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Why Buy? DIY! Hand, Body, and Face Lotion

I had been scrutinizing labels for the last year or so, trying to find products without petrochemicals, chemicals that mess with hormones, or shady business practices. I could find one of the three, maybe two, but not all three. And they were EXPENSIVE! And tiny, so the bathroom trash was filling up with little empty bottles.

As a reaction to all that, I decided to give my sister-in-law a bunch of homemade spa-type products last Christmas. While searching for recipes, I realized that lotion is really only three ingredients. THREE! Not 20 ingredients that are nearly impossible to pronounce (octinoxate, anyone?). Just beeswax, oil (almond and sunflower are good), and water. Done. Even better, we make local lotion, since we get both sunflower oil and beeswax at the greenmarket.

This is a technique, not a recipe. I’ve put some ratios at the bottom, but the basic idea is that more beeswax will make a thicker lotion. If you want to use a pint-sized Mason jar on your blender to minimize clean up, keep the total volume at 15 ounces or less, so that there is enough room in the jar for everything to move around. We made a pump dispenser out of a Mason jar, which means this process is easy peasy for us now.

**Update: our homemade pumped only lasted a few months. We replaced it by purchasing a lid-pump for a mason jar. A few options available on Amazon are here, here, here, and if you still want to make your own, this will help.

Lotion Technique

  1. Grate the beeswax with a microplane or other grater. The finer you grate it, the quicker it will melt.

    Note, although we used the small blocks pictured, as time went on we upgraded to using a one-pound block of beeswax, which is both easier to grate and more economical. We bought ours at the greenmarket, but you can find similar ones online. Even if you make this lotion regularly, a single block will last you 1-2 years at a minimum.

  2. Measure the oil into a Pyrex cup and add the beeswax.

  3. Put the measuring cup into a pot and add enough water to come up to the level of the oil.

  4. Heat the pot until the water simmers gently. Continue the simmer until the beeswax melts. Remove from heat and allow it to cool until you can touch the measuring cup.

  5. Pour the water into a regular mouth pint jar and add the cooled oil/beeswax.

  6. Add essential oils to the jar, if desired.

  7. Screw on the blender pieces and blend on low until everything is emulsified (pulsing helps). It will go very quickly from separated to a creamy white lotion. You might want to open the jar and give it a stir to free up any water that might not be getting down to the blades.

Yep, that’s it.

For a rich hand cream, we use 6 ounces of oil, 3 of beeswax (6 tablespoons), and 6 of water (all volume).
For a body and face lotion that will work in a pump dispenser, we use 6 ounce of oil, 1 of beeswax (2 tablespoons), and 8 of water.

We add about 30 drops of essential oil for fragrance – lately half lavendar and half geranium.

Go forth and blend!

25 comments to Why Buy? DIY! Hand, Body, and Face Lotion

  • Jen

    You should sell it at the market!

  • Lupeb

    I’ve been looking for a simple recipe for like ages. I have the same blender thingy you have — I think I’m going to use olive oil for my liquid oil. I’ve given up on blending shea butter to get like whipped cream when combined with a liquidy oil because it never works.

    Thanks again.

  • Iris

    Whoa!!! Can we all do that nifty jar in blender thing or is that a special blender you have to have. that is sooo cool!!

  • Lindsay

    Hi Iris – Any standard blender can handle a regular mouth Mason jar. I’ve read that they were originally designed without special pitchers, because you were supposed to use the jar. Sometimes if I need a smoothie to go, I’ll do it in the jar and cap it with the two piece lid. No leaks in my purse and fewer dishes to wash!

    Hi Lupeb – How did the olive oil work out?

  • Karen

    What would be the best oil to use for an oily complexion. I just made this (excited!) with 1oz grape seed and the rest olive oil and I’m afraid it might be greasy on my face. We’ll know tomorrow!

  • Karen2

    Karen, I too have oily skin & recently made my own lotion similar to this with grapeseed oil minus the olive oil. A couple things I’ve figured out so far, the lotion feels a little heavy for my face (I think because of the beeswax) but for my body it’s perfect. Then I tried grapeseed oil alone on my face and I guess it’s doing the job perfectly because I’m not as shiny as I had been getting the past few months. After I wash my face I use a tiny bit of only grapeseed oil and my skin stays hydrated and glowy for a couple hours, not Crisco shiny! So the lotion with olive oil MAY be too heavy for an already oily complexion.

