This moisturizer was created out of desperation and need. I had a little jar of an anti-aging moisturizer I made last fall, but as homemade DIY things don’t have the shelf life of store bought items, it finally separated on me and went bad. I wasn’t especially heartbroken, though. I had really never liked the scent- I used the same percentage of essential oils like you would for body lotion and it was too strong for a face cream-and I know a lot more now about making skin care, so this new moisturizer is pretty awesome by comparison. I included all the skin loving ingredients I could find that are rumored to be helpful to aging skin. The harsh truth is that I’m starting to show my age. Why not help that with some anti-wrinkle ingredients, some eye care solution, and ALL the humectants and skin penetrating perks like silk peptides, right?
This is another long, comprehensive post…but I’m including recipes, one for this awesome moisturizer exactly as I made it. I’m also including a recipe for a basic moisturizing cream in case you want to make one but need to know where to start without the fancy additives and cosmeceuticals. In addition, I’m including links to all the different ingredients I’m discussing for this recipe, so be sure to click on those links of the items you are interested in; you’ll get more information on them and also see where to purchase them. I suggest researching everything you aren’t familiar with to expand your lotion and cream making know how, as many of the additives mentioned in this post are useful when making body lotion, hand or foot cream, and wash off items like surfactant based face wash and bubble bath. Once again: I’m attaching those links about each ingredient so you all can determine what you can and can’t live without if you decide to make this moisturizer. Lotioncrafters is a good place to read up on most of these ingredients; so is The Personal Formulator. You can also just do a Google search on any of the ingredients, read up on them through Wikipedia, or better yet, check out Point of Interest. Down in the far right hand column on that blog is a list of ingredients or there’s a search bar in the upper left corner you can use to search for ingredients by name. You should be able to find nearly everything I list here on the Point of Interest website; she’s very comprehensive. Investigate away! And while you may laugh at reading up on ingredients online, you’ll find that places like Wikipedia and The Environmental Group’s Skin Deep offer information you can’t find elsewhere. Do I think you need to search every possible source about every possible ingredient? Definitely get some basic information about each one, then read up more on stuff you actually plan to use.
A couple of things. I measure my powdered ingredients in teaspoons, but I estimate their weights as being 1/4th tsp=”not enough to count alone”, but add up all your amounts and judge accordingly, 1/2 tsp=1g, and 1 tsp=2g. That lets me know how much water to take out so my final product roughly equals the correct grams. In this case it’s 120g or 4 ounces finished product. My much more responsible suggestion is to purchase a scale (a jewelry scale is appropriate) that goes down to .001g and weigh your dry ingredients so you can measure more accurately. They only run between $10-30 for a decent one; I just haven’t invested in one yet so I’m still estimating. Bad, bad me. (Note to self: Buy a tiny scale already, girl!) Of course you’ll need your handy dandy, everyday use, digital scale that measures down to 1g for these recipes. I use an Ozeri scale that costs about $15 on Amazon, and it’s perfect. You have to clean it gently- it can’t get water in the internal parts-but Clorox wipes are amazing at getting it sparkling clean, unless I spill melted beeswax on it. That requires a scraper and elbow grease, lol.
I usually stick with more natural sounding ingredients in my products, and fewer cosmeceuticals or potential humectants because that’s what people seem to want. However, when I’m making stuff for myself I’m less concerned with the label appeal of “natural” and”all natural”, and more concerned with results. Ideally, I think that’s how it should always be, with safety, efficacy, and to some degree cost being the reasons to include an ingredient over whether or not it “sounds natural”. There are perfectly safe synthetic ingredients to use that will greatly add to how amazing your end product is, and yet some people still freak out if an ingredient sounds “chemical”. Chemicals are scary to some people. Cetyl alcohol and stearic acid are safe and effective fatty alcohols-check Skin Deep- and they help as secondary emulsifiers. They thicken up your concoction and can make it more glidy on the skin. They are inexpensive to buy, and in lotions or creams like this, a little goes a long way. We are using cetyl alcohol at approximately 4%, or you can substitute half that (2g) for stearic acid. I also used two specialty ingredients from Lotioncrafters: their Wrinkle Defense Complex and Eyeseryl Solution B , which I discuss below. You can leave one or both of those out if you choose. They are both perfectly safe in my estimation but I understand if you want fewer synthetic ingredients in your moisturizer.
