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What is a Lotion Base?

By Daphne Mallory
Updated May 21, 2024
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Lotion base is what's left of the lotion, once the colorings and scents are removed. This base consists of an emulsifier, oil or butter, and water. Water and oil do not mix, and the types of oils used in lotions will turn rancid if left out over time. The role of the emulsifier is to keep the oil and water from separating, to stabilize it, and to prevent the mixture from becoming rancid.

Emulsifying wax, such as beeswax, is often used as an emulsifier in lotion bases. The wax is usually derived from vegetables or animal products. Conditioning emulsifying agents are also commonly used as a moisturizer in face, hand, and foot lotions.

A variety of essential oils are available for use in making a lotion base. Some oils popular for use in lotions are almond oil and olive oil. Shea butter and cocoa butter are common butters often used in lotion bases. The choice between oil and butter is often a personal preference, and they can be mixed together. The oils and butters are heated and mixed with the emulsifier before adding water.

Water is used in a lotion base to provide the desired consistency. Some people prefer a thicker lotion with more concentrated moisturizers, while others like a thinner lotion that isn't as heavy. The water is heated to a lukewarm temperature then added to the emulsifier and butter or oil.

Any base sold commercially must have a material safety data sheet (MSDS), which may be known by other names outside the US. Its main purposes are to inform consumers of any health risks and safety measures required for working with the ingredients, and full contact information of the company selling the lotion base. The information on an MSDS for a lotion base often lists the supplier's full business name and contact information, along with a list of ingredients in the lotion base, and any hazard warnings. Next, it usually lists first-aid measures, fire-fighting tips, and handling and storage information. Information on proper disposal, the shelf life, and toxic information is often included for consumers.

Purchasing a wholesale lotion base is one alternative to making one from scratch. The lotion base can be transformed into a fragrance lotion by adding scents, such as fragrance oil, as desired. Some entrepreneurs make a living creating lotion bases and selling them online or locally. Anyone considering such a venture should review any local and regional laws that may impact sales.

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Discussion Comments

By ladyjane — On Jul 06, 2011

@Sierra02 - I agree with you that most commercial bath products are filled with harsh chemicals and it's difficult for people with extremely sensitive skin to locate a mild all natural cleanser.

There are a few oils that I've used in the past that my customers believe helped treat their eczema symptoms. There are several recipes online for making eczema soap and you can use them for the proportions depending on which oil you choose to add to the shea butter.

I generally add jojoba oil, avocado oil and almond or palm oil to my soap base for an all natural moisturizer. I've also heard that goat's milk mixed with coconut oil and jojoba oil work well at treating eczema too.

By Sierra02 — On Jul 05, 2011

There are very few commercial grade soaps on the market that don't contain some kind of artificial ingredients. Unfortunately my sister's step-daughter has eczema and they use prescription bath and body products on her skin.

I know that can get very expensive so I thought I would try and make her a special line of soaps and lotions using all natural ingredients.

I've already purchased the shea butter glycerin soap base but I'm not certain which combination of oils and herbs work best together at treating eczema. Does anyone have a good recipe they can share that you've had good results with?

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