How to Package and Label Your Handmade Lotion

So you’ve made this wonderful lotion and now you are ready for the fun part. Giving it to your friends (or selling it to your customers)! You can’t just hand them your pyrex cup full of lotion though. You need some swanky containers with fabulous labels! Believe it or not, if you are just wanting to make a few lotions for your friends, you can get some pretty nice bottles with flip-top caps at Walmart in the travel-size toiletries area of the Health & Beauty section. However, if you are ready to start selling to customers, you’ll need more than just a few bottles.

Here are some of my favorite container resources if you need more options (I have ordered from all of these before): in GA
SKS Bottle in NY
Majestic Mountain Sage in UT
ED Luce Packaging in CA

Once you have your containers, you might be wondering how to get the lotion from the pyrex cup into the small opening of your bottle. Easy! I recommend using a ziplock freezer bag (quart or gallon, depending on the size of your batch). Just snip off a corner, and squeeze it in! If you are selling your lotion, be sure to weigh the amount that goes into the bottle so you can put that number on your labels.

About labeling. You could go to the office supply store and get some labels. But they probably won’t hold up very well. My all-time favorite place to order labels from is called Labels By the Sheet because it’s just what it says. Need one sheet of labels? Then order one sheet! Need a whole case of labels? You’ll get a better price. They have every size, every color, inkjet or laser, waterproof or non-waterproof. Inexpensive shipping. What more could you possibly want?

Another thing about labeling. If you plan to sell your lotion, there are some rules about what information needs to be on your label. Marie Gale has a wonderful book with easy-to-understand information about how to be legal about your labels called Soap and Cosmetic Labeling.

Need someone to help you with a label template? I would recommend checking out the label service at Majestic Mountain Sage. You can see what the owner drew up as an idea for a label, and what the label service came up with here.

Finally, I will reiterate that if you are planning to sell your lotion, you should have it challenge tested to be sure there aren’t any nasties in it, and your preservative is effective. Again, I can recommend Dr. Cindy Jones of Sagescript Institute to test your lotions for you.

This post is the final part of our lotion making series. If you missed the tutorial, you can start with the introduction, and work your way through. Comments are appreciated, so if this information has been helpful to you, please let me know!

Page with Comments

  1. I always wanted to have my lotion tested but didn’t know where to start. Thank you for all of the helpful links!!

  2. I got the butter! It is so smooth and smells yummy. Thank you again. I am going to write about it in a post coming up.

    I was wondering how you packaged it, lol.

    Midwest Mommy’s last blog post..Sometimes It’s Hard

  3. Sorry if this gets posted twice. Lost connection the first time!

    I just wanted to thank you for the great tutorial. I also wonder if you can help me out. I had tried to make a couple batches of a recipe I had found. I would be mixing my lotion, at first just for a couple minutes, but then constantly while it cooled, and everything would look great. But as the emulsion cooled, the liquid simply came crashing out of solution. The result was about half the quantity of water being left over, and a nasty thick lotion glob floating in it. Do you know why this would have happened?

    .5 oz shea butter
    .5 oz beeswax
    1 oz jojoba
    6 oz water
    + additives and preservative

    Thanks so much!


  4. From what I understand, beeswax is not a stable emulsifier on its own. I’ve seen recipes that combine beeswax and borax as a system, and even those can be tricky. If you really want great results and easy lotion, I HIGHLY recommend using emulsifying wax. In fact, you could sub it straight out for the amount of beeswax you have been using, and have a really nice thick lotion.

  5. Hi Amy, I just wanted to say thanks so much for sharing your information with us all, its so great to have first hand experiences from someone who has done it before. You really are very generous. Thanks again, all the best from the UK

  6. i am new to making lotion. i am finding that in my recipe my lotion is too thin and runny. i cut down on water and added additional wax, still too thin. can anyone tell me what a really nice thickener is? i would really appreciate any input. bridget

  7. @bridget – Are your ratios of liquids, wax and oils in the range that I suggested on this post? Could be you just need to use more solid butters like shea butter or cocoa butter. They will thicken up lotion in a hurry!

  8. I buy my containers from Sunburst Bottle Co. Their website is the easiest I have found to navigate and their prices are unbeatable in my opinion. Everything comes very well packaged and they usually have promotions for free shipping and such.

  9. I am a little confused, i am making lotions and such… but i want to keep mine 100% organic/natural. But the emulsifying wax you are referring to isn’t. Do you know of one? and do you know of a preservative and antioxidant that is natural as well?

