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DIY Nontoxic Body Lotion Recipe!

This recipe was developed by Jen Novakovich, Director of The Eco Well, and she is passionate about cosmetics and knowing everything there is to know about ingredients. She's keen to understand the science behind products, and she pulls back the curtain on greenwashing. Jen uncovers the story of ingredients in cosmetics, and helps to demonstrate what's truly nontoxic and sustainable in the cosmetics industry.

Things you’ll need

  • A scale! You’ll notice the formula is in % - this will mean you’ll get the formula right every time, taking out the guesswork. Batches of 300-350g’s are good places to start to make your life easier whisking everything together. To calculate the amounts, times 300 (in a 300g sample) by the percentage, say 0.04 in the case of vegetable glycerine. 300x0.04=12… that means you’ll be adding 12g’s of vegetable glycerine to your formula.

  • A double boiler - you can make this with a large pot on the stove with some water in it.

  • Heat safe jars that would be easy to put in and out of the double boiler (remember your over mitts!)

  • Pipettes - this makes measuring your ingredients MUCH easier. Glass pipettes are easy to come by. *Note be sure to sterilize them before and after use with a high proof alcohol… isopropyl alcohol will do the job well!

  • A whisk

  • A thermometre

  • pH strips or metre

  • A container for your lotion

Need to clean up your mess? Do it with a Swedish Sponge Cloth or tea towel!


  1. Begin with phase A. Mix your xanthan gum and glycerine together to make a paste (often referred to as a slurry… doing this helps xanthan gum dissolve in water easily). Add your paste to the water. Put container in your double boiler and heat to 75 degrees Celsius.

  2. Now to your phase B. In a separate vessel, add all of your phase B ingredients in. Put the vessel into your double boiler and heat to 75 degrees Celsius as well. Make sure your emulsifier is fully melted before moving to the next step.

  3. Remove both of your vessels from your double boiler and add your phase B to your phase B while continuously whisking.

  4. Keep whisking your formula until it’s below 35 degrees Celsius. At this point, you’ll notice the solution has thickened significantly, finally starting to look more like a lotion.

  5. Add your phase C ingredients to your lotion (phase A/B), mix well.

  6. Check the pH with your strips or a pH meter. If the pH is a little higher, put a couple of drops of your citric acid solution in, mix and re-check. Keep doing this until you’ve reached a pH of 5.

  7. Pour off into your package of choice and enjoy!

Looking for more DIY recipes? Check out:

For more tips on going zero waste, read the book and head to zero waste 101!


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