Homemade Intensive Moisturizing Lotion Recipe (Video Tutorial)

Heather Dessinger

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This DIY lotion recipe is nothing short of magical. One minute you’ve got something that resembles oil and vinegar salad dressing, and the next you’ve got a luxurious moisturizer. No special skills needed – just a quick whir of the immersion blender to make small batches of this homemade lotion! Click for the video tutorial!
So there you are, standing like Indiana Jones in a cave full of choices – I mean the grocery aisle – as you reach out for the lotion “made with natural ingredients” on the left. Sucking in your breath, you flip the label.

Water. So far, so good.

Sweet almond oil. You exhale cautiously.

Then just as your eyes scan the words iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, triethanolamine, and various parabens, a soft voice whispers, “You have chosen . . . poorly.

Don’t worry, no one has to turn to dust this time. Just put the bottle back and make this simple lotion recipe instead!

If you’ve tried my three ingredient lotion recipe before, you are going to love this new version. Not only does it incorporate shea butter for more moisturizing oomph, it’s formulated to be crafted in small batches thanks to my recent discovery of a simplified technique for making homemade mayo and other emulsions.

It’s pretty magical, really. One minute you’ve got something that resembles oil and vinegar salad dressing, and the next you’ve got a luxurious lotion. No special skills needed – just a quick whir of the immersion blender.

Why Small Batches Are Best

Most homemade beauty products – lotion bars, deodorant, homemade foundation powder and coconut oil soap for example – have a relatively long shelf life because they don’t contain water. Because lotion contains water it is more vulnerable to bacteria and mold, so it’s best to make it in small batches that can be used up before it goes bad.

If you’d like, you can use a naturally derived preservative like this one made from Leuconostoc kimchii, the bacteria found in kimchi. Though I have some on hand, I rarely add it in because I typically use up my batches before it is needed.

Quick note: Just like with consuming raw milk and saturated fats, there are a lot of opinions on whether using lotion without a preservative is safe. Some say common sense should be applied, while others say never ever do it. I personally feel comfortable using it, and have been making it for years with no problems. I also happen to drink raw milk, eat lots of saturated fat and intentionally eat bacteria-filled foods like kimchi and water kefir, so there’s that.

Now, about that process I mentioned that borders on alchemy . . .

Video: How To Make Lotion The Easy Way

This DIY lotion recipe is nothing short of magical. One minute you’ve got something that resembles oil and vinegar salad dressing, and the next you’ve got a luxurious moisturizer. No special skills needed – just a quick whir of the immersion blender to make small batches of this homemade lotion! Click for the video tutorial!

Homemade Lotion Recipe (With Nourishing Shea Butter)

Makes about 6.5 ounces


  • 1 tablespoon grated, tightly packed beeswax
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter (I prefer to use unrefined shea butter since many refined types are extracted using hexane.)
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used sweet almond oil in the recipe pictured above, but olive, apricot kernel, avocadohazelnut, or another liquid oil will work. Coconut oil is not recommended because it tends to thicken and make the lotion solid.)
  • 2/3 cup water


1. Measure your ingredients. I typically measure twice the amount of water I plan to use because some will evaporate when it is boiled.

2. Place the water you plan to use as a lotion ingredient in a pot and bring to a boil, then set aside and allow to reach the temperature of hot tea. (Hot, but not so hot that you can’t put your pinky in it.)

3. While you’re waiting for the water to come to a boil, melt shea butter and beeswax in a separate double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a stainless steel bowl set inside a pot of boiling water.) Once the shea butter and beeswax is melted, add the oil and allow to fully melt. Once fully melted, remove the pot from the burner and allow the oils to rest in the double boiler until the water has cooled to the temperature of hot tea described above.

4. Add oil mixture and water to a jar. Place immersion blender at the bottom of the jar and turn it on. Allow it to whir for 15-30 seconds without moving the immersion blender at all. Once the liquid at the bottom is emulsified (which means it has reached a smooth instead of separating like oil and water typically do), begin raising the immersion blender in the liquid to complete the immersion.

