This simple and natural face lotion recipe serves as a tutorial to make lotions at home. Learn how to make lotions and creams at home, where in the end you will get a safe, natural and nourishing product for your skincare routine.
This lotion is adequate for all types of skin, including sensitive, due to the mild ingredients used. However, make a skin test before using, if you have any doubts.
What Is a Lotion
We have all bought and used face lotions or creams throughout our lives. What we haven’t done or even considered it, was to make them at home! It’s so simple it hurts! This was one of the things that really surprise me when I was learning to make natural skincare products. A face cream or face lotion doesn’t need to be expensive. It’s actually quite cheap, especially if you wish to skip the fragrances and just make an “unscented” or naturally scented product.
Can you believe in a natural and effective face lotion for less than 2$ (or 1€)? It’s not science fiction 🙂 it’s just a matter of knowing of what is it made of and give it a try at home. The process is actually very simple.
So, going to the point, a lotion is a mixture consisting of water and oils. When we talk about lotions, we mean a mixture with a water:oils ratio above 1, meaning that more than 50% of the lotion is water, and the rest is oils. They are called water-to-oil solution. If you reverse the solution to a oil-to-water one (more than 50% of oils), it’s called a cream. As water and oils do not mix, we need an ingredient that binds both into a stable and homogeneous substance. That ingredient is called an emulsifier.
There are several emulsifiers, all of them providing different results, depending on the product you wish to make. Most of them come in the form of a “wax-like” product, in the form of flakes or pastilles, that melt at a relatively low temperature (50ºC-60ºC). Most store-bought creams contain more than one emulsifier, to stabilize and give a nice feeling to the final product. I prefer to keep it simple and use just one emulsifier, even if the lotion is not cream-perfect. That’s what I love in handmade, doesn’t have to be perfect 🙂
By the way, beeswax is not an emulsifier.
The Importance of Preservatives
The other key ingredient is a broad-spectrum preservative. It’s not essential to make your lotion. For that, you only need water, oils and an emulsifier. But it’s essential to make your product safe since it has high water content. What does it mean? It means that water is a favorable environment for the growth of microbes, bacteria, fungus, and mould (remember that the next time you skip to clean your bathroom…).
Without a broad-spectrum preservative, your face lotion will only last for one week, if kept in the refrigerator. With the broad-spectrum preservative, it can last from 6 to 18 months, depending on the preservative type, quality and freshness of other ingredients, and equipment disinfection.
The water chosen for this lotion is rose water. Rose water is obtained by steam distillation of rose petals. It is fragrant, and it’s sometimes used as a mild natural fragrance as an alternative to chemical-filled perfumes.
Rose water has been used for thousands of years, including in the Middle Ages. It’s thought to have originated in what is now Iran. It’s been used traditionally in both beauty products and food and drink products. It also comes with plenty of potential health benefits, including the following:
- Soothes skin irritation and reduces skin redness
- Helps prevent and treats infections
- Heals cuts, scars and burns
- Has anti-aging properties and contains anti-oxidants
These properties make rose water adequate for all skin types but is especially good for mature skin. Rose water is often found in beauty products exactly due to its anti-aging effects. In addition to soothing and treating irritated skin, it may reduce the appearance of wrinkles when applied topically.
Although rose water is obtained by steam distillation, at home what we make is a rose-petal infused water, which is almost as good as true rose water, as long as you’re careful with the temperature.
I use this rose water infusion in this Homemade Natural Face Toner With Rose Petals, where you can learn how to make a rosewater infusion.
You can also use plain water for this recipe or another herbal infusion, but make sure to use distilled water, as it decreases its likeness to grow bacteria and fungus.
As long as you respect the quantity in the recipe, you can pretty much use any oil you wish for this lotion. If you wish to make a very simple, cheap lotion switch the oils in the recipe for sweet almond oil.
