So Sensitive Lotion – Day 1: Necessities for a Lotion Newbie

Embarking on a new adventure is so much fun, but how do you know what to bring along? I really didn’t know what I’d need when embarking on a lotion-making adventure; I’ve never made this trip before! Fortunately, I have some experts in my corner, and they helped me put together a nice kit of goodies.

The first necessity is an accurate scale. The MMS catalog offers two excellent scales that will work for lotion making. I have the 6100g Compact Scale with a 0.1 gram readability and 6100 gram capacity. The first time I used it, I was astonished at how quickly it could weigh and how wonderful it was to have a scale that could accurately weigh tiny amounts. It’s a great tool to minimize waste of your precious ingredients! I am beginning with small test batches, but I will eventually want to make large batches when I get the formula perfect. The 6100g scale can handle both.

Basic ingredients for lotion making newbies.

So what ingredients make lotion? Water, oil, an emulsifier to bind the oil and water together, and a preservative. Those are the most essential parts. A humectant and a thickener may also be used for any basic lotion recipe.

WATER. This is going to make up most of your formulation, and it’s important that you use the right kind of water. Tap water can be okay, but what if you have chlorinated water or well water with high minerals? What if you collect rainwater, but it is acidic? There can be lots of unknowns in water that can cause problems with your formulation. We recommend using distilled or reverse osmosis water. If you don’t have a still or RO filter, you can buy a gallon of distilled water for around $1. It’s a good investment.

OILS. This is where you’ll get the moisturizing effects. Using an oil that is solid at room temperature, such as coconut oil or shea butter, will give your lotion a thicker consistency. Both of these oils will give you a great starting point for the beginning lotion maker. When you feel confident and ready to branch out, be sure to visit the Fixed Oil section of our website to see all the fantastic oils and butters you can use.

EMULSIFIER. This is a critical ingredient! We all know that oil and water don’t mix. But add an emulsifier, and they do! Emulsifying wax is the go-to product in our catalog, and it works like a charm to keep the oil and water together in your lotion.

PRESERVATIVE. This is such an important part of your lotions. You want to make sure you aren’t rubbing all sorts of nasties all over yourself! Liquid Germall Plus is a great all-around preservative with a low usage rate (01% to 0.5% of your total formulation), and it’s paraben-free! I love the low usage rate because shipping costs to Alaska are so high and I want to make the most of my shipment weight. Buying a smaller bottle that will have a low usage rate is important to me! We have other preservatives in our catalog, but it’s hard to go wrong with Liquid Germall Plus.

HUMECTANT. This ingredient will allow your lotion to pull moisture from the environment to your skin. That’s pretty cool! It’s not strictly necessary in a lotion, but it’s quite beneficial. Hydrovance is the humectant I chose to use. We do have other humectant options in our catalog – check them out and see which sounds best for you.

THICKENER. If you have a high water content in your lotion, it can help to add a thickener. Stearic acid is a long chain fatty acid that has great thickening ability. Ours is vegetable-derived. I find it fascinating that this granular substance can do so much thickening! You can make lotion without it, but it’s not nearly as nice to use. (Can you tell I like my lotion substantial? 🙂 )

Could you use a guide into the lotion-making world? Our customer support team can be reached by calling 435.755.0863 or fill out the contact form at Our experts will help you select the perfect ingredients to meet your individual needs. So much better than a one-size-fits-all kit! We want to do all we can to help our adventurous makers succeed!

As you read through the rest of this blog series, you’ll see that the recipe I am making targets dry and sensitive skin. I loved being able to talk to our resident experts to come up with additives that would combat the dryness while pampering sensitive skin. We have so many great options, and I’ll probably play around with them all at some point. Our awesome technical support team gave me a great starting point so I didn’t feel as lost. Tune in tomorrow to learn about the additions for sensitive skin.

Many of you who read this blog are experienced sojourners in the lotion-making adventures. Perhaps you’d share a bit of your knowledge. What is on your list of must-have ingredients for making lotion? Reply below!

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About Denise

I'm a crazy goat lady who got into making my own soap with goat milk, found MMS to order supplies, and now I get to combine my love of creating skin care products with a job to pay the feed bill. I live in Alaska and greatly enjoy the unique aspects of my northern home - summer days when it never gets dark and the Northern Lights dancing above in winter. Favorite scents include Wild Mint and Ivy, Rhubarb & Sugar Cane, and Eucalyptus Spearmint.

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