5. Once the lotion is fully emulsified, continue to blend every 5-7 minutes until the lotion has cooled to room temperature. Certain oils cool at a different rate than water, which can cause separation if they are not periodically mixed.


If you make up a batch and it separates, don’t worry! Just melt everything in a double boiler and blend it again, taking care to give it a whir with the immersion blender every 5-7 minutes until it is completely cool.

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding Mommypotamus.com in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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99 thoughts on “Homemade Intensive Moisturizing Lotion Recipe (Video Tutorial)”

    • Just made it and it turned out nicely. Thinking of adding some sweet orange and lavender to the blend at a !% dilution. This will make a great base for individualized Christmas gifts. Fast and simple!

      • A commercial preservative is necessary for any skin care product containing water. Bacteria starts growing with a couple of days, even if you don’t see it. If you give this lotion as gifts, be sure to let people know it has no preservatives and to keep the product in the fridge. About a week is the shelf life. Distilled water or boiled water is better than tap water to eliminate most of the bacteria from the water. Using a candy thermometer is best to make sure the water is the right temperature and same for the oil mixture.

        • She is using boiled water in the recipe. However, if you want to use a natural preservative, add a little Vitamin E oil into the mix.

          • While I agree that vitamin E is a great addition, it is actually an antioxidant rather than a preservative. In other words, it helps to preserve the freshness of the oils (which can become rancid over time), but does not inhibit mold, bacteria, etc.

          • Ok, thanks for pointing out the difference (below, somehow I can´t comment on your comment). But mold, for example, grows very very slowly on fat, and shea butter itself is supposed to have some antifungal properties. I think if you use boiling water and sterile equipment, wash your hands before preparing, keep the cream in the fridge and ideally scoop it out with a clean spoon, then I wouldn´t worry too much about bacteria, either. Or use a drop of tea tree oil in the recipe. I bought your beauty recipes e-book 3 years ago, btw. Great stuff!

    • You might consider using citric acid ( and or vitamin C) as it is used as a preservative in food products all the time. Just a thought.

      • How much vitamin C? I have Vitamin C powder….can you put it in body butter as an added benefit alongside the preservative affect? And how much – like a teaspoon??

        • This recipes calls for beeswax and it contains water. Can I use Emulsifying Wax NF better being that water is being used anyway? You have a great website btw I love it!

    • Hi, I made this recipe and loved it with almond oil. Initially it was smooth but after a week there was little pebbles in the lotion, is there a reason for this? Thanks,Diane

      • Wafae
        I really like your recipe however I would like to add some natural preservative – as the lotion contains water – I have no idea how to proceed could you give me some advice.

    • I did just what you are talking about but ended up needing some brown mica as the cocao and cinnamon never really stayed bronzed.

  1. Looks fantastic! Any idea how this works as a facial moisturizer? I live in a very dry climate and have parched skin, but some moisturizers, no matter how effective, seem to be too heavy for faces. Regardless, I’m sure the rest of my skin will be very appreciative.

  2. I love the videos, they are super helpful. Could you make a video about how you make your dish soap, I have tried three times and I still can’t get it right.

    Thank you your website and post really help me run my family.

  3. Yay again for simple! And again…thank you so much for sharing! Look fwd to trying it! Still need to do the recent deo recipe you shared now that I have the ingredients!

  4. Love your blog! Full of valuable info. Had to tell you, though, since I’m not the typical girl, loving sci-fi and action, not chick flicks. You got a typo there, right in your main headline. It’s Indiana Jones, not India Jones. Your titles are always awesome, that’s one of the best parts, so couldn’t let that one get missed! Thanks so much for all that you do!

    • Oh goodness, thanks for catching that! I’m a sci-fi geek too, although I must fess up to loving romantic comedies at times. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Indiana Jones, though, so Daniel had to correct me when I originally associated this storyline with the Temple of Doom movie. Guess I got overzealous with the backspace button when I went back to correct that part. 🙂

  5. So, I have a question that I’ve been wondering about. I noticed your recipe for mayo and then this recipe. Do you have two separate immersion blenders, one for food items and one for things like lotions, etc. or do you just have one and do a really, really good job of cleaning it? If so, what’s the best way to clean it when you are doing something like lotion, although I know you’re still only using natural ingredients?

