Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jen's Crunchy Life Experiment: Homemade Lotion

You may have figured this out already....but I'm a bit of a homebody. One of the main reasons I like winter is because I relish the excuse to stay home.  I like being inside my house, with my family and my animals, doing things, or doing nothing. And as much as I hate to admit it, plans are normally met with a knee-jerk, "panicked" reaction.

It's not that I don't want to see people. I'd just rather do the things my heart tells me I need to take a full hour to sit with my kids without looking at my phone. Or remember what life is like when you scrub away the constant attempts to be the perfect daughter, sister, wife, and friend. Or making time to cook a meal that takes close to 3 hours simply because I've always wanted to. I like these things. I love the freedom of a wide open day. Makes me feel calm. And so for me, winter is perfect.

Snowstorm, sorry, can't hang. Frozen temps, sorry, can't come to your meeting. Power outage, my bad, can't send that email.

Yep, beauty aside, I treasure winter for offering me a break...especially after the holidays. It's like releasing the pressure valve...if only for a few months.

But amid all the bliss of the winter season, there are two things I do not enjoy, two things that really "chap" my ass, if you will....

1. Dry skin
2. Lotion

Funny, isn't it? Try as I may I cannot stand the feeling of lotion. So why would I have a homemade lotion recipe? Well, because the rest of my family is obsessed.

My kiddos use lotion in various forms, from baby lotion, to diaper rash cream, to windburn prevention, and sunburn treatment.

My husband uses lotion every single day to take care of dry, flaky skin on his face and to calm his frequent razor burn.

Both my man and my kids have uber-sensitive skin that is prone to redness and irritation. Winter is what you might call the Skinpocalypse of our home. Despite using a number of lotion brands, strengths, and therapies, they needed something different. And so I thought I'd make 'em their own.

The Procedure
1. Decide your application preference. I was looking for a lotion I could use anywhere - hands, feet, booty, lips, you name it. This is the recipe I ended up working with, courtesy of the Wellness Mama.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I buy the California Olive Company olive oil from Target)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (I use the organic kind from Target)
  • 1/4 cup beeswax (I purchased some pellets from Amazon)
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil (got mine from Amazon)
  • 2 Tablespoons Shea Butter (another Amazon purchase)
  • **I did NOT add any essential oils to my batch - I wanted it to be fragrance free. It smells like wax! Next time I will add lavender oil!

2. Stick everything into a large mason jar.

3. Put a few inches of water into a saucepan and stick it on the stove over medium-high heat. 

4. Cap your mason jar (not too tight) and stick it in the saucepan. Congratulations, you've just made yourself a makeshift double boiler. 

5. Stir every now and then as everything melts. This took a while for me - the beeswax took to liquefy. 

6. Once everything has melted, pour the jar contents into containers of your choosing. I chose two medium-sized jelly jars. They work awesome. 

This is a creme lotion, not a pump lotion, so keep that in mind. No pumpin', people. You can use this for up to 6 months...if it will last that long in your house!

The Cost
I only did a cost analysis against my husband's most recent lotion brand. The homemade lotion, however, also takes the place of diaper rash cream and cocoa has many uses that are not included in the following breakdown.

Here are the lotions we were using before:

Now the Organix lotion cost $6.29 for 13 ounces, or $0.48 per ounce.

The total for all lotion ingredients is high - $47.64. Break it down further by dividing the price by what the recipe calls for and the ingredients cost $4.59. The recipe makes 8 ounces, so the total cost is $0.57 per ounce, or $0.09 more per ounce. Negligible, but an increase in cost nonetheless.

Health Factors
I checked up on the ingredients of all 3 products shown above. Ready? Here's some highlights from EWG.

  • Fragrance: Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
  • DMDM Hydantoin (Formaldehyde Releaser): Cancer, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Contamination concerns (FORMALDEHYDE), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)
  • Idopropynyl Butylcarbamate: Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Use restrictions
  • Phenoxyethanol: Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Occupational hazards, Use restrictions
  • Triethanolamine: Allergies/immunotoxicity, Contamination concerns (NITROSAMINES-in the presence of nitrosating agents), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Use restrictions
Butt Paste:
  • Fragrance: Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
  • Boric Acid: Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Endocrine disruption, Multiple, additive exposure sources, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Use restrictions
  • PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate: Allergies/immunotoxicity, Contamination concerns (ETHYLENE OXIDE, 1,4-DIOXANE, ETHYLENE OXIDE, 1,4-DIOXANE), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Palmer's Cocoa Butter (Fragrance Free):
  • Methylisothiazolinone: Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Neurotoxicity, Use restrictions
  • Propylene Glycol: Enhanced skin absorption, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Use restrictions
  • Tocopheryl Acetate: Cancer, Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Contamination concerns (HYDROQUINONE)
So glad I smothered my pregnant belly and baby's booty with chemicals that are known to cause cancer, allergies, and developmental/endocrine disruption! Mind you, those are just a FEW of the ingredients in each product. Check out the rest if you feel like crying.

What about the side-effects of the ingredients in our handmade lotion?

  • Olive oil: hypoallergenic, shown to protect against sun damage and cancer
  • Coconut oil: helps skin retain moisture, disinfectant/antimicrobial, repairs tissues/cells
  • Beeswax: protects against irritants, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral, smooths skin
  • Vitamin E oil: antioxidant, fights free radicals, protects against cell mutation, moisturizes
  • Shea Butter: moisturizes, heals, aids in treating blemishes, eczema, and burns, anti-inflammatory
My family loves this lotion. I use it on diaper rashes and to protect faces when we need to go outside in the cold. My husband uses it every day and says for the first time ever, his dry skin has cleared up. 

The texture is at first very off-putting, perhaps because I hate lotion to begin is thick, almost waxy. I think it's that beeswax forming the barrier or whatever. Give it a few minutes, though, and your skin absorbs the ingredients. The waxiness does disappear. 

This is a thick, protective lotion, not some wamby-pamby pump bottle filled with watered-down hydrochemicals. Think emu oil, or udder balm...not milky in the least. I get the worst gardeners hands ever so come this spring, I may be using this stuff a whole lot more than I am now. But until then, I will continue putting it on my kiddos bum and packaging it up as a gift for new mommies. This one is a keeper!

Do you have a favorite lotion? Would you consider giving a homemade recipe a try? Why or why not? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below! Thank you so very much for reading :)

And in case you missed the other subjects of my experiment:



  1. Hmmm...I think this would be a fail in Florida. I like thin and quick absorbing lotion, especially since we sweat so much.But I would like to try to make my you definitely inspired me! I just want to try something more climate appropriate. I can't imagine how cold it must be. Stay warm and enjoy your experiments!

    1. Thanks Kristen! It's definitely a winner for cold temps but agree it would be way too much for hot, humid weather! Yuck! Good luck to you - if you find a good recipe let me know!!

  2. My son has very dry skin on his arms and legs right now - it's been acting up for months now so the doctor recommended Eucerin Aquaphor. I just looked it up on that site and it has a low index of chemicals, which is good - the ingredient list is small. It's very helpful and has significantly helped with his drying skin! Should it stop being effective i'll definitely give this a go! :) Love me a good lotion :) Happy Hump Day Jennifer! Take Care -Iva

    1. Aquaphor is a good one - anything with a smaller ingredient list is key!! Thanks so much for stopping by Iva!! :) Have an awesome rest of your week :)