Fun With Cetyl Alcohol Emulsifier

Yesterday I got a wild hair and decided to try Cetyl Alcohol by itself as an emulsifier for this Hemp Seed Oil lotion. As I feared, Cetyl Alcohol alone was not strong enough.

No matter how much I blended, it just kept separating. This was not unexpected. I didn’t change the usage rate (3%) from yesterday’s lotion formula. I wanted to experience just how Cetyl Alcohol acted.

I turned to our Technical Support Team for some suggestions as to how I could proceed and find success this time. I’m wanting a very fluid lotion that would pour out of a bottle easily. They suggested increasing my Cetyl Alcohol usage rate to 5% and adding 3% Stearic Acid. They assured me this would result in a lotion that would be very light.

Increasing ingredients by 5% means that I need to remove 5% somewhere else in the formula. I chose to decrease the Hemp Seed Oil from 20% to 15%. I contemplated going down to 10% Hemp Seed Oil and adding 5% to the water to ensure the fluidity I want in the final product, but I decided to leave the oil at the higher usage rate and leave the water the same as in the previous formula. I wonder if the resulting lotion will be as fluid as I hope it will.

Off I go to the workshop to see what I can create for attempt number two at using Cetyl Alcohol as an emulsifier.

I’m crushing on one of our newer fragrance oils – Country Spring – so I decided to give it a try in this go-round.

Hemp Seed Oil Lotion with Cetyl Alcohol

100-gram Test Batch
70.2 grams Distilled Water
15 grams Hemp Seed Oil
5 grams Hydrovance
5 grams Cetyl Alcohol
3 grams Stearic Acid
1 gram Vitamin E Natural
0.5 gram Liquid Germall Plus
0.3 gram fragrance (Country Spring Fragrance Oil)
70.2% Distilled Water
15% Hemp Seed Oil
5% Hydrovance
5% Cetyl Alcohol
3% Stearic Acid
1% Vitamin E Natural
0.5% Liquid Germall Plus
0.3% fragrance


Weigh all ingredients but the Vitamin E, preservative, and fragrance. Heat gently in the microwave, making sure that the Stearic Acid is fully melted. (Use a thermometer to be certain your mixture gets hotter than 156ºF [69ºC], the melt point of Stearic Acid.)

Stick blend the heated ingredients thoroughly, then set mixture aside to cool below 120ºF (49ºC). Then add the Vitamin E Natural, Liquid Germall Plus, and Country Spring Fragrance Oil.

Once the lotion is done, pour it into jars or bottles and allow to cool completely before putting on lids.

Weighing ingredients for the second try.

Finished lotion in jars.


I was afraid this emulsion would also fail as I began mixing the heated mixture. The oil kept separating no matter how long I stick blended. In the end, the emulsion held. Whew! I did have to blend it several more times as it cooled.

This second attempt yielded a creamier lotion thanks to the Stearic Acid. It has more body, yet it still goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly, leaving no greasy residue on my hands. It soaped a little as I was rubbing it in, but that lasted only a second or two.

The resulting lotion was not as fluid as I had wanted, so I’m thinking I should have dropped the Hemp Seed Oil to 10% and added the 5% to the water. I’ll give that a try next week and see what result I achieve.

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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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