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Lotions and Potions

Mineral Make-up

As if I don’t have enough hobbies, I’ve decided to make my own mineral make-up. It started with me looking to buy mineral make-up (foundation) and not wanting to pay the premium. So instead, like a 60 dollar home-grown tomato, I decided to make my own.

I’ll be trying my first experiments in blending this weekend, but here’s the basic starter information I’ve learned so far.

You need three or four basic ingredients:

Pigments – all colors are made from black, red and yellow. You can buy browns that are already formulated as a starting point–much easier than trying to achieve browns or tans on your own and there’s not any difference in cost at most places.

Titanium Dioxide – This is a bright white and is used to help get the makeup to a usable, spreadable state. You can’t just spread the pigments on your face. Tapioca starch is also used either in combination or in place of the TD. (Talc is used also, but not considered to be a great ingredient because of its chalkiness.) I’m probably going to try the tapioca starch to begin because I can get it readily. The place I ordered pigments from didn’t happen to have TD. They had an extender product which is a mica coated with Titanium Dioxide–it looks like it will work, but I don’t really know if I want to use only the extender or if I’ll want something less reflective.

Mica – Mica provides a satin sheen, helps spreadability and can help hide wrinkles (due to its reflective nature.) I’m not sure how much I’ll like this one because the one thing I hate about foundations is sparkle or shine. There are no sparkles in the mica I ordered, but it does have a sheen. Since the pigments are dark and flat, I think some will be necessary, but for me, not a lot. MIca’s can be mixed with either white micas or titanium dioxide to create various make-up (eyeshadows, blushes and to color foundation. My favorite vendor for Micas is on Amazon

Zinc Oxide – this is a basic sunscreen and is also used to sooth skin (it’s in a lot of skin protectorant products). I’m not using this one for now. I don’t generally wear a lot of make-up and not out in the sun because then I sweat it off anyway. I may decide to add it later!

Where do I buy my supplies? I get a lot of stuff from Chemistry Connection on Amazon — Micas, citric acid for bath bombs and soap/shampoo supplies. They also have great supplies for lotion making.

Posted: August 21, 2008
Filed in Mineral Make-up
Tags:, ,

Mineral Make-Up Recipes I

I, brave fool that I am, gave my first mineral make-up recipes a try. I ordered some basic ingredients from DIY Cosmetics. I found their website a bit hard to use. They could benefit from a few more product descriptions and links. There’s mention of an articles section, but no link, and I couldn’t find it. For beginners, there really isn’t enough information about what is needed to get started. I spent a lot of time cross-referencing before I was finally able to put in an order.

DIY also doesn’t sell titanium dioxide powder, a main ingredient in “whitening” the basic colors to achieve an exact color match. Instead they have tapoica starch (which I bought at the grocery store because it was a lot cheaper.) I have no idea at this point which ingredient is better. The tapioca starch worked fine for me to get the color where I wanted it. I’d still like to try the titanium dioxide. I have heard that it is harder to get it to “disperse” throughout a powder, but I think it is less irritating to the skin for those with sensitive skin.

DIY does have very reasonable shipping charges. They also were one of the only sites where I found a recipe to get me started. There was other information on the site that I found useful, although again, navigating and finding it took quite some time.

Here’s what I started with:


Brown (their premixed version)
Tan (their premixed version)
Yellow (because I know my undertone is yellow rather than pink)

Fillers and Whiteners:

Mica Extender (a matte mica coated with titanium dioxide; easily dispersible)
Ultra Fine Mica (a satin matte mica)

Tapoica starch from the grocery

There’s several other ingredients available such as zinc oxide (sunscreen protection) and magnisuim stearate–but I didn’t need them to get started.

I used the basic recipe on the DIY site as a guide, although again, I didn’t buy all the ingredients (including the spoons). Using the brown as a base pigment, I got a nice brown/pink undertone blush. I could have continued making it “lighter” but there was a slight pink to it (a very pleasant pink, mind, but I have yellow undertones in my skin).

Here’s the recipe. In my case a single unit is 1/4 tsp, but you can use any measurement, including the special spoons–just keep the ratios the same.

