Pour some sugar on me

I love emulsified sugar scrubs. I often make mine with a dash of a powdered surfactant like SCI or SLSa (or both) so that the scrub has some bubbles as well. I have been tweaking this scrub recipe for about a year now and I think I have it at a good place. It uses a lot of moisturizing shea butter and less liquid oils than some recipes, and I suggest you go with rich oils for your liquid oils like olive and sunflower. 

You can add micas to this to make it pretty and don’t worry; they won’t stain your skin in small quantities. You should also consider using a preservative if you’re going to store this in the bathroom, double dip in the container, or reach into it with wet hands. These things can introduce water and pathogens or mold spores to the batch and cause mold or germs to grow in the container. So definitely add the recommended amount of preservative.  I think I have Phenonip listed in the recipe but you should read up on what other preservatives safely work in anhydrous concoctions. I believe it’s Optiphen ND and Germaben II, but seriously, double check that. I’m sure the Phenonip works. I would have to research the other two to be safe but that’s where I would start if I didn’t want to use Phenonip. Personally, despite my dislike of parabens, I still find them more attractive than mold or pathogens. The usage rate is 1%. I’m willing to use 7g of Phenonip in this recipe which is a very small amount, to ward off mold and bacteria. 

Here’s the recipe and instructions. Please note: you can substitute salt for the sugar and make a salt scrub, and varying coarseness of salt will make different scrubbiness. I suggest 50/50 sea salt and a coarser salt for a foot scrub, and not going any further than that as it gets really abrasive and leaves micro tears in your skin that can lead to further injury and infection. Scrubs should be somewhat gentle. Stick with sugar for the body, and consider pulsing your sugar through the blender if making a face scrub so you are using microfine sugar. You don’t want to damage your skin, only exfoliate it. 

Sugar Scrub with Shea Butter

 Emulsified Sugar Scrub 

64g Olive Oil

62g sunflower oil

70g coconut oil

100g Emulsifying Wax- 50g each BTMS and Emulsifying Wax NF

62g Stearic Acid

62g Cetyl Alcohol

100g Shea butter 

285g White Granulated Sugar (10 Oz) 

2 Tsp Colorant (mica, or a few drops food coloring)  

7g Phenonip (add before dividing up to color and swirl) 

16g Of Essential Oil Or Fragrance Oil (4g per 8 oz jar)

Weigh the 100g of Emulsifing Wax and 62g. of Stearic Acid and 62g of Cetyl alcohol and place in stainless steel pan. 
Weigh the 100g. of Shea Butter and add to pot with waxes.

Place over low heat on stove until just melted.

Weigh 64g of Olive Oil, 62g of sunflower seed Oil, And 70g Of Melted Coconut Oil. Mix So Oils Stay Liquid. 

Add to the melted wax/butter mixture, stir gently and remove from stove. Pour melted mixture into liquid oils in separate bowl. With whisk or hand mixer, blend on low until ingredients have emulsified.

Let product cool down and thicken up. Keep mixing with whisk or hand mixer or stick blender. Honestly, I just use a whisk for all of this. 

Add 10 oz/285g of white granulated sugar and whisk in gently to incorporate.

Add 1/2-1 tsp of mica of your choice gradually until you achieve the desired color. There are micas and liquid colors that are available that are skin safe and tub safe. Pay attention when you order.   

Add 7g of Phenonip  and 16g. of the Fragrance Oil or Essentials and mix well. 

Chill For 15-30 Minutes For best results 

Blend with hand mixer until product gets fluffy and smooth.

Place product into jars, filling each to approximately 3/4 full. If more product remains divide up evenly.

Product will thicken up once it has completely cooled.

Place lids on the jars and label accordingly.

To Use: Scoop out a small amount of scrub and add a small amount of warm water. Mix together in your hand and then apply to wet skin. Rinse thoroughly, then pat dry.I

Ideally you don’t take the entire jar in the shower each time but scoop out what you will use into a separate container and use that, preventing water from getting into the main container as much as possible. Your product will last longer and be less likely to go bad this way (even with a preservative). Just to be safe it’s best to educate your customers to use the sugar scrub in this manner. 

This recipe makes 2- 16 oz jars or 4- 8 oz jars of sugar scrub. This last time I scented one jar with blueberry and benzoin upon request and the other jar with Jasmine, lavender, and sandalwood. They both smell great but totally different. One has purple mica; one has purple and blue mica to look more like blueberry. They are 16 oz “soup” take out containers that I have found are perfect for sugar scrubs. 

