Simple Face Lotion Recipe + DIY Instructions

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How to make simple face lotion using just a few ingredients including liquid oil, water, emulsifying wax, and essential oils for scent

What we want from a simple face lotion is moisture, skin-beneficial oils, a lovely scent, and a creamy feeling. A lot of us will have our favorite brand, but as you know, skincare can cost quite a lot, especially over time. Amazingly, it’s pretty easy to create your own lotions from the comfort of your kitchen and for a fraction of the price. The active time to make this face lotion recipe is only about an hour and, aside from a thermometer and pH strips, you won’t need any specialist equipment.

Not only is this simple face lotion recipe is easy to make, but it comes with a video that shows you many of the steps. The final product is rich enough for a body cream but feels great as a moisturizing skin cream for normal to dry skin. You can view my other recipes for lotions and creams over here.

How to make simple face lotion using just a few ingredients including liquid oil, water, and essential oils for scent #diyskincare #diybeauty #greenbeauty

Simple Face Lotion Ingredients

A large part of any lotion recipe is distilled water. We use distilled because it has a neutral pH, and is free of heavy water minerals, microorganisms, and contaminants. The other main ingredient is liquid oil. The ones in this recipe are jojoba oil and sweet almond oil. Jojoba is a plant wax that’s similar in properties to our skin’s natural oils. Sweet almond is light in feeling and great for all skin types. If you’d like, you could use sweet almond oil infused with comfrey, lavender, calendula, or another skincare plant. These won’t add scent so that’s where the essential oil comes in.

Emulsifying wax is the ingredient you use to get the oils and the water in your recipe to bind. There are various types of Emulsifiers out there but some are more difficult to work with than others. Using a standard Emulsifying Wax, also called Polysorbate 60 or Polawax, makes lotion-making easy.

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How to make a simple face lotion recipe using just a few ingredients including liquid oil, water, and essential oils for scentHow to make simple face lotion using just a few ingredients including liquid oil, water, and essential oils for scent #diyskincare #diybeauty #greenbeauty
The finished simple face lotion is rich and creamy

Measuring & Temperatures

When it comes to measuring ingredients for most lotions, it’s important to use a digital kitchen scale. You can use a pocket scale for small batches or a larger one if you’re making bigger batches. Using volume measurements, such as teaspoons and cups, is generally not accurate enough for making cosmetics.

Temperatures are important for a couple of reasons so make sure to have a digital thermometer. First off, you don’t want your oils or emulsifying wax to solidify when you add the oils to the water. It would just separate. Secondly, some ingredients, such as the preservative, can be heat sensitive.

How to make simple face lotion using just a few ingredients including liquid oil, water, and essential oils for scent #diyskincare #diybeauty #greenbeauty
Make homemade face lotion with rich oils and natural scent

A word on preservatives

A broad-spectrum preservative is necessary if you’d like the lotion to last more than a few days. Without it, the lotion will begin to grow bacteria, fungi, mold, and other nasties, even if you can’t see them. Without a preservative, the lotion is only good for five to seven days if refrigerated. At room temperature, it will likely spoil in half that time.

Broad-spectrum preservatives, like the one listed in the recipe, can protect your lotion against all micro-organisms. If you do want to use another preservative, ensure that it too is broad-spectrum, and if it isn’t, use a second preservative to make sure that your bases are covered. Changing the preservative is a more advanced aspect of lotion-making though, so I recommend that you stick with what’s in the recipe.

Depending on which preservative you use, your lotion can have a shelf-life anywhere between 12 and 36 months. Also, note that many preservatives will need to be dissolved in water before you add it to your lotion. Use some of your remaining boiled water to do so. Read the preservative’s instructions though since it might have different instructions for being put into your handmade beauty creams.

Simple Face Lotion Recipe

Lovely Greens
How to make simple face lotion for normal to dry skin using liquid oil, water, emulsifying wax, and essential oil. If you wish, you can also reduce the emusifying wax amount to 4g, or 8g, for thinner lotion.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cooling time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 40 mins
Servings 120 ml


Water Phase

Oil Phase

Cooling Phase

  • 1.5 g Geogard Ultra* (Gluconolactone & Sodium Benzoate & Calcium Gluconate) 0.05 oz / 1/2 tsp
  • 10-20 drops Rose Geranium essential oil Optional


