We’re taking a momentary departure today from feeding our bellies and the bellies of those we love. Today, we’re going to feed our skin! I’ve been inspired lately by reading blogs such as Crunchy Betty and websites such as Skin Deep, the cosmetics safety database from the Environmental Working Group – the same people that brought you the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists of produce. I’ve been trying to limit my exposure to chemicals in my food as well as in my skin care products. But, have you checked the prices on organic, natural skin care products lately? Ouch! I thought buying specialty gluten-free foods was expensive.
Luckily, there are a lot of things we can do right in our own kitchens. And, my favorite kitchen ingredient for skin care? Coconut oil! Coconut oil is easily absorbed, full of anti-oxidants, and even has anti-microbial properties when used on skin. (For more reading on the health benefits of coconut oil, check out this collection of journal articles.) And, it just so happens that this month coconut oil is the featured ingredient for the SOS Kitchen Challenge hosted by Ricki and Kim. Well, I’m always up for a challenge….
Home Made Coconut Oil Skin Lotion
1/2 cup (112 grams) coconut oil (It’s best to use the unrefined kind.)
2 T. almond oil
1 T. glycerin (Available at your local drug store or online. If you’re vegan, check for vegetable glycerin.)
1/8 t. guar gum
5 drops essential oil (I used grapefruit.)
In a double boiler, gently melt the coconut oil. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Allow to cool completely. The “lotion” will harden at this point. You can use it just like that. It will be similar to lotion bars. Or, you can use a stick blender or food processor to whip some air into the lotion, like in the photo above.
Just a note, since this recipe is neither sweet nor savory, I did ask Ricki and Kim before I submitted it to the challenge. They graciously agreed to allow me to do so. Theoretically, you could eat this stuff. But, I don’t think you’re going to want to.
How creative! I love using stuff on my skin that I could literally eat (even though I wouldn’t want to!). Thanks for sharing. 🙂
What a beautiful recipe. I sometimes use straight coconut oil on chapped lips. It’s hard to get too much of that stuff!!
Very cool, Deanna! I use coconut oil all the time for moisturizing ever since I read that oily skin will be less oily if you use a moisturizer–despite the fact that seems illogical–and I found that to be true. Like your elegant concoction here though. It seems more luxurious and probably longer lasting. 🙂
Thanks Shirley! It’s my first attempt at concocting my own lotion. But, I’m liking it and I have way less alligator skin after using it for a few days. 🙂
Love it Deanna! My skin care is insanely basic and much like this.
This is a great recipe! Do you know how long it will last? I don’t go through lotion very fast. I buy an organic, vegan, and gluten free lotion. I love it, but it is about $9 a bottle! That is a bit too expensive for my taste.
I’m not sure, Amanda. I made it early this week and it’s been sitting out all week without a problem. All of the ingredients are things that sit at room temperature for quite a while without spoiling, but they’re not having fingers dipped in them regularly. It doesn’t make a large quantity, and you could always make a half a batch (just use a pinch of guar gum – the other measurements are easy to halve). I did make one other face moisturizer that was almond oil, glycerin and water, and that got moldy within a couple of weeks. Blech. (I also didn’t really like it – too watery.) I’ll report back if and when it gets nasty. 🙂
Love this “recipe”! It look sooooo smooth and creamy, too. And it must smell divine. Thanks so much for suggesting it for this month’s coconut oil SOS Challenge! 🙂
Thank you Ricki! I love the scent of grapefruit – so fresh and clean. But, you can make it smell how ever you want by choosing your own favorite essential oil!
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Wow this is so cool. Since I cook with coconut oil too I’m thinking this should be like the call of the wild to hubby! He’ll be thinking food.
I love this! I use coconut oil on my skin all the time, but have never used this combination of ingredients. I bet it is very “lotion” like. Thanks for sharing such a unique and clever recipe, and I’m so glad you asked to submit to the challenge! 🙂 xo Kim
Thanks Kim! I’m glad you like it.
This is so COOL! Waw!! A must make!!
Thanks Sophie. Next time, I want to try adding a little Vitamin E as well. It’s both a natural preservative and is supposed to be great for your skin.
How long does this last/stay fresh?
I’m not sure. I’ve had it since about a week before I posted the recipe and it’s still fine right now. It’s never very warm in my house (65 tops in the winter). But, there’s no fuzzies or funky smell or anything yet. I’ve been using it nearly every day and I’m about 3/4 of the way through it. So, I’m guessing I’ll use it up within the next week or so, provided it doesn’t get funky before then. Maybe I’ll save just a little bit and see how long it lasts. (I do store it in a covered container.)
The thing to know about the essiential oils is that citrus ones have a shelf life of 6 months when exposed to air. Keep this lotion cold, in a dark place and discard after 6 months. Also make sure you use up the bottle of essential oil when it is fresh, keeping in mind that if it is 6 months old your products you make with it need to be used that week.
Thanks for the lotion recipe! I was so excited to try it that I went right out and bought some guar gum (had all the other ingredients already). The trouble I’m finding is that it will not thicken for me. Does anyone know what the problem might be? I am in Florida and it’s about 78-80 degrees in my house most the time right now, in case that makes a difference. I’m new to using guar gum, so maybe it’s something I’m doing there? I heated the mixture on the stove. Maybe I didn’t heat it hot enough– I did not get it to simmer. Thanks for any ideas! 🙂
It won’t thicken while warm. It’ll only thicken as it cools. Have you completely cooled it? 80 degrees might be too warm for coconut oil to actually solidify. That’s one of the downfalls of it, sadly. You could try putting it in the fridge, though. You’d have a “cooling” lotion then. 🙂
That is what I was suspecting, that it might just be from the temp in my house. But, then I’m curious: would it be the same with and without the guar gum? What is the purpose of that ingredient? I am not familiar with it. Thanks again! 🙂 (Good idea, cooling lotion from the fridge!)
The guar gum is an emulsifier – it helps to let the different oils come together smoothly. When I tried to make it the first time without it, I was having a really hard time getting the coconut oil to mix with the almond oil and glycerin. It was like there were little beads of each. The guar helped it all come together. Make sense?
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Would xanthan gum work as a replacement for the guar gum? I keep xanthan gum on hand, but not guar.
Xanthan should work as a replacement. But I can tell you that in my house, this is a winter-only recipe. It’s too warm in my house in summer for coconut oil. Of course, if you keep it below 76, you’d be okay. (I have no air conditioning.)
This is a fantastic recipe 🙂 I love using coconut oil on my twins, self, husband and clients! I will have to give this one a try. I can think of some great blends for the feet already 🙂 thank you for experimenting and sharing with us!
I have started to apply coconut oil daily to my whole body. I like it because my skin is smoother. Is there any particular reason why I should use a lotion instead of the single ingredient oil?
Mine did not set and is STILL just oil 😦 I tripled it to a T. It looks just like oil and can be poured? Any ideas? firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you try chilling it? That should definitely make it set. It is very melty in summer. I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are. The melt point of coconut oil is right about body temp.
I’ve not tried doubling or tripling the recipe. Sometimes, that doesn’t work with recipes like this. Emulsions can be finicky. Another thing you could try would be to add some shea butter or some bee’s wax. If you add either of those things, be sure to grate them finely and melt very gently, as both have a tendency to separate.
Sorry it didn’t work for you!