  6. Just wondering what brand of immersion blender you are using there, and if you use the same one for soap (or use one dedicated for that purpose).

  7. Hi Heather,

    I am also wondering about using this as a facial moisturizer, or night cream. Is it too rich or heavy for delicate skin?

  8. Hi, I was wondering if this could be used as a facial moisturizer for my sensitive skin and if it would be at all pore-clogging.
    Also, I was wondering if coconut oil could be substituted, but I read somewhere that coconut oil can clog pores from both putting it on your skin and by eating it. Is that true?

    • I use it on my face and have had no issues- and I have skin that is fairly sensitive to breakouts- Coconut oil will thicken this more than the other oils and shea

    • I was thinking the same thing but aloe juice needs to be refrigerated as well. I may end up investing in a safe preservative because I think I’m going to love this and want to make more

  9. Hi Heather!

    Do you know how much of the natural preservative should be used in a this recipe if you were to use it? Also, when should it be added? Thank you so much!


  10. I have a quick comment. Could you use tea tree oil or grape seed extract to help with the mold problem. Both of these are used to fight mold around the house. Just wondering. I wouldn’t think you would need much.

  11. My family and I have 3 goats that we milk and I would like to add some of our excess to lotion. I have not found a good milk lotion recipe. Do you think that I could exchange the water for milk in this recipe? (I admit that I have only just begun researching soap and lotion making so I have a lot to learn about the chemistry involved).

    • I just used my blender and it worked perfectly! I added ylang ylang oil to mine and that nasty raw shea butter smell is gone. Love it!

  12. I made this once and it was GREAT! I loved the texture and scented it with grapefruit and lavender. I made it tonight and doubled the batch because I used my last one so quickly Tonight, however, it won’t thicken. I did 1 cup mixed of olive, apricot kernel and grapeseed oil. I’m wondering if I may have added oils to water that was still too hot but it was immediately different than last time and never emulsified nor became thick (even after it cooled). . . Anyone have suggestions? HELP!

  13. Wondering if distilled water would improve shelf life? I’m going to try it this weekend for my and my toddler’s insanely dry skin. Can’t wait! Thank you for your wonderful blog! ?

      • Heather, I finally made my first batch and it is beyond my expectations! So rich and heavenly! One question about the consistency and making it just slightly heavier: Will adding an additional Tbsp of Shea butter help achieve this? Since you played with the formulation in creating this recipe, I wonder if you tried that and the results? I didn’t want to deviate on the first run.

  14. Just made my first batch. It was super easy. I did end up using coconut oil because it was what I had on hand and I love the properties of coconut oil. So far, it seems to be okay, not too thick.

  15. I can’t get it to emulsify like you show in the video on the first go round of blending. Should I just keep at it every 5-7 minutes for a very long time? I’m worried I used too much water. I had about 6 oz of oil (you called for 4) so I did one cup of water (instead of 2/3)

  16. love, love, love this!!!! I have been making my own lotions and creams for over two years. This method vworjs perfectly and makes a perfect size batch with much less clean up. I added rose eo. Thank-you.!!!

  17. I have a question about the beeswax. I went to Whole Foods to get it and saw they offered a block and some small candles (“pure beeswax”). The lady there said they were identical and suggested the cheaper candles. Are they truly the same? Also, I’m reluctant to use it because it made my previous concoction super waxy and unusable, not to mention I still can’t get it off my food processor. Are there differences in beeswax? Will this recipe have a waxy feeling? Thank you!

  18. I made lotion with this recipe and have not gone back since. I sell essential oils at an art gallery and would love to share this recipe on my blog/website so that all my gurus can use it as well! Do you mind if I do? How can I give you creds?