Blush/medium foundation:

2 Mica extender
1.5 Mica
1/2 brown
3 tapioca
1/2 yellow

I added each ingredient one at a time and mixed and mixed on wax paper. It takes quite a bit of mixing to make sure there are no tiny lumps that will streak yellow/red/brown across your skin. There are special blenders you can buy or you can actually put it in your home blender. Were I making a larger batch, I would probably use the blender, but I just patiently mixed and smashed until there were no streaks.

The foundation that I think matches my skin closer:

2 Mica Extender
2 Mica
3 Tapioca
1/2 Tan oxide

What I found is that my skin could probably go with a little more tan or even a little less. Once the undertone was right, my skin wasn’t that particular. I could probably have added just a pinch more red (which is in the brown–I didn’t buy red oxide itself). Either way, the powder was invisible in room lighting and in the shade outside. In direct sunlight, right after application, I could see “powder” but it was light, not caked. That disappeared after the makeup settled.

Both these foundations are “matte” which is what I was after. No extra glittery look. What I like about it most so far is that it evens everything out. It’s light and it isn’t at all obvious that I have any makeup on.

What I didn’t like is that the tapioca starch was just a tiny, itsy-bit itchy and drying–I have very dry, ridiculously sensitive skin. The tapoica might work well for more oily skins. I’m going to try either titanium dioxide or rice flour in a different batch. Stay tuned!

I’ll also do a post on some of the sites that sell oxides, titanium dioxide, micas, etc. I still need to choose one and order titanium dioxide. Right now I’m leaning towards ordering from Amazon because they seem to have a wide variety of micas, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide–and I think I may go ahead and get a red oxide so that I can really tweak the color exactly.

Posted: August 22, 2008
Filed in Mineral Make-up

Mineral Make-up Recipes II

I posted my first two recipes here and here. I wasn’t in love with the tapioca starch so I decided to try a couple of variants.

This first one, for whiteners/blending, I used only the mica extender (mica coated with titanium dioxide) and the mica (mica has a very slight natural grey tone to it when next to tapioca starch or titanium dioxide). This changed the consistency of the mineral make-up to an amazing degree. It was much harder to mix–it was basically “sticker.” I found that the color mattered more also because there was more light reflection than when tapioca starch was used. Again, I used 1/4 tsp as the unit; any unit can be used as long as the ratios stay the same.

Here’s the recipe:

7 extender
1 mica
1 tan
pinch of brown (to bring back a little more red)

Notice that I used more ingredients–that’s mainly because I had more trouble getting the color where I wanted it. Having a red would have come in handy. I would have put a pinch of red in instead of the brown that I had on hand. This makeup was “heavier” but it also concealed better. It was smooth and soft feeling. It reminded me of Revlon’s colorstay makeup. I could feel it more on my face, it concealed very well, but it was a bit more “visible” because light reflected off of it. There was no powdery residue in sunlight, but there was a matte/reflective look. This is a makeup that I think would work very well for going out at night. It adhered very well to my skin and wasn’t as likely as the tapioca based stuff to just rub off in an hour. It was not irritating at all. No itch, no drying; it felt almost like a cream. This one could easily be added to a cream, in fact, to make a liquid foundation.

Next recipe I tried, I took the above result and added rice flour. Basically I didn’t find that the extender and the micas let me lighten the color as much as I wanted. I can’t give a recipe because I really added this and that as I went along, trying to get the color and consistency right.

Rice flour was cheap – 3 dollars for a pound in the grocery store. It’s not as white as tapioca starch and when you’re mixing it, it “feels” grittier. This actually was a good thing. It helps smear the mica and color pigments very nicely. I needed more rice flour than tapioca to whiten. This flour is a great place to start testing recipes–it’s cheap, and it left NO powdery residue. None. This was one where I could stand in sunlight and not see makeup or powder. It doesn’t adhere to skin as well as the micas–they are necessary to “finish” the recipe. I’m not sure I have the ratios where I want. Once I got the color where I wanted it, I think it could have used more mica–more sticking power. Of course, I can only put so many batches on my arms and face, so for today, I left it. I’ll likely revisit it tomorrow.

