Earlier this year I figured out that “emulsifying wax” is kind of a catch-all term, like “flour”, that generally refers to a waxy substance that, when used at concentrations between 5% and 10%, will allow you to make lovely, creamy lotions with little to no trouble when it comes to emulsifying the oil and water. However, it turns out, just like flour, there’s actually a bunch of different kinds of emulsifying wax. So, I went and got a few different kinds to experiment with (good thing they’re cheap!).
The first one I tried out one called Emulsimulse/Ritamulse (also known as ritamulse; INCI Glyceryl stearate, cetearyl alcohol, sodium stearoyl lactylate). I was intrigued by its odd, flaky texture and the description “EmulsiMulse, when used in lotions and creams, will provide a soft, conditioned, talc-like feel to skin.” Hmmmmm. Intrigue in the lotion world indeed.
The oil and water parts came together easily enough, and thickened up quite quickly, especially when compared to lotions made with Polawax, which can take a day or two to really get to a proper lotion texture.
In the end, this, thick, luxurious lotion is deceptively light, absorbing readily into your skin leaving a nice, non-greasy finish. The use of emulsimulse/ritamulse as the emulsifying wax definitely contributes to its thick, whipped-like texture and relatively dry finish, but you can use whatever emulsifying wax you have on hand if you’re not interested in starting up a collection of emulsifying waxes (like I, apparently, am).
For the essential oils, I chose labdanum and petitgrain. They combine to create a bright, yet almost dry/musky scent that is subtle enough that it’s easily gender neutral.
Labdanum & Petitgrain Lotion
73g | 2.57oz distilled water
2g | 0.07oz vegetable glycerin
2 drops petitgrain essential oil
15 drops labdanum essential oil
Weigh the emulsifying wax, grapeseed oil, and vitamin E oil into a small saucepan and melt over low heat. While they melt, measure the water and glycerin in a small glass measuring cup and whisk to combine.
Once the oils have melted, add the water mixture and heat everything through. Once everything is the same temperature (and very definitely liquid), remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk the lotion as it cools. As the lotion cools it will thicken quite quickly—stir as this happens (the thickening may take a few days if you are using a different emulsifying wax than emulsimulse/ritamulse).
Once the lotion has thickened and cooled, whisk in the essential oils and preservative. Decant into a 120mL/4oz pump bottle and enjoy!