Crunchy Adventure: Making Lotion

Every once in a while, I get the urge to be “domestic” and make things from scratch. That usually entails me going to the store to buy supplies, thus going over my weekly food budget on things that I am usually too much of a spend thrift to buy. That happened yesterday, as I realized my favorite “JĀSÖN Revitalizing Vitamin E 5,000 I.U. Moisturizing Crème,” aka thick goopy lotion, would be gone within the week. This troubled me greatly, as I use lotion every morning, night, break, and after several meals, especially in the middle of winter. My family has always told me I have crocodile hands, and my mother has always spoken of the importance of smooth hands for first impressions, especially during job interviews and first dates (though hopefully one does not become the other. That would be awkward).

I’ve always been picky about my lotions. I’ve used Eucerine and Vaseline (too sticky and slimy), Bath and Body Works (too useless and smells like laundry soap), Victoria’s Secret lotion (a bit better but still watery and smelly), and even Oil of Olay (which my grandmother credited to her never having face wrinkles, even ’til the day she died). I even tried cocoa butter, both the “butter” that was really chocolate-scented lotion and the solid fat that I had to chisel out with a knife. Of everything I tried, JĀSÖN’s cream (or Crème, if you’re feeling posh) worked the best. I quickly bought a second bottle when the first ran out, but as the second started running out I realized I had a dilemma: either my scaly hands had grown accustomed to the cream and grown “immune” to it, or this winter was being harder on my hands than last (the bottles last me around six months, so I was using the cream last year). So I decided to go out on a limb and instead make my own lotion (Crunchy people, unite!).

Now, I don’t know the first thing about making lotion. I know it needs some sort of moisturizers and a jar to put it in. I know that my herb book listed a bunch different herbs that could be used in lotions, all of which were out of season and not in my cupboards, and all of which seemed to be specific for facial creams. So, like any good industrious person from the 21st century, I turned to Google.

The first result, after Google’s customary ads, was from wellnessmama.com, a site where, from what I can tell, a mom who is much greener and crunchier than me shares her wisdom with the world (I couldn’t explore very much–for some reason my phone doesn’t like to communicate with that site or its servers, and I get impatient during lag time. That’s also why I’m not putting the actual link in this blog, although I recommend you look it up if you’re interested. From what I could tell, it looks like a gem, but my phone doesn’t like it). Her recipe has three main ingredients: 1/4 cup of beeswax, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, and 1 cup of olive oil. Some options she suggests adding are Vitamin E, different essential oils, and different kinds of oils.

I was a little skeptical, as I’ve tried coconut oil in the past and come to the conclusion that it’s too greasy to
lather on and run (I’d usually lather it on, wipe some off with a towel, and then wash my hands to go back to my old dry hands), and I’d never heard of using olive oil in lotion. Also, I had no idea where to buy beeswax.

Eventually, I convinced myself to go buy coconut oil, since I’d use it anyway, and hunt for beeswax. I bought the coconut oil at Winco (organic, at that. I’m always surprised with what I find at Winco) and decided to search for a Good Earth health food store on the off chance that they had some beeswax. My parents have a Good Earth in their hometown, so I was fairly certain I’d find some there. I put in Good Earth into my Google Maps app, found out that there was a Good Earth nine minutes away from Winco, and let Google Maps take me there.

Well, phones are not as reliable at being GPS systems as actual GPS systems. I must have momentarily gone out of cell service right when I needed to make a turn because after about fifteen minutes of driving I hastily glanced at my lap to realize there was no little blue line telling me I was still on the right track. After ten to fifteen more minutes of frantic driving, during which time the electronic voice on the phone kept telling me I was going the wrong way, I passed Good Earth (after which the lady in my phone, who had forgotten to tell me my destination was coming up, proceeded to inform me that I needed to make the most complicated U-turn in the history of the planet). By the time I entered the store, I was beyond frazzled. A kind customer service associate asked if she could help, and I practically yelled, “Do you have beeswax?!?” She took it all in stride and led me straight to a shelf that held either a giant slab for $20 or a little cube for two. I only needed the little cube, so I bought it, exited, and quickly realized that my phone wanted to take me home the long way around. So I used Google Maps as I would an ordinary paper map, found my way to the freeway, and made my way home.

Today, after the frantic turns of yesterday, I was afraid the recipe I’d found would be no good. I shaved the beeswax into sawdust consistency flakes (with a dullish knife), and put it in an old honey jar with the coconut oil, olive oil, and some Vitamin E oil I’d found at Winco, and heated it on the stove as you would a bottle of milk for a baby. Eventually, the beeswax melted, and I stirred up my concoction and poured as much as I could into my old cream jar (the recipe made too much, so the rest is still in my honey jar).

After the lotion cooled, it looked funny. It was a little green, the same color as the olive oil I used, and that made me worried. Those worries happily disappeared as soon as I put some on. This stuff goes on smoothly, and it smooths out many of the creases on my crocodile hands. Now, an hour later, my hands are still smooth. It’s not too greasy, and it doesn’t smell (another thing I worried about using olive oil). I was so excited that I used some on my feet, which were also cracked due to winter’s cruel dry breath. The skin smoothed out beautifully, and my feet look even better than when I got a pedicure at a salon (I had the works done there–heel filing, nail trimming, a soak followed by an exfoliating scrub, followed by a paraffin wax thingamajig. All to come away going, “Huh. The positive effects lasted maybe an hour, and the massage wasn’t deep enough.”).

In conclusion, this recipe is a winner. I’m glad I let my crunchy side win out this time around.

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