Aloe Vera Skin Cream Recipe
All natural aloe vera skin cream recipe and DIY instructions. Ingredients include fresh aloe vera, sweet almond oil, rose-hip oil, and creamy shea butter
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Filled with skin-loving oils and extracts, this is a face lotion that I use daily. It’s perfect for those with normal to oily skin and is made with all-natural ingredients. It’s very sensitive and also easy and inexpensive to make. The ingredients include aloe vera which you can scrape from the leaf of your own plant. If you don’t have one, use store-bought gel. Aloe is a gentle astringent that helps soothe inflammation and reduce redness. You’ll probably know of its use on sunburns but it makes a fantastic aloe vera skin cream too.
The oils in the recipe are sweet almond, a light oil that’s commonly used in massage, rose hip seed oil, rich in anti-oxidants and used in anti-aging formulas, and shea butter, a rich and creamy solid oil.
Aloe Vera Skin Cream Recipe
The ingredients below are listed in three phases and together they’ll make a 120ml (4.1oz) bottle of aloe face cream. These are three distinct groups of ingredients that will be added at different parts of the process. The main oils are grouped into the ‘Oil Phase’, the water and items that need dissolving are in the ‘Water Phase’, and the ‘Cooling Phase’ is made up of heat-sensitive ingredients.
- 3 g (1.5 tsp) Olivem 1000* — this is the emulsifier
- 10 g (2.5 tsp) Organic Sweet Almond oil — a light and easily absorbed oil
- 0.5 g (1/8 tsp) Organic Shea Butter — rich and creamy solid oil
- 2 g (1/2 tsp) Organic Rosehip Seed oil — used for anti-aging
- 70 ml (1/4 cup) Distilled water
- 7 g (2 tsp) Organic Aloe Vera – fresh from the leaf, or bottled
- 4 g (1/2 tsp) Organic Honey — attracts moisture to your skin
- 1.5 g (1/2 tsp) Geogard Ultra — a preservative approved for organic skincare. Also known as Microguard
- 1 g (20 drops) Organic Rose Geranium essential oil (optional)
- 0.5 g (1/8 tsp) 1 capsule Vitamin E Oil (optional)
* Olivem 1000 is certified for organic beauty but can become unstable so please don’t deviate from the ingredients and measurements in this recipe.
- A clear glass such as a mason jar
- Two pans you can use as a double boiler (see image below)
- Kitchen funnel
- Spoons & small bowls
- Milk frother
- 1 Airless Pump Bottle 120ml, 4.1 oz. – these can be cleaned, sterilized, and reused indefinitely
- Pocket digital scale (optional) – you need this if you’re measuring from grams and not teaspoons. I’ve given both measurements.
Related Natural Skincare Recipes
- Chamomile Skin Cream Recipe
- Rose Water Toner Recipe (from fresh rose petals)
- Marshmallow Root Skin Cream Recipe
Step 1: Prepare the Aloe
Many people keep an aloe vera plant to use on sunburns. You can also use fresh aloe in skincare as a mild astringent that helps treat acne, eczema, and other skin issues. It also is a naturally oil-less moisturizer so ideal for hydrating oily skin.
To prepare the aloe, cut a piece of the leaf about three inches long and a half-inch wide. Gently squeeze the wound on the plant closed to help it to heal. Peel the leaf with a potato peeler or small knife and then mash the firm gel into a more liquidy consistency. Make sure there are no large lumps because they’ll make their way into the lotion. Measure the amount you need and if you’ve cut off too much, store the unpeeled leaf in the refrigerator for up to a week. The aloe gel can be kept in the fridge for three days.
Step 2: Oil Phase
Place the oil phase ingredients in a small pan and then melt them together using the double boiler method. Float the pan in another pan of simmering water and stir until completely melted.
Step 3: Water Phase
Boil the water and then measure the exact amount needed for the recipe into a heat-proof clear container. Please note that if you begin with the exact amount called for in the recipe that you’ll lose some to evaporation. That’s why it’s better to boil more than is needed and measure after.
