Why I Stopped Using Moisturizer from Stores–and My Favorite Homemade Lotion

Come find out Why I Don't Use Moisturizers from Stores--and What I Use Now! Includes my Favorite Recipes for Whipped Shea Butter.

{I’ve been making my own homemade personal care products for awhile now, in an effort to keep toxins off of our bodies.  Now, in addition to recipes for eye makeup remover, alcohol-free hair spray, body wash, hair rinse, sugar scrub and lip scrub, you can add this recipe for a homemade lotion from Andrea of MomsAware.}

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like dry skin either. I do everything I can to keep my skin soft. However I no longer do so with conventional moisturizers.

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Due to a health crisis in 2008, I dramatically altered my lifestyle. This included a radical dietary shift and elimination of chemicals. I began to read labels. Here is the label of a popular moisturizer priced at less than $10.00.

Why I Stopped Using Moisturizer from Stores--and the Great Shea Butter Recipe I use now!

Look at all of the chemical ick in there. No thanks!

While much research is needed to learn the specifics of these various compounds, this moisturizer, like most, consists of a small amount of natural ingredients with large amounts of water, emulsifiers, penetration enhancers and preservatives.

What are the natural ingredients? Water and oat flour at least. Glycerin potentially. Glycerin is a wonderfully emollient by-product of soap making. However, many companies use diethylene glycol, a petroleum based chemical, to derive glycerin. There is no way to know for this product, since companies are not required by law to share this information.

Wondering about the potential toxicity of the remaining ingredients in this product? Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. The EWG even offers an excellent wallet size Shopper’s Guide to Safe Cosmetics.

Want to skip the additives and stick with a natural moisturizer?

Consider these 4 options:

(Note – some of the following links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on them, I might make a commission- which keeps free info and recipes like this coming your way–thank you!)

1. Dry Skin Brushing

I rank this as number one when it comes to maintaining soft skin. It is simple, cheap, and effective. I began dry skin brushing initially to boost my lymphatic system and circulation. I was shocked by the skin softening effect. Never has my skin been softer. For more on the overall health benefits, as well as brushing methods, see my article, The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing.

{Please note that there are affiliate and referral links in this post. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is very much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.}

2. Butters

Butters are plant based fatty oils. Generally found in solid form, these emollients include mango butter, cocoa butter, avocado butter, and shea butter. When purchased from a reliable supplier you can be assured that these are naturally derived with no additives. Butters offer add protection since they are not as easily absorbed as semi-fatty oils. Mountain Rose Herbs offers an excellent selection of butters.

3. Oils

Popular skin softening oils include olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, castor oil, sunflower oil, apricot kernel oil, as well as avocado oil. Look for organic, so as to ensure no chemicals are used during the extraction process.

Wondering about the difference between cold-pressed, expeller pressed, refined and unrefined? Mountain Rose Herbs offers an excellent explanation. Semi-fatty oils are more easily absorbed than butters. The amount of residue will vary depending on your skin type. Safflower oil is the driest of the oils and absorbed most rapidly.

{Note from Adrienne:  Many say that coconut oil is comedogenic, which means it can cause breakouts. I suspect it depends on the person, but keep an eye on it if you choose to use a moisturizer including coconut oil on your face.}

4. Waxes

Beeswax and jojoba fall under this category.

Jojoba is generally purchased as an oil, but is technically a wax. It contains myristic acid which is similar in composition to human skin. Jojoba traps water inside the skin without clogging pores which makes it an excellent moisturizer for those with acne or inflamed skin conditions.

Beeswax is not absorbed by the skin but creates a nice layer of protection. It must be heated and therefore is often used in combination with oils and butters.

Would you like to create your own moisturizer uniquely suited to your skin? Consider a combination of the above ingredients.

Here is my favorite and simplest DIY moisturizer which combines shea butter with coconut oil.

Why I Stopped Using Moisturizer from Stores--and the Great Shea Butter Recipe I use now!

Shea Butter Being Whipped into my Favorite Homemade Lotion.

