I made the switch from using body lotion to oil about a year ago, and haven’t looked back since. We’ve posted about the benefits of using oil as a moisturizer before (check out what Brigette and Naomi had to say here and here), and while some may still initially balk at the idea of smoothing it on to their skin after a shower or bath, the benefits are undeniable, especially when you see the results first hand.
To refresh, oils like almond, olive, jojoba, and coconut seal moisture into your skin, keeping it hydrated, fresh-looking, and protected against environmental factors such as smog and other pollutants. Oils are all-natural (just double-check the label) and contain vital nutrients that your body can easily absorb without clogging pores. I typically prefer using coconut oil in place of body lotion, but sometimes I like to switch things up and use a lightly scented mixture. And I’m not talking about the cloying, manufactured scent of store bought concoctions, but something customized, earthy, and beneficial. This is where herb-infused body oil comes in.
Making your own infusion is easy, cost effective, and best of all, completely customizable. Depending on preference, you can create a scent that’s floral, herbal, spicy, citrus-y, or anything in between. Because I often have trouble falling asleep, today I chose to create a blend of lavender essential oil and fresh sage that I can use nightly before bed. To me, this combination is ideal: Lavender oil helps to improve circulation and relieve nervous tension, quieting the mind and readying you for sleep, while sage’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties improve skin health and reduce the effects of toxins on your body. The ritual of applying it after a shower and before bed helps to calm my busy brain and I’ve noticed that falling asleep isn’t as much of a struggle.
What you need:
Small handful of fresh sage
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
Lavender essential oil
Ball jar with lid
Old tee shirt or cheese cloth
4 oz. resealable glass container
There are several methods that can be used to infuse the oil, including the use of a stove top, but the cold-infusion method — which I’ve used here — works best for all types of oils, including those that are too fragile to withstand high heat. To do it yourself, first sterilize the Ball jar and lid by dipping it into a pot of boiling water and removing carefully with kitchen tongs, place upright on a clean dishtowel and allow to air dry. Use the same method to sterilize the resealable container that the finished oil will go into.
Wash and thoroughly dry the sage, then chop or tear the herbs roughly and place in the bottom of the dry Ball jar. Pour the oil over the chopped herbs, tightly seal the jar, and place in a cool dark place for at least two weeks, swirling the jar every few days to ensure it properly infuses.
After two weeks, it’s time to strain the sage out. Take a swatch from your old (clean) tee shirt, place it over the top of the bowl, and carefully pour the infused oil over the fabric. The oil will strain through to the bowl, the herbs will catch on the shirt. Gather the fabric into a pouch to squeeze all of the oil from the herbs.
Next, slowly add the lavender essential oil a few drops at a time to the strained infusion. Be sparing in how much you add, as essential oil is strong and a little goes a very long way. Once you’ve achieved a scent strength that suits you, carefully pour the infused oil into your sterilized resealable container and cap it off (you may want to use a funnel). Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and the oil should keep for up to six months. Use in place of lotion or add to the bath to soften skin.
To decorate the bottle, I used a small paint brush and acrylic paint to dot along the perimeter. For the cap, use a strong glue to affix a coil of rope along the sides and top.