DIY Face Moisturizers: Recipes for Every Skin Type and Concern

Surely, luxury store-bought face creams are a real treat. However, more affordable DIY face moisturizers can be just as effective and enjoyable - you just need to get a bit creative and take a peak at your pantry inventory.

July 18, 2022 10 minutes read

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A good-quality face moisturizer is a must-have in any skincare routine – it protects the skin from environmental influences and nourishes it. However, good quality doesn't necessarily mean expensive – you can easily DIY your own face cream with natural ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

So, if you have extra time on your hands (and no extra dollars in your pockets), check out these recipes for cost-effective DIY face moisturizers and choose the one for your skin type and needs.

Essential Ingredients and Tools for DIY Face Moisturizers

Before getting into the recipes themselves, let's break down some essential ingredients and tools you'll need for making your face cream at home:

Choosing Oils and Butters

To choose the suitable oil base for your moisturizer, you first need to determine your skin type. So, if you have dry skin, you can select cocoa butter and almond oil, argan oil, or coconut oil for the oil base. On the other hand, those with oily skin will greatly benefit from kokum butter or mango butter as well as grapeseed oil and jojoba oil. And finally, if you have a combination or sensitive skin, go for shea butter and avocado oil.

Water or Hydrolats

For the water phase of your DIY face lotion, you can either opt for freshly boiled water, distilled water, or ready-made hydrolats (also called hydrosols), such as rose water, for example. Hydrolats are essentially water obtained from steam that occurs during the distillation processes. Even though the same process is used when extracting essential oils from various plants, compared to essential oils, hydrolats or hydrosols are much gentler on the skin.

Since making a hydrolat requires some skill, we'll use boiled water that has cooled in today's recipes (if you have distilled water, you can use that instead). However, if you want to use a hydrolat, we'd suggest going for the one made of chamomile as it's soothing, nourishing, and suitable for every skin type.

Natural Emulsifiers

Emulsifiers are substances that bind incompatible ingredients, such as oil and water. The molecules in emulsifiers expand and combine with other molecules when heated. In the cooling process, the bond between the emulsifier's molecules and the molecules of other ingredients becomes stronger. In our case, it helps build a smooth viscosity and stability to the DIY moisturizer.

One of the most common natural emulsifiers is lecithin which can be obtained from sunflower seeds and soybeans. It's an effective emulsifying agent with added emollient properties. However, if your skin is too sensitive to emulsifiers, you can use stabilizers or thickeners instead, such as xanthan gum, beeswax, carbomer, and sometimes even bentonite clays.

Suppose you want to avoid adding any stabilizers or emulsifiers altogether. In that case, you need to ensure your oil/lipid base and water base are well blended and mixed. If the ingredients start to separate at any point, have a designated spatula for mixing your cream before applying it to your face.

Natural Preservatives

Preservatives are always added to water-based skincare products to kill microbes and prevent mold and bacteria from developing quickly. On the other hand, antioxidants, such as rosemary extract and vitamin E, are also added to prevent butters and oils in the products from going rancid.

Some of the most commonly used preservatives in homemade skincare preparations are Leucidal SF Complete, Leucidal SF Max, Leucidal Liquid Complete, Amticide Coconut, and Willow Bark Extract, to name a few. These are combinations of various plant extracts (such as coconut, radish, and willow bark) and fermented Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is a type of probiotic or good bacteria typically found in milk and the human digestive tract.

However, if your skin is easily sensitized and can't tolerate any preservatives, make smaller batches of homemade cream at a time, just enough for 6 to 10 applications. If you add a preservative, you should still make sure to keep your DIY lotion in a fridge and use it up in less than five months.

Choosing Essential Oils

If you suffer from acne or any other skin condition, or you simply have extremely sensitive skin, you should avoid using essential oils. On the other hand, if you tolerate them well, why not add some lovely-smelling essential oil to your DIY moisturizer and have that complete luxurious feel and therapeutic effect when using it.

Besides their pleasant smell, essential oils also offer specific benefits for the skin, such as anti-aging and nourishing. And so, you should choose the essential oil according to your skin type and concerns:

Dishes and Tools

For cooking your own moisturizer at home, you'll need basic equipment. First, you'll need two stainless steel bowls or heatproof glasses for mixing, cooking, and melting your water phase and your oil phase separately. It would be good to have a small precise scale for measuring, but if you don't have it, a measuring cup will do the trick. And finally, you'll need a small whisk and a smaller eggbeater, immersion blender, or drill mixer to emulsify the ingredients into a smooth bend.

How to Make Homemade Face Moisturizers

First of all, you should choose the right combination of ingredients. The ingredients you want to go for, as we have already said, will largely depend on your skin type. Also, it's important to establish whether you want an all-natural night cream, day cream, or something that targets specific issues on your skin, such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or acne.

So, here are some of our favorite DIY face moisturizer recipes for dry, oily, acne-prone, sensitive, and aging skin:

DIY Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin

We're using cocoa butter and argan oil for this face cream, as they are rich in skin-loving fatty acids that nourish, moisturize, and hydrate your dry skin and improve its elasticity. For added hydration and soothing effect, we're adding glycerin, the hydration powerhouse, and colloidal oatmeal.

