January is our cold, dry month. It’s that month where the holidays have passed, the solstice is behind us, and it well and truly feels like we’ve settled into winter proper. Of course a chinook can always show up to toss aside the chill for a few days or a week at a time, but it’s always ready to seep back at this time of year. In March you can start to tell yourself that the chinook might be an early spring, but in January you know it is only a temporary respite. With all this in mind, I wanted a lotion that smelled bright, crisp, and fresh, and would help with winter scratchies without being heavy. Silky, bright, hydrating skin goodness. This is what I came up with.
When we’re talking hydration, the water part is important. I decided to include some lavender hydrosol, some hydrolyzed silk peptides, vegetable glycerin, and panthenol. That gives us calming lavender scent, soothing panthenol, and a good whack of humectants and film-formers to help attract water to our skin and keep it there. All good things! I also went with a slightly larger water phase to help keep the lotion feeling light and deliver really fast, non-greasy relief to dry skin.
Our oil phase has some great things in it; cupuacu butter has a wonderful silicone-like finish to it and can hold over 400% its weight in water! This makes it great at not only moisturizing the skin, but helping add stability to our emulsions. Apricot kernel oil is lightweight and rich in vitamin A, and cetyl alcohol adds some silky body to the lotion without added greasiness.
Windy Point has started carrying some liquid extracts, so I’m now the proud owner of some calendula extract—which was obviously burning a hole in my pantry! I decided to include it in this lotion for its soothing and moisturizing properties; two things we can’t get enough of at this time of year! I’ve also dressed this lotion up with a bit of Penstia™ powder (which Windy Point is also carrying now, so Canadians can get it domestically!)—Penstia™ powder is potentially the easiest way to up your lotion game, giving products the most wonderful, professional feel that’s downright lovely.
For our essential oil blend I kept it simple—just two lovely notes that combine to be so much more than you’d guess. Classic lavender is calming and warm, but not too sweet. Bright, fresh spruce is olafactory optimism for me. I love the nostalgic top note it adds—bringing me back to summer days in the high alpine and childhood vacations to the cottage. If you don’t have spruce, another bright coniferous note like fir or pine will also work.
I tried a new gadget for this lotion—the MiniPro Mixer from Lotion Crafter. I was super excited about having a smaller, high-speed mixer to work with. I’ve tried a few different milk frothers in the past and most of them cannot stand up to any kind of viscosity and don’t have much kick. This one is different, and awesome! It’s made by Bonjour, so if you aren’t in the USA it is likely more economical to source it from somewhere local. I found it on Canadian Amazon, though it’s definitely more expensive. (When you’re looking, be sure get the one that takes four AA batteries, not the one than takes two! The extra batteries is a big part of the extra power.) This isn’t the only project I’ve tried it on—it’s proved brilliant helping bust up surfactant pastes in hand washes and shampoos—and I’m not sure I love it for lotions. When the lotion is still hot and very liquidy this mixer is so powerful that it creates a whirling vortex that quickly climbs up (and over) the top of your container if you’re not careful! As the lotion thickened it worked much better, though. In any event, I’m a fan of this new toy and recommend it if you like making smaller batches of things.
I hope you love this Lightweight Lavender Spruce Silk Lotion as much as I do! (Try saying that name ten times fast…)
Lightweight Lavender Spruce Silk Lotion
58.5g | 2.06oz distilled water
20g | 0.71oz lavender hydrosol
2g | 0.07oz vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
3g | 0.11oz Penstia™ powder (USA / Canada)
2g | 0.07oz powdered panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
1g | 0.04oz hydrolyzed silk (USA / Canada) (wondering about substitutions?)
Cool Down Phase
0.5g | 0.02oz Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada) (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at recommended usage rate [why?])
0.09g | 0.003oz Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
2g | 0.07oz calendula extract
0.63g | 21 drops spruce essential oil
0.26g | 9 drops lavender essential oil
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 water phase ingredients into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Weigh the oil phase ingredients 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 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.
Transfer a few tablespoons of the lotion to a smaller container, and weigh the cool down ingredients into that container. Stir to combine, and then transfer the lot of it back into the rest of the lotion. Stir to combine.
Once the lotion is completely cool, pour it into a 120mL/4oz plastic pump-top bottle. Enjoy!
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 is likely to 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.
- If you don’t have panthenol you can replace it with distilled water
- If you don’t have hydrolyzed silk you can use hydrolyzed oat protein or sea kelp bioferment instead, or just replace it with more distilled water
- I used Polawax as my complete emulsifying wax, but BTMS-50 and Emulsifying Wax NF should also work
- Feel free to use a different oil your skin loves in place of the apricot kernel oil. I’d recommend sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed as good alternatives.
- You can use shea butter or mango butter instead of cupuacu butter
- You can replace the cetyl alcohol with more cupuacu butter
- You can replace the Penstia™ powder with more water