I am super excited that I actually was able to perfect this recipe and to finally share it. I’ve made slight variations about four times total, but keep coming back to version #3, which is what I’m sharing today.
First I made a body butter. Very luxurious, but too greasy for my preferences. It seemed to stay on the top of my skin rather than be absorbed.
So I started looking for something more to my liking. I researched different oils and their properties, browsed all kinds of articles and books on beauty tips to see what combinations I could use.
The benefit of making your own products is that you can adapt them to fit your exact needs. Think of it like cooking: start with a base recipe, adapt with what ingredients you have on hand, like or don’t like (for us it’s no mushrooms), adjust to meet your personal preferences and dietary requirements (lower sodium, more garlic, thicker sauce, etc) and voila!
This lotion recipe evolved exactly that way. I started with this lotion recipe.
I didn’t infuse the oil (I didn’t know how – but will explain it for you later), but made a stronger ‘tea’ of chamomile instead of calendula, to give it an herbal boost. I choose calendula because of the skin soothing properties and because that’s what I could find locally.
The consistency of the original lotion would go through a pump dispenser easily and it had pretty good moisturizing qualities.
I mostly liked it, but it was still a little bit too greasy-feeling and wasn’t quite moisturizing enough for my really dry skin (I made it in the fall/winter the first time).
More research and tweaking happened to come up with this recipe.
Notes About This Lotion Recipe
After a few versions (four to be exact) I came up with what I think is a winning recipe for my dry skin: Moisturizing, absorbing, non-greasy. I’ve made it multiple times, through all seasons, and it works well.
During the driest part of winter, I might stir in 5-10 drops of vitamin E, avocado, almond or some other oil to the finished lotion, for additional moisturizing. That way I can customize it for the intended use. See more on that below.
This recipe makes about 16oz (I say that partly because the volume is a little more after whipping). I fill smaller jar(s) for immediate use, and store the rest in the refrigerator until needed. Refrigerating preserves it without added preservatives, and in the summer, keeps it from melting (especially if your house gets very hot like ours does). When I need some, I refill my smaller jar. Using it this way, a 16 oz batch will last me about 3-4 months.
- I don’t put vitamin E in the base lotion, but add some to smaller jars (like my anti-wrinkle cream) as needed.
- Coconut oil is very absorbing to the skin and it melts at 76 degrees (colder than that and it is a solid). Because of this, refrigerating as a means of preservation is no problem because it applies easily. Also mixing coconut oil with jojoba, aloe Vera and water keeps it from becoming a hard solid when cold.
- Aloe Vera is moisturizing without a greasy feeling; proportionally, using more aloe Vera than water means less separation (because oil and water don’t mix!). If your aloe vera is refrigerated, let it warm to room temperature before mixing with the oil(s).
- Using an herbal ‘tea’ – instead of using plain water, you can make a strong herbal tea for added benefits. Let the ‘tea’ cool to lukewarm or cooler before mixing it with other ingredients for better blending.
- Xanthan gum is a natural thickener (I prefer it to guar gum). It helps keep the oil(s)-water-aloe mixed together without adding a waxy/greasy feel that other ingredients might add. Because it thickens, it also provides a little more of that creamy feel. The more you use, the firmer the lotion is- not to the point it’s unusable, but just firmer.
- Use a stick blender or a counter top blender where the bottom blades unscrew from the carafe. I use a stick blender and can blend while the lotion is in a cold water bath. I don’t have a blender, so have offer only minimal advice. Hopefully, I’ve provided enough description that you can see what you are aiming for at the appropriate step.
- Just a heads up – this might be a little messy! The more I make it, the less mess I seem to make, which is good J. I usually wear shorts and/or short sleeves so that I can ‘clean’ my hands on bare skin and not waste any ingredients. Same with clean up – kinda like licking the beaters when baking, except I’m rubbing lotion all over!!
- Have fun with this! None of the measurements are exact, and you really can’t screw this up. Mom taught me to ‘cook by approximation’ and so the same goes with making this lotion. For example, I eyeball the Shea Butter, beeswax, and xanthan gum amounts. I don’t worry too much about whether the quantity my oils and non-oils go over slightly, except to keep them proportionally equal before adding the Shea butter and beeswax. In that case, I’d add more jojoba and aloe vera to ‘top’ them off. If I wind up with more than 10 oz of oils I might increase the Shea butter and beeswax by 1/2 teaspoon so that the finished lotion isn’t too liquidy (is that a word??).
I use this lotion as it is for my main body moisturizer or as a carrier base for practically everything: an antibiotic cream for cuts and scrapes (for us people and the dogs), my anti-wrinkle cream, congestion…anywhere a cream is preferred to using oil for essential oil blends. Because of the coconut oil, it melts quickly on your skin and is easy to massage in.
Homemade Whipped Coconut Lotion Recipe
- 8oz Oil(s) – all of one type, or a combination of several oils- almond, coconut, jojoba, peach kernel, vitamin E, etc. Play with this to find what suits your skin and your needs.
