Make your own lotions and creams, part DEUX

Over on The Green Phone Booth today I posted about how to make one’s own face/body creams and lotions.  (That’s Part UN) It’s honestly much easier and involves many fewer ingredients than I ever would have thought, and it works better for my skin too–no space age magical potions, just simple natural stuff, and my skin has never looked or felt better.  Click on over there for the basic recipe…what’s below won’t make a whole lot of sense until you do.

I thought maybe over here, at the same time, I could post some of my recipes for more specific “formulas” for specifically targeted body parts.  The basic recipe will still be the same; what changes will be the base oil (since some oils are more absorbent and some are heavier) and/or the essential oils you use to give it fragrance.

If you’re not interested in going the whole lotion route, these recipes could also be made by just adding the essential oils to an oil base and rubbing a little bit on moist skin; for the non-facial blends, you could also mix a little oil-and-fragrance-blend with epsom salts or coarse sea salt, or brown or raw sugar, and make a nice salt or sugar scrub for before a shower…

I use lavender oil as a sort of basic fragrance oil for almost everything; it’s a great blendable scent which easily takes on the fragrances and healing qualities of other oils it’s blended with. Plus it’s fairly inexpensive.  Also, remember that the proportions below are just my own preferences, what’s worked for me–feel free to mess around! Note: many aromatherapists caution against using any citrus oils on the skin at all, because they can cause allergies and sensitization.  Sweet orange oil is considered one of the most benign of the citrus oils, and I have never had any problems with it.  But just so you know!

For lotion–Facial blend: grapeseed, apricot kernel, or sweet almond oil (or any combination) as liquid oil, beeswax with maybe a little cocoa or shea butter as solid oil, with one of the following combinations:

  • 15-20 drops lavender oil
  • 12 drops lavender oil, 5 drops chamomile oil
  • 10 drops, lavender oil, 5 drops chamomile oil, 2 drops sweet orange oil
  • 15 drops lavender oil, 3 drops sweet orange oil
  • Note: may substitute up to 1 oz. jojoba oil for some of the liquid oils. Jojoba is more expensive but is wonderful for use on the face and absorbs rapidly.

Facial blend for mature skin: Grapeseed, apricot kernel, and/or almond oil as liquid oils, and a 3:1 ratio of beeswax to shea butter for solid oil, with:

  • 15 drops lavender oil, 5 drops rose geranium oil, 2 drops sweet orange oil (opt)
  • Note: may substitute up to 1 oz. jojoba oil for some of the liquid oils. Jojoba is more expensive but is wonderful for use on the face and absorbs rapidly. Great for mature skin!

Facial blend (oily skin):  Grapeseed, apricot kernel, and/or almond oil as liquid oil and only beeswax as solid oil, with:

  • 15 drops lavender oil, 5 drops rosemary oil
  • Note: may substitute up to 1 oz. jojoba oil for some of the liquid oils. Jojoba is more expensive but is wonderful for use on the face and absorbs rapidly.

Tired Foot Blend: 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup grapeseed oil as liquid oil and half and half mix of beeswax and cocoa butter (or heavier on the cocoa butter if you’d like!) as solid oils, with one of the below: (these make great sugar/salt scrubs! Once the salts and oils are mixed they don’t keep very long, though, so mix just before using)

  • 10 drops peppermint oil, 5 drops tea tree oil, 5 drops sweet orange oil (opt)
  • 8 drops peppermint oil, 6 drops rosemary oil, 5 drops tea tree oil
  • 10 drops lavender oil, 5 drops peppermint oil, 4 drops rosemary oil
  • Note: If you’re making lotion instead of scrub or salve, go heavier on the cocoa butter and lighter on the beeswax

General Body Cream–Women’s blend (believe it or not, this is a great PMS combo for me and does wonders to lift my spirits):

  • 15 drops lavender oil, 10 drops clary sage oil, 5 drops lemon oil (or substitute sweet orange–again, take care with the citrus oils!)
  • Choose carrier oil type based on your own skin type; olive oil for drier and more mature skin and lighter oils for oilier skin or more humid climates. Cocoa and shea butter are better for mature skin but avoid them for oily skin

Salve for tired muscles:

  • eliminate the whole water/blender/lotion thing here–just melt 3/4 cup of a combination of olive and grapeseed (or almond or apricot) oils with 1/4 cup beeswax/cocoa butter mixture, add essential oils, and let cool. (Well, you could make a lotion if you wanted to, but this is more specifically medicinal…
  • Essential oil blend: 15 drops lavender oil, 10 drops chamomile oil, 10 drops ginger oil, 5 drops helichrysum italicum oil (opt–great stuff, but very expensive). A little eucalyptus is nice for this too.

