Unnecessary chemicals seem to be everywhere all of the sudden. Or maybe they’ve been here for a while, but I’ve only first really noticed when the idea of having a baby first crept into the back of my mind. It seems that you can’t avoid them. Not in your food or even in baby products. Just turn over your baby lotion, wipes or shampoo and see how many of the ingredients you know vs the ones you don’t. And that even goes for products that have been approved for by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation and are probably safe enough. It gets you thinking. I mean, what’s in the products that they haven’t approved?
Random bottle of babylotion which has been approved by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
We’ve already made some basic changes to what we eat (we mainly buy organic) and what we put on our skins (we try to avoid chemicals and perfumes) since realizing this. We could be doing a whole lot more, but the lack of a money tree combined with ingrown habits means that we don’t. We might one day chose the organic mattress or start using modern cloth diapers (EDIT: we’ve actually started doing just that), but we are not there yet and we might never get there. And that’s okay. The changes we’ve made so far make sense to us and so far (fingers crossed and knock on wood) we’ve been very fortunate and Eva, our baby, has no allergies and very little problems with her skin. Whether or not it’s due to the changes we’ve made I cannot say, but I don’t think they’ve hurt.
One of the biggest changes is the fact that none of use store bought lotions. Instead we use natural oils and butters – and especially coconut oil and shea butter are favourites of ours and I love combining the two in a fluffy and soft homemade lotion. We use it on everything from Eva’s bum when she gets the occational diaper rash to her cheeks if they get irritated from the cold weather. Sometimes I even rub her in the lotion from toe to top after having been to the local swimming pool.
Why coconut oil and shea butter
Coconut oil is almost a must in lotions for babies and could be used on it’s own if in a whimp. It has some great antifungal and antibacterial properties and is a great moisturizer, which does wonders between those wonderfull baby fat rolls.
We don’t use just any coconut oil, but usually look for the organic virgin coconut oil which comes from organically grown coconuts. This means that no chemicals were involved in the extraction or processing of the oil. It’s what we’ve been recommended and it seems to have most of the benificial components preserved. For us it is rather easy to find and is not that expensive (depending on what you compare it to of course). We can sometimes find it as a special offer in our local discount supermarket!
Shea Butter works great with the coconut oil in this recipe. Its melting point is higher than that of the coconut oil, so it helps the lotion from melting at room temperature. Shea butter is amazing in lotions since it both sooths the skin, helps reduce inflammation and is also a great moisturizer. Very useful if there’s a diaper rash. It might however be a bit trickier to find compared to the coconut oil. I had to find it a local health store, but I like to buy online. I prefer using raw organic shea butter to avoid any unnescerry chemicals.
Recipe for super easy and fluffy lotion
If you find yourself with just a little extra time and feel like making your own lotion, without it being too complicated, then you should try and make this one. It just requires two ingredients. You could add some essential oils, but it’s definitely not an nescessity and actually not recommended with infants and younger babies. If you’re considering adding it to the lotion then consider reading all about safe essential oil use with babies and children from the Hippie Homemaker.
Also keep in mind that we keep two different jars with lotion for hygenic reasons: one for the bum and body, and one for the face and hands, so either make a double batch or split the result into two different containers.
You only need two ingredients! On the left is the shea butter and on the right, the coconut oil.
Ingredients (small portion)
- 60 grams (1,05 ounces) of organic virgin coconut oil. It’s important the oil is not liquid if you want to make a lotion that actually feels like a lotion. It melts at around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degress Fahrenheit).
- 40 grams (0,7o ounces) of raw, unrefined organic shea butter. It should be at about room temperature.
- Optional: 2-4 drops of chamomile, tea tree or lavender essential oil. Please be careful with the amount when making this for your child. And remember not to add any essential oils at all if your baby is younger than 3 months!
Tip: Use a mixing bowl that will allow the lotion to double in size, without spreading it all over your kitchen.
1. Mash the shea butter and the coconut oil in a bowl using a fork and mix the two oils as they go soft. Really, you could just do this one step and be done, but if you’re going for the lotion feeling, then continue.
Mash and mix the two oils.
2. Whip the oil mixture using an electric mixer until it gets fluffy and has doubled in size. It will look somewhat like whipped cream when it’s done. The bigger the portion, the longer it will take. When making such a small portion as I did, it will however only take a few minutes. Unless of course you mix it by hand. Then it might take a while longer.
Almost done, but it’s already nice and fluffy!
3. If you’re using essential oil add it now and mix for another 30 seconds.
4. That’s it. You’re done. Just transfer the lotion to a small jar and it’s ready for use.
Just scoop the finished lotion into your jar for storage.
Storage and shelf life: The lotion doesn’t contain any preservatives. It should however be able to keep for quite a while (as long as the shelf life on the oils themselves) since it’s purely oil based and no liquid has been added. If you want to be on the safe side, don’t make a huge portion, though you might make it a bigger portion than mine. We don’t use it everyday, and it will last us 3-4 months for Eva’s face and hands and maybe 3 for her bum and body, but if you’re making it for yourself it might be kind of a small portion. The lotion might melt a bit during the summer. If you’re making this and live in a warm place (unlike Denmark in the winter) then add a bit more shea butter to the mix. When ours started melting on one of the hottest days last summer I just stored it in the fridge.