Formulation Tools & Guidelines Butters Lip Balm & Gloss Lotions & Creams Skin Care & Shaving

Formulation Guidelines for Lotions and Creams

Keep our basic guide for lotions and creams handy when formulating your next creation!

lotionsandcreams2Facial Lotion Formula

Distilled Water or Hydrosol – 80
Humectant – 4
Liquid Oil – 10
Thickener – 2
Emulsifier – 4

Hand Cream Formula

Distilled Water or Hydrosol – 70
Humectant – 2
Liquid Oil – 15
Solid Oil / Butter – 5
Thickener – 2
Emulsifier – 6

Body Butter Formula

Distilled Water or Hydrosol – 60
Humectant – 3
Liquid Oil – 12
Solid Oil / Butter – 15
Thickener – 3
Emulsifier – 7

Barrier Cream Formula

Distilled Water or Hydrosol – 60
Humectant – 3
Liquid Oil – 15
Solid Oil / Butter – 5
Wax – 5
Thickener – 3
Emulsifier – 7

Basic water-in-oil lotion and cream instructions (for formulas above):

  1. Weigh distilled water and humectant in a heat-proof glass or stainless steel container.
  2. Weigh oil, butter, wax, emulsi­fier, thickener in a heat-proof glass or stainless steel container with a mouth large enough to accommodate a stick blender or mixer.
  3. Set both containers into baths of hot water and heat each to 70° C.  (Cool or uneven temperatures may cause your emulsion* to separate or become gritty.)
  4. Pour the water phase into the oil phase and blend with a hand blender or beater for at least 3 minutes.
  5. Allow your emulsion to cool to 40-50° C before adding additives, essential oils, botanical extracts and/or preser­vatives**.
  6. Blend additional 3 minutes to incorporate additional ingredients.
  7. Pour completed recipe into clean, sterilized contai­ner and allow to cool fully before capping.

Balm Formula

Liquid Oil – 80
Wax – 20

Whipped Butter Formula

Liquid Oil – 20
Solid Oil / Butter – 80

Solid Lotion Bar Formula

Liquid Oil – 40
Solid Oil / Butter – 35
Wax – 25

Basic oil/wax-based balm and butter instructions:

Melt butter, oils and waxes in a glass or stainless steel bowl until they are completely liquified.

For balms, pour directly into sanitized containers.

For whipped butter, use a hand mixer to create a fluffy texture.  Scoop into containers.

For solid lotion bars, pour into a mold and allow to set fully before removing from mold and wrapping.


* For more information on emulsions, please see our previous blog article: Emulsions: What the heck are they?

** Please note: Preservatives are HIGHLY recommended, especially in water-based formulas. Please be sure to consult the usage rates for your chosen preservative when adjusting your formula.


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