See how to make a replenishing and hydrating DIY spray lotion! This homemade spray-on body moisturizer is easy to apply, leaving your skin instantly soft and refreshed. The ultralight formula is non-greasy and made with all-natural, nourishing ingredients. Suitable for all skin types!
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Homemade spray lotion
As much as I love my homemade rose lotion and body milk, sometimes I prefer a lighter option to give my skin a quick refresh. I love making my own homemade lotions and couldn’t resist the challenge of creating a DIY spray lotion.
Spray-on lotion is typically associated with spring and summer skin care, but I enjoy it all year round. The easy application and quick absorption make a convenient choice for busy – not to mention the excellent hydrating effect.
What is spray-on lotion?
Spray lotion is a body moisturizer applied with a spray bottle rather than a squeeze bottle or hand pump. Known for being light, spray lotion has the consistency of a fine mist and moisturizes the skin without feeling heavy.
How is spray lotion different from regular lotion and body milk?
Spray lotion is much lighter than other types of body lotion. The difference between spray-on lotion and traditional lotion is the water-to-oil ratio:
- Traditional body lotion has a viscous, pumpable texture and usually contains 80% water and 10-15% oils as well as thickening agents.
- Spray lotion is liquid. It consists of 90% water and just 5% liquid oils and doesn’t require a thickener.
Benefits of DIY body lotion spray
- Ultra-light: If you find regular lotion and body butter too heavy, then you’ll love the feather-light consistency of this sprayable body lotion. Your skin will feel touchably softer, yet you barely notice that you have anything on.
- Elegant, non-greasy skin feel: The body lotion spray absorbs quickly into the skin. It doesn’t leave a greasy film or sticky residue and won’t rub off by clothes.
- Natural, skin-friendly ingredients: I formulated the lotion mist with gentle ingredients that moisturize, nourish, and strengthen your skin. All materials are natural, plant-derived, and ECOCERT-approved.
- Easy application: Spray lotion got to be the easiest way to apply body lotion. The product allows an even application and gets those hard-to-reach spots a bit easier.
- Simple recipe: I have developed a unique one-pot lotion recipe that is quicker and easier than traditional methods.
Spray lotion ingredients
The full ingredient amounts can be found in the how-to box. Check the FAQ section at the end of the post to learn more about squalane, glyceryl caprylate, and Olivem 1000, including possible substitutions and tips for where to buy them.
- Distilled water provides hydration and acts as a solvent for the other ingredients. Water makes up nearly 88% of the formula and gives this homemade body lotion spray a super-light consistency.
- Squalane provides moisturization and strengthens the skin barrier without feeling heavy or greasy.
- Olivem 1000 is a naturally derived emulsifier and emollient. It provides deep moisturization and lends the lotion a silky touch and velvety skin feel.
- Glyceryl caprylate acts as a co-emulsifier and has excellent refatting and moisture-retaining qualities. The ingredient also features strong activity against bacteria + mold, making it an effective anti-acne agent.
- Sodium PCA (optional)occurs naturally in the skin and is a powerful hydrating agent and humectant. The material binds water to the cells and enhances the absorption of other ingredients.
- Essential oils (optional): I scented the spray lotion with a simple blend of botanical vanilla extract and tangerine.
- Preservative Eco (Geogard ECT) is a natural broad-spectrum preservative. It has antimicrobial activity and protects our water-based formulation against bacteria, yeast, and mold.
- Lactic acid: A few drops of lactic acid regulate the spray lotion’s pH to a skin-friendly level between 4.5 and 5.5.
Before you start preparing your DIY lotion spray, gather the following equipment:
- Digital scale to measure the ingredients. I’ve included measurements in cups and tablespoons for convenience, but a scale will deliver more accurate results.
- Large, heat-resistant glass jar to melt the Olivem 1000. A glass beaker is a good choice. I used a 16-oz mason jar.
- Small saucepan to set up a water bath.
- Milk frother or cosmetic blender to blend the water and oil phase and create the emulsion. This tool is essential. You can’t create an emulsion without it.
- Funnel to pour the liquid lotion into the spray bottle.
- Spray bottle to store and apply the skincare recipe.
How to make spray lotion
Lotions are water-oil emulsions. If you ever made a lotion, you probably know that the water and oil phases are heated separately.
My recipe takes a different approach: We heat and mix the water and oil phase in the same container. This one-pot method is so much easier and quicker than the more traditional ways of making lotion. You can learn more about this unique process in my easy homemade lotion tutorial.
Let me walk you through the steps:
Step 1: Set up a water bath
- Fill a medium-size saucepan with 1 in / 3 cm water. Bring the water to a gentle simmer on the stove. You want to see a little steam but no bubbles.
Step 2: Heat lotion base
- Add the distilled water, glyceryl caprylate, squalane, and Olivem 1000 into a large, heat-resistant glass jar. The oil and Olivem will float atop, and the water and glyceryl caprylate below – this is exactly how it’s supposed to be.