Super Shea Butter Lip Balm

So this is my FAVORITE lip balm. It works in a tube, or in a small pot (my preference). It’s rich and creamy and stays solid even after a day in a hot car or your pocket. I still love using lavender essential oil and cardamom essential oil for it with a pinch of stevia or Splenda, although rumor is you can even use a gram or two of honey and it will emulsify-but I haven’t tried that. I’m worried the honey will settle at the bottom. You can always use the flavored lip balm oils. I think they have a weird aftertaste but my granddaughter says they are fine, particular strawberry, so there’s that. 

Ultra Moisturizing Shea Butter Lip Balm

Makes 4-5 lip balms or small pots (5g)

4g beeswax

5g Shea Butter (raw or refined)

4g cocoa butter

4g calendula infused olive oil (one time I used infused coconut oil here and the results were fabulous)

4g avocado oil (or skip the olive oil and use 8g avocado oil)

5 drops Vitamin E oil

5-10 drops essential oils (I use lavender and cardamom but you could use spearmint or peppermint-I would only use 5 drops)

Weigh the oils and butters into a pyrex or other heat resistant measuring cup or double boiler. Melt and bring water to simmer; heat and hold 20 minutes to prevent future graininess. Add beeswax and melt through. Add vit E oil. Remove from heat add essential oil and pinch sweeter if desired. Warning: sweetner may make lip balm slightly gritty. 

Pour the melted lip balm into 4-5 tubes or pots and let cool. 

Ultra Rich easy Lip balm 

This past winter, another blog I follow put out a recipe for “Sticky Lip Balm”, which I tried and found too hard and not tacky enough or glidy enough to be useful. I understand it was meant to be thick and, well, sticky, but it was rock hard and left little to no residue on my lips so it didn’t work for me. 

But the idea stuck around in my head. How great would a two or three ingredient lip balm be?!? No measuring out liquid oils, and if it worked, maybe no shea butter and the potential graininess that you risk when you put shea into a product. I love my ultra moisturizing shea butter lip balm, but I’m open to change. 

Then I remembered cocoa butter, and how a simple pure cocoa butter bar can make a fabulous lotion bar and even an emergency lip balm. So I decided to swap some of the beeswax and coconut oil in the original recipe for cocoa butter. 

While I call this a three ingredient lip balm, it’s actually more like five but the last two are up to you. I suggest 5-10 drops of vitamin​ E oil to prevent oxidation of your oils and butters and combat rancidity, especially if it will take you awhile to get through the 4-5 lip balms this recipe makes. The final ingredients are essential oil(s), and you can use whatever lip safe, non-toxic oils you choose. Non-toxic means no tea tree or Wintergreen essential oils, please, and no citrus oils as they make you photosensitive and sunburned lips just sounds miserable. I use peppermint a lot, I’ve been known when doubling batches to use peppermint, camphor, and a few menthol crystals, and my other favorite is cardamom and lavender (with a pinch of stevia or crystal Splenda to sweeten, but just the tiniest amount). 

Here’s the recipe:

9g beeswax

9g extra virgin coconut oil

5g cocoa butter

5 drops vitamin E oil

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice. 

Melt coconut oil and cocoa butter in double boiler or in pyrex measuring cup set in saucepan filled with 1″ of water. Once water is at simmer, hold there x 20 min. This will reduce chances of graininess with your coconut oil. Add beeswax and melt through. Remove from heat, add Vitamin E oil and essential oils and stir well. Pour into lip balm tubes or tiny pots. Should make 4-5 lip balms. 

Things like Velcro, part three

About a year ago, I posted a recipe for a DIY anti-chafing balm that was simply carrier oils and cornstarch. It worked like a charm and left behind a powdery finish, after the oils would sink in. The bad part was that it separated badly and always needed to be remixed before using, which was messy and greasy, but it was such a great item that I used it up and then went on a quest to make it into a balm. 

I debated using beeswax to thicken it but I really didn’t want to lose that powdery finish and I was afraid beeswax would make it sticky. I decided to try using BTMS 225, an emulsifying wax I bought in error when I meant to order BTMS 50. Since then, I’ve made use of the cationic properties of the BTMS 225 for hair conditioner and used it to make things like solid perfumes and solid bug repellent (my recipe for a solid perfume or bug repellent is 33% olive oil, 33% beeswax, and 33% BTMS 225 plus whatever essential oils you’re planning to use for fragrance or bug repellent-this makes a balm you can easily scoop up with your finger that’s resistant to heat and doesn’t leave too much oily residue on the skin…but I digress). I’ve been very happy with the results of using BTMS 225 in things as an almost “substitute” for beeswax, and in this recipe, where the emulsifier is known for its powdery finish on the skin, and the corn starch and arrowroot powders leave a powdery and silky feel as well, it’s perfect. 

