How to Make Lotion with Shea Butter

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Do you ever feel like a detective, scouring the labels of products before you buy them? It can be depressing. So many commercial body care products have way too many sketchy ingredients! It even goes for many that are supposed to be natural and organic. That’s one the reasons I love making them myself. I can have full control over the ingredients, and it’s fun! Come join me as I show how to make lotion with shea butter. 

How to make lotion with shea butter

Non greasy shea butter lotion recipe

In my journey of healing, I really became aware of the huge toxic burden on our modern world. The products we use on our skin is a huge part of this! Did you know that our skin, our largest organ, quickly absorbs whatever we put on it? It’s true. And this becomes pretty scary when we realize just how toxic so many commercial personal care products are.

This lotion is perfect for when you want a light, non greasy moisturizer that is made with only the purest, most natural ingredients. I think you’re going to really enjoy learning how to make lotion with shea butter. 

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How to make lotion with shea butter | A simple and easy DIY homemade lotion recipe #diy #lotion #organicskincare

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Taking it into my own hands with DIY lotion 

In my quest for the purest and most natural skincare, I decided to try making some things. After all, creating things has always been a huge passion of mine.

As I quickly discovered, making your own organic skincare products is super fun! One of my favorite things to make is lotion. One thing I don’t DIY is makeup, and you can check out my 100% Pure makeup review here

I just think it is so fun to take different ingredients that wouldn’t normally easily mix, and emulsify them into a smooth, light, and luxurious lotion. 

How do you make your own lotion?

When you make lotion, you’re creating an emulsion. That’s when you force two things to combine that don’t naturally mix. The process is actually just like making homemade mayonnaise. 

My favorite piece of equipment for making homemade lotion is a food processor. You can also use a blender, but I find that the food processor gives the most reliable results. 

Cleanliness is really important when making any skincare products, especially when they contain water. I recommend cleaning all your equipment in a weak bleach solution, and then letting it air dry before making lotion. That way, you won’t introduce any bacteria into your recipe. 

I recommend using distilled water for the water portion. Again, this is just so that everything is as pure as possible, with nothing unwanted getting into the finished lotion.

How to make lotion with shea butter directions

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Measure jojoba oil, shea butter, and beeswax into a heat safe glass container, preferably a pitcher.
  2. Create a double boiler by placing the pitcher on a cloth in a pan of water. 
  3. Heat water to a gentle simmer until shea butter and beeswax are completely melted.
  4. Pour hot oil mixture into food processor. 
  5. Turn food processor on, and in a small, slow stream, gradually pour water into food processor. 
  6. Allow food processor to run for another minute or so. 
  7. Make sure lotion mixture is below 176° F.
  8. Add preservative and essential oils, if using, and allow food processor to run for another minute or so. 
  9. Pour into glass containers. 
  10. Store in a cool, dark place at room temperature. 

How to make lotion with shea butter homemade lotion

Natural preservative for homemade lotion

When you make homemade lotions containing water, it is important to use a preservative.

Wait a second, right? Don’t we usually avoid preservatives in our food?

Of course. I balked at the idea of a preservative in homemade lotion at first, too. But, the thing is, if we make something that contains water, and have it sit around at room temperature, we really do need to add something to keep it fresh and to prevent unwanted bacteria mold growth.

I found a natural preservative that works great, and I am comfortable using it. It is called Optiphen Plus, and is paraben free and formaldehyde free. I’ve been really happy with it, and that’s what I recommend when I show how to make lotion with shea butter. 

Of course, if you want to go totally preservative free, you can just store your homemade lotion in the refrigerator. But keep in mind that the shelf life will still be shorter. 

Alright, now that we’ve gone over everything, let’s jump in and make some lotion!

Customize your DIY lotion 

What’s even more fun is when you get to experiment and play around with ingredients. That’s when it gets really exciting! 

In this recipe for how to make lotion with shea butter, I have a liquid oil, which happens to be jojoba oil, and shea butter. You can totally substitute these two for any other liquid oils or butters that you want. You could try sweet almond oil and cocoa butter. Or avocado oil and coconut oil. The options are really endless!

