Basic Moisturizing Skin Cream

This is my very first lotion post from way back. Click here for a more recent recipe.


  • 2 1/2 ounces blended oils
  • 1 1/2 ounces coconut oil or cocoa butter
  • 1/2 ounce beeswax
  • 4 ounces distilled water
  • 30 drops grapefruit seed extract
  • 1/4 tsp. borax
  • essential oils, optional


  1. Weigh the oils and beeswax. Melt over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove the melted oils and beeswax from the stove and add the water and borax.
  3. Mix with hand blender or mixer until creamy & thick.
  4. Stir in grapefruit seed extract and essential oils (if using).
  5. Store in jars with screw-on tops.


Suggested blended oils: almond oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, olive oil - on their own or infused with calendula (great for skin) cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, jojoba, Shea butter, wheat germ oil

This cream should last for 4 months or so, but if you see mold growing, discard. If you pour it into several containers you can keep some in the fridge until you need them.

Making kitchen cosmetics requires cleanliness to inhibit bacterial growth. Purified or distilled water is used for this purpose. Also, thoroughly clean utensils and counter surfaces before weighing and mixing.

Borax helps mixture not separate.

If you have questions or concerns about Borax or GSE please see this post for a thorough discussion.

Lotion goes on greasy but dries nice and is very softening and moisturizing especially during winter.

Wondering where to buy supplies? Check out Mountain Rose Herbs.

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  • Learning the ropes

    Learning the ropes on July 8, 2008, 6:46 p.m.

    Hi Renee,

    This recipe looks really appealing, I would like to try it. Could you please share where did you buy the ingredient like cocoa butter and borax etc. and if there's any particular brand I should be looking for.



  • renee

    renee on July 8, 2008, 8:51 p.m.

    Ingredient notes:

    Find the unusual food oils (avocado and the like), cocoa butter or coconut oil, beeswax, grapefruit seed extract and essential oils, if using, at a health food store. GSE is expensive, something like $10 for a little bottle but it lasts a long time.

    Find Borax in the grocery store with the laundry soaps. I use it for making my own laundry soap, scrubbing the toilet etc... So, kind of surprising that it's in cream but that little bit is necessary to keep it from separating.

    By the way, I've never had a mold problem yet with making cream and this last batch has lasted 3 months and is going on strong. Keep extra containers in fridge just to be safe though.

    Just so you know what you're looking for the cocoa butter I buy is NOW brand. There's others but this is cheapest at my health food store. Renee


  • Saskia

    Saskia on Jan. 26, 2010, 4:48 a.m.

    Hi - I have just started making my own moisturizers and balms. I just have one issue - I used a glass bowl to melt down some beeswax and now can't remove the wax. How do you do it?



    • renee

      renee on Jan. 26, 2010, 12:10 p.m.

      I always have problems removing beeswax! Using a metal pot for melting is better because you can heat it up again easily and then while it's still warm scrap out with a paper towel (which I then compost). I would heat the glass bowl on the stove in a pot of water and do the same thing. Or scrap out with a sharp edged object if the bowl has smooth sides.

      Hope that helps.


  • hunter@youngerskintips

    hunter@youngerskintips on Aug. 13, 2011, 3:16 a.m.

    I really love making my own beauty masks and creams. The only problem I have is making small batches because without preservatives they just don't have a long shelf life! Your recipe is a great choice, and easy to create. Thanks!


  • Aasif

    Aasif on Nov. 21, 2011, 6:07 p.m.

    Wow looks really good, now i was thinking of adding 50g of melted dark chocolate or 3 heaping teaspoons of cocoa power (its really good for your skin) so do you think it'l work out?


  • eva

    eva on Feb. 3, 2012, 8:01 p.m.

    I do not own a scale for weighing ounces. Can I just my measuring cup that has the oz labeled on them? Is it that crucial to have the exact weight? thank you


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 4, 2012, 11:49 a.m.

      I haven't tried it myself, but you could. Lotion is more forgiving than soap making. But the oz labeled on the measuring cup are probably for water, but I don't know that oil is much different, here, let me go check.... I just measured a 1/4 cup of grapeseed oil at 2.1 oz, the same measure full of water is 2.2 oz. Very close. I think probably close enough to wing it with the measuring cups. Makes me think I should do a recipe using measuring cups, not weight...


  • Angela

    Angela on April 22, 2013, 10:06 p.m.

    3 questions:

    1- What E.O. can i use instead of grapefruit seed? (I have regular grapefruit..?)

    2- Why do you not use any Shea butter? It seems pretty common in other lotion recipes? (although I've made a lotion bars, and I don't care for the smell of Shea butter, just wondering why you don't use it?)

    3- Have you ever made a lotion using some Aloe Vera gel in the recipe? it sounds like a wonderful idea, but I'm not sure if it would work??

    I'm hoping to get together with a friend this week and make your lotion, I'm pretty excited!


    • renee

      renee on April 23, 2013, 12:12 p.m.

      Angela, here's the answers to your questions.

      Grapefruit Seed Extract is not an essential oil. You can read more about it on this post. If you're wondering what EO's to use for fragrance I've used rosemary, lavender, lemongrass over the years. Also peppermint, which will make the lotion tingle a bit when you put it on. Good in summer, not so great in winter.  This is an old recipe. I started making lotion when I had local access to just a few different oils. I made this recipe using the oils I had easy access to, and shea butter wasn't one of those. Nowadays, I do all my ordering online (I live somewhere different and can't get the oils locally). I now use shea butter in my soap and would use it in lotion also but I'm pretty happy with this recipe - it works, so I haven't tweaked it much.  I can't recall if I've added Aloe Vera gel or not. I'm thinking I may have one time. I have some pure also vera in my soapmaking cupboard and I know I've used it. I can't recall though for sure.

      My approach with lotion and soapmaking is to experiment. If you want to see how something works - try it. Make a small batch to test.

      Enjoy your lotion making!


  • Amie Stewart

    Amie Stewart on May 6, 2013, 2:49 a.m.

    Is there a substitute for Borax? This product concerns me...


    "Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of Borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings "May damage fertility" and "May damage the unborn child".[22]"-Wikipedia


  • Sarah Shafer

    Sarah Shafer on March 20, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

    I've been making this lotion using your recipe for almost a year. It's always been nice on my skin, but the consistency has always left something to be desired (it would separate from the water and the lotion was very firm). I had an epiphany last week and tried it out to amazing success: I put the water and borax into my food processor and mixed well. Once my oil mix was melted, I poured it through the oil tube into the borax/water with the food processor running. At the end, I added the GSE and EOs. The lotion turned out so creamy and hasn't separted. Such an easy fix for me and so I thought if share!


    • renee

      renee on March 20, 2014, 12:45 p.m.

      Sarah, Thank you so much for sharing that! I haven't had a separating problem with this recipe but I'm glad you found a fix to yours. Sounds like something I'd like to try anyway, to get a more "creamy" lotion. 


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