This recipe is used as a lotion, hence the name. The final product is technically a body butter– a thick moisturizing cream versus a pumpable lotion. Both body butters and lotions are used to moisturize the skin. I’ve written a complete guide to body butter (including what it is and options for customizing your own body butter, over here.) If you’re looking for a softer lotion you may want to try this silky smooth lotion. Also, I’ve recently updated some of the photos in this post, so if you’re coming over here from Pinterest, the images may look a bit different :).
When the weather drops into the fifties (that’s Fahrenheit) in Florida, you know winter has officially arrived. The boots are ready, coats are hung by the door, and the heater is hard at work. With the cold (freezing!) temperatures comes dry skin. Years ago I struggled with the winter season and my skin always feeling dry. I would slather store-bought lotions on my scaly, dry skin and stockpile chapstick, but nothing seemed to work. I desperately needed moisture!
After wasting way too much money on lotions and miracle products, I finally discovered the simple answer to my skin’s happiness: homemade products!
With a little vinegar, essential oils, cocoa powder, clay, shea butter, and nourishing skin oil I turned my skin around for the better. Moisture, happiness, and clarity were all achieved with the help of homemade remedies that in the end cost pennies (since most ingredients can be used multiple times for multiple products) compared to the speciality bottles and jars I once purchased.
I’ve shared many of my favorite homemade products here at Live Simply and still have many more to share with you.
Last year I shared one of my favorite homemade DIYs: Homemade Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion without Coconut Oil. As I explained in the lotion post, I’m all for coconut oil. In fact, I love coconut oil, but after a good year of using a coconut oil moisturizer my skin desperately needed a change. With a little experimenting, a homemade lotion using nourishing oil and shea butter was born. I still use this lotion daily, but I love it the most in the winter when my skin cries out for extra moisture. I’ve heard from so many of you, and I’m happy to report that I’m not the only one who loves this super simple lotion.
Today, I’m sharing a little bonus to my original lotion recipe, a video tutorial to help you as you make this amazing lotion. As you’ll see in the video, this lotion is super easy to make. This lotion recipe can be doubled and tripled (which is what I like to do). You can keep the surplus of lotion on hand for the winter (it will last about a year) or give the lotion away in small containers for an extra special Christmas gift. I like to make a basket for family members of homemade products for Christmas: homemade lotion (this recipe), bath salts, homemade vanilla extract, and lip balm.
After the video you’ll find the simple recipe for this (uh-amazing!) ultra-moisturizing lotion. Remember, this is the same recipe from the original post, but I’ve added it here so you don’t have to flip back and forth from the video post (found here) to the original post.
Homemade Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion without Coconut Oil
- 1/2 cup shea butter 4oz
- 2 TB skin-nourishing oil such as: jojoba, avocado, apricot, sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil. This can even be coconut or olive oil. Almond oil is my recommendation since it feels the best on the skin for most people.
- 10 drops lavender essential oil optional*
- 5 drops rosemary essential oil optional*
- 3 drops carrot seed essential oil optional*
- 3 drops tea tree essential oil optional*
- In a double-broiler (a glass bowl over a pot filled 1/4 the way full with boiling water) over medium-low heat, melt the shea butter. Add in the nourishing skin oil. Turn off the heat.
- Place the bowl in the fridge or freezer and allow to cool and return to a solid (not hard) form. This takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on location.
- Once opaque and slightly firm, remove the bowl from the freezer. Add in the essential oils. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, whip the mixture. You can also use a whisk or fork versus a mixer. This takes just just a few seconds. Don't over-whip. Scoop into a jar and store at room temp. Apply to both body and face as desired.
The whipping time will depend on your mixer, temperature, etc. Once the lotion appears “whipped” stop the mixer and scoop the lotion into a jar. The end result will be a thick lotion that’s absorbed by the skin.
This recipe is a wonderful base recipe. Use as is or substitute and add (experiment) according to your skin’s need. As always, do your own research when making your own products and using essential oils. The essential oils suggested are my favorite combinations for my skin, but they may be left out. The amounts and oils suggested in my recipe may be adjusted according to your skin.
If you don’t want to make lotion/body butter, I enjoy the EveryDay Shea brand for lotion products, which are sold in most health food stores.
I have just found this recipe and really want to make some. I do have a question though…….do I just buy the oils in the market where all of the oils are, or are there some that are just for use on the body as opposed to cooking? LOL I want to use the Grapeseed oil! Thanks so much for all of the work that you do for us to keep us safe from harmful ingredients!
