We’re continuing our Lavender Aloe theme today with a dusty purple lotion with a gorgeous powdery finish. It smells softly of lavender and quickly vanishes into your skin, leaving it feeling richly moisturized with no greasiness. Featuring soothing aloe vera juice, moisturizing colloidal oatmeal, rich murumuru butter, and anti-inflammatory panthenol, it’s a fabulous treat for your skin. This thick and creamy pot of goodness is my current bedside table favourite, where I can apply it to dry hands and legs before drifting off to sleep. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!
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The water phase is mostly fragrant lavender hydrosol and soothing aloe vera juice. These two ingredients together comprise just shy of 60% of the formulation. I’ve read that high concentrations of these ingredients can be a preservation challenge, but in my experience, Liquid Germall Plus (our preservative) handles them (and more) perfectly fine (for years!). The lavender hydrosol is also the only source of scent in the formula (though I’ve included details on how to use the essential oil instead of the hydrosol in the substitutions list if that’s what you’ve got). I’ve also included a solid dose of moisturizing vegetable glycerin (and the lotion is not sticky, even with 10% glycerin!), plus some great soothing & moisturizing colloidal oatmeal and panthenol (aka vitamin B5). If you want to learn more about colloidal oatmeal I recommend giving this post from Lise a read!
I’ve also included a touch of a water-soluble dye to lend a theme-appropriate purple hue to the lotion. I didn’t use a purple dye, though—I used Acid Black 2, which I discovered is more of a really deep, dusty purple at lower usage rates when I used it to make bath bombs in December. I have a couple of purple dyes as well, but they’re much more fuschia-y, so I decided to use a teensy amount of the “black” dye for its dusty, lavender-y purple-ness. I tried including it in both the heated water and the cool-down phase, and found I much preferred it in the heated water phase as it was far easier to ensure it was fully dissolved.
The oil phase is 24%, which makes for quite a thick, rich end product. I really don’t find it to be greasy or heavy, though, which is definitely how I prefer my lotions. If something leaves my skin feeling greasy I’m probably not going to use it very often. Lightweight, vitamin A rich apricot kernel oil and ultra-creamy murumuru butter star in the oil phase. I’ve included 5% cetyl alcohol to thicken up the lotion to a gorgeous, rich consistency + add its gorgeous powdery finish to things. I’ve selected Polawax as the emulsifier, but you could easily use a different complete emulsifying wax, like Emulsifying Wax NF or Olivem 1000, if you prefer.
I’ve kept the cool down phase simple; it’s just some hydrolyzed oat protein for added moisturizing goodness, and our broad-spectrum preservative. I thought the oat protein would be a nice complement to the colloidal oatmeal, too—oats from all angles (if you really wanted to go all-out on the oat front you could try swapping some or all of the apricot kernel oil for rich oat oil)!
The finished lotion is decadently thick, easily passing the Dairy Queen “Blizzard” test (dangit, now I want ice cream!). The soft, calming lavender scent is lovely—not only before bed but throughout the day—for a bit of an aromatherapy treat. I can’t stop touching my hands after application, marvelling over how soft and smooth they are—if you love creamy, thick lotions but don’t love greasiness, this DIY is for you!
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Lavender Aloe Lotion
Heated water phase
30g | 30% lavender hydrosol
28.5g | 28.5% aloe vera juice
10g | 10% vegetable glycerine
2.99g | 2.99% colloidal oatmeal (USA / Canada)
2g | 2% panthenol powder (vitamin B5)
0.01g | 0.01% purple dye
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. If your scale is anything like mine it won’t be able to weigh out 0.01% for the dye unless you’re making quite a large batch, so for that just add a tiny amount of the dye—see the photo in the pre-amble. 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 (the colloidal oatmeal will not dissolve, so the water phase will look cloudy from that). 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, you’re ready to transfer the lotion to your container. I used a black 100mL (3.3fl oz) screw-top jar from YellowBee. That’s it!
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 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 (aloe vera juice, colloidal oatmeal, panthenol, hydrolyzed oat protein) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- If you’d like to use lavender essential oil instead of the hydrosol I recommend using it at 0.5%. Add 0.5% lavender essential oil to the cool down phase and replace the lavender hydrosol with 29.5% distilled water.
- You could try propanediol 1,3 instead of vegetable glycerin
- You could try a different complete emulsifying wax instead of Polawax (read the pre-amble)
- A different light to mid-weight liquid oil will work instead of apricot kernel oil
- A different soft butter, like mango butter or shea butter, will work instead of murumuru butter
- You could try cetearyl alcohol instead of cetyl alcohol, though this will change the consistency of the end product
- The dye is optional:
- You can round the colloidal oatmeal up to 3% if you want to remove it
- You could also use a purple mica instead, though you’ll need to use it around 0.5% to get the same effect. Remove the extra 0.49% from the lavender hydrosol or aloe vera juice.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.