Why does body lotion become watery?

Have you ever observed that your body lotion has gone a bit runny? This doesn’t just happen with your lotion. It’s a really common phenomenon. But why does body lotion become watery?

Usually, body lotion contains an emulsifying agent. The primary function of this emulsifier is to allow the lotion ingredients to bind with each other. But as soon as the expiry date of the lotion crosses, the emulsion of the lotion starts to break down.

Therefore, the oil and water separate and the water settles at the bottom of the container. If you want to know how you can fix your watery body lotion, keep a close look at the article.

What is the reason behind the body lotion being watery?

We know that oil and water do not want to mix. The reason for not mixing is that the molecules of the oil are non-polar. That means oil molecules are more comfortable interacting with other oil molecules than water molecules. That’s why they don’t mix.

This requires an ingredient that binds the oil and water together for body lotion. The emulsifier is the component that is required. Body lotions contain emulsifiers to thicken the consistency. The function of the emulsifier is to hold the other ingredients of the body lotion together.

There are a few reasons why body lotion becomes watery. The reason for this is the reduced effectiveness of emulsifiers. This happens when the lotion gets old. As the emulsifier degrades over time, the body lotion’s oil and water contents get separated.

In addition to this, there is another reason why body lotion gets watery. If you don’t store your body lotion properly, the lotion can also be watery.

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What ingredients have to be used to fix watery lotion?

Emulsifying wax:

The emulsifying wax plays an effective role in thickening the body lotion. Emulsifying wax is made by adding vegetable-based oils to detergents such as polysorbate-60 or stealth-20. People know this process as ethoxylation.

Because of its ability to combine oil and water, it is currently in high demand in the cosmetics sector. Its primary function is to increase the consistency of thin body lotion to create a thick texture. The recommended amount for lotion is 3-5 percent.

Polawax emulsifying wax:

Polawax emulsifying wax is a non-ionic ingredient. It also works like emulsifying wax. That means it helps thicken and stabilize the body lotion like an emulsifying wax. However, the concentration of the lotion will depend on how much you apply it.

Bio-Mulsion wax:

Bio-Mulsion wax is plant-derived wax. Its function is to thicken the lotion, which is usually rich in starch.

If your body lotion is starch-rich, you will need a bio-emulsion wax to thicken it. This will thicken your lotion and give it a creamy texture. Even, It is suitable for those with sensitive skin.

BTMS-50 conditioning emulsifier:

It is a completely natural ingredient and vegan as well. This also reduces the viscosity of the lotion to the desired consistency. It also acts as a stabilizer.

Stearic acid:

Stearic acid is a waxy solid. It is typically present in plant and animal lipids. Again, It binds the water, oil, and other ingredients together. It also acts as a preservative.

Cetearyl alcohol:

Cetearyl alcohol helps to thicken and stabilize the lotion at the same time. It is an effective ingredient. You can easily use this ingredient in lotion to bring it back to its previous consistency.

Cetyl alcohol:

Cetyl alcohol also acts as a cetearyl alcohol. This increases the viscosity of the watery body lotion. At the same time, it creates a thick texture.

C10-18 Triglycerides:

Like other fatty thickeners, it also increases the consistency of the watery body lotion.

How can you fix watery body lotion?

The emulsifier will lock the oil in the water together. But this will not thicken the lotion. So you need to add a couple of ingredients. Those ingredients include cetearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol.

  • First, you need to measure how much body lotion you want to thicken.
  • Next, measure the number of emulsifiers or thickeners you will add to the lotion.
  • Assuming you’re using the xanthan gum, keep adding until it reaches the proper consistency.
  • Apart from this, there are many other ingredients that you can add.

What are some strategies for thickening body lotion?

There are several strategies you can follow to increase the viscosity of your lotion and increase its concentration.

Strategy 1: You can add fat to your body lotion instead of any liquid

This method is very simple as the rest. By solid fat here I mean shea butter, cocoa butter, kokum butter, and more. You can add these solid fats to your body lotion to thicken it.

