Tag: the lotion trials

The Lotion Trials: Day Whatever


I’m officially done making Batch #3.2 (Batch #3 with changes). And it felt drying to my hands but was better than Batch #5 which I HATED WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING AND GRAPE SEED OIL CAN GO TO HELL.

Which is why it’s too bad that I have an enormous bottle of it. I sent Philip off to get some and the only grape seed oil he found was a giant plastic bottle of imported Italian grape seed oil. I only needed 2 tbsp. I don’t trust this bottle of oil. I didn’t like the cut of its jib the minute I saw its giblets shaking – oh hell – I don’t trust it so much that I’m mixing up my metaphors.  My plan is to mix it with olive oil for salad dressing.

Anyway. I’m far from concocting the perfect natural recipe for lotion but I’m learning a lot in the process and having fun.


Notes on lotion making so far:

Preservatives are necessary. When you start making your own body products and natural medicines you begin to understand that “preservative” isn’t necessarily a dirty word.

Batch #2 developed mold less than 2 weeks after it was made. I’m leaving all my lotions at room temperature to see how long they last. See note above about importance of preservatives.

If you make a lotion using aloe vera gel but don’t add a humectant (such as glycerine) it will make your skin feel dry because it has a mildly astringent quality.

I dislike the smell of rose hip seed oil. So does my mom. But the lotion that worked the best for me (until it molded) had some in it.

Most (all I’ve read so far) lotion making instructions have you add the oil to the water in a thin stream. I had a better result adding the water to the oil.

I truly deeply forcefully hate the way shea/cocoa/coconut oils feel on my skin in their solid state. I also hate the way they smell. I love the smell of coconut milk but coconut oil is -NO.

Grape seed oil can fuck right off.

There’s a lot of science behind even the most natural of lotions and it’s very interesting and makes me want to get into the percentages but that would require a lot of brushing up on math skills and I feel pressure to get on with other product testing and refining as well as setting up the rest of my business. Since I’m not planning to be a lotion company it doesn’t warrant retaking a math class. So I’m trying to work within recipe proportions already developed by others and then changing the oils out and playing with different herbal infusions, etc.

The way Batch #2 turned lumpy was weird. Little tiny lumps but it hasn’t (so far) actually separated.

The foot cream (Batch #4) smells really good and the texture shockingly doesn’t repel me. It’s a variation on a recipe my friend Angela (Cottage Magpie) wanted me to make. I don’t know yet if she likes it or not, but it turned out very stiff but melts when you rub it into your feet. Very greasy finish, however. So for me it’s not great. Philip loves it. He’s taken the rest of the batch upstairs to his and Max’s lair.

I’m beginning to wonder if I possibly just don’t like any of the “butters” and might try making a lotion without any of those.

I don’t love the smell of benzoin. It’s kind of sweet, that’s what I don’t like. I love the smell of frankincense in lotion.

I guess I better get my butt back into the kitchen to clean up for the next batch. Wish me luck. Buckets and buckets of it!


The Lotion Trials: Day 1


Yesterday marked the beginning of the great lotion trials as I test recipes to develop a great all purpose lotion. I’m super picky about what lotion I will put on my skin. It isn’t about purity (though part of the reason I’m working to make my own is because I don’t want petroleum on my skin) it’s about texture. I have really dry sensitive skin. I like a thick rich lotion that isn’t greasy and absorbs quickly and doesn’t smell too strongly or weirdly. Right now I’m using Trader Joe’s Creamy lotion and it’s great. Except for the ingredient list. It’s cheap and that’s not something a handmade lotion will ever be.


Making new things, embarking on new adventures always puts me in a deeply procrastinative state. Making creams is an art. Not a complicated one, necessarily, but it requires emulsifying two ingredients that want nothing to do with each other: oil and water. So instead of making my first batch I took weird selfies as the Mad Apothecary.

This is how I have discovered that my front teeth are chipped. I don’t mind how it looks right now, but WHAT IF THEY KEEP CHIPPING UNTIL THEY’RE NOTHING BUT NUBS AND I HAVE TO GET DENTURES AND THEY NEVER LOOK REAL, DO THEY?


So this was my first batch. I’m calling it “Batch 1”. Very thick, somewhat tacky feel to it and a little bit greasy.


I took this selfie for my friend Debz who thought the other one was creepy. See? You can trust me to make you feel better. Come heeeeeere to fat mama with the drama! Haha. Can’t help myself, I’m still creepy.


Batch 2 was much thinner, less tacky or greasy, smelled good, but didn’t absorb fast enough for my comfort. Philip liked it. Max said it was “okay” but mostly he just means it was better than the first batch. He liked the smell. My mom liked batch 2 quite a bit. I liked it on my face (it’s technically a face cream anyway) – it made my face feel nicely hydrated.

Today I hope to make at least 2 more batches. There’s also a foster kitten coming too so probably won’t make more than that. I’ve got 5 more batches in the queue to make before I start refining. But even then I may need to make a lot more. This is product development stage and it’s a lot of fun.

Notes on the first day of the lotion trials:

I dislike the smell of plain natural oils. Companies work hard to manufacture scentless lotions. I think they probably have a chemical scent called “scentless”. Basically they use ingredients that are refined to the point where they lose their natural odor. So my lotions will have to have scent, all of them. The good news is that I don’t have to use much essential oil to cover the odor of the main oils and it doesn’t make my skin smell.

I hate – HATE – oils that are solid at room temperature and melt on contact with warm skin. That is a sensation that makes me so grossed out I can’t handle it. Like, literally, I may need to start wearing gloves when handling them. Cocoa butter and coconut oil both do this. It is disgusting. Just like cold butter that melts when you touch it. *SUPERDRAMATICRETCHINGNOISESFOREVERANDEVER*

Okay, I don’t hate the oils that are solid at room temp, I just hate touching them. I know more than one person (THERE’S MORE THAN ONE OF THEM) who loves putting these oils directly on their skin. *skeeeeeeeeeeeeevy*

My sister is super picky about lotion too and she apparently likes the same kind of feel in a lotion because she’s the one who suggested I try Trader Joe’s lotion when St. Ives suddenly started drenching all their formulas with perfume. So I was thinking about her pretty much the whole time I was making batch 1 and batch 2. I kept thinking “I’m going to come up with a great lotion for us, sister!” Though, to be honest, I’m concerned that the ingredients I’m willing to use (meaning: no overly processed, synthetic, or petroleum ones) will make this goal difficult to reach.

The shelf life on these lotions will necessarily be shorter than store bought. But I think that I may be able to offer some customization options and when people buy my lotions they will be getting super fresh batches. I’ll only be making them to order – at least at first. The only way anyone will be able to get a fresher lotion is if they make it themselves.

The label you see above is the round label, ready to print! It’s been decided that we will get labels printed with the logo (such as you see above) and then I’ll hand write product info on each because we can’t afford to have small runs of labels made for every individual product. I’m really pleased with the design now.

And no, there is no missing apostrophe in the label. Philip accidentally added one in the last round but it’s “Winters” because that’s the last name of my main character in Winter; cricket and Grey. I have named my real apothecary business after my fictional apothecary’s business.