See how to make cherry blossom lotion! Enriched with antioxidant-rich cherry blossom extract and cherry blossom-infused squalane, this homemade body lotion recipe provides serious moisture. The velvety formula sinks in quickly and helps your skin stay hydrated and glowing.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Learn more
DIY Japanese cherry blossom lotion
The graceful cherry blossom is popular in spring skincare products. From Bath & Body Works to Nivea and The Body Shop, many beauty brands have a cherry blossom lotion in their lineup.
And while these products sound lovely, none contain any actual cherry blossoms. They are also scented with synthetic fragrances and contain questionable materials such as parabens and Disodium EDTA, which I’d rather avoid putting on my skin.
My Japanese cherry blossom lotion is made with all-natural, skin-safe ingredients and features real cherry blossoms in 2 forms: We’ll be using dried Japanese Sakura blossoms to create an oil infusion. And a cherry blossom extract further boosts the skincare qualities of this lotion.
Add to that a natural cherry blossom essential oil blend, and you have a beautifully scented and silky soft body lotion. The formula absorbs fast and is deeply moisturizing, leaving your skin hydrated and smooth. I’m truly so excited for you to try this lotion!
Skincare benefits of cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms are not just beautiful to look at, but the delicate spring blooms also offer a few potential skincare benefits. And yes, these benefits are backed up by science! If you want to investigate further, check out the studies I have linked to.
- Protecting: Cherry blossoms are extremely high in antioxidants, which fight free radicals and protect the skin’s natural barrier from oxidative damage and premature skin aging. (source)
- Soothing: The anti-inflammatory qualities associated with cherry blossoms can calm redness and skin irritation.
- Nourishing: The fatty acids in cherry blossoms help nourish the skin and increase hydration.
- Brightening: Cherry blossom is said to create a more even skin tone by regulating the production of melanin, which is the cause of hyperpigmentation. (source)
- Anti-aging: In addition to antioxidants, Sakura blossoms have anti-glycation compounds that help restore radiance and generate collagen and elastin. (source) Glycation is a process where sugar binds to the body’s proteins and destroys the skin’s building blocks (collagen and elastin), thereby leading to wrinkles and sagging skin.
When making DIY body lotion, the right ingredients are key. I recommend using high-quality materials so that your lotion offers the best skincare. Exact measurements are listed below in the printable recipe card.
- Dried cherry blossoms are used to make a floral oil infusion where the dreamy petals macerate in squalane, releasing the skin-soothing qualities into the oil. This cherry blossom oil is then mixed into the lotion.
- Cherry blossom extract (optional) offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and boosts the skin-soothing quality of this cherry blossom lotion. More on this in a moment.
- Squalane: To create a cherry blossom-infused oil, we need squalane, an oil-like emollient. Squalane is ultra-light, non-greasy, and absorbs quickly, providing excellent moisturization and making the skin super soft. I could rave on and on, but in the interest of time, just believe me that squalane is absolutely magical for skin care.
- Mango butter is pressed from mango seeds and has a creamy, rich texture. The butter helps to thicken the cherry lotion and lends a beautifully dry, powdery finish without any greasiness.
- Distilled water is best for lotion making. I don’t recommend tap water because it contains metals and minerals that will shorten the shelf life of your cherry blossom body lotion.
- Vegetable glycerin is a humectant and helps to lock moisture into the skin.
- Olivem 1000 is a natural emulsifier derived from olive oil. This emulsifying agent is easy to work with, contributes some thickening, and creates a light, cushiony skin feel.
- Preservative: I opted for Preservative ECO (Geogard ETC), a natural broad-spectrum preservative. It’s one of my favorites for creams + lotions and meets COSMOS and ECOCERT standards.
- Cherry blossom scent: Lastly, we want to infuse our lotion with a natural cherry blossom fragrance. Since cherry blossom essential oil doesn’t exist, Irena created a beautiful cherry blossom essential oil blend, which I’m sharing below.
