Yesterday I learned how to make lotion! This is a whole new level of Granola Mama. It was a tremendous amount of fun and I found yet another thing want to do the "natural way."
Last month my Secret Sister at church gave me a sampling of four lotions. She told me later that her (real) sister made the lotions. What surprised me the most about the homemade cosmetics was that they weren't a lesser quality than something I would buy in the store. Rather, this lotion was much better! The texture is perfectly smooth, absorbs quickly, not greesy, the scents are light, compelling, and delicious, and the benefits I see with my skin are the most fantastic. I've suffered with psoriasis (chronic skin condition) on my hands for 8 years and there are a lot of things that make it worse, but nothing that makes it better... Until now. Also, the normal itchiness I always get on my legs after I shave doesn't occur when I use this all natural lotion.
I'm a believer! I asked my friend if her sister would be interested in teaching me how to make the lotion and she agreed. I was so excited and a friend and I learned yesterday what goes into making an all-natural quality lotion.
I posted a quick sentence about my lotion making experience on fb and was surprised at the number of people who were interesteed in the process. I'll post here what I learned yesterday.
While making lotion is not labor intensive, it takes a lot of odd ingredients (definitely special purchases) and quite a bit of time. It is science and art, a combo I love. The amounts of ingredients need to be exact in their ratios so the texture comes out right, but the scents are all art. Combining the essential oils, which have healing properties of their own, was tons of fun. I made a lavender oil blend that smells earthy sweet and a mint medley that is fresh clean smelling and my husband doesn't mind using it.
The basic recipe for 2 cups of lotion:
27g solid, like Shea butter, cocoa butter, or kokum
85g oil, you can really go crazy with all the veggie, fruit and plant oils
8.7g stearic acid
19g emulsifying wax
2g citric acid (preservative)
Use a food scale to measure ingredients, tare after each addition and it is easy! Heat oils and butters in short bursts in the microwave until hot and melted, stiring with a wooden spoon. Heat water and citric acid to the same temperature. Use a hand mixer in the oil with one beater and slowly pour the water in while the mixure is going. Combine for about a minute. Then stir the mixture every few mintues as it cools when it begins to separate. It takes about an hour to cool down to room temperature. It starts to thicken up, but won't be the final thickness until the next day.
The essential oils and herb extracts are added next. In my lavender mix, I used things that are specifically mentioned for treating psoriasis like tea tree and ylang ylang. The possibilities are just endless and you mix a few drops of this and that in a tiny container until it smells pleasant. Then you add that to the lotion, it is less than a quarter of a tsp. -- the amounts are SO small to infuse a small amount of lotion.
I also learned yesterday that you can make the lotion into a sun block by adding two more ingredients after the essential oils. They are 1 TBS powdered zinc oxide (a natural mineral that block sun -- it's the main ingredient in diaper rash creams) and 1 TBS powdered titanium dioxide (a chemical compound made from a mineral).
The fun thing about doing this project at a pros house is that she had TONS of stuff to work with. She had about 8 different oils to choose from, 4 butters, and about 25 essential oils to mix and match. She spends $100s on her online orders, but it is her passion and she blesses her friends and family with salves, lotions, and bath salts that are healthy and healing.
I came home pumped up and excited about doing this project myself and went to the websites recommended at the class. The oils and butters are not terribly expensive and I could buy enough to make about a gallon of lotion (plain) for less than $50. The essential oils and getting a variety of them are the expensive part. For example, sandalwood is $100 an ounce. There are so many recipes online to choose from and many just add one or two essential oils to make a pleasant scent, so you can do it affordably.
www.thesage.com, their blog is really fun: www.blog.thesage.com
I'm really excited about this idea of making lotion. I didn't rush out and make a huge order, but I am definitely give it some more thought and research.
What do you think? Would you ever try to make it yourself?
PS This week I plan to try an all-natural self-tanner on my pasty white legs. Stay tuned for before and after pictures. :)