How to Make a Simple Shea Butter Lotion

Making lotion doesn't have to be a complicated affair. Learn how to make a basic lotion featuring shea butter, none of the additives and all the essentials....

Making lotion doesn't have to be a complicated affair. Learn how to make a basic lotion featuring shea butter, none of the additives and all the essentials. You'll love it for its simplicity. Let’s get started!


  • 2 heat-safe containers.
  • 2 pots of water.
  • Electric mixer.
  • Kitchen scale.
  • Thermometer.
  • Funnel.
  • Bottle or jar.

All lotions are made up of three basic ingredients: water, oil and an emulsifier; combined in three main phases: the water phase, the oil phase and the cool down phase.

Ingredients are measured by weight, in grams for accuracy. This recipe makes approximately 200 grams or 7oz of finished lotion.

Water Phase

  • 130g distilled water.
  • 5g vegetable glycerin.

Oil Phase

  • 10g shea butter (any kind).
  • 20g fractionated coconut oil.
  • 10g sweet almond oil.
  • 10g emulsifying wax.

Cool Down Phase

  • 1g preservative (I’m using Germall Plus - a broad spectrum non-paraben based preservative, but any other broad spectrum based preservative will do).
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil or other skin-safe fragrance (optional).

1. The Water Phase

Step 1

Using the scale, weigh out your water directly into a heat safe container.


Step 2

Add the glycerin to the water and stir to incorporate.


Step 3

Put the whole water phase container into a pot of water to create a double boiler and heat until 70C.


2. The Oil Phase

Step 1

Using the scale weigh out your emulsifier.


Step 2

Add the shea butter and other oils.


Step 3

Put the oil phase container into another pot of water and heat until 70C.


3. Emulsify

Step 1

Once both the oil phase and water phase have reached 70C, remove both from heat and begin agitating the water phase with an electric mixer.


Step 2

Slowly add the oil phase to the water phase while mixing to begin the emulsification.


Step 3

Continue to mix for at least three minutes.


Step 4

Use the thermometer to monitor the temperature. Allow the lotion to cool to 45C. While your lotion cools, feel free to continue mixing.


4. The Cool Down Phase

Step 1

Once the lotion has reached 45C, it’s time to add the preservative.

For a preservative, I’m using Germall Plus, a broad spectrum preservative that’s effective against mold and bacteria and has a non-paraben based. Preservatives are necessary for any formula that uses water to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.


Step 2

Add the essential oil or fragrance. You can use any skin-safe essential oil or fragrance. I’m using lavender essential oil. Mix well.


Step 3

Allow the lotion to cool for about 30 minutes and then use a funnel to transfer the lotion to bottles. You can also just spoon your lotion into jars.


Step 4

Allow to cool to room temperature before capping with a bottle pump or jar lid.


You're Done!

You just learned how to make a very simple moisturising lotion with shea butter. Nice work! Why not try experimenting with your own oils, butters and fragrances. You can also make a label for your bottle and package it up as a very special handmade gift.

Do you like making your own beauty products? How did you go with this tutorial?