Step-by-step recipe for how to make homemade chamomile lotion using simple chamomile infused oil. A simple DIY skincare recipe for normal to sensitive skin
I think that we expect beauty to come at a high price, especially plant-based lotions. What’s pretty crazy is that they’re easy to make from scratch — really. What’s more, is that even though your homemade recipes are the same standard as high-end skincare, the ingredients are much less inexpensive. That makes pampering your skin both luxurious and a great deal. If you’re a gardener, all the better because you can grow your own herbs and flowers for skincare and use them to create everything from soap to toner, and to lotions and creams. If you’re like other gardeners, then that patch of chamomile will come in handy for this homemade chamomile lotion recipe.
If this is your first time making lotion, then a simple recipe like this one is perfect for you. I’ve left out a lot of the more advanced lotion ingredients to pare down the cost and to avoid extra steps. Less ingredients, less steps, less stress. You’ll also find that the finished lotion is rich and creamy and that you can use it as an everyday moisturizer. The ingredients are also sensitive so your homemade chamomile lotion is kind to all skin types, especially delicate skin.
homemade chamomile lotion recipe
To make homemade chamomile lotion you’ll need just a few ingredients, and one that you can grow yourself — chamomile. In skincare, we mainly use German chamomile, Matricaria recutita, since it’s high in skin-healing components such as proazulenes and alpha-bisabolol. On a more practical note, it produces a lot more flowers than its cousin, Roman chamomile. More flowers mean more tea, tinctures, and infused oils!
The other ingredients needed are those important to making emulsified creams and it’s not as complicated as you’d think. The first step is making chamomile infused oil that concentrates chamomile extract in a usable form. The step after is blending the infused oil with water with the aid of an emulsifier. We all know that oil and water don’t mix well, so this ingredient helps glue them together. Lastly, we add a few drops of chamomile essential oil if desired, and the preservative. More on that later on in the recipe.
Benefits of Chamomile for Skin
Chamomile is best known as a soothing and relaxing tea, but it also has medicinal qualities. Taken internally, it can help calm digestive problems, relieve menstrual cramps, and can help you to get to sleep. The extracts of dainty chamomile flowers also contain volatile oils and flavonoids that are very beneficial for the skin. For example, it has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that treat eczema and acne, and it can even speed up the healing of minor skin injuries. And just like chamomile tea calms us from the inside, chamomile extract can calm our skin from the outside. If you have skin that’s inflamed or highly sensitive, it’s the skin herb for you.
Okay, so how do you get the good stuff from the flowers and onto your skin? There are several ways to extract them and all require the use of some sort of solvent or steam. You can use alcohol to make chamomile tincture, and then use it for blemishes or add a few drops to lotions. Use distilled water as a solvent to make herbal tea infusions and use them as the water ingredient for toners, lotions, and creams. Another way to create chamomile extract is to infuse the flowers in light carrier oils and use the oil to make salves, lip balms, and homemade chamomile lotion.
Make Chamomile Infused Oil
Making chamomile infused oil isn’t difficult. You basically put dried plant material together with oil and let it seep like you’re making tea. The difference being that it takes longer, especially when using the cold-infusion method as we’ll do in this recipe. When you’re finished, the oil will have the sweet scent of chamomile flowers along with their medicinal properties. You make chamomile infused oil with any carrier oil of your choice and dried chamomile flowers. In this recipe, I recommend using sweet almond oil, since it’s light in feeling, absorbs well, and has very little scent. Use other light oils if you choose, or heavier ones like avocado oil or jojoba if you have dry skin. The most important thing about the oil you use is that it has a good shelf-life (check its date) and that it’s liquid at room temperature.
It’s always best to use dried herbal material when making infused oils and the same goes for chamomile flowers. If you grow your own, pick them when the flowers are full and open, and dry them in a food dehydrator or drying screens. You can use them to make chamomile infused oil when they’re bone dry and crunchy. I know that it’s tempting but please don’t use fresh flowers since the moisture in herbal material can end up spoiling your oil.
