The other day a guy at a skin care kiosk in the mall forced a sample of “moisture day cream” upon me. The first ingredient is “aqua,” a fancy word for water I suppose, the second ingredient is glycerin, and the remaining 15 ingredients are words I’ve never heard of, including caprylic triglyceride, petrolatum, betaine, and isopropyl myristate.
What? Why would I put that on my face? No thanks. I’ll make my own lotion with ingredients I can pronounce.
Before you continue, decide what kind of lotion you’re looking for. Hard, medium, or soft. I prefer the hard one because it’s the least amount of ingredients and lasts the longest ounce per ounce.
Also, this will look intimidating the first time you read through this and try it. But once you get the hang of it, it’s VERY easy!
Basic Recipe (Instructions Below)
I measured everything with a scale, so this is by weight. You can make as much or as little as you want! If this confuses you, just decide that 1 part = 1 ounce. That’ll give you a manageable amount of lotion to work with.
1. Hard – Easiest (about the consistency of butter in a cold room)
Perfect for face or hand cream, or places where you need intense moisture.
- 2 parts liquid oil (Olive, sweet almond, avocado, whatever you want)
- 3 parts liquid (Distilled water, tea, witch hazel, aloe vera juice, rose water, orange blossom water, etc.)
- 1 part beeswax
- 2 parts coconut oil
2. Medium – Medium Difficulty (about the consistency of softened butter)
- 3 parts liquid oil (Olive, sweet almond, avocado, whatever you want)
- 10 parts liquid (Distilled water, tea, witch hazel, aloe vera juice, rose water, orange blossom water, etc.)
- 1 part beeswax
- 3 parts coconut oil
- 2 parts cornstarch (Helps bind ingredients together. You can omit, but texture may be different)
- .5 parts honey (Optional. Helps bind ingredients together. )
3. Soft – Semi-Difficult (about the consistency of most store-bought lotions)
Perfect for arms, legs, or other large areas.
- 4 parts liquid oil (Olive, sweet almond, avocado, whatever you want)
- 15 parts liquid (Distilled water, tea, witch hazel, aloe vera juice, rose water, orange blossom water, etc.)
- 1 part beeswax
- 4 parts coconut oil
- 4 parts cornstarch (Helps bind ingredients together. You can omit, but texture may be different)
- .5 parts honey (Optional. Helps bind ingredients together.)
- For this recipe, I recommend substituting some of the water with aloe vera juice, as it may help bind the ingredients better.
Before You Start
Decide on an essential oil for desired treatment or smell. I personally love the smell of beeswax, so I kept mine pretty plain with just a few drops of marjoram and rosemary.
Then, decide on what liquid you’d like to use. You can use regular filtered water, witch hazel, rose water, orange blossom water, tea, and many others. I wanted to experiment with brewing witch hazel with tea!
The best way to keep a consistent product is to measure ingredients by weight. I know that’s a bummer, as many of you don’t have a kitchen scale. I encourage you to get a cheapo kitchen scale. Oh look, here’s one for like 6 bucks! If you really don’t intend on buying a scale, try these recipes with volume instead of weight.
For all of the recipes, you’ll need to melt the ingredients together (You can use the stove or the microwave for this) EXCEPT for the liquid (water, etc).
The Best Way to Do It
1. Melt everything [except the liquid (water, etc.) and the cornstarch] together in a microwave or on the stove.
2. Warm up the liquid (water, etc.) in the microwave until it’s very hot or near boiling.
3. Dump the liquid (water, etc) in the food processor and close the lid, allowing for the hole on the lid.
4. Slowly pour in the melted oil/wax mixture into the water while it’s blending on high.
The Lazy Way that Mostly Works
(Not recommended for the liquidy recipe!)
1. Put all of the ingredients in the food processor.
2. Take out the blade and put it in the microwave till everything is pretty much melted.
3. Blend the heck out of it.
I use this food processor and it works like a charm. I tried one batch in a Magic Bullet and it worked…however, it’s not as easy to do because you need to melt the ingredients down and process them AS they cool down. The problem with using a Magic Bullet is that there’s no air flow so it doesn’t cool down as quickly. You can probably also use a blender, especially for the liquidy recipe, but I have not personally tried that yet.
When you first put the ingredients in, the mixture will probably fly into every crack and crevice in the food processor.
Take the lid off and scrape the lotion into the main container.
Then scrape off the sides.
As you go along, you’ll see that the mixture is coming together and solidifying, and less of it will fly up to the top.
As you can see, after doing this process about 5 times, hardly any is flying to the top. This is when you know it’s just about ready.
At this stage, take the lid off of the food processor and put the main container in your freezer for a few minutes. Take it out and blend it again. I recommend doing this a few times until you’re sure that the oils and liquids have come together. This is the fastest way of bringing these ingredients together: Blend it, scrape it, freeze it, blend it, scrape it, freeze it.
Note: It will solidify just a little bit after it settles for a few hours.
This process is generally much easier with the “hard” recipe, and a little more tricky with the soft recipe. So if this intimidates you, I recommend starting with the hard texture, (which is my favorite anyway) and going from there.
If You Get Stuck
My first attempt at this last year was a DISASTER. But it was only a disaster because I didn’t know that my recipe was in fact salvageable. I read a lot of recipes online that said how crucial it was to get the oil/wax mixture and water at the EXACT same temperature before you even start and slooooowly drizzle the water into the oil. I was told that if you didn’t get it right the first time, just throw it away.
Not this girl! I’m way too stubborn for that.
If you get going and see that the oil and water is separating, don’t panic. Put the lotion back in the microwave and melt it all together again. Blend it, scrape it, freeze it, blend it, scrape it, freeze it. Keep doing that until you see progress. If it separates again, nuke it, blend it, scrape it, freeze it. Leave a comment if you’re REALLY stuck and I’ll see if I can help you.