Make it smell pretty and do even more

Essential oils are really fun to use, too. You can choose a single oil, a premixed blend, or create your own blend. 

There are oils with anti aging properties, which are wonderful in a homemade lotion. Certain single oils, like lavender, are chock full of beneficial ingredients for skin, and smell gorgeous. 

Some of my favorite premixed essential oil blends from Plant Therapy are Soft Skin and Bouquet. Soft Skin is full of oils that help to soften and renew skin, with wonderful anti aging properties. Bouquet is a gorgeous floral scent. There are lots more beautiful blends, too.

And of course, you can get creative and come up with your own blends! If you’re looking for some natural gift ideas, I share some essential oil gift ideas here

If you’re dealing with skin rashes or itchy skin, this post has info on what essential oils can help

How to make lotion with shea butter DIY lotion recipe

Is commercial natural skincare the real deal?

I realized that our personal care and skincare products really do matter. In order to reduce our personal toxic load, we’re far better off using pure, natural ingredients, and avoiding synthetic and artificial substances.

There are lots of skincare and personal care products out there that are labelled as being “natural” or even “organic.” But are they really a good choice?

Quite often, sadly, the answer is no. Lots of the natural skincare that is available commercially still contains ingredients that aren’t natural, and that I’d rather avoid.

For my favorite non toxic cleaning products, check out this post here. I also have a tallow lotion recipe here

Benefits of shea butter

For a plant based ingredient, shea butter is moisturizing and has properties that can revitalize and soothe skin. It is rich in fatty acids and vitamin A, vitamin E, and natural anti inflammatory properties (source). 

Unrefined shea butter has more beneficial nutrients compared to refined shea butter. If you don’t mind the stronger smell, unrefined is the best way to go, in my opinion. 

More DIY skincare recipes

Magnesium lotion recipe

Stick deodorant recipe

Tinted lip balm recipe with honey and tallow

Tallow balm recipe

Pure tallow soap recipe

Whipped tallow sugar scrub

Have you made homemade lotion before?

What ingredients are your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

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Jojoba oil

Shea butter

Beeswax

Natural preservative

Distilled water

My food processor

Glass jars

Plant Therapy essential oils

Want to shop for organic handmade skincare products?

Check out the Bumblebee Apothecary Shop here.

Want to grab some labels for your homemade lotion and other DIY skincare products?

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I’ve done all the hard work for you with this set of 30 printable skincare product labels. All the recipes are included on the back labels, too! Get your set of printable skincare product labels here.

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Yield: 16 fl. oz.

Lotion with Shea Butter

How to make lotion with shea butter

Do you ever feel like a detective, scouring the labels of products before you buy them? It can be depressing. So many commercial body care products have way too many sketchy ingredients! It even goes for many that are supposed to be natural and organic. That's one the reasons I love making them myself. I can have full control over the ingredients, and it's fun!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup jojoba oil
  • 5 TBSP shea butter
  • 2 TBSP beeswax
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 tsp preservative

Instructions

  1. Measure jojoba oil, shea butter, and beeswax into a heat safe glass container, preferably a pitcher.
  2. Create a double boiler by placing the pitcher on a cloth in a pan of water.
  3. Heat water to a gentle simmer until shea butter and beeswax are completely melted.
  4. Pour hot oil mixture into food processor.
  5. Turn food processor on, and in a small, slow stream, gradually pour water into food processor.
  6. Allow food processor to run for another minute or so.
  7. Make sure lotion mixture is below 176° F.
  8. Add preservative and essential oils, if using, and allow food processor to run for another minute or so.
  9. Pour into glass containers.
  10. Store in a cool, dark place at room temperature.

65 thoughts on “How to Make Lotion with Shea Butter”

  1. Hi, I love the feel of the the lotion on my skin!
    My first try it seems a bit runny… is that how it should be? Maybe I didnt have enough bees wax? I used the pellet type of bees wax.
    I’m using lavender essential oil for my fragrance, do you think I could use lavender hydrosol in place of the distilled water?
    Thank you for your recipe!

