For pretty much my whole teen and adult life I’ve been on some sort of skincare regimen. From acne to dryness, I’ve had a hard time finding my balance. Well, about a year ago I stopped using some of the super expensive subscription style face care products and decided to go all natural. Since then, I cleanse with only ground oatmeal (I grind oats in the food processor, then wet them in my hand and rub until they get slippery like soap. It exfoliates and absorbs oil, not to mention oatmeal is generally good for skin) and I’ve been moisturizing with this DIY facial moisturizer.
I promised myself after a few months of using this cream, that the next time I made it I would photograph the process so I could share it with you. Its just been SO GREAT for me that I want you all to know about it.
This cream has only a few ingredients, no dyes, no chemical preservatives, no scents. Its non greasy and leaves my face feeling well moisturized. I also use it as a primer for my makeup in the morning, and I put a little on a cotton ball to clean off stubborn eye makeup.
And its really, really cheap.
When I first decided to make this lotion, I started with this post from Frugally Sustainable. That recipe was meant for hands though, so I made some tweaks to customize it for my face. I cut out the cocoa butter, and added in refined coconut oil (great for skin, antibacterial) and grapefruit essential oil ( also good for skin clarity- plus smells delicious.) And I LOVE how it turned out!!
What You Need:
- 1 cup aloe vera gel (This bit is important. In the comments, a few people have tried to substitute plain Aloe juice, or home-made gel, but it doesn’t have the stabilizing properties needed. It has to be a gel. This is the one I used.)
- 3/4 ounce (by weight) beeswax, I buy mine in a bar and grate it. You can buy it in pellets too- make sure you get the kind for cosmetics and not candles. Some of those come scented. (From Amazon: Beeswax Pastilles)The beeswax is in there as a stabilizer. When you make an emulsion like this, you are essentially “mixing” water and oil – two things that don’t mix. Instead, they will sit next to each other. Tiny blob of oil, then tiny blob of water, tiny blob of oil… etc. When the lotion separates, it is because those tiny blobs touch others of the same type and create a bigger blob of oil, bigger blob of water. This chain reacts and the mixture separates. I’ve added the wax because it will blend with the oils and make them less fluid (since it is solid at room temp). Hopefully less fluidity will mean less separation.
- 1/4 cup almond oil
- 1/4 cut coconut oil
- 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (Mine was from Amazon: Grapefruit Oil)
Please note that essential oils are serious business Please take into account the oil you are using and its affects. I like grapefruit- but as some comments have noted, it can increase sun sensitivity. Also, be sure to test the oil on your skin ahead of time to note any allergic reactions.
- Chocolate/soap melter or double boiler
Okay, you got all that? Make sure that you double check the essential oils with any medications or conditions you have. Also, if you are allergic to any of the oils, feel free to substitute and experiment.
How To Make It:
- Start by melting the beeswax and coconut oil in the almond oil. I used my Wilton Chocolate Melter.
- Pour the melted oils into your blender and WALK AWAY. It is super-duper essential that that stuff get COOL before you start to blend. There is no getting around this. For me it took about 1 hr 15. If you don’t let it cool it separates later. Gross. Trust me.
Note: Some readers have had better experiences in blending if the oils are just-barely-warm, and the blender/aloe mixture is also just-barely-warm. Try it and let me know what happens!
- Mix the essential oil into your cup of Aloe Vera Gel.
- Fire up the blender. Slowly pour the aloe vera gel into the blender as it whips. It’ll transform from a thick oil to a light and fluffy white lotion texture. The first time I did this I had to call my husband into the room to look- its for real lotion!!
- That’s it! You’ve made your own DIY facial moisturizer! Store some in a small container for your vanity, and put extra in the fridge. Keep in mind that lotion has a shelf life. Don’t use anything that looks/smells/feels wrong.
DIY Lotion Frequently Asked Questions:
The Lotion Isn’t Mixing Properly
Try these approaches:
- Be sure to scrape the bottom of your blender several times during the blending step. Sometimes oils and wax sink down there and it will cause a watery consistency in the lotion.
- Add the aloe to the oils EVER SO SLOWLY. We are creating an emulsion, mixing two items that can’t be mixed. We have to do it slowly for even distribution.
- Some have suggested making sure the oils and the aloe mixture are at the same temperature and a little above room temp for optimum mixing. Perhaps wait until the oils are just warm to the touch, and heat the aloe gel to the same (probably about 10 secs in the microwave) before blending. Avoid cold aloe gel, or blending in a cold blender.
- If after all this, the lotion comes out slimy or separating, transfer into a bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer and WHIP THE EVER LOVING DAYLIGHTS out of that bad boy! Additionally, you can use as is. Its still a great moisturizer, it just doesn’t look as pretty. This is the price we pay for avoiding chemical stabilizers and preservatives.
Can This Be Tinted?
I’ve never added a tinting agent, but if you want a tinted moisturizer, you could add some mineral clay, or even cocoa powder. (This is a suggestion from a reader, I’ve never tried it.)
Can I Substitute something else for Aloe Gel?
I have not has any success swapping the aloe gel for aloe juice, fresh aloe juice or aloe oil. Some readers have mentioned in the comments that it worked for them.
Do I need Beeswax? Can I substitute it?
You can try swapping with 1/2 the amount in carnuba, emulsion or soy wax. I do recommend using a wax to help stabilize the mixture.
Can I add/substitute this, that or the other thing?
I get these sort of questions a lot. These recipes are simple ratios of solid, semi solid and liquid oils/additives. Obviously I have not tried everything under the sun, so I don’t really know what would happen if you try adding X or Y. But please, experiment! Try things! Add that fancy rose water, or that pigment, or sub out that oil- whatever! Report back and let us know what you find.
Do I need a blender?
I would really, really recommend it. At least one reader has suggested she was able to do this by hand- but in my experience my hand would cramp before I whipped it long enough! A hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment would be fine too.
How Long will this keep?
I use an all organic gel with stabilizers, but not exactly preservatives. That’s why I noted that extra should be kept in the fridge. For me, with sterilized equipment and storing the large qty in the fridge and only a couple tablespoons at my vanity, it has lasted as long as 3 months. Now, please be careful! Use your own judgement and don’t use anything that doesn’t look/feel/smell right.