I absolutely love handmade soaps and bath items. Unfortunately handcrafted lotion bars didn’t work out for me. My annoying pollen allergies make my skin picky about the beeswax in them since you don’t know exactly what the bees ate before they created the wax – because you know, bee life.
I experimented making body butters and learned that the greasy feeling I didn’t care for was due to the coconut oil I added to the mix. I also learned that you can turn any homemade body butter recipe into a lotion if you add water (which needs a preservative.) OK good to know.
A few more experiments later I came up with a homemade non greasy, moisturizing lotion entirely made from plant based ingredients – including the preservatives. Yeah, yeah, I know. In green living circles many folks claim they don’t want to use chemicals. That is impossible because everything – even if it is organic – is made of chemicals, including yourself.
What I believe they mean is that they do not want to use toxic chemicals, which I totally agree with. The same goes for preservatives. This lotion recipe contains water which is the perfect breeding ground for growing mold and bacteria, which then can be dangerous to use (that’s why bath and beauty items including handmade at the farmer’s market are required to have expiration dates.) But not all preservatives are created awful! There are several natural and non toxic preservatives we can use such as Phenonip and that’s what we will be using today.
Many homemade health and beauty remedies include Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that will keep the oils in the product from going rancid (and do fantastic things for your skin) but Vitamin E will not stop mold or bacteria from growing in the mixture from, for example, being introduced to the moisturizer from dipping your hand in the jar. I like to include Vitamin E in my handmade moisturizer recipes more for its beauty properties but if it helps keep the oils from going rancid while the Phenonip keeps the entire thing mold and bacteria free I think they are two co workers that work well together. Besides Vitamin E oil is cheap and available at most grocery stores.
All Natural Zero Waste Homemade Shea Butter Moisturizer Recipe
This Shea butter lotion is a lovely treat to make for yourself or you can make and give it as a homemade gift idea to your favorite person. You can leave it unscented or use your favorite scent. Today I am using lavender and eucalyptus essential oils to scent my lotion, which smells lovely and is an unexpected combination but you can use whatever scent you like!
All of the ingredients in this lotion recipe are plant based and sustainably sourced.
You will need the following ingredients:
2 ounces of Shea butter – You can get raw Shea butter here
2 ounces of jojoba oil – You can buy jojoba oil here
2 ounces of vitamin E oil – I buy my vitamin E oil here
1.2 ounces of emulsifying wax – You can get emulsifying wax here
1 ounce of stearic acid – You can get vegetable based Stearic acid here
.2 oz. Phenonip as a natural preservative – You can learn more about Phenonip here
Approximately .1 ounce of your favorite essential or fragrance oil
18 ounces of distilled water – you can buy distilled water here
Kitchen scale – this is the exact food scale I use (it also works as a postage scale in a pinch.)
Stick blender – If you are going to do any sort of soap or beauty recipes learn from my mistake and do not cheap out on a hand blender! I did and ruined it on my second ever batch of soap. I replaced it with this exact Hamilton Beech metal 2 speed hand blender and am much happier with it. It is metal and doesn’t melt in warm or hot liquid, the two speeds are a nice thing to have, and it was under 30 bucks. Sold.
Random bowls, empty jars for melting the oils
Enough empty bottles/containers to hold approximately 20 ounces of lotion – you can buy empty lotion bottles in a variety of sizes and types here
Your favorite essential or fragrance oil – essential oils are made from 100% plant ingredients while fragrance oils can be made with all artificial, all plant, or a combination of both types of ingredients. I’m not here to sell you any specific brand of essential oil. I buy most of my essential oils from Amazon here and have several brands in my medicine cabinet that are all of equal quality
(Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)
Step by Step How to Make it
1. Measure your ingredients in separate containers using the kitchen scale.
2. Mix the jojoba oil, vitamin E oil, stearic acid, and emulsifying wax together in a container and melt them in the microwave oven. I find it best to melt my ingredients in one minute bursts in the microwave and give them a stir to melt them further because some of these ingredients melt quickly and some melt very slowly.
3. Mix the Shea butter into the warm oil mixture until it is completely melted.
4. Warm the distilled water in the microwave oven and mix the warm distilled water into the oil mixture. If you like your lotion in the thin side (which I needed because I put mine in a repurposed glass pump bottle like this one) add all of the water to the mixture. If you like your lotion a little thicker, experiment by using less water.
Warning: If you use room temperature or cold distilled water the oils and wax may cool down too quickly and harden.
5. Use the stick blender to mix the ingredients together for 2 to 3 minutes until the liquid is thicker – aka emulsified.
6. Use the thermometer to take the temperature of the liquid. When the temperature of the lotion falls to 140 degrees (f ) or below, add and thoroughly stir in the Phenonip into the lotion mixture.
7. Add and thoroughly mix .1 ounce of your favorite scented oil (I used equal drops of lavender and eucalyptus to make .1 ounce) the emulsified mixture and thoroughly mix it in using the stick blender.
Caution: Depending upon how heavily scented you like your lotions, you may want to use less than .1 ounces of fragrance. Generally anything over an ounce of fragrance is way too much and smells way too strong. Guess how I know?
8. Pour the warm lotion into a container(s,) apply a lid to the container(s )and allow it to cool overnight. As the lotion cools, it will thicken. Label the bottle(s ) as desired.
9. Once cool, moisturize with wild abandon! Give it as a thoughtful zero waste or homemade gift idea or keep it for yourself.
Rather buy than DIY, check out the following Shea butter moisturizing options - and more! - below!