This gentle unscented lotion is perfect for those with sensitive skin.
I chose avocado oil and avocado butter for this recipe because of how useful they can be for smoothing rough skin. Avocado oil contains essential fatty acids and vitamins A and E, has been studied in a cream for psoriasis (source) and is also a great choice for those with tree nut allergies.
If you don’t have the oil and/or butter on hand, or prefer something different, you can substitute another oil (like sunflower, olive, sweet almond or apricot kernel) and/or butter (like shea or mango).
Lotion Making Video
Here’s a video of me making an herbal lotion – the recipe can be found in my Handmade Lotions & Creams eBook Collection, but you’ll use the same technique to make this Chamomile & Elder Lotion too. (Sometimes an ad plays first, but the video will start right after! If you have an adblocker, you won’t see the video player.)
For the herbal infusion, I chose three herbs that are traditionally used to soothe inflammation and irritation: chamomile, elder flowers, and marshmallow root.
In this recipe, I used vegetable emulsifying wax, which I always buy from Mountain Rose Herbs.
If you don’t want to use emulsifying wax, you can still adapt the same idea of infusing oil and incorporating it into an existing beeswax-based cream recipe (like this Aloe Rose Anti-Aging Skin Cream or Rose Face & Body Cream Recipe), but don’t try to directly substitute beeswax for the emulsifying wax in this particular recipe.
It won’t work, because beeswax requires a much higher oil to water ratio to prevent separation issues, which is why beeswax-based lotions and creams are richer and heavier.
For an in-depth resource about making lotions and creams from scratch, plus loads of helpful information about the best oils, butters, essential oils, herbs, flowers, and other natural ingredients to use for your skin type and needs, be sure to check out my Handmade Lotions & Creams eBook Collection!
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Herbal Infused Oil
To make this lotion, you’ll first need to create an infused oil.
- Combine 1 teaspoon (or a pinch) each of dried chamomile flowers, elder flowers and marshmallow root in a small canning or other heatproof jar. I use herbs grown from my garden or purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs.
- Pour around 1/4 cup (60 ml) avocado oil over the herbs. If needed, add a little more, to make sure that the herbs are fully covered with oil.
- At this point, you can infuse the slow way (my favorite method), or if you’re in a hurry, the quicker way.
- To infuse the slow way, just put a lid on your jar of herbs and oils and tuck them away in a cabinet for at least four weeks.
- To infuse the fast way, you can keep the jar uncovered, set it down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, and let this heat over a low burner for around two hours. Remove from heat and use a portion of it right away for the recipe. Then top the jar off with fresh oil, cover it with a lid and let it infuse the slow way for a few weeks longer, for use in future projects.
- Once the oil is infused to your satisfaction, it can be strained and stored for around 9 months to a year, or until you’re ready to use it.
Chamomile & Elder Sensitive Skin Lotion Recipe
A scale works best for lotion making, so that every batch is consistent and without surprises, but I realize not everyone owns one, so developed this recipe so it can be measured in tablespoons as well.
- 1 tablespoon (10 g) infused avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) avocado butter
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) emulsifying wax
- 6 tablespoons (90 ml) distilled water
- preservative of choice (see note*)
Around 4 ounces (120 grams)
Combine the oil, butter and emulsifying wax in a heat proof container or small canning jar.
Measure the water in a separate jar.
Set both jars down into a saucepan containing an inch or two of water that has been placed over a medium-low burner. Heat the jars and their contents via this indirect heat for around 10 minutes. Turn off the burner and remove the pan from it.
Pour the melted oil/butter/wax mixture and distilled water together. The combination should immediately turn milky white as the emulsification process begins.
Stir for around 30 seconds, then set aside to cool for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you’d like to speed up the thickening process, you can set the jar of lotion down into a bowl of ice water while you stir.
Keep stirring occasionally as the lotion cools. It may take several hours for your lotion to fully set up.
*If adding a preservative, do so while the lotion is cooling down. Recommended temperatures vary, depending on type. I’m currently a fan of Geogard ECT (Preservative Eco), at a 1% usage rate. It meets COSMOS and ECOCERT standards for natural and organic products and has performed well in my tests.
A 1% usage rate means that for every 100 grams of ingredients in your recipe, you’d use 1 gram of Geogard ECT. This recipe weighs 120 g so I add 1 gram of preservative.
If you don’t wish to use any type of preservative, keep your lotion in the refrigerator and use it up within one week.
Spoon your lotion into a jar or other storage container and you’re done!
Apply it as needed on hands, face and body. Because of the properties of homemade lotion, you may find that you don’t need to apply as much at one time as you would store-bought lotions.