On the other hand, liquid fat can cause some problems. This is because the melting point of coconut oil is close to the ambient temperature. If the room temperature is a little low, the texture of coconut oil will become solid. So using coconut oil in a body lotion makes the lotion formula much thicker.

Strategy 2: Fatty thickener

Another amazing method is to thicken body lotion with fatty thickener. This includes cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, and stearic acid. You will need to remove a small amount of carrier oil before adding this to the formula. You can also add wax with this fatty thickener in your lotion.

Their function is the same as stearic acid, cetearyl alcohol, and cetyl alcohol. Here, you should know that each fatty thickener has a different effect on your body lotion formulation.

Stearic acid:

Stearic acid makes the body lotion rich. It also makes the lotion texture quite strong.

Cetyl alcohol:

Now let’s talk about cetyl alcohol. This alcohol is very expensive. This gives the lotion a smooth and fine touch.

Cetearyl alcohol:

Another important and widely used alcohol is cetearyl alcohol. It gives a creamy consistency to your lotion.

Butter pearls:

There is another type of thickener which is butter pearls. This is one kind of triglyceride. It gives a mild texture after adding it to the lotion.

Strategy 3: Add a gum or gelling substance

After adding the gum to the lotion, it increases the concentration of the lotion. It includes xanthan gum, guar gum, etc.

Xanthan gum makes your lotion uniformly thick. Also, prevent your lotion from separating.

Gum does not mix with emulsifiers, even with fatty thickeners in the heated oil phase. That’s why you need to add this to the heated water phase.

What storage tips are there to prevent lotion from becoming watery?

Store the lotion properly to keep it long-lasting and prevent it from getting watery.

  • Keep your lotion out of direct sunlight to prevent it from overheating.
  • Keep the lotion at a low temperature or in the refrigerator, it will last longer. As bacterial and fungal attacks cannot occur at low temperatures.
  • Keep the lid of the lotion tightly sealed. So air cannot get inside the lotion and cause oxidation.

How to turn watery lotion into thick moisturizing cream?

Maybe you’ve noticed your body lotion gets runny. This can happen when our body lotions leave for a long time or are not stored properly. As a result, the effectiveness of this lotion decreases. Using this is not as beneficial for the skin as it used to be.

That’s why it’s a good way to turn your watery body lotion into a moisturizer. There are some common oils you have in your house that you can use to convert your watery lotions into moisturizing cream. All the ingredients needed for this are coconut oil, olive oil, vitamin A, and vitamin E.

  1. First, heat some coconut oil. But don’t heat the oil directly. Fill a pot with water and put coconut oil on it. Then continue the heating process.
  2. Now cool the coconut oil a bit. After cooling, mix olive oil in it.
  3. Now stir it with a stirrer for a while and keep it in the fridge.
  4. After keeping it in the fridge for a while, mix all the vitamins in this mixe when it becomes a concentrate.
  5. Now keep mixing until it gets a proper consistency.
  6. Add essential oil for a good fragrance.

FAQ about “Why does body lotion become watery”

Which thickener is best for watery body lotion?

Xanthan gum is in great demand as a thickening agent in the cosmetic industry. Its popularity is not less in making lotions.

It simultaneously thickens, emulsifies, and stabilizes the lotion. It disperses easily after adding it to body lotion. Then it stabilizes the lotion to a desired viscosity.

Is using watery lotion unsafe for the skin?

It does not mean that the watery lotion will be unsafe for your skin. But when your lotion crosses the expiry date, then the separation of the lotion happens. This means that its emulsifiers and thickener properties have degraded over time.

So even after you use the lotion, the skin will not get the same benefits as before. Sometimes bacteria attack the ingredients of the lotion. In that case, it may be unsafe for the skin.


You may have come to know that through this article “why does body lotion become watery”. However, it is better not to use lotions as recommended by dermatologists. So it would be better if you thicken this lotion or convert it to a moisturizer. It is up to you which ingredients you will use to enhance the consistency of your watery body lotion. Store the lotion well to extend its shelf life.

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