make your own creamy hand & body lotion recipe
as someone who both works with her hands and lives in an arid climate, sometimes my skin gets scary dry. double whammy=yuck + ouch! i’ve tried lots of different hand creams, but as with so many things, i couldn’t find exactly what i wanted (intensively moisturizing, long lasting, organic, inexpensive, minimal ingredients) so i turned to making my own. this lotion has no water, so it’s really moisturizing–i use it all over–and it sinks in faster than you might imagine. i have hyper-sensitive skin, but this seems to soothe, never irritate or clog pores.
it’s simpler than you would think, especially if you have a stand mixer. but don’t bail if you don’t have one! i started making this lotion before that fabulous invention found it’s way into my life.
shopping tips: i find these items in their pure form at my local health foods store, but they’re also available online. i like to go organic where i can, but it’s up to you. beeswax helps this lotion have staying power even after hand washing, but it’s hard to chop if you buy it solid so look for chunks. if you don’t like the smell of coconut oil (beach!), try versions that have been refined; they have less smell. if you don’t like the smell of cocoa butter (chocolate!), there are unscented versions, though personally i’d never touch them. lanolin actually does not clog pores, but some people are allergic to it, as it comes from sheep’s wool. this recipe will work without it, but it helps penetrate the first layer of your skin, keeping it moisturized for longer. add the essential oils of your choice; i usually add sweet orange, lemon, and lavender.
- create a double boiler with the bowl you’re going to stir in (the bowl from your stand mixer or any old bowl if you will be using a hand held mixer or whisk) and a heavy bottomed sauce pan by putting about a cup of water in the sauce pan and the double boiler in the pan.
- start by melting the beeswax in your double boiler over medium-low heat.
- once that’s melted, stir in the sweet almond oil and coconut oil, reducing the heat to low.
- when it’s all liquefied, remove from heat and add the cocoa butter and lanolin, stirring until blended. tip: place your stirring tool into the heated mixture now so that it comes to the same warm temperature; this will give you creamier cream.
- transfer the bowl with contents to your stand mixer (or a counter if you’re using a hand mixer or whisk).
- stir until the mixture comes to room temperature. this is the part that a hand mixer makes soooo much easier because you can just walk away, leaving it on low speed. but if you’re using a hand mixer or whisk, just come back at regular intervals and stir.
- once the cream has cooled, add the glycerin and whip it into a frenzy. you’ll get the same effect as if you whipped butter: a lighter, airier cream.
- once it’s reached the consistency of whipped butter, add the essential oils of your choice. start with 10 drops and increase from there.
- package into containers–i reuse old (clean!) lotion containers, but you can purchase new ones, use glass jars, or even plastic storage.
- enjoy your fabulous new lotion!
handy tips and pointers
- use a sharp knife and an easy wash cutting board (not wood) to chop beeswax.
- use utensils that are easy to wash (again, i don’t recommend wood) because this recipe is very oily and waxy. i use the same silicone whisk from start to finish.
- as the mixture cools, it tends to cool at different rates, causing harder chunks to form. if you want the creamiest cream possible, get everything to start out at the same temperature by heating your stirring implement(s) as recommended. don’t try to rush the cooling process by using an ice bath or placing the lotion mixture and bowl in the fridge. trust me, i’ve tried this: chunky city. you’ll still get a line of harder lotion at the top of the mixture (see picture), so try what i do: scoop these chunky bits out and use it separately.
- cleaning becomes sooo much easier if you wipe everything off first with a paper towel! otherwise it takes forever to get everything squeaky clean.
- wash out old containers with soap and water and make sure they’re completely dry before you fill with lotion.
- if you find that your lotion loses its creamy consistency later in life, especially if it’s exposed to cold for a while, bring it back to cream-tastic-ness by setting it–in its container–in a sunny window or a bowl of really hot water.