I created this lotion for a dear loved one who struggles with nervousness and anxiety, and has trouble relaxing and sleeping at night.
It features four essential oils that help calm nerves and uplift the mood.
I also incorporated a bit of magnesium oil into the recipe, since it’s such an important mineral to support our nervous system and helps with better sleep; we all could use more magnesium in our life!
If you don’t want to include the magnesium oil, or you find it too drying for your skin type, feel free to use more distilled water in its place.
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To decide which essential oils to use in the recipe, I consulted my copy of The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon & Lora Cantele.
It’s such a fantastic book! There’s so much confusion about essential oils floating around the interwebs, it’s good to have a solid reference like it for the home library.
The book has a rather extensive chart on pages 312 and 313 of recommended essential oils for various stress conditions (anger, anxiety, apathy, and so forth), so if you already own the book, feel free to substitute any of the other suggested essential oils for the ones I use. Don’t go over a combined amount of 40 drops of essential oils though, to maintain a safe dilution rate.
In this recipe, I use:
- Lavender – a classic scent that reduces stress and helps promote better sleep (tons of studies, like THIS ONE, exist on its effectiveness)
- Grapefruit – which is “essentially a happy oil that lifts lethargy and depression, eases nervous exhaustion and improves memory” (p 63 from the aromatherapy book referenced above)
- Cedarwood Atlas – calming, relieves mental strain and stress (also, here’s a study on its effect on pain HERE)
- Clary Sage – reduces stress & is a strong antidepressant (several interesting studies, like THIS ONE)
Stress Relief Lotion Recipe
Measurements are by weight; you’ll need a scale to make this lotion. (Check your local stores that have a kitchen supplies section and you can usually find a digital one for around $20 USD or so.)
- 25 grams of oil (*see below)
- 75 grams distilled water (**or part water/part magnesium oil)
- 8 grams emulsifying wax NF
- 24 drops lavender essential oil
- 7 drops grapefruit essential oil
- 5 drops clary sage essential oil
- 4 drops cedarwood (Atlas) essential oil
- a preservative (more on the nature-derived kinds I use in step 3 below)
*I used apricot kernel oil for this batch, since it soaks in quickly, but you could also try sunflower oil, olive oil, avocado oil, hemp oil, sweet almond oil and so forth. If you’d like, you could first infuse the oils with skin-soothing herbs such as calendula.
**If you’d like to incorporate magnesium oil into this recipe, use 40 g water + 35 g magnesium oil. I’ve tried several brands including Ancient Minerals and Life-Flo and they both work great! (You may enjoy reading more about magnesium oil benefits HERE.)
I use vegetable based emulsifying wax NF from Mountain Rose Herbs to make lotions like this one. Don’t try to substitute with beeswax as it won’t work. Lotions made with beeswax can’t hold this high amount of water and you’ll end up with a separated mess! (For a beeswax based magnesium oil lotion, check out my How to Make a Lotion for Leg Cramps & Growing Pains recipe.
Making this lotion is as easy as 1-2-3!
Add the oil and emulsifying wax NF to a small heatproof jar. Measure the water and magnesium oil, if using, into a half-pint (250 ml) canning jar.
Place both containers into a saucepan containing 1 to 2 inches of water, then set the pan over a medium-low burner for 10 to 15 minutes. This gives time for the wax to fully melt, while the water and magnesium oil combination reaches a nearly matching temperature of around 150° F or 66° C. Remove from heat.
Carefully pour the hot contents of the two containers together. You’ll notice the mixture immediately start looking milky as the the oils and water combine and start emulsifying on contact.
Using a fork or small whisk, stir the lotion briskly for 30 to 45 seconds, then set aside to cool, checking and stirring often. To speed the cooling process, place your mixing container in a bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally, for around 30 seconds at a time, as the lotion cools and thickens.
Stir in the essential oils and the preservative of your choice.
If you don’t add a preservative, shelf life is only around 1 week, if stored in the refrigerator.
I currently use Leucidal SF Max, a preservative naturally derived from lactobacillus ferment, combined with AMTicide Coconut, a coconut fruit extract that helps inhibit mold.
Full information on them, including suggested usage rates, can be found on Formulator Sample Shop’s web site, but for this size of a recipe, you’d use:
- 4 grams Leucidal Liquid SF
- 4 grams AMTicide Coconut
Pour the lotion into a pump-top bottle or glass jar. The lotion will continue to thicken up some as it sits over the next several hours or overnight.
To Make the Printable Labels
You can find the file for the printable labels HERE, sized to fit a standard sized canning lid.
(Also included on the sheet are labels for Stress Relief Syrup – that recipe can be found HERE!)
For best results, make sure that your print settings are set to “actual size”.
Print out on repositional sticker paper (I use THIS KIND), cut into round label shapes and affix to the top of your lotion.
If you don’t have sticker paper handy, you could also print on regular printer paper and use a glue stick to carefully attach each label to canning lids.
If you enjoyed learning how to make this Stress Relief Lotion, let’s keep in touch! Sign up for my newsletter to receive my best herbal projects, natural soap ideas, and DIY body care recipes sent straight to your inbox, once per month. (No spam ever, unsubscribe at any time.)