Homemade lotion

I’ve never been pleased with store-bought lotions.They have strange unpronounceable ingredients (even the so-called “natural” ones), they don’t moisturize enough and in some cases dry out my skin even more, and the vegan ones can be mucho dinero! If I can’t find a good vegan version of something, I usually try to make it my self.

I semi-make my own face cleanser, so lotion making didn’t seem too scary. Before starting my first batch, I did some research and found a few sites to get me started (PDF from Utah State, TeachSoap). In its most utilitarian state, lotion is just oil + water + an emulsifying agent to mix the two. The fun part is choosing what oils, butters and essential oils to use!


Ingredients (for a small 4 oz jar):

All ingredients (except for the water) were bought from Mountain Rose Herbs and are mostly fair trade and organic. Ounces were measured on a kitchen scale with a “tare” option so I didn’t have to use an individual cup to measure out each thing.


  • 0.2 oz emulsifying wax
  • 0.3 oz cocoa butter
  • 0.2 oz shea butter

Liquid oils:

  • 0.3 oz kukui oil
  • 0.2 oz jojoba oil
  • 0.4 oz vegetable glycerin


  • 2.4 oz distilled water

Extra stuff:

  • 6 drops of vitamin E oil
  • 6 drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE)
  • Essential oils for fragrance (11 drops benzoin, 3 drops sweet orange, 1 drop of patchouli)


  1. Sterilize all lotion making equipment (spoons, glass cups/jars, lids, etc) before hand. This just means cleaning them thoroughly and then boiling them in hot water and letting them dry.
  2. Measure out the solids in a glass pyrex cup and heat until liquified. I used a double boiler which is just fancy talk for immersing the cup in a pot of water on the stove at low heat. Microwaving the solids is fine too.
  3. Measure out the liquid oils in another cup.
  4. Add the liquified solids to the liquid oils.
  5. Add the distilled water and blend everything together using an immersion blender.
  6. Add the extra stuff and blend until everything is well mixed. It should be white, but still pretty liquidy at this point.
  7. Pour into jar and put on lid.
  8. Let set overnight before slathering it on.

I am happy with my first batch.  It has all the stuff I love using like cocoa butter and kukui oil and it smells like a chocolate covered orange. It is indeed very moisturizing and I don’t have to constantly reapply. I can’t wait to experiment more with different amounts of oils and such. It was such an easy and fun process that made me feel sort of like the apothecary from Romeo and Juliet. But instead of making fake-death potions, I was making fun-time lotions.

NOTE: this lotion recipe does not use a preservative, though vitamin E and GSE do help extend the shelf life. I’ve been using this first batch for a good month or so and have not noticed it going rancid or bad and I expect to finish this small batch pretty soon. If making a larger batch that I want to last and stay fresh for longer than a couple of months, I’d look into a mild preservative.

20 thoughts on “Homemade lotion

  1. Becky

    This looks awesome! I don’t usually use a lot of lotion, but in winter my knuckles get super dry and painful (weird, right?? JUST the knuckles!). Bookmarking this!

  2. Richgail Enriquez

    Ooo I’ve always been on a hunt for a good lotion but I end up feeling disappointed and ripped off. I’ll go ahead and give this one a try. Thanks!!!

  3. velvetmole

    Love the recipe and just the post in general. I am a long time fan of DIY body products! I think somewhere in my reading I saw something about Benzoin being a natural preservative. Just wanted to share that as you have included it here. Digging your blog, keep up the awesome work! 🙂

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks so much! I did not know that about Benzoin so that would be very cool if it acts like a natural preservative. I will have to look into that. I was just using it because it smelled like earthy vanilla :-).

  4. Alana

    I have been thinking for some time now about making my own lotions but just really didn’t know how to go about it. Thanks for sharing. This will definitely be something for me to try in the new year.

  5. Hannah (BitterSweet)

    I’ve wanted to make lotion at home for the longest time, but I’ll the recipes I’d seen were long, full of odd ingredients I’d never heard of nor had any hope of finding, and were flat out intimidating. I actually have a handful of these listed already! That’s an encouraging sign. Especially considering how quickly I go through the stuff during the winter (I swear, I would dry out to a crisp if I didn’t apply lotion for a single day) it would certainly be handy to whip up my own.

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yes, it is actually a lot simpler than I thought it would be too. I jazzed mine up a bit with fancy oils/butters but really you could use one type of oil, distilled water and an emulsifier and be done! The PDF link from Utah State has a great explanation of ratios and such. I love that it is customizable. For my next batch, I plan to decrease the glycerine content a tad to make it a little less sticky/tacky.

  6. Maggie Muggins

    This is a fantastic idea! I currently use coconut oil as a moisturizer but it’s a tad too greasy and it doesn’t have any scent. I always wondered where I could find liquid vitamin E, I’m going to check out that site and hope that they ship to Canada.

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  9. Janet Chiaro

    I would love more vegan skin care recipes like moisturizers, scrubs, cleansers, etc. Do you know of a good reference book or site? So appreciated. I just ordered a bunch of things from Mountain Rose Herbs. Love that site, thank you!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Hi! Sorry this response comes so late. I haven’t been too busy making vegan skin care items, etc. but when I hit on something I love I’ll definitely share. Mountain Rose Herbs is great! They actually have a blog on their website that is a great resource for DIY body products. Not all of the recipes are vegan, but it is a great starting point. I actually don’t know of any sites dedicated to vegan DIY skin care recipes. I’ll keep my eye out and let you know if I find any. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

        1. luminousvegans Post author

          Awesome!! I’m so glad that you enjoy it. Have you made any alterations or tweaks? I’d love to hear if you’ve personalized it in any way. My immersion blender broke 😦 so I haven’t been making any lotions lately.


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