There is a saying about beauty products that goes something like, “Don’t put anything on your skin that you couldn’t eat.” In the days of organic food, BPA free containers and chemical free beverages, we appear to be very careful with what we put into our bodies, however we often turn a blind eye to the chemicals that enter our bodies through our skin. I hadn’t given this too much thought until I received a book called There’s Lead in Your Lipstick. I have been so careful to eliminate poisons from my food supply, but I was still using comercial skincare products that contained extremely toxic chemicals. Reading about this stuff makes me both angry and depressed, so I’m going to skip the gory details and get to the good stuff- the following is a chemical free lotion that is actually GOOD for your body and you can make it yourself!
This recipe has four ingredients, and works better than many other lotions I’ve used in the past.
Shea Butter Lotion
1 cup raw, unrefined shea butter,
1 cup raw cocoa butter
1/2 cup raw, virgin coconut oil
1 Tbs orange essential oil
-Melt the shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut oil in a double boiler.
-Pour the mixture into a large glass bowl and refrigerate until the oil starts to set up again (it will look like wax cooling).
-Remove from the fridge and add the essential oil. You may use any scent you like, I prefer orange.
-Use electric beaters to whip to the desired consistency.
-Store in a glass container at room temperature.
It is important that you do not heat the butters and oil more than necessary, or it will kill the goodness that is inside. Shea, cocoa and coconut have healing properties that become ineffective if you heat them too much. Just keep them in the double boiler until they melt- no longer. I also recommend storing the lotion in a glass container. Many of our plastic drinking bottles are BPA free, but not all of our skincare containers are.
The coconut oil in this lotion tends to be greasy, so I recommend using the lotion immediately after you’ve stepped out of the shower, before you dry off. A little bit goes a long way, and everyone’s skin will absorb it differently. And please- do step out of the shower before applying! I don’t want anyone to suffer a painful fate… After applying to wet skin, let yourself air dry, or blot dry with a towel. To avoid oil stains on clothing, allow the lotion to dry completely before dressing.
Commercial lotions may absorb quickly and completely, leave you with a faux tan, and smell like springtime in a jar, but at what cost? These attributes may make them a joy to use, but these benefits are possible because of harsh chemicals. Over time these foreign toxins can break down our cells, causing illness, allergic reactions and even disease. Lotions made of natural ingredients may feel a bit different than commercial lotions, but that is because they are a far cry from lotions that are packed with chemicals. Using healthy products may take some getting used to, but your body will thank you for it in the long run. Just remember, what we put onto our skin quickly finds it’s way into all of our bodies’ systems. Read the ingredients on your skincare products. Do you recognize half of them? Any of them? And most of all, would you be okay with eating them? The fact is, whether you put them in your mouth or on your skin, these ingredients will become a part of you and either hurt or heal you.
What is really encouraging is that just like healthy food, naturally made skincare can actually help to heal your body. Shea butter can heal eczema and psoriasis, help to restore skin’s elasticity and has some natural sun protection. Cocoa butter can help prevent cancer, boosts the immune system, and contains antioxidants that fight off free radicals. Coconut oil has a host of benefits that include improving heart health, boosting thyroid function, increasing metabolism, and supporting the immune system. Orange essential oil is an anti inflammatory, anti septic, it detoxifies and also boosts immunity. You may see this lotion as simply a moisturizer, but this combination can bring healing to your body. Just a note- because of the essential oil, I do not recommend you eat this lotion! Essential oils are wonderful when absorbed through the skin, but not all should be taken in through the digestive system.
For the past couple years I’ve been using this lotion on my shaved legs and (thanks to winter in Colorado) on my dry elbows and face, and I love it! You can experiment with the ingredients and amounts until you find something that is perfect for you.