Let’s talk skin.
One of the things we both love about Colorado air is that it’s much dryer than Midwest air. Towels actually dry between uses, you don’t begin sweating immediately after you step out of the shower on a hot day, and you don’t need a life jacket to swim through the air in the summer. It’s quite wonderful.
But, the dry air is a rough on my skin. I think I’ve itched my way through my first weeks in Colorado. It has to end.
I have tried several different lotion recipes and definitely have a favorite. But, unfortunately the website that hosted the recipe and really helpful directions has dissolved (r.i.p. ReadyMade). Fortunately, I have gotten in the habit of writing my body care recipes down, as they have evolved some since I first made the switch to homemade (almost everything).
Homemade Lotion Recipe
¾ cup tea, rose water, or herb infusion (at room temperature!! This makes it easier to emulsify.)
¼ coconut oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ¼ tablespoon grated beeswax
essential oils (of your choice)
Glass jar with lid for storing lotion
Allow tea/rose water/herb infusion to come to room temperature. Room temperature helps the lotion to emulsify better—there is nothing more disappointing than an almost-but-not-really-emulsified lotion.
Grate beeswax. I use a grater I got at a dollar store—once you use beeswax on a grater, it’ll never be the same, so don’t ruin your favorite kitchen grater.
Heat water in a pan until it is slowly simmering, measure out extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil into a glass jar and add beeswax, placing the glass jar in the water. You can use the jar you will put the finished lotion in, if it makes your life easier. Stir often (a popsicle stick is great for this, because the stirring utensil will be coated in beeswax—again, probably not what your favorite kitchen utensils to have on them) until beeswax is dissolved. I know it can be tempting to do all of this in the microwave, but heating the oils and beeswax as low and slow as possible keeps their healthy qualities from getting fried in a burst of heat.
Once the oils and beeswax are melted and mixed together, set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.
After the oils/beeswax mixture has cooled, add essential oils to mixture. I would estimate that you will want to use 10-20 drops of each oil, depending on the oil and what you want to be strongest.
If you have ever made homemade mayo or anything else emulsified, this next step (and last) will be easy for you. Emulsifying is the process of binding the water ingredient with the oils, so that instead of a multilayered gooey jar of weirdness, we’ll have a nice blended cream. I think the key to emulsifying is having patience while pouring in the oil, so do not rush. I took an obnoxious amount of photos–hopefully this will help you along the way!
Add the tea/rose water/herb infusion to your blender. Put the lid on your blender and turn it on. Through the hole in the top of the lid slowly start pouring the oil/beeswax mixture in. You can do it drop by drop in the beginning, as you do not want to flood your water base with oil, because your blender (or rather, my blender) will not be able to keep up.
Have patience and keep slowly pouring the oil into the water base.
You’ll know the lotion has begun to emulsify when the mixture starts to seize. It will change to a whiter color, thanks to the coconut oil. At this point, you can add the oil mixture faster. Finish adding the rest of the oil, and keep the blender running until you don’t see any drops of water mixture in the blender. You can use a spatula to pull any water out of the inner corners into the mixture until you don’t see any more of the water base.
Keep mixing until everything is mixed well–usually I have to nurse mine along with a spatula at the end because tea gets caught in the corners of my blender.
…until it looks like this:
And that’s it! Transfer to a glass jar with an airtight lid and BOOM. You just made your own lotion. This batch of lotion turned out more orangey in color because of my vanilla roobios tea, your lotion will be more white if you use green tea or an herb infusion.
If you don’t use if quickly store in the refrigerator as you didn’t add any preservatives so it will go bad after a time (I have found this time actually depends on the climate I’m in, but a good rule of thumb is about 6-8 weeks). If you’re like me and use it every morning you should be just fine keeping it in your cupboard.
Variations & Notes:
You can change the quantity if you want to, though I recommend keeping the ratios the same. Also, I’ve tried to make it with ½ cups of the oils, but my blender cannot emulsify that quantity. You may need to play around with amounts to find the sweet spot for your blender, but I suspect if my blender can handle this amount, yours can too.
You can also change the base oils. I have made this recipe with only extra virgin olive oil and I thought it was heavy and gloopy, so I really like the half and half mix between the extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. But you could swap some out for a tablespoon or two of almond oil or jojoba oil. Play around with it and see what you like.
You can use whatever tea you have in the house or herbs you have in the garden to make the tea or herb infusion base. I really like a rosemary infusion, but I’ve also used green tea, black tea, mint tea, and for the pictures today I used a vanilla roobios tea.
As far as essential oils go, you can also use what you have on hand. I know that recipes call for really specific oils, and I think that can be helpful, but I think you should have freedom to use the oils you have in your house. You will want to think about what will pair together well, a rose water base would go well with citrus oils while a rosemary base would be delightful with melalueca (tea tree) and cypress or sage (it would also have a really nice woodsy scent to it, perfect for the man in your life, if you can get him to use lotion. The only time Jared uses lotion is if I attack him with it—I feel like I did well just to get him to use beard oil). A rosemary infusion with lavender and wild orange essential oil would be awesome. It’s all up to you and what you have in the house! I really like to add peppermint essential oil to my lotions for a little bit of tingle. Also, peppermint essential oil is great for you, and it boosts the strength of the other oils you use.
For the Face:
Because this lotion is very moisturizing but doesn’t go on greasy, I like to take a couple tablespoons of the completed lotion and put it in a baby food jar. Then, I squirt in some of my favorite sunscreen and stir them together. I use this mixture on my face every morning so it’s protected from the sun. Boom, moisturizing face lotion, with SPF! Take that, high mountain climate!