My favorite combo is: 5 oz coconut oil
3 oz jojoba
- 2 tablespoons Shea butter
- 1 oz beeswax (or approx. 2 tablespoons of beeswax chips) –plus 2 teaspoons more
- 8 oz total non- oils – Both at ROOM TEMPERATURE
Again, my favorite ratio is: 5 oz aloe Vera gel
3 oz filtered/bottled water
- Scant 1 oz glycerin – this is my personal preference. I don’t like the feel of too much glycerin. I can’t really explain it, but I can feel it.
- 1 oz witch hazel or vodka. (Optional) The alcohol in these act as natural emulsifiers. Aloe Vera is also another mild emulsifier.
- 2 three-finger pinches (or about ½ teaspoon) of xanthan gum for cohesive blend of oil/water mixture (amount is subject to ‘feel’ of lotion).
I added this one time when my lotion wasn’t blending together well. I quickly grabbed the xanthan gum and just pulled out a three finger pinch…you know, what would fit between your first two fingers and your thumb. I did that twice and it worked beautifully to get the oil/water blended, so it’s been a part of my recipe ever since.
Xanthan gum acts as a binder and helps prevent oil separation, but is not an emulsifier. It is used in many gluten-free recipes as a binder and to provide that stickiness.
- ½ teaspoon grapefruit seed extract (preservative – optional). I don’t add this, but I store the finished lotion in the refrigerator for preserving.
Steps for Making Lotion
I like to combine the oils, Shea butter and beeswax together and then separately, combine the non-oils together. When the oils are melted, then it is easy to add the non-oils to the oils
1. Melt the oils
What ever combination of oils you decide to use, plus the Shea butter and beeswax in a glass pitcher and heat using Bain Marie (also known as a double boiler) or water bath method, not directly on a burner. Remember how I said the quantity might vary? This picture shows how much infused oil I had after straining it. You can top it off if you like. I think that’s what I did here.
2. Slowly add the non-oils
This would be the pre-combined water/aloe Vera/glycerin/witch hazel/grapefruit seed extract (if you are using) and heat, stirring occasionally until everything is re-melted.
3. Take off heat and let cool to room temp.
At this point, you want a gradual cooling as you blend the lotion, not a rapid cooling. This allows for a better mixing of the lotion. Rapid cooling makes the lotion on the perimeter of the pitcher hard while the inside is still warm, resulting in uneven blending. If this happens, you may have to reheat everything and start the cooling process over (trust me, at least I did)
To speed the ‘cooling’ process up, you can put your mixture in a cool water bath (If your tap water is not cold from the faucet, add 3-5 ice cubes to cool it down). As you’re your water warms up, add more ice cubes to keep it cool. Think of this as a gradual cool-to-cold bath.
4. Blend with stick blender
Blend occasionally (or stir if you will be using a blender for whipping/finishing) as it cools and begins to solidify.
Blend intermittently for approximately 3 to 10 minutes (probably expect the longer time for a stick blender) to whip it and thoroughly blend it to a consistent texture.
If using a countertop blender, pour the semi-solid lotion in when its room temperature for whipping/finishing.
After a few minutes of blending (either method) your lotion will begin to look whipped and begin to thicken.
5. Slowly add xanthum gum
By this I mean, let it slide out of your fingers, 1 pinch at a time while whipping the lotion. Whip thoroughly and look for soft ‘folds’ that hold their shape- it doesn’t collapse completely into the rest of the lotion. (Similar to whipping egg whites into soft peaks, except you want your ‘peak’ to fall over if that makes sense). Your whipped lotion will firm up as it finishes cooling, but it will stay whipped.
YAY!!!!! You just made whipped coconut lotion 🙂
Portion out some for use and store the rest in the refrigerator. Add essential oils or vitamin E and enjoy!
Add Herbs for DOUBLE-WHAMMY Added Benefits
Adding herbs will give your lotion a wonderful scent. If you add herbs like chamomile, calendula or comfrey you will also add some skin soothing benefits as well. You can add herbs to the oils, and in place of plain water in this recipe. I like to use them in both places when I have the time to infuse the oils.
The coconut/jojoba oils with chamomile, comfrey or calendula herbs for added healing or soothing benefits. About 1/4 to 1/3 cup herbs simmered in a glass jar containing your oils for 1 1/2 – 2 hours (stir occasionally with a bamboo skewer, or a wooden stir stick) and strained is perfect. After straining, start at Step 1 above and add the Shea butter and beeswax.
I like to leave the herbs loose in the jar (step 1), and strain everything through a strainer inside a nylon stocking (step 2 & 3). It’s faster than a coffee filter, cheaper than cheesecloth and cleanup is a snap. The nylon strains out most of the fine plant particles out so your lotion doesn’t have a slight gritty feel, but some will remain (step 4). Squeeze out the excess oil, throw the stocking away or wash and reuse.
Make a Strong Herbal Tea
Use the same herb as for infusing the oil instead of using plain water. One tea bag or single-serve tea ball amount is plenty. Strain the tea through a stocking-covered strainer (same process as the when infusing oils), if necessary.
What do you think of this recipe? Do you have any suggestions to add?
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