I’ve been out of lotion since last summer and this cold stretch has all but done me in. It’s amazing in our damp Seattle climate how far simply drinking enough drinking water will get you. With this dry, cold weather and the heater constantly running though, I dried up.
Last June I infused some olive oil with chamomile flowers, calendula and comfrey. I made a small batch of lotion with it just to test and it was great. Then I ran out of time to make more. The chamomile, calendula and comfrey are all very soothing with strong anti-inflammatory properties so they make great lotion additives for someone who spends a lot of time in the garden. You could certainly make lotion without using this oil and it will be a nicer, whiter shade.
The great thing about making your own lotion is that you likely have most of the ingredients already and you know exactly what is in it. I’ve made a few rounds of lotion in the last few weeks. One was more of a salve and cuticle cream that I made entirely from things I wouldn’t mind eating. The main ingredient was cocoa butter and I added a few drops of vanilla to it. I have a hard time not eating it because it smells so heavenly.
The body lotion is almost entirely edible but I added some shea butter to it to make it really moisturizing.
To make lotion you need a double boiler or a large glass measuring cup, or a smaller pan that can fit into a larger pan.
You will want to start with some solid oils, some liquid oils, beeswax and essential oil. You literally just need 3 things but I had all these so I used them. I also added about 6 drops of grapefruit seed extract to my lotion to extend it’s life. Once you add herb infused oils or plant extracts you shorten the life of your lotion so I figured that was good insurance.
You need 6 ounces of liquid oil (like olive oil, almond oil or jojoba oil), 3 ounces of solid oil (like coconut oil, cocoa butter or shea butter), 1 ounce of beeswax shaved or grated, and 9 oz of distilled water (including any witch hazel, rose water, aloe vera, or glycerin). You can use filtered water but that will also shorten the life of your lotion.
Combine your liquid oils, solid oils and beeswax in the top of the double boiler or glass measuring cup inside a water bath. Heat the water to medium and stir until all the oils and wax melt together and form one single liquid.
Remove the double boiler or cup and let it cool to body temperature, stirring occasionally to keep it smooth. When the oils are ready warm the water up to body temperature.
Pour the water in a mixing bowl if using a mixer, or a tall container like a yogurt container if using an immersion blender. Add your grapefruit extract now. With the mixer on low, slowly add the oil to the water in a thin stream just as you would if making mayonnaise. You can also do this in a food processer or blender.
This only takes a few minutes using my immersion blender. If you don’t have one yet Christmas is coming and they make great pureed soups without having to worry about spilling hot soup everywhere getting it in the blender. I’m surprised how frequently I use my immersion blender!
After a few minutes of mixing you will start to see the lotion begin to form. Initially it will look like milk curdling but if you continue mixing for a few more moments you will end up with a nice, smooth and creamy container of lotion.
Once your lotion is done you can stir in as much essential oil as you like. Citrus and mint scents are uplifting whereas lavender and geranium are calming. They are all lovely. You can even divide the lotion into a few bowls and make each one a different scent.
These make great handmade gifts when poured into 1/2 pint jelly jars. I made these for my own use so I didn’t spend any time decorating them but imagine lavender scented lotion with a few sprigs of dried lavender tucked into raffia. Even more fun (and hopefully coming soon…) a gift basket with homemade lavender soap, lavender body scrub, lavender lotion and lavender jelly. What a treat that would be for a special friend!