Prepare the Oil & Water Phases

  • Sterilize all of your equipment by running it through the dishwasher. Wash your hands thoroughly, and consider wearing disposable gloves while making the lotion. Microbes that are on your hands and equipment can make their way into your lotion and spoil it.
  • Measure the ingredients of the oil phase into one heat-proof glass jar. Measure the distilled water amount for the water phase in a second jar. Next, place both the jars in a large saucepan, and fill the pan with an inch of hot water.
  • Bring the water to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. You're ready for the next step after you've heated and held the jars for at least twenty minutes, and the contents of both jars are 75°C/165°F. Take the jars out, and place them on a kitchen towel on the counter.
  • Next, pour the heated distilled water into the oil-phase jar. You'll see it immediately turn an opaque creamy color. Gently stir with a spoon for several minutes, then let it cool. Leave the spoon inside the jar since you'll need to return five minutes later to give it another stir.

Cooling Phase

  • As the lotion cools, it will thicken to a cream consistency. Return every twenty minutes or so to gently stir. You can also add the Geogard Ultra at this point (see next step).
  • If you make this lotion without a preservative, it will last up to one week in the refrigerator. After that time, invisible bacteria and fungi will begin colonizing it and it will not be something you want to put on your face.
    To preserve it for longer, you will need to add a broad-spectrum preservative. There are many available but my favorite is Geogard Ultra. It comes in a powder form and you'll need to dissolve it in a teaspoon of hot water before you add it to your lotion. Geogard isn't heat-sensitive so you can add it without taking the lotion's temperature. It will preserve your lotion for eighteen months.
    Many other broad-spectrum preservatives need adding at precise amounts and temperatures. If you choose another type, please refer to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • If you'd like to add the optional essential oil, stir it in when the lotion is 45°C/110°F or cooler.
  • Now we need to test for pH. Stir a half teaspoon of lotion in 1-2 tsp distilled water. Dip one of your pH papers into liquid and then compare the color to the ones on the pack. Lotion and skin creams need to match the pH of your skin or they can be irritating and affect the effectiveness of preservatives. If the pH is between 4.5-5.5 you're spot on. 
    You can make the lotion more acidic (lower the pH) up by adding tiny amounts of lactic acid or citric acid dissolved in a small amount of warm, distilled water. Make it more alkaline (increase the pH) with triethanolamine or by dissolving a small amount of L-Arginine or bicarbonate (baking soda) in water and adding it. Pass it through the sieve and into the lotion. Take the pH reading again and adjust again if needed.
  • Using a rubber spatula, spoon the lotion into a dark-glass container and seal. You can begin using it immediately.



*You can use another broad-spectrum cosmetic preservative if you wish
Keyword lotion, skin care recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. If I want to make a face cream/moisturizer (or body) with coconut milk, how would I come about it? I use coconut milk on my skin and love it but I’m a bit tired of always worrying about how long to keep it in the fridge and then freezing/thawing out before using it.

    1. Hi Rosemarie, on its own, beeswax is not a stable emulsifier. If you used it, the lotion would hold for a bit, but would separate over time — meaning the water would separate out. To use beeswax as an emulsifier, it needs to be used in conjunction with borax. However, borax is no longer recommended for skin use as it’s been shown to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). It is far better to use safe cosmetic-ready emulsifying waxes such as the type I list for this recipe.

  2. Hy, I am so excited to try this recipe and just wanted to find out, if the ph is too high, how much citric acid and water should i mix together and how much should i add to the cream to higher the ph or bicarb and water if opposite, lower

    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Shamim, for a small-batch recipe such as this you will only need the tiniest amount. 1/32 of a tsp of either dissolved in a teaspoon of warmed distilled water. Generally, when I’m adjusting, I begin with a 1/4 tsp of the solution, pouring it through a sieve into the lotion and stirring it in well. Then I take the pH again and adjust again if necessary.

  3. Thank you Tanya, I made the recipe with the Geogard Ultra preservative. It is wonderful! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe many times and LOVE it so much! I have been using this lotion as face and body moisturizer. My question is, am I able to keep this at room temperature? If so, would it shorten the shelf life of it?

    1. Hi Shelley, if you use a preservative, you can keep it at room temperature for around 18 months (time depends on the particular preservative). Without a preservative, the lotion is only good for a few days to a week refrigerated.

  5. 5 stars
    Hello, I loved the recipe. My mom is super happy with it. I bought Geogard ultra in powder but im having problems with the measures. How much powder should I use in one teaspoon of hot water?
    Thank you so much!!!


