Simple Homemade Lotion

Apologies for not sharing this recipe until now. It’s great on dry winter hands.

A few notes:

  • Every time I’ve made this, I’ve changed the proportions of the ingredients to try to optimize it, but it always comes out good. It’s very forgiving. 
  • This lotion is made of oil. It is going to feel oily. It will soak in, just don’t expect it to feel like store bought lotion. 
  • Because it is made of just oils, no water, it is safe to keep at room temperature without preservatives. I guess this makes it technically a “cream,” but it is thin enough to use as a body lotion (and you can make it thinner by decreasing the beeswax or increasing the liquid oil).
  • You can turn this lotion into a lip balm by increasing the beeswax and decreasing the oil. If you mess up and make it too think or thin, just remelt and adjust.
  • You can buy all of these ingredients at Whole Foods or online. 

Recipe: Easy Homemade Body Lotion

adapted from A Sonoma Garden

Ingredients & Materials: 

  • 1.2 oz unrefined coconut oil
  • 2.0 oz raw unrefined shea butter
  • 0.4 oz beeswax
  • 2.0 oz almond oil (can sub extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, etc. See here for information on the specific properties of these oils)
  • a few drops of essential oil of your choice (I use peppermint)
  • 8+ oz glass jar
  • immersion blender (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine the first four ingredients in the jar. If you are using solid beeswax, use a box grater to measure it and help it melt faster.
  2. Place the jar in a pan with 1″ of water to simulate a double boiler and turn the heat on low. Stir together until melted and uniform. 
  3. Remove the jar from the water bath and let cool, stirring occasionally. Stir in essential oil to taste.
  4. Optional: Once at room temperature, you can whip the mixture with an immersion blender. You may need to make a double batch to do this effectively. I don’t usually bother. 
  5. Store in jar or other screw top container. 
  6. Clean up: Hot soapy water will removed all beeswax residue. 

 

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It’s Finally Sunscreen Season

Me, driving a big boat in the middle of the Atlantic, probably wearing a lot of sunscreen because I haven't showered in a few days

Here I am, driving a big boat in the middle of the Atlantic, probably wearing a lot of sunscreen because I haven’t showered in a few days.

As a sailor, I’ve worn a lot of sunscreen in my life.  I’ve probably consumed more sunscreen than any other body product, and it makes me cringe to think about how toxic all of it probably definitely was.

Now that I’ve got my first sunburn of the season (bike riding, last weekend), it’s time for me to get over my fear of expensive toxic sunscreens and do some research.

Luckily, the EWG has a massive guide to sunscreen complete with ratings and well cited explanations of chemical effects.  If you are a heavy sunscreen user, I would definitely recommend consulting this resource.  Here, I summarize some of the most important things to know from their guide for finding safer sunscreen. Once I buy and try some, I’ll let you know what I think. Continue reading

Intro: How Chapstick turned us green

Taylor and I are green scientists, and we’re starting a new experiment.  But this isn’t a typical project because we intend for it never to end…

As chemistry PhD students we have recently learned just how awful some of the synthetic chemicals that we voluntarily expose ourselves to everyday are.  We’ve made a pact to cut toxins our of our lives, and we’re starting here and now. Curiously, it was my beloved chapstick (ingredients: bioaccumulative reproductive toxins and not much else) that convinced us to really do this.

The purpose of our experiment is to live healthier, greener lives that impact the environment as little as possible. We’re going to be patient, we’re going to be thrify, and we’re going to be green.  My advisor Terry always lectures that sustainability is a vector. It’s about commitment and direction, not the place you are in right now. It will take some time, but we are determined to get there. In the mean time, we invite you to follow our scientific but lighthearted approach to sharing our story.

So here we go: We decided the first things that needed to go were the products that touched our bodies every day.  Lip balm, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, deodorant, toothpaste, hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, lotion, etc. After some extensive internet research and too much time spent in Whole Foods googling ingredients, we’ve started our detox.

To get an idea about what we are doing, give this video called the “The Story of Stuff” a shot. Maybe it will encourage you to leave a greener wake too!