Also, if you aren’t concerned about getting anti aging benefits and just want a bad ass moisturizer, you can substitute out your carrier oil. Rosehip oil is recommended for anti-aging because of its retinol content, and it’s high vitamin levels. However, you can trade an equally awesome oil like avocado oil or grapeseed oil for the rosehip oil, and you can leave out the Lotioncrafter’s Anti Wrinkle Defense Serum if you’re not interested in making it “anti-aging”. That would significantly cut your cost down. Other great facial oils are argan oil and evening primrose oil, but they are both more expensive “luxury oils”. They are, however, great for your skin, packed with all the variations of E, some A, and essential fatty acids your skin can use. If you’re acne prone or have excessively oily skin, try leaving out the mango butter (or any butter!) and use a combination of hemp oil or isopropyl myristate (in place of the mango butter- Isopropyl myristate is a synthetic oil substitute that will make your lotion dryer and less greasy) and ideally hazelnut oil (in place of the rosehip oil) . Be sure to go ahead with cetyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol and stearic acid, or possibly try fractionated coconut oil for a light, less oily finish. Some other potential oil substitutions include using avocado oil or even extra virgin olive oil for dry skin, as they are heavier, richer oils that are also vitamin packed with A and E. You can also increase how much butter you’re using and decrease how much liquid oil if you have very sensitive, very dry skin. Unless you have an allergy to latex, I would use shea butter for sensitive skin. If you need a more economical substitute for rosehip oil that’s versatile for other things-and good for all skin types, actually -but is still full of great anti-aging benefits, you can try apricot kernel oil. I can’t rave enough about apricot kernal oil. I seriously considered using it but I had rosehip oil that’s reaching the end of it’s shelf life and it needed to be used up. Buy your short shelf life oils in small bottles and store them someplace cool and dark – the fridge is good if you have room. Besides, rosehip is a “dry” oil, leaving a less greasy finish on the skin. Both rosehip and apricot kernel oil have linoleic acid and oleic acids that helps repair damaged skin. You can also substitute shea or sal butter for the mango butter, pretty much always in my recipes, but you do get a slightly greasier product, and sal butter is pretty expensive and hard to source. Raw shea butter is preferred over processed unless you simply hate the smell of raw shea, and could work great as it has excellent skin healing ability according to multiple sources. I went with mango butter, looking for something slightly less greasy and faster absorbing, but it’s a personal preference. Use whatever you have; it’s a very small amount of butter but it thickens the end product and makes it more emollient. Assuming you’re using the cetyl alcohol, you could even substitute virgin coconut oil for the butter in this recipe. If you’re not using the cetyl alcohol, I wouldn’t go that route, as that’s a lot of coconut oil for this style moisturizing cream. So you see there’s a lot of flexibility allowed in the ingredients; just try and do what will work for your skin. Take careful notes so you can replicate this in the future, as the cream seems to be good for 6-12 months before you have to make fresh.
This makes such a thick, creamy product that I put it into a travel sized lotion bottle (look in the travel section of Wal-Mart or Target to find these bottles- they run about $1 each. It would be expensive if you were making this product to sell, but I expect you could use plastic or glass 4oz jars in that case (you can find jars on Amazon, but I have found packaging to be cheapest at Bulk Apothecary. I do not sell this product because it’s illegal for me to make certain claims about my products, and I could only ever call this face cream- I wouldn’t be able to say “anti-aging” or “anti-anything ” without catching the attention of the FDA. So I’ll give you the recipe and you can make it yourself!
