Last month I shared a Creamy Autumn Grounding Salve, starring an intoxicating blend of essential oils—patchouli, lavender, benzoin, and ylang-ylang. I’d intended for the salve to be a one-off, but after sniffing away at it for a few weeks I knew I needed to use that essential oil blend again! Hence, today’s project. This lotion is the perfect companion to last month’s salve, starring the same essential oil blend, but in a fast-absorbing lotion format that’s perfect for drier fall days.
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In keeping with the more natural/vegan bent of the salve, I’ve selected more natural ingredients for this lotion. Our water phase is mostly distilled water, amped up with vegetable glycerin and sodium lactate for some great, deep moisturizing. Panthenol (vitamin B5) further boosts the moisturizing goodness of this lotion while also adding its regenerative, anti-inflammatory properties.
The oil phase is mostly olive oil (another tie-in to the salve) and rich shea butter, further thickened and rich-ified with some additional stearic acid. I’ve used Ritamulse SCG/Emulsimulse as our emulsifying wax for its almost powdery skin feel. It also helps boost the moisturizing properties of projects and is ECO-CERT certified.
Ritamulse SCG is one of those emulsifying waxes that seems to be sold under dozens of different names, so make sure you’re checking the INCI so you know what you’re purchasing/what you have. The INCI for the right product is Glyceryl Stearate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Stearyl Lactylate.
In addition to our essential oil blend (you can learn more about that here), you’ll find soothing calendula extract and protective allantoin in the cool-down phase—two more ingredients that are brilliant for fall and winter skincare! Just a reminder—if you’re looking to learn more about these ingredients, be sure to check out the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. You’ll find information about usage rates, substitutions, benefits, ingredient purposes, and more there!
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Creamy Autumn Grounding Lotion
Cool down phase
0.2g | 0.2% dark patchouli essential oil
0.5g | 0.5% lavender essential oil
0.3g | 0.3% benzoin resinoid
0.05g | 0.05% ylang ylang essential oil
0.4g | 0.4% allantoin (USA / Canada)
2g | 2% calendula extract
0.5g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
Weigh the heated water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Weigh the entire lot (measuring cup + ingredients) and note that weight for use later. Weigh the heated oil phase into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat and weigh it. Add enough hot distilled water to bring the weight back up to what it was before heating, and then pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the lotion, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid lotion doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, blend for another minute or two, and repeat this blend-cool-blend cycle until the outside of the glass measuring cup is barely warm to the touch and the lotion is thick and creamy.
When the lotion is cool it’s time to incorporate our cool down ingredients. Because cool down ingredients are typically present at very low amounts you’ll need to use an accurate scale—preferably one accurate to 0.01g. As these more accurate scales tend to have fairly low (100–200g) maximum weights you won’t be able to put the entire batch of lotion on that scale without blowing it out. So—grab a smaller dish. Add a scoop or two of lotion, and then weigh the cool down ingredients into that, using the more accurate scale. Stir to thoroughly incorporate, and then stir all of that back into the master batch of lotion. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.
Once the cool down phase has been incorporated, all that’s left is to package it up! I put this lotion in a squeezy 120mL (4fl oz) bottle; once with a pump-top lid and once with a flip-disc cap. Both work, so choose whichever you have or prefer.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this lotion contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project may eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 100g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can use a different humectant, like propanediol, in place of the glycerin and/or sodium lactate.
- Please refer to the encyclopedia for panthenol, allantoin, and calendula alternatives.
- You can use a different complete emulsifying wax such as Polawax, Emulsifying Wax NF, or Olivem 1000 instead of Ritamulse SCG/Emulsimulse.
- A different soft butter will work instead of shea butter. A different mid-weight carrier oil will work in place of olive oil. Please read this article for more information.
- You can try cetearyl alcohol or cetyl alcohol as alternatives to stearic acid. Alternatively, you could also use more shea butter, but this will make for a thinner end product.
- You can use a different essential oil blend.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.
The ylang ylang essential oil was gifted by Plant’s Power.