If I had to make a list of the top 20 most pleasant feelings, I would have to include the feeling of putting on a soothing lotion on my face or body. The cool, smooth lotion glides over my skin. My skin rejoices as it drinks in the moisture and softness. It’s both refreshing and calming. Finding (or in this case making) the perfect lotion is not always easy. I promise you that this recipe and tutorial today for DIY Nourish & Soothe Face Lotion will meet expectations for what homemade lotion should be.
I have been wanting to make face lotion for a while. To be honest, I have tried and failed on numerous occasions. Getting the right consistency, the right texture. Effectively emulsifying the liquids and oils. It’s no small feat! With some experimenting and practice, I believe I figured it out. Thus, today’s post will help explain exactly what needs to happen to make a good face lotion.
What makes a good face lotion?
Have you ever put on a lotion that immediately your face feels dry again? Or perhaps after you apply, your skin is greasy and stays that way throughout the day? Granted, everyone’s skin is different. Knowing your skin-type is important to selecting the right lotion for your skin. I myself have combination skin. Certain areas get dry, certain areas tend to get oily and shiny. Thus, when I was making this lotion I kept that in mind.
A good face lotion has the right ratio of fats and liquid. If its pure oil or fat, the texture will be greasy. If there is too much water or liquids, you lotion won’t give enough lasting moisture. According to From Nature with Love, creams tend to be 2/3 oils to 1/3 liquid, whereas lotions tend to be 2/3 liquid to 1/3 oils. I was leaning towards the lotion ratio so that this could be a daily lotion, not too heavy and greasy, but still moisturize and soothing.
Secondly, the key to a good lotion is proper emulsification. In my recipe for DIY Tanning Lotion I talk a little bit about this. Emulsification is the process of either suspending oil drops in water or vice versa. This occurs with the addition of an emulsifying agent, which acts to bind the oil and water molecules together. Some options for emulsifiers include jojoba oil, beeswax, or emulsifying wax. I choose the latter because I found it to be easier to work with.
Finally, a good lotion uses good quality ingredients, especially your oils (fats). Since moisturizing is the primary goal of lotion, the type and quality of the oils will make a difference. Opt for organic, non-GMO ingredients, when you can. In addition, avoid all of the “bad for you” chemicals that you would find in store bought face lotions. For me, this was the whole point to making my own lotion.
Essentials or eSCENTials?
When deciding on your own recipe for essential oils, it is important to be aware of the benefits of certain oils. In addition to providing aromatherapy, essential oils can promote healing and therapeutic benefits to the skin. Some of the best essential oils for the skin include:
- lavender oil– helps body produce antioxidants, soothes and heals damaged skin, helps reduce age spots (1)
- frankincense– improves sun and age spots, reduces wrinkles and scars, improve acne, reduce pore size (1)
- carrot seed– promotes cell regrowth, rejuvenating and smoothing, anti-inflammatory, fights free radicals (2)
- geranium– improves acne, tightens skin, improves blood circulation, heals skin irritations and conditions (2)
- patchouli– smooths lines and wrinkles, promotes cell regrowth, antiseptic/antibacterial, heals skin conditions (2)
- ylang-ylang– treats and improves oily or acne prone skin, stimulates cell regrowth, improves signs of aging (3)
- clary sage– reduces puffiness, fights signs of aging, regulates production of oil for both dry and oily skin (3)
To note, it isn’t absolutely necessary to add essential oils to your lotion. Sure, it jazzes it up. But some people prefer fragrance-free, and that is totally fine.