- Carefully place the jar into the water bath.
- Stirring occasionally, heat until the Olivem 1000 has completely melted.
- Once the Olivem has melted, hold the mixture for 2 minutes to ensure that everything is thoroughly heated.
Step 3: Make emulsion
- Take the jar out of the water bath and place it on a kitchen towel to catch water on the sides of the jar. The jar can be hot, so use an oven mitt to handle if necessary.
- Whip the mixture with a milk frother for 5 minutes blending the water and oil phase together. Move up and down inside the jar to get everywhere. The mixture will turn white and opaque as you blend, which indicates that the emulsion forms.
Step 4: Cool the emulsion
- Place the jar into the refrigerator to cool for 10 minutes.
- Then blend the emulsion for 2 more minutes.
- Chill for another 10 minutes and mix again. The jar should feel cool to the touch now.
Step 5: Add remaining ingredients
- Once the jar feels cool, add the preservative, lactic acid, essential oils, and sodium PCA.
- Blend the lotion with your milk frother until well incorporated, about 1 minute.
Step 6: Store
- Using a funnel, transfer the lotion into a spray bottle.
- Affix the spray nozzle and optionally apply the printable label. Your spray lotion is ready!
Tips for the best spray lotion
Follow these tips to ensure your DIY spray lotion turns out successfully:
- Clean and sanitize your equipment before you start to minimize the risk of microbial contamination. To disinfect your tools and work area, simply rub them down with disinfectant spray or rubbing alcohol.
- Melt the Olivem 1000 completely. Bits of unmelted Olivem will make the lotion spray gritty and clog the sprayer nozzle.
- Heat the ingredients thoroughly. If the lotion doesn’t emulsify properly, the materials didn’t get hot enough. You can fix this by reheating the lotion in the water bath until it liquifies again.
- Take your time to blend the emulsion. Don’t rush this step! It’s crucial to mix the mixture for several minutes to disperse the squalane and emulsifier throughout the water and form a stable emulsion.
- Chill the lotion before adding cool-down phase ingredients. Preservative Eco, essential oils, and most actives are heat-sensitive and degrade if exposed to high heat. Wait until the jar feels cool to the touch before mixing them in.
How to use spray lotion
- Shake. Shake the bottle for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Apply. Hold the nozzle close to your skin and spray until you feel product on your skin. Cover any area you want to moisturize, like your arms, upper body, neck, back, and legs. A little goes a long with this lotion. The lotion can make floors slippery, so stand on a towel when you spray your body.
- Distribute. Using your palms, gently massage the spray-on lotion into the skin.
- Add a second layer. The lotion is buildable, and you can apply a second layer if you wish.
- Let absorb. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes until the lotion has absorbed before applying other body care products and putting on clothes.
How often can I use spray-on lotion?
The product can be used daily.
When is the best time to apply spray moisturizer?
Apply lotion in the morning and/or evening, as an after-shower moisturizing spray, as after sun care, or whenever your skin needs a moisture break.
Can I combine spray-on lotion with other body moisturizers?
Absolutely! This DIY lotion recipe drenches your skin in moisture, but I understand that the lightweight formula may not be enough. If your skin tends to dry out quickly, apply an emollient-rich lotion or body butter on top to trap that moisture in the skin for longer.
What skin types is the lotion spray good for?
The body spray lotion is beneficial for all skin types! It provides hydration and moisturization for dry and mature skin and is gentle enough for sensitive and irritated skin.
If you have oily skin, you will appreciate the light formula. Squalane is balancing, doesn’t clog pores, and reduces the overproduction of oil.
Glyceryl caprylate has potent activity against yeast + bacteria and is said to improve acne and skin blemishes. Great for those dealing with chest or back acne!
Can I use it on my face?
Yes, you can use the DIY spray lotion as a light face moisturizer. If you like the formula and want to make this your everyday moisturizer, omit the essential oils. The facial skin is more delicate than the rest of the body, and you want to eliminate as many potential irritants as possible.
Storage and shelf life
- Packaging: A glass spray bottle is best because it allows you to apply DIY spray lotion without directly touching it. Amber glass offers the best protection, but clear glass is also fine if you store the lotion shielded from sunlight.
- Storage: I recommend keeping the lotion spray in the fridge. You can store it a room temperature, but some separation might occur. Avoid exposure to the sun as UV light degrades the quality of the ingredients.
- Shelf life: The body moisturizer should last for up to 6 months. Discard the product if you notice a change in smell or color.
My lotion spray is separating. Is it still okay to use?
Yes, the emulsion is still intact. Separation can occur naturally because of the high water content, especially when the spray is stored at room temperature. You may see a thin layer of clear liquid at the bottom of the bottle.
The spray is still good to use, though. Just give it a good shake to emulsify everything again.
Refrigeration is the best way to avoid separation in the moisture spray.