I don’t expect ANYONE to have all these additives and fun ingredients. I’ve had over a year of making stuff to acquire all these ingredients and I can’t imagine going and buying them all at once. Of course, you can and should buy what will serve you best and you’ll still spend less per ounce than a you would from a jar of moisturizer from someplace like Estee Lauder, Clinique, or L’Occitane. You’ll also be customizing your lotion for your skin, so you can leave out things that are in commercial moisturizers but aren’t right for you while adding exactly what you want and need. I will attempt to describe a little about each ingredient as we go through the ingredients list, and you can determine if you really need it. I will also give links on good places to source these ingredients. For the record, I buy my oils at Bulk Apothecary or WSP (very occasionally Amazon if it’s significantly cheaper or I only need a small quantity, like for Rosehip oil-I purchased 4 oz of the NOW brand and stored it someplace dark and cool). I suggest you read up on ingredients that are interesting to you on either LotionCrafters or The Personal Formulator’s website (there will be the links I’m giving you, and they will go straight to the ingredient in question). This will tell you what the ingredient does, and what concentration to use it in. I tend to use maximum strengths of most ingredients, but if you have sensitive skin you may opt for a lower percentage in your lotion or cream. Lactic acid is the perfect example. It’s a great AHA or alpha-hydroxy acid, and can be used between 2-5%. It’s useful for fine lines and wrinkles, and back when I had cystic acne I found AHA’s to be beneficial (other AHA’s and BHA’s include citric acid or salicylic acid, which are both commonly used in store bought acne preparations and can definitely be added here according to manufacturing guidelines if you choose; you can find citric acid about anywhere online and get salicylic acid at The Personal Formulator. I use lactic acid at 5% of my recipe, give or take, and I am not having any adverse effects. However, if I had sensitive skin I wouldn’t use it any higher than 2%. So, my point now is that there is great information on ingredients out there. Another place to look is at Point of Interest. Once again, at the bottom right hand of the main page there you can find a great list of different ingredients. Lotioncrafters has a variety of anti-aging products you can read up on as well as the one I chose for my moisturizer. A good example is Antarcticine. Proven in studies to increase collagen production and increase cell turnover, both of which can help with reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s a great addition to your moisturizer, but I went with the Wrinkle Defense instead. Why? Personal preference.
Here’s the recipe for the complex moisturizer. Please bear with me; I want you to be able to educate yourself about these ingredients and also know where to buy them. The highlighted words are hyperlinks that will take you directly to either an informational website or a place to purchase or both.
This moisturizing cream comes out with a pH of 6.0, which is slightly acidic. That’s a good thing; you have an acid mantle on your skin that you want to keep healthy. If you have sensitive skin, use the lower recommended values of things like ascorbic acid and the lactic acid or leave them out completely; decide that based on how much exfoliation you think your skin needs. If you choose to add MORE acidic ingredients like more alpha-hydroxy acids or beta-hydroxy acids (salicylic acid for example), or as an example fruit acid complex (sometimes called “multi -fruit” and a good addition or substitution for lactic acid), be aware that your niacinamide won’t be as effective as it prefers a pH of at least 6 to work. If your overall pH drops below that, niacinamide is not very effective and you’re wasting money by using it. You could just leave it out at that point, or you can research how to pH balance your recipe and add TEA-which is a base-to bring the pH closer to neutral. Learning this stuff about each ingredient is important to understand how they all work together. It’s easy to get overwhelmed as you click on each link and read about the ingredients, but I suggest you make notes on a separate sheet of paper about which ingredients sound like they would be useful for your skin type and price check them. Most of these ingredients are available in small amounts for $6-10, but realize that means you could drop $60-100 easily buying a bunch of awesome additives. If that’s sticker shock to you, research how much a high end, luxury moisturizer costs. The one closest to this recipe is by L’Occitane, isn’t even available locally (because we don’t have anywhere snooty enough to carry L’Occitane) and goes for $130/1 ounce. This recipe makes 4 ounces, with plenty of ingredients left over to make another batch in 6 months when I might need a fresh batch. Also, please include the vitamin C or ascorbic acid if you can. It boosts the efficacy of other ingredients and is just so great for your skin. But get the kind meant for cosmetics from one of the listed sources and not oral vitamin C, which often is bonded to other molecules and fillers in tablets to make it less harsh on your stomach. Grinding up a vitamin C tablet won’t give you the same results as using l-ascorbic acid from Lotioncrafters. Vitamin C powder off Amazon is actually more expensive than from a cosmetics supplier, and still may have fillers bonded to it.
I will be using the format for lotions as described in my lotion making tutorial. If you’ve never made lotion, please go to my blog posts on lotion making and read up on the process before tackling this complicated lotion. But don’t panic; it’s the extensive ingredients list that makes this complicated, not the process of making lotion itself.
