How to Make Goat Milk Lotion and Why We Don’t

That’s right. I really am going to tell you how to make your very own goat milk lotion. But wait… don’t we sell lotion? Well…yes, but not goat milk lotion and there’s a very good reason we don’t.  When making cosmetics to be publicly sold, the burden to ensure the product is safe falls on the manufacturer (Me!).  Any non-soap substance containing water or milk creates a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and other harmful organisms. The possibility of bacteria growth necessitates the use of some sort of preservative. Currently, all three approved preservatives are known skin irritants and have links to cancer.

While goat milk offers many benefits for skin, we felt it defeated the purpose if we needed to add a carcinogen to the lotion in order to use goat milk in it.  For your safety and our peace of mind, we decided to make all natural solid lotions without milk, water, or preservatives.

Many manufacturers use “natural preservatives” but there is NO evidence that they actually stop or control spoilage of water or milk based products. This is a HUGE concern since no one wants to apply moldy or spoiled milk to their skin!


The conversation that decided it for us

The demand for goat milk lotion reached such a point that we actually contacted a product safety lab and asked about goat milk lotions. What we learned shocked us. According to the lab who tests for shelf life, bacterial contamination, product safety etc:

Product Safety Lab: “Goat milk is not shelf stable.”

Free Reign Farm: “Well yes, but many people sell goat milk lotions… what preservative are they using?”

Product Safety Lab: “Here’s the deal. Milk is the PERFECT growing medium for bacteria, mold etc. Those who make it have to use much higher levels of chemical preservatives… even higher than the preservative manufacturer’s recommend, and even then there’s problems. We have tested MANY goat milk lotions and none are clean.”

Free Reign Farm: “What? How can that be?”

Product Safety Lab: “Even when made in a sterile environment, the lotions still pull bacteria out of the air and it grows. The preservatives keep the levels lower–low enough to  be “passable” but not clean and shelf life is another problem. According to our tests, the longer it sits the worse it gets. Our recommendation is no more than a 2 week shelf life in the refrigerator.”

Free Reign Farm: “Seriously!?!”

Product Safety Lab: “Yes, Ma’am. Even the preservative manufacturers say they won’t guarantee their product for milk applications. Only water.”

Needless to say, that was enough for us. Goat milk lotion will not be in the cards for sale and production. I couldn’t possibly keep it refrigerated in transit. Not to mention, I would barely get it made and shipped in 2 weeks let alone give you time to use it up.

We Can’t but You Can

This doesn’t mean that goat milk lotion is a lost cause, which is why we are giving you the recipe to make it yourself. Please keep in mind that this lotion has a two week shelf life and should be stored in the refrigerator. Another note: we are writing this recipe using the top performing preservative for milk products according to the lab. However, you should be aware of the health concerns surrounding this product. This preservative does contain both parabens and ethelyne glycol. The potential health side-effects of these are outlined here in detail.

It should be noted that you can choose to omit the preservative, but will be running a higher risk of microbial contaminants and should expect a shorter shelf life, even refrigerated.

DIY Goat Milk Lotion Recipe

Ready to make goat milk lotion?

You will need:
  • 8 oz. Distilled Water
  • 8 oz Pasteurized Goat Milk
  • 1.2 oz. Shea Butter
  • 2.7 oz. Sweet Almond Oil (can also use avocado, jojoba, or other liquid oil)
  • 1.2 oz. Emulsifying Wax
  • 1.1 oz. Stearic Acid
  • .22 oz. Phenonip
  • .1 oz. Essential Oils if desired


  • Kitchen Scale–with a digital read down to the 100th of an oz
  • Stick Blender
  • Cooking thermometer
  • 16 oz. bowl or wide mouth jar (or larger)
  • 32 oz. bowl or wide mouth jar (or larger)
  • Bleach
  • Double Boiler or crockpot
  • Jars or bottles to put your product in (not the kind with a pump)