You'll need:

  • 160ml (approximately 11 tablespoons) water
  • ½ teaspoon (around 2g) colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) cocoa butter
  • 5 teaspoons (25g) argan oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (10g) emulsifier of your choice
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) natural preservative of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon (2g) vitamin E oil (or any other antioxidant of your choice)
  • Blend of 15 drops geranium essential oil and 7 drops of lavender essential oil

Preparation:

  1. Arrange two bowls for preparing your water phase and your oil phase separately.
  2. Over low heat, bring the water to boil, then let it cool down.
  3. Then combine your water phase ingredients together (boiled water, glycerin, and colloidal oatmeal). Whisk it until you get an even mix.
  4. Now it's time to prepare your oil phase in the other bowl. Combine the cocoa butter, argan oil, and emulsifier, and melt the oil phase over low heat.
  5. Once both phases are nicely melted and blended, transfer the water phase into the oil phase while whisking the whole time.
  6. To create a smooth and buttery consistency, use the immersion blender. It will help the mixture thicken, and as more air is added, it will start changing its color into pale cream.
  7. Once you're happy with the viscosity and texture of your cream, add the natural preservative, antioxidant, and essential oils blend.
  8. To ensure everything is distributed evenly, give it another whirl with the blender.

As this natural face cream is excellent for dry skin, you can use it as a part of your nighttime and morning skincare routine. For better shelf life, we recommend storing it in a tinted (or dark-colored) container in the fridge.

DIY Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin

The carefully chosen ingredients in the following recipe will greatly benefit oily skin. Kokum butter and grapeseed oil make for a lightweight oil phase, nourishing, moisturizing, and protecting the skin without leaving any greasy residue. On the hand, we have witch hazel extract and lemon essential oil that act as natural astringents, removing the excess sebum and restoring your skin's natural balance.

You'll need:

  • 10 tablespoons (147ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
  • 2 teaspoons (approximately 10ml) witch hazel extract
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) kokum butter
  • 5 teaspoons (25g) grapeseed oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (10g) emulsifier
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) natural preservative
  • 1 teaspoon (2g) vitamin E oil
  • Blend of 10 drops of lemon essential oil and 5 drops of lavender essential oil

Preparation:

  1. Boil the water, and add the witch hazel extract and the glycerin gel to it once it's cooled.
  2. For the lipid phase, melt the kokum butter and grapeseed oil together with the emulsifier over low heat. Mix everything well with the whisk to get an even blend.
  3. Merge the water phase (boiled water, glycerin, and witch hazel extract) with the oil phase; then blend the mixture with the immersion blender to thicken it and make it buttery and smooth.
  4. Once the mixture is cooled below 40 degrees Celsius (approximately 104 degrees Fahrenheit), you can add the preservative, vitamin E oil, and essential oils.
  5. Finally, give it a good stir once again with the immersion blender to distribute all the ingredients evenly.
  6. Keep the cream in an airtight and tinted container in the fridge.

For maximum benefit, apply this moisturizer to damp skin, as this will provide you with bonus hydration. Even though we've used ingredients that are easily absorbed by the skin and won't leave it tacky, the cream is still butter- and oil-based, so it would be best to apply it in the evenings.

DIY Face Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin

This recipe combines soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera gel. Also, we're adding avocado butter and jojoba oil for extra nourishment and healing properties. It's a perfect natural moisturizer for irritated and acne-prone skin.

You'll need:

  • 10 tablespoons (close to 150ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon (around 2g) colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
  • 2 teaspoons (approximately 10ml) aloe vera gel
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) avocado butter
  • 5 teaspoons (25g) jojoba oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (10g) emulsifier
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) natural preservative (we would suggest willow bark extract)
  • 1 teaspoon (2g) vitamin E oil
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

Preparation:

  1. Boil the water, then add the glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, and aloe vera gel to it; whisk the mixture to blend everything nicely.
  2. Combine the avocado butter, jojoba oil, and the natural emulsifier in a separate bowl. Over low heat, melt all the ingredients and then whisk them to get an even mixture.
  3. Combine the water phase with the lipid phase, and mix it with an immersion blender until you get the desired consistency.
  4. Once everything cools down, add the rest of the ingredients: the preservative, vitamin E oil, and the tee tree oil.
  5. Give it a final stir to fuse all the compounds into a smooth emulsion.

Keep the cream in the fridge, and don't use it for longer than three months. Also, it would be best to use it as a night cream, especially if you have predominantly oily skin.

DIY Face Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

Another soothing DIY face cream with calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as oatmeal, honey, shea butter, and jojoba oil. If your skin is always red, itchy, and sensitive to most of your store-bought skincare, we're certain you'll enjoy this all-natural and gentle moisturizer.

