We do our best to watch what we put in our bodies but what about what we put on? Our skin is the largest organ we have, yet we often overlook and underestimate the role it plays in our health. Our skin has both the ability to absorb nutrients as well as harmful toxins making it crucial to avoid harmful chemicals as those found in things like lotions, creams, body wash, and makeup.
New skincare products are introduced on the market everyday and It’s important that we remain cognoscente and do our research on the ingredients that are on the label.
Sometimes there’s just no way to avoid some of these chemicals but what we can is try to cut back as much as possible by purchasing organic and/or natural products as often as possible. Or, you can do what I do and make natural skincare products at home!
Growing up with eczema
I admit, not everything I put on my skin is the greatest for me. But I try my best to stay away from parabens, pthalates, and other endocrine disrupting ingredients whenever possible. Growing up, I suffered with severe eczema which covered my hands, arms, and most of scalp. For years, I was tormented by the itching, scratching, bleeding, and the never ending agony that went along with it. Not to mention, the horrible embarrassment of being covered in white ash from the dryness and itching.
Summer months were the worst as the hyperpigmentation left over from my condition was more apparent when I was exposed to sun. Lifeguards at pools wouldn’t let me in to swim because they thought what I had was a contagious condition.
Needless to say, I was devastated. I was in and out of the dermatologists office more often than I would have liked and was often prescribed strong steroid creams and ointments that seemed to only exacerbate my problem.
Sometime before I became a teenager, the condition miraculously cleared up. Coincidentally around the same time, I had stopped using all of my doctor prescribed creams that I had been using for years. Time revealed what I was too naive to know at the time–that my skin needed some time to heal on it’s own without the addition of harmful chemicals. A few years later, I swapped out nearly all of my skincare products for all natural substitutes and haven’t looked back since.
Sure, store-bought skincare items need to maintain their shelf-life and due to issues with liability and safety of the consumer, preservatives need to be incorporated in the formulations as well. Since there are very limited ways to avoid this, It’s best to make your own items at home whenever possible!
Admittedly, I use a light preservative in my formulations especially when I am selling the product. However, I choose a preservative that is both paraben and formaldehyde free and use less than 1% in my recipe.
Easy home made body cream recipe
I never realized how easy and therapeutic it was to make my own products until I actually started doing it, and now, I am hooked! I wanted to share one of my favorite go-to body cream recipes that you can make at home quickly and easily. This cream is similar to a lotion with a bit of a thicker consistency. You can adjust the thickness by adding more or less water.
You do need to use a preservative in this formula because of It’s water content (as all lotions/creams do) but I will give you an all- natural-preservative option as well. Please note that although many companies swear by using natural preservatives, it is very tough to preserve these products using natural methods and cannot be guaranteed to be effective long-term.
My best advice if you’re using a natural preservative is to store product in the refrigerator and use it within 2-weeks to prevent mold growth. If you are using a synthetic preservative depending on manufacturing recommendations, this product will keep well especially if store properly.
Keep out of direct sunlight and store it in cool/dark area if possible. That way, it can last you anywhere from 6 months to a year.
Please also note that this product will NOT be 100% natural if you do choose to use a synthetic preservative. However, I have provided ingredients of an alternative preservative option in case you are interested. If you are planning on selling this product, It’s important to use good sanitation practices and make sure your product is shelf-stable by having it tested in a lab.
Items you’ll need to get started:
- 6 quart stainless steel stockpot
- Immersion blender or food processor
- Meat thermometer (to be used when adding in the preservative (anti-oxidant agent)
- Glass or plastic bowl (cereal size is fine)
- Small pitcher
- Storage jars or bottle and/or funnel
- 6 oz distilled water
- 5 oz aloe vera juice
- 2 oz shea butter
- 2 oz grapeseed oil
- 1.2 oz sunflower oil
- 1 oz Emulsifying wax
- 15-20 drops essential oil of your choice
- Preservative (check manufacturers recommendation)
- use 2 tsp Grapefruit Seed Extract
- 1 tbs Rosemary Extract (anti-oxidant)
- Place the pitctcher on the scale and push the tare button to take it to zero–this takes out the weight of the actual pitcher. Weigh out oil and shea butter separately including the emulsifying wax and pour into pot.
- Place pot over low heat and stir occasionally until the emulsifying wax, butter, and oils are completely melted and combined.
- Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oils and butters. You will want to bring the temperature of the mixture to 180 degrees F. Once it gets to this temperature, turn heat off.
- While everything is melting, combine distilled water and aloe vera juice.
- Once the oil/butter/wax is melted and cooled slightly, place in food processor for about 3-5 minutes until mixture starts to turn white. During this time, carefully add the water mixture to the oil while it is mixing in the food processor.
- After everything is nicely combined and scraped off the sides of the food processor, allow mixture to cool to 110 degrees F and add in your preservative/antioxidant and essential oils.
- Pour into storage containers.