Skin care is big business, accounting for millions of dollars in sales each year. According to IBISWorld the cosmetic and skin care industries are very competitive. As a result, companies are relying on new product introductions to grow their business. For the consumer, this means “new & improved” patented ingredients, more chemicals and toxins with unknown side effects, all with the promise of more youthful, healthy skin.
Most Americans are accustomed to an abundance of choices in skin and personal care products, yet it can still be overwhelming trying to choose what is the safest and most economical. It helps to get products from a company you trust, one that ensures quality control in all aspects of producing their consumer goods. EWG’s cosmetic database can help you avoid products with toxic ingredients. I’ve also found it easiest to simplify my routine where I can. If you are unfamiliar with the risks of using most drug store personal care products I encourage you to watch a short video from Safe Cosmetics.org, a non-profit organization committed to educating the public about safety in our personal care items.
DIY for the safest options Recently, I’ve found some great directions on making your own lotions at WabiSabi Baby.com. I’ve had the how-to information for years but never ventured out to try it until I read the clear directions from WabiSabi Baby. Packaged lotions are convenient and you don’t have to worry about shelf life, but if you’d like to try making your own lotion, I recommend this recipe. When you add your pure, therapeutic, food grade essential oils you’ll have the purest lotion customized to your skin’s needs.
I mixed together this batch of simple ingredients and had a very emollient lotion in 15 minutes. I used jojoba one time and coconut oil the 2nd. The coconut oil version was amazingly emollient. I have used a lavender lip balm (made with coconut oil) for dry patches and the coconut oil version was very similar. If you can heat up a can of soup, you can make this recipe. The first time I did this, the water separated a little. I reheated the mixture in the double boiler and it turned out much better. I look forward to trying this recipe with glycerin (making sure it’s vegetable glycerin) for even more moisture. Mountain Rose Herbs carries a large selection of lotion making supplies including beeswax pastilles and glycerin. Let me know if you’ve made your own lotions and what has or has not worked for you!
I mixed up ½ this amount the first couple times just to get comfortable with the technique:
¼ C vegetable oil ( coconut, jojoba, sesame, almond: no soybean, canola, corn mystery oil)
¼ C emulsifying wax (I used local, organic beeswax. You can also get an emulsifying wax specifically for cosmetics)
1 ¼ C hot water (almost boiling)
Melt vegetable oil and emulsifying wax in a small sauce pan. Pour in hot water (this step is critical to avoiding a mess!) and stir until well incorporated, the consistency should be like milk. Pour the entire mixture into a glass canning jar or other glass bottle with a tight lid. Make sure you temper the glass first by running it under hot water to warm the glass slightly. I found it convenient to sterilize the bottle first, filling it with lotion once it has cooled a little, taking care to use hot pads for hot surfaces. Pour the lotion mixture in slowly as a dramatic temperature change will break the glass. Gently shake the bottle about every 10 minutes until the mixture sets.
Add 8-10 drops of essential oils when the lotion cools to customize to your needs:
Acne prone: Melaleuca alternifolia, Roman Chamomile
Cooling Foot Lotion: Peppermint
Sunscreen: Add 1 T non-nano zinc oxide plus lavender to protect and support skin health (I ordered mine from WabiSabi baby.com)
Insect Repelling Lotion: Purifyig blend, Peppermint, Cedarwood, Immune Immune Boosting Blend, Citronella (make sure it is not a chemical citronella oil, but pure plant extract). Add non-nano zinc oxide to make a bug repellent sunscreen
I made half this version for a couple days use and keep it in the fridge since there are no preservatives. You could also add some Vitamin E oil or essential oils that would act as natural preservatives. Make sure you don’t use citrus oils in lotion you will be putting on before sun exposure, they are photosensitizing and make it more likely you’ll burn .