How To Make Lotion At Home: 5 Easy Recipes From A Light Slip To Butter-Thick

mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
putting on lotion
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Slathering yourself in moisturizer as soon as you step out of the shower isn't just a luxurious experience: It's a much-needed one. Velvety textures feel soothing, no doubt, but locking in hydration post-rinse is also the key to a strong skin barrier—those few extra seconds spent rubbing in a cream or oil are the difference between scaly skin and a glowing complexion all over. All the more reason to have a handy bottle of lotion on your bathroom shelf! But if you find yourself blowing through bottle after bottle (it's easy to fly through product, especially if you're dipping into it after each rinse), here's a twist: Make your own vat of lotion.

Whipping up your own concoction is pretty straightforward, whether you're in dire need of a butter-thick confection or a nongreasy veil of moisture.  

How to make lotion. 

"It is so much easier than you would think to make a simple lotion," says Jana Blankenship, product formulator and founder of the natural beauty brand Captain Blankenship. In fact, you only need three measly ingredients: a carrier oil (think jojoba, coconut, almond, etc.), a liquid (rosewater, aloe, or some distilled H2O), and wax to hold it all together.

Of course, you can chuck in some optional add-ons if you're feeling fancy—scan all the possibilities with these five recipes below:

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1. Basic lotion recipe

This is Blankenship's go-to number, a light, basic hydrator that works its magic year-round. Here's what you'll need:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup jojoba oil (or other carrier oil of choice)
  • ½ cup aloe, ½ cup rosewater, or ½ cup distilled water (you can use whatever you have on-hand)
  • 1 Tbsp. beeswax or wax of choice (candelilla wax is a great vegan alternative)
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. shea butter (to make it extra nourishing), 1 tsp. vitamin E or rosemary extract, and 10 to 15 drops of essential oil of your choice

Directions:

  1. Place the wax, carrier oil, and shea butter (if using) in a heatproof glass measuring cup or Mason jar. 
  2. Make a double boiler by heating several inches of water inside a small pot. When the water boils, lower it to simmer and put the glass bowl or cup inside the water. 
  3. Stir the ingredients with a spoon until fully melted, then remove the cup from heat. 
  4. Pour ingredients into a small glass or metal bowl and wait until it cools to room temperature. 
  5. Slowly add your liquid (either aloe, water, or hydrosol), and other optional ingredients while mixing with an immersion blender. (If you don't have an immersion blender, just pour the ingredients into your standing blender instead of a bowl and slowly add the ingredients while blending on low.) 
  6. Blend the mixture until you reach a creamy consistency. 
  7. Scoop into a glass jar with a lid, and keep in the fridge for up to one month.

2. Thick, whipped lotion

"To make a whip-thick version, you can omit the liquid and use a carrier oil, butter, and wax," says Blankenship. Here's a recipe that piles on the butter:

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup shea butter
  • ¼ cup cocoa butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • Optional: 1 tsp. vitamin E or rosemary extract

Directions: 

  1. Place the wax, carrier oil, and shea butter (if using) in a heatproof glass measuring cup or Mason jar. 
  2. Make a double boiler by heating several inches of water inside a small pot. When the water boils, lower it to simmer and put the glass bowl or cup inside the water. 
  3. Stir the ingredients with a spoon until fully melted, then remove the cup from heat. 
  4. Stir in your optional ingredients, if using. Pour the mixture into a Mason jar with a lid. 
  5. Wait until the mixture cools to room temperature, and place the jar in the fridge. Leave it until it solidifies (which usually takes about one to two hours). 
  6. Scoop out the mixture into a mixing bowl, and blend with a standing mixer or immersion blender (or pour it into a standing blender and blend on medium speed). 
  7. Blend for about 5 to 10 minutes until it reaches a fluffy, whipped consistency. (Note: "If the cream sticks to the sides of the bowl, push it down with spatula to reintegrate," says Blankenship.)
  8. Transfer the lotion to the jar and keep in the fridge, away from direct sunlight. Because there's no liquid, the lotion should keep for up to one year (just remember to scoop it out with clean, dry fingers or a clean spoon). 