Also, once I added rice flour–there was no making this one into a liquid foundation (if you want to make a liquid foundation try using Suave Oatmeal Lotion as your whitening agent in place of titanium dioxide or the rice flour–most lotions contain titanium dioxide so once you get the basic color where you want it, you can use a hand-type lotion to whiten it to your exact skin tone and create a liquid foundation.).

The rice flour I had was not fine enough and didn’t dissolve. There may be special grinds of rice powder that make it possible, but with the graininess, it wouldn’t work with this type.

In just the few tries I’ve completed, I have enough make-up to last me a year. I’m not sure how much further I’ll go until I’ve tried out the ones I’ve created. I’d like to “wear” them a few days and see how they hold up. I’d still like to try titanium dioxide as a white and having a red oxide on hand would really help me get the colors where I want them. If I put in another order, I’d probably order zinc oxide (sunscreen) as well.

Posted: August 23, 2008
Filed in Mineral Make-up

Mineral Make-up Part III

Got in some new supplies (ordered from TKB Trading — lowest prices I found, good basic info about each product and plenty of selections). The main portion of the order was to obtain titanium dioxide and some different mica. Both were coated with methicone, which supposedly makes them completely non-irritating. I also ordered boron nitride, something that is used in high end make-up and supposedly gives a nice finish. I tried all three of these white powders on my skin without any color added and none of them bothered my skin. I couldn’t tell much difference between the sheen of the mica and the boron other than the boron is a whiter powder (the mica has a slight greyish tinge.) Both are quite reflective, which is supposed to hide fine lines.

New oxide colors:

red oxide
red/blue oxide

The red oxide is…rather orange looking to my eye. I mixed the red, the red/blue, the yellow, the tan and the brown with some Suave Oatmeal cream. This turns it into a concealer, while whitening it at the same time. Obviously as is, they are too dark and also too red, yellow or whatever. What I wanted to do was see how the colors looked on my skin, even too dark. The closest matches appeared to be the red/blue or the brown.

I started mixing in yellow with that in mind, but eventually, because the red/blue was a bit purple and the brown a bit pink, I started over with the yellow–and added the red/blue. Either way, I got to the same place, the difference is that I needed more yellow–so starting with red/blue created a rather huge pile of pigment by the time I added enough yellow. The larger the pile, the harder it is to get the lumps out and get even distribution of color. Start very small. Mix between each ingredient. Don’t use more than 1/8 of a tsp of your main color (in my case yellow). Then add a pinch of secondary colors (in my case the red/blue).

The titanium dioxide is rather lumpy, and I experienced no real difference with the titanium coated mica versus the methicone coated titanium dioxide. Both are very creamy, somewhat difficult to mix and impart a sheen.

The mica coated with methicone was nice, a bit less gray than plain mica. Relatively easy to mix, adds creaminess and sheen.

The boron nitride is a nice sheen, a very nice white. Again, other than whiteness, I really couldn’t tell much difference between it and the mica. It may have adhered slightly more to my skin. It was almost twice as expensive.

In the following recipe, the sheen factor was too high for me. The makeup brushes on fairly well, but is sticky. The end result is that it looks like I used a liquid foundation. I was utterly amazed at this, because everything is a powder, but when you sweep it on with a brush–it looks liquid. I used a 1/4 tsp as the measurement tool.

1/2 yellow
pinch of red/blue (not even 1/16 tsp)

2 titanium dioxide (methicone coated)
1/2 mica (methicone coated)

I tried half with some boron nitride and half without. It adds sheen, but the formula doesn’t need it.

I thought the spreadability was too thick for what I wanted so I added:

2 rice powder

The rice powder helps the spreadability a lot and also takes away some of the sheen. For my next batch, I will probably put even less sheen by cutting back the titanium dioxide. The good news is that after wearing it an hour, the sheen backs off and the color stays on. There’s definitely some room to play there.