  6. What if your oils and water reach 165 in 10 minutes in the stove. Do I cook for 20, let them get super hot then let cool until they reach 165?

    1. Heating and holding is seen by some skincare makers as unnecessary, especially if you’re using a broad-spectrum preservative. The point of it is to kill bacteria, but the preservative does that anyway. My advice would be to get both of your water and oil phase to the right temperature (no matter how long it takes) and mix :)

  7. I made this today and all was well until I messed up the ph. I’m not discouraged though. I was really close! I’ve ordered some citric acid to have on hand. I did substitute a couple of oils but all else was good. I’ll drop the wax slightly. Question: could I add cosmetic grade vitamin c powder to this recipe and if yes, how? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Kris, vitamin C is unstable in lotion recipes, and above a pH of 3.5. That means that most forms of vitamin c (such as ascorbic acid) degrade quickly and don’t add any skin benefit. If you want to give your skin the benefits of vitamin c in a recipe like this, use ascorbyl palmitate. It’s oil-dispersable, stable at a neutral pH, and you can use it at up to 1% of a formulation.

  8. 5 stars
    Hi Tanya, i love this recipe, its makes my skin feel amazing, would i be able to use Aloe Vera juice instead of the Distilled Water please.
    Thank you

    1. Experiment with it and find out if you like the recipe using a full replacement. Do keep an eye on the pH of your final product though and ensure that it meets the range for your preservative :)

  9. Hi there, I decided on your recipe as it looked the most nourishing and professional. I am full trying to use as many natural products as possible and fed up of paying a fortune for natural ones and wasting plastic and packaging. I have all the ingredients except the preserative, do you think you would be able to use Potassium sorbate instead?

    1. Hi Gillian, potassium sorbate can be used as a cosmetic preservative, but not on its own since it’s not good at killing bacteria. It needs another preservative in order to be able to offer broad-spectrum protection and special formulation with that other substance and within the lotion itself. As a hobby lotion maker, I’d recommend that you stick with a simpler ready-mixed broad spectrum such as the one in this recipe.

  10. Hi Tanya
    I loved making this recipe and I’m thrilled with the result. I have dry skin however found the cream too slow to absorb leaving a greasy residue on my skin for at least an hour after application. Am I able to adjust the recipe to resolve this?

    1. Hi Sue, you could use less emulsifying wax — reducing the amount down to about 7 grams. If the consistency is too thin after emulsifying, you could add a tiny amount of natural thickener such as xanthan gum. Hope this helps :)

  11. Is there something easier using essential and carrier oils?
    It seems like a lot of work.
    I see the oils being used online. Not sure which to use.

    1. If you want to make anything from scratch, you begin with ingredients and a detailed process. If it seems like too much work, there are plenty of all-natural lotions that you can buy ready-made :)

  12. Hi Tanya,
    I am huge fan of Lovely Greens, and I tried to do the lotion but it is not getting ticker as I want this to be, instead the oils are separating from the cream, I am not sure how to fix it.

    Any advice would be quite helpful.

    Thank you.

    1. Your lotion did not emulsify properly — the emulsifier didn’t bond with the water and oil to make lotion. This happens if the lotion isn’t mixed enough, that there wasn’t enough emulsifier, or if there was a big temperature difference between the oil and the water phases. Try making it again, making sure to double-check amounts, that you’re using the right ingredients, and temperature. Good luck :)

  13. I am really learning a lot and I want to try this recipe.. the only preservative that I have right now is Optiphen. Can I use that and if so, how much? Thanks in advance!

  14. Hi!! I love this recipe! I need to lower de ph, and I don’t have right now the citric acid…stores are closed now…can I leave it like this for a couple of hours and then add the citric?

    1. A couple of hours should be fine but it needs to be done quickly. Preservatives lose their effectiveness if out of the pH range so your lotion could spoil if left too long before adjusting.

  15. 5 stars
    Thank you! I enjoy all your posts! I’m a gardener and have been working on growing what I can to meet my needs, while gradually phasing out all synthetic personal products.
    Is this recipe adaptable, i.e could I switch out carrier oils to accommodate specific needs? Almond oil is too heavy and makes me break out, but I also have rosacea.

    1. Yes, feel free to use the same amount of another liquid oil and I’d recommend that you only use a teaspoon of the e-wax. It will create a lighter lotion that may be better for your skin.

