We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

If you are like me, I always struggle when it comes to buying thoughtful and sustainable gifts for birthdays and holidays!

Sustainable living has become a topic that I think about throughout my day. As you’re making your way through a more minimalist, zero-waste lifestyle, one of the essential steps, is to swap out the plastic/disposable items with more sustainable alternatives. This is where making beauty products for yourself and friends can really come in handy!

One of the greatest benefits of making your own lotions, lip balms, and hair salves, is that you can save a ton of money, use higher quality products, and reuse your containers over and over again. My goal here at Eco Economics is to show you how to save thousands of dollars by going green and how to reinvest those savings into financial vehicles that will help you gain your financial freedom.

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The Perfect Home Made Gift:


Winter always makes my hands dry and chapped. So it’s time to make my favorite super rich & creamy dry hand lotion.  My friends and I love this stuff!

When I make a batch, I usually make several bottles all at once. This is because:

  • I purchase in bulk to save money and the earth from additional packaging.
  • Reduces the number of times I have to make the lotion. Meaning fewer times I have to clean up.
  • I have an inventory of lotion so that I don’t run out. This also means that I can give some away as thank you or birthday gifts.

Having an inventory of homemade gifts makes gift-giving super convenient. I try my best to remember, but there are times when we all forget that special someone’s birthday.  Luckily, by having a few extra lotions laying around, I have prepared for such a situation. I can easily run home and grab one of my homemade creamy lotions.  Bang! You have a thoughtful, inexpensive, and personal gift ready to go!


Sustainable Living: Handmade Organic Lotions Over the Store-Bought Kind


I have a rule. If I can’t pronounce what is in the box or bottle, it doesn’t belong in or on my body. The best thing about making your own is that you know exactly what you are putting in your lotion!

Take a quick look at the ingredients in the lotions, shampoos, and conditioners in your bathroom. Most likely, they have an ingredient label calked full of stuff that you can pronounce!

For example, I looked up the ingredients for Nivea lotion. According to the company’s website, the ingredients are:


Aqua, Paraffinum Liquidum, Cera Microcristallina, Glycerin, LanolinAlcohol(Eucerit®), Paraffin, Panthenol, Magnesium Sulfate, Decyl Oleate, Octyldodecanol, Aluminum Stearates, Citric Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Limonene, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Parfum.

I am not a chemist. But maybe you are, so you know where all of those ingredients come from and what they are. In the case that you aren’t a chemist, like me, I know that I feel so much better when I know exactly what I am rubbing all over my body.

Tired of paying $10 or more for 8 ounces of luxury lotion? You can make ten times 8 ounces for under $10 and have a much higher quality product… If you make it yourself.



Here’s what you’ll need to make this Rich & Creamy Sustainable Hand Lotion


1. Shea Butter


The Why: This raw organic Shea butter is a godsend when it comes to dry skin and hair. It is rich in vitamins A, E, F, and K. Moreover, it has natural fatty acids, which provide the building blocks to make prostaglandins. An agent that decrease inflammation in the body.

Fatty acids have many functions in the body and play a role in:

  • oxygen transport
  • development of strong tissues and organs
  • healthy looking skin
  • immune system health



Eco Benefits: Shea butter is one of the world’s most sustainable natural resources. Shea trees grow naturally in the grasslands of West and Central Africa and do not need any irrigation, fertilizer, or pesticides.

Health Benefits: Vitamins in the Shea butter have soothing and hydrating properties. This means that it promotes healthy skin collagen, and prevents premature wrinkles. 



2. Beeswax


The Why: This is my favorite beeswax because it has been triple filtered under strict organic USDA guidelines and was created naturally by healthy honeybees in a NON-GMO, pesticide-free environment!

Eco Benefits: Bees, honey, and wax are incredibly beneficial to the environment. Not only do bees pollinate your food crops, but you can use almost all of their by-products.

Health benefits: Beeswax locks in moisture and can help keep your skin feeling firm and plump. Another benefit is that beeswax contains anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, it is one of the best skin care ingredients for healing rosacea and eczema. Additionally, beeswax does not clog your pores and is an exceptional natural alternative to mineral oil.

Mineral oil is made from petroleum, and the process of its extraction is a major cause of climate change and global warming.

If sustainable living is one of your new year’s resolutions, then finding swaps for petroleum and oil-based products are going to be high on your list.



3. Jojoba Oil


The Why: Jojoba oil has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus it contains vitamins B and E. Jojoba is a shrub that grows in the Sonoran Desert of the US and Mexico.

It has many special characteristics, which makes it inherently sustainable:

  • Long lifespan (some shrubs can live over 100 years).
  • No annual re-planting required (as only the seeds are harvested).
  • Produces seed oil that is non-perishable.
  • Disease, pest, and drought resistant.
  • Grows in arid climates (requires less water).


Budget Benefits: A bit of Jojoba oil goes a long way. You don’t need very much to get the job done.

Tip: The Jojoba oil is a bit more expensive per ounce than other carrier oils. Sometimes I will add raw organic food-grade coconut oil to bring the cost down.

Health Benefits: Jojoba oil is rich in iodine, which fights harmful bacteria growth that can lead to breakouts. Additionally, natural antioxidants help heal sunburns and fight infections.