3. Lightweight, nongreasy lotion

Sometimes you want a thin moisturizer that nourishes without a slippery seal-like sheen. Totally fair! All you have to do is take out the butter and replace it with aloe. 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup jojoba oil (a lightweight oil that closely mimics the skin's own sebum)
  • ½ cup aloe
  • 1 Tbsp. beeswax or wax of choice (candelilla wax is a great vegan alternative) 
  • Optional: 10 to 15 drops of essential oil

Directions:

  1. Place the wax and carrier oil in a heatproof glass measuring cup or Mason jar. 
  2. Make a double boiler by heating several inches of water inside a small pot. When the water boils, lower it to simmer and put the glass bowl or cup inside the water. 
  3. Stir the ingredients with a spoon until fully melted, then remove the cup from heat. 
  4. Pour ingredients into a small glass or metal bowl and wait until it cools to room temperature. 
  5. Slowly add your aloe and essential oils if using while mixing with an immersion blender. (If you don't have an immersion blender, just pour the ingredients into your standing blender instead of a bowl and slowly add the ingredients while blending on low.) 
  6. Blend the mixture until you reach a creamy consistency. 
  7. Scoop into a glass jar with a lid, and keep in the fridge for up to one month.

4. Fragrance-free baby lotion

For those with sensitive skin, baby lotion is a must—most are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free hydrators that soothe angry skin with ease. Good news: This DIY recipe only features gentle, skin-loving ingredients for your skin barrier. 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup jojoba oil (or other carrier oil of choice; squalane oil is top-notch for those with a compromised skin barrier)
  • ½ cup aloe or ½ cup distilled water
  • 1 Tbsp. beeswax or wax of choice (candelilla wax is a great vegan alternative)
  • 1 Tbsp. shea butter
  • Optional: 1 tsp. vitamin E, which can ease inflammation
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Directions:

  1. Place the wax, carrier oil, and butter in a heatproof glass measuring cup or Mason jar. 
  2. Make a double boiler by heating several inches of water inside a small pot. When the water boils, lower it to simmer and put the glass bowl or cup inside the water. 
  3. Stir the ingredients with a spoon until fully melted, then remove the cup from heat. 
  4. Pour ingredients into a small glass or metal bowl and wait until it cools to room temperature. 
  5. Slowly add your aloe or water and vitamin E, if using, while mixing with an immersion blender. (If you don't have an immersion blender, just pour the ingredients into your standing blender instead of a bowl and slowly add the ingredients while blending on low.) 
  6. Blend the mixture until you reach a creamy consistency. 
  7. Scoop into a glass jar with a lid, and keep in the fridge for up to one month.

5. Rose-scented lotion

For a lightly fragranced moisturizer, you can, of course, use any essential oil blend you please (Blankenship favors chamomile, lavender, and juniper berry for a fresh scent), but a rose-scented lotion is subtle and relaxing. Try this lather below. 

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup jojoba oil (or any other carrier oil you choose)
  • ½ cup rosewater
  • 1 Tbsp. beeswax or wax of choice (candelilla wax is a great vegan alternative)
  • 10 to 15 drops of rose oil
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. shea butter or cocoa butter

Directions:

  1. Place the wax, carrier oil, and butter if using in a heatproof glass measuring cup or Mason jar. 
  2. Make a double boiler by heating several inches of water inside a small pot. When the water boils, lower it to simmer and put the glass bowl or cup inside the water. 
  3. Stir the ingredients with a spoon until fully melted, then remove the cup from heat. 
  4. Pour ingredients into a small glass or metal bowl and wait until it cools to room temperature. 
  5. Slowly add your rosewater and rose oil while mixing with an immersion blender. (If you don't have an immersion blender, just pour the ingredients into your standing blender instead of a bowl and slowly add the ingredients while blending on low.) 
  6. Blend the mixture until you reach a creamy consistency. 
  7. Scoop into a glass jar with a lid, and keep in the fridge for up to one month.
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The takeaway. 

Creating your own lotion is as simple as combining oil-based ingredients and water-based ingredients (that's what all moisturizers are, anyway!). Whether you keep it basic or add in some fun extras, each cream coats your skin with healthy ingredients and keeps water locked in. And if you'd rather skip the DIY and purchase a bottle? Well, these clean body lotions always have you covered. 

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