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I’ve been talking about magnesium for awhile now, and how necessary I think it is for many people.

But I discovered something unfortunate: the magnesium “oil” spray (which is really a salt solution, not an oil) dried my skin out in these winter months and made it unbearably itchy.  Every night I was torn between using it — knowing I’d benefit with more restful sleep and a better mood — and not using it, so I could avoid the insane itching!  I’d use it for a couple nights, then skip a night or two, and so on.  It was helping, but not as much as if I were consistent.

I decided I had to find a new way.

Magnesium Lotion

I’ve made lotion before, and I know there are commercial magnesium lotions on the market.  They are expensive.  I decided it could not be that hard to make my own!

And it wasn’t.  I didn’t do anything fancy this time — I didn’t infuse any herbs or even add any essential oils.  This is completely unscented.  In fact, it’s sort of grayish and weird-looking, and it smells a bit like latex (because of the unrefined shea butter).  If you want to infuse some herbs or add some essential oils, try lavender, rosemary, peppermint, chamomile, comfrey, calendula, or whatever else you like.  In this particular case I was mostly after a nourishing lotion that contained magnesium and nothing else.

This is simple, requires only a few ingredients, and can be made in less than 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. double-strength magnesium oil* (1 c. magnesium chloride flakes + 1/2 c. water)
  • 1/2 c. avocado oil
  • 1/2 c. unrefined shea butter
  • 2 tbsp. beeswax

*Yes, that amount has been updated if you are checking back at the recipe.  It’s been doubled.  I have made this a number of times and I think the lotion is smoother, creamier, and has a way better texture with this amount.  Really, texture-wise, it’s the best lotion I’ve ever used.  And of course it doubles the amount of magnesium you’re getting so it’s really effective.  I seriously love this lotion.  Even if I were going for different properties — no magnesium, infusing herbs, etc. — I’d still use these same oils in these same proportions.  It’s just awesome.

Directions:

Make your magnesium oil, if you haven’t already.  Find the directions here.  You will not use all of it for this recipe, so save the rest for another batch.

Melt the avocado oil, shea butter, and beeswax in a small saucepan.  (If you want to infuse any herbs, do it in the avocado oil alone, strain, then melt the infused oil with the shea butter and beeswax.)

At this point you could add some essential oils to the melted oil mix if you want, 10 – 12 drops.  I didn’t bother.

Pour the oils into a blender.  (Sorry for the crappy blender pics; it was dark in my kitchen and I couldn’t get these to shoot well.)

Turn it on low and stream in the magnesium oil.

Put the lid on and turn it up higher.  It will turn into an opaque, cream-colored liquid.  That is when the emulsification is complete, and you have your lotion!

Pour the lotion into a glass jar.  This makes around 12 – 13 oz. of lotion so I used a 16-oz. glass mason jar.

Allow your lotion to cool completely.  It will solidify and become very thick and creamy, more like a “body butter” than a lotion.  You might try using twice as much magnesium oil if you want a thinner lotion — I ended up liking mine the way it was, although I might try that next time.

Use as with any normal lotion, spreading especially over thin-skinned areas.  It absorbs very easily and fairly quickly and doesn’t dry out the skin.  It shouldn’t cause any stinging or tingling, like the plain oil can.  I like to use this just before bed, and I put it on my legs and belly.  It is nice for pregnant bellies too. :)

**This post has been entered in Frugal Days and Sustainable Ways.**

Have you ever used a magnesium lotion?  Did it work well for you?


This is the writings of:

Kate is wife to Ben and mommy to Bekah (5), Daniel (4), Jacob (2), and Nathan (born March 2013). She is passionate about God, health, and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and a book entitled A Practical Guide to Children's Health. When she's not blogging, she's in the kitchen, sewing, or homeschooling her children. You can also find her as a contributor at Keeper of the Home.

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130 Comments

  1. Okay, well, I actually stopped and did the math! From this website: http://www.integratedhealth.com/hpdspec/magnesium-flakes.html

    I found that there are 15g of magnesium per cup of flakes. So, 15,000mg.
    If using a double-strength oil (with 1 cup of flakes) is what is used for this recipe and it makes 1/2 cup of oil (am I understanding that correctly?), and it makes about a cup and a half of lotion…
    That will put this at about 72 teaspoons of lotion, each teaspoon containing about 208mg of magnesium.

    This is really helpful for me to know, as I am needing to get in 400mg a day in my iodine protocol!