  10. @Heidi – I don’t know of any emulsifiers that are 100% natural unless you want to try the borax and beeswax route. I’ve heard it can be rather difficult to work with though! There are several options for natural preservatives but they can either be stinky or difficult to work with. The seasoned lotionmakers that I know all recommend using something in the optiphen family. And as far as I know vitamin E would be considered a natural antioxidant. Just make sure if you are selling your lotions to have your recipe challenge tested to make sure they aren’t growing anything nasty.

  11. You have detailed tips here! You have a generous heart to share them. Label or labeling is really important. Apart from the purpose of easy brand recognition, it is ideal in the proper education of consumers.No matter how safe your ingredients are, some of them can still cause irritation on some consumers…Yeah, and it is good to have a guideline on doing them.

  12. Amy, thank you sooooo very much for this information. The Lord had to have led me to you, because I had been online for hours looking for ways to package my lotion. Blessings and more blessings be yours forever and ever.

  13. I know this is an old post, but I was wondering how often a lotion recipe needs to be tested? I only plan on making occasional small batches of lotion and thought it would be pricey to get each batch challenge tested. Is it ok to get the initial formulation challenge tested and then for each sequential batch just test for the mold/yeast and bacterial counts to see if the preservative is effective? And you mentioned about re-testing the lotion every so many months to make sure the preservative is holding. Should this be done each month for 6 months to a year before even attempting to sell? Sorry for all of the questions but I want to make sure I am doing the right thing so make the best product for potential customers. Plus, if it will be too pricey for me to go through all of the testing of my lotion recipe right now, then I’ll hold off and stick to lotion bars and such. I’ve been selling soaps for awhile, but am hoping to expand into additional products. thanks so much for your help! Love your informative blog!

  14. @slfranklin – The idea is simply to test your final formula. Sagescript Institute can give you an estimate of the shelf life of your product after one test. It’s best to test a fresh batch, as well as an older batch – say 6 months to a year old – of the same formula to see how it holds up.

  15. Hi.. Thank you so much. Can you suggest a machine to transfer the solution from a 5 gallon pale to an 8oz bottle?

  16. Great article! I am wondering about sealing the containers of lotion. You know those thin plastic pieces of film that cover the lotion and have adhesive around the rim. Let’s the customer know the item has not been tampered with. Thanks.

  17. @Sally – Great question! The only way you can do this without commercial equipment is to use the foam tamper-resistant seals. The only place I know of that carries them for lotion bottles is

  18. I have been making lotion for about six months now and decided to formulated two new batches. They turned out great on our skin so I bottle them up. The next day my full bottles were 3/4 full, the lotion seemed to have “settled” (for lack of a better term). I though maybe when I was blending the lotion I accidentally let the blender get to close to the top of the emulsion allowing for air to mix in so I made a second batch ensuring I did not blend to long or allow air into the emulsion. I ended up with the same issue, settling lotion. I had to use a couple of the bottles to fill the remaining ones. Have you ever had this issue? Thank you

  19. @Kim – I always put my lotion in a freezer ziplock bag and wait until it is completely cool before bottling. It prevents condensation from forming, and it would probably solve your problem.

  20. Thank you for the tip. I will try it because we all love how the lotion feels and how long the effect last. I really didn’t want to change the formulation if it was not necessary.

  21. Should I have every single batch tested? I make small batches (48oz) at a time. I have sent three batches so far to get tested but it is very costly and I am just starting out and $$ is very tight. what do you suggest?

  22. @Monique – Once you have your recipe established (it passes the challenge testing and you are using the same recipe), if you are using Good Manufacturing Practices you won’t need to get every batch tested.

  23. Thanks for such a useful and helpful post. I make my own lotion, but the process is a little different. I will definitely try your formula next time. I use Infinity Jars for my lotion. The jars have the UV glass technology to prevent harmful UV rays and keep the lotion fresh.

  24. @PB – I’m sorry, I haven’t seen them before or gone looking for them. My guess is you would have to order an enormous number of them if you do find them. That’s usually how custom packaging is sold.

  25. I am new at this. If I buy lotion bases from a company shouldn’t they already have the preservatives in them? I wouldn’t have to add anything but my fragrance or essential oils, right?

  26. Wonderful information. Thank you so much for the instructions. Tell me, how would you combine a formulation usng aloe as the main ingredient instead of the distilled water. What is the process for heating, adding ingredient oils, temps and all those kind of important things. So appreciative of your friendly advice, thank you in advance.

  27. @Clare – If you’re purchasing from a reputable company, it should have an expiration date printed on the container. When I made lotion to sell, I usually gave an expiration date of one year from the date it was made. If the base you purchase is made fresh, it should keep for up to a year in a cool, dark environment.

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