Rosehip Anti-Aging Moisturizer: 120g or 4 oz. As previously mentioned, I store mine in a travel sized hand cream tube. A four oz jar would work as well, but avoid a standard pump bottle as you’ll find this too thick for a pump bottle. An airless pump bottle might be effective, but I have found they are hard to find in 4 oz sizes and are quite expensive. As always, be sure to apply to clean, dry skin with clean, dry hands. I use it at least once a day, and twice a day if I take a shower in the evening.When summer gets here, I will apply a small amount of sunblock on top of my moisturizer once it has sunken in and is “dry”.
Oils phase: 37g; only so high due to the Teprenone -otherwise would be 30-31g or 25% of the total weight. However the Teprenone is an oil soluble additive that must be included here.
8g emulsifier. I used 4g BTMS 225 (I have some that I ordered by accident, but BTMS 50 would be fine, too) and 4g Ecomulse, because I wanted the cationic conditioning benefits of BTMS and the powdery finish of Ecomulse. You can use whatever complete emulsifier you have or sub in another emulsifying system at the recommended amount (example: stearic acid and TPS, or any “all natural” combo that’s out there. I can’t help you with co-emulsifier systems, but there’s information online-but be sure to adjust your water to compensate). I prefer complete emulsifiers. I buy my emulsifier from Brambleberry or LotionCrafters.
1g vitamin e oil. I suggest you use either the vit E oil or rosemary oleoresin as an antioxidant for the rosehip oil-and other oils you might choose, like grapeseed -in this recipe. Adding an anti-oxidant is just a good idea, period. Rosehip oil has a short shelf life that’s extended with a good anti-oxidant. If you choose to leave it out, add 1g more of your main oil. You can purchase Vitamin E oil every where, from Bulk Apothecary to Amazon and pretty much anywhere else. I actually used 1g each vitamin E oil and rosemary oleoresin, but one or the other is sufficient.
5g mango seed butter or butter of your choice. Also, consider isopropyl myristate or hemp oil if making this for acne prone skin or skin that’s extremely oily. I got my mango butter from Bulk Apothecary.
12g rosehip oil. As previously discussed, you can substitute many different oils as desired or even make a blend of 6g each of two different oils. I buy my oils almost exclusively at Bulk Apothecary. However, sometimes it’s difficult to source luxury oils there, and that’s when I turn to Amazon. Be sure to store your luxury oils like rosehip, argan, and evening primrose oil in a cool dark place-your fridge is great!
4g cetyl alcohol; optional….kind of. I really recommend using it as it’s an inexpensive fatty alcohol that is light and glides nicely along the skin, leaving a silky and non-oily finish. You can substitute half of that as stearic acid if you want a richer, thicker cream-you may need to decant to a jar and not a lotion bottle. If you absolutely don’t have or want to use cetyl alcohol, consider using fractionated coconut oil or even regular, extra virgin coconut oil. You’ll get a nicer, less oily, skin feel with the fractionated coconut oil but both lend good fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to the final product. Fractionated coconut oil is often called MCT or medium chain triglycerides. Look for it by both names at Bulk Apothecary, and you can get cetyl alcohol off Amazon or Lotioncrafter.
6 g Teprenone; from Making Cosmetics. This skin rejuvenation additive is awesome, but I can’t find it anywhere else. See the Making Cosmetics website for more information.
Water phase Final: 60g
1 tsp silk peptides; counts as 2g and you can substitute whatever silk you have or just leave it out (adjust your water accordingly!) I bought my silk peptides off Amazon forever ago, and it was expensive but I got a huge Mason jar full. You can get a bottle of silk amino acids and sub in 3-5g from LotionCrafters.
1/4 tsp niacinamide; also known as B3, this vitamin helps with cell rejuvenation and repairs damage- counts as nothing since there’s so little of it. This ingredient I purchased from Making Cosmetics. It’s one of the first additives I ever bought and I use it in all my lotions for myself, as it’s so good for your skin. I believe you can get it cheaper from Lotioncrafters but shipping may be higher so weigh the difference.
1/2 tsp allantoin; often synthesized from comfrey root, this ingredient helps protect against wind chafing and is anti-inflammatory- counts as 1g. I also purchased this from Making Cosmetics, but it’s available at Lotioncrafters and The Personal Formulator. This is another additive I bought early on to add to lotions and diaper rash cream-it makes a difference!