Moving away from synthetic moisturizing products is not an easy process. Finding the best combination of ingredients may involve some trial and error. But the effort is well worth it.

For More Homemade Personal Care Recipes, check out the following:

– Natural Sunscreen
– Natural Bug Repellent
– Natural hair care
Alcohol-Free Hair Spray that Works
The “Best” Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

Where to Buy Ingredients?

You can shop at Mountain Rose Herbs for the shea butter and any other oils you would like to use.

For essential oils, I personally use Native American Nutritionals. You can read about them here.

What Moisturizer do YOU use?

Andrea Fabry - A woman dedicated to detoxifying her family for health's sake.Andrea is a former journalist and the mother of nine children ranging in age from 28 to 12. Following a toxic mold exposure, Andrea and her family discovered the wonders of natural living. Andrea is the founder and president of momsAWARE, an educational organization designed to empower others to live healthy in a toxic world. You can follow her family’s journey at Our Health Journey. She is also the owner of Just SoNatural Products.



Shared at The Prairie Homestead, Skip to My Lou, Real Food Forager, Sugar Bee Crafts, Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, Time Warp Wife, Chef in Training, We Are that Family, Frugally Sustainable, The Nourishing Gourmet, Food Renegade, The Prairie Homestead, Skip to My Lou, and The Better Mom.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. What’s a good source for Shea butter?

  2. I always use coconut oil as a moisturizer on both my body and face. In fact my daughter who suffers from uncomplicated acne uses a combination of tea tree oil and coconut oil blended together and applies this to her face during a breakout, not only does it clear her blemishes and promote healing it gives her smooth and clear skin!

  3. Hi, After reading your comment about coconut oil cautions, I just thought I would share that I use coconut oil pretty much exclusively for my face moisturizer and have not had any skin breakouts with it. It works wonderfully for me. =)
    Thanks for the recipe! I made some whipped shea butter as gifts last Christmas and it was great but I have noticed that with time it kind of has lost it’s fluffiness. Anybody else have this happen? Just wondering if I needed to whip it more or something….

    • These proportions seem to hold up well over time. Maybe try a bit more shea butter than oil. Just a thought.

    • To make a body butter that has a more stable consistency you need to use water but that would require also using a preservative. A preservative is a must with any water product. Not all things natural are necessarily good, like mold, yeast and bacteria. When adding water to a product you must use an emulsifier because as we all know water and oil do not mix. A basic guide line for a body butter with water would be 10% oils, 15% butter(s), 6% emulsifier (e wax), 3% stearic acid (not so necessary if using cocoa butter since cocoa butter has a lot of stearic acid in it), .5% – 1% preservative (depending on which one is used) 1% fragrance (optional) and enough water to equal 100%.If you don’t mind the unstable consistency an anhydrous product is easiest.

  4. What do you suggest about the change in NuNatural’s change in pure stevia extract? It has an awful aftertaste and is much less sweet. I have had digestive discomfort upon use, too. Which stevia do you recommend? Thanks!

  5. Our Little Goosenest says:

    Please seriously consider avoiding palm oils whenever you can. Just google “what does palm oil do to the environment” and you’ll find tons of links with any info you could want. Deforestation and loss of habitat for endangered species are among the biggest reasons .

    Thanks. :)

  6. I love that you allow pinning. I have been surprised by the number of people who find and repin/like my pins. Hopefully that translates into new followers for blogs like yours.
    I appreciate the amount of time and effort you put into your posts. I don’t thank you enough.
    THANKS Adrienne!

    • I personally rank palm oil lowest among plant oils/ butters as far as its beneficial effects for the skin. It didn’t do anything, anything good or visibly so (probably that is why the cosmetics industry doesn’t use it in creams and not because it cares too much about deforestation). Mango, shea and cocoa butter worked so much better and the beneficial results can actually be seen.

      • Hi Alex. Interesting. I was personally using a product w/ palm oil as the #1 ingredient. It was very moisturizing but I am likely switching to something else.