The balm gets kind of hard in the winter months in the jar and I have to use the back of my fingernail to scrape some up and the heat of my palm to soften it before applying it to my inner thighs or under my bra wires where I get the worst chafing when I work out. But this stuff works great. And it never separates! The oil and powder stay “emulsified”, trapped and blended together no matter what. I think if you remelted it back down completely it would separate, but that’s it. Otherwise, it’s been fantastic! Mine is in a wide mouth Mason jar, so I can get my hand in there and scoop it out easily. In the past I’ve used various essential oil blends like rosemary, lavender, and tea tree (all skin friendly oils) but this time I chose a fun fragrance oil from Brambleberry that’s a dupe of Juicy Couture, and smells amazing. Because it’s summer, I’m slathering this stuff on pretty heavy on days I wear sundresses and I’ve gotten a few compliments on the scent now. I probably put too much fragrance oil in the balm, so keep that in mind when you make yours. Perhaps start with one gram of fragrance oil or essential oils totalling one gram and work up from there instead of two grams. 

Here’s the recipe: 

35g Emulsifying wax (you can use any complete emulsifying wax, Emulsifying Wax NF, Ecomulse, Polawax, etc. I chose BTMS 225 and I’m very happy with it, and I definitely think it has perks as a cationic conditioning product that adheres to our skin and makes it softer). 

35g Mango butter (I definitely suggest you use mango butter and NOT shea butter or cocoa butter. Cocoa butter will be too hard. Shea butter will be too greasy)

35 g fractionated coconut oil (also known as medium chain triglyceride oil. You can substitute any lightweight, fast absorbing, and ideally “dry” oil. Good choices would be hazelnut, hemp, camellia, grapeseed, or rosehip). 

35g arrowroot powder

35g cornstarch. (You can definitely use all one or the other. I hope they bring different properties to the final product so I keep using both, but I suspect that is just my wishful thinking and it really doesn’t matter)

2g essential oils (Once again I suggest you start at 1g and test the scent, then add more if you need to. When I did the essential oil blends, I needed the full 2g, but I probably could have gotten by with just 1g of this fragrance oil this time). 

Melt your mango butter and emulsifying wax together in a double boiler or in the microwave on half power (a Pyrex measuring cup or bowl works well in the microwave). Once everything is melted, whisk in the fractionated coconut oil briskly. It should solidify reasonably quickly. It will set up faster if you move it to a fresh bowl. Whisk in the corn starch and arrowroot powder. Whisk until smooth. Add essential oils or fragrance oil of choice. Whisk til incorporated. Scoop into wide mouth Mason jar or other container and allow to set up a few hours before using. 

Because this is a anhydrous product-doesn’t contain water-and is in no risk of becoming contaminated with water, there’s no need to use a preservative. You can add 10 drops of vitamin E oil or rosemary antioxidant if you want to extend the shelf life and retard rancidity, but honestly it’s quite stable as is and should last a year. If it begins to smell like rotten nuts or antique crayons, or anything else weird, it’s gone off and you should chuck it and make a fresh batch. If it gives you peace of mind to include a preservative, I recommend Optiphen ND or Phenonip and the suppliers suggested rate.  

Manly men

I’ve been developing new scents for beard oil, and reformulating scent combinations that are inspired by stuff I’ve read in other places or off labels of store brands. I’m sharing my beard oil recipe here, and a few of those essential oil combinations that you can mix up to make manly scented beard oil. 

Beard oil is unique. It consists of a light, “dry” oil that is fast absorbing, an oil like hemp or avocado (or you could use both!) that are packed with vutamins A, E, and awesome fatty acids, and I like to add broccoli seed oil-which is unique itself -because it contains natural silicone for extra shine and to keep beard hair healthy. In addition, I use castor oil, a thick, glossy oil that adds a lot of shine and richness to the beard and helps add a little “weight” to the oil to tame frizziness. The oil has no wax or other sticky product in it to otherwise tame fly away stray hairs, so the weight of the castor oil has to do all the heavy lifting as far as control. If you are looking for something to actually shape a beard,you might be better off with beard balm, which has wax in it and can help give form and texture to the hair. The oil is pretty much strictly for conditioning and moisturizing; there’s not really anything here that can offer any hold. I

You can use a premade men’s fragrance oil like Yacht Club, Made to Measure, or Fierce (all from Brambleberry and all just utterly awesome smelling-Brambleberry has a great selection of men’s fragrance oils but I can’t rave enough about these three, they are awesome and I strongly suggest you buy samples of them to try) or you can use an essential oil blend. One of my best sellers is a coffee blend. My other two popular ones are cedarwood and bergamot. I will list the directions below. 