Recipe Instructions

  1. The first step is to disinfect EVERYTHING. This can be done by boiling or washing all of your tools and jars in a 5% bleach water solution and allowing them to air dry completely. If you are using food-safe mason jars you can sterilize them in the pressure canner or Instapot. Check your manual for instructions.
  2. While everything is getting a deep clean or drying after the clean, gather your other materials.
  3. Weigh out the Sweet Almond oil, Stearic Acid, Shea Butter, and Emulsifying wax and add to the 32 oz container. Set the container in the double boiler or add water to the crock pot and set the jar down in it. You don’t need a lot of water, just equal to the oil level in the jar. Melt the oils together.
  4. Next, pour the distilled water and pasteurized goat milk into the 16oz container and warm the solution so it won’t shock your oils back into a solid state (not good).
  5. Add the 16oz container of warmed distilled water and milk mixture to your 32oz oil mixture container.
  6. Remove the 32oz container from the double boiler/crockpot and stir like a crazy person until it starts to combine then grab the stick blender and finish it off.
  7. When the lotion is mixed and emulsified (this will take a few minutes)  take the temperature of the mixture. You need to make sure that the temperature is BELOW 140 degrees Fahrenheit before you add the final ingredients.
  8. Once below 140 F, add your phenonip and fragrance. Please note that .1 oz is the max you will want to use for this recipe and some essential oils should even be used at a lower amount (or not at all).  Make sure you educate yourself regarding the skin safety of your particular essential oil(s) and safe dilution levels. It’s also good to note that with “leave on” products like lotion, too strong of a scent can actually become annoying–when you can’t smell your coffee over your lavender lotion there’s a problem.
  9. After adding the final ingredients, blast it again with the stick blender. Then pour into your bottles or jars.

Notes on consistency

The lotion should still be runny enough to pour at this point. If not you must re-heat it. Remember if you go over 140 degrees you will need to add your phenonip again as the other will have been denatured.  Allow to cool completely. This lotion recipe makes a nice creamy lotion that isn’t runny if done correctly. However, if you use it too soon (before it’s cooled to room temperature) you won’t be happy with the runny consistency.  Be sure to let it cool all the way.  I usually stick mine in the fridge to cool.
That’s IT! Creamy goat milk lotion goodness!
goat milk lotion

The Goat Milk Lotion Alternative

Not interested in taking the chance of absorbing preservatives but still want a great lotion?  Check out our all natural solid lotion bars.  We make them without any water which has several benefits:  much longer lasting (think concentrated lotion), fast absorbing, deep penetrating, non-greasy, and does not wash off like regular lotion so you don’t have to constantly reapply your lotion throughout the day.

Another Alternative

We continue our search for someone who makes a high quality goat milk moisturizer, and we discovered Little Seed Farm that offers a product that is preserved using Sodium Benzoate, Vitamin E, and Sage Essential Oils.  If you are interested, check out their product by clicking here or the photo below:


31 thoughts on “How to Make Goat Milk Lotion and Why We Don’t”

  1. I’m just now looking at how to make soaps and lotions, so this is really interesting to me. Thank you for your honesty. I’m curious, how is it different than the soaps though?

  2. Great question. Soap is a process of combining an oil base and goat milk with lye which makes a soap making chemical reaction (saponification). The end result of this soap making process is that all of the oils are turned into a salt form which is why natural soaps clean so well. Salt is a natural preservative (think country cured ham or the way they used to preserve whole pigs before the days of refrigeration – salt pack or sugar pack). With lotion, you are using an oil base and goat milk with no lye…the end result is a mixing of ingredients raw and no chemical change to the goat milk or the oils themselves. This is why a preservative must be added, and the reason why we will continue to make goat milk soaps but not goat milk lotions. I hope this helps clarify the difference, and thank you for your question!

  3. Freezing the goat milk definitely will stop the bacterial growth that is so common with goat milk lotion. The unknown variable is what consistency will the lotion be when you try to thaw it. Once the oils and milk are frozen / crystallized, it may have to be whipped or reconstituted to have the same “lotion” feel you were expecting.

  4. We have read studies that indicate even in powdered form on the shelf for 4 months, it is still possible for e.coli to survive. The presence of e. coli increases significantly if stored at room temperature and in the presence of moisture (reconstitution of the powdered goat milk).

    One study to consider

    I have known some people to use powdered goat milk that is never reconstituted with water. While none of them have volunteered to have it tested by a lab, they claim the results are much better than the raw goat milk lotion that is so prevalent.

    Hope this helps answer the question.


  5. This is good information. One of the ladies in my lotion group showed me. I made a large batch of goat milk lotion for my family. I knew you couldn’t use the goat milk they sell in the refrigerated dairy section with the milk but I saw one of the lotion makers supplies site sells powered goats milk and it said it was good to use in lotion so I thought powdered milk was okay. Live and learn.