I also recommend having a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol at hand to sanitize your equipment and a pump bottle or storage container.
Before continuing with the tutorial, I want to spotlight the 3 stars of this homemade lotion, dried Sakura, cherry blossom extract, and our cherry blossom essential oil blend.
Dried Sakura blossoms
For this lotion, I purchased edible dried Sakura cherry blossoms, a Japanese food specialty. The blooms are preserved in salt and plum vinegar, which gives a subtle blossom scent and helps to retain their beautiful pink color.
As mentioned, we’ll be using the dainty petals to infuse the squalane. Oil infusions are a fantastic method to extract active components from plant materials and reap the benefits these plants offer.
You can order these beauties online. They are available on Amazon, Etsy, and the Anything From Japan store. You don’t need much, just 2 grams are enough. Use leftovers to make Irena’s whipped cherry blossom soap.
Cherry blossom extract
When I looked for more ways to infuse the lotion with the benefits of cherry blossoms, I discovered this cherry blossom extract from Formulator Sample Shop.
The plant extract is made with sunflower oil and cherry blossom extract. It offers the same skin-soothing and anti-aging benefits as dried cherry blossoms, just in a more concentrated form.
Cherry blossom extract looks upon a long tradition in Japanese skincare products.
The extract is a bit pricey and not widely available, so I’ve listed the ingredient as optional. It’s perfectly fine to omit the extract if you can’t find it or want to reduce costs. Your cherry blossom lotion will still be amazing!
Cherry blossom essential oil
Cherry blossoms emit a delicate floral scent, composed of light notes of lilac, rose, magnolia, and a powdery vanilla aroma.
Sadly, there’s no such thing as cherry blossom essential oil. The scent of the petals is too faint and fleeting to be distilled into an essential oil.
You’ll occasionally come across products labeled “cherry blossom essential oil,” but those are synthetic fragrance oils most likely.
Luckily, Irena created an essential oil blend reminiscent of the gorgeous Sakura blossoms. The following amounts are enough to scent 1 batch of cherry blossom lotion. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 120 drops rhododendron essential oil – Rhododendron features a light floral smell with slightly balsamic and herbaceous notes. It’s an excellent stand-in for cherry blossom oil.
- 36 drops vetiver essential oil – Vetiver adds a fresh green aroma typical for cherry blossoms.
- 24 drops Peru balsam essential oil – Peru balsam provides those sweet, vanillic undertones found in Sakura. You can substitute vanilla oleoresin or absolute.
Cherry blossoms also feature hints of marzipan aroma. Preservative Eco possesses a lovely bitter almond smell, which perfectly rounds out the cherry blossom fragrance.
In her post, Irena also shares several more cherry blossom essential oil blends, including fruity and sweet-smelling oils. Be sure to check that out if you’re interested to learn more about cherry blossom essential oil.
How to make cherry blossom lotion
Making Japanese cherry blossom lotion is easier than you think! First, you need to warm the water and oil phases, blend the two, and finish your lotion with the preservative, cherry blossom extract, and scent. Let’s go over the process step-by-step:
Step 1: Sanitize equipment
- Before getting started, it’s a good idea to sanitize your equipment and storage vessel. Spray all tools with 70% isopropyl alcohol and let air dry.
Step 2: Make cherry blossom infusion
- Add the squalane and dried cherry blossoms into a small lab beaker or glass jar.
- Fill a small saucepan with 1/2 in / 1.5 cm water and place the beaker containing the squalane inside. Steep over medium-low to low heat for 20 minutes. Then take out of the water bath.
Step 3: Water phase
- Pour the distilled water and glycerin into a large lab beaker or heat-resistant glass jar.
Step 4: Oil phase
- Place the infused squalane oil, mango butter, and Olivem 1000 into a separate glass beaker/jar.
Step 5: Set up a water bath
- Create a water bath by filling a large pot with water and placing both jars in the pot.
