Avoiding Contamination While Making Goat Milk Lotion
How to Make Natural Lotion without Mold or Bacteria
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Making goat milk lotion isn’t difficult, but there are some steps that shouldn’t be avoided.
When making goat milk lotion, care must be taken to reduce and attempt to eliminate any possible bacteria. Goat milk lotion can provide many great skin benefits from the nutrients found in goat’s milk. These include iron, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamins C, D, and E, copper, and selenium. Our skin has the ability to absorb many of the nutrients that are applied to it and will love these goat milk properties. However, lotion’s high water content can allow mold and bacteria to proliferate. Even though a preservative may help reduce this occurrence, you must begin with as little bacteria as possible. Preservatives can prevent bacteria from reproducing, but they do not kill existing bacteria. For this reason, I highly recommend using pasteurized goat milk as opposed to raw goat milk to make your lotion. Be sure to keep your lotion in the fridge. As opposed to soap where the milk undergoes a chemical change during the saponification process, lotion is merely a suspension of ingredients. The milk can and will still go rancid especially if left at room temperature. Plan on using your lotion within four to eight weeks.
You have some freedom in this recipe to cater to your particular lotion desires. When it comes to your choice of oils used in lotion, you can use whatever oil you like. The choice of oil can affect how well or how quickly your lotion absorbs into the skin. For example, olive oil is very moisturizing but takes longer to absorb fully into the skin and can leave it feeling greasy for a while. By knowing what a certain oil does for the skin, you can make a knowledgeable decision for your oils in the goat milk lotion. While I usually love cocoa butter in lotion, I found the combined scents of the unrefined cocoa butter and goat’s milk to be quite unpleasant. For this reason, I would recommend using either shea butter or coffee butter. Emulsifying wax is what holds the water-based ingredients and the oil-based ingredients together without separating into layers. Not just any wax can act as an emulsifier. There are several different waxes that can be used. These include Polawax, BTMS-50, or generic emulsifying wax. While there are not any co-emulsifiers in this particular recipe, they can be added to help stabilize the emulsion and prevent separation. There are several preservatives on the market such as Germaben, Phenonip, and Optiphen. While antioxidants such as vitamin E oil and grapefruit seed extract can slow down the rate of oils going rancid in your products, they do not prevent bacteria growth and do not count as a preservative.
Once you assemble your ingredients and before making your lotion, disinfect all supplies that will touch any part of the lotion during the process. You can accomplish this by soaking all tools (containers, immersion blender, scraping and mixing tools, thermometer tip) for a couple of minutes in a 5 percent bleach solution and allowing to air dry. You really do not want to introduce bacteria or mold spores into your lotion as they will quickly multiply. No one wants to rub E. coli, staphylococcus bacteria, or mold all over their skin. In addition to the recipe ingredients, you will need a food thermometer, two microwave-safe containers for heating and mixing, a food scale, an immersion blender (a stand blender will also work if you don’t have access to an immersion blender), something to scrape the sides of the containers, a small bowl for measuring the preservative and essential oil, a container in which to store your lotion, and possibly a funnel to help pour the lotion into your container.
Goat Milk Lotion Recipe
- 5.25 oz distilled water
- 5.25 oz pasteurized goat milk
- 1.1 oz oils (I like sweet almond or apricot kernel oil because they are odorless)
- .85 oz butter (I recommend shea butter or coffee butter)
- .6 oz emulsifying wax (I used BTMS-50)
- .5 oz sodium lactate
- .3 oz preservative (I use Optiphen)
- .1 oz essential oil of choice
Pour your goat milk and distilled water into a microwave-safe container.
In a second microwave-safe container, combine your oils and butters with the emulsifying wax and sodium lactate. If you are using a co-emulsifier, also add it at this step.
Heat both containers in the microwave using short bursts until each reaches a temperature around 130-140⁰ Fahrenheit and the butters are melted.
Add your oils mixture to your goat milk mixture. Using your immersion blender, blend for two to five minutes. You may need to blend for 30 seconds with a 30-second rest between as many immersion blenders do not favor continuous blending. If you do not have an immersion blender, a regular blender may work using short bursts.
Check the temperature of your mixture to be sure that it is within the recommended range for the preservative you are using. For this recipe, the mixture should be about 120⁰ Fahrenheit or a little less.
Add your preservative and any soap scents, essential oils, or extracts you may choose. It is best if they are already at room temperature. I prefer using Optiphen as my preservative because it is both paraben-free and formaldehyde-free. Verify that any fragrance oils are skin-safe, and don’t trigger fragrance sensitivity, before using. Use similar care with essential oils, researching the benefits and cautions prior, as some of the best essential oils for soap making may still cause reactions.
Blend again with your immersion blender for at least a minute. At this point, the solution should hold together and look like lotion. If it is still separating, continue to blend until it stays mixed. It may still be a little runny, but the lotion will thicken and set as it cools. Mine was still very liquid when I poured it into the containers, but by morning it was fully set as a nice thick lotion.
Pour your lotion into your bottle and allow to fully cool before putting the cap on to prevent condensation. Remember to store your finished lotion in the fridge and use within 4-8 weeks. For those of you who are still not convinced that goat milk lotion needs to be kept in the fridge even with a preservative, I divided my lotion into two containers. One container was placed in the fridge while the other was left on the kitchen counter. By the third day, the lotion sitting on the counter had separated with a cloudy, watery layer at the bottom, but the lotion in the fridge had not separated at all. Goat milk lotion may be great for your skin, but it is NOT shelf-stable and MUST be refrigerated.
Have you tried making goat milk lotion? Let us know your experiences!
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Can you tell me the purpose of the sodium lactate in your goat’s milk lotion recipe? What does it bring to the recipe? – Jannalynn
It’s a humectant that draws moisture toward the skin, so the oils actually soak in and benefit the skin instead of just staying on top. This reduces the greasy feeling, as well. – Marissa
Do you also soak your lotion bottles and pump lids? I just discovered mold inside my lids today. Lotion looked fine, however. – Minford
If you see mold inside the lid, then I recommend sanitizing with a bleach or alcohol solution. Many lotions can go bad, especially goat milk lotion, and up in the lid is also an area where moisture can evaporate and collect, creating the perfect environment for mold to grow. – Marissa
I also add a small amount of mica powder to tinted my lotions. Is this a bad idea due to possible contamination? – Minford
The little bit of mica powder wouldn’t be as much of an issue as a dirty bottle or unclean hands since it’s not a material that would naturally harbor bacteria. – Marissa
Do you prefer Optiphen or Germaben? – Minford
Germaben II is a complete, wide-ranging preservative that protects against many molds, yeasts, and bacterias. Optiphen protects against molds and bacterias but is best in environments with a minimum of moisture. Whether to use Optiphen or Germaben II depends upon what ingredients are in your lotion. Specifically, if there is any ingredient that contains water — aloe gel or aqueous extracts, for example — in your lotion, you need to use Germaben II. Optiphen is best used in water-free products like body butters and scrubs. Optiphen is further recommended only for products with a pH between 4-8, so that needs to be taken into consideration. – Melanie