Beard Oil Base (1 oz, double for 2 oz bottle)

5g fractionated coconut oil

6g hempseed oil or avocado oil (or 3g each) 

5g broccoli seed oil (you can substitute jojoba oil) 

6g castor oil

4 drops vitamin E oil or rosemary antioxidant
Coffee essential oil blend:

15 drops coffee essential oil or coffee fragrance oil. I like Brambleberry’s espresso fragrance oil for this recipe. 

7 drops balsalm fir essential oil

3 blobs benzoin, warm benzoin bottle in hot water bath before pouring 

7 drops palmarosa essential oil

3 drops vetiver essential oil
Bergamot essential oil blend:

5 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops rosemary essential oil

12 drops cedarwood essential oil

10 drops bergamot essential oil

4 drops clove essential oil

4 drops nutmeg or allspice essential oil
Cedarwood essential oil blend: 

9 drops tea tree essential oil

9 drops bergamot essential oil

3 drops vetiver essential oil

15 drops cedarwood essential oil

Cough, Sneeze, Sniffle…go camping

I leave tomorrow for a week long camping trip, and because I didn’t have enough stuff to do to get ready to go, I decided to catch a little bit of a cold before I went. I’m blaming the husband, I definitely caught his cold, and it’s all his fault. So I’m taking a minute to drink hot tea and write this. But since I only have time for comfort care, and no time to lay around and be sick, I whipped up an essential oil roller pen filled with great stuff to relieve my stuffy nose and take the edge off my sniffles. You could use this blend in an essential oil diffuser; just leave out the menthol crystal and add a little more peppermint. Be sure to check the safety of the oils if you’ve got young children, there’s some question about peppermint and children under age 2. Better to be safe than sorry. Robert Tisserand has a great website about essential oil safety, and several books. He’s my go to guy. 

This makes a 10 ml roller bottle, and while I topped mine off with high proof vodka, you could also use perfumery alcohol-if you can find it-or a lightweight, fast absorbing carrier oil like grapeseed or sunflower. I like having cheap vodka around for projects like this (sure, you say, I can imagine you rolling your eyes now; but it’s McCormick vodka and not fit to drink) and it’s good for aftershaves as well. Buying the cheapest insures we won’t drink it and it stays dedicated for DIY projects. It’s 150 proof or about 75% alcohol, so it’s perfect in all kinds of projects that would normally require rubbing alcohol but where I don’t want that rubbing alcohol smell.

Here’s the recipe: 

Essential Oil Cold and Allergy Roller

30 drops eucalyptus essential oil

30 drops peppermint essential oil

20 drops clove essential oil

10 drops wintergreen essential oil

10 drops lime essential oil

10 drops lemon essential oil

10 drops cajeput essential oil

10 drops tea tree essential oil

5 drops rosemary

Three menthol crystals approximately the size of pencil erasers

High proof alcohol (70% minimum or 140 proof or  70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, perfumery alcohol, etc.)


Lightweight carrier oil with low scent that’s fast absorbing like grapeseed, sunflower, or safflower. 

10ml glass roller bottle. Although there are plastic roller bottles and they can be slightly less expensive, I suggest you use glass with this high concentration of essential oils. 

Count out the drops of essential oils into your roller bottle, then add the menthol crystals. This should fill it about halfway full, maybe a little more depending on how large your menthol crystals were. Don’t panic, in other words.  

Use a small funnel, an eyedropper, or a pipette to fill up the roller bottle with the alcohol or oil. Add the roller ball and cap. Shake gently to combine. The menthol crystals will dissolve in about 30 minutes. 

Once the menthol crystals have fully dissolved, shake well, then roll over neck and shoulders, across temples, and down chest. Inhale deeply to clear the sinuses and relax. Enjoy! Feel better soon! 

This will last about a year before it loses its potentcy. If you use oils and not alcohol, they may turn rancid so watch for any off smells that might indicate old oil. Otherwise, use it up in that time frame! Makes one (1) 10 ml roller pen. 



Rosehip Oil Anti-Aging Moisturizer

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. 

Ingredient list:

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 LotioncraftersMaking 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.

1 g Chamomile extract; helps with inflammation, available at Lotioncrafters and Making Cosmetics.

1g rosemary extract; overall just awesome for your skin. Read about it at Point of Interest or find it at Making Cosmetics.

2g Green tea extract; helps with redness in the skin, also available at Lotioncrafters or The Personal Formulator.

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.