I advocate for people making their own moisturizers at home, both to save money and to be sure of what they're putting on their skin.
Are You Tired of Expensive "Designer" Facial Moisturizers and Skin Creams?
Stores and cosmetics boutiques charge exorbitant amounts of money for overhyped facial moisturizers and skin and face creams. They justify the high cost of such items by stating how the creams and/or lotions have pure coconut, shea, or other butters or are fortified with vitamins like A and E.
It's not difficult or expensive, however, to make your own facial moisturizer and/or skin cream at home. Doing so will not only save you lots of money, but it will also allow you to better control what you put on your face and skin.
To begin with, the ingredients that you add into your facial moisturizer and/or skin cream can be all natural and free of preservatives and dyes. If you are allergic to strong fragrances, you can make sure that your face and/or skin cream is completely fragrance free. Alternately, if you are fond of certain scents, you can add these at will to your homemade facial moisturizer. As you gain more experience with making your own face and skin products, you might even wish to customize them with specialty items such as royal jelly, certain vitamins, or sunscreen.
The 4 Basic Skin Cream Elements
If you look at the ingredients listing of many face creams and other lotions, you'll be shocked by just how many ingredients are listed! The reason that so many ingredients are listed is because many of them are added to color and/or preserve the cream. Others are added for additional fragrance or to prevent the cream from separating. And yet, there are really only four basic skin cream elements in any kind of facial moisturizer or face cream. They are as follows:
- Carrier oil/s
- Nut butter
- Grapefruit seed extract
Carrier Oils: Whether added alone or as a blend from different vegetables/nuts such as avocado, apricot, or jojoba, the oil is there to simply hydrate and nourish the skin, restoring the natural oils that have been removed via washing. Detergents such as SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate) and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), which are present in face washes and shampoos, are particularly effective at literally stripping the skin of all of its natural oils, leading to fine lines and wrinkles.
Beeswax: This is a hard yellow or white substance that forms the basis of the honeycomb. Used in a face cream, beeswax seals and protects the skin from nature's elements, including the wind, sun, and cold.
Nut Butters: Coconut, shea, or cocoa butter provide the basis for and majority of the cream's volume and texture. Various cream manufacturers swear by certain butters, such as shea. But the fact remains that they are all a form of saturated fat and perform the same function.
Grapefruit Seed Extract: This is a natural antibiotic and is added to retard bacterial and fungal growth, as well as to neutralize internal oxidants that would spoil the oil and fat.
Other common skin cream ingredients include: vitamins (e.g. retinol), minerals, royal jelly, essential oils, antioxidants, fruit/nut/flower extracts, perfumes, sunscreens, etc. They are added to enhance the cream, provide a pleasing smell or look, or simply to differentiate the cream from other commercially available creams.
Which Essential Oils Should You Use?
While essential oils are optional, they are often touted in facial moisturizers and creams. There are many upon many great essential oils on the market. Some of these oils repair blemishes, some of them restore skin texture, and some reduce skin pores or balance oil production. Other essential oils just smell really good.
To determine which oils will work the best with your skin, try going to the cosmetics counter at your local natural foods store and applying several diluted essential oil samples to your skin. (Note: Never apply undiluted essential oil directly to your skin! Doing so can result in skin damage, burn, or discoloration.)
If you cannot sample the oils, ask the beautician which ones might best work on your skin. For example, if you have oily skin, citrus or grapeseed-based essential oils may work best for you. If your skin is dry, avocado, sesame, or peanut oil will work better for you. If you have combination-type skin that is both oily and dry, a wheat germ oil (which is full of vitamins and minerals) may be best for you.
How do you know that an essential oil is working with your skin type? Ideally, the oil should easily absorb into your skin without causing any puffiness or redness, and also without leaving too much grease or residue. You should make sure that the oil does not cause acne to break out on your skin; in most cases, it takes a day or two to determine if an oil is comedogenic (acne-causing).
Other essential oils may include those added simply for fragrance, such as those from rose, lavender, geranium, etc. There is no reason why you cannot add fragrance oils into your skin cream to make it smell better. The only thing to be careful about is that you don't end up creating a bad smell due to mixing the wrong essential oils together. In fact, it is best to add one essential oil to another in a small cream sample, and then let the oils "rest" for at least a day before adding the next one. In this way, you ruin only a small bit of cream if the oils react badly with each other. You also find out which oils to not add well together.
A Basic Facial Moisturizer Recipe
Once your facial moisturizer ingredients have been collected and assembled, it is time to combine them using the following basic recipe.