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I was doing just the oil and it was burn-itching where-ever I put it after a few months of use! This lotion has never burned. It’s super thick, but I put it on my feet before I go to bed at night, put some socks on, and have excellent results!

    Reply

    • Thanks for the calculation of dosage. I think it would be half that strength though bc only half the recipe of mag oil is used for the lotion. :)

      Reply

  2. What if you suspect you have a shea butter allergy? What else could be used in its place?

    Reply

  3. [...] is the preferred form (although there’s no strong evidence that it’s best).  We use magnesium lotion that we make to supplement as needed, usually nightly before bed (it can help insomnia [...]

    Reply

  4. Is is possible to use apricot kernel oil instead of avocado oil? I have some of the other already on hand and was wondering if the different oil would reduce the effectiveness of the lotion?

    Reply

  5. I made some mag oil and one spray made my skin itch horribly! I am low in mag so thought it would be a good thing. I sprayed the oil on my legs. It was horrible and unbearable. I had to wash it off. Will this lotion do the same thing?

    Reply

  6. Is this suitable for all ages? I have three ages 12 months to 5 years who I have been wondering if I can use this on. Also, I did use the apricot oil and it worked beautifully. Thank you so much for this recipe!

    Reply

  7. I have just discovered your awesome website and I am sure I will have lots of questions. My question about this is: Do you use it on your face? I have terrible darkness under my eyes and the skin there is very thin. I have tried different oils and have also changed my diet. Nothing seems to help. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or if you would recommend the magnesium lotion there. Thank you!

    Reply

    • No, I don’t use this on my face. I usually just use oil cleansing and don’t really need a moisturizer then. Is there something you allergic to that is maybe less common? Or possibly B vitamin deficiency?

      Reply

  8. Hi,

    Just found your wonderful site and am excited to learn more. My question is how so you know if you are low in magnesium?

    Thanks,

    Dawn

    Reply

  9. Is this safe/recommended for toddlers?

    Reply

  10. Would this help with muscle soreness or muscle cramps?

    Reply

  11. Hi, I just wanted to say that I made this yesterday and we all love it. I couldn’t use the oil bc it burned like crazy but this is wonderful!! Also my kids wanted to use the lotion (kind of a novelty to have lotion instead of plain coconut oil lol) but I didn’t want them to have too much so I made some with plain water this morning. Also I used 1/2 Shea and 1/2 cocoa butter which worked very well and it now has a cocoa smell…yummy!! Anyways thanks for the great recipe. I love all you do.

    Reply

  12. Is this safe for an 18 month old? Can too much be used?

    Thanks.

    Reply

  13. I RECENTLY MADE MY OWN OIL BUT AM NOT LOVING THE ITCHING AND THE FEELING OF IT. I BOUGHT SOME PLAIN UNSCENTED DERMISIL LOTION AND WAS THINKING I COULD HEAT THE LOTION AND ADD IN THE FLAKES TO DISSOLVE. SEEMS MUCH EASIER THAN USING ALL OF THOSE OTHER INGREDIENTS. JUST WONDERING WHAT YOU THINK?

    Reply

  14. Made this today and it was fairly easy (I just bought the Ancient Minerals Oil already made, expensive but then I knew I wouldn’t mess it up). So far not itching. The only thing I will say is to put the lid on the blender before you begin to blend on low (and then remove the little liquid cap), it went up and out. Not fun. Thankfully my son didn’t get any on him. Lesson learned, use common sense when directions are vague. Looking forward to seeing how this works out.

    Reply

  15. I made this last night with coconut oil and olive oil. I’ve not slept past 4:00 am in a couple months and my period is very late. I put this on my feet and then put on my socks. I slept from 8:00 last night to 7:00 this morning and my period started today too. Awesome stuff! Who knew magnesium was the problem? Thank you soooo much!

    Reply

  16. I made this lotion today using mango butter (can’t use Shea butter because we have someone allergic in the house) and Flax Sees oil. It’s my understanding that Flax Seed oil is good for dry skin.

    I can’t take magnesium internally right now because I can’t find a dosage that doesn’t cause very loose stools. After trying to use the magnesium oil by itself several times and my skin (especially my hands just from applying it) becoming soooo dry afterwards, I gave up on it until I found your post.

    Unfortunately, I’m still experiencing a drying out of my skin after applying the lotion. Any ideas or suggestions?

