Having trouble falling asleep? Try treating yourself to a calming homemade body lotion, filled with the soothing scents of lavender and chamomile. Put some of this on before bed, tuck a lavender sleep sachet under your pillow for good measure, and you’ll find yourself on the way to a much-needed good night’s rest (and you will have spared your skin many foreign chemicals.)
Ingredients: beeswax, coconut oil, chamomile flowers, lavender buds, jojoba oil, water, essential oil (optional).
Why chamomile: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties and is wonderful at soothing and healing rough or damaged skin. Its calming scent is almost divine, unmatched by essentially any other herb when it comes to helping you fall asleep.
Why Lavender: Lavender has a pleasant smell that reduces anxiety and helps you relax, while it also contains anti-inflammatory properties. Its scent has also been shown to boost mood, as well as cause drowsiness.
Why Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil keeps skin soft, supple, and elastic and is good for people with sensitive skin. It does not leave an oily or greasy residue and has a longer shelf-life than some other carrier oils such as almond oil), which it can be substituted for.
Why Solid coconut oil: Also praised for softening skin and keeping it moisturized, coconut oil is solid when below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Starting off with it as a solid makes the lotion whip up a little better and stabilize.
Why Beeswax: This helps stabilize the mixture as well, and prevents separation. Secreted by busy worker bees constructing a honeycomb, beeswax is nutrient-rich and provides a sort of protective barrier for your skin.
What you will need…
- A double boiler
- Immersion blender or food processor
- 3 ounces of solid coconut oil
- Cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer
- 6 ounces of liquid jojoba oil, infused
- lavender or chamomile essential oil (optional)
- 1 ½ ounces grated beeswax
- 8 ounces of distilled water
- 5 teaspoons Chamomile flowers
- 5 teaspoons lavender buds
Infuse your oil
In a double boiler, place 5 teaspoons each of chamomile flowers and lavender buds (if using fresh herbs instead of dried double the amount.) Pour your jojoba oil over the herbs and bring the water to a gentle boil. Over continuous heat infuse your oil for about 2 hours, checking frequently to make sure they do not overheat and stirring on occasion. After it’s thoroughly infused, strain the oil through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer and toss the herbs. Bottle if you plan on using it later. You can substitute the jojoba with grapeseed oil in a pinch.
Making lotion isn’t all that different from making mayonnaise, and while that’s a horrible comparison, I just mean it uses the same process of emulsifying water and oil to create a thick, smooth, substance. Note that temperature is of paramount importance-the ingredients must be cooled to the correct temperature otherwise the water and oil will remain separated. Jojoba oil has a longer shelf-life than other carrier oils do, and distilled water also helps shelf life. Keep it in a container with a tightly fitting lid for up to 2 months, or 3 if you refrigerate it. Remember though- it’s good that your lotion doesn’t last forever like the stuff sold in stores. That’s just not natural, or good for you.
You’re going to start by setting up a double boiler-this can be as simple as putting a smaller saucepan into a larger one filled about 2/3 of the way with water, or even a bowl resting over the water bath, just make sure you have a lid you can rest over the top. Combine 3 ounces of solid coconut oil with 6 ounces of your infused jojoba oil as well as 1 1/2 ounces of grated beeswax in the double boiler. Let them melt together and thoroughly blend.
Remove the top saucepan or bowl and let it cool to body temperature. Stir occasionally while it cools to keep the texture smooth. When the mixture is body temperature, heat 8 ounces of distilled water to body temperature and pour it into a tall container. Turn your immersion blender to low, and slowly, slowly, pour a thin stream of the oil into the water.
After a few minutes a sort of cream will begin to form, don’t panic if it looks like curdled milk at first, with a little more mixing it will smooth out. If you’re using essential oil, add it now a few drops at a time, until it’s as scented as you like. Apply this lotion before bedtime to relax and help you drift off, or anytime you need relief from stress.
Making your own lotion really isn’t all that hard once you’ve done it once or twice, and it’s terribly fun to say (when somebody asks what lotion you’re wearing) “well, actually, it’s just a little something I whipped up myself.” Feel free to swap out oils and herbs and come up with your own blend that helps get you through the day (or night) and do share below!
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By Claire GoodallClaire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire→
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