Homemade Moisturizer To Naturally Hydrate & Nourish Aging Skin

Last Updated:

In this post, I’m sharing the basic formula I use for making homemade moisturizer from scratch. With this formula, you can change up ingredients to suit your skin and have complete control of what you are putting on your face and body!!

Moisturizers are an essential part of skincare; they are the oil part of a daily skincare routine that we leave on the skin to sink in. They nourish our skin, providing it with hydration, but also various vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that can affect the quality of skin for the better.

mature women using moisturizer

Emulsions: The Best Homemade Moisturizers

Emulsions are perhaps the most sort after and revered of all the homemade face moisturizers. This is for good reason, though. They’re easy to customize so that they are suitable for anybody. It’s also amazing at moisturizing skin while also allowing it to breathe.

But what is an Emulsion, you ask?

An emulsion is when water and oil are forced to mix. If you haven’t noticed, ordinarily, water and oil will never come together naturally. You can do a neat experiment by filling a bowl with water and dripping a few drops of oil onto the surface.

So, how do we go about forcing these two substances to mix to create a gorgeous cream that will glide evenly across the skin? When we make mayonnaise, oil and vinegar come together by aid of an emulsifier. In this case, it’s an egg. With facial emulsions, we’re doing the same thing, only this time, our emulsifier is a type of wax we call emulsifying wax.

In oil-in-water emulsion, the majority of the cream is water. By mixing the three key ingredients of a facial emulsion (water, oil, wax), droplets of oil are suspended within the water. This is the most common type of emulsion.

It takes time, patience, and experience to achieve a good quality facial emulsion every time. However, you can do it! Pretty much everyone can get good at doing these, you just need the time and patience.

How To Make A Basic Emulsion

natural homemade moisturizer

The Formula & Ingredients

Recommended Batch Size: 100g

Below is my recommended percentage range for each ingredient (for your reference), followed by the volume I’m using in this particular recipe. You will find a detailed eplainantion of these ingredients/elements further down this post, dont miss that as its importasnt to understand why we are using specific ingredients.

The Formula

Water (70-75%)

  • 65-70% Hydrosol or Distilled Water
  • 5% Glycerine (humectant)

Oils (20-30%)

  • 10-20% Carrier Oil (can include infused oils)
  • 0-10% Cosmetic Butter
  • 5-8% Emulsifying Wax

Cooldown

  • 0-2% Active Botanicals (water-soluble, e.g. tincture or glycerite)
  • 0.5-2% Essential Oils (of your choice)
  • 1% Preservative (broad-spectrum)

My Recipe

Water

  • 70g Distilled Water or Hydrosol (rose is great)
  • 3g Glycerine (or other humectant)

Oils

  • 14g Carrier Oil (sweet almond or olive are good)
  • 5g Cosmetic Butter (I use shea butter)
  • 6g Emulsifying Wax

Cooldown

  • 0.5g Vitamin E (antioxidant)
  • 0.5g Essential Oils (I like lavender)
  • 1g Preservative (broad-spectrum)

Important: The preservative is an absolute must for this moisturizer recipe. The mixture of water and oil creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. There have been cases of people being blinded by improperly preserved skincare products. And no, more antioxidant (vitamin e) is not an acceptable substitute. Be safe and preserve your products properly.

Ok, here’s how to prepare this natural homemade moisturizer.

Method

Step 1: Place your carrier oils, emulsifying wax and any butters (also known as the oil phase) you may wish to use into a sterile heatproof beaker. In another beaker, pour your hydrosols or distilled water (also known as the water phase).

Be sure to add oil-soluble ingredients to the oil phase and water-soluble ingredients to the water phase. Also, be sure not to add an antioxidant-rich carrier oil (such as vitamin e) at this stage, as it is heat sensitive.

how to make a moisturizer

Step 2: Place the beakers into a water bath until the e-wax and any cosmetic butter have fully melted. While the water should be hot and may simmer, never allow it to boil. We want to heat our carrier oils and hydrosols gently so as not to spoil their lovely, skin-nourishing benefits.

This whole process should take about 15 minutes but may be longer depending on your ingredients and their temperature upon entry to the water bath.

Place both contains into a pan of simmering water

Step 3: Remove the beakers from the water bath and pour the water phase into the oil phase. While I have seen people suggest doing things the other way around, I thoroughly disagree with them. As oil is more viscous, it tends to cling to the sides of beakers more so than water.

By pouring the water instead of the oil, you will find it much easier to ensure all of your ingredients are being used and not end up down the sink with your dish soap.

As you pour the oil, be sure to stir the mixture continuously. Once all of the water has been poured into the oil, continue to stir to aid emulsion.

Step 5: After a few minutes of stirring, pour the glycerine or whatever humectant you are working with into the beaker holding your emulsion. Stir thoroughly.

