After trying several versions, I learned a couple of things. One is that unless I want to add a preservative to a homemade water-based lotion, its shelf live is pretty limited. It starts to smell funny fairly quickly. The other thing is it doesn’t hydrate as well as body butter.
In the winter, I often use plain glycerin on my hands before bed. I noticed that I would wake up in the morning and still have soft and moisturized hands. Then I realized that glycerin has a water base, and should technically perform as water in an emulsion.
That worked beautifully – I was able to create super luxurious and highly moisturizing lotion using an emulsion of glycerin and my favorite oils. I used beeswax as an emulcifier, and it helped me craft exactly what I wanted – a super hydrating DIY lotion that seals in moisture for a very long time.
Sea Buckthorn Oil is skin healing and high in antioxidants
Sea buckthorn oil is one of the most prized skin care treatments in Russia. The oil itself is amber-brown, and leaves behind yellowish residue when applied to skin. Its vibrant color is due to high content of carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Sea buckthorn is very rich in vitamins A, B1, B12, C, E, K, and P; flavonoids, lycopene, and phytosterols (source).
Russian folk medicine believes that sea buckthorn oil improves skin moisture barrier, reverses and prevents photo aging, heals inflammation, smooths skin texture. Folks use it to treat eczema, psoriasis, and even hair loss.
Glycerin helps skin retain moisture
Glycerin is a humectant. It means it attracts and retains moisture from surrounding environment. ‘Hydroscopic’ is another term to describe glycerin – it can absorb moisture from the air. Besides these purely cosmetic qualities, glycerin has therapeutic effects as well – it helps skin grow and mature properly – preventing psoriasis outbreaks and even formation of skin cancer (source). According to this impressive study, glycerin can significantly improve hydration level and restore dermal barrier function.
Sweet almond oil is mild and nourishing
Almond oil is very light, and absorbs easily. It’s mild and is suitable even for sensitive skin. It may help prevent damage from sun exposure (source). Almond oil has also has anti-inflammatory properties (source).
Cacao butter is deeply hydrating
Cacao butter is an emolient. It adds a protective layer of moisture to the skin. Cacao butter contains the same protective polyphenols as chocolate, which is beneficial for skin health (source).
Beeswax is an emulcifier
Beeswax is used to give lotions and deodorants solid consistency. The other notable fact is that it is a mild and completely natural emulcifier. It helps blend oil and water based substances without separation.
Even though it doesn’t carry any therapeutic value per se, it compliments the active ingredients (oils and butters) because it helps to lock in moisture. This study shows that using beeswax along with oils is more effective at preventing post burn itch than regular water based creams. According to this, an equal part mixture of honey, beeswax and olive oil is very effective at treating diaper dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis, by inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans, which are strong pathogens.
How I use my hydrating DIY lotion
I love to use it my on hands, elbows, feet, lower legs and knees. I also apply it to my lips. It’s not my favorite moisturizer for the face, but there was a couple of bitter cold days that it was a real life saver for me.
HOW TO MAKE INTENSELY HYDRATING DIY LOTION
1/4 cup sea buckthorn oil (I get it at a European store at good price, and I have also bought at from Mountain Rose Herbs)
1/4 cup sweet almond oil
1/2 cup glycerin
1 tablespoon cacao butter (I use this kind from Wilderness Family Naturals)
1 tablespoon grated beeswax (I love beeswax from Gentle Breeze Honey Co, I buy it at Whole Foods, it doesn’t have any smell to it)
10 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like vanilla, or lime and bergamot) ~ optional
Place all ingredients in a mason jar (I like this one, it keeps accidental splashing contained).
Melt on a double boiler, or a pot of water with a bowl on top (it takes me a while).
You will see separation of oil and glycerin, it’s normal.
Once melted, place mixture in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil starts to turn opaque color.
Add essential oil, if using.
Mix everything with an immersion blender until lotion is emulsified, it would look like a creamy honey-like lotion.
- ¼ cup sea buckthorn oil (I get it at a European store at good price, and I have also bought at from Mountain Rose Herbs)
- ¼ cup sweet almond oil
- ½ cup glycerin
- 1 tablespoon cacao butter ( I use this kind from Wilderness Family Naturals)
- 1 tablespoon grated beeswax (I love beeswax from Gentle Breeze Honey Co, I buy it at Whole Foods, it doesn't have any smell to it)
- 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like vanilla, or lime and bergamot) ~ optional
- Place all ingredients in a mason jar (I like this one, it keeps accidental splashing contained).
- Melt on a double boiler, or a pot of water with a bowl on top (it takes me a while). You will see separation of oil and glycerin, it's normal.
- Once melted, place mixture in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil starts to turn opaque color.
- Add essential oil, if using.
- Mix everything with an immersion blender until lotion is emulsified, it would look like a creamy honey-like lotion.
- Transfer to a pretty jar, or keep in the same container.
This lotion has a faint yellow residue but it absorbs very quickly, a lot faster than plain sea buckthorn oil.
Sea buckthorn has subtle fragrance to it. Most people find it pleasant but there are some who don't care for it. Before you decide to invest in an expensive bottle, make sure you like the smell.
Glycerin has a tacky feel to it. As soon as you apply this lotion, you will get that sensation but it goes away quickly. And the feeling of this deep very satisfying hydration stays around for a long time, even after rinsing hands in water.