I recently introduced you to fresh lotion, an age-old product that dates back thousands of years, long before chemical preservatives were introduced. The only difference between commercial lotions and fresh lotions is that fresh lotions contain absolutely no chemical preservatives, and thus the shelf life is limited to a few months rather than a few years. Fresh lotion is superior to commercial lotion just as fresh food is superior to preserved food. I have chosen to share my recipes with you to encourage everyone to make small batches of fresh lotions and use them up, rather than adding preservatives which may be harmful to our bodies. To read more about the benefits of fresh lotions, click here.
This fresh hand lotion recipe is built from my basic lotion recipe, but also contains aloe vera gel, witch hazel and chamomile-infused oil. It is the perfect consistency for a pump bottle, which will also help keep bacteria from entering the product.
Aloe Vera is a cactus plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family. The gel is extracted from the thick leaves simply by cutting open and scooping out, or can be used to treat burns topically simply by placing a cutting of the plant directly on the burn. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and is beneficial to skin regeneration. It’s non-greasy, moisturizing qualities make it a great ingredient in fresh lotions. Learn how to extract it from your own plants for use here.
Witch Hazel is an extract from the leaves and bark of the North American shrub Hamamelis virginiana. It has impressive anti-inflammatory qualities and is known to be beneficial in the treatment of, among other skin conditions, diaper rash, razor burn and bug bites. Witch hazel is also anti-microbial and is used to heal bruises and cuts. It demonstrates some anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities.
Chamomile flowers come from the Anthemis Eecutita plant. They are easily harvested from your own flower garden by removing the flowering tops and dehydrating them. They can be used fresh as well. Chamomile has powerful anti-inflammatory properties from its natural chemical component, azulene. It is used for healing and soothing rough or damaged skin. Chamomile flowers can be used to make a calming herbal tea, or an be infused with oil to be used in cosmetics, providing a beneficial, soothing oil. To learn how to infuse oils yourself click here.
- Immersion blender
- Kitchen scale
- Wide mouth mason jar
- Small, thick-bottomed pot
- Small pyrex liquid measuring cup
- 4 oz. chamomile-infused grapeseed oil (or infused oils such as calendula or green tea or plain grapeseed oil)
- 0.5 oz. pure beeswax
- 3.0 oz. distilled water (or to really treat yourself, try flower waters like calendula, lavender or rose, or hydrosols)
- 0.5 oz. pure aloe vera gel
- 0.5 oz. witch hazel (optional, helps lotion feel drier and provides healing properties)
- 10 drops rosemary extract or vitamin E oil (optional, may help extend shelf life)
- 10 drops essential oil of your choice (optional)
- In a thick-bottomed pot melt beeswax with oil just until it is melted. Once melted, add rosemary oil or vitamin E, and essential oil. Pour into a wide mouth mason jar, set aside and allow to cool until room temperature.
- The following ingredients must be at room temperature before beginning. In a measuring cup weigh and add hydrosol or water, witch hazel and aloe vera. Set aside.
- When wax/oil mixture has cooled down to room temperature (touch the outside of the jar. If it is hot, it isn’t ready yet) but is still soft, begin blending with a stick blender. SLOWLY pour your water mixture into the jar in a slow, continuous stream, while blending constantly, circling around the mixture to make sure it is all blended in. You can move the emersion blender up and down and around to help the process. Don’t pause until all the water has been added. Continue to blend for a few minutes to ensure your mixture has emulsified.
- Store in a lidded container for up to 2 months. Refrigeration will help prolong shelf life.
- It is very important to combine your ingredients when they have reached room temperature or your emulsion will fail and your water will separate. If this happens, drain off the water and use the lotion as a body butter. It will be greasier but will still make a nice product.
- Always ensure your hands are clean when you use the lotion to prevent bacteria from entering your lotion.
- It is helpful to sterilize your utensils first with boiling water to help prevent bacteria from entering the lotion.
- You can interchange or combine other liquid oils. Grapeseed oil is known to be one of the least greasy of the oils.
- If you want to add a solid oil (for example coconut oil or cocoa butter) to your recipe make sure most of the recipe is still a liquid oil so the product doesn’t get too solid at room temperature before you have combined the water and the oil.
- You can use any hydrosol or floral water to replace the distilled water. Check the ingredients first to make sure they are pure. Some people have luck using flower “teas” such as chamomile, green tea or calendula but note that this might increase the spoiling rate.
- When choosing essential oils keep in mind that citrus-based oils can be photo-toxic. Used in moisturizers on skin that is exposed to the sun can cause severe sunburns.
- I have linked ingredients to Mountain Rose Herbs, a company that provides high quality, organic ingredients from sustainable sources. Mountain Rose Herbs is my first choice in companies that provide quality ingredients. Alternatively, most ingredients can be purchased in natural food stores.
- Here is a link to make your own infused oils.
This post has been linked to Waste Not Want Not Wednesday #25, Wildcrafting Wednesday #83, Simple Living Wednesday, Small Footprint Friday #24, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways # 68 , Small Footprint Friday and Homestead Abundance.
You might also be interested in reading:
Back To The Basics: An Introduction To Fresh Lotion and a Recipe.