Brr! This week has been frigid; as I type this, it’s -37°C with wind chill outside. It’s the first proper cold snap we’ve had this winter. Along with that cold, it’s also very dry. I currently have four (4!) humidifiers running in my home, and they barely make a dent in the dryness—I’m just less likely to wake up with my face prickling with dryness. So—formulation to the rescue! We’re showing some love to our skin with today’s Honey Bee Mine Body Lotion. This lovely lotion features rich shea butter, fragrant rose hydrosol, and some seriously moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and honey to help your winter skin be as happy as possible.
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The oil phase is 18% of the formulation. It is primarily rich, creamy shea butter and lightweight, silky camellia seed oil. I’ve included some cetyl alcohol to add some silky, lightweight body to the lotion, and used emulsifying wax NF to emulsify. You could use Polawax or Olivem 1000 instead. Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate would also work, but you’d need to make a few adjustments—more on that in this blog post.
You’ll also find some hydroxyethylcellulose in the oil phase; while it’s water-soluble, I’ve included it in the oil phase as it can’t clump in there. It’ll easily disperse throughout the oil phase, and then it’ll kick in, clump-free, when you blend the oil and water phases together. I chose hydroxyethylcellulose as I love its lightweight, carbomer-like thickening power, but you could use xanthan gum or Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN™) instead.
You’ll find some lovely ingredients in our water phase. I’ve included an ample dose of richly fragrant Plant’s Power rose hydrosol and a touch of local honey for its humectant-y goodness. At 3% I haven’t had any issues with stability or stickiness from the honey. For added moisturizing goodness you’ll also find panthenol (Vitamin B5) and vegetable glycerine. Dry winter skin doesn’t stand a chance!
For added moisturizing goodness I’ve also included some Lipomoist™ 2036. It’s a wobbly beige-ish gel made from a blend of humectants, hydrolyzed proteins, amino acids, and gums—learn more about it (including substitution info) in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia! According to Lipotec, the maker of this ingredient, Lipomoist™ 2036 “forms a moisturizing protective film on the skin, increases the cellular protein levels, [and] induces formation of collage IV”.
You’ll want to package this lotion in a tub—it’s too thick to do well in a pump-top bottle. I’m using this lovely lotion all over after showers and baths, and I love it. I hope you love it, too! Enjoy ❤️
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Honey Bee Mine Body Lotion
Heated water phase
22.897g | 22.897% distilled water
0.003g | 0.003% red water soluble dye
10g | 10% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
40g | 40% rose hydrosol
3g | 3% liquid locally harvested honey
1.5g | 1.5% panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Weigh the heated water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or glass beaker. 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 the water phase. Add enough hot distilled water to the heated water phase 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 to do is package it up!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream 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 200g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, 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 (panthenol, Lipomoist™ 2036) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can drop the dye; replace it with more water.
- You can use a coloured mica instead of the dye; you’ll want to use ~0.5% mica as it is less potent, decreasing the distilled water to make room for it.
- I don’t recommend substituting the glycerin.
- You could use a different hydrosol for a different scent, or a blend of hydrosols, or replace the hydrosol with more water for an unscented product.
- You could replace the honey with a different humectant like propanediol 1,3 or sodium lactate.
- You could use Polawax or Olivem 1000 instead of emulsifying wax NF.
- If you want to use Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate instead, please read this post for information on how to modify the formulation.
- You can use refined or unrefined shea butter.
- You can substitute another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed instead of camellia seed oil.
- You could try cetearyl alcohol instead of cetyl alcohol.
- You could try a different gum or gelling agent (xanthan gum, Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 [Sepimax ZEN™], etc.) instead of hydroxyethylcellulose.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
- If you’d like to use a fragrance oil, please read this.
The red dye and white tub were gifted by YellowBee. The shea butter was gifted by Baraka Shea Butter. Links to Baraka Shea Butter are affiliate links. The rose hydrosol was gifted by Plant’s Power. The hydroxyethylcellulose was gifted by Essential Wholesale.