Important: feel free to play around with your carrier oils till you find the combination that suits you–but be careful not to introduce any other organic material to your lotions, or they will grow mold within the week.  No matter how many places you read that cucumber or strawberries are great for the skin, mixing them into your lotions will result in an incredibly short shelf life! Same goes with herb-infused carrier oils: essential oils are fine, but oil that’s had fresh rosemary macerating in it for two months and is then strained will make a lotion that might smell lovely for a week but which won’t last much beyond that.

Other Recipes:

I actually got into this whole aromatherapy/cosmetic-making thing from learning to make some of my own baby products–diaper ointments, baby oils, and such. If you have a friend with a new baby, these could be a nice gift:

Butt Goo (Yes, that’s what we always called it in our house. We used it for everything, though–diapers, first aid, rashes, whatever.)

  • In double boiler (or pyrex in pan of simmering water) melt 1/4 cup beeswax in 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup grapeseed oil.
  • Test hardness by dripping a little bit onto something from the freezer–if it hardens immediately into a consistency you’re happy with, you’re done.  If it needs a little more beeswax or a little more oil, do that and try again.  Remember if you’re not happy with the finished product you can always re-melt it (salves only–re-melting doesn’t work as well for lotions!)–but the essential oils can’t take too much heat, so try to avoid this if possible.
  • Into melted oil/wax, add essential oils of lavender and chamomile (Roman or English) in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio. Newborn infants should only have 2-3 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier (i.e., if you follow this recipe and have 10 oz. total liquid oils, you’ll want maybe 15 drops of lavender and 5 of chamomile.) Older children can increase this a little.  By the time a baby is maybe 6 months old, I’d increase the essential oils in the blend slightly, and also probably add a few drops of tea tree oil; this is a great antifungal.
  • Stir well; pour into containers and let cool. Label. (Always label!!!)

Baby Oil: This is the easiest of all! Follow the above instructions, but leave out all the heating and melting and wax–just add your essential oils to your carrier oil and mix well.  I like sweet almond oil as a base for babies, but grapeseed or apricot work really well too.  A little of this as a massage oil after a baby’s bath is lovely.  (Mom can use it too!)

So…I hope this gives folks some ideas!  Buying essential oils can get expensive if you try to build up your stock too quickly; a small bottle each of lavender, orange, and chamomile oil will get you a long way, and if this turns into something you enjoy you can always build up your collection over time.  I’ve been doing this for about 5 years and I’m only on my third bottle of lavender oil, which is by far the one I use more than anything else; remember that you use this stuff by the drop.  For me it’s been a worthwhile investment on a really great adventure–if you try any of this, drop me a comment and let me know how it goes!


Posted on November 20, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. wow- this is an awesome resource. I just skimmed through the green phone booth one- and i can’t wait to give it a try.

    what i really liked- the fact that you clarified that distilled water was available at thegrocery store and cheap… i know it sounds silly, but that one ingredient has deterred me- for some weird reason i figured it would be complicated. go figure!


  2. Great aromatherapy suggestions! I love making beauty products now that I’ve gotten over the initial fear … it’s just like cooking, but you don’t have to eat it 😉 I have oily skin and really like using grapeseed oil either straight or in a cream for my face – it is much less ‘oily’ than the other oils.

    • greenmomintheburbs

      Grapeseed is wonderful. When I run out of lotion, sometimes I just make up a little grapeseed oil with a little scent and smear it on right out of the shower when my skin is still damp. Works great.

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  1. Pingback: Tea Tree Oil « It's Not Easy Being Green

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