    Reply
  2. I absolutely love this recipe! I’ve tried several others and my own and never liked them as much as this one. I substituted Sweet Almond Oil instead of the jojoba. I have extremely dry skin all over my body except combination in the T zone of my face. This lotion takes a little longer to absorb into the face, but it’s still worth it. I used my mini food processor and it worked great. It hasn’t separated at all. I’m not sure if that’s the almond oil vs the jojoba but I’m not complaining. Thank you for a great recipe! I’m passing it along. I’ve finally found my organic, all natural, chemical free body lotion that I love!

    Reply
  3. I am making this now. I ordered the preservative over 2 weeks ago and it still hasn’t came. And I don’t want to wait anymore because I am going to use this as a hair moisturizer. My hair is super dry from not using anything. So I don’t want to put it off. Can I just put my lotion in the refrigerator for now and add the preservative later? How long will it last in the fridge?

    Reply
    • You can do that! It will last around 6 months in the fridge. I would contact the seller about your delayed order, too.

      Reply
  4. I’ve tried this recipe 3 different times, checking the comments for troubleshooting and no matter what I do, within a day the water separates out from the oils. Disappointing. 🙁

    Reply
    • I’m sorry for the trouble, and I’m happy to help. If you’re using a blender, I would try a food processor instead. I’ve had the emulsion break a few times in a blender, but never in a food processor. I’d also make sure the oil portion is nice and hot before emulsifying. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  5. Absolutely love that I stumbled upon you while expanding my knowledge of natural handmade products!
    When measuring the shea butter and beeswax, are these measurements while solid or when melted??
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thank you! I measure the beeswax when solid as pellets. I measure the shea butter solid also, but I add it to the measuring pitcher of olive oil and watch for the level on in the pitcher increase the right amount. I find that’s the easiest way 🙂

      Reply
  6. Are these measurements by weight or just plain old measuring cups? Also, would almond oil make a good substitute for the jajoba oil or could you recommend the beat oil substitute for super sensitive skin?

    Reply
    • They are liquid measurements, not weight 🙂 Almond oil would be a good substitute! Any liquid oil that you know your skin does well with will work!

      Reply
  7. For the most part I love love this recipe. I find that the water starts to separate from the cream no matter how many times I try. I did however use a hand blender instead as I didn’t have your mixer to hand. Could this be the reason? Or maybe my climate is too hot? 🤔

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear about the trouble! Yes, I do think it is the handheld blender 🙁 I have mixed results when I make this with a stand up blender; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It always works perfectly in a food processor, though!

      Reply
  8. This is the best homemade lotion recipe I’ve tried. I love how nicely it absorbs.
    However, after a couple of days it started to get grainy. I understand this to be a problem when shea butter isn’t cooled quickly enough. But if I put this in the freezer after mixing, won’t I risk the water and oil separating?
    How do you keep it from getting grainy?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Thank you! Yes, that is the fat molecules separating out when it cools slowly. I think you can freeze it okay to prevent that; I haven’t tried it myself but whenever I’ve refrigerated lotions they don’t separate. Let me know if you try it!

      Reply
  9. Question about adding essential oils: do they leave a smell in your food processor? I’ve never made any scented products before and am a bit nervous about my food processor smelling like lavender and tea tree forever after!

    Reply
  10. Hi, I am about to try your shea butter lotion recipe and I thought that 96 drops of essential oil is quite a lot. I have read that too much essential oil could damage the skin. Could you please advise? Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • Great question! It sounds like a lot, but it is actually just a 1% dilution for this amount of lotion, which is very mild. You can use even less if you want to 🙂

      Reply
  11. Hello,
    I am getting ready to try this recipe, but I just bought the raw shea butter and I cannot get used to the smell, unfortunately. It is definitely not my favorite. Do the essential oils help in the final product? Thank you!