I have thus far spent about 45 dollars. I can still make several batches, but I must say that getting the color where I want it is hard. Off by just a pinch and suddenly I’m going back and forth with the yellow and the red/blue. I think the brown would have worked almost as well as the red/blue, by the way. The key is to use very, very little color.

The titanium dioxide was a wonderful whitening agent. I liked it, although it was hard to mix into the formula. Lots of patience required here. And do not tear a hole in the wax paper (wax paper was the best mixing surface I found.)

I liked the boron nitride and the mica, but I’d probably go with the mica because it was cheaper. The only real benefit to the boron nitrate was the whiter color, but you’re adding so little of it compared to the titanium dioxide and rice flour you’re not really adding much “white.” Add them last as they seem to have the least effect on the overall color.

It would be vastly easier to just buy samples from a vendor because getting to “beige” is very tough. Then getting the sheen versus powder/spread right is another challenge and I’m pretty sure I’m not where I want to be yet. Based on what I now know about ingredients, I’d probably start with one of these two:

Amazon has a rather large offering of already colored/mixed micas that might be useful to play with. Purple Mica Powder

Posted: August 31, 2008
Filed in Mineral Make-up

Glycerin Soap

soapI make my own soap from scratch, but before that, I did melt and pour soap.  It’s taking a basic soap such as glycerin and adding oils, color and/or scent.  You can start with any soap that isn’t a deodorant or detergent (Ivory works, but it has its own scent.)  Unscented is best because then you can add your own scent or not.  I used Ivory in a few test batches and found the scent of that soap overwhelming–adding oils doesn’t take away the good old Ivory smell of it. 

Most people take the soap and shave it (grate it) and then add a little water and melt everything over a double boiler.  I use a crockpot.

Here’s my latest recipe:

2 lbs unscented, no color pure glycerin soap

1/8 cup milk (you can use water.  I like to add milk as it is very good for your skin.  Many people like goat’s milk in their soap.)

Using a crockpot on the lowest setting, add the milk and the soap.  I don’t bother to shave the glycerin into small pieces.  If you’re in a hurry, grate it or cut the block into small chunks.   I leave the crockpot covered for the first half hour as it warms, and then I will often leave it uncovered so that the melted portion of soap doesn’t get too hot.   Stir every so often (15 minutes at first and then more frequently as it melts).    When the glycerin is melted, add your scents and oils.  Do NOT let it boil or continue to warm after it is melted.  If it gets too hot, it will develop air bubbles that will stay in the soap.  This doesn’t harm the soap at all, but the bars won’t be as pretty.  They’ll have air gaps. 

At this stage I add:

1 to 10 drops mandarin red  essential oil (this will add an orange/red color) – you can substitute in any oil– Orange is another of my favorites!

1 to 10 drops lime essential oil (this adds a bit more green/yellow)

Stir after each addition.   The lime and manderin red give soap a wonderful, light citrus smell.  The aloe is for skin conditioning.  You don’t want to add too many oils because your soap will lose lather and the oils can “seep” out as the bar dries. I have used honey in soap and like adding it (it has great anti-fungal, antibiotic properties.)  Sesame oil gives soap a nice feel and scent, although I think of it as a guy scent more than a girl scent.  A little goes a long way. You don’t need more than a few drops.

Using a dipping spoon (like a soup ladle) pour the soap into individual soap molds.  Let dry AT LEAST overnight and then slip the soap out of the molds.  The more water or milk you used to help dissolve the soap, the longer the drying time.  After you take the soap out of the molds, place on waxed paper or a drying rack for a few days to let them cure (meaning, make sure all the excess moisture has dried off.)

Supplies – Molds,  Essential oils and Glycerin Soap


My favorite molds are silicon molds and some of the cutest I’ve found are teddy bear molds and I LOVE this dolphin one.  They are extremely easy to work with because they peel right off the soap when it is time to remove them.  They are easy to wash, store and they last a long time.  Plastic molds can crack and become deformed after a several uses, although there are more of them available in soap-shapes.

You can use smaller molds (1/4 cup) for gift soap or travel.  I recommend at least 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup molds for regular bar soap.

