Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cream Pictorial

As promised, a pictorial of how I make cream from scratch!  This cream turned out super thick and luxurious, it smells of fresh apples!  I find the scent a little bit strong, but my family thinks its perfect.  Next time I will use a lower percentage of fragrance.  On with the pictorial!

Step 1: Clean everything!  Every surface around the area you plan to make lotion in needs to be clean!  I use an eco-safe surface cleaner to clean my countertops and work surfaces.  I also clean my sink!

Step 2: "Degerming" or sanitizing.  One of the most important things with lotion making of any sort is to have clean -everything-.  Yes, I use a preservative, but it is important to reduce the "germ" contamination right from the beginning to ensure a good product with a decent shelf life.

Fill your sink with lots of hot water, enough to cover at least 1/2 of your largest container.  Add bleach to the water at approximately 5%.  Add your containers, mixing spoons, measuring devices etc to the bleachy water.  Even the shaft of the stick blender should be sanitized in this manner.  

Step 3: The gloves!  From this point on you will be wearing gloves to keep contamination from your hands to a minimum.  If you have to brush your hair out of your eyes, or pull up your pants (etc) you should put on a fresh pair of disposable gloves, or wash your gloves with antibacterial soap if they are the non-disposable kind.  

Using gloved hands roll any larger items over in the bleach water so all sides get cleaned (like my pot above).  I make sure each surface sits in the bleach water for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Once your "dishes" are clean, dry them.  Use either paper towels or a cloth towel that has just come out of a dryer set to HOT for ~15 minutes.  This helps keep "germ" contamination to a minimum!

Step 5: Get everything set up!  In order to work efficiently and with a minimum time (keeps those germs from the air away!) it is important to get your work area set up!  Here is mine, complete with freshly sanitized containers etc.

Step 6: The good stuff!  Now is the time to start making lotion!   Lotion making has 3 phases: the water phase, the oil phase and the cool down phase.  First comes the water and oil phases.

-water phase: measure your DISTILLED water into one pot.  You must use distilled water!  Tap water and bottled/filtered water still contain microscopic critters that can (and likely will) grow happily in your lotion.  Some may even enjoy the company of your preservative!

I add ~100 grams extra water to the pot to account for any lost to steam during heating and holding.  You will re-weigh your water after it is heated.

-oil phase: add all of your oils and waxes to the second pot, as well as any additives that need to be melted or can withstand high temperatures.  For my cream I used sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, cetyl alcohol and emulsifying wax.  [If you are wondering what each ingredient does to the cream please google "Swift Crafty Monkey" and take a look at her tutorials and descriptions!]

Step 7:  Heating and holding.  Now we move our pots to the burners!  We need to raise the temperatures of the water and oils to 70* C (158* F) and hold them there for 20 minutes.  This is to help remove any "germs" that may have slipped into our pots!  I find a temperature gun to be especially handy for this! Mine was under $40 from Lowes.

Step 8:  Once the pots have been held at 70*C for 20 minutes its time to make cream (or lotion!  Lotion has ~70% water, cream has ~60%, that is the only difference!).

Measure the heated water in a sanitized container, I had about 20 grams extra after the heating phase.  

Step 9:  Add the water to the oils.  Whoa!!!  It goes milky white on contact!

See the oils on the surface?  Time to mix those in!  Use your stick blender to mix the lotion for 5-10 minutes, I always go for the full 10 minutes to assure a stable mixture that won't separate!

Step 10:  Resting.  Before we can add our temperature sensitive ingredients (vitamins, proteins, scents and preservatives).  Cover the pot with a paper towel and let the lotion sit until it is cool enough for your additives.  This temperature will depend on the specific additives you want to add, you'll need to check them to see what temperatures they can withstand.

Step 11: The cool down phase!  Add your additives and stick blend until thoroughly mixed.  I added vitamin E tocopherol, wheat protein, phenonip (a preservative), a tiny amount of lab colour and my fragrance oil.

Step 12:  Pour your cream into clean jars, add a sealing disk, screw on the lids... and ta-da!  Your cream is done!  You'll need to leave it for a while to cool down and solidify though!


**Disclaimer:  I am NOT a professional lotion maker!  This is how I make my lotions, there are plenty of other ways as well!  Do your research and make small experimental batches!**


  1. Great post Heather! I've never tried making lotion or read much on it either, now my interest is peaked!

  2. Thank you for the wonderful picture tutorial Heather! I would love to try making lotion but I've always been intimidated by the process. Your tutorial breaks it down nicely and gives me hope that maybe I could actually do this!

  3. Great post. And I love your new soap room! :)
    I just got the microbiology results back on a sample of lotion I made almost a year ago and the bacteria count was super low and the fungal/yeast count was zero! WooHoo! You use the same process as I do, but I haven't made a cream yet. I'm glad you mentioned Swift Crafty Monkey. I can spend hours on her site. :)

  4. Cee & Laura, you would enjoy making lotions. It takes longer to get everything prepped than it does to make the lotion. And the finished product is so much nicer than store bought. I love that you can customize one basic recipe for different seasons just by changing the oils/butters used. :)

  5. Wicked post Hestey!! I'm right in the thick of lotion making at the moment and loved seeing that I'm doing it 'right'.... well, as right as other people seem to be doing it heh. Gosh I'm jealous of your soaping room though!! One day... one day I will have one.