    Reply
    • I think I just replied to an email on this yesterday 🙂 The shea butter I use doesn’t smell too strong, and essential oils definitely help!

      Reply
  12. Hello Marisa,, thank you so much for your recipes and tips. You are so sweet!

    I live in Brazil and I was wondering if you would know what type of preservative I could by here to use in your recipes? 🤷‍♀️

    Thank a lot!

    Reply
  13. I just made a half recipe to try it using a mix of avocado and coconut oil. I think this will be good for a body moisturizer but I’m not sure I like the waxy feeling of the beeswax. What is the purpose of the beeswax and can you just omit it?

    Reply
    • The beeswax acts as an emulsifier, to bring the water and oils together. It may not emulsify or stay combined if you omit it. I’m wondering if making it as a half batch somehow made the feeling more waxy, as I haven’t noticed that. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  14. Marisa,
    My name is Saby and I love your products and your videos. Congrats!!
    I have a question for you,
    My boyfriend has Guillain-Barré Syndrome and he takes medications that dry his skin so easily and sometimes very uncomfortable.
    His immune system is always very compromising and he needs to be constantly using hand sanitizer.
    I feel for him, because his hands are literally peeling off no matter what hand lotions or oils he uses. Prescription lotions are not the best way to approach he’s problem since we try to go organic.
    My question to you is if we can use any alcohol or any natural sanitizer in your lotion recipe.
    Thank you so much for your tutorials and recipes, you look so beautiful in the tutorial where you are pregnant, God bless you and your family sweetie.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m happy to try and help. I’m sorry to hear about the issues he is experiencing, that sounds rough. For a sanitizing lotion, I would actually leave the alcohol out, since it can be so drying, and add some sanitizing essential oils. Lemon, tea tree, and rosemary are great ones to start with. That would sanitize very effectively, and would hopefully be more soothing. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  15. I made a body oil made of shea butter and almond oil and grapseed oil and mica but after 5 hrs the shea turned to hard butter again. How i can make it stay oil , and is there is any other alternative way cheaper cause i want to make for my faimly 😔

    Reply
    • Hello, I’m not sure, I haven’t tried a recipe like that before. You might try my recipe as written, and see if you like it. It is much softer 🙂

      Reply
  16. Hi ,I have made Body Butter with Cocoa and Shea butter along with almond and coconut oil . Now I want to convert that into body lotion .How do I do that. .Thanks

    Reply
  17. Thanks for nice infor,i love it will give it a try.can the lotion be stored in plastic squeezable bottle? Thanks

    Reply
  18. I have been planning to make this for months, after seeing it on your channel. I have crazy sensitive skin, so I substituted the jojoba oil with the only oil I can tolerate. Avocado oil is a fantastic substitute! Turned out perfectly, but I made a WAAAY bigger mess than you do. 😁

    Reply
    • Avocado oil is so nice! I’m so glad it turned out well. Haha! The most fun things make the biggest messes 🙂

      Reply
  19. This looks like an excellent recipe. I’m excited to make it and experiment with different ingredients and essential oils. How much lotion does this recipe make?

    Reply
  20. I love your article. I have been looking for great info about lotions and your article is precisely what I needed. Great content. Will surely pass it onto my followers.

    Reply
  21. Thanks for the information about the natural lotion with Shea butter. I’m wondering how many drops of essentials oils could be put into the blender when making the lotion?

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! For a 1% dilution of essential oils in 2 cups of lotion, you can use 96 drops of essential oils. I think I’ll go update the recipe with that info 🙂

      Reply
  22. Thanks for the nice post. I agree with you on the use of preservatives. Any water based cosmetic must be preserved. Otherwise, you can expose yourself to dangerous microbes that might just ruin your skin. What I do is that I always make a small batch and I use a container, like a pump bottle, so that I do not repeatedly touch the lotion. You do not want water based cosmetics to be around for too long.

    Reply
  23. I love making lotion, but have never used water in my recipes before. Interesting to find out about a natural preservative. Thanks for the info, Marisa!

    Reply

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