Body Lotion


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!

17 Responses to Body Lotion

  1. Beautiful! These would make a wonderful gift! My skin has gotten really bad with this dry spell, too. Looks like a great recipe, and I’d like to try it. (But for myself only, probably.) I’m about to get some soap-making oils through Glorybee in Eugene – if I get GSE, then I should be able to make this, too.

  2. Hi Wardeh,

    You could do it w/o GSE and add some vit C or nothing at all and just use it up in a few months. It’s not hard to do with this weather! I was thinking about putting some lavender oil infused something in the kitchen right now to make me happier about cleaning it so frequently with all the extra xmas dishes. Sounds like you could use some too with all your water troubles!

  3. Thanks SO much for this post (and for visiting my blog). I will definitely be making the lotion and linking back to your blog….what a great resource!!!

  4. Hi Annette,

    I’ve been using the virgin coconut oil as a body lotion after showering almost daily since July and my skin looks and feel amazingly smooth. I have to be careful not to saturate the skin to avoid breakouts, though.

    I like the idea of making a homemade lotion mixing coconut oil, water and essential oils. I think I’ll give this a try. Now, does it harden at room temps below 76 F?

    A while ago you mentioned that you have rosacea prone skin. Me too, with very mild with symptoms, just some pink undertones and occasional flushing triggered mostly by exertion/heat. Since I started adding the right kind of fats to my diet, soaking grains, sweetening with raw honey and drinking lots of green tea, flushing has markedly decreased. This has also helped a lot with two coexisting conditions: seb derm and GERD. I’ve successfully treated the seb derm with raw honey and the GI issues started to resolve with the diet changes. No meds. Ain’t that grand? :)

    Have you ever tried emu oil? I ordered a bottle a couple of weeks ago and started applying it daily on my face, after cleansing. It feels even better than the coconut oil.

    I’ve been meaning to ask you… How many hours do you sleep? How many hours do you spend online/on the computer? Do you read books? Would you write a post about a typical day in your life? I would love to read that! You see, I am starting to think that I waste a whole lot of time daily and I can’t tell how, really. I mean, for example, today I seem to have spent the whole day in the kitchen yet all I did was start the soaked bread, make fish stock with shrimp heads/tails and a cream of callaloo soup. Three lousy things plus tidying up after the cooking. That’s it. If I had two kids, a business and cooking the traditional way for four plus all the other stuff you do, I don’t think I’d get more than a couple of hours of sleep!


  5. Hi Auburn, you are such a dear. The lotion set up thickly like a cream and I want to play with the water quantity to see if I can get it pumpable but I actually prefer a thicker cream in the winter since my skin is so dry right now.

    The fermented CLO daily has helped my rosacea and in general hot flashes (not that you asked but hey there it is.)

    I’ve been drinking a lot of spiced wine lately and that flushes my face as well as exercise, otherwise it’s not really that noticeabled. I have been mixing sweet almond oil with rosehip oil, borage oil and evening primrose oil and putting that on my face since summer. It works at least as well as the fancy pants face cream I was buying for “aging” skin. First I spritz with rose water but roman chammomile would be even better for rosacea. Sandalwood & chammomile are the two recommended oils.

    Last winter I was using emu oil which I loved but it went rancid before I used it up and I haven’t bought more. I got mine from and I have to warn you her site is seriously addictive. I could spend days on there, in part because the navigation is not what it could be but wow what a resource!

    I really need to give up coffee and switch to green tea but I’m just not there yet emotionally.

    My husband said I should do a day in the life post and my initial reaction was that I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone. I tend to jump into things 150% and probably most people would give up at that level. I don’t sleep much and spend all my free time on the computer or in the kitchen or reading up on new things to try. I don’t really have a social life. I enjoy learning though so this is my form of continuing education.

    I’ve been meaning to do a post on time management because there are ways of organizing your time that seem to free up quite a bit more of it. I do everything in waves, focusing only on that thing and ignoring everything else until I get it done. Otherwise you end up adding to your list and never getting anything off it. Then you get overwhelmed and it takes 50% longer to get any one thing done because mentally you’ve lost steam.

