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Friday, May 23, 2014

making herbal lotion in the blender

I love blender lotion. It is quick and easy to make, soothes drym itching skin like nothing else, and costs very little to make.

Well, I lied. It does cost time, mostly. So it's not completely quick. Sorry.
You need to begin by infusing a base oil with herbs, using either my 3 day heated method, or the longer 2-4 weeks of cupboard time for cold infusions.

Then, you need to make a salve from the herbal oil by melting beeswax into it. Read here for making salves.
For this reason, I like to make up herbal salves that store in my apothecary for months in advance, even years although my salves are somehow always used sooner than that, so that I can grab the jar, scoop and go.

Once you have your salve, you need a good blender, and a liquid base. The liquid can be plain distilled water, a hydrosol like rosewater, oat water (soak 1/2 c rough oats in 1/2 c water overnight, then strain), aloe vera juice, herbal tea. Many options. Be sure to have both the salve and the water at room temperature, though.

Now, pop it into the blender and emulsify on high speed. Okay, this is easier than making homemade mayonnaise! I can not seem to get the hang of mayo, much as I've tried, but this blender lotion is nigh fail-proof. It works. Every time.

Quantities are approximate. About 2 parts (by volume) of oil base salve to one part of water base liquid is for me the perfect amount. You can add as much water as you like, until the oil stops absorbing it. If you add too much water, it won't ruin. Simply pour it off and rub into your skin, so nothing is wasted. The rest of the blender lotion will be smooth, creamy, and glide onto your skin oh, so gently once properly emulsified.

You can make this blender lotion any type of herbal thing you like. Skin safe herbs are best, for obvious reasons! But beyond that, let your creativity take flight. If you are truly pressed for time and have no herbal oil already infused, make a salve with plain oil and beeswax, and add essential oils to the blender instead. Add vitamin E or primrose oil for extra soothing to the skin. If made with a light oil such as jojoba, this blender lotion whips up to form a fabulous cream for the face, even under makeup. Made heavier, this is great for summer feet and busy mama hands that are prone to chapping. In general, blender lotion works superbly on skin because it contains both water and oil, giving skin a needed drink while sealing against evaporation.

If you want to use coconut oil, still make a salve as the beeswax adds stability to the lotion against temperature changes, but use 1/2 to 3/4 the amount of wax. You can use butters -- cocoa, avocado, shea, mango -- instead of salve, but you may have to melt and add a little oil to the butters to ensure you start with a good salve density. Cocoa butter is typically too hard alone. Shea is close to perfect 

I recommend only making a small amount, say 1/2 a cup, of lotion at a time, and use within 2 months. I have never yet had a blender lotion turn funky on me, but I've also not kept one for longer than two months so cannot attest to a longer shelf life. Generally, once oil and water mix they don't keep for as long and are more prone to molding. If you should notice any weird slime building up anywhere in the lotion, discard the entire batch and refill the jar only after it has been cleaned hot and soapy.

Herbs to consider using in your homemade blender lotion:

rose hips and petals -- adds vitamin C, for collagen rebuilding
calendula flowers -- skin soothing for all conditions
plantain -- heals acne, bug bites, sunburn, general rashes from play or plants or post-shaving 
lavender flowers -- smells good, add soothing for sunburn and irritations
arnica -- heals soreness and bruising, although not suitable for use on any broken skin
comfrey -- for post workout soreness, makes fabulous Lovely Legs blender lotion
green tea
lemon and orange rind -- not for use before exposure to sunlight, but high in vitamin C
Rapha Salve mix for sunburned skin, with black tea or aloe as water base
chamomile flowers

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