  7. Thank you for the moisturizer recipe. I was wondering how long it lasts? Also, is the essential oil necessary ( I don’t like scented products)? Thanks!

    • Andrea Fabry says:

      It has lasted many months at our home. As mentioned in the previous comments, as long as there is no water added it will preserve quite well. No need to add any essential oil. The combination of oil and butter is enough.

  8. I have been using a bit of lanolin mixed with jojoba oil as my homemade moisturizer during the winter. I know for some it would cause breakouts, but for me the lanolin has been wonderful. As far as coconut oil as some commenters mentioned, it totally dries out my face. It seems weird that an oil causes dry skin, but for me it does. I read on some blog it happened to her as well so I didn’t feel crazy.

  9. I am trying to find a face moisturizer – oils don’t work, they break me out :( I use a SUPER expensive face moisturizer right now, ugh, still on the hunt!

  10. Two things I buy: Bonny Doon Moisturizer
    Ingredients: water, coconut oil, vegetable derived Alcohol, Glycerin, Lanolin oil, cocoa buttter, wheat germ oil, vitamin e oil, oil of rose geranium. I buy this in bulk and a gallon with a pump lasts a year or more. The wheat germ oil and vitamin e oil are preservatives as is the rose geranium oil. Also coconut oil is anti bacterial. This is a local company for us and I’ve talked to them about their ingredients. I’m sure some people will be sensitive to lanolin but it is an entirely natural and non-toxic substance. They also use good glycerine.

    I used to use coconut oil exclusively to wash my face and to moisturize all over. It was great for a while but it tended to dry out my face and body perhaps due to its anti bacterial aspects. I found a great moisturizer that has just: Coconut oil, Safflower oil, honey, beeswax, vitamin e oil, and rose oil. I love it. It is possible to buy good stuff, but you do have to read the label and sometimes call the company to ask questions. Making it is great but I find that it’s hard to keep it nice for the length of time it takes to use it if you are the only one using it.

  11. I have incredibly sensitive skin and am a HUGE fan of coconut oil. I use it to remove my makeup and to moisturize my whole body. It is seriously the best.

    I’m excited to try this recipe! I’m considering making friends and family little spa baskets for the holidays with homemade lotions and lip balms. This would be perfect!

  12. What a great recipe. I recently got a rash and found I was allergic to some chemicals. Now my skin is so sensitive. I can’t wait to try this

  13. I use unrefined shea butter for my hands and body. It instantly melts into the skin on application and you only need a little! It really goes a long way.

    For my face I tend to use cocoa butter or coconut oil. Whatever is on hand, I warm a little in my palm and work into my face. I have found if I use too much coconut oil, I do tend to get break outs! Also avoid the eye area – some of the oils can lead to styes.

  14. I decided to try this and was really pleased with how it turned out. I used cocoa butter and coconut oil, because that’s what I had. No essential oil. I really like the scent of what I made and am really looking forward to using it. I was also pleased with how easy this is to do, especially since I’ve long been trying to find a way around commercial lotions. I’ll go for shea butter when I use up the cocoa butter (I bought it for making chocolate truffles, but am not making them anymore, so I’m glad to find use for it). Thank you for posting this.

  15. Checkout out the environmental impact palm oil is having. Not good!

  16. I have found (I think I read it somewhere, too, but I can’t recall where) that if my diet has enough coconut oil in it, then I won’t break out if I’m using it to moisturize. But if I’m not eating coconut oil, then my face breaks out. Has anyone else made that connection?

    • I have heard coconut oil does cause pimples so I don’t know.

      • Michelle says:

        I tried using coconut oil on my face as a moisturizer, and also as a face wash, but it caused breakouts for me, too. I now use a tea tree oil face wash followed by 100% witch hazel. Before, when I was using both commercial facial products and coconut oil I would have 3 or 4 pimples at a time. Now, I never have a single pimple! I even use the witch hazel on my neck and chest area to keep from getting pimples during the summer. My skin has honestly never been better! I keep the coconut butter for moisturizing the remainder of my body and for toothpaste (I mix 1 part coconut oil, 1 part baking soda and a few drops of mint essential oil.)