Step 6: Heat water and oil phase
- Heat over a low flame until the oils and Olivem have completely melted. The water should not boil, only mildly simmer. Be mindful of heat and steam when handling the jars.
- After all ingredients are melted, take the oil and water phase out of the water bath. Be careful the jars may be hot.
Step 7: Blend until smooth
- Place the stick blender in the water phase and start blending to create a vortex. Slowly pour in the oil phase while mixing constantly. It takes a moment to emulsify the ingredients, so don’t be alarmed if you see the phases separating.
- Keep blending until the two phases are combined, and a homogenous emulsion has formed. It will be white and creamy. This process takes approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 8: Add cool down phase ingredients
- Mix in the cherry blossom extract, essential oils, and preservative. Let the lotion cool to room temperature.
Step 9: Store lotion
- Transfer the cream into a pump dispenser or glass jar.
Tips for success
Before starting, read through the helpful tips that I’ve put together to help you make Japanese cherry blossom body lotion successfully!
- Keep everything clean and sterile. Ensure that you are working in a clean, sterile environment. This includes utensils, mixing containers, and the work surface.
- The water and oil phase must be at the same temperature when you combine them. Separation usually occurs when the water and oil phases aren’t at the same temperature. The easiest way to achieve this is to heat the water and oils in the same pot for the same amount of time.
- Use an immersion blender for mixing. The water phase and oil phase combine best at high speed. If you don’t blend the lotion properly or the speed is too low, the emulsifier will not bind the 2 phases and separate.
- Fix separated lotion. Not all is lost if separation happens, and chances are you can salvage the batch. Gently reheat the lotion in a double boiler, constantly stirring, until liquid again. Reblend the mixture until the cream cools and stabilizes.
How to use cherry blossom lotion
Using cherry blossom lotion is super simple! Put a coin-sized dollop on your palm and massage the lotion gently into your skin, distributing the product evenly on each part of your body.
The best time to apply lotion is after a shower or bath, when your skin is slightly damp. The lotion will lock any reaming moisture into your skin and provide the best hydration.
I formulated this lotion recipe is for the body, and don’t recommend applying it to your face. The delicate facial skin requires creams intended for the face.
A 14-oz to 16-oz glass pump bottle is the best storage vessel for your cherry blossom lotion. Pump bottles allow you to take out lotion without directly touching the product, which is important to guarantee the best possible shelf life.
You can find a great selection of beautiful pump bottles on Amazon. Amber glass bottles are ideal as they block out sunlight and will not react with the lotion. If using clear glass or plastic, be sure to keep your lotion in a dark location.
Of course, you can also store your lotion in a cream jar or a flip-top jar. These refillable 8-oz amber glass cosmetic jars are perfect for storing lotion, body butter, and sugar scrubs.
Once you have a pump bottle, you might be wondering how to get the lotion through the small opening. Easy! First, fill the cherry blossom body lotion into a disposable pastry (piping) bag or large zip-lock freezer bag. Then snip off the tip/a corner and squeeze it into the bottle.
As a finishing touch, decorate your lotion with a printable label. I created a simple square label that will fit on most 8 oz to 10 oz cosmetic bottles. I recommend printing it on vinyl sticker paper to protect the design from smudging.
Storage & shelf life
How to store cherry blossom lotion
Store your cherry blossom in a dark, cool place such as a cupboard or cabinet. Bathrooms aren’t the best place to store lotion. The high humidity and temperature fluctuations can cause splitting and shorten the shelf life.
Furthermore, you also want to minimize sun exposure. Essential oils and most active ingredients are light-sensitive, and UV light will alter their composition.
Sakura body lotion shelf life
Stored properly, this body lotion will last for up to 6 months. Discard the product if you notice a change in smell or color. And if you plan on making this cherry lotion for sale, you should challenge test it to determine the exact shelf life.