    • Hi Nakita, I’m so glad you like this recipe! If you’d like to share it with your readers, you’re welcome to use one photo and share what you like about it. I ask that you not reprint the recipe, but I’d be so appreciative if you’d link to this post for those that want to make it based on your recommendation. Thank you!

  19. Hi Heather, I have tried making your recipe many times and it has always seperated. In my research, I found out that beeswax is not an emulsifier. Searching out the best alternative, I found emulsimulse/ ecomulse. It collectively scores a 1 on the EWG toxicity scale. I thought I would let you know, take care!

  20. Hi Heather
    I made this recipe and I have absolutely LOVED it!
    I do have a question though that I can’t seem to find answers to, and thought I’d ask you if you’ve experienced this.
    I made my lotion less than a week ago, and have had it sitting on my counter. I have started to notice little white ” beads” inside my cream, smaller size than beads really. But I’m just wondering if this could be mould? Or could it be just little solidified specks of the cream itself? Has anyone had this? We’ve had a couple of hot days here, but I’m just not sure, it seems so soon to mould! Ive made moisturiser once before with similar ingredients, but haven’t had this happen either, so I can’t really say. There’s no black spots or any white furry-ness as mould usually looks like either. Can anyone help, please? 🙂 I just want to make sure before I use it again on my little girl and myself 🙂
    I have made another batch since and have been keeping it in the fridge just in case though.

    Also, I wanted to add something that might help for those who haven’t been able to emulsify it. Instead of adding the water to the tea temperature oil/wax/butter mixture and blending it, and then blending again every 5 mins until reaching desired texture, what I did was let the wax/oil/butter mix cool down to room temperature first, where it starts solidifying and looks like a salve. I THEN blend this with my immersion blender to soften it, and it is at THIS point I start slowly pouring in nice thin streams of my room temperature water into the mix, as I’m blending, such as you would when making mayonnaise and you pour the oil slowly, but this time is the water. And voila! Done 🙂
    I have also used rose water (distilled) and rosa bulgaria essential oils for a, well, rosey result 🙂 divine!
    And another thing
    I used a little less water (by accident) in the first batch and the result was a creamier, heavier consistency which I love and reminds me of the thicker Nivea cream they sell in the can, without the nasties of course 😉
    Anyway, just thought I’d share that.
    But regarding my question, any help would be great
    Steph xo

  21. Your Shea butter moisture cream with the emulsion blender it’s no longer separated but it’s not thick.
    did I not put enough beeswax or should I be patient and keep mixing every 5 to 7 minutes

  22. Hi Heather.
    I am about to make this for the first time today. I have been making body butter for a couple of years but since it is getting real cold now I thought of making this instead as the body butter gets hard.
    I also make my own colloidal silver and I will be using it instead of plain water. I heard it prevents molds besides being anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal.
    Wish me luck!

  23. I adore this recipe and have been making my own lotion with it for a while now. I was wondering if anyone has ever tried this as a conditioner for their hair? The ingredients aren’t all that dissimilar from the more natural conditioners, and I am looking for a good hair mask that I could use on an upcoming trip to the beach.

  24. I made this yesterday, because we’d been having a spell of very dry wind, and it turned out beautifully. I actually used a tea made with calendula, lavender and chamomile flowers instead of plain water, and have a good mind to infuse the oil too, next time I make it. One of the things I like most about this is the smell—sweet and delicate, not at all overpowering. My husband is using it to help keep a very recent nasty scar hydrated while it finishes healing, and I think he likes the cream even better than I do! =)

  25. Hi Heather!

    My lotion has turned out beautifully!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    I have a question… I added 10 drops of Rose and 10 drops of Neroli essential oil at the blending stage while it was cooling, (I added it in after the first couple of blends because it was an after thought) and then I was thinking this may be a problem. Is that ok to use that amount in this lotion or will that be too much? Im not sure if its going to irritate my skin….

    Should I have added it in when the oil was melted to dilute it better or does it not matter?

    Thanks in advance!