However, I wanted to make a lotion for mature skins (although it’s good for any normal/dry skin type), therefore, I’ve chosen some more noble oils (also more expensive), jojoba oil, and pomegranate seed oil:
– Jojoba oil: It’s actually a wax-like substance, extracted from the seeds of jojoba plants. It has powerful moisturizing properties, contains vitamin E and several minerals. Acne conditions benefit greatly from this lightweight, non-greasy oil which provides anti-inflammatory properties. It is very close to the natural oil produced by the skin so it makes a perfect moisturizer for all skin types. It absorbs easily into the skin and doesn’t clog pores. Along with acne it is very effective in the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, sunburn and chapped skin.
– Pomegranate seed oil: pomegranate seed oil is known for its anti-aging benefits, as it increases cell regeneration, and helps treat spots and wrinkles. It’s filled with vitamin C and polyphenols, powerful anti-oxidants also present in berries, green tea, red wine and dark chocolate (!!). It has also anti-microbial properties, some UV protection and helps decrease inflammation.
You can find more about these and other oils for skincare in Natural Oils For Skin. If you wish to change the oils in this recipe, please, take a look at this article.
The Emulsifying Wax
I have to be honest here, I didn’t have time to test a lot of emulsifying waxes. I have been using Polawax NF with good results and didn’t bother to improve it, as I am satisfied with it.
When you make this lotion, you may find it a bit thicker than expected. That’s because I’ve used 10% of emulsifying wax in this recipe, more than the 3%-5% recommended. Why, you ask? Because some of my previous lotions had a bit of water separating, and I didn’t want that to happen in your first homemade lotion experience 🙂
If you wish to make this lotion more times, you can decrease the emulsifying wax 1g and see if you prefer the new texture. Be informed that at 4% (0,2 g) the lotion might have some of the water separating. If this happens to you, well, you decide what to do. I’ve used the lotion like that anyway, and found no issues.
The preservative I’ve been using in my homemade lotions is called Euxyl k940, it’s strong against bacteria and fungus and effective at high range of temperatures and pH. I am yet to test a lotion against bacterial and fungus activity. But I can tell you I’ve never felt that a lotion has gone bad, nor had skin issues with it. This is my exception to use chemical ingredients 🙂
I didn’t find Euxyl k940 available in online stores, except my portuguese supplier. So, I’ve checked this list to see what other strong preservative was more commonly available, and I’ve found that Liquid Germall Plus was a good choice (be informed it’s not a natural preservative).
If you wish to use other preservatives you can, but please, respect the manufacturer’s recommendations and usage.
Can you make your lotion without a broad-spectrum preservative? Sure, as long as you keep it in the fridge and use it within one week. But that’s not very practical, as either you make a minimal amount of lotion, where some ingredients are in such small quantities you really can’t measure them at home; or you make 50 ml of lotion that can last for months, and you will spoil it because it can only be used for a week.
Still not convinced? Please, read this article Can Your Cosmetics Kill You? and then make your own decision.
Takeaway from this chapter: Always use a preservative, as long as your formula has water in it; Respect and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and usage percentages.
The title sounds like this lotion is going to be filled with heavy chemicals…. Nothing like that!! I mean to speak about fragrances and vitamin E oil. These are all optional ingredients, you can skip them completely if you wish.
– Vitamin E oil: as a good anti-oxidant, this is a great addictive for your lotion. I am sure that if you read about vitamin E and its benefits, you will be convinced to use it. Besides vitamin E helps to extend the shelf life of oils (again, as an anti-oxidant).
– Essential oils: I use them for scent, and that’s it. I’ve read enough literature about pros and cons of essential oils to be careful enough not to list all medicinal properties of essential oils, as it is not proven if and which ones are real. They can also be skin irritants, so it’s sort of counterintuitive to advise to use them in good skincare products. I use them because I’ve never had an issue with them, and I like the good, natural scents they provide. This recipe uses rose geranium and frankincense essential oils.
How To Make a Natural Face Lotion – Pro Tips
In summary, a lotion includes a water-to-oil solution, with a bigger percentage of water and a smaller percentage of oils, an emulsifying wax, essential oils for scent (and some may say cosmetic properties. Who knows?), a preservative to make the product safe to use for some months and any addictive that may enrich the lotion.
