One day, on a flight, before I was DIYing up everything in sight, my seat-mate used the most delicious smelling lotion I’d ever encountered. Soft and delicate, lavender, but not quite. It was fantastic. I asked the woman about it, and she just gave me the tube. She’d bought it at the L’Occitane shop at the departing airport, and wasn’t that attached to it, I guess. I’m not usually one to accept gifts of lotion from total strangers, but I made an exception for this one.

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I horded that lotion for ages, mostly just smelling it rather than using it. Then, as I started to make lotions, I set out to recreate the scent… but I could never quite get it. The primary scent in the lotion was lavender essential oil, but it was complimented by a melee of fragrance, linalool, limonene, citral, and geraniol—all aroma chemicals with their own complex scent profiles. So, frustrated, I put the project aside.

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Then, in a stroke of luck, I sampled a new combination of essential oils and was immediately transported back to that airplane seat. I’d got it (or close enough without all the aroma chemicals). It was lavender, softened with benzoin, and brightened up with a hint of the citrussy litsea cubeba. Fantastic!

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Use a nice French lavender for this lotion if you have it, and enjoy the soothing scent of French lavender fields on a dry, warm day.

L’Occitane Lavender Hand Lotion

10g | 0.35oz emulsimulse/ritamulse (or other complete emulsifying wax—not beeswax!)
15g | 0.52oz safflower oil

73g | 2.6oz just-boiled water
2g | 0.07oz vegetable glycerin
1 tsp raw honey or ½ tsp honey powder

5 drops French lavender essential oil
2 drops benzoin essential oil
1–2 drops litsea cubeba essential oil

Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)

Weigh the emulsifying wax and safflower oil out into a small saucepan and melt over low heat. While they melt, measure the water, vegetable glycerin, and honey into a small glass measuring cup and gently warm them in the microwave, stirring to combine.

Once the oils are melted, add the water part and heat everything through for at least three minutes to ensure everything is melted. Remove the lotion from the heat and whisk as the mixture cools, until is is thick and creamy (the thickening will take a few days if you are using a different emulsifying wax than emulsimulse/ritamulse, so don’t panic if it doesn’t thicken up straight away!). Once cool, whisk in the essential oils and preservative.

Decant into a 120mL/4oz pump-top bottle and enjoy your soft, smooth hands!

New to lotion making? Watch my basic lotion how to video!

Watch Now

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