Step 6: While continuing to stir as it cools, you will notice the cream will rapidly begin to thicken. However, to speed up the cooling process, you can place the beaker into a bowl of cold or icy water. Be sure not to allow any of the water to enter the beaker.

Step 7: Now we have reached cooldown, we can add our final ingredients. These will include your essential oils, vitamin e, and preservative. I must mention again that a preservative is absolutely essential in any form of skincare emulsion. The combination of water and oil creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

Step 8: Transfer the emulsion to your chosen container. For DIY moisturizers, I like to use a simple tinted glass or PET plastic pot. While you could use a pump bottle, I find these are more suited to a homemade body lotion.

Once transferred, the emulsion is likely to be still warm. Allow it to cool in its container until you apply the lid fully.

Spoon your moisturizer into your storage container

Some Great Examples Of Emulsion Recipes

About The Key Ingredients For DIY Moisturizers

Carrier Oils

Sweet almond oil

Carrier oils, while having benefits on their own, are there to carry the more active, potent ingredients that can not be used directly on the skin.

Essential oils and many active botanicals are an excellent example of this. When used directly, they can cause irritation and permanent sensitization. When diluted in carrier oil, they work in tandem to create a product that works fabulously and doesn’t irritate the user.

Many benefits of their own

However, as said, carrier oils have many benefits of their own. They’re also one of the main moisturizing agents in our DIY moisturizers. For instance, a facial oil may contain a mixture of sweet almond and apricot kernel oil, but also lavender essential oil.

The carriers here keep the skin moist and supple, whereas the Lavender essential oil will keep you looking young, even out skin tone, and help to restore blood flow. They have different jobs but work in harmony to help keep skin looking the best it can.

So, you can formulate a moisturizer using carrier oils that are right for your unique skin, as well as aiding in creating harmonious skincare products that work towards a single goal, as opposed to working against each other.

Essential Oils

best smelling essential oils

Essential oils are the potent extracts of various plants, flowers, spices, fruits, and even vegetables. They are usually extracted through a process of distilling, which also produces hydrosols. Because the extraction process produces quite a potent substance, these oils have powerful properties to bring about visible changes to our skin. On the flip side, however, they can be quite dangerous for this very same reason.

Essential oils, unlike carrier oils, can penetrate to the very deepest levels of our skin. There, they can go about doing different things, depending on the type of essential oil. However, they can also wreak havoc!

If used in high doses, essential oils can actually sensitize the skin, making it much easier for these oils to cause you irritation in the future. Furthermore, the different component chemicals in essential oils, while naturally occurring, are each a sensitizer in their own right. Everybody has different skin, and some just cannot tolerate any amount of a particular sensitizer. Some may even be allergic to them.

Using essential oils properly

Nevertheless, essential oils, if used properly, can be absolutely amazing in DIY moisturizers. While each oil has it’s guidelines set by IFRA, I recommend using it at around 2% in leave-on skincare products for the face. Nevertheless, certain essential oils may be too high at 2%, so be sure to check out what IFRA says.

Also, if you were to choose an essential oil that can be quite drying (lemon, for instance) and another oil that is great for hydrating (Lavender, as an example), these two oils would fight against one another, which cancels them both out. You are left with, essentially, a placebo product. Be mindful when choosing these oils; they are not just there for a nice-smelling finished product.

Cosmetic Butters

Beautiful shea butter in jar on table

Cosmetic butters are the natural extracts of various nuts, seeds, and kernels and, generally, tend to be solid at room temperature. These beautiful ingredients have unparalleled powers to nourish and soften skin. They’re even better than most carrier oils at leaving skin soft and smooth. However, their problem is that they are solid, and applying them to the skin can be difficult on their own.

Their inclusion in DIY face creams and lip balms, are an excellent application of this ingredient.

Remember, though, that its important not to use too much. I tend to use no more than 5% cosmetic butter, so as not to produce a cream or balm that is either too thick or too greasy. You could probably get away with more in a balm, though.

Active Botanicals

making green tea and cucumber eye gel  with green tea extract

Now, we come to the active botanicals. There are countless different types of active botanicals on the market today, all of which are extracts of various natural ingredients (plants, flowers, seeds, nuts, etc.). Their job, much like essential oils, is to bring about change in our skin for the better. Some speed up healing, others help to smooth skin. Many have powerful anti-aging properties!

However, they will all be either an infused oil, a liquid infusion, a tincture, or a glycerite. I tend not to use tinctures, as they contain alcohol, which can be drying, but let’s discuss the others.

Infused oils are great.

When you come to buy them, infused oils will likely be referred to as ‘something infused oil,’ for instance, Carrot Seed Infused Oil. However, some are listed simply as ‘extracts’, and a little investigation into the ingredients is necessary. If the ingredients section says nothing about ‘aqua’ or ‘alcohol,’ it will likely be oil-based. But if you’re unsure, check with the manufacturer or supply directly.