    For instance, I catch up on blog reading maybe once a week. I respond to emails 3 x daily rather than as they come in. I let the phone go to VM and check that 3 x daily and return all those calls at once.

    I don’t process orders in my store until after the kids are in bed and my kitchen stuff is done. I plan all the kitchen stuff the night before so that I can start everything together and just have a few steps in the morning to get things going.

    The house I let slip and do one big cleaning a week. Otherwise you run around straightening up and cleaning only to clean and clean again when a week’s worth of dirt won’t really hurt anyone (says I…)

    I try to stop and play with the kids during the day and really focus on them so they are more likely to let me get things done in an uninterrupted fashion the other times.

    And I just have to accept that I can’t blog about everything I do because that would throw me over the edge, even though I want to.

    Did I mention that I don’t sleep much? Not healthy but until my kids are in school full time and don’t need so much help with everything it’s the only way I’m going to have time to read and blog and try my wacky experiments.

    The more you cook this way the more efficient you become as well. I remember watching my grandmother move about the kitchen effortlessly and in just a few minutes she would have started 5 pots of things, washed all the breakfast dishes and swept the floor. I thought she was magic. And she was. :)

  6. My goodness, that was fun to read your philosophy about life, work and passion! :) You’re amazing and honest and awesome!

  7. I definitely want to try making lotion one of these days! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  8. Rebecca, it’s so fun to watch it come together into lotion using just a few ingredients! I hope you have fun with it.

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  10. Hi Annette. I infused some Jojoba oil with lavender the other day, and I can’t wait to make this lotion today! I have a quick question first: Are the measurements for the ingredients by weight, volume, or a combo of both? It might not matter much, but I want to get it right. Thanks so much!

  11. Hi Jen,

    It doesn’t matter so long as the ratio is right. If the temps get off one way or the other it may get grainy but you can still use it – just pay more care the next time. Have fun!

  12. Thanks Annette! Since you mentioned that you wanted to play with the liquid volume to get a pumpable consistency, I thought I’d let you know how mine turned out. I followed your directions exactly, and weighed all the ingredients on a digital scale (including the water components). I mixed the oils/butters and water at about 110 degrees, since the oils/butters were beginning to set up.

    I used:
    1 oz. comfrey infused olive oil
    1 oz. almond oil
    4 oz. lavender infused jojoba oil

    1 oz. cocoa butter
    1 oz. shea butter
    1 oz. coconut oil
    1 oz. beeswax

    2 oz. witch hazel
    2 oz. glycerine
    5 oz. distilled water

    I did use the grapefruit seed extract, and added lavender and spearmint essential oils.

    My consistency is very smooth and pumpable! In fact, I wish it was just a bit thicker, so I will play with ratios a bit next time. I’m not sure if mine is so much different because of the specific ingredients I used, or because I weighed everything. It smells wonderful, and I’m happy with it. It feels a bit greasy on the skin, but I can live with that, since the ingredients are awesome and chemical free. :) I can’t wait to play around with this some more. Thanks for a great recipe.

  13. Jen I wonder if it’s more pumpable because of the glycerin? I may add that next time. I’ve been so busy right now I’m just using straight coconut oil on my skin – it works just fine! But it is a little greasy upon first application then soaks in over 10 minutes. I love the way it smells and tastes when I use it on my lips too. I’d love to hear any changes you make next go around. I really need to start infusing some lemon verbena oil before it’s all gone! And then I know mosquitos don’t like lemon balm or rosemary so those might be nice ones to make a bug off lotion from too. So fun incorporating some of the garden into my skin!

  14. What a great recipe. I have been inspired to try and make my own cremes and lotions. I am so tired of paying too much $$ for them. I’ve got sensitive skin so I can’t just buy vaseline lotion and except it to work. I’m allergic to lanolin. It is in so many products. But some oils also cause me problems. I’ll have to narrow down which oils works the best for my skin. I love Kheils Creme du Corp but it is still full of chemicals.

    Have you made a hair conditioner yet?

  15. I gave up on the hair products when the shampoo was a bust – totally stripped my hippy curls. The lotion is great and that face oil I swear by after using it for a year and a half. Good luck!

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