As long as you respect the quantities of oil, water, essential oils and emulsifying wax, you can customize this recipe according to your needs:
- Use another oil or oils as stated, but I’d advise to not use any solid oils at this point
- Use herbal-infused oils: check out how to make them in How To Make Infused Oil.
- Use another herbal water infusion (chamomille, green tea)
- Use just one or other essential oils, but make sure to run a skin test, as some essential oils are skin irritants. You can also skip them entirely
As mentioned before, you can make an exception about respecting quantities for the emulsifying wax: use less to make your lotion more fluid. Reduce 1g per batch until you are satisfied with texture. Below 5g for 50 g of lotion, you might risk some water separation.
Or you can strictly follow this lotion recipe, and enjoy the benefits of all its ingredients.
Find Where to Buy Natural Face Lotions
If you’re not yet ready to try to make this recipe at home, but you still wish to enjoy a natural face lotion, you can find alternatives at the following links:
- Alteya Certified Organic Rose Otto Day Face Moisturizer
- Balm Balm Rose Geranium Face Balm
- Etsy Organic Face Cream – BeijaTerra
- More about Vegetable Oils: Natural Oils For Skin
- More about Essential Oils: Essential Oil Chart
- More Cosmetics: Homemade Natural Face Toner with Rose Petals
Hope you have fun with this recipe and love the final product!! if you have any question, please, leave a comment below.
- Vegetable Oils: Natural Oils For Your Skin
- Essential Oils: Essential Oils for Skin Care Products
- How To Make Lotions – Emulsion Tutorial Guide: How To Make An Emulsion For Skincare
- More Skincare Recipes: Lotions, Creams and Body Butters Category
Watch This Video Before Starting Your Recipe
Natural Face Lotion Recipe
- 35 g rose petals water infusion or rose water
- Disinfect all your equipment before starting. You can boil some of your equipment (like the double boiler, glass cups, spoons), and use a solution of 1 liter of water with 1/2 cup of bleach, for items that are not heat-resistant (like the milk frother, plastic cups or the lotion containers)
- Make a rose-petals infused water at home in advance. Learn how in: Homemade Natural Face Toner with Rose Petals. Use distilled water only in it.
- Measure all the water phase ingredients – rose-infused water – into a cup
- Heat the water ingredients in low heat to around 60ºC. You can use the microwave but the best is to heat in bagne-marie. Do not let the water boil.
- Measure all oil ingredients into the double boiler
- Place the double boiler over a pan with water (bagne-marie) and heat the oils and emulsifying wax in low heat until the wax melts
- Measure all cooling phase ingredients into a small cup.
- The essential oils are optional, and you can use just one of them, simply adjust the quantity. Vitamin E will enrich your lotion with an anti-oxidant, and is also optional. The preservative is not optional. Use the quantities as per manufacturer instructions. I use Euxyl k940 at 1% (0,5 ml).
Making your Lotion
- Measure the temperature of both the water and the oils. Make sure the rose-infused water is at a higher temperature than the oils.
- Pour the water into the oils. The mixture will immediately turn milky.
- Blend the mixture well with a milk frother. If you find lumps in the mixture, heat it a little more (on low heat), and use the milk frother to dissolve the lumps.
- The mixture will become creamy but runny.
- Wait till the mixture is around 50ºC or a little lower (122ºF). Then pour the cooling phase ingredients and mix well with a spoon or the milk frother.
Finishing your Lotion
- It's time to measure your lotion pH. It should be around 5.5 (5-6). Add one teaspoon of citric acid dissolved in water (you can also use lemon juice) if pH is too high, or a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water if pH is too low. Add as many teaspoon as needed but one or two should be enough.
- Pour your lotion into an airless pump bottle. You can also use a tin container, but the pump bottle protects your lotion against oxidation, dirt contamination or getting in contact with your fingers.