Tell me about making my own skin care products

I just made my first batch of lotion, and I may get hooked on this idea! I never thought it would be so easy somehow. The possibilities seem a little endless and overwhelming. Anyone have favorite tips/tricks/recipes? Possible projects:

  • Massage oil
  • Face cream
  • Bath oil
  • Lip balm

What else should I try? I’ve currently got coconut oil, olive oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, some Vitamin E oil, a bit of jojoba, beeswax, shea butter, and various essential oils in the house. I’ll have to play with scent combinations (I tend toward citrusy things, and generally avoid anything overly flowery).

Massage oil is incredibly easy. I like canola for that myself - cheap and nearly no odor, so it takes scents well. Jojoba is fantastic, as well, but expensive. If I have it, I usually combine it about 50/50 with canola. My signature blend is lavender, tangerine and ylang ylang. It’s relaxing without being soporific, and energizing without making you wired. It sounds like it would be overwhelmingly floral, but it’s really only vaguely floral. It’s mostly citrusy with a hint of bubble gum. I, too, do not like florals much. I’m more a sweet and savory kind of girl.

For a face cream, you could make a lotion with any or all of what you’ve listed, and chamomile, lavender, neroli, rose, rosemary, sandalwood - all depends on what you want it to do (and how much you want to spend!) Rosehip seed oil and carrotseed oil are also phenomenal in face creams (a serum is the oil/essential oils without the water of a lotion.)

Lip balm is simply oil, scent/flavor and beeswax. Grated beesewax or beeswax pellets are much easier to work with. If you have a block, then a microplane works pretty well to grate it. It will gunk the heck out of your microplane (or box grater) though. Best way to clean it is to soak it in hot water to melt it off the thing. You’ll need to heat the oil and stir in the beeswax until it melts. I like to use a chopstick to stir with - then I don’t lose a much product as if it’s all stuck over a spoon. I use a small metal spoon to catch just a few drops and then stick it in the freezer for a few minutes so I can check the stiffness. Too stiff, add some oil; too soft, add some beeswax.

For lip balm, I like peppermint and spearmint essential oils. (Doublemint lip balm!) I’ve also done cocoa (expensive and disappointing), tangerine (second favorite after doublemint), ginger (interesting) and lavender(ick, but a lot of my friends liked it.)

For a wonderful foot treatment, make an oil, balm or lotion, your choice, with peppermint and rosemary. Soooo nice on tired, sore muscles. Or fill a small wide mouth jar with Epsom Salts, and pour scented oil on it to fill. Instant foot scrub, way better than the scary purple stuff they use for a pedicure. (Do be careful, the bathtub will be very slippery as you rinse it off!)

I don’t like bath oils, because I don’t like the oil slick they leave on the top of the water. Instead, I mix my essential oils with some milk. That helps the scent disperse more evenly in the bathwater, and I don’t risk burning myself on the essential oils as I lift my body through the floating slick.

Remember, if you’re using essential oils, that they do NOT provide adequate preservation for long term shelf storage. Nor does Vitamin E - vitamin E is not antimicrobial (a preservative) although Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and will slow rancidity of your oils. But if you want to make something you can keep in a jar in your bathroom, you’ll need to add a synthetic preservative (except for the salt scrubs. There, the salt is your preservative.) Otherwise, make only what you’ll use in a few weeks’ time, and keep it in your refrigerator, or at least keep MOST of it in your fridge and only a small refillable container at room temperature.

Finally, label, label, label. You will think that you’ll remember how many drops of lavender and how many drops of peppermint you used, or whether you put in apricot kernel oil or almond oil. You won’t. If you want to be able to make it again write it down.

Oh, by the way, you want this: Simplers Botanicals Aromatherapy Guide. The whole thing, free, as a pdf. It’s excellent.

Moved Cafe Society --> IMHO.

How cool! never thought about making my own, thanks for the info and link!

Thanks guys - keep the ideas coming! I can totally see myself getting into DIY of all kinds of things, because of cost (the impetus behind the initial experiment was realizing a tube of massage cream I got as a gift is about to run out, and then nearly having a heart attack when I looked at prices to replace it!), because I generally like tinkering with recipes, and because I like the idea of having better control over what goes on/in my body.

Plus, I have allergies, and more and more I find myself not being able to deal with artificial fragrances. Often if I go to someone’s house and they are burning scented candles, my eyes start itching like crazy, and more than once I’ve had to leave. I can’t even begin to figure out exactly what artificial fragrances I’m allergic to, but I have yet to be bothered by anything made from essential oils. So hey, maybe I should open this thread up to things like DIY candles, soap, hair products, etc. (I haven’t made candles since grade school arts and crafts projects!)