  • Lindsay

    Hi Karen(s)!

    When my skin is a little oily/misbehaving, I use straight coconut oil. It’s counterintuitive (and definitely not local), but seems to work for me. You could also try reducing the amount of beeswax until you get a consistency that you like better.

    Take care,
    Lindsay

  • Ann

    Hi Karen
    love the lotion, can you tell me how long it is good for ? thanks

  • Despoina

    I produce the lotion with pump dispenser. Its very nice . I love it. But I noticed little water at the top of the bottle. Is it normal? Or I did someting wrong?

    Thanks
    Despoina

    • Lindsay

      That’s very normal. Sometimes the water doesn’t completely blend with the oil and wax. I usually stop the blender once or twice to give the jar a little shake. This encourages the water to mix in better, but doesn’t always get 100%. I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

  • Angel

    This is a great recipe. Thank you so much for sharing! I just have a question, at the very bottom of your technique you have “6 of water” and “8 of water”, I’m confused is that cups or tablespoons of water?

  • Jean Blount

    Thank-You so much for the trick with the canning jar! I never knew and I’m 53. Of course I had to immediately try it….Love it!!!

  • Rmignuoli

    Hi, When do you add the water into the jar?

    Thanks

  • Kudos for wanting to diy your own personal products! It is a great deal of fun and YOU get to choose what goes into them.

    However, oil and water will not mix well or permanently, not even when adding beeswax as none of these are emulsifying ingredients. The emulsification done by the blender is temporary. Worse yet, water is a medium just itching to grow germs. The amount in these large bottles is troublesome because the water will be sitting there for a long time, the microbes multiplying like mad.

    You’d be better served by making a waterless moisturizer; it’s very easy. You’ll need one part each beeswax, butter (cocoa butter, mango, shea) and one part liquid oil. Melt the beeswax and add the butter until it’s melted. Add the liquid oil and mix together. Pour into a mold (ie a cupcake tin lined with plastic) and let cool. It is now ready to use. If you find the end product is too hard, melt it down and add a little more oil. If it’s too soft, add a little beeswax.

    Some b&b products are possible to make at home with what you have on hand or easily accessed ingredients, but lotion is not one of them.

  • Christine

    As it cooled, the water separated to the bottom. How do I stop that? Thanks

  • Penny Bass

    Can castor oil be used for the oil

  • Ann Lee

    Where did u purchase the lid with a pump?

  • JSL

    This recipe is perfect! My daughter and made 15, 4oz bottles of it last night for her 10th birthday spa party. I adjusted the recipe a bit given the comment here, and what I saw for other handmade lotion recipes and the water issue. We reduced the water and the beeswax.
    To make large batches of peppermint lotion:
    16 oz organic sunflower oil
    5 TBS Beezwax pellets (found at Hobby Lobby)
    5 oz Distilled water
    30-40 drops of essential 100% peppermint oil
    5 drops of natural color for bath/soap (used red to get pink) (found at Hobby Lobby)
    We made about 2 batches to give us the 15 bottles.
    We followed instructions after that. The lotion is fantastic! We poured it in 4 oz bottles that we ordered online with the flip caps. Voila!!! Fresh, natural, handmade lotion. the Sunflower oil is a bit heavy so a small amount will go a long way on the body. We are going to encourage our spa girls to use it as an aftershower moisterizer as it will aborb better on wet skin. Just love it, and we are so proud! Thank you so much, Lindsey!!!

  • Esto es ¡genial! No he leído algo como esto desde hace mucho . Maravilloso hallar a alguien con algunas ideas nuevas sobre este tema. Este sitio web es algo que se necesita en Internet , alguien con un poco de dominio. Un trabajo útil para traer algo nuevo a la red. Gracias de todos lo que te leemos.

  • [...]  http://eatlocal365.com/2011/07/11/diy-lotion/ [...]

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