Amazon has Smaller size: Clear Gycerine Soap Base and larger sizes: White Glycerine Soap- 5lbs There’s even: 10 LBS Clear Soap Base by Life of the Party in Resealable Bucket if you’re very sure you want to do a couple of batches!

Here’s a good soap book: Basic Soap Making: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started by Elizabeth Letcavage, Patsy Buck, & Buck Alan Wycheck.

I do make my own soap from scratch, a coconut and vegetable oil bar with various scents. Comments are closed on this post because of too much spam, but if you have a question or wish to order, there’s an email on the sidebar or you can leave a comment on a more current post (see the front page by clicking the bear at the top of the page)!!!

If you like potions and lotions and fiction characters who make them, you might like: Under Witch Moon

Grapeseed Oil

grapeseed-largeI finally bought some grapeseed oil from my local grocery store (the brand was Napa Valley Naturals — I highly recommend it, but it may not be easy to find. Here’s another brand: Mantova Grapeseed Oil 34 Oz).

If your grocery carries it, Grapeseed oil will be in the section with the olive oil along with some other high-end oils such as walnut and sesame. I used the oil in cooking and in some lotion-potions. I loved it in both! For the cooking, it made a very nice replacement for olive oil–it handles the heat better, no scorching. I liked the taste as well.

For the cream, I first tried it just on my skin–wow. It really absorbed well! With a few oils, especially ones that are good for your skin, they can sit on top–either for a long time or soak in so slowly that they can leave too much of a greasy feeling. Olive oil is like that–it’s supposed to be good for your skin, but I never found that it absorbed quickly or cleanly enough. I do like olive oil in soap, but not in lotion. Sesame oil, also good for your skin, has too much fragrance for me. I found the grapeseed oil quick to absorb–perhaps one of the fastest of the oils I’ve tried. It doesn’t seem to have a smell, although after I added it to my favorite base (Suave’s Oatmeal) it did seem to add a subtle clean smell, almost like a fresh soap smell. It made the lotion creamier and I’m really enjoying the way it keeps my skin hydrated!

All in all I think I have three favorite additives: Grapeseed topping the list, wheat germ and rose hip. I also like aloe, but I don’t find that it has quite the miraculous healing properties that I would like. Every person has different skin–and will therefore like different oils. I’m currently using a mix of grapeseed, wheat germ and rose hip for my face. For the eye area, I replace the rose hip and use walnut oil or another nut oil such as macadamia nut oil.

As for food, I’m really looking forward to trying the grapeseed oil in a salad dressing recipe. While it has a mostly neutral taste, it has a lot of subtleties (not to mention it’s good for me!) This one is going to be a keeper.

Here’s a description of the oil from Camden-Grey’s website:

Grapeseed Oil ( Vitis vinifera ) is an ecologically sound product that is made from the seeds of grapes after the wine is pressed. Grapeseed oil is high in vitamin E and is 76% essential fatty acid, linoleic acid (also known as Omega 6). It is low in saturated fat, contains natural chlorophyll and valuable antioxidants (known as proanthocyninidins), and has a good shelf life. Very rich in vitamins, minerals and linoleic acid. It’s a light and penetrating oil for massage. It’s also used in lotions, balms, creams, and soap. The skin absorbs it easily; it has no perceptible odor. Since it is slightly astringent, it tightens and tones the skin. Will not aggravate acne. This is one oil that is nearly impossible to extract through cold pressure due to its very low oil yield.

Posted: May 15, 2009
Filed in Lotions

Mineral Make-up Version IV

makeupYes, it is that time again! Another batch of mineral make-up. This time, I decided to really back off to the very basic ingredients. Color and titanium dioxide–the oil dispersible version of titanium. I had some titanium that is supposedly water dispersible, but it was shinier–just glints here and there that would be great for eye makeup, but was a sparkle I wanted to avoid. I prefer a matte makeup. I’m not sure if the sparkle was something added to the titanium or a result of water dispersible titanium being a smaller, finer micron. I may try another water dispersible in the future to compare because supposedly the water dispersible is a “lighter” feel and lighter coating than the oil dispersible one.