Infused oils can regularly be used in similar amounts as carrier oils, but not always, so check manufacturer guidelines. You may also not want to do this simply because oil infusions tend to be more expensive than ordinary carrier oils. Although they are similar to carrier oils, due to their heat-sensitive nature, it is best to use them at the cooldown phase if using them in a homemade moisturizer.

Glycerites

Glycerites are the water-based alternative to infused oils, although they are often more potent. They are suspended in glycerine, which is a humectant and is water-soluble. These should not be used in facial oil, balms, and oil-based serums but can be used in facial emulsions. Like with infused oils, they are often referred to simply as ‘extracts,’ but the supplier should tell you if it is glycerine or oil-based.

Store-bought glycerites can be quite potent, more so than the infused oils. Check with manufacturer guidelines, but I often use them at around 2%. Like infused oils, they are completely heat sensitive, so add at the cooldown phase.

Liquid Infusions

Now, a quick discussion on liquid infusions (also known as a herbal infusion). When you put a kettle on to boil and place a tea bag in your cup, you’re essentially preparing for a liquid infusion. That’s right, even ordinary tea can have a fancy name! A liquid infusion is essentially ordinary distilled water that has been brought up to a high temperature and left to infuse with various plants and flowers.

While you could buy liquid infusions, I tend to just make my own. If you are familiar with hydrosols, liquid infusions work and are used in a very similar manner. For instance, a liquid infusion could be used in place of distilled water in a facial emulsion. This could give you an extra kick for your homemade moisturizer. Unlike infused oils and glycerites, you need not worry about concentration beyond creating a good formula, as they are very mild on the skin.

However, it is important to note that liquid infusions can often affect the smell and color of a product. Unlike hydrosols, liquid infusions can become tinted and can smell of whatever you’ve infused with. In other words, they may affect the look and smell of an end product, so keep this in mind.

Waxes For Balms & Emulsions

beeswax for skincare

Waxes can play an important role in certain homemade moisturizers, namely balms and emulsions. But let’s talk about those separately as they’re a bit difficult.

In balms, the wax is included to form a barrier between your skin and the outside world. They’re thick, stick to the skin very well, and are completely waterproof. When we lick our lips, they become wet. As the saliva begins to evaporate, it carries with it much of the natural moisture, leaving the skin feeling quite dry. The wax in lip balm prevents this from happening, as a liquid cannot be evaporated through a waterproof layer.

It also serves to prevent nasty bacteria and dirt from getting in open cuts, scraps, and otherwise compromised skin. However, this can be counterproductive if the skin is not properly cleaned before a balm is applied, as the waterproof, thick layer of wax will allow bacteria and dirt to remain on a wound or the skin.

Beeswax & Candelilla wax

The main wax we use for balms is beeswax. It’s an absolutely amazing wax that even lends skin softening, moisturizing, and conditioning benefits. However, there is one problem with beeswax: it is not vegan.

With many people embracing the vegan movement, it can sometimes be hard to provide consumer products that are suitable for them. However, there is a totally vegan wax that works amazingly well: candelilla wax! Although it has double the stiffening power of beeswax, though, so be sure to use half as much for a similar consistency.

Emulsifying wax

emulsifying wax

Wax is also a very important functional ingredient in emulsions, although it is a very different kind of wax. Emulsifying wax, often simply known as e-wax, is a type of wax that binds water and oil molecules and allows them to exist harmoniously. Otherwise, the oil and wax just wouldn’t mix.

However, it is important to make use of an actual emulsifying wax. I’ve spoken to many people who have attempted to use ordinary beeswax as an emulsifier, with often very poor results. While there are very few emulsifying waxes that are truly natural, Olivem1000 comes close to being a natural e-wax. I use this whenever I can. However, when natural isn’t a concern, I’ll often use emulsifying wax NF or BTMS-50.

There are many different types of homemade moisturizers for you to try your hand at. While all of them are good, you use them in different ways and different proportions. One person may find using just one is enough for them. Another may require all of these products to fit their needs.

Final Thoughts

So there we have it: some great options to nourish your skin for years to come. If there’s one thing I want you to take away, if nothing else, is that moisturizing is so important.

If it weren’t, we wouldn’t have so many options to try. Moisturizing is literally the thing that stands between you and dry, wrinkled skin. And it’s not just for older women; young people and men can absolutely benefit from a daily homemade moisturizer.

Be kind to your skin and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

Author: Angela Wills

Title: Founder and Author - Savvy Homemade

Expertise: Beauty Recipes, Skincare Formulation, Soapmaking, DIY Crafts, Parenting

Bio:

Angela Wills is an author, founder, and the driving force behind Savvy Homemade. With over fifteen years of experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to every post she writes. She is fearlessly dedicated to creating tried and tested beauty recipes, skincare formulations, soap recipes, and many other DIY crafts that will work for everyone. Angela has a Diploma in Skincare Formulation, is a proud member of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild, and infuses each DIY product with her passion and expertise.

Join the conversation

Flipboard