The last guest post! Which means my vacation is over. I hope you enjoyed these great posts as much as I did!
The following is a post by Meagan Visser of Growing Up Herbal, one of my favorite blogs. I am fascinated with learning how to work with herbs, and Meagan has been a great resource for me. If you don't feel up for all the DYI-ing yourself, you can purchase her herb based children's line of products.
When it comes to making natural skincare products for your kids, nothing beats homemade herbal baby oil for moisturizing and nourishing your little one's skin. Why? Well, not only does it have the beneficial properties of the oil you use and the healing powers of the herbs you've chosen to infuse into it, it also lasts a lot longer than lotions, creams, and body butters. This is a big pro if you're like me and are busy or don't want to have to make new lotions or creams every week for your kids. But, I know what you may be thinking. You may be thinking that you don't care for baby oils because they leave your little one's skin greasy and slippery. Well that may be true in some cases, but today I'm going to give you some tips on making your own homemade herbal baby oil that is simple, nourishing, and will absorb quickly leaving your little one's skin soft and smelling great!
Choosing Quality Ingredients
If you're wanting to make a great homemade herbal baby oil, you have to start with the ingredients. Below are some great options for you to use that are good for your kids skin and won't leave them greasy or smelling funky! Oils Picking quality oils is easier than you may think. All vegetable, nut, and seed oils have different properties that can be great for the skin. All you have to do is research them to see what their properties are before choosing one. You can also make a simple homemade herbal baby oil that has one type of oil or you can really go all out and use a combination of oils. The choice is up to you. If you're new to making natural skincare products, I'd suggest going with a single oil until you're more confident in yourself and your recipe! One last thing to be aware of when you're picking and choosing oils is how long they stay good for. Most vegetable, nut, and seed oils need to be stored properly or they can go rancid, and you don't want to put rancid oils on your kid. Oils should be stored out of direct sunlight in a cool environment. Light and heat will destroy the oil causing free radicals to form which are damaging to the body. Below are some great oils to get started making your own homemade herbal baby oil.
- Jojoba oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Evening primrose oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Apricot kernal oil
- Fractionated coconut oil
**Note: Saturated oils and butters like unrefined coconut oil and any of your "butters" tend to leave that greasy feel to the skin. They're GREAT for the skin, but if you're looking for something to absorb quickly... these aren't the one's to pick. Herbs Herbs are a great way to add extra nutrients and therapeutic properties to your oil. Again, there are many choices to choose from, but below are some of my favorites.
- rose petals
- jasmine flowers
Essential oils are another great addition to homemade herbal baby oils. Not only do you want your baby's skin to be soft and healthy, but you want it to smell good too. By using essential oils in your baby oil, you can change the entire way you use your oil. For example, by using chamomile or lavender essential oil you can sooth your baby to sleep. If you choose to use a minty oil like peppermint or rosemary or a citrus oil like orange, you can energize your little one for a big day ahead. You can also choose to go with oils like eucalyptus if your child has a cold and you want to help them breath better. The sky's the limit. Chose one oil or use a combination of oils. If you're new to blending essential oils, click the link and learn all about it. Preservatives Most of the time, if you store your oil properly and you use it within 6 months, you won't need a preservative. But, some parents like to play it safe so there are some natural options you have when it comes to making your homemade herbal baby oil a bit more shelf stable. The section on antioxidants in this skincare preservative article by From Nature With Love suggests using Vitamin E oil (T-50) at .04% of your total weight or using Rosemary Oil Extract (ROE) at .15%-5% of your total weight.
How To Make Homemade Herbal Baby OilNow that you know a bit about ingredients, it's time to make your oil. It's pretty simple really.
Step 1 - Infusing Your Oil
If you want to infuse herbs into an oil, you have a few options. First, you can take a glass jar, fill it 1/3 full of dried herbs, cover it with your chosen oil, put a lid on it, and let it sit in a dark cabinet for two weeks, inverting it a couple of times each day so the herbs stay mixed with the oils well. This is the traditional method and it should be done if you're using very fragile oils that can't withstand much heat. Another option you have is doing the same thing with your herbs and oils except here you're going to use your crockpot and it will only take you 3 days. You'll need to place a cloth on the bottom of your crockpot, put your jar on top of the cloth and add water until it's either at the top of your crockpot or at the rim of your jar. Just don't submerge your jar in water. Next, turn your crockpot on the lowest heat setting it has and leave the lid off. This will heat your oils a bit and allow it to penetrate the herbs, but it won't heat the oil enough to damage it or the herbs. Check it a couple times a day, adding in more water as needed. After 3 days, you're all set. The last option you have is only for oils that are a bit more heat stable such as your fractionated coconut oil or even sweet almond oil, but still, you're going to use minimal heat. I'll also say that this isn't the BEST option because it doesn't allow as much time for the herbs to infuse into the oil. But, if you're in a hurry, it will do. All you need to do is take a double boiler or two saucepans and put it on your stove. Get your water simmering in the bottom pan, and place the other pan on top. Add your herbs and oils to the top pan and let them infuse for 1-2 hours paying close attention to it that your water doesn't run out of the bottom pan and your oils don't get too hot on the top pan. The best way to tell if your oils are heated enough is that you should be able to stick your finger in the oils and feel that they're warm, but it shouldn't burn.
Step 2 - Strain Oil
After your herbs and oils are finished infusing, it's time to strain the herbs out. Take an old rag or clean t-shirt, place it in a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour your infused oil into it. Gather the edges of your cloth together creating a pouch, and squeeze the oil out of the herbs. You should be left with oil in your bowl and herbs in your cloth. Compost your herbs.
Step 3 - Scent and Preserve
The last step in making your own homemade herbal baby oil is to add your essential oils and your preservative. If you're using a natural preservative you're going to need a scale to weight your oil so you can figure out how much to add. Either that or you can guess. It's not like your selling your oil online or in stores and need your measurements to be exact, right? Finally add in your essential oils to suit you, but be careful... a little goes a long way. Awesome, so you're finished! Good job! You've made your own homemade herbal baby oil that is good for your baby's skin and good for your budget too! That's something to be proud of! Now all you need to do is track your kiddo down and try it out on them!
Do you make your own homemade herbal baby oil? If so, what's your favorite herb/oil combination?
Meet Meagan of Growing Up Herbal
Meagan Visser is the owner of Growing Up Herbal on Etsy where she offers natural, herbal skin care products for children. She also teaches parents how to take charge of their children’s health naturally on her blog,GrowingUpHerbal.com, and she’s enjoys living a simple and healthy life with her husband and 3 little boys in the southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. Connect with her on her on Facebook and Pinterest.