    Reply

    • Hi Ret,

      You may need to apply less lotion, or apply a different oil afterwards. Jojoba oil is supposed to be wonderful skin and well-absorbed, so perhaps this might help. If nothing is helping, maybe there is something else going on? Do you have dry skin normally or is this just when you apply magnesium? Also, while magnesium deficiency is really common, it doesn’t affect everyone, so maybe you don’t need it?

      Reply

  17. Kate, I too have burning and itching when I use just the oil – I’m going to try your recipe. How long will this keep? I will use mine quickly I’m sure, but I plan to give some to my parents and need an “expiration date”. :)

    Reply

  18. […] you can use that magnesium oil as the base for this homemade lotion — totally takes the sting right out! Plus it’s moisturizing on top of that because of […]

    Reply

  19. […] the easy and obvious way to lose weight while I was pregnant with my last baby.  I was using magnesium lotion (which does help) and not gaining weight while pregnant.  In fact, everything was so darn […]

    Reply

  20. Can one use epsom salt instead of magnesium flakes?

    Reply

  21. I made the lotion and it worked great . But after a couple of weeks it separated and the liquid magnesium oil separated from the other ingredients.

    Reply

  22. I made this and it is fantastic. I seem sensitive to shea butter so I used cocoa butter. I also added 10 drops of wild orange EO. So…now, I not only feel better and sleep better, but I want to lick my skin! haha! Seriously though, the chocolatey orange smell is amazing and I get compliments all the time on the scent. While I’m so pleased that the cocoa butter and orange is such a fantastic combo, I am WAY more pleased that I do seem to get much more restful sleep and my sons are sleeping through the night now rather than waking up 2-3 times! I had suspected a magnesium deficiency in all of us and knew this would be a good thing to try. And, the boys love getting their feet rubbed with lotion at bedtime! :) SO thankful for you sharing this!

    Reply

  23. […] deficiency can cause a host of problems, with one of the biggest being sleep disturbances. Try this magnesium lotion before bed, and a better night’s rest is […]

    Reply

  24. Sorry, sort of new to this lifestyle. Where do you buy shea butter/cocoa butter, and beeswax? Thanks!

    Reply

  25. Hi,

    I have a question and I am just starting out with making my own skin care products, is it safe to use my normal every day cooking pots and blender to do this or do I need a second set? It would seem fine, but I wanted to be sure. Can’t wait to try this, so glad I found your post before buying a spray at the store I think i would have ended up with a lot of itchy skin.

    Reply

  26. Does the lotion form help with the burning? Or does you still get that itching/burning effect no matter what?

    Reply

  27. I have searched high and low for magnesium flakes in my area and I can’t find any. Is there a replacement such as the gel that I can us instead?

    Reply

  28. So, the first time I shopped for ingredients I purchased Magnesium Oxide. Second trip I ended up with Magnesium Citrate and I can’t find any Magnesium Chloride locally so I think I will use these others and see how it goes. I’ve looked up all three and they seem to be quite similar… Do you happen know if these others will be less effective?

    Reply

  29. […] to your bath (follow the directions on the package – typically 2 cups) or by making your own magnesium lotion. (Don’t want to make your own? Find magnesium lotion […]

    Reply

  30. I have a question: a friend sent me a bottle of ancient minerals transdermal magnesium oil. I love the sleeping aid effects I get from it, but it stings/ burns/ itches when putting it on. I’ve been wanting to make this lotion for quite some time now. My big question is: can I use the ancient minerals magnesium oil I already have in place of making my own?

    Reply

  31. Hi, I’ve made this lotion twice now exactly as the recipe states. It works GREAT by the way, and I’m making some for my friends to try. I’ve been browsing through the comments and wondering what the shelf life would be. I’m guessing 1 year based on expiry of each individual component? But, I’ve heard that you need to include a ‘stabilizer’ to make it last longer. What would the shelf life be, as is? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Hi Dani,

      At least a year. I have some that’s that old, but the oils in it are older and rancid (I’ve made new and actually need to get rid of it). Because there’s no “pure” water in this, just the magnesium water, that actually acts as a preservative, so it doesn’t need anything additional.

      Reply

  32. […] By the time I got serious about it, like, I really have to do this, I had already discovered I was pregnant again.  (This was July 2012.)  I immediately knew there was no more time to waste, so I got magnesium and began using it.  First, through baths (Epsom salts, initially, and later magnesium chloride), then magnesium oil, and finally magnesium lotion. […]

    Reply

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