Successes and Failures – It’s all good experience.

I made another five lotions this weekend. Out of the five I made, two failed and three turned out wonderfully.  I consider that a success!

I am trying out my lotion formulation spreadsheet that I made and trying to see if my calculations produce a good lotion product.    In most cases, they do, but sometimes, whether due to human error, or the lotion gremlins (which I suspect really do exist), some recipes just don’t work.  I am not sure this weekend’s failures were due to the recipes, though.

This weekend I made five lotions:

  1. Coffee Sesame and Cupuacu Under Eye Cream
  2. Vanilla Cocoa Hazelnut Lotion
  3. Vanilla Aloe Mallow Lotion
  4. Lush Dupe – Pink Peppermint Foot Cream
  5. Lush Dupe – Softy Foot Cream

Let’s start with the failures.

Coffee Sesame and Cupuacu Under Eye Cream – FAILURE


I am pretty sure I forgot to add the emulsifying wax, so I think only the thickeners are holding it together at all.   Therefore, I ended up with a lotion, but it is very foamy and thin.  I think I will re-make this batch next time I make coffee infused oil, but hopefully I will remember to add the emulsifying wax next time.  It would have been a nice lotion.  Smells wonderful though!


Vanilla Cocoa Hazelnut Lotion – FAILURE


I am not sure what happened.  All was going well, until I added the cool-down phase.  then the lotion curdled and the fragrance oil separated.  I suspect the lotion didn’t like the fragrance oil because the cool down phase only included the Optiphen and the fragrance oil (and I used Optiphen for all the other lotions that were successes).  The fragrance was Natures Garden Vanilla Bean.  You can see in the picture where there is an amber colored liquid.  That is the fragrance oil separating out.


Vanilla Aloe Mallow Lotion – SUCCESS


For this lotion,  I very lightly scented the lotion with Brambleberry’s Vanilla Vanilla Cybilla (which smells just like the 90’s perfume, Vanilla Fields (in my opinion)).  It includes mallow extract, aloe extract, tucuma butter, babassu and rice bran oils.   It’s a very lovely, thick lotion.


Lush Dupe – Pink Peppermint Foot Cream – SUCCESS


I have been on a duplication kick lately.  I don’t know why.  It’s a challenge I guess.   Anyhow, I haunted Lush’s web site and thought the peppermint foot cream looked nice, so I formulated a recipe from their ingredients list.

I added about 4 drops of Watermelon lab color because I know the hibiscus extract will eventually oxidize and turn brown, so I wanted a little extra pink.  I scented it with peppermint and spearmint essential oils.   It has lanolin, cocoa butter and sweet almond oil (per Lush’s ingredient list).

The only thing I don’t like about this is that Lush lists stearic acid as one of the ingredients, so I used it.   I thought, “Well, it’s such a small amount, maybe it won’t stink”. I was wrong.  Even though there is only 1% stearic acid, I can smell it.   It smells waxy and I don’t like it.   My husband says it is not that bad, but I have a vendetta against that waxy smell.   Next time I will use something different or maybe just more cocoa butter to thicken it.  It’s a nice, thick foot lotion though, so it’s a keeper (but without the stearic acid).


Lush Dupe – Softy Foot Cream – SUCCESS


Another bootleg Lush recipe!  🙂  It looked soft and nourishing.  So I made it!

This one has mallow extract, sweet almond oil, lanolin and both cocoa and cupuacu butters.   It is scented with an essential oil blend of bergamot, lavender and sandalwood.

It turned out really nice.  The texture reminds me of a soft marshmallow cream, like when you melt marshmallows to make rice krispie treats (only a bit thicker than that).

The scent is relaxing.  The lavender cuts through, but you can still smell the bright bergamot and the moody sandalwood too.



2 thoughts on “Successes and Failures – It’s all good experience.

  1. Optiphen does have a rep for causing lotion issues, but sometimes lotion fails can also be caused by insufficient mixing, too little E-wax, or temps too low.
    I start stick blending my oil & water phase when both are between 160-170 F (a digital thermometer gun is awesome for this) and initially mix for 3-5 minutes. I continue to stick blend every 10 minutes (for 2-3 minutes at a time) until the lotion reaches 120 F. Then I add any heat sensitive extras including EO’s/FO’s & stick blend another 2-3 minutes. Emulsifying Wax NF can be used up to 15%, and I personally like to use it at 6.5% for lotions (most people use it at 3%-5%). Once I starting do those 3 things, I never had a lotion failure again. has some really good info on trouble shooting lotion problems too. 🙂


    1. Hi, thanks so much for sharing these thoughts. I actually did these things (the mixing for 10 minute on / 20 minutes off for 2-3 minutes a time and starting to mix at 170 degrees). I heard that adding Optiphen at lower temps (100 degrees)had less problems, so I have been doing that, but it wasn’t enough to save this batch. This particular recipe used BTMS-50 at about 23% of the oils phase instead of EWax (Using SwiftCraftyMonkey’s method of totaling up the oils phase and then multiplying the recommended amount of emulsifier by this to get the total amount of emulsifier to use). I might try the recipe again using slightly more BTMS and see what happens. Who knows, it could have been human error, maybe I mis-measured or forgot to add something. 🙂 I also have some Phenonip coming tomorrow, so I may try it using that instead of Optiphen to see if I can get better results. I think sometimes trial and error is a good learning experience to see what works and what doesn’t. Again, thanks for sharing. I love learning about the processes that work for others, and I appreciate you sharing yours.


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