Step 4: Prepare the Preservative
Pour a small amount of heated water into a dish and add the Geogard Ultra. Stir with a spoon until everything has dissolved and then place it back with the other ‘Cooling Phase’ ingredients’
Step 5: Blend the Oil and Water Phases
Take the temperatures of the oil phase and the water. The water should be about 160F (70C) and the oil should be within ten degrees of that temperature. If your water cools down too much, set the jar in the pan of hot water to warm it up. When the temperatures are right, submerge your milk frother in the water phase and then slowly pour the melted oil into the water while stirring with the frother. Make sure you pour in every last drop.
Now turn the frother on and pulse the mixture until it’s opaque but still a little runny — there’s a photo below of how it should look. While pulsing, be careful to not bring the frother to the surface of your lotion. Doing so might create unwanted air bubbles in your lotion.
A note on temperature when making lotions: I’ve heard many different recommendations on temperatures, ‘Heating and Holding’, and other ideas. For lotion making the temperatures you need are just enough to melt the oils completely for the oil phase and the water phase needs to be hotter than the melting point of the oils. This is so that the oils don’t solidify when they hit the water. Temperature, it turns out, has little effect on permanently killing bacteria in lotions – that’s the job of your preservative. Here’s a great article on why heating and holding probably isn’t necessary and why I no longer do it.
Step 6: Cooling Phase
Allow your lotion to rest until it’s about 113F (45C) or the jar is lukewarm to the touch. Stir the lotion periodically during the time that it’s cooling. When the temperatures are right, add the ‘Cooling phase’ ingredients into the lotion and stir well. Pour the finished lotion into the airless dispenser and allow it to reach room temperature before you put the lid on. This is to ensure that no condensation forms.
Homemade Aloe Vera Skin Cream
The organic aloe skin cream is now ready to use. With the preservative and airless dispenser, it can have a shelf-life of about 18 months. When your airless dispenser is empty, unscrew the top and then use a bamboo skewer to push the part down that rises as you use the lotion. Wash it well and then run it through the dishwasher to sterilize it. Good as new and ready for more lotion.
Is either Olivem 1000 or e-wax better for the skin or more natural? I have seen that Olivem 1000 is more expensive, but are there any other differences, please? Thanks, Nellie
Hi Nellie, Olivem 1000 is more hydrating and gentle than other emulsifiers. It’s also good for thickening up cream recipes!
Will it work if l use emulsifying wax instead of olivem 100?
Yes, but you’ll need to use more e-wax. Most have usage rates between 5-10% so check the manufacturer’s instructions.
And also will germall plus or optihen work
Hi Tanya! I just made your aloe vera face cream and I’m in love!!
Thanks for sharing the recipe.
You are SO welcome Janice! Loved seeing your photos of it on Instagram :)
I bought Emulsifying wax NF from another face cream recipe of yours already can I use instead of the Olivem 1000 and if so the same quantity?
Hi Celina, you could adapt the recipe to use the Ewax NF, but I’d recommend adjusting the amount so that the ewax is 6-10% of the recipe by weight.
I love making and using this lotion using the same ingredients that you have listed. However, after making the lotion in a day or 2 or after usage I have noticed that the pH has lowered to 4 where as I started with 5. Can you help understanding if I have done anything wrong?
Hi Megha, and no, you’ve not done anything wrong. The preservative Geogard Ultra can sometimes cause pH drifts. If you notice it happening in your formula and it’s outside of the pH for skin moisturizers (5-7) then use sodium citrate as a buffer. You’ll need 1.5x the amount of Geogard Ultra used and you add it to your liquid phase. After making the lotion it will likely need adjusting with either citric acid (to lower the pH) or bicarbonate or a weak dilution of sodium hydroxide (to increase the pH). There are lots of factors that can change how a lotion turns out including temperature and exact ingredients uses. A pH buffer is what professionals use to ensure that the pH does not change.
Hello and thank you
Is it possible using a larger amount of Aloe Very, such as 50% or 60%?
The Aloe Vera Gel is doing real good to my skin.
Not in this recipe. What you could do is vigorously mix a teaspoon of aloe vera with a few drops of a face oil in the palm of your hand. It creates a rudimentary kind of aloe lotion.
I made this with fresh aloe as per the formula and added 3% aloe vera extract. My lotion separated – I used BTMS as an emulsifier and had to rescue the formulation by adding another 4% BTMS. I believe the electrolytes in aloe vera can cause this. So disappointed I didn’t get it right first time. Will try again – its a lovely cream though.
Hi Tanya, can I use an alternative to olivem 1000? If so, what would you suggest?