  6. Thanks for this recipe – glad to make small home batches. Could the goat milk be replaced with goat milk kefir? Am just wondering if the heating process would affect the “benefits” of the probiotics found in kefir.

  7. hi Kirsty,

    The heating will negate the probiotic benefits of kefir plus the preservative will kill the probiotics too. But if you want to try it anyway I see no reason why you couldn’t give it a shot!

  8. Am so happy to have located this site. It is so helpful. Thanks for sharing with honesty

  9. How about using good milk powder and rosewater in lotion, will rosewater still increase the bacteria population

  10. Rosewater if not preserved will also mold and grow bacteria all on it’s own. (seen first hand some improperly done rose water solutions that were filled with mold at the edges) Milk–even pasteurized milk-just adds “fodder” so to speak (sugars, lipids, proteins, minerals etc) to feed the bacterial growth.

  11. While we cannot offer an official recommendation since this is not a product we advocate making, there are enough companies making colloidal silver lotions and creams that I feel safe telling you it will be okay assuming the amount you use is within skin safe guidelines. If you are asking if colloidal silver will act as a natural preservative, the answer is no. All reputable commercially manufactured lotions and creams that include colloidal silver also include (most commonly) phenonip.

  12. Can Optiphen be used instead of Phenonip and how much? I made a different recipe but it ever thickened up so I thought I would try your recipe.

  13. Yes you can substitute optiphen as your preservative, but check the manufacturer guidelines because it will not be a direct 1:1 substitution for the phenonip.

  14. Maybe – I worry that the consistency will be chunky. Also, it is hard to tell what benefit or lack thereof will happen with the probiotics that are in the yogurt. The final product will still have to have a preservative and be kept refrigerated for sure.

  15. You definitely won’t want to make that substitution. Stearic acid is a fatty amino acid (think oil pellet) stearyl alcohol is completely different and skin doesn’t love alcohol!

  16. So without the preservative the shelf life in the refrigerator is less than 2 weeks? And omitting the preservative would you leave out the steric acid? Can raw milk be used?

  17. According to the lab even WITH the preservative it’s only good for 2 weeks. Without it you are going to be that same as any standard food item at 7 days refrigerated officially. Stearic acid is a fatty acid… an oil flake essentially. I wouldn’t leave that out or your formula won’t work. You can use raw milk just be aware that it may change the amount of time your lotion is good for and I don’t have any solid data to cite on how it may affect that.

  18. What is the shelf life on the Little Seed Moisturizer? Does it also need refrigerated? Are there cosmetics that use goat milk that are safe?

  19. I will refer you to Little Seed Farm for that question. This product does contain a chemical preservative but they will have more detailed data for you.

  20. thank you for this information. I came across this article because I was searching for a good natural preservative for my breastmilk lotion so I can send it to a family member who lives overseas. seems like that might not be safely possible.
    the crazy thing is I have read a few websites that say that breastmilk lotion can be kept outside of the fridge for even up to three months without preservatives. Even a non milk based lotion needs preservatives to be shelf stable for anywhere near that long, and it seems to me that adding milk just adds even more sources for bacteria growth, so I find that completely shocking that someone would recommend keeping a (raw) milk-based lotion with no preservatives out of the fridge for that long. Yet all of the most popular breastmilk recipes have this information or don’t even mention shelf life at all. I know breastmilk is amazing, but I don’t think it would differ that much from goat milk in its ability to grow all sorts of bacteria. do you have any experience with this?
    I’m curious about why you sell the Little Seed moisturizer even though from what I understood there is no safe way to sell goat milk lotion even with preservatives?

  21. Thank you for your message. The safest option that we know of for preserving without the use of preservatives is going to be freezing the product and thawing as needed, or using very soon after making. I agree that regardless of the milk source, it is a great growth medium for bacteria and the source isn’t going to change the fact that bacteria love to reproduce in it. Regarding Little Seed, we have been asked to make goat milk lotion for so long that we decided to give our customer base an option that uses the minimum amount of preservative from a reputable company. The feedback has been amazing, but we stand by our article that it is not a product that we personally will use on our skin because of the research shared. Thank you for your questions and please reach out again if you we can be of any more help. Sincerely, David & Bethany

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