The Week of Wellness classes at the Eleve™ Event Center continue, and this post is from the “Lotions and Potions” class taught by Tamalu Watkins, an experienced massage therapist and essential oil user.
Lotions and Potions
Topical application of essential oils is a great way to apply oils, since the skin absorbs the oils quickly. Using lotion as your base for applying oils not only allows you to create custom blends that will last longer with fewer oil drops, but it also ensures that the oils are properly diluted for those with sensitive skin or children.
Making the Lotion
Making your own lotion is easier than you might think, and, because you made it, you know what you are putting on your skin.
One thing people often worry about when making their own lotion is if it will go bad (i.e. rancid or moldy). According to Tamalu, to prevent your lotions from going bad, just make sure all of your equipment and dishes are clean, your hands are clean, and you are using fresh ingredients.
Tamalu provides a great lotion base recipe in her brochure Basic Body Cream. She lists the specific oils she uses but also mentions that you basically need 4 oz. of hard oils, 6 oz. of soft oils, and 9 oz. of distilled water. You will need about 45–90 drops of essential oils for the whole batch.
During the class, Tamalu shared with us her method and tips for making lotion. Start by heating water on the stove in a pan. Next, measure the hard oils (oils that are solid at room temperature such as beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, and mango butter) into a glass measuring cup. Tamalu suggests measuring by weight with a scale because this allows you to have a consistent end product each time you make a batch and also allows you to make substitutions easily. Melt the hard oils by placing the glass measuring cup in the pan of simmering water, stirring often.
While the hard oils are melting, measure out the soft oils (oils that are liquid at room temperature such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, sesame seed oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, shea oil, fractionated coconut oil, or olive oil) in another glass dish on the scale. NOTE: You do not want to melt these soft oils with the hard oils because it can really change the soft oils. For example, if olive oil is heated with the beeswax, the olive oil takes on a smell that will be difficult to mask.
Once the hard oils are melted, add the soft oils to the hard oils. Mix together until blended, and gently warm just until the oils have mixed together. Remove the oils from the heat.
In another glass measuring cup or medium glass bowl, pour in the right amount of distilled water. Place the glass dish in the simmering water, and warm until lukewarm to room temperature. NOTE: Only use distilled water! The minerals in other water can cause a chemical reaction when emulsified with the oils and ruin your lotion.
Once the water is warm, remove the dish from the stove, and turn off the heat. Place an immersion blender in the water, and start blending. While continuing to blend, slowly pour the oil mixture into the water. As you blend, you will hear a change and feel the lotion thicken.
When you think you are done blending the lotion, leave it alone for a few minutes. If, when you come back, you find the water has separated out, that means you haven’t blended it enough. Blend it up again if needed. If the water doesn’t separate within the first few minutes of leaving it, then it means it emulsified properly and won’t separate later.
Now that the lotion is complete, you can add your essential oils to the entire batch or spoon (with a clean spoon or wooden craft sticks) the lotion out into smaller containers before adding the essential oils.
Words of Wisdom from Tamalu Watkins
“You cannot give without receiving.” As you rub oils and massage them into others, you also receive the benefits of the oils through the contact with your hands. As you massage, add the oils AFTER the deep massage, and use a light touch to stimulate the nerves. This increases the effectiveness of the oil application.
Another way to increase the effectiveness of the oils, Tamalu says, is to put socks on after rubbing the lotion (with oils) on your feet. Water also helps “drive” the oils into the skin; so take a shower or bath after rubbing the lotion and oils on your skin.
If you tend to have dry skin, these lotions will keep your skin soft for a long while. You usually don’t have to reapply as often as other lotions unless you are trying to heal a burn or other skin injury.
We hope you give lotion-making a try because we know you will love being able to give your skin a natural moisturizer and customize your lotion to your own needs with essential oils!
About the Presenter
Tamalu Watkins is an educator, massage therapist, author, mother of 9, and grandmother of 3 healthy, happy, and active children. Nutrition, essential oils, and essential oil application have been her focus for most of the past 20 years. You won’t regret time spent learning from her years of applied study.