- 1 cup / 230 g / 8.1 oz distilled water
- 1/2 tbsp / 10 g / 0.3 oz vegetable glycerin
- 1/3 cup / 60 g / 2 oz squalane
- 3 tbsp / 40 g / 1.4 oz mango butter
- 1/4 cup / 4 g / 0.14 oz dried cherry blossoms
- 1 tbsp / 6 g / 0.2 oz Olivem 1000
- 1 tsp / 5 g / 0.17 oz cherry blossom extract (optional)
- 120 drops rhododendron essential oil
- 36 drops vetiver essential oil
- 24 drops Peru balsam essential oil
- 70 drops / 3.5 g / 0.1 oz Preservative ECO (Geogard ETC)
- Sanitize equipment. Before getting started, it's a good idea to sanitize your equipment and storage vessel. Spray all tools with 70% isopropyl alcohol and let air dry.
- Make cherry blossom infusion. Add the squalane and dried cherry blossoms into a small lab beaker or glass jar. Fill a small saucepan with 1/2 in / 1.5 cm water and place the beaker containing the squalane inside. Steep over medium-low to low heat for 20 minutes. Then take out of the water bath.
- Water phase. Pour the distilled water and glycerin into a large lab beaker or heat-resistant glass jar.
- Oil phase. Place the infused squalane oil, mango butter, and Olivem 1000 into a separate glass beaker/jar.
- Set up a water bath. Create a water bath by filling a large pot with water and placing both jars in the pot.
- Heat water and oil phase. Heat over a low flame until the oils and Olivem have completely melted. The water should not boil, only mildly simmer. Be mindful of heat and steam when handling the jars. After all ingredients are melted, take the oil and water phase out of the water bath. Be careful the jars may be hot.
- Blend until smooth. Place the stick blender in the water phase and start blending to create a vortex. Slowly pour in the oil phase while mixing constantly. It takes a moment to emulsify the ingredients, so don't be alarmed if you see the phases separating. Keep blending until the two phases are combined, and a homogenous emulsion has formed. It will be white and creamy. This process takes approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add cool down phase ingredients. Mix in the cherry blossom extract, essential oils, and preservative. Let the lotion cool to room temperature.
- Store lotion. Transfer the cream into a pump dispenser or glass jar.
Can I substitute other dried flowers?
Absolutely! This lotion recipe will work with any dried botanicals. Feel free to substitute cherry blossoms with the same amount of dried rose petals, lavender buds, calendula, hibiscus, cornflowers, or peppermint leaves.
Is an emulsifier really necessary?
Yes, emulsifiers are an integral part of lotions. Lotions, by definition, are water-oil emulsions. The water part hydrates the skin, while the oil component moisturizes and protects from dryness.
On their own, water and oil don’t mix. The emulsifier is essential to create a stable emulsion, where water and oil particles are harmoniously mixed and remain emulsified for long periods of time.
Can I use another emulsifier?
Though I haven’t tested it, you can probably prepare this cherry lotion recipe with Emulsifying Wax NF or Polawax. Each emulsifier works differently, so you will have to experiment to get the texture and feel right.
Why do I need a preservative?
When you make DIY skin care with water or water-based ingredients, you create a breeding ground for microorganisms to grow.
It takes only a couple of hours for bacteria to infest unpreserved lotion, and a few days for mold to spread. You may not see these microbes, but they are still there and can potentially cause irritation and infection if applied to the skin.
Preservatives are the only way to keep lotion safe and halt the spread of those nasties in lotion. I will reiterate that preservatives are a must for water-based body lotion recipes.
Jan Berry from The Nerdy Farmwife conducted an experiment comparing the microbial growth in preserved vs. unpreserved lotions. It’s a great resource to learn more about the importance of proper preservation.
Can I use other preservatives?
Yes, Leucidal SF Complete and Geogard Ultra are excellent natural preservatives you could use in place of Preservative ECO. Both preservatives have a higher usage rate, so you would have to adapt the formula accordingly.
Liquid Germall Plus is another highly effective preservative. This preservative isn’t natural but very reliable and will give your lotion a shelf life of 1+ years.