Like cooking meth, only it smells better.

I've never actually cooked meth. I have no idea what it smells like. I've also never seen a single episode of Breaking Bad. And yet, cultural osmosis tells me there's a comparison to be made when declaring my Wednesday night was a hippie version of AMC's acclaimed drama.

Essential oil process.

Beehive Braintree is the brainchild of my friend Dallas (and his friend Paul). Per their mission statement, it's an affordable, grassroots, community-sourced series of courses taught by experts and enthusiasts in Salt Lake City. Two nights a week, a rotating cohort of curious souls gather at Higher Ground Learning (gorgeous loft space on Pierpont Avenue downtown). Classes range from calligraphy to landscape design, maintaining a home bar to artisan marshmallows, and in the case of my first class: Essential Oils 101.

Sea salt + essential oil can be diluted in the bath, to mop the floor, in a humidifier, etc.
Photo by Dallas Graham (c) Beehive Braintree

I learned more than a few facts about essential oils. These are a few of my favorites:

  • Pure essential oils are, by definition, 100% organic. They come directly from the bark, leaves, roots, flowers, or fruits of plants. The oil is either distilled out of the plant or cold pressed. To generate a single pound of essential oil it takes 50 pounds of eucalyptus, 150 pounds of lavender, 500 pounds of rosemary, 1,000 pounds of jasmine, and over 2,000 pounds of roses. In other words, rose oil is very expensive and eucalyptus is cheap. 
  • Pure essential oils are volatile. Meaning you can test if an oil is pure by putting a drop on a piece of paper. If it evaporates completely, it's pure. If there is any residue, it has additives. 
  • Carrier oils keep essential oils from evaporating and carrier oils allow the essential oils to get into your body safely. Any oil you would eat/cook with, is safe as a carrier oil (i.e. almond, coconut, grape seed, etc). The ratio is a quarter-sized carrier oil to one drop of essential oil. 
  • Less is more when it comes to essential oils. They are highly concentrated and you never need more than a drop or two. A lotion made with essential oils is not synthetic junk like Bath & Body Works, for example, so the scent will be lighter and you can use less. 
  • The safest place to put oils on your body is your feet. Our feet contain a roadmap of our entire body and the essential oil (+ carrier oil) we put on our feet is smart enough to figure out where to go inside our body. 
  • Lavender, for example, can calm our nerves and also boost our mood. Our body and the lavender know how to talk to each other and they'll sort it out. Your feet will get it where it needs to be. 
  • Essential oils have a time bomb effect because they absorb into the fluid surrounding our cells. They know when to release and when our body needs them to bust out and do their thing. 

The carrier oil we used in our lotion was coconut, which is solid at room temperature. 

We gathered around in the kitchen and all contributed to making a lotion. The lotion was our carrier oil and we could then decide which essential oil(s) we wanted to incorporate. I was surprised how easy it was to make the lotion. The ingredients felt a bit obscure, but our instructor Kindee told us where we can find everything we need. If you're feeling adventurous...

1/2 cup - extra virgin, cold pressed, organic coconut oil
1/2 cup - half sweet almond oil
3 tsp - stearic acid (stabilizer/thickener)
6 - 12 tbsp (depending on desired thickness of the finished lotion) - emulsifying wax (vegetable based)
1 tsp - citric acid
2 cups - distilled water
3/4 tsp - xanthan gum

Mix the first four ingredients in a double boiler until temp reaches just over 100 degrees (photo directly above).

Mix water and xanthan gum using a stick blender (first photo in this post).

Mix oil/wax mixture from the double boiler with a stick blender, then slowly add the water/gum mixture. Continue to blend until lotion cools to room temperature and has a creamy texture. To cool the mixture faster, fill a bowl with ice water and put your lotion mixture bowl on top of the ice bath while blending.

Measure your lotion into containers of your choosing and add essential oils. Remember: one quarter-sized amount of lotion needs only one drop of oil. - lotion containers (or recycle containers you have already) - for all the weird ingredients
Costco has the best coconut and almond oil.

Pouring our freshly-made lotion into recycled glass containers.
Photo by Dallas Graham (c) Beehive Braintree

I took home one citrus (happy), one lavender (balance), and one eucalyptus (spiritual openness).

I've used lavender lotion on my feet before, usually before slipping on a pair of socks and going to bed. I can say without a doubt that this lavender lotion is actively doing something to my body. I've put it on my feet before bed every night since this workshop and I can feel the difference in how well I'm sleeping. The lotion is so pure and the oil is so essential and direct, it's like nothing I've ever used (and I'm known for buying artisan hippie products). I swear by this recipe.

FYI: Dallas had a real camera on hand and captured gorgeous moments throughout the night. Check out his full album on the Beehive Braintree Facebook page. For those of you who live in Salt Lake City, check out their calendar of classes and perhaps I'll meet you soon.

Lose Your Way in Paris