First I will tell you how I made mine and then if you want to read below about some other options/info/what I learned by default etc... continue on below...
To make the container above it took about 5 minutes to make and about 5 to cool before putting it in the container, and my hands are OILY! Elle is covered in head to toe... she enjoys "cleaning the bowl" when we make lotion just about as much as she does when we make cookies!
Okay... so here are some things I learned and experimented with...
1. If you want more of a salve (like what you may want to keep in a tin...won't work in a pump bottle) use more beeswax.
2. Of all the oils I tried I liked sunflower the best for 2 reasons... it was less oily on my skin (rubbed in better) and didn't have a strong sent that overpowered the oil scent I was actually wanting it to smell like. But you can use any kind of cooking oil. I tried Olive oil, Avacodo Oil (VERY oily!), Grapeseed Oil (strong smell), and Seasame Oil (also strong smell and more oily). I didn't have Canola Oil, but that would work too and probably be your cheapest option. (Probably a little more oily that Olive oil). If you or someone who will be using the lotion is alergic to nuts, don't use a nut based oil... like peanut, seaseme, etc...
3. If you don't have a container you can just put it in a ziplock bag. And if you do have a container but no funnel small enough to get the mixture into it, I use a plastic sandwhich bag and put it in there and cut a bottom corner off and squeeze it through there into the container. (This also works great for homemade frosting decorating cookies or cakes or gingerbread houses!)
4. Vitamin E is also a preservative rather than the Borax and you could mix it at the time you mix the essential oil in.
5. Instead of essential oil, you can use cooking extract... like vanilla extract... This would be considerably cheaper...but just keep in mind that you will end up with a vanilla scent.
6. Cocoa butter or coconut oil can be used as half of your oil (ex: 1/4 cup sunflower oil, 1/4 cup cocoa butter). I tried with the coconut oil and it was more oily and again, I LOVE my peppermint and that scent didn't mix well with coconut. But this would be great if you wanted a more tropical scent... it really wasn't too much more oily. This would be my #2 choice.
7. I tried using some powdered goat milk in a batch... I tried adding it after the water and oil was blended and it separated the two. Then I made another batch and added it with the oil and beeswax part way through the microwave process and it worked well. This made it a bit thicker...may not work through a pump bottle... also slighly changed the smell...needed a bit more scented oil to cover it up.
8. DO NOT use fragrances designed for candel making! These are not designed to be absorbed by the skin and may contain harmful ingrediants!
9. You can add colorant if you wish. I never did... if you want to, add it when you add the essential oil.
10. You can also do these steps on a stove top if you don't have/want to use a microwave... it will take longer.
I purchased my bottles and powdered goat milk from http://www.soapgoods.com/. It's a really great site for buying stuff for soap making/lotions, etc..( I have no affilation with them...) The Borax is in the laundry soap isle in the grocery store... and you'll already have it if you've made my homemade laundry soap recipe! =) (see penny pinching section for that recipe) I think that's it! Feel free to ask if you have any quesitons. Or SHARE if you have helpful hints/tips or a better recipe you've discovered!
I enjoy knowing what is in what goes on my/my kids skin (and absorbed into our bodies) daily and it is also certainly a cheaper alternative than store bought lotions. Enjoy!