You'll need:

  • 11 tablespoons (160ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon (around 4g) colloidal oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons unpasteurized honey
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) shea butter
  • 5 teaspoons (25g) jojoba oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon (5g) soy wax or beeswax (instead of an emulsifier)
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) natural preservative
  • 1 teaspoon (2g) vitamin E oil
  • Several drops of chamomile essential oil (*optional)

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the water phase by boiling the water (or using distilled water) and, once it's cooled a bit, mix it with colloidal oatmeal and honey.
  2. In a different bowl, combine the shea butter, jojoba oil, and the wax of your choice, and melt all the ingredients over low heat.
  3. Pour everything into one bowl, and blend the water and oil-based ingredients with an immersion blender to get an even mixture and silky consistency.
  4. When the mixture is cool enough, add preservatives and vitamin E oil.
  5. Since this is a recipe for sensitive skin, we wouldn't suggest adding any essential oils as these can be pretty irritating. However, if you do want to add some, use just five to six drops of chamomile essential oil.
  6. Give everything a final stir with the whisk or blender for even dispersion.

As with the other natural homemade skincare, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Also, try to use it up as quickly as possible and don't store it for longer than two months.

DIY Face Moisturizer for Anti-Aging

If you want to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and get an even skin texture, you'll love this custom-made face moisturizer. Its flawless combination of hydrating ingredients with anti-aging properties protects the skin from environmental factors and promotes cell turnover and collagen production.

You'll need:

  • 8 tablespoons (around 118ml) water (or use rose water)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
  • 2 teaspoons (approximately 10ml) aloe vera gel
  • 1 tablespoon (app. 14g) shea butter
  • 5 teaspoons (25g) rosehip oil
  • 2 teaspoons (approximately 10g) natural emulsifier
  • ½ teaspoon (2g) natural preservative
  • 1 teaspoon (2g) vitamin E oil
  • Blend of 10 drops of carrot seed oil, 7 drops of rosemary, and 5 drops of lavender essential oil

Preparation:

  1. Combine all the water phase ingredients (boiled and cooled water, glycerin, and aloe vera gel) in one bowl.
  2. In the other bowl, combine the oil phase ingredients (shea butter and rosehip oil) and the emulsifier, and melt them over lower heat while whisking.
  3. Once all the ingredients are properly melted and combined, pour the water phase into the oil-and-butter blend while continuously whisking.
  4. When your emulsion cools down, add the preservative, essential oil blend as well as vitamin E oil.
  5. Mix everything with the immersion blender once again until the emulsion thickens and gets a beautiful creamy texture.

Use this all-natural moisturizer every night after cleansing the skin. It would be best to apply it while your skin is still damp to lock all that moisture in. To keep it from going rancid, store it in the fridge in a dark, airtight container for no longer than five months.

How to Use Your DIY Moisturizer

You can use your homemade face cream in the evening and in the morning. After washing your face with a gentle cleanser, apply your toner and serum, and apply the moisturizer last. This is because all of the formulas are oil-based, creating an excellent shield on your skin that protects it from the environment, but prevents other skincare ingredients from reaching your skin. In addition, these DIY moisturizers will strengthen the natural skin barrier and prevent transepidermal water loss.

If you have excessively oily skin or combination skin, use the formula created specifically for oily skin types, and apply it only before going to bed. Even though the DIY face cream for oily skin contains kokum butter and grapeseed oil, both of which are easily absorbed by the skin, it can still be a bit heavy for daytime use.

How You Can Customize the Formula

If you find your magic formula, we would suggest always sticking to it and periodically changing the ingredients to those with similar benefits you're looking for in skincare. Also, this way, you'll prevent your skin from getting used to a specific set of ingredients, and your DIY cream will always have the same efficacy.

Also, if you don't have some of the ingredients, such as glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, or aloe vera gel, you can leave them out and just add an extra milliliter of your water phase, be it boiled or distilled water, or a hydrolat.

In addition, if you want to boost the formula for some additional benefits, you can always add other ingredients. And so, for example, if you're struggling with hyperpigmentation, you can customize any of these recipes and add one teaspoon of turmeric powder. Turmeric contains curcumin and kojic acid that have exfoliating and skin-lightening effects, making it a perfect all-natural ingredient for hyperpigmentation.

How Long Will Your DIY Face Cream Last?

Once you make your natural face cream, store it in the refrigerator, preferably in tinted airtight glass jars or plastic containers, for no longer than four to five months.

Remember that natural cosmetics can quickly go rancid regardless of the preservatives we added. So make sure to wash the tools you're using for making it as well as the containers for packaging beforehand. Also, be sure to always wash your hands well before applying it to your face – or even better, have a designated plastic or metal spatula for taking the cream out of its container.

For this reason, it would be best to make smaller batches at a time, so you can use it up as soon as possible, before it goes bad or rancid, and avoid potential side effects, such as acne and other inflammatory skin issues.

Takeaway...

Nature has given us a large selection of incredible ingredients that can be used in your daily skin care. Simply choose the best ingredients for your skin type and needs and follow the basic recipe for preparing your DIY face moisturizer.

First, prepare the water phase and the oil phase separately. Then add all the necessary natural emulsifiers and preservatives, as well as essential oils if you wish. Have fun making a small lab in your kitchen, and experiment with different formulas until you find a perfect one for you.

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