Have you ever looked at the ingredients on your favorite lotion? You may be surprised with how long the ingredient list and how few ingredients you can even pronounce. If you’d like to get back to the basics and toss the toxins without sacrificing quality, read on because NC State graduate student Angel Cruz, who has taught Crafts Center classes on DIY body products, shares a recipe for one of the simplest lotions you could ever make (seriously, it’s really easy).
Like Angel’s recipe for lip balm, you can customize the recipe for the scent you prefer. Lavender mint, anyone?
Here are the basic ingredients (all of which can be purchased online or in a grocery store and/or craft store) to make one small container of lotion. These proportions can easily be scaled if you’d like to make larger quantities.
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoon grated beeswax
- 2-3 tablespoons of room temperature water (yes, the room temperature part is important). Alternatively, you could use aloe vera gel instead of water.
- Vitamin E oil, tea tree oil or one capsule of grapefruit seed oil
- Stove top
- Glass or stainless steel bowl or container
- Wide mouth mason jar (or small bowl that can accommodate your immersion blender or hand mixer)
- Measuring spoons
- Immersion blender (hand mixer will work but the immersion blender is ideal)
- 1-3 ounce containers (a colored container is best to reduce the lotion’s exposure to light)
Here’s how to make lotion:
1. Wipe the inside of the small tins and/or lip balm tubes with rubbing alcohol so that the containers are as clean as possible. Set aside.
2. Combine oil and beeswax in a small or medium-sized glass or stainless steel bowl.
3. Prepare a double boiler (if you have one), or use this method: Fill a cooking pot about ¼ full of water and put on the stove top. Turn stove top on to low. Place the bowl holding the ingredients on top of the pot so that the heat from the boiling water slowly melts the ingredients.
4. As the heat melts the ingredients, use a fork to stir the ingredients and encourage faster melting — particularly of the beeswax, which melts the slowest. Beeswax can be stubborn, so you might have to stir a bit more vigorously until the mixture looks completely liquified.
5. When melted, take the bowl off the hot water. Pour the melted ingredients into a room temperature wide-mouth mason jar or a room temperature bowl. The mixture begins to harden quickly, so waste no time adding 2-3 tablespoons of room temperature water (or aloe vera gel). You will see the mixture change consistency.
6. For the creative type, here’s your chance to customize. Before you finish mixing, add any essential oils to create a scent you love. For example, 10 drops of lavender oil or lemon essential oil will do the trick. But feel free to use whatever essential oil you like. Add the contents of one capsule of grapefruit seed oil/extract or 10 drops of tea tree oil to the mixture as an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal agent.
7. Once completely mixed, spoon the mixture into a container and enjoy!
The beauty of this product is the simple ingredient list. But the lack of preservative does mean you have to use the lotion within six month (three months is preferable) and keep it at a reasonable room temperature. Some people even keep theirs in the refrigerator during the summer months to both extend the lotion’s life and enjoy a burst of cool hand lotion on a hot summer day.