Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Green Living DIY (Do It Yourself): Making Your Own Lotion

Okay, I decided to change the name of the "Going Green the Hard Way" segment, since going green is getting easier *laugh*.  It will now be called "Green Living DIY" to better fit what I'm really trying to do with the segment, which is show you things that you can do to live greener without busting your pocket book :).

So, onto the point of the actual segment this week.  The Calendula Oil I put onto steep weeks ago was finally ready to use, so I strained it out (put a wire mesh strainer over a 4 cup measuring cup and then dumped just strained that way).  I used a wooden spoon to push the oil drenched petals down into the wire mesh strainer to get out any left over oil (since calendula oil is awesome stuff) and was ready to rock with 1 whole cup of calendula oil.

I used half of the oil to make caledula salve (more on that later) and the other half I decided to use to make, what I'm affectionately calling, the "Kick Eczema's Butt Lotion".  I looked up every conceivable carrier oil and pretty much anything that had a hint that it would help eczema I threw into the mixture.  Now mind you most of the really hefty carrier oils recommend only doing up to 5% total volume of said oil, so I sort of just threw a dash of each type of lotion into the mix.  But, here's the recipe I came up with.  Now mind you, you need 1 cup of total oil here, so feel free to just use even olive oil or sweet almond oil (good if you're looking for like next to no scent, but do NOT use if you have any type of nut allergies in the house...oils are bad for allergies too you know).  They also recommended coconut oil could be used, which would probably work pretty well too :).

Here's your basic recipe.  My "additions/changes" are after it...
  • 1 clean bottle or jar
  • 1 cup carrier oil
  • 1 tbsp. emulsifying wax
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Essential Oil
  • Microwave and at least a 2 cup liquid measuring cup
You need 1 cup total of carrier oil.  Here's what I did...
  • 1/2 cup Calendula Oil
  • 1 Tbsp (about) each...
  • Primrose Oil (my daughter's skin loves this oil...go figure)
  • Emu Oil (omit if you're vegan since this is actually emu oil)
  • Argan Oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Vegetable glycerin (used more as a preservative for the lotion than anything)
  • And the rest I filled up with sweet almond oil and olive oil until I hit the 1 cup line on the liquid measuring cup.
Next take 1 tbsp of emulsifying wax (I used beeswax...if you have chunk beeswax be sure to cut it into small itty bitty pieces so your amounts are about right).  You can find emulsifying wax on Etsy, or E-bay and you can find beeswax at All About Herbs in the Valley and I'm SURE at numerous all natural types of shops in Anchorage.  I actually used some beeswax pestilles I'd bought ages ago to make lip balm (and never did...oops :).

Essential Oils for Scent (and these also act as a preservative).  Use whatever you choose for scents, if any, and use between 10 and 40 drops (depending how strong you want to scent it).  Personally I just used about 10 drops of vanilla essential oil just to take the edge off of the olive oil smell and then put in 5 drops of tea tree oil to act as an anti-bacterial agent (and to help promote healing of cracked skin).

Okay so the process right?  This is so hard you'll never be able to grasp it ;).

Fill up your liquid measuring cup with your choice of oils until it reaches the 1 cup line.  Then add your 1 tbsp. of emulsifying wax.  Microwave for ABOUT 1 minute or until the oil gets hot enough that you can stir and melt all of your materials together.  Add your essential oils.

Now this is the part that I had to learn the hard way.  DO NOT add your water yet.  If you do your lotion will just separate into water and oil (duh) and you'll end up stirring this mixture about 10 bazillion times until it'll finally come together without separating on you.  My advice is to wait until your oil mixture resembles beaten egg whites (is opaque but still liquid) and THEN add your water in.  If you want a cream add less water than the recipe calls for, if you want lotion I had to go with the full 1/2 cup of water.  Whisk (okay I used a chop stick and just stirred a lot) until the lotion comes together and then let sit until cool.  You MIGHT have to stir it a couple more times to make sure your water is incorporated completely as it cools.

Once cool pour into your vessel of choice (as you can see I got totally un-artistic and just put mine into a mason jar for the time being until I can find an empty squeeze bottle to put it in) and voila!  Lotion!

This stuff works AWESOME, although I noticed that it does sting when I apply it to my son's skin as he doesn't like me to put it on him.  But it is doing a fine job of hydrating his skin, so I'm figuring he's just going to have to deal with it.

Now remember since this stuff doesn't have all of the additives of store bought lotion, be sure to store this in a cool dark place (don't place in sunlight just in case) so that it doesn't start to go rancid on you (since there is a lot of oil in there).

You can also add food coloring for a colored lotion, but I was trying to avoid anything weird in the lotion, so I just ended up with the slightly yellow lotion you see above (from the olive oil tinge).

So, there you have it folks.  Making my own lotion was a LOT easier than I thought it would be and I will DEFINITELY be messing with this process again.

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