When I was putting together my recipe, I had a goal in mind. A male friend of mine said he was needing a lotion for his face. Particularly for soothing after shaving. This friend is also mindful of the need to moisture to prevent premature aging. Since I myself also get irritated skin, specifically blemishes, I knew that something soothing would be best. The resulting recipe was meant to both soothe and nourish or heal. Here are the key ingredients I came up with and their benefits:
- Aloe Vera Gel– acts as a lightweight moisturizer without the greasy feel, soothes damaged skin, treats acne, and fights signs of aging (5)
- Mango Butter– extracted from mango seeds, this rich moisturizing butter is semi-solid at room temperature and melts on contact with skin. It won’t clog your pores, is high in antioxidants, combats signs of aging, restore moisture to skin, easily absorbed into skin, and is both healing and antiseptic (6)
- Vegetable glycerin– derived from plant oils (primarily soy, coconut or palm) this natural humectant draws moisture to the skin, helps protect against aging, rejuvenates skin cells, and is good for all skin types, including oily, aging, or acne-prone skin (7)
- Calendula oil– made by infusing dried calendula (marigold) flowers in organic olive oil, calendula is anti-inflammatory and is both soothing and healing, also good for skin softening (4)
- Vitamin E oil– also known as tocopherol, blended into non-GMO soybean or other vegetable oil, this vitamin acts as a natural preservative, blocks free-radicals, promotes youthful looking skin, and protects against environmental damage (8)
Now that we have established the neccessary ingredients, let’s look at the process to make this lotion. First, basic tools needed included a double-broiler or small metal/glass bowl sitting on a small saucepan of boiling water (about 1 inch of water). Secondly, you will need a separate small saucepan and a small liquid measuring cup or mason jar. Next, you will need utensils including a small whisk, measuring spoons, and a small spatula. Lastly, you need a jars or containers to store your lotion in.
Preparing for emulsification is the most important aspect. Melting your wax and oils and stirring until fully dissolved, you want to make sure the oils are very warm but not boiling. The water and aloe get heated separately, again to very warm, but not hot or boiling. Test out by carefully dipping a finger into the liquids and oil to test for similar temperatures. You can also use a thermometer. Once they are both about the same temperature, that is when you can begin combining to emulsify.
Emulsification can be done with a mixer or hand blender, but I find this is unnecessary. Using a good ole’ fashioned whisk by hand helps to prevent unwanted dishes and clean up. And it gives you more control over the process. When removing the warm bowl and measuring cup (or mason jar) be careful to handle it with care as they may be hot. Also, make sure to always wipe any condensation from the outside before pouring or combining.
Lastly, slowly add and whisk the liquids to the oils. Add a couple of teaspoons at a time, whisking constantly. Once it is all added, continue to whisk until it starts to thicken and will begin to resemble lotion. As it cools, it will continue to thicken. Transfer to jars to finish setting up before covering and storing.
Don’t feel like making this lotion on your own?
Not everyone has the time, resources, or up front funds to buy all of the ingredients and make this face lotion at home. I totally get it. You have to be pretty motivated to make your own stuff that you could so easily buy at the store. If that sounds like you, consider this. I now make and sell my own products in my online store Raw Ethos. Head on over there and you can buy this very same lotion instead of making it yourself. Boo-ya.
Nourish and Soothe Face Lotion
- 1/4 cup + 1 tsp distilled water
- 1 Tbs + 2 tsp Mango butter
- 2 Tbs +2 tsp Aloe vera gel
- 1 1/2 tsp Vegetable emulsifying wax
- 1 1/2 tsp Vegetable glycerin
- ½ tsp Vitamin E oil
- 1 tsp Calendula oil
- 5-6 drops favorite essential oils (optional)
Makes about 4 ounces
Yield: (2) 2 ounce jars
- In a double broiler, melt mango butter, vegetable wax, vegetable glycerin and calendula oil.
- Place water and aloe vera in a liquid measuring cup or mason jar, and set in separate small saucepan with water coming up to midpoint of cup or jar to heat gently over medium-low heat.
- Once oils and liquids are about the same temperature, turn off heat, add vitamin E and essential oils to oils.
- Slowly, pour aloe vera/water mixture into the oils, whisking vigorously until combined. Continue to whisk until mostly cooled and smoothly emulsified. Transfer into (2) 2 ounce jars and allow to completely set before sealing with lid and storing in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
To use: For soothing and nourishing, add a few dabs to forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Gently rub in with an upward or circular motion. Can be used as an aftershave lotion. Excellent for redness and irritation as well or just as a daily face lotion.
Note: Don’t worry if your lotion doesn’t look very thick when you transfer it to the jars. It will set up to be a nice lotion consistency. I tweaked the recipe after taking the pictures shown here to make a thinner lotion.