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 butter (like shea or mango).
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 emulsifying wax NF, instead of the beeswax used in some of my other recipes. Some versions out there are made from petroleum products or have sketchy additives, which is why I like to only use vegetable-derived Emulsifying Wax NF from Mountain Rose Herbs in my lotion recipes. (<- Links to Mountain Rose Herbs in this article are affiliate links.) The “NF” means it’s National Formulary approved, and made to a standardized formula, so any type of “NF” emulsifying wax that you find, should work in a comparable way.
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 ONE or THIS ONE), 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.
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.
Alternatively, 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 NF
- 6 tablespoons (90 ml) distilled water
- nature-derived preservative (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. (Look on LotionCrafter’s site for a wide variety of preservative options to choose from.) I’m currently a fan of Leucidal Liquid SF, a probiotic-based preservative created by the fermentation of Lactobacillus, which is added once lotion temperature drops below 104°F (40°C).
Leucidal Liquid SF is used at a rate of 2 to 4%. That means for every 100 grams of ingredients in your recipe, you’d use 2 to 4 grams of Leucidal Liquid SF. This recipe weighs 120 g so I add 5 grams of preservative.
I’m still learning the shelf life of nature-derived preservatives, but lotion I made 4 months ago with Leucidal Liquid SF is still in excellent condition with no signs of spoilage (visible or via microbial test kits).
If you don’t wish to use any type of preservative, keep your lotion in the refrigerator and use it up within one to two weeks.
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.
If you enjoyed this tutorial on making chamomile and elder sensitive skin lotion, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get my best herbal projects, soap ideas, and DIY body care recipes sent straight to your inbox, about once or twice per month. (No spam ever, unsubscribe at any time.)
You may also like:
If you like the projects on my site, you’ll LOVE my book!