Homemade Chamomile Lotion Recipe
- Glass jar with lid
- Large saucepan
- 90 g Distilled water 90 ml / 3.04 fl. oz
- 11 g Emulsifying wax NF 0.39 oz / 1 TBSP ( you can use only one or two teaspoons to create thinner lotion consistency)
- 25 g Chamomile-infused sweet almond oil 0.88 oz / 2 TBSP
- 2 g Geogard Ultra* (Gluconolactone & Sodium Benzoate & Calcium Gluconate) 0.07 oz / 2/3 tsp
- 5 drops Chamomile essential oil Optional
Make the Chamomile Infused Oil
- At least two weeks before making the lotion, start the chamomile infused oil. Fill a pint jar with a cup of dried chamomile flowers, then fill the jar with sweet almond oil to within a quarter-inch of the top. If you'd like to use another oil with a similar texture, I can recommend apricot kernel, grapeseed, or cold-pressed sunflower.
- Seal the jar and give in a shake. Place in a dark cupboard, and shake it every few days, or whenever you remember.
- After two or more weeks have passed, strain the chamomile-infused oil through a fine sieve. Discard the flowers, and bottle the oil in a dark glass bottle until you need it. You'll make quite a lot of oil in this step and it will easily give you enough infused oil to make a year's worth of lotions, and other skincare products. The oil has a shelf-life of one year, or the best-by date on the original oil bottle.
Prepare the Oil & Water Phases
- Sterilize all of your equipment by running it through the dishwasher. Wash your hands thoroughly, and consider wearing disposable gloves while making the lotion. Microbes that are on your hands and equipment can make their way into your lotion and spoil it.
- Measure the ingredients of the oil phase into one heat-proof glass jar. Measure the distilled water amount for the water phase in a second jar. Next, place both the jars in a large saucepan, and fill the pan with an inch of hot water.
- Bring the water to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. You're ready for the next step after you've heated and held the jars for at least twenty minutes, and the contents of both jars are 75°C/165°F. Take the jars out, and place them on a kitchen towel on the counter.
- Next, pour the heated distilled water into the oil-phase jar. You'll see it immediately turn an opaque milky color. Gently stir with a spoon for several minutes, then let it cool. Leave the spoon inside the jar since you'll need to return five minutes later to give it another stir.
- As the lotion cools, it will thicken up to a light lotion consistency. Return every twenty minutes or so to gently stir. You can also add the Geogard Ultra at this point (see next step).
- If you make this lotion without a preservative, it will last up to one week in the refrigerator. After that time, invisible bacteria and fungi will begin colonizing it and it will not be something you want to put on your face.To preserve it for longer, you will need to add a broad-spectrum preservative. There are many available but my favorite is Geogard Ultra. It comes in a powder form and you'll need to dissolve it in a teaspoon of hot water before you add it to your lotion. Geogard isn't heat-sensitive so you can add it without taking the lotion's temperature. It will preserve your lotion for eighteen months.Many other broad-spectrum preservatives need adding at precise amounts and temperatures. If you choose another type, please refer to the manufacturer's instructions.
- If you'd like to add the optional chamomile essential oil, stir it in when the lotion is 45°C/110°F or cooler.
- Now we need to test for pH. Stir a half teaspoon of lotion in 1-2 tsp distilled water. Dip one of your pH papers into liquid and then compare the color to the ones on the pack. Lotion and skin creams need to match the pH of your skin or they can be irritating and affect the effectivity of preservatives. If the pH is between 4.5-5.5 you're spot on. You can make the lotion more acidic (lower the pH) up by adding tiny amounts of lactic acid or citric acid dissolved in a small amount of warm, distilled water. Make it more alkaline (increase the pH) with triethanolamine or by dissolving a small amount of L-Arginine or bicarbonate (baking soda) in water and adding it. Pass it through the sieve and into the lotion. Take the pH reading again and adjust again if needed.
- Using a rubber spatula, spoon the lotion into a dark-glass container and seal. You can begin using it immediately.