  17. I have been using homemade body butter for a couple of years now and will never go back! I can’t wait ti try yours!

    Here is one I have been using. It is oily, truly a butter, but I use it on my hands and body, and face occasionally. I am addicted.
    You can add essential oils but I love the beeswax/cocoa butter scent better.
    I found this online but can’t remember where, so am unable to give anyone credit.

    2 C. Olive Oil
    1 C. Coconut Oil
    1 C. Beeswax (or 4.2 oz weight, since mine is in chunks from a block and hard to measure)
    1/2 C. Cocoa Butter (or 2.7 oz weight)
    4 tsp Vit E Oil

    Throw everything together and melt, either in a double boiler or microwave. Then pour into jars, cool and enjoy.
    You could whip for a lighter consistency. It will need to cool some in the refrigerator before whipping.

  18. I have started making my own body butter. My latest is shea butter, coconut butter and grape seed oil and add some essential oils. My skin has never looked better! I love how it whips up after chilling it in the freezer. My one problem is if the body butter is left in a warm car (found this out by accident) it will melt and no longer be whipped. It then needs remelted and frozen and whipped. Do you or any of your readers know of any other safe ingredients that can be added to prevent the melting? Thank you so much for your fabulous ideas and all the work you put into them! Blessings for a great day!

  19. Is there a new site for Mountain Rose Herbs? I can’t get the site to open.

  20. I find grapeseed oil works really well as a moisturizer. I love how it shrinks my pores, is so easily absorbed, doesn’t break me out and leaves a lovely sheen :)

  21. Could this be made with olive oil as the plant oil? I do not have any coconut or jojoba on hand.. Thanks!

  22. Thanks so much for sharing! Can this homemade moisturizer be used for the face as well??

  23. Catherine says:

    This recipe looks so good, just checking, is it suitable for the face? Also, as I tend to use a day face moisturiser with a SPF, and looking at the their recipes for a sunscreen could you just add the zinc oxide to make this a sunscreen, or there’s also bees wax listed, which ingredient actually makes it a sunscreen? Thank you…

    • I would think you can for sure try it for the face. The zinc oxide makes it a sunscreen. I’ve made my own as well – beeswax makes it more waterproof and solid.

  24. I’ve been attempting to make my own lotions. All have been too greasy…even though recipes say “non-greasy.” I have dry skin but I don’t like oily products. Any ideas?

  25. Regarding the graininess of shea butter: that is waxy, tiny little balls. If your shea is heated over 170 degrees and allowed to slowly cool, these balls form. They dissolve quickly, but the texture is slightly unpleasant. I buy unrefined shea and heat it to 175 degrees and hold it there for 15 minutes. Then I pour it into a heavy plastic canister and put in the fridge or the freezer if I have room. Heating it and holding it allows all the grains to dissolve completely. The rapid cool-down prevents the formation of the grains. Then, when I use it I make sure I don’t get it over 120-130 degrees. No graininess. You can also speed up the whipping process if you put your container in an ice bath during whipping. This facilitates the rapid cool-down if you get it a little hotter than you planned, plus as it cools it does the ‘fluffywhip’ thing. Have fun!

  26. hanif hasanuddin says:

    i am planning to make this process to automated process, so how much is the quantity of bees wax to put inside of this mosturizer.

  27. caroline says:

    I love your blog and look of the recipe, but wanted to ask why is doesn’t use an emulsifier? I’ve been searching the net for simple recipes, but they all seem to bang on about the importance of emulsifiers so the cream/lotion doesn’t separate. In your experience does this keep well without separating? Also I notice you don’t heat, just mix everything together – again this makes it a lot simpler than most recipes out there!

  28. Marguerite says:

    I like ozone layer 2 ingredient hand and body…. its pumpable shea butter and rosemary. no water or glycerin :)

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