Since we avoid conventional lotion, my family uses nourishing alternatives to moisturize our skin. My favorites are coconut oil, body butter, and hard lotion.
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Unrefined coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer for your skin. It contains lauric acid, which is antimicrobial and antiviral, so it is also great for acne-prone skin. Coconut oil also has a great, light scent. I like to use unrefined coconut oil as a moisturizer all over my body, including my face.
When I first tried using coconut oil as a moisturizer, I wasn't very happy with the results. I ended up feeling oily and looking shiny, yet still having dry skin. I finally figured out that the trick to using coconut oil as a moisturizer is to apply it while your skin is still wet from a shower or bath. I know this sounds strange, but the coconut oil is absorbed much more readily this way. I keep a container of coconut oil in the shower so I can apply it right away WITHOUT towel-drying first (I do like to shake a bit of the water off first), and then allow my skin to just air dry. To use coconut oil as a face moisturizer, I use only the residual oil on my hands after moisturizing my body; this results in a nice, light moisture on my face without being overly oily.
Homemade Alternatives to Lotion
Since I only shower every other day (which is a great way to reduce the need for lotion), I use homemade body butter and hard lotion if I need any moisturizer on days when I haven't showered.
Recipe: Homemade Whipped Body Butter
Whipped body butter is a wonderful moisturizer that applies very easily and leaves your skin very soft. It is easy to make body butter at home. It does take a little while to whip up but if you have a stand-mixer you can just walk away and check back periodically. One thing to note: if this gets warmed up and melts after you've made it, it will not re-solidify into body butter as it will lose the whipped consistency.
- 4 oz shea butter I buy this in bulk at my natural foods co-op)
- 2 oz unrefined coconut oil
- 1 Tb arrowroot powder
- Optional: 10 drops jasmine essential oil plus 5 drops lavender essential oil (or use any oils you like)
- Gently melt the shea butter and coconut oil over very low heat.
- Stir in the arrowroot powder.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand-mixer. Use the whisk attachment to whip the mixture until it gets lighter in color and fluffy. This can take quite awhile; if you are in a rush, you can cool the outside of the bowl with ice or an icepack to speed things up.
- Scoop the body butter into a lidded container and store at room temperature.
Recipe: Homemade Hard Lotion and Lip Balm
Hard lotion is a great all-over body moisturizer, and it is also wonderful to use on any very dry areas such as your feet and hands. I like to keep a bar by the kitchen sink since my hands get dry from so much time spent in the kitchen. The same recipe can also be used to make lip balm. This recipe comes from MadeOn Lotion and if you prefer, you can buy hard lotion instead of making it yourself.
- One part unrefined coconut oil
- One part shea butter (I buy this in bulk at my natural foods co-op)
- One part beeswax (if you have any local honey producers, you can probably get the best price by buying this directly from the beekeepers)
- Optional: small amount of essential oil such as peppermint, lavender, or jasmine
- NOTE: you can make the lotion harder by adding more beeswax or softer by adding more coconut oil.
- Using small crock pot (set on Warm) or double boiler over low heat, melt the beeswax.
- Add the shea butter and allow to melt.
- Add the coconut oil and allow to melt.
- Stir well to combine. If desired, add essential oils and stir a bit more.
- Pour the melted ingredients into small plastic containers, lip balm tubes, or even a mini-muffin tin.
- Work quickly to clean up the pot and spoons while they are still warm. I find the best plan is to wipe them with a clean cloth or paper towel immediately. If you leave them to cool, the beeswax will be very hard to clean off!
- Allow the melted lotion to harden at room temperature and then remove from the containers. I like to make enough to last for many months, so I just store the extra in the fridge until I'm ready to use it.
- To apply the lotion, warm the lotion bar by rubbing it in your hands and then spread over your skin.