1/2 tsp aloe vera powder; an alternative is to use aloe vera juice in place of some or all of your water-I suggest 50%-but I wanted to use oat milk in this product (directions below) and add the aloe powder. Some aloe powders are expensive, like the 100x or 200x, but I just use basic strength aloe vera powder- counts as 1g. I purchased mine off Amazon but the 100x and 200x powders are available at Lotioncrafters, Making Cosmetics, and The Personal Formulator. While they may seem expensive, they are very convenient over using liquid aloe and a small amount goes a long way.
1 tsp vitamin C powder, known as L-ascorbic acid. This is an antioxidant that has been proven in studies to be anti-inflammatory, and that can stimulate collagen formation and heal skin. It also boosts the efficacy of other ingredients; see Point of Interest. Counts as 2g.
5g caffeine extract; available at The Personal Formulator, this ingredient stimulates your skin cells, tightens your skin, and if you apply the cream around your eyes, it can help with bags and dark circles. In the past I’ve simply dissolved two caffeine tablets (jet alert tabs) in the hot water and I honestly don’t feel any difference. Both ways I get a little tingle from my moisturizer and it seems effective on my eyes. I’m going to make eye gel soon with caffeine so watch for that!
5g sodium lactate; sodium lactate is a cheap and awesome humectant and film former. I use it in everything from homemade soap-both cold and hot process-to lotions like this. It comes as a powder that you make into a 60% solution by combining 60g of powder with 40g of boiling water and stirring until dissolved, or you can buy the 60% solution. Try Brambleberry for the premade solution, or Lotioncrafters for the cheaper powder. In this lotion I’m using sodium lactate and not glycerin; you could substitute glycerin here if you already have it.
2 g hyaluronic acid; naturally occurring in your skin, this molecule decreases with age. There’s some evidence that applying it topically makes a difference, and I figure every little bit helps. It’s available at both Lotioncrafters in many variations, and The Personal Formulator.
5g lactic acid; covered above: mine came from The Personal Formulator.
10g witch hazel; I use alcohol free Thayer’s witch hazel, and buy it locally. I know alcohol free witch hazel is widely available online and possibly close to you. Definitely get alcohol free, though.
24g fresh oat milk (directions below) or 50% aloe vera juice and 50% freshly boiled water, a hydrosol, or a nice tea like bamboo. You can find aloe vera juice in the laxative aisle of your local store. (Keep refrigerated after opening). Making oat milk will require 1 tbsp whole oats.
Cool down 20g
1g Liquid Germall plus or preservative of your choice at the recommended amount. I do not recommend Optiphen ND as it can break emulsions and I’ve had bad luck with it ruining more than one lotion on me.
8g Wrinkle Defense Additive (Lotioncrafters); you really should just click the link and read about how awesome this is. I bought a bottle for my last moisturizer, justifying it by saying I was making a salon quality product at 1/4th the L’Occitane price or less. I’ve been very happy with the results from using this product.
3 g honeyquat; this is a cationic quatenary polymer. This means it is positively charged and binds to our negatively charged hair and skin to offer conditioning and moisturizing. It’s a humectant, and of course you can always use one. It’s also cool that it’s derived from honey but is a clear amber liquid and not sticky at all. You can pick it up and read about it on Lotioncrafters.
3g oat protein hydrolyzed; this is a humectant and film former, and leaves behind a silky after feel. You can use it at up to 5%, but I use a little less due to cost. I think if I had dry or sensitive skin I would use the full 5%. A good alternative would be phytokeratin, which is a smaller molecular and absorbs into the skin even better, but I was out. Hydrolyzed oat protein can be found at Lotioncrafters, they also carry vegekeratin, a vegetable sourced keratin that’s awesome.
5-10 drops chamomile essential oil (good for redness and inflammation)
5-10 drops rosemary essential oil (great for skin)
5-10 drops lavender essential oil (a good skin essential oil)
5-10 drops frankincense essential oil (said to be anti-aging)
5-10 drops cypress essential oil (optional, but said to be excellent for under the eye bags and dark circles)
5-10 drops helichrysum essential oil (definitely optional, due to cost, but smells lovely and is said to be anti-aging. I’ve found it cheapest off Amazon, but you run risks buying essential oil off Amazon. You don’t know the purity level; is it cut with a carrier oil or a blend of essential oils? However, the savings may justify the purchase).