Maybe I’m just undercaffeinated, but I’m being prompted to join .docstoc for a fee. Am I missing something?

Bath bombs are easy. Baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch, scent.

Huh - never mind. Apparently I just had to wait for the registration e-mail.

ETA: or maybe not. They still want my money. Oh well.

Have you ever used ewax as an emulsifier for lotions/creams? It makes it really easy and gives a nice smooth result.

Oh, I have no idea. Doesn’t prompt me to join anything. PM me your email and I can email it to you, instead. It’s public domain.

ETA: or try googling for Simplers Botanicals Aromatherapy Guide and see if it lets you in that way.

Thanks for the link, WhyNot! it worked for me!

I like for my EOs. They seem to be nice quality and smell good. What sites do you like for your raw ingreds?

I tried googling “Simplers Botanicals Aromatherapy Guide” in quotes, and this thread is now the #1 search result. Scary!

Shea butter also makes fantastic lip balm.

What you want really depends on your skin type. I’ve got pale, sensitive skin with eczema, rosacea and oily psorasis. I make a skin balm that melts into a oil on the palms of your hands - coconut oil, shea butter, a glug of jojoba, a glug of avocado oil, then rosewood, lavender and ylang ylang essential oils for calming. I melt them together, decant into small plastic pots, then freeze all but one pot, taking them out as needed. Twice daily application, and I’m flake-free and far less red/blotchy. Google’s great for reading up on what oil does what or which secret ingredient’s good for your complexion.

If you want something cleansing, a mask or a balm, add honey. A good, calming, gently-exfoliating and cleansing face mask is yogurt, honey and oatmeal. For a cleansing face balm, melt together honey, shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Ylang Ylang and lavender oils are good for calming oil production. If you want to bring out the big guns for problem skin, add a small amount of castor oil, but this can be very drying so go easy. Massage a little of the balm into your skin, then clean off with a warm, damp, clean face cloth.

Household cleaning and laundry detergents are pretty easy to make, too, and you can control the fragrances. For example, all you need for an effective laundry detergent is washing soda, a bar of a pure soap, water and borax, plus your chosen fragrant oils. And, as you already have the borax and if you want to make candles, you can make your own wicks by soaking string in a borax solution overnight.

The very best in terms of quality that I’ve found is Kismet Potions, which is owned and operated by my first aromatherapy teacher, Kris Wrede. She’s stunningly brilliant and well educated, and vets every source for authenticity, quality of extraction, organic standards (when applicable) and ethical/sustainable practices (where organic standards are not in place) and she will refuse shipments of sub-par products. I trust her essential oils enough to use them internally (when appropriate and always well diluted). But that kind of quality control is kind of expensive, so I can’t always afford them. I try to get them when I can, because they are just that good. I will most often buy small bottles of the best things I don’t use all that often, and she’s the best for more obscure stuff, like Black Pepper, Cocoa Bean Absolute or Zdravetz (OMG, Zdravetz is like the *most *amazing smell you’ve never heard of!)

For more affordable options, I’m fond of Aura Cacia, which can be found on their own website or Amazon and lots of drugstore websites. Their labeling is good, including Latin names, and they clearly identify the few diluted oils they have. I’m not opposed to diluted oils - in fact I rather appreciate that I can afford real Rose, Jasmineand Sandalwood, because they’re diluted in jojoba - but I want to know that I’m buying a diluted oil if I’m buying a diluted oil. I just factor the dilution into my formula and it all works out. Too many sources dilute and don’t clearly label it, and that makes me stabby.

NOW is also good, especially for those things I use a whole lot of and buy in 4oz bottles, like Eucalyptusand Lavender.

Thanks for all the great ideas! I love making my own skin care potions and just now venturing into EOs. Paying high prices for stuff thats just full of silicones and shelf-extending ingredients is craycray. Easier and more fun to DIY!

For supplies, check and They may have recipe links as well. More recipes at These are companies I dealt with when I had a small soap, skincare, and candle business; they are all reputable and trustworthy.
Enjoy your new addiction! HOBBY! I mean HOBBY of course. :smiley:

I’ll add that when I was making my own, my online purchasing was primarily from Majestic Mountain Sage.


I think my mom, those friends who are inclined, and Tom Scud are about to have experiments foisted upon them.

Oh you mean “gifted” upon them! :smiley:

As far as massage oils, I make my own blends, but here is a site that gives some ideas of which ones to use in blends. I dont buy from them but they have some ideas.

And here is a site I buy my airless pump jars and bottles from. Airless jars keep fingers out of potions and keep them sanitary.

Have fun!