Anyway, I left out all the micas and extenders and coated titanium and rice. They were just confusing the formulas and after finishing my experiment today, I’d say they added nothing to the formula.

You may remember from before that I learned to start my color base with yellow rather than red or red/blue and so on. I think of my skin as beige-like with red undertones. Well, it turns out that I’m mostly yellow with a pinch of red/blue. The red/blue is made up of red and black from what I understand. And I really do only need a pinch. For a 1/16th tsp of yellow, it’s not even half that of red/blue. Just a dusting really. Then it’s about 3 to 4 additions of 1/8th tsp of titanium dioxide (so about 1/2 tsp total) to get it light enough/beige enough for my skin.

I made two batches, one lighter than the other. As I’ve noticed before, if you get the color/tone right, you can actually wear a pretty wide range of dark to lighter batches. The key is to make sure you have the underlying color correct. Otherwise you end up looking like a purple blob or an escaped garden tomato.

The mix of colors and titanium dioxide is a sticky powder–which is really what is needed. The old recipes where I added rice were much easier to mix, but as I used them, I noticed an awful lot of powder was getting all over the sink. The rice and starches don’t stick. They make application “lighter” and easier. They make mixing easier. But they really add nothing useful other than a dust that doesn’t stick to the skin and wears off quickly.

The end result from today is a nice color that sticks to my skin a lot better than other formulas. It goes on smooth and has the look and feel of a liquid makeup. This powder could easily be a “pressed” foundation, it’s that moist. I added a touch of boron nitride and it didn’t change the formula or feel much. It does create a bit of a “finish” without changing the color or feel.

The only thing I don’t like about this new formula is that it might prove to be a bit heavy. See, there’s a fine line with makeup. I don’t want to wear any. I don’t want to feel it, but I want my skin tones evened out. That’s why I’d like to find a “lighter feeling” titanium dioxide, one that doesn’t sit so heavy–but still doesn’t have any glitter. I know that glitter and reflectors are supposed to hide wrinkles, but I think all they do is call attention to the fact that you have makeup on.

This is a very wearable batch, but if I come across water dispersible titanium dioxide with no glittery look, I’ll give it a try. Meanwhile if anyone really knows the difference between oil and water dispersible (Are either of them coated with anything? Or is it just the micron size that is different?) drop me an email or share this knowledge in the comments!!!

I don’t think I’ll be needing the micas. I honestly don’t know what they add. Mica has a high sheen, which is something I try to avoid. It does not make the makeup lighter in feel and it can change the color (raw mica has an almost grey color). It’s in a lot of mineral makeup, but I think I’ll be skipping it.

I’m sure there will be more experiments!!!

Posted: September 5, 2009
Filed in Mineral Make-up

Melt and Pour: Twenty-four Pounds

soapblockJust in case you wondered what a 24 pound block of soap looks like. Pretty tough to shower with this bar…

Also, I get asked a lot whether you can add milk to melt and pour–yes. I made most of my melt and pour using milk in place of the water component. Here is a recipe. Using the crockpot method in that recipe, it’s also possible to add no additional milk or water if you want the bars to dry faster.

I now make my own soap from scratch, but feel free to ask questions in the comments or send me an email (on the sidebar — scroll down).

Some good soap books, in case you want to make your own soap: Basic Soap Making: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started by Elizabeth Letcavage, Patsy Buck, & Buck Alan Wycheck

Posted: September 8, 2009
Filed in Melt and Pour Soap

Green Tea Extracts

Am I the only person in the world who wants to create my own green tea cream??? Probably not. Sure, lots of places sell green tea. Lots of places sell green tea cream. BUT, how many of those places tell you the percentage of green tea extract in the cream? I haven’t found any yet.

Green tea cream is supposed to be very good for the skin. It helps with dryness, redness and inflammation. I already have several creams that help with these symptoms and have had moderate success with most of them. But for a few years I’ve wanted to try a green tea lotion–one that didn’t cost 40 dollars an ounce with no label to tell me just how much green tea I’d be getting.