Why are all these 5-10 drops? Well, you could definitely use 10 drops of each if you were making body lotion. However, I like stuff on my face To be lightly scented. So start with 5 drops, whisk, and add more-1 drop of everything, then whisk, sniff-and continue until it’s ok. Don’t overdo it. Essential oils are strong, you don’t need a lot to reap the benefits. Also, if you have an essential oil blend you prefer, use that. Just avoid citrus essential oils as they are photo-toxic and you could end up with a nasty sunburn.
Where do I buy essential oils? I buy them from Bulk Apothecary, Brambleberry, and I buy the NOW brand off Amazon frequently because they are affordable and smell awesome. They even carefully state if their oils are a blend, like their Jasmine oil is definitely not pure Jasmine oil but a blend. So watch that. If all you’re after is the fragrance, blended oils are great.If you want the beneficial effects, it’s better to get the pure essential oils.
Make as if making a standard lotion. Place your oil phase ingredients in one (1 cup) glass measuring cup and put your water (double the amount of water to make oat milk!) in another. Set both cups in a shallow, flat bottom saucepan and add enough water to the pan to come up about 1″ from the bottom of the cups. Set to simmer, and once the water in the cup is simmering as well, set a timer for 2 0 min.
Prepare the oat milk by removing the boiled water from the saucepan and adding 1 tbsp whole oats. Let sit 20 min. Strain, reserving oat water and measuring out 21g. Add remaining water phase ingredients to oat water (milk) and return to heat briefly until the same temperature as the oils.
Mix the oils and water phase in a separate, room temperature bowl, and whisk thoroughly. Keep whisking gently at intervals until lotion reaches room temperature. Add cool down phase ingredients and whisk to combine. Decant to a squeeze bottle or jar. This will be too thick for a pump bottle.
I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and I love how it feels. It’s packed with humectants, so you have to apply it very lightly if planning to wear make up or your skin will get sticky quickly. That’s probably it’s one flaw. If I had to make it again, I would choose silk peptides and leave out sodium lactate, or maybe leave out both since there’s so many other film formers in this. Adding glycerin instead of some of the humectants is also an option. Anyways, I would go with just one. However, right now while it’s so dry, it feels awesome. Where I live, even during the damp spring season, my skin needs a good moisturizer, and it’s terrible in the winter.
Here’s a recipe for a basic skin cream, if you want something conditioning and moisturizing but not as complicated as the previous recipe. It still contains a few things I think everyone who makes lotion should have, and you can find those ingredients at Lotioncrafters or Bulk Apothecary.
Skin cream (95g, or 3.5 oz)
Oils phase (31g)
7g BTMS 50 or other complete emulsifier
7g shea butter
4g cetyl alcohol (or fractionated coconut oil)
1g vitamin e oil
12g rich oil like apricot kernel, avocado, or even olive oil (consider infusing your oils with calendula -directions below)
Water phase (58g)
5g vegetable glycerin OR honey. Honey is a great humectant and useful if you don’t have glycerin
25g aloe vera juice; or 1/4tsp aloe vera powder and 25g freshly boiled water.
28g freshly boiled water; you can also make oat milk as described above.
Cool down phase (6g)
1g preservative like Liquid Germall Plus. I’m using this at slightly higher the recommended rate because we have ingredients like honey, aloe and oat milk which are prone to spoilage.
2g vegekeratin or hydrolyzed protein. If you choose a hydrolyzed protein, you can go with rice, baobob, oat or wheat. Read up on them all and pick the one that works for you, or choose the keratin which is very versatile
2g Green tea extract. The benefits of this are worth the investment. You can use it up to 5g if you prefer.
1g (20 drops) essential oils of your choice. For something simple, use just chamomile essential oil.
Read previous directions on how to make oat milk and lotion. This one will also be too thick to store in a pump top bottle; I recommend the hand cream bottle or a jar. Remember to use clean, dry hands to apply to reduce the chance of introducing pathogens into the jar.
Once you’re comfortable making a cream, you can change it to something more like I’ve written the first time. This basic cream with humectants would still do a great job of moisturizing your skin, but I would be more inclined to use it as a hand cream since its lacking all the skin treats of the first version. Create your own facial moisturizer using ingredients you choose for your skin type.