Homemade lotion


I love getting snowed in. It’s a rare event I always welcome. I love that it’s a collective experience shared by everyone in the affected region, but also private as we’re each marooned in our own homes. As highways, businesses, and schools close, time seems to slow down. I’m feeling very lucky that I didn’t loose power and heat in the storm, as that can quickly take the pleasure out of the experience. I took advantage of being confined to my apartment to get into some projects that my work has been keeping me from. Today I made moisturizing lotion based on a very simple recipe a friend recently shared with me. It was remarkably easy and I’m so pleased with the result. I’ve made salves before with a similar process but I love the texture and “slip” of the lotion—perfect for dry elbows, knees, hands, and feet. It absorbs into my skin well and has a pleasing, mild scent. Here’s the recipe I ended up using…

4 tablespoons grated beeswax

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup grape seed oil

1/3 cup sweet almond oil

8 tablespoons water

In a double boiler setup (I use a stainless steel bowl set over a pot of water) melt beeswax. When beeswax is almost completely liquified add coconut oil. Pour in slightly warmed remaining oils (one cup total) and whisk with a hand whisk, fork, or immersion blender. Remove the mixture from heat and slowly add water while stirring. Continue whisking for a minute or so until the mixture is homogenized. While hot, the lotion will be very runny. Allow it to cool, mixing it periodically as it sets up. 

The recipe makes about 16oz of lotion. Store in a glass jar in a cool dry place. I scooped some into this little 3 oz jar to give to my friend to sample. Many oils could be substituted in this recipe. And you don’t have to use more than one. I chose to mix the three together because I had them on hand. The oils are available to me in bulk at a couple nearby sources. I’ve seen beeswax sold in brick form without any packaging before but when I went to purchase it for this project I could only find plastic wrapped bricks. So instead I picked up a 100% beeswax package-free candle and grated that. Once I’ve gone through all the beeswax I’ll be left with wick, which I can compost or burn in the wood stove. The one ingredient that did come in packaging is the coconut oil. It came in a 14 oz glass jar. I only use the coconut oil for homemade hygiene products and it lasts a long time. Once it’s empty, the jar will be used again and again to store bulk goods. But the plastic seal that came around the jar lid when it was purchased is landfill waste.

I’m always interested in using less personal hygiene products. Caring for skin from the inside out is something that appeals to me very much. Of course diet, hydration, and exercise all play a roll in skin health and texture. I’ve been trying to drink more water in these dry winter months, but my skin appreciates a little extra help from a topical source in this climate.

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6 Responses to Homemade lotion

  1. indreams February 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    it’s so great that you posted this recipe – i’ve just run out of my moisturizer (packaged; filled with not-so-great stuff), so i was thinking of researching how to make my own. so, hooray for snowdays, and thanks, to you…! :)

    • Colleen February 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      Hey there! So glad you found this post useful! I’ve been using the lotion for the past couple days now and I really love it! It absorbs into my skin well and it smells so lovely. And I’m usually not one for anything scented or perfumed, but this lotion is mild and sweet. And it’s really satisfying whipping up my own skin care products at home—turning the kitchen into an organic laboratory! 😉 Have fun making your own!

  2. m graham February 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    its complete and total LOVE… been using all over.. legs, arms, lips, face, elbows, knees, toes & ankles!! why pay others double or triple to make a product with ingredients i dont want in packaging i cant stand… when what i love, is easy, quik and huge savings which means i can cut my ‘overtime’ to cover the cost of “unnecessary necessaries”!! THANKS NO TRASH PROJECT

  3. Cocomama March 15, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    Finally made this today! I used walnut oil instead of almond because that’s what I had in my cupboards. I shopped for sweet almond oil but only found it in a plastic bottle so had to come home empty handed. All other ingredients were just as your recipe called. It was much easier than I thought it would be and now that it’s cooled it really is all set up, looks/feels, just like store-bought lotion. I’m off to shower so I can test it out. :)

    Do you happen to know how long it will keep in my SoCal bathroom? I’m concerned about the oils going rancid.

    • Colleen March 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      Hi there. So glad the making of it worked out. Do you like it so far? Yea, the oils will eventually go rancid. I guess storage depends on how much you made, how quickly you’ll go through it, and how warm your bathroom is. If you are concerned you can always stick it in the refrigerator. With all the oils I buy in bulk that I use on my skin and hair, I store the majority of each batch in the fridge and then parcel out a little bit in a small container to keep handy in my bathroom. Actually this is true for cooking oils too. I ended up giving most of my first batch of lotion to friends, so I’ve got what’s left in a jar under my bathroom sink. These days my bathroom probably never gets much above 70 degrees. The lotion hasn’t separated at all and it still smells wonderful. I’m not too worried about it turning rancid before I get through it because there isn’t much left. But I would probably keep a larger batch in the refrigerator for good measure, especially come summertime.

  4. MaidMirawyn May 25, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

    I have made a very similar recipe, and I love it! I like to make mine with rosewater instead of plain water. (I buy it in glass bottles with a metal lid from the local Middle Eastern groceries.) Sometimes I make a fragrant double strength tea and use that instead. You can get all sorts of wonderful results. (Rosemary is very nice!) I am able to buy them in bulk locally.

    If you’re looking for a source for beeswax, check the farmer’s market for beekeepers selling honey. I buy little 1 oz bars of beeswax from them, usually for $1 each. (Of course, NYC may be more expensive!) I just put them in my own cloth bags or use a furoshike.

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