I’ve finally decided to do a white tea/green tea infusion. This is a method of soaking tea leaves in an oil to impart the properties of the leaves into the oil. I thought about using the crockpot (heat on low for a couple of hours, stirring often, strain with cheesecloth) but decided on the “sun tea” method. It takes longer, but I don’t have a lot of time to monitor the crockpot temperature today. I’m, well, supposed to be editing my manuscript, not concocting tea leaves!!!

So tea leaves and oil are sitting in the sunny window. I used wheat germ oil, even though olive oil is the standard oil of choice. We’ll see how it goes. At the rate I try different creams, I should look 2, not 60. 🙂

Posted: March 3, 2010
Filed in Lotions

Making Lotion from Scratch

I’ve been making my own lotion for a while now. I started by taking store lotion and adding ingredients. That’s not the best way because they tend to separate. You can change the smell of an unscented lotion easily by adding essential oils (the citrus oils will smell great when you put them on, but they do not have any staying power throughout the day and they can thin lotions and shampoos. Nevertheless, I love citrus scents).

At any rate, I moved from adding various oils that would enhance a store oil to making my own. The following recipe is one of my favorites. It’s more of a cream than a day lotion because of the addition of petroleum jelly (Vaseline). You can probably substitute mineral oil if you want a slightly smoother glide.

A lot of people make their own lotion to avoid the addition of mineral oil and petroleum jelly, but I’ve found that adding at least one of those ingredients helps the moisturizing properties last long on the skin. They are basically a nice “moisture sealant.” If you don’t want to use either of them, you can leave it out. The lotion will be a bit thinner, which isn’t a bad thing, because this recipe is very thick. You can also use less vaseline. In the summer, I suspect I will want less of it, but with winter weather, my skin has been very dry.

If you have a favorite oil, such as avocado oil or almond oil, you can replace the hemp with that oil. The shea butter is the base and provides the thickness–I have heard mango oil is a good substitute for it. I have made this basic lotion recipe with walnut oil in place of the hemp, and a mixture of the two. Just keep the percentages/proportions the same. You can use emulsifying wax in place of the BTMS emulsifying conditioner. The BTMS has a slightly higher melting temperature, but other than that, it substituted in fine. The original recipe called for quite a bit more water because it was a lotion versus a cream.

198.45 grams of water (most people recommend using distilled water)
60 grams shea butter
14 grams hemp oil (or other light oil)
7 grams petroleum jelly
17 grams BTMS emulsifying conditioner (you can use emulsifying wax)
2.2 grams optiphen plus or other preservative (about 1 scant tsp if you don’t have a scale that measures that low) You want about 1 percent of the totals used.

Melt the shea butter and petroleum jelly in the microwave in small bursts, stirring between. You can also use a small toaster oven. When the wax and butter is completely melted (just melt it–do not boil) add the hemp or other light oil and heat so that everything stirs smoothly. Adding the second oil will often cause some of the wax to start to harden and what you’re after here it to make sure it’s completely melted/warm. Heat the water in the microwave so that it is just warm–not boiling.

Mix the oil into the water, stirring. Blend with a stick blender or hand mixer as it cools. I usually blend for three to five minutes. It will thicken as it cools. When the temperature is below 140 degrees add the preservative. Most preservatives must be added below 140. So if the emulsification doesn’t work (you’ll see pieces of the wax reforming) you can reheat/melt and stir, but if you add the preservative and reheat, you must add the preservative again. I usually add the preservative around 110 or so because by then I’m certain everything is holding properly.

When everything is nicely mixed, you can add a few drops of essential oil to scent the lotion. I recommend clary sage, lemongrass or lavender. These scents tend to hold in the lotion and are generally non-irritating. Mint will hold, but can irritate sensitive skin. Clary sage can help anchor weaker scents such a grapefruit.

The lotion will continue to thicken as it cools. For the next recipe, I’m going to replace some of the shea butter with the vaseline and add water. It’s getting warmer and I will want a more diluted product that is easier to rub in.

Posted: March 10, 2015
Filed in Lotions
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