you’re doing it just right, it’s just a little bit of a wait. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

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