Hey Patricia, You can use a high quality grapeseed oil from the cooking section. That’s perfect for skincare usage.
Hi Kristin, I made this with mango butter because of the comments about the smell of shea butter. I had the problem that someone mentioned previously about it crumbling. It is almost like it is a grainy texture until it melts in my hands. I used sweet almond oil. Maybe I didn’t let it harden enough in the freezer or maybe it was because I used a hand mixer? Any ideas? My skin feels really soft, I just need to warm it in my hands before I apply it. Thank you.
Hi Annette, Kristin is currently traveling outside the US, but I will alert her of your comment so she can come back with helpful tips for you when she returns. ~Rachel, commenting on behalf of Kristin while she’s on vacation. 🙂
Can I used carrot oil(carieer oil) in place of carrot essential oil? What’s the implication of using 1/2 cup each of olive oil and grapeseed?
Can I also combine cocobutter and Shea butter?
Hi Kristin, I’m really enjoying your blog – thanks for sharing with us! I’m wondering if your children have used this lotion? I’d love to make some for my 2 year old… do you think it’s best to leave out the essential oils? Thanks again!
Hey Emily, My daughter occasionally uses this lotion. I would suggest, as you mentioned, leaving out the essential oils with kids. You could add a bit of lavender, if you wanted to add something.
Hi, I am going to try to make this cream at home but I am wondering, is the carrot seed oil you use an essential oil or carrier oil? For the lavender, rosemary and tee tree you specify “essential” but not for the carrot seed but when I click on the amazon link the bottle says it is an essential oil. Thanks for posting all these recipes, I can’t wait to try them out!
Hey Axelle, The carrot seed oil I’m using is an essential oil :).
Hi I made this but used Shea butter, pumpkin oil and lavender and tea tree. Cuz its what I had.bi was just wondering its very oily and I think I whipped it to much it started to break apart. Could I reheat it and add more essential oils? And maybe some arrowroot to decrease to oilness?
Hey Christeen, I recommend waiting a day or two before adding the arrowroot. The oiliness that you’re currently experiencing may decrease once everything settles. If the lotion still needs an adjustment at that point, reheating and adding some arrowroot may work.
thanku I’ll try that. also with the essential oils i only had lavender and tea tree with me. and the smell is so strong
Today I worked with shea butter for the first time and made this lotion! So far it feels great on my skin. But I’ve got one question! Shea butter has quite an olive-like scent to it, which I can’t really ‘numb out’ with the essential oils. Do you have any tips on how I can mask this scent?
btw: I didn’t use the melting method but mashed the butter with a fork, added the oils and mashed it some more before putting it in the mixer.
Thanks for all the beautiful inspiring blog posts!
Hey Linda, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog and lotion. I’m not sure how to go about masking the shea butter scent (other than using strong essential oils). I personally really like the smell of shea butter and haven’t really played around with adding other scents (other than the oils). Sorry, I’m not much help there :).
In the future, mango butter can be subbed for the shea butter.
I too have started making my own body butters and lip balm. And while I love the way they make my skin feel, I wonder about bacteria. I do not use any preservatives and my recipe is very similar to yours. I’ve started to add small amounts of Vitamin E oil as I read that it acts as a preservative. But then recently, I read that Vitamin E oil is in fact not a preservative. And that using a jar to store and use the body butter is a breeding ground for bacteria. Even if the body butter looks and smells fine… I’m wanting to make up batches to give away to family, friends and teachers etc. for Christmas. But now I’m a bit concerned about the stability of the body butter. What are your thoughts on this?
Lastly, I use raw Shea butter because I love the way it feels on my skin but I find that it really stinks. Do you find this as well?
Thanks so much!!
Hey Nikki, I don’t like to use water in recipes like this one because of the risk of contamination, particularly if I’m giving the lotion away or wanting it to last a while. As long as you’re using clean containers (you can sterilize the containers like you would do for canning in the dishwasher or boiling water) your gifts should be fine. Also, if you’re giving the lotion away and have a concern about contamination, I would wear gloves to avoid introducing bacteria into the jars/lotion with your hands. This recipe makes a very small batch, so you’ll need to increase the recipe for multiple gifts. I don’t think you need a preservative for this recipe, unless you want to add vitamin E as an antioxidant for the oils.