You could use other emulsifiers but the amount would be different based on what you use.
What type of thermometer do you use to make sure your water/oil phases are correct? Would a candy thermometer suffice?
A candy thermometer isn’t the best option. Invest in a digital thermometer — either the gun-type (which I use) or the stick type that’s used for measuring meat temperatures.
Could you please move to England, I should love you as a neighbour and a mentor?
I am looking into soap making and your website is an inspiration, you are so generous with your information.
I’m happy to share and glad you’re finding the content useful :)
Can I substitute honey with glycerine or totally ignore it? Honey might be sticky for our humid climate.
Glycerin will work similarly to honey. They’re both sweet and sticky ingredients that blend well into hydrating skin lotions. You don’t have to worry about your face feeling sticky either.
Hi Tanya, I’m excited to make the aloe face cream but I am allergic to almonds. Can I use grapeseed oil instead of the sweet almond oil or what do you suggest? Congrats on your new house and garden – so fun!!
Hi Francine and thanks! Yes, you can use grapeseed oil as a substitute. Have fun making the recipe :)
Hi Tanya, Thanks for all your awesome input and sharing! I worked with fresh aloe for the first time, yay! I love the thought of taking the gel straight out of the living plant. Question: how do you get all the lumps out? I used a spoon, a fork, an herb grinder, then I used the frother for good measure, and still had some lumps. Also, I am curious as well about the honey being tricky to preserve. I used Neogard, a broad spectrum preservative at 1%, and will test for microbial action at 1 day and 1 month (if it lasts that long!) Thanks!
Hi Kristina — you’ll need to use a blender or immersion blender to smooth the lumps for larger amounts. For the small amount in this recipe, just mash it with a fork until all the larger lumps are broken up. As for the honey, any broad spectrum preservative should preserve it. Let us know how your test goes though with Neogard though.
thanks! Cheers :-)
Hi Tanya ,
I have an immersion stick blender. Will that work in place of a milk frother?
If I don’t move it up and down it shouldn’t get air in it.
Yes it will work
Tried this recipe substituting the sweet almond oil and rosehip seed oil with organic sunflower oil that had been macerated with calendula flowers. Turned out beautifully. I also added 2 drops (literally) of organic cider vinegar which (as you know) is not only good for the skin but in this instance reduced any tendencies to ‘soaping’. For essential oils I used, rosewood, helichrysam, lavender and palmarosa (for anti-aging benefits) and it smells delightful! The ‘slip’ shine, and feel of the cream is lovely and it soaks into the skin very quickly, which saves having to invest in ‘esters’ that will facilitate this. Thank you for one of the best recipes using Olivem I have come across.
Can lecithin be used to emulsify in place of olivem?
I’ve not experimented with using lecithin in my own lotions but have read that it’s possible — in combination with beeswax.
Thanks for the recipe! What is the approx shelf life of this lotion?
If you use the Geogard preservative, the shelf life is 18 months.
Can I replace the preservative with Optiphen or Phenonip? If so, at what percentage? Thank you for this lotion. Can’t wait to try it.
You may replace the Geogard with another broad-spectrum preservative.
I made this but it was runny.
Used Millard emulsifying wax and
Germall plus preservative.
I did use a thermometer and a scale
To measure ingredients.
Please advise. What did I do wrong?
Do I need more emulsifier?
Thank you. I love the idea of a gentle aloe face cream.
Hi Roseanne, emulsifiers, and how they work, can be different. If you change this recipe by using a different emulsifier than the one listed, then you will need to play and tweak the recipe. Good luck :)
Good Morning Tanya, thank you for all your wonderful blogs and recipes. I love getting reading about all your endeavors. Does this lotion smell like roses and if so can you recommend another scent? I love my roses on the bush, but not the smell in lotions or perfumes. Thank you
Hi Angela! No, the lotion does not smell like roses but of rose geranium – a different flower. You can opt to leave the essential oil out of this recipe and then the lotion would be unscented. Or you could replace it with a gentle, skin-loving essential oil of your choice. Hope this helps.
Hi Tanya, this looks like a great recipe! Can you tell me if you experience any problems with honey, like settling to the bottom over time? I’ve also heard that it’s very tricky to preserve (unless it’s powder), but I guess the airless dispenser can make the shelf life longer?