  16. 5 stars
    Hi Tanya! I’ve been making a lot of your soaps and balms and giving them away (as well as using them myself) and everyone loves them! I tried making your simple face cream, and my face went horribly red after using it. I have sensitive skin, so I made my husband try it, and he went quite red too! Do you have any idea which ingredient could be making us react this way? Are essential oils at that concentration likely to be irritants?

    1. Hi Timi, it could be one of the exact ingredients you’re using. Always be careful with where the ingredients come from, and the best place is from a reputable skin care ingredient manufacturer. The other thing it might be is too much preservative? Which one did you use? Did you use the manufacturer’s recommended amount? Lastly, measurements are everything with making skincare. Double-check ingredient amounts and then check them again.

  17. 5 stars
    Hi Tanya, thank you for shareing your knowledge and recipies. I have made your rose lotion and found it beautiful. I have made another and have the confidence to try a different oil which was Apricot oil. It turned out great but I like the Jojoba oil better, slightly better texture. If I am wanting a more thinner lotion to go in a pump bottle would I cut down the emulsifying wax?

  18. Hi this lotion sounds awesome! Is there any way you can post the measurements? I don’t own a scale and I would like to make this asap. Thanks in advance 😁

    1. Hi Jessi, if you’re planning on making beauty products you should definitely invest in an inexpensive scale. Using volume measurements doesn’t cut it because they’re so inaccurate. Amazon is a great place to pick one up — there should be a link above :)

  19. 5 stars
    Hi Tanya 😀 I’ve made this face cream today and love it. It’s light and smells wonderful too. One question…….Is it acceptable to use Phenoxyethe EHG as the preservative at the same amount as your chosen preservative shown in the recipe of 1.5gms?? Thanks in advance 😀

    1. Hi Jacky and thanks for the feedback — glad you like the lotion! As for the preservative, there will be instructions with every individual brand and type that will tell you how much you should use. Phenoxyethe EHG has a usage rate of 0.5-1.1% for both rinse off and leave on products. That would mean that you need less than the Geogard Ultra that I use.

      1. Thanks Tanya, I used pure Vit E in my recipe, is this what you mean in your ingredients list when you say Vit E oil? I have been using the cream for just under a week now and can honestly say I’ve actually noticed a marked improvement in my skin, it’s smoother and just looks and feels better than I’ve ever known it, so pleased with it. That’s for the great recipe 😀

        1. Yes, that’s right. The vitamin e oil from the soap kitchen has a high concentration of tocopherol suspended in sunflower oil. Pleased you’re enjoying the lotion!

    2. Is there any easy option for lotion or cream wax except Bees wax or emulsifyng wax?or without wax?

    1. Beeswax isn’t the same as emulsifying wax. It can create a temporary emulsion (lotion) but it’s unstable and may separate. Traditionally beeswax was mixed with Borax to create stable emulsions but it’s no longer the recommended thing to do. Borax can unfortunately cause skin irritation.

  20. 5 stars
    Tanya, Can this lotion be used for under makeup moisturizer? I’m new to DIY essential oils and all the benefits. So far I have not found a good recipe for a non-greasy moisturizer.
    Thank for any advice.
    Patti G. Reaves

  21. Hi Tanya, I am excited to try your lotion recipes! I learned with previous lotion batches that I need a preservative – it started to grow those nasties within a couple of weeks – yuck! While I don’t like the idea of adding preservatives, prefering as natural and simple as possible, I realize if I want it to enjoy it longer and not waste it I will need to add it. You mentioned Geogard Ultra, do you know where we can order that in the US/Hawaii? I’m not having much luck finding it. I see some equivalant products but not that one specifically. Looks like a good option from other sources on the web. Thank you!

  22. I love it. The face lotion works like a charm. I use Infinity Jars pump to store it so that it stays in optimum condition for a long time.

  23. Do you know at what temperature can cold pressed oils be heated to without compromising the integrity of the oil? I would like to add several cold pressed oils to my lotion but have been told they can’t be heated so I’ve been adding them cold at around 113 degrees and I think it’s messing with my final emulsion.

  24. Hello! I’m going to try this recipe next week-end I think. Is it ok if I use castor oil + coconut oil for the oil phase? Or will it be too heavy?

    1. I avoid coconut oil in face lotions — it causes acne in a lot of people including myself. On the body it’s fine though. For face lotions stick with oils that feel light when you rub your fingers together — sweet almond oil, apricot kernal oil, and cold-pressed sunflower oil to name a few.

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