If you're looking for a homemade lotion or hand cream that will nourish your skin, look no further. This recipe is super nourishing, super versatile and super simple. And I've updated it with essential oils suitable for your skin's needs.
I love making as many of my personal care items in order to cut down on toxins in our home and on our bodies.
I've made Eye Makeup Remover, Alcohol-Free Hairspray, Sugar Scrub, Nourishing Lip Scrub, Hair Rinse, DIY Body Wash, and more. I've been looking for homemade lotion recipe that works for a long time, and I finally have it.
I've bought so many lotions and creams in my life, but have really wanted to go to making homemade lotion myself.
I have this ridiculous bent towards DIY stuff.
I can't stand forking out a ton of money for something when I can make it for a fraction of the cost myself.
Now, that doesn't mean that I am opposed to buying high quality things.
In fact, I've been using a pretty pricey hand and body cream for the past 6 months that I really love, but I've been hoping to have a DIY version for my home that I could also recommend to all of you.
I asked all of my great readers the other day for recipes for DIY lotions and one reader had a recipe that really appealed to me. So I tried it, and--we have a real winner!
This homemade lotion is:
- non greasy
- super easy to make (no fancy tools--just melt, stir and pour)
- smells great
- has flexible ingredients (so you can pretty much use what you have on hand)
Why Hard Lotions Didn't Work for Me
It's a cross between a smooth lotion and a hard lotion. Are you familiar with those hard lotion bars that are all the rage now on the internet?
While I love the concept, I have found that the hard lotion bars are a little tough for me to use.
Mostly, I think it's because I'm a little too impatient to wait for the bar to soften. Does anyone else get frustrated with this?
I find myself trying to rub the hard lotion into my skin before it's had time to soften and as I watch my skin pulling and stretching, I think, "That can't be too good for my skin, can it?"
And frankly, it doesn't feel too good to be pushing and pulling.
So, for right now, I am using the hard lotion bars that I have for lip balm. They work pretty well for that, and I don't think my lips are getting too stretched out :-).
Anyhow, this lotion is solid at room temp (maybe I should call it "Nourishing Not-So-Hard-Lotion"), but it isn't super hard and softens up really quickly in your hands, even in our pretty chilly home. Our home is heated only to about 60 in the winter.
See what I mean about frugal? Every time I think about moving the thermostat up, I think about the 2-3% of my heating bill that I've heard you save for each degree you lower your thermostat.
Let's just say we all like long underwear around here :-).
Just yesterday, I used my Homemade Sugar Scrub and followed it with this Hand Cream and my hands felt super soft and revitalized last night. The moisture left from the scrub and rinsing it off is sealed into your skin by this hand cream.
A very frugal way to treat yourself, or someone you love.
This recipe is easily adaptable by adjusting the essential oils that you use. Here are some ideas....
Essential Oils for Different Skin Issues
This lotion recipe uses essential oils. While they aren't necessary, adding them can turn your lotion from being simply moisturizing to something that really addresses what is going on with your skin.
- Dry or aging skin? Try rose & geranium
- Need to be energized and refreshed? Try lavender, lemon, and grapefruit
- Troubled skin like psoriasis or eczema? Try helichrysum, frankincense, lavender, sandalwood, chamomile, rose or jasmine
- Want to avoid Stretch Marks? Try helichrysum, lavender, patchouli, neroli, rose, & geranium
UPDATE 12/16: I have been doing a lot of research into DIY personal care products and have found that there are some concerns with them. Unless you are going to add a broad spectrum preservative to this lotion, please plan to use this within 3 days and store it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, leave the aloe vera out of the recipe or substitute with a liquid fat. The consistency of the resulting product will differ but the shelf life will increase.
1. For essential oils, use whatever you like with the suggestions above being good for different issues. I used orange, which was really heavenly smelling, especially combined with the fragrance of the coconut oil. Somehow I felt like a creamsicle :-). I guess if I used the cocoa butter I would smell like chocolate covered candied orange peel (I'm working on a recipe for that), or something like that. Lavender would be very soothing as well.
2. I love how versatile this recipe is. I used extra coconut oil and shea butter since I was out of cocoa butter and it still turned out great.
3. This makes a small amount--just enough for one of these small canning jars like these.
4. Please note that some (including me) who have made this have had issues with it not solidifying. I suspect it has to do with the type of shea butter used. I think if you use a raw shea butter, the resulting product is liquidy.
Of course, you can make more to stock up, or for gifts.
Some people mentioned in the comments that their lotion didn't solidify. I'm guessing that is due to different temperatures or perhaps that quality of the ingredients used.
Even if yours is liquidy, you can still use it. In fact, one idea is to put it in a pump bottle. Some upscale lotions are like this including one I am trying out right now.
This bottle would be just perfect for that:
Two nights ago, I put a little warm water on my arms, legs, hands, feet, and elbows, and smoothed this lotion all over before going to bed.
This morning, my skin is obviously nourished and much happier.
There were other recipes that readers shared that I thought sounded great, so I am going to be working on more lotions in the future, hopefully my next one will be one that is liquid at room temp.
In the meantime, enjoy this treat for your skin.
Where to Buy Ingredients
For essential oils, I recommend checking out the company I recommend in my Best Essential Oils Series.
Since this lotion has aloe vera in it, you will need a preservative to keep it from spoiling.
I recommend Germall Plus at a concentration level of 0.5% to avoid using parabens.
Alternatively, you could omit the aloe vera. The resulting cream will be a bit different, but then bacterial growth isn't likely due to no presence of water or aloe.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (I also really like Nutiva organic)
- 1/8 cup shea butter
- 1/8 cup cocoa butter (See notes for alternatives)
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice
- 1 tablespoon liquid oil of choice (like sweet almond, jojoba, etc.)
- 5-10 drops essential oils (optional. Read Which Essential Oils Company is Best? to see why I recommend this company.)
- Preservative - highly recommended
- Cute container for storing. I like glass jars like this one
- See notes for ideas according to skin type (above)
- Heat the shea butter, coconut oil, and cocoa butter over low heat until melted.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the aloe vera juice, liquid oil, and essential oils and stir to combine well.
- Store in container of your choice. I used small canning jars.
Not Wanting To DIY?
If you aren't really in the mood to make your own lotion, or just are out of time, you can buy clean lotions too. I'm really careful to avoid using anything with artificial fragrances.
I personally love and trust Beautycounter for so many reasons. They test all of their products and are completely transparent.
You can read more about what makes Beautycounter special here. Just so you know, I'm super picky about things like honesty and transparency, and this company totally makes the grade for me.
Photo credits – Naomi Huzovicova