DIY Lotion: only 3-5 ingredients!

In the unlikely case you’ve been wondering, I’ve been knee-deep in the To Do List lately, and items like blog posting had to be pushed way down on the priority ladder by default. More importantly, real rest/sleep crucially needed to find a way to surface at the top or everything else would be rendered pointless and/or shoddy. Thus, the slightly extended cyber silence.  In other words, I’m arriving at a place of feeling rather relaxed but a little behind, yet choosing to enjoy a little bit of time spent with the bottom-dwellers of my task list, crossing fingers that tomorrow the workaday world will start taking care of itself again with renewed momentum. For today, I’m lounging with lavendar and chamomile.

Lavendar and chamomile are the essential oils I decided to include in a half batch homemade lotion. It’s a little like the hand balm version of Sleepytime tea.  And actually, this post is meant to be a wee little shout out to my friend Melissa and the fabulous blog she sent me, a sonoma garden, created by an organic gardening husband-and-wife team in Sonoma. There’s lots to explore there, but my favorite so far is a super post on making an easy beeswax lotion, which has gifted me with a sweet nostalgic throwback to being a kid and a nourishing and practical product to satisfy the adult I’m trying to maintain as the leader of my life today.

What childhood is complete without some serious “potion-making” in the bathroom? Mine were mostly comprised of my Dad’s shaving lotion, mouthwash, and liquid soap or shampoo, plus surprise ingredients for endless variation. Making homemade lotion isn’t quite so spontaneous and mirthful as that, but then again, what you create doesn’t get washed down the drain, chances are you’re not going to get in trouble over it, plus it’s beautifully soothing on the skin. On the blog, the recipe officially calls for double the amounts I used, but the yield is more than ample, easily filling a 5-ounce container or more. It’s incredibly easy, both to make and to clean up after, too. I’ll be honest–I haven’t put the time in yet to research what to look for in skin care, but I can’t see how you can go wrong with beeswax, olive oil, and coconut oil. That’s all you need, really. After mixing these together (in a jar, in a saucepan of water), you can add a little vitamin E and some essential oil, but you really don’t have to. The lotion’s ostensibly a little bit on the “greasy” side,  about the consistency of Aquafor or petroleum jelly, but a little dab spread in a thin veneer seems to soak in really nicely without clogging pores. Rubbed gently into the hands, the difference is pretty immediate. Out here at altitude, in the dry winter air, you there’s no lying to yourself. You can tell.

Here’s the (half) recipe I used, thanks to a sonoma garden:

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c.   beeswax (I used a 1 ounce pastille from Sprouts, which I broke up a little first)
  • 1/4 t. vitamin E oil (I squeezed out 3 vitamin capsules (optional)
  • about 10 drops essential oil of choice (optional)

All you do is combine  the oils and and beeswax into a pint sized canning jar. Put the jar into a saucepan filled with water reaching 3/4 of the way up the jar, not so high that water could be at risk for bubbling its way into the oil mixture. Heat over medium/low, stirring occasionally until everything’s melted. Let cool to room temperature,  stirring vigorously with a fork every 15 minutes or so. Once at room temperature, add in the Vitamin E and essential oil, and voila! Quick fun, the job’s done.  🙂


  1. Lisa
    February 25, 2013

    to make it less greasy can you add more beeswax?

    • Wendy McMillan
      February 25, 2013

      You know what, I accidentally tried that out recently! (Just didn’t mean to add so much beeswax). I think the result IS a bit less greasy feeling. However, it isn’t so dissimilar that you’d necessarily enjoy the difference. That said, I haven’t found the texture to be too greasy when applied carefully and thinly. I hope it works for you!

  2. Ambar Melendez
    June 16, 2013

    Will the results be different if beeswax isn’t used?

    • Wendy McMillan
      June 16, 2013

      I would expect so, probably pretty significantly. I looked around a bit after seeing your question to see if I could find a recipe avoiding it, but haven’t come up with anything so far. I’ll keep on the search, though, and will let you know if I find anything!

  3. Miatamama
    September 10, 2013

    I’m always looking for different ideas and combinations of scents for DIY lotions, bath salts etc. Thank you for sharing yours!
    I’ve made a lotion where the base is equal parts coconut oil and cocoa butter. They are melted together and put in the refrigerator to cool. Just before they get too solid, I take a hand mixer and whip the oils for 3-5 minutes. I then add in my EOs and whip for one more minute. It’s heavenly! I do keep it in the refrigerator during the summer months because the coconut oil will melt and separate. Not to worry though…Just remelt the mixture and rewhip it.

    • Wendy McMillan
      September 11, 2013

      That sounds incredible! I want to try your blend!

  4. Claudia
    July 25, 2014

    I love this recipe. Just made it for the second time. It goes on a little oily, but quickly changes and leaves my skin feeling very soft and not oily at all. I think that’s because of the beeswax.

    I do one thing differently. I use jojoba oil instead of olive oil.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Wendy McMillan
      July 29, 2014

      I’m so glad it works for you, Claudia! I love it, too! It’s time to make some more!

  5. Kennedy
    October 13, 2014

    How much does this recipe make? I need to find how many 8 oz mason jars this fill?

    • Wendy McMillan
      October 21, 2014

      Hi, so sorry for the late response! I don’t quite fill 1 8-ounce mason jar with the half recipe I used. Good luck!

  6. Marion Clark
    February 14, 2015

    I have made this twice now and love it! I don’t whip it though, just cool it down slightly and mix in vit.E And 10 drops each of tea tree oil and lavender oil. Then I pour it into 15 ml tins to use as lip salve and healing balm. It makes 12 tins.
    Having had excema for years I can recommend this as soothing, healing and moisturising and it smells wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wendy McMillan
      February 14, 2015

      What great ideas and uses! I’m so happy it works for you, too! I love it. 🙂

  7. Linda
    May 2, 2015

    THANK YOU!! Thank you so much for posting and sharing this. I just whipped up a batch but used Sweet Almond Oil instead of Olive and it is just perfect! Wonderful consistency and just what I was looking for. It was so easy too.

    • Wendy McMillan
      May 4, 2015

      I am so glad it was helpful for you! I love it, too.

  8. Noi Hoffman
    August 5, 2016

    Hi, Is it ok if I don’t whip? I don’t like a creamy texture.

    • Wendy McMillan
      August 7, 2016

      Not whipping works for me!

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