  26. I made this lotion a few weeks ago by substituting the shea butter for coconut oil to make it lighter for my face (under my eyes, but not on the lids). After researching essential oil benefits, I selected geranium, lavender, lemon balm, frankincense, tea tree and clove to treat my particular skin type and to reduce aging. The clove was added to the water as it was cooling. The remainder was added to the oil blend as it was cooling.

    It’s amazing! Almost immediately the wrinkles on my face started to disappear and my skin looks healthier. I used it on my legs and my spider veins became noticeably smaller. Although they have not disappeared, they are less noticeable. The weird tiny bumps I’ve had on my knees my entire life are gone, for the first time ever.

    I made another batch today and will be sharing it with my sisters and mom. I can’t believe how quickly I noticed the changes. Oh! And it smells great! I put a small amount in a container to use and refill as needed. I’ll refrigerate the remainder to keep it fresh.

    Thank you!!!

    • Hi Kim! I too was wondering what your recipe/EO ratio is for your variation. I started making this lotion and love it, now looking try adding to it. Thank you Mommypotamus for sharing your base recipe!

    • hi Kim! i would like to know about the essencial oils you put in your cream, the amount and which one did you choose, all of the mentioned ones? thank you

  27. my didn’t emulsify even though I tried twice! the water separated. What went wrong? i had added 3 capsules of vitamin E oil and a few drop teatree oil.

  28. This was my first attempt at making lotion and it turned out wonderful. I was surprised at how simple it was to make. I added some grapefruit and ylang ylang essential oils and it smells great. I’ve made your lotion bars, lip balm and coconut soap not long ago and they turned out as well. Thank you so much for the great ideas and easy to understand instructions!

  29. Hi there, I highly recommend reading this article before posting another recipe. https://theecowell.com/blogs/well/a-guide-to-cosmetic-product-preservatives

    Best for you to educate yourself and improve your skills when formulating. There are strict regulations formulators must adhere to. You also might want to look into the Food and drug administration to find out what requirements are necessary for formulating cosmetics and skin care.

    There are substantial risks not using a preservative when using water in your formulations. People can die from microbes and bacteria. This is serious business. Formulators spend many years educating themselves to provide safe skincare and cosmetics. If this is truly something you want to learn how to do properly I recommend Formula Botanica’s online courses.

  30. I made this lotion recipe and it looks good, but if I mix the lotion small droplets (of I think water) appear. I also added essential oil and a little bit of vitamin E oil to the recipe. Have you ever seen this happen? Would you recommend melting the lotion down again? Thanks!

    • Yes, I have had that happen when I added a bit too much water or the emulsion wasn’t complete when I started mixing. I found pouring off any excess water and remixing usually solved that issue.

  31. I’ve just made this for the first time and it’s feels fantastic. I’ve been wondering about incorporating water and was very reassured by that fact that you don’t use a preservative. I’m quite happy to refrigerate to keep it going for longer. Thank you!

  32. 5 stars
    I really loved making your lotion receipe from scratch. It feels very luxurious.
    The problem that I encoutered is after several days the lotion separated. Then I remelt it again
    and whipped it again and it separated after several days. I followed your receipe and watched
    your video number of times. And I added germall plus to preserve it more. But now it separated again I’m not so sure what to do with it right now. Throw it away and start all over again and use less water? Should I drain the water out and try to mix again? Any suggestions?

  33. 5 stars
    Great recipes and very simple. I’ve done heaps of them. I just tried this one now and am confused as to whether the water is supposed to go into the mix?

  34. 4 stars
    Hi there

    Is this recipe safe for children? If wanted to add essential oils and a preservative how would you recommend I go about it?

  35. 5 stars
    This recipe works. Heather is correct, making smaller batches is much more manageable and keeps everything fresh. I think she does a fantastic job of vesting products and recipes. Way to go Mommypotamus!

  36. Hi, Is the Intensive lotion good for deep face wrinkles? I hope it is because I am 78 with deep facial wrinkles. I am going to make some. Best wishes, Barbara