I get this question a lot at craft shows and I have sometimes had a hard time explaining in a simple way the differences. Thanks to the awesome blog called The Little Herbal for such a clear and succinct explanation. I’m a big fan of her blog.
What is the difference between a Lotion vs. Cream vs. Salve?
Salve- A salve is simply a combination of oil and beeswax. Beeswax is melted with the oil and then when it cools it will harden into your desired consistency. It can also have other things added to it (essential oils, butters, vitamin E, etc.) but it does not contain water. This gives it a long, stable shelf life.
Lotion: A lotion is created when you take oil & water and blend it together using an emulsifying agent, typically emulsifying wax or beeswax. Lotion usually has a higher concentration of water to oil (70% water, 20% oil, 10% emulsifying agent). Depending on whether or not you use preservatives, lotions will have a shorter shelf life due to the high concentration of water.
Cream: A cream is also created when you take oil & water and blend it together using an emulsifying agent, typically emulsifying wax or beeswax. Creams have a higher concentration of oil in them than lotions (45% water, 45% oil, 5-10% emulsifying agent), making them thicker, heavier and more moisturizing.
Body Butter: A body butter is created by blending natural butters like shea butter, cocoa, butter and/or mango butter. My body butter recipes usually tend to be a blend of butters and liquid carrier oils making them more malleable and easy to apply and absorb into the skin.
From: The Little Herbal
I currently make both salves and creams for Ameya Studio and will have several of them @ Make It Edmonton this coming weekend. (April 11-13) Stop by to try them and banish that dry skin away. They are luxurious, made with rich moisturizing beeswax and fair trade shea butter, plus have healing essential oils in them for both scent and therapeutic properties. Whether you are looking for something for your face, your hands, or a little babe you know, I’ve got you covered!