DIY Lotion for Skin & Hair
Take a look at your lotion. What’s the first ingredient?
What’s next? If it’s any good, probably some butters (shea, cocoa, etc), oils (olive, coconut, etc.), glycerin. Some have oats, honey, flaxseed – all kinds of good stuff. And then there’s the alcohol and all the “other junk” that only chemists can pronounce because some chemist probably produced it.
The real question is… how much of the good stuff, the naturally occurring ingredients, are in your moisturizing products? Did you know that the first five ingredients in practically everything you buy are the most prevalent in the product? And unfortunately there really is no way for us non-chemists to know how much of what is in our products.
Now about that lotion…
I personally stopped buying lotion the very day I discovered coconut oil. I don’t recall the exact reason I originally I started using coconut oil, but since then I have used it on my hair and skin almost exclusively. I still used my olive oil, but I found that it did not absorb into my hair and skin as quickly so it slowly went back to being my main cooking oil.
In more recent years I have tried and used multiple different oils for different reasons. Now I use several oils together in different variations for specific uses such as my OCM, daytime facial moisturizer, nighttime “serum”, hair & body oil. But I have used coconut oil as my head to toe moisturizer almost exclusively for the last several years.
So I mentioned that I haven’t personally bought lotion in a very long time (the lotion aisle makes me very anxious). But other folks in my household have. Until now. HA, I finally got ’em!
Here’s the thing… I have no problem sticking my hand into a jar (or a cute little container) of coconut oil. Women do that all the time with those high end body “butters” & “souffles”. Men & kids… they are NOT having it! They want it easy -they want some stuff that they can’t see in an opaque bottle with a pump on it.
Coconut oil won’t do that. It will either be practically solid or to runny (melts at 76°). So I set out to make my own DIY lotion and came across a basic formula: 2 parts water, 1 part oil, and 1/4 part beeswax.
This is THE BEST basic formula for several reasons:
- I like basic. KISS (keep it simple
stupidsister) is the best policy. That and “less is more”.
- Make as much or as little as you want/need.
- This has no smell, but you could easily add scent with essential oils if you want.
- The ingredients can be changed up any way you want. It’s fully customizable.
- water → green tea, rose water, aloe vera juice
- oil → pick 1 or 3 or 5. Choose oils based on your needs. Here are a few that have made my cut:
- avocado – moisturizing, improves elasticity, increases collagen, removes impurities, great for aging skin and dry skin, and for hair
- castor – heals damaged skin, extremely emollient, good for itching, blackheads, dandruff, hair & scalp
- coconut – moisturizing, conditioning, penetrating, good for all skin & hair types and has a smidge of SPF and vitamin E
- grape seed – penetrating, great for oily or sensitive skin, and aging skin
- hemp – conditioning, regenerative, great for aging, dry, or damaged skin, and for hair
- olive – conditioning, penetrating, great for skin & hair
- beeswax… well beeswax is what it is but → cocoa butter
I am not an expert on beeswax and honestly I don’t really like having to use it. For lotion, I think it is mostly there for consistency. There are other waxes to use differently (paraffin, emulsifying wax). Since I don’t keep any of that on hand and don’t really want to, I did try using cocoa butter in place of it. Worked for me and the fam likes it too!
For my original DIY lotion I used:
2 cups of green tea
1 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup beeswax
I melted the beeswax & coconut oil over a (mock) double boiler. Then I put it in my blender, added the green tea, and let it cool off. Actually I put it in the fridge because I’m impatient. When it cooled, I pulsed it in the blender until it was creamy.
This lotion was great – smooth, applied easily, penetrated very fast. The only problem is that the consistency was more like a whipped butter or souffle than pump-able lotion. So while my DH and I use it, it’s not the best for kids. So back to the drawing board I went. Plus I wanted to take out the beeswax and the water if I could.
For DIY lotion #2 I used:
1 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of cocoa butter
I melted everything over a (mock) double boiler. I got a little lazy so I just put the bowl I melted it in into the fridge. Once it cooled down, I used my hand mixer to blend it until creamy.
This lotion is creamy. Too creamy. Like oily creamy. But it pumps. The littlest used it, but didn’t like it and complained about the oiliness. Soooo, back I go again hoping that the 3rd time will be the charm.
My family and I finally landed on a combination of my 1st & 2nd formulation. Why? Because I had a revelation… this is the 1 time that water is NOT my friend. With DIY lotion #3 below, I made the mistake of leaving the top off in the bathroom for too long. When I used it I wondered why it smelled a little off. Really off.
Anything with liquid in it needs some sort of preservative. If not… mold, fungus, wretched rancid-ness. And since I’m not in the business of buying uni-taskers (things I won’t ever use for anything else EVER), I reverted back to lotion #2. It just took a little time to get the right consistency – creamy, non-greasy, and pumpable.
The basic formulation…
2 Tbsp beeswax
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup liquid oil (i.e. avocado, grapeseed, olive, etc)
I made the smallest possible batch so we could try it and not be stuck if 1 or 2 of us hated it. And even though I really didn’t want to use beeswax, there’s so little of it that it doesn’t bother me at all. I just can’t use this in my hair like I could with the other formulations.
Added bonus: no whipping or blending required. Just melt, stir, & let it cool to room temperature. The consistency is perfectly pump-able.
For DIY lotion #3 I used:
1 cup of green tea
1 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of cocoa butter
Followed the same steps as before – melt the oils and butter over a double boiler. I poured them in the blender jar and put in the fridge to cool. This time I had to repeat the process 3 or 4 times because I kept forgetting to take the blender jar out of the fridge and this stuff got hard as a rock. Anyway when I finally did get the timing just right, I realized that the whole purpose of the blending was to get a creamy consistency which requires… AIR. *stale face*
So this time I let the oils come back to room temp AND I streamed in the green tea as I pulsed it all in the blender. AIR. Once all the tea was in, I used this little “smoothie stick” thing that came with the gadget to “stir” it up while it was blending. More AIR.
This process didn’t take any extra time, it just sounds like it did.
This one is perfect! So great that after I refilled the original lotion dispenser, I used this mixture to “correct” the old one! Nothing wasted and now everyone is using it all the time. We are even using it every time we wash our hands. AND with store bought “hand lotion”, I am very careful not to touch my face. Not with this – it’s all things I could use on my face anyway. (BTW, what makes it specifically just “hand lotion” anyway?)
Now here is the cool thing that I literally JUST discovered… As a kinky haired natural, I use the LOC method – leave-in (conditioner), oil, cream. I’ve been kinda cheating on the cream part because I refuse to spend $10+ on some hair product that I end up hating. I got to looking at the ingredients in some of the “cream” products and whaddaya know… The first ingredient is always water! Then a butter, then several oils.
You know me, those wheels got to turning in my head and I decided to try my DIY lotion in my hair as the “cream” in my LOC method. I only did it on 1 side of my head because I’m a little
scary cautious like that; so far 1 thumb up and the jury is still out. I’ll let you know how that goes.