… and no, non-vegan items are not included 😉
i’ve decided to publish this because, hey, no one is perfect. if we’re not learning from our mistakes, we’re doing something wrong. we should always strive for improvement.
let’s get straight into it.
- baking soda hair wash
- the pH of baking soda is much too harsh (too alkaline) and can cause damage to both hair and scalp over a sustained time period. i no longer advise this version of the no-poo method, but am still a fan of water-only washing and low-poos. calia is a nice shampoo & conditioner brand that’s affordable and has great ingredients.
- diy sunscreen
- please do not try to make your own sunscreen. you have no idea if you’re properly protecting your skin. to have that tested and confirmed requires a formal panel, testing, and thousands of dollars. if you need suggestions – i like Badger Balm sunscreens for my body and Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Nutrient Cream for my face. please leave others below in the comments!
- i’m a supporter of responsible sun exposure. i think it’s crucial to health. that doesn’t mean i’m a supporter of reckless sun exposure. for example, i know i will be outside an average of 30 minutes total every day, and not midday. knowing that, i do not apply sunscreen to my body. however, if i know i will be on a midday hike, i will slather it on.
- diy lotion w/ no preservatives
- say it with me – anything containing aqueous ingredients, or anhydrous coming into contact with water, NEEDS a preservative. i get on my soapbox about it here.
- two things to know: 1. preservatives are not evil. 2. antioxidants are not preservatives. rosemary eo and/or extract and vitamin e are antioxidants and can be used in anhydrous formulations, but they are not preservatives.
- mixing EOs and herbs haphazardously
- as wonderful and easy as it sounds, you can’t just blend random essential oils and/or herbs together. everything has different constituents with varied herbal and drug interactions, in addition to varied contraindications. yes, plant extracts can and will absolutely interfere with prescribed medications. please always talk with both your doctor and your local certified herbalist.
- other than endangering yourself, loved ones, and even pets (no EOs with pets!), at the very least, you could be – 1. wasting plant material from not understanding constituent solubility properly (ex: trying to drink nettle tea for silica… won’t happen, babycakes. check out my post on this here); 2. wasting plant material from using herbs and essential oils with opposing ‘actions’ in the body (blending chamomile and green tea).
is there anything you no longer practice or agree with in the ‘crunchy’ or ‘green’ world? let’s hear it!
(edited shortly after publishing because i gave you ounces in the formula and mL in the directions)
lotion can get quickly get pricey, depending on what ‘green’ brand you’re buying it from and what oils they’re using. it can be cheaper to make – and more fun.
so here’s a DIY. and no, this ain’t your average shea butter and beeswax blend. this is much more lightweight and doesn’t require heat to create.
please do not sell this. this is my personal formula and blending process.
before we start, please note a few things:
- this is much more involved than most of my DIYs and took me years to perfect. don’t get down on yourself or frustrated if it’s not perfect. you can do this!
- you will need a preservative. if you don’t want to use a preservative, do not make this, and stick to oil blends. i have a nice body oil blend DIY here and a nice body butter DIY here.
- again, do not make this without a preservative. you will have nasty bacteria growth within 48 hours. don’t believe it if you’re told otherwise 😉
alright, let’s begin.
photo credit: the sage blog (recipe mine)
this formula does not call for waxes or butters for two reasons – 1. they require heat and i wanted this to be a completely cold-processed lotion. 2. waxes and butters can leave a greasy feel.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- 1 small glass or stainless steel mixing bowl
- powerful electric mixer, but preferably an immersion blender
- 2 beakers that hold 100 mL – one to measure oils and one to measure waters
- two 1 tablespoon or two 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoons (whichever you have)
- one 1 teaspoon or one 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon (whichever you have)
- 8 ounce glass lotion pump bottle
- there are smaller plastic ones available for you to use when traveling that are carry-on friendly
- amazon is a great resource. i found the cutest black glass pump bottle… i may just have a thing for black glass containers.
- aqueous base
- i prefer a floral hydrosol, but aloe juice is also suitable
- your favorite lightweight oil or oil blend
- what you choose will make the lotion more/less expensive
- i prefer lecithin because it can be used solely as a dietary supplement and you can cold process it – no heat required, like with butters and waxes (which are not actual emulsifiers anyway)
- there are vegetable-based emulsifying waxes. research what you think will be best for you and your skin type.
- emulsion stabilizer
- this will help your emulsifier so much in stabilizing the blend of your oils and aqueous base. without it, your lotion is very likely to separate after a few weeks. this would be totally okay for a lightweight face formula that you can shake, but i doubt you’d want to shake an 8 ounce bottle of a thicker product.
- essential oils, if you’d like
- only a few drops. be sure to start small, blend, sniff, and see if you need more.
- the spectrum of what people deem an acceptable preservative in ‘natural’ skincare is very broad. for this reason alone, please research a few types and reach out to the manufacturers. you’ll need to talk to them anyway to get the proper percentage use for your formula to safely prevent bacterial growth. vitamin e and/or rosemary antioxidant extracts are NOT acceptable preservatives.
you know i love to empower my readers, so here is a rough formula guide for you to customize. it’ll involve you doing some research, but you’ll be learning! my personal blend is below if you’d rather just use that.
- 2 parts aqueous base
- 1.25 parts oil/oil blend
- x% emulsifier
- check with the manufacturer on the appropriate amount. varies drastically.
- x% emulsion stabilizer
- check with the manufacturer on the appropriate amount. varies drastically.