- 2 1/2 ounces of avocado/apricot/jojoba/almond/other carrier oil
- 2 1/2 ounces shea/coconut/mango/cocoa butter
- 1/2 ounce beeswax (hard shavings are best)
- 3 1/2 ounces distilled water
- 25 drops grapefruit seed extract
- 20 drops of essential oil (single or blended)
- 1/2 ounce royal jelly (optional)
Tools and Supplies
- double boiler
- hand/electric mixer
- glass mixing bowl
- glass jars
- Before you begin, thoroughly wash all your utensils with scalding hot water, especially your mixer. If possible, wipe down the utensils with alcohol and wait until they are dry before using them. The hot water washing and alcohol wiping help sterilize your utensils, preventing the growth of microorganisms in your finished cream. Remember that the only antibiotic agent you have on hand is the grapefruit seed extract, and this extract can be easily overwhelmed by extensive bacteria and/or fungi present on kitchen utensils and/or dishes. The extra washing and wiping also help prevent the addition of extraneous detergents or soap residues to your face cream.
- Once everything has been cleaned, put a pot of water on the stove and heat it until the water is nearly boiling. Then, place the glass bowl into the pot of hot water, letting it carefully enter the water and not tip over. This is your double boiler.
- Start adding your carrier oil, nut butter(s), and beeswax into the glass dish, allowing them to melt together as you stir them every few minutes. Allow about 20 minutes for all your ingredients to be added, melted and mixed together.
- Once you have a uniform cream, remove the glass bowl from the pot of hot water and slowly pour in the distilled water. If using a mixer, this process should take roughly 10 minutes to complete. If mixing by hand, you may need as much as 30 minutes.
- Once the cream has thoroughly cooled, add in the grapefruit seed extract, essential oil/s, and the optional royal jelly. Do not add more essential oil than is recommended, as this increases the risk of the cream going rancid.
- The above recipe generates about 8 ounces of cream. This cream can be scooped into clean glass jars and should keep in the refrigerator for about four months. If you do not foresee using 8 ounces of cream in four months, you may also freeze it.
Why does this recipe call for royal jelly?
Royal jelly, produced by the glands of worker bees and used to nourish bee larvae, is purported to contain anti-aging properties. As a result, it has historically been added to facial moisturizers and cosmetics and ingested as a supplement.
Royal jelly consists primarily of water and protein, including royalactin, a protein that induces bee larvae to develop ovaries and become queens. Because a queen bee lives significantly longer than a worker bee, this has brought on the idea that royal jelly has anti-aging properties. There is also some preliminary evidence that royal jelly has antibiotic, wound healing, and anti-inflammatory properties. Overall, it is probably not a bad optional additive for facial moisturizers and creams.
Save Money and Know What You're Putting on Your Skin
It is not difficult to make your own facial moisturizer or face cream. The four ingredients that are needed to make a basic face cream are available online or through any health food store.
By making your own moisturizer or cream, you not only save money, but you also avoid putting unnecessary preservatives or toxins on your skin. Furthermore, your moisturizer or cream can be specified to your skin type, and its fragrance can be adjusted to your preference.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
syah on August 09, 2017:
Hi Hally,,may i know any good preservative that can hold about a year or more from the cream going bad?
Cynergy Health on May 20, 2016:
Very nice article. I am using Soft touch 35 moisturizer for my skin care. It really works well as an organic moisturizer.
Mia Natural Skin Care Author on November 22, 2013:
I love the ingredients you used in your recipes! Thanks for sharing this informative post. Jojoba is one of my favorite ingredients since it closely resembles our skins' own sebums and it does such a great job minimizing fine lines. I also love it's versatility with oily-type skins and blackhead-prone types. Thanks for sharing your post. :)
Mia, Natural Skin Care Author
Judy on November 17, 2013:
Hi Hally - I just love this recipe but am the one who had trouble with it molding. I did some experimenting and found the culprit to be the water! Of course I used distilled and followed the sterilizing directions. The simple solution for me? No water. It does make it a little heavier but I just use a little and it feels so good on my face! Thanks again!
SherriS on April 13, 2013:
I just made this moisturizer. I loved how it looks, but when I applied it to my face, it made my face very greasy. I don't know how I would be able to apply my make-up without it running all over. Plus, I don't want this much shine on my skin when I go out in public. Any thoughts? Is this normal?
Hally Z. (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on April 01, 2013:
Oh no! Judy, this stuff is highly nutritious, so you may need to either add more grapefruit seed extract or refrigerate it. You may also wish to try adding a small bit of Tea Tree oil- I add it to my deodorants and they never go bad. But sterile equipment and technique is a must when you make this cream, so try bleaching all the equipment you use (using a 5% bleach solution), for an hour, followed by an hour water soak. I do this when making beer and have not yet had an infection. Good luck and let me know if this advice helps you.
Judy on April 01, 2013:
I was so excited about this great recipe! I followed directions precisely but had gray mold in the jars in one week! Any ideas? Thanks!
Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on February 18, 2012:
Glad to hear it Hally! Keep up the great work.
Hally Z. (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on February 17, 2012:
Thank you for reading my face cream article! After I finished this one, I realized that I could in fact expand it with a second article. Thanks for the advice!
Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on February 17, 2012:
This hub will certainly save people money. I would suggest perhaps expanding the 'royal jelly' portion into a new hub with more information if you have not already done so. I vote as 'interesting' :)