In just a few days, I’ll have the exciting opportunity to be standing in front of MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR-goers and teaching them how to make lotion.
Exciting, yes, but I must admit — I’m a little nervous! Luckily, making lotion is a skill that’s easy to acquire, as it’s a simple, go-with-the-flow process. Much of what you add to your lotion recipe is entirely up to you — you can mix and match liquid oils, add herbs and herbal tinctures, and scent your lotion with any essential oil you choose. So whether I get shaky-leg up on that stage or not, I’m thrilled to pass along a process that I think is not only beneficial, but also a lot of fun.
The recipe I use to make my lotion is from a book titled Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair by Dina Falconi. Her recipe is quite detailed, and the book has all kinds of natural body care recipes, so I highly recommend taking a look if you’d like to find more information or experiment even further. Here’s my version of Falconi’s recipe. Yield: 19 ounces of cream.
• 6 oz. liquid oil
• 3 oz. solid oil
• 1 oz. grated beeswax
• 9 oz. water
According to Falconi, any carrier oils — such as peanut, jojoba, olive, or apricot kernel — can be used as the liquid oil, and any oils that are solid at room temperature — coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter — can be used as the solid oil. For my variation on this recipe, I used 3 ounces of olive oil and 3 ounces of jojoba oil for my liquid-oil portion, and 3 ounces of coconut oil for my solid-oil portion.
Combine your liquid oil, solid oil and grated beeswax in a measuring cup. Place in a double boiler (or a pot partially filled with water) over medium heat and stir until dissolved.
Remove the measuring cup from the hot water and allow the mixture to cool to body temperature. Stir the mixture as it cools.
While the oils are cooling, pour your distilled water into a measuring cup and place it in the hot-water bath to heat it to body temperature.
When both the oils and the water have reached body temperature, pour the water into a blender or food processor, or pour it into a mixing bowl and use an immersion blender. Slowly add the oil mixture to the whirling water. Continue to process until the oil and water have blended together into a thick, creamy liquid. This will happen in about 20 to 30 seconds with a high-powered blender, but could take as long as 15 minutes if you’re using an electric mixer.
Add essential oils until your mixture smells the way you want it to smell. I used 1 drop per 2 ounces, so about 10 drops for this 19-ounce batch.
Pour the cream into clean, dry jars and let it set overnight. Store the cream out of direct heat and sunlight. For longer storage, keep it in the refrigerator.
A little of this lotion goes a long way, so experimenting with small batches until you get your ideal lotion will be helpful to you, and your 19-ounce batch will likely last longer than you think.
And most importantly, have fun and experiment! You can color your lotion with natural additives, such as herbs, teas or flowers. Substituting a bit of aloe gel for some of your water will cause your lotion to last longer, as will adding grapefruit seed extract. You can double the batch for your whole family to use, or portion the lotion into attractive jars to give as gifts.
If you can't come to the FAIR, I hope you're still able to enjoy the recipe above. Making your own lotion is a satisfying endeavour, and offers a sweet reward in the form of healthy, smooth skin.
Amanda Sorell will present a workshop at the Puyallup, Wash., FAIR.