Even as spring approaches, my poor skin is still crying out for help from the dryness of winter! For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from horrible flaking, as well as what looks like reptile skin on my lower legs. Not the most beautiful image I just painted, but I’m betting I’m not the only one with this problem! I’ve discovered a couple of products that help, but one thing that speaks to my frugal nature is making my own lotion! This homemade lotion for dry skin is just what your skin has been crying out for.
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Why You Should Consider Making Your Own Lotion
If you have dry skin, you have probably been through several products at your local big box store promising miracles. Even if you’ve found one that works on your skin, what price might you be paying in terms of your health? We want to believe the government wouldn’t allow things on the shelf that could be bad for us. Sadly, there is very little monitoring in personal care products. The last time the FDA even made mention of oversight was way back in 1938! The verdict they gave? That the cosmetics industry could SELF-REGULATE. Y’all, that’s an obvious problem- this means NO ONE is doing any regulating.
According to the World Health Organization, “More than 160 million chemicals are known to humans. About 40,000 to 60,000 of them can be found in commerce; 6,000 of these account for more than 99% of the total volume of chemicals in commerce globally. In 2017, the chemical industry was the second largest manufacturing industry in the world and the trend is going upwards.”
That’s a lot of chemicals. There are thousands of these chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products. Ladies, you know you’re slathering these on from head to toe. Consider this if you aren’t sure:
Ingredients in Personal Care Products to Avoid
As much as I love talking about what we put IN us with our food, we have to consider in this toxic world what we put ON us as well. It enrages me to think that the European Union has outlawed over 1,300 chemicals in cosmetics while the United States has outlawed 11. ELEVEN. How is that even possible? Some of it points to American capitalism (which I’m a huge supporter of!) where government supports manufacturers and companies, which sometimes fall short in protecting the public. This article from The Guardian gives a comprehensive look into the issues surrounding the topic. The takeaway here is that we need to look out for ourselves and take our health into our own hands. Chemicals to absolutely avoid include:
- Parabens- Parabens are used as a preservative and can affect hormone balance, sometimes mimicking estrogen. The big deal is that this can lead to infertility, acne, weight gain, and even hormonal cancers.
- Phthalates- This one is sneaky because you won’t find this listed on any ingredient label. They serve to lengthen the shelf life in personal care items. Over one BILLION pounds are produced annually, leading to possible damage of the liver, lungs, and kidneys. You can avoid phthalates by looking for the word “fragrance” or “parfum.”
- BHA and BHT- These are both used as preservatives. These are classified as human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. BHA & BHT also mimic estrogen and can lead to a hormone imbalance.
- Formaldehyde- Formaldehyde-releasing agents are used as preservatives in cosmetics as well as in your skin care products. This is another chemical that has been linked to cancer.
There are several more, but hopefully you’re seeing the trend that many of these chemicals are used as preservatives. The solution here is to either make your own or purchase from a company that uses natural preservatives.
Ingredients for Homemade Lotion for Dry Skin
- Oil– You may choose almond, apricot kernel, grapeseed, or avocado oil. I use avocado oil because it’s what I have on hand since I use it for high-heat cooking. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil as it will be a bit heavy for making lotion.
- Beeswax-I prefer the pellets as I also have a block of beeswax and it’s very difficult to grate. The pellets are ready to go.
- Coconut oil
- Cocoa butter– Smells so divine, and perfect for dry skin and preventing stretch marks.
- Lanolin– Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool and is similar to our skin’s fatty acids. Using lanolin in your lotion is intense moisture but also acts as a barrier to hold in moisture.
- Glycerin– Boosts hydration and helps form a barrier on skin.
- Choice of essential oils (optional- without EO’s, it has a nice smell of coconut from the coconut oil and a hint of chocolate from the cocoa butter).
How to Make Homemade Lotion for Dry Skin
Lotion making is not only easy and therapeutic, but a fun activity you can do with your kids! I always love explaining the science of things to my kids as we create homemade goodies. The more you have them in the kitchen, the more they’ll want to be there and learn!
Place oils, beeswax, cocoa butter and lanolin in a saucepan or double boiler. In another pan, place water and glycerin to warm- set aside.
Warm over low heat until everything is just melted.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly until oil mixture is slightly thickened and a bit opaque, like picture above. DO NOT allow to get a hard surface or you’ll have to start the process all over again, as the hardened oil mixture won’t blend with the water in your next step. This takes about 10 minutes for desired consistency.
Begin blending with an immersion blender. You may use a regular blender, but it’s really difficult to get all the lotion out of the bottom and off the blades. I don’t like waste and can remove the lotion easier with using the immersion blender. While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in your water/glycerin mixture. Continue to blend about 30 seconds after all of the water is incorporated. Your goal before blending is to make sure the temperature of each separate mixture are similar-warm, a bit above body temperature. This will keep the water from separating over the next few weeks as you use your lotion.
Stir in any essential oils you like. A delicious smell is orange oil with vanilla essential oil. I personally use rose and helichrysum for their anti-aging benefits. You will have a wonderfully creamy lotion for dry skin that is pourable so you can put it into a container. I like body butters, but I’m not a fan of dipping my hands into a jar to scoop it out. This lotion, because of the water, is the perfect consistency to place in a squeeze container or if you have Mason jars on hand, you can purchase these pump lids, which is what I chose.
An important thing to note is that any time you use water in a product, no matter how pure, it invites mold and bacteria. I go through lotion so fast it’s not a problem for me, but you will want to use this within about a month, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
If you don’t want to DIY, my very favorite lotion to purchase is found here. They have several wonderful scents to choose from and all are scented using essential oils. If you need something thicker and even more moisturizing, this one is simply lovely for dry skin.
Homemade lotion for dry skin
- immersion blender
- can use regular blender, but harder to clean up
- 1/3 cup avocado oil
- 2 Tbsp beeswax
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp cocoa butter
- 1 tsp lanolin
- 1/2 cup distilled water
- 2 tsp vegetable glycerin
- 20 drops optional essential oil of your choice
- In a small saucepan over low heat (or in a double boiler) warm the base oils, beeswax, cocoa butter, and lanolin, until the cocoa butter and beeswax are just melted. In another pan, warm the water and glycerin.
- Remove both pans from heat and allow contents to cool to a little above body temperature. The oil mixture will be thickened and slightly opaque, but needs to still be soft and loose. This will take around 10 minutes.
- Using your immersion blender, blend the oil mixture until it has a whipped appearance. Slowly drizzle in the water and glycerin mixture, blending until water mixture is incorporated. Blend 10 seconds more. If you desire to add essential oils, add now, and mix well.
- Pour finished lotion into your choice of container. This lotion is perfect for a pump or squeeze bottle.