- 3/4 cup / 175 ml / 6 fl oz distilled water
- 1 tbsp / 17 g / 0.6 oz squalane (can sub for another liquid plant oil, e.g. jojoba oil or MTC oil)
- 1 tsp / 2 g / 0.07 oz glyceryl caprylate (can sub for a liquid solubilizer, see FAQ section below for more info)
- 1 tbsp / 5 g / 0.17 oz Olivem 1000
- 1/2 tsp / 2 g / 0.07 oz Preservative Eco (Geogard ECT)
- 3 drops lactic acid
- Set up a water bath. Fill a medium-size saucepan with 1 in / 3 cm water. Bring the water to a gentle simmer on the stove. You want to see a little steam but no bubbles.
- Heat lotion base. Add the distilled water, glyceryl caprylate, squalane, and Olivem 1000 into a large, heat-resistant glass jar. The oil and Olivem will float atop, and the water and glyceryl caprylate below – this is exactly how it's supposed to be. Carefully place the jar into the water bath. Stirring occasionally, heat until the Olivem 1000 has completely melted. Once the Olivem has melted, hold the mixture for 2 minutes to ensure that everything is thoroughly heated.
- Make emulsion. Take the jar out of the water bath and place it on a kitchen towel to catch water on the sides of the jar. The jar can be hot, so use an oven mitt to handle if necessary. Whip the mixture with a milk frother for 5 minutes blending the water and oil phase together. Move up and down inside the jar to get everywhere. The mixture will turn white and opaque as you blend, which indicates that the emulsion forms.
- Cool the emulsion. Place the jar into the refrigerator to cool for 10 minutes. Then blend the emulsion for 2 more minutes. Chill for another 10 minutes and mix again. The jar should feel cool to the touch now.
- Add remaining ingredients. Once the jar feels cool, add the preservative, lactic acid, essential oils, and sodium PCA. Blend the lotion with your milk frother until well incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Store. Using a funnel, transfer the lotion into a spray bottle. Affix the spray nozzle and optionally apply the printable label. Your spray lotion is ready!
DIY lotion spray FAQ
Can you put lotion in a spray bottle?
No, lotion is best reserved for a pump dispenser or squeeze bottle. The consistency of regular body lotion is too thick and dense to pass through a sprayer nozzle. You would only ruin your spray bottle.
Can you turn lotion into spray?
No, it’s not possible to turn a ready-made lotion into spray. You may find some recipes only that advise diluting lotion in boiling water, but I doubt they work.
Lotion is susceptible to heat, and the emulsion will break in hot water. The recipe I saw also didn’t include any preservatives, which is a health hazard.
What is squalane?
Squalane (with an “a”) is the hydrogenated form of squalene (with an “e”). Squalene is a lipid that your skin cells produce naturally. As you age, the natural squalene content lessens, and your skin feels drier.
Applying squalane topically helps to replenish the squalene in your skin and boosts hydration + collagen production. Using the ingredient regularly can also fight signs of premature skin aging and make your skin look smoother and more radiant.
Where can I buy squalane?
Squalane can easily be found online and in beauty supply stores:
You can use Hemisqualane or another liquid plant oil you have or like, for example, fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, or MTC oil.
What is Olivem 1000?
Olivem 1000 is a PEG-free emulsifier, thickener, and multi-functional ingredient. It provides deep moisturization, especially for dry and mature skin, and improves the texture and spreadability of the lotion.
The INCI name is: Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate
Where can I buy Olivem 1000?
Olivem is very easy to find. Try one of the following destinations:
Olivem 1000 substitute
I recommend you stick to Olivem 1000 for the best texture. You may substitute it with Ritamulse SCG (aka ECOmulse, Emulsimulse, Plantasens HP30) or Olivem 900. Just note that they will result in a thicker texture.
What is glyceryl caprylate?
Glyceryl caprylate is a monoester of glycerol with caprylic acid and has a white, creamy appearance. It acts as an emulsifier, solubilizer, and preservative all in one. This fascinating, multi-purpose raw material can do a lot for skin care:
- Emulsifier: Glyceryl caprylate is a wonderful co-emulsifier and stabilizes oil-in-water emulsions (like this lotion spray).
- Emollient: The skin-friendly ingredient has refatting qualities and regulates moisture in the skin. It also improves the absorption of other ingredients.
- Preservative: Glyceryl caprylate has strong antimicrobial activity and can boost or even replace other preservatives.
- Anti-acne agent: Its anti-bacterial effect makes glyceryl caprylate an excellent ingredient to improve back and chest acne.
Where can I buy glyceryl caprylate?
Glyceryl caprylate is readily available in the UK, Europe, and Australia, but I couldn’t locate a distributor in North America. Some of the following shops ship internationally, so you can order the product in the US and Canada.
*exports to North America
Glyceryl caprylate substitute
These emulsifiers don’t have the anti-bacterial properties of glyceryl caprylate. However, they will still work well as an emulsifying agent in this spray lotion recipe. You need 1 tsp / 5 g / oz.