- a few drops of your essential oils, if desired
- x% preservative
- will depend on which you choose and what the manufacturer tells you is the appropriate amount. varies drastically.
- whichever you choose, you will add the preservative very last and blend evenly, careful not to over-blend and cause the emulsion to break.
MY PERSONAL BLEND – the links provided are not affiliates. feel free to swap the hydrosols and oils for your favorites, but the measurements provided for the emulsifier, emulsion stabilizer, and preservative are unique to this blend and cannot be applied to other formulations if you choose to use other ones.
FUN TIP: try adding a tiny pinch of hibiscus powder when you add the powdered preservative to give the lotion a pink hue. you can also try matcha for a green tint. any other ideas?
HOW TO (using my blend)
PHASE 1A – AQUEOUS
- in your first beaker, measure out 75 mL of rose water and put into the small mixing bowl.
- add slightly more than 1/2 tablespoon liquid lecithin. no need to stir.
- in the same first beaker, measure out the other 75 mL of rose water.
- very evenly sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum over top of the rose water in the beaker. do not stir. do not add to the bowl.
- let both of these aqueous bases sit separately for 4 hours at room temperature. both the lecithin and the xanthan gum need to hydrate and swell, so they can properly marry the hydrosol and oils.
PHASE 1B – AQUEOUS
- after 4 hours, with the electric blender, blend the aqueous phase with lecithin in the same medium bowl until it turns thicker and milky. if you notice your lecithin still has dark spots that have not hydrated, give it a little more time alone and then come back to finish blending.
- slowly add the other half of your aqueous phase from the beaker, which should now be a gel, into your medium mixing bowl and blend well with the electric blender. this should only take a few seconds max – do not over blend.PHASE 2 – OIL
- in your second beaker, measure out 45 mL marula oil, then another 45 mL of monoi de tahiti oil.
PHASE 3 – LOTION TIME!
- VERY SLOWLY and WHILE THE BLENDER IS RUNNING, add your oil blend from the beaker into your aqueous phase that’s in the medium mixing bowl. you really want to add the oil gradually so it doesn’t ‘shock’ the lecithin and cause the emulsion to break into a chunky-looking mess. you can’t recover it if that happens.
- you should now be looking at lotion – congratulations!
- sprinkle in your powdered preservative and lightly blend again.
- using the spatula and funnel, put your fancy lotion into your pump bottle.
>> store in a cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight.
>> toss after 6 months or if the smell takes a turn.
2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.
what better way to kick off SKIN WEEK than to talk about nourishing your skin! (& happy july!)
these lotions/balms/butters/moisturizers are natural and/or organic, therefore completely safe to use! i would usually have a section on why to NOT use store-bought lotions, but i think if you’re reading this, you know who i am and what i stand for. so we’ll do a quick overview of what you do NOT want in your lotions 🙂 yay!
what you DON’T want in your lotion:
- mineral oil/paraffin oil – a by-product of petroleum, to produce gasoline and other products based from crude oil
- petroleum jelly/petrolatum – often contaminated with impurities linked to cancer and other health concerns
- parabens – this is currently a Toxic or Not Tuesday post waiting to be published. short answer, it’s been found to cause reproductive and growth issues, and has (controversially) been found in breast cancer tumor tissue
- fragrance/parfum – this is code for ‘we mixed a cocktail of unknown chemicals to make it smell okay’
- silicones – anything ending in -xane, -zane, -cone, -conol. these prevent your skin from getting moisture
- much, much more… check this list (scroll down past the video… you can mute it haha. there’s a list below.)
and we all know that our skin is our largest organ, and our first line of defense. our skin really has its work cut out for it! we need to care for it as the delicate, yet total badbutt that it is!
- unrefined coconut oil – CO straight outta the jar is an amazing body lotion. probably the best, honestly. and you can add essential oils for your own custom scent! keep in a glass jar at room temp or in the fridge and it’ll keep up to a year or two! for some reason i’m on a rose kick right now, and i recently mixed some of my CO with arabian rose oil. oooo yea! if you keep yours in the fridge and don’t want it to harden like crazy when it’s chilled, whip it! put some in a stand mixer or use a hand mixer, and whip that CO up till it’s fluffy!
- unrefined shea butter – great moisturizer, but not as easily spread. you can whip it up with equal parts CO, *and optionally add a carrier oil and EO of your choice.
- argan oil – you knew that one was coming, haha. pure, organic argan oil is an incredible moisturizer. it’s so darn expensive though. so maybe keep it for your elbows and knees?
- sweet almond oil/jojoba oil – you can use it straight (might leave an oily residue), or you can mix it with it CO (1 part oil, 1 part CO; whip with mixer)
- carrier oil mix – you can essentially make any great lotion by mixing a carrier oil of your choice, beeswax, and any essential oils you like. you can also add vitamin E and/or CO. seriously, it’s so easy and can be VERY personal 🙂 think of the great lotions you could make for dear friends! it’s all about finding what is a perfect fit for you and being healthier
- there are TONS of recipes out there for organic lotions. check out this jack pot of a database for lotions,
*whichever recipe you choose to use, please store your homemade lotion in a glass jar!
** you can buy these at your local organic store, health food store, or online
(in alphabetical order)
**if you opt to buy your lotion, check the ingredients and make sure you can’t buy the ingredients and make it yourself for cheaper than what you can buy it for. unfortunately, organic products are sometimes heavily overpriced. the most cost effective is by far a jar of unrefined CO, since you can use it for SO many other things.**
what are some natural/organic lotions that you love?? let’s hear it!