The preparation of a new kind of multilayered liposome, called a stable plurilamellar vesicle (SPLV), is described. Although SPLVs and classical multilamellar vesicles (MLVs) are made of the same materials and appear overtly similar in the electron microscope, the two types of vesicles differ as determined by stability, entrapment efficiency, electron spin resonance (ESR), NMR, X-ray diffraction, and biological effects. It is demonstrated that, contrary to what has been assumed, classical MLVs exclude solutes during their formation and, thus, are under a state of osmotic compression. By contrast, the SPLV process produces liposomes that are not compressed. The effects of osmotic compression are discussed. It is suggested that the state of osmotic stress is an important variable that distinguishes various types of liposomes and that has significant physical and biological consequences.