Today’s DIY is another Bee Better project—an update of the Summer Shimmer Body Lotion I shared back in 2015 (over five years ago!). This lotion is lightweight and packs a serious shimmery punch to leave you glowing like a summer sunset. You can easily customize the summer shimmer by choosing a mica that’s perfect for your skin tone, too. Enjoy!
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One of the biggest changes I’ve made to #BeeBetter-ify this formulation is fully percentage-ifying it. The 2015 original was sort of done in percentages; the ingredients that were measured in weights (everything except the essential oils, mica, and preservative) added up to 100g, showing I started the formulation thinking in percentages but got rather complacent when it came to what was effectively the cool down phase. This might be because I lacked a scale that could measure anything less than 1g (and all those ingredients would’ve likely been less than 1g), but it’s been half a decade—I don’t fully remember.
I’ve kept the majority of the ingredients from the original, with a few additions. I’ve used the same emulsifying wax (Ritamulse SCG) and the same carrier oil (safflower oil), but I also incorporated some ultra-light C12-15 alkyl benzoate for its gorgeous skin feel and general fast-absorbing loveliness. I also dropped the oil phase from 25% to 17% to make the lotion extra hot-weather-friendly, incorporating 2% cetyl alcohol to make up for some of the loss in viscosity from reducing the size of the oil phase.
This version definitely has a lot more mica. The 2015 version called for 3/8 tsp for a 100-ish gram batch—I’m pretty sure the 5% in this version is closer to a tablespoon, volume-wise. That’s 24/8ths of a teaspoon, or 8x as much! 5% mica means the finished lotion offers some noticeable colour and shimmer to the skin. I experimented with putting the mica in the heated water phase since it’s not heat sensitive, but I found that to be really messy, so I moved it to the cool down phase for a bit of mess containment.
The finished lotion is lovely; lightweight, shimmery, and fast-absorbing. It’ll leave your skin lightly moisturized with a lovely, summery glow. Enjoy!
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Summer Glow Body Lotion
Heated water phase
47.5g | 47.5% distilled water
25g | 25% aloe vera juice
5g | 5% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
Heated oil phase
4g | 4% Ritamulse SCG (USA / Canada / UK / AU)
6g | 6% C12-15 alkyl benzoate (USA / Canada)
5g | 5% safflower oil
2g | 2% cetyl alcohol (USA / Canada)
Cool down phase
5g | 5% coloured mica
0.5g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (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. 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. This method minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.
Once that’s done, all that’s left is packaging it up! Since this lotion is quite pigmented, I recommend putting it in something that can’t spill, like a pump-top bottle or squeeze tube. It’s technically viscous enough for a wide-mouthed jar, but the mess factor would be pretty substantial.
To use, smooth over your skin and enjoy the shimmer! The mica will rub off, so don’t put a bunch of this on and then wear white or sit on light-coloured furniture that can’t be wiped off.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this body 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 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 please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can replace the aloe vera juice with more distilled water, or a hydrosol to add some scent to the finished lotion.
- You could use propanediol 1,3 instead of glycerine.
- You can use a different complete emulsifying wax instead of Ritamulse SCG. Olivem 1000, Polawax, and Emulsifying Wax NF will all work.
- Isopropyl myristate (IPM) or more safflower oil will work instead of C12-15 alkyl benzoate.
- You can substitute another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed for the safflower oil.
- You could use cetearyl alcohol instead of cetyl alcohol. You could also replace the cetyl alcohol with more safflower oil, though this will make for a thinner end product.
- For the mica: I recommend choosing something summery, like gold, bronze, or copper (or a blend!). You could also have quite a lot of fun with more off-the-wall colours for a more “editorial” effect that would be great for festivals and costumes!
- If you want to use less mica, replace the lost mica with more distilled water.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
The C12-15 alkyl benzoate (USA / Canada) and safflower oil were gifted by Essential Wholesale. The mica used in the video was gifted by YellowBee.
Hi Marie. I think I must have printed every recipe from 2014 and 2015. I am anxiously awaiting the “better bee” formulation of oat milk dream cream and rose cardamom lotion, and healing winter lotion. Can’t wait to try this new better bee. Love all you do for us.
Thank you so much, Lin! I will definitely keep those three formulations in mind!
Wonderful lady, please give us a roll on deodorant using a product called Deodorant Additive n perhaps double distilled with hazel if that is possible. Of course one could add essential oils, etc. I would so much like to have something that does not separate n will keep on rolling…..Thank You very much.
Hi Marie, I love the “instant tan” the lotion imparts and the colour is gorgeous, but I’m wondering if the colour will transfer to clothing or not. Please let me know what you think. Happy Summer!!
From the post: “The mica will rub off, so don’t put a bunch of this on and then wear white or sit on light-coloured furniture that can’t be wiped off.” 🙂
I don’t know whether to make this of the super simple simple body lotion recipe you just released. Help !! Which is your favourite texture?
If you are new to lotion making, definitely start with the super simple one 🙂 Otherwise—how much do you like shimmer? 😉
Hello Maria. I have a question.
In this formula you are using a Ritamulse emulsifier and I am wondering, since this ingredient is an anionic,and does not comfort with non-ionic surfactants what happens to the skin if you layered an anionic product on non-anionic?
For example, the first layer is a cream anionic(Ritamulse) and next layer of cream is non-anionic (Olivem 1000 for example )
Will there be bad reactions on the skin? I thought, maybe it would be nice if the skin care products were in one emulsifier ?
What can you say about this.
Hi Alla! I wouldn’t expect any issues between anionic (negative) and non-ionic (no charge)—after all, many of the other ingredients in the formula with the anionic emulsifier are non-ionic. Stacking an anionic and cationic product may be problematic, but there would be a lot of variables. In haircare, shampoos very commonly contain cationic and anionic ingredients, and it is also common to follow an anionic shampoo up with a cationic conditioner. Some cationics are more tolerant of anionics, and I would expect timing and degree of application would also factor in.
So, basically, it depends, but I would not worry about bad reactions on the skin beyond possibly the product pilling up if layered.
Hi Marie! I used to read all your blog posts but got caught up with studying in the last 2 years. I’ve been getting back into diys and need to buy some more emulsifying wax. My supplier only has btms-50 and polawax and they’re both similarily priced. I plan to make lotions and I was wondering which one you would suggest buying? I’ve gone through the encyclopedia and polawax seems more versatile but the conditioning aspect of btms25 is quite attractive
I would honestly recommend getting both—though they are both emulsifiers and will work interchangeably in many things, I love having them both on hand. If you can just get one… I don’t know if I could choose. If you don’t like making hair things, Polawax is fine, but if you like making hair things BTMS-50 is oh-so-fantastic!
Hi Marie 🙂
i shop from uk stores as its easier for me and inexpensive, i love your recipes but 80% of them i cannot try as of my very limited choice for preservatives. whats the best choice for me maybe a substitute for liquid germall plus on Amazon UK for me, would really help so so so much 🙂
I recommend reading through this FAQ 🙂 Happy making!
I want to make this lotion because i want to use my Ritamulse SCG, I don’t want to put the shimmer on it though, so where do i substitute the 5% or with what, I read above i could just do more water but will that make it more watery.
Do what you read above 🙂
This is on my to do list during this summer. I think it would be perfect summer lotion! Gorgeous presentation too!
Thank you so much! ❤️
I’m loving your blog, and I want to start making lotions. My niche is tallow, and I was wondering if there was any way to incorporate, substitute, or add it to this recipe, or the simple lotion recipe, without changing it too much!