Making your own lotion is a fun project and easy to do, once you’ve got the ingredients. It’s a good way to save money, create a natural product that’s good for your skin and scent it however you choose. There are a lot of variations on this recipe, but this is the one I use most often.
Note: I’ve tried to keep the directions as simple as possible, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, consider taking the next step of infusing your oil (the first ingredient in this recipe). Infusing oil with herbs like calendula, chamomile or lavender adds to the healing qualities of the finished product and gives you a chance to become more familiar with some pretty amazing plants.
Okay, so here we go. You’ll need a blender for this. You can use a traditional blender, hand blender or immersion blender.
Most of these things can be purchased online from Mountain Rose Herbs, massage supply stores or shops that carry bulk herbs.
¾ cup oil, such as almond, jojoba, grapeseed, apricot, olive (I opt for organic varieties, since you’re going to be absorbing this through your skin.)
⅓ cup coconut oil, cocoa butter or shea butter
½ ounce beeswax (I like using beeswax beads since they melt easily)
1 cup distilled water OR ⅔ cup distilled water + ⅓ aloe vera gel
½ tsp vitamin E oil
your favorite essential oils
Combine the first three ingredients (oils/butter and beeswax) and heat on low just until the beeswax melts. (Ideally you want to use a double-boiler for this, but I sometimes skip it.)
Remove from heat and let cool. To speed this up, I usually transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl and place it in the refrigerator. (If you’re going to be using a traditional blender, you can pour the mixture into the blender jar and then place in the fridge.)
The mixture will start to thicken and turn cloudy and semi-solid as it cools. Don’t leave it in the fridge for too long--you don’t want it to harden. Your goal is to bring the mixture down to room temperature so that it’s closer to the temperature of the distilled water you’re going to be mixing it with. This helps you get over the challenge of mixing oil and water, the trickiest part of the process.
Once the mixture has cooled to approximately room temperature, begin mixing with your blender and slowly pour the distilled water (or distilled water + aloe) in a thin stream into the center. The mixture will start to thicken and whiten. I pause the blender occasionally to scrape down the sides. Continue blending until it starts looking like buttercream frosting.
Add the vitamin E oil and mix in with your blender or by hand.
At this point, you’ve got your lotion! All you need to do is add your essential oils to scent it. I like to put the lotion into several jars so I can try different essential oils in each one. Instead of one big batch of lavender (or whatever scent) I end up with a bunch of different varieties. The number of drops of essential oil you use will vary according to the type of oil and your personal preference. I usually start by adding a few drops at a time (for a smaller jar), mix it in, then add accordingly.
Some of my recent favorite blends include orange/grapefruit/vanilla (smells a bit like a creamsicle) and cedar/cinnamon/orange (my husband, Matt, came up with that one and I was surprised by how wonderful it smelled). My niece, Olivia, used vanilla with a little cinnamon, which smells good enough to eat!
The essential oils and vitamin E help act as natural preservatives, but when I make a big batch of lotion, I usually keep one jar out for daily use and refrigerate the rest until I’m ready to use it.
Here are a couple of herbal add-on’s to enhance your lotion:
Instead of distilled water you can use a hydrosol (flower water) like rose, lavender, calendula, lemon balm, chamomile, etc.
As I mentioned in the beginning, you can infuse your oil ahead of time with herbs like calendula, lavender, chamomile... I’ll talk about making oil infusions in a future post, but if you want to learn now, check out this video on How to Make Herbal Infused Oils.
This lotion is based on a recipe in Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. This book is an excellent resource, particularly for beginners interested in learning about herbal remedies.