My Favorite Rich and Creamy Hand Lotion Recipe:


  1. 1/4 cup shea butter
  2. 1 Tbsp. Jojoba oil (carrier oil)
  3. 1 Tbsp coconut oil (carrier oil)
  4. 1.5 Tbsp. beeswax
  5. 10 drops of essential oils
  6. Let it sit on your countertop to cool!


You are done! That was super simple and easy. This whole process takes me around 15 min.


How to Prepare Your Mixture: 


  1. Heat the mixture in a glass measuring cup, that is sitting in a pot (containing water) over a stove top (on low).
  2. Use the microwave on 50% power. When using the microwave, I periodically check and mix the concoction in 15-second increments. I start off with the thickets ingredients first and then add the liquid ingredients last. Meaning, melt the beeswax first, then add the coconut oil and Shea butter. You do not need to microwave the liquid ingredients (jojoba oil and essential oils). Make sure to stir the mixture periodically.

Sometimes if I am lazy, I microwave the mixture straight in the glass jars (mentioned below). This reduced the cleanup time. I have gotten it down to where I just dirty 1 spoon!

What’s better than soft and smooth skin?  Soft and smooth skin that smells like fresh-picked Lavender and rose!

My Top 3 Favorite Essential Oils:


  • Eucalyptus– Eucalyptus essential oil has been used for centuries as a decongestant, deodorant, and disinfectant. That is because it naturally has antiseptic, anti-bacterial,  and anti-inflammatory properties.  Not only does eucalyptus essential oil smell amazing, but it stimulates your immune system! This is why I tend to make a eucalyptus essential oil during the winter time.
  • Rose– Rose essential oil is a powerhouse of anti-aging goodness!  It is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and blemishes. It also improves blood flow and helps keep skin moisturized. I love to make rose-scented lotions and lip balms in the summertime.
  • Lavender– Lavender essential oil is an antioxidant that fights free radicals (which contribute to skin damage).  It has been proven to help circulation and increase blood flow to the skin. This allows oxygen and nutrients to reach the skin for the renewal and healing process.


Reusable Containers:


The Budget Benefit: Reuse these jars and tin containers over and over again.


4. Reusable Glass Jars

The Why: Contains Twelve 4oz jars with inner liners and dome lids that create a tight seal. You won’t have to worry about your handmade lotions leaking or spilling. You can get a hold of these jars on Amazon here. 



5. Screw Top Tin Containers

The Why: I use these tin containers to make my own lip balms/moisturizers. This container is also perfect for making hair waxes and beard balms for friends.

Eco Benefits: Tin cans are reusable and recyclable. Plastic, like paper, has fibers that shorten each time it is recycled. Glass, steel, and aluminum do not lose their quality during the recycling process and can be recycled endlessly.

Health Benefits: Lotions are often made with petroleum derivatives. Instead, opt to use minimally processed oils and plant-based ingredients.


Bonus Tips:


  • If you want a thicker consistency, then add more beeswax (lip balm and hair waxes are thicker than lotion). 
  • I tend to make a bunch of beauty products all at once, so I can fill several refillable containers. That way I have an inventory of products when I need them.
  • Lip balms, lotions, and hair waxes often contain many of the same ingredients (in varying quantities). This allows me to make a variety of personal care products with different essential oils, all at once.
  • These homemade beauty products make awesome, inexpensive, and thoughtful gifts.
  • If you want a thicker consistency, then just add more beeswax (lip balm is thicker than lotion). 
  • If you are visiting a dry area, like a high desert, mix Jojoba oil with coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil to create a super moisturizing hand oil.
    • Another use is to rub a dime-sized drop between the palm of your hands and then run it through the tips of your hair.  Make sure that you keep the oil towards the tips of your hair so that you don’t end up with a greasy look.

By making homemade hand cream, you can skip driving to the store and wandering around aimlessly looking for a thoughtful gift. Never get caught off guard by having to think about what to give a friend for their birthday, graduation, or celebration gift.


Like what you see? Stay a while!


Give a sustainable gift that is homemade, from the heart, and improves skin elasticity. Every friend will love you for it! Save money by making your own beauty products at home.

In sum, you will be using higher quality organic ingredients on your permeable skin, over petroleum (oil based) products. 

Take action today, and visit the Sustainability Shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products.  I have done the work of reading the labels and reviews to offer you the best sustainable products on the market.

I want to encourage you to reuse your belongings until they are either broken or no longer useful and you need to replace them. Of course, if you are using something that is not good for your health (like cooking with Teflon that was manufactured prior to 2013 or drinking from plastic water bottles), then purchasing a replacement makes sense.

If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important topics to you, then enroll in a FREE 5-day email course to learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!

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Lynzee Lai

The goal of this site is to increase conscious consumerism (when consumers “vote” for earth-friendly products and practices by purchasing from companies who put its people and the planet first). The idea is that if there is a high demand for products that protect the environment, companies will be incentivized to expand their earth friendly product lines. On the other hand, environmentally damaging companies will be economically motivated to change their practices or face going out of business. Click on the Eco Economics tab to read about the company's mission and goals.
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