Homemade Lotion Recipes

by Elizabeth Lang on 10 August 2011 9 comments

Have you ever looked at the ingredient label on your face or body lotion? Most brands of lotions contain parabens, alcohols, and other ingredients that may be harmful to your skin. (There’s a reason to avoid parabens in particular — they may be hormone disruptors.)

Sadly, even my Kiss My Face lotion, which I bought because it is paraben-free, has over 40 ingredients in it. (The lotion works well, and I’m thankful for the lack of parabens, but because of the number of ingredients, it’s definitely not ideal in my book.)

Many lotions labeled “natural” and “organic” have more ingredients than you need and may still include ingredients that harm your skin. If you’re looking for a commercially-sold lotion, check out the site Skin Deep for a list of the safest lotions.

A great alternative to buying lotion is making your own. Not only can you avoid unwanted chemicals, but many of the lotion recipes will save you money because the products are cheaper. This is because homemade lotions are more concentrated, and you need a much smaller amount than store-bought lotions. (See also: 10 Budget Beauty Products You Can Make at Home)

Here are some of my favorite homemade recipes.

The Easiest Homemade Lotion

  • Olive oil, or
  • Grapeseed oil, or
  • Vitamin E oil

Any of these oils will provide a lot of moisture to your hands without needing to mix any ingredients.

Instructions: Purchase a small bottle of the oil. I find that Trader Joe’s or local Middle Eastern grocery stores have some of the cheapest prices for olive oil. (You may want to smell the olive oil to make sure it’s not extremely smelly.) The other oils can be found at a local pharmacy or health foods store. Place a small dab of oil on your hand for the perfect amount of moisture.

Honey Lotion

  • 5 tbsp emulsifying wax
  • 1 tbsp liquid lanolin
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions: Over medium heat in a double boiler, melt the ingredients until smooth.

Almond Lotion

  • 1 tbsp vitamin E oil
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 oz grated beeswax
  • 1-1/4 cups almond oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions: In a double boiler over low-medium heat, melt the beeswax with the almond and coconut oil. Let cool. In a separate container, mix the remaining ingredients. Using a whisk or blender, mix these ingredients into the beeswax/almond/coconut mixture.

Grapeseed Oil Lotion

Grapeseed is a lighter oil and won’t be as rich as the other recipes above.

  • 3 tbsp beeswax (or emulsifying wax)
  • 2/3 cup grapeseed oil (or mix 1/3 grapeseed and 1/3 olive oil)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp water

Instructions: In a double boiler over low-medium heat, melt the beeswax or emulsifying wax and add in the grapeseed oil and coconut oil. Mix everything well. Let cool slightly and blend or whisk in the water.

In all of the above recipes you can add in drops (usually around 15-20) of your favorite essential oils for a great-smelling lotion. (Lemon and lavender are some excellent options.)

You’ll want to store the lotions in a glass jar in a cool and dry place. They should last several weeks to several months depending on your climate.

Do you currently buy organic/natural lotion? Have you ever considered making your own?

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Guest's picture

I have skin eczema and have been advised to reduce my exposure to parabens for that reason. It is pretty amazing just how many products contain these.

One thing I've started doing is applying petroleum jelly (plain old Vaseline) to areas around my eyes, which are sensitive to outbreaks. Most lotions are not appropriate for near the eyes, but the petroleum jelly, while not a moisturizer per se, acts as a barrier to keep your natural moisture in your skin.

Guest's picture
Tanya

Thanks for the recipes, and good information about researching cosmetics. I'm getting inspired to try making my own lotions etc. to avoid all the chemicals, etc.

Guest's picture
alysa@impulsesave.com

Great idea! Your body is not just affected by what you put in it, but what you put on it! A tip to know is that coconut oil is also great for dry hair - it's been used in India for thousands of years as a leave-in-conditioner equivalent!

Guest's picture
Guest

I use "Udderly Smooth" udder cream. I've tried many the ordinary lotions, they worked to a degree. However, I live in the north east; in winter my finger tips would crack and bleed next to the nails, even using ordinary lotions. "Udderly Smooth" stopped the cracking and bleeding. The down side is a small amount of residue is left on what you handle. My computer mouse needs periodic cleaning of the white gunk.

Guest's picture
BarbaraG

Making your own lotions and creams is fun and easy but as someone who has done them for over 10 years and sold thousands of gallons, it its very VERY important to use a preservative when water is added to your formula. Water is a breeding ground for bacteria and no matter how careful you are, contaminants are guaranteed to get into your lotion. Just because you don't see the mold or bacteria doesn't mean it's not there. Just think about using your lotion and then rubbing your eyes, eating etc.

So you don't like parabens? There are other preservatives (ie Optiphen, etc) available. Oh and don't think because you used tocopherol or Vit. E you're safe. It's an anti oxident, frequently mistaken for a preservative. All is does is slow the rate of your oils becoming rancid - does nothing to prevent mold and bacteria. Take the time and minimal expense for safety and peace of mind.

Guest's picture

It is save to apply the lotion on baby?

Guest's picture
Mel

Anyone know affordable places to buy beeswax and coconut oil etc in Toronto

Guest's picture
Kayla

Wow! Thank you for sharing...this sounds so easy. I will definitely have to try some of these!

Guest's picture
Marsha

Add Vitamin E oil as a natural preservative, especially to those that have food items in them like honey.