I remember my first small steps toward cleaning up my skincare routine. At the time, I had just learned about using apple cider vinegar to make homemade toner. No, I thought, the answer can’t be that simple.
Since I was desperate to clear up my inflamed skin (much of which was also due to hormonal issues after having two babies), as well clean up the products used in our home (particularly since I was a new mom with a toddler and baby hanging on me day and night), I decided to give the vinegar a try.
You know what?
The vinegar solution worked!
Sure, I smelled like a bottle of homemade salad dressing (only first thing in the morning and before bed), but that simple change immediately made a difference in my skin’s appearance and overall feel. Maybe the change was more psychological at first. Whatever it was, I was hooked on learning about ingredients that could be used to naturally nourish my stressed-out skin.
Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with learning about natural skincare ingredients and how these ingredients can nourish my body. Today, I keep a handful of ingredients on hand for making simple creations, like facial moisturizer and boo-boo cream, and also use some of these ingredients on their own (i.e. shea butter for a dry patch on my hands or feet).
I don’t make everything at home (we’ve been diving into the store-bought side of natural living a bit more lately), but there are a few products that are just so easy for me to make, it would be silly not to.
Facial moisturizer is one of these products, along with face wash and toner.
I’ve been using an aloe and oil moisturizer for quite a while now, and I absolutely love it. It’s incredibly light, but also provides the moisture and hydration my skin needs. It’s great for our humid Florida weather.
When a cold front hit Florida just a couple of weeks ago, along with super dry weather, my skin needed something more. Something with mega moisturizing ability. So I returned back to one of my original do-it-yourself recipes, and added just a few simple tweaks to the method and ingredients.
The previous recipe is more of a thick body butter, and I wanted something a bit creamier and lighter. I also didn’t want to use a stand-mixer or special mixing tools. I needed something simple and no-fuss–other than melting the shea butter and cooling the ingredients.
Since I’ve been in love with Plant Therapy’s Clear Complex Carrier Oil Blend, I decided to use that blend for the base oil, along with shea butter. Simple and basic.
After making and using this moisturizer, I’ve been reminded of how much I love using shea butter on my face. I’m not sure when I’ll switch back to the oil and aloe blend (maybe this summer?). When I do, I may continue using this shea butter mixture at night before bed, and then use the aloe mixture for the daytime. I’m honestly not sure, but right now, I’m really enjoying this shea butter moisturizer.
Before I share the recipe, which is a remix of this recipe, let’s talk about each ingredient…
I think this ingredient often scares people like myself who have acne-prone skin, because it’s thick. I usually associate a thick product with clogging pores (or at least I did for many years–habits are hard to break), but that’s simply not always the case, especially with shea butter.
Shea butter comes from the “nut” (or pit) of the fruit found on the Karite Tree. It has a strong scent when it’s purchased in an unrefined state. I use unrefined shea butter in recipes (including this particular recipe), but if you don’t care for the (natural) fragrance, I recommend using refined shea butter. Shea butter softens and moisturizes the skin. Since it’s such a rich moisturizer, I’ve found that I only need a small amount to get the job done. It does take some time to soak into the skin, but that’s what I love about it, especially when paired with lighter nourishing oils.
Clear Complex Carrier Blend:
This is the nourishing oil blend I’ve been using on my face. I haven’t played around with other oils (although I did use individual oils in my original recipe, particularly sweet almond oil). I’m currently loving this new line of blended oils from Plant Therapy, since the blending is already done for me. This particular blend is made with grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil, evening primrose oil, and vitamin E oil. If you don’t need a clear skin oil blend, then I think a lighter oil like grapessed, almond, jojoba, or avocado will work well.
Shea Butter Cream Facial Moisturizer
- 1/4 cup shea butter unrefined or refined* (40g)
- 1/8 cup Clear Complex Carrier Oil Blend or a favorite nourishing oil of choice, such as: sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oil** (23g)
- Place a glass bowl on top of a saucepan partially filled with water over medium heat. Place the shea butter in the glass bowl, and allow it to fully melt.
- Carefully remove the bowl (and shea butter) from the heat source. Add the oil, and stir to combine the ingredients. Pour the mixture into a storage jar with a lid (you don't need a lid just yet).
- At this point, the oil mixture should be cooler (along with the jar). If not, allow it to rest for a few minutes. Then place the mixture in the fridge and allow it to solidify (1-2 hours, depending on location in the fridge and fridge temperature).
- Once the mixture is thick and creamy (it shouldn't be hard, just more solid), remove the jar from the fridge. Stir.
- Place the lid on the jar and store it at room temperature (out of sunlight). This mixture should last about six months, if bacteria isn't introduced to the mixture via dirty hands.
- From my experience, this moisturizer works as a day or night cream. Wash the face as desired (I use a face wash and toner), and then apply a small amount of moisturizer on the fingertips. Massage the cream moisturizer on the face. A little bit of moisturizer goes a long way. The mixture will take a bit of time to fully sink into the skin. I apply makeup (100% Pure Foundation) over the top of this during the day.
Can arrowroot be added to this to decrease the greasiness or is arrowroot not good for the face? Also, I whipped this and it was creamier, light and fluffier.
Hey Diana, You could add arrowroot starch. Maybe try adding a small amount of arrowroot to just a tablespoon of the moisturizer, then test it out on your face for a few days in a small area. That’s the best way to know if your skin will be okay with it.
If this is too oily on the face, can arrowroot be added? I don’t know if arrowroot is good for the face. Also, can this recipe be whipped to make it lighter and easier to apply?
Hey Diana, You could add arrowroot starch. Maybe try adding a small amount of arrowroot to just a tablespoon of the moisturizer, then test it out on your face for a few days in a small area. That’s the best way to know if your skin will be okay with it. Yes, it can be whipped.
I made your shea body butter recipe and love it. I am getting ready to make this one also. Does it matter what kind of container you put it in as long as it is not in direct sunlight and room temperature? Doe it matter if it is glass or plastic?
Hey Diana, I’m so glad you love it. Any kind of container will work. Glass is recommended if essential oils are used, but use what you have.
I made this recently and really like but I’ve noticed my eyes becoming a bit itchy as the day goes on and can only assume it’s the moisturiser. Wondering if you’d heard of this before?
Hey Alison, Could you be allergic to shea butter?
I just want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. This creme is just right for my winter days and night. It’s cold here in Virginia! Thanks for all your work from a German in US!
You’re most welcome, Heidrun! So glad the moisturizer is helpful.
I just made my first ever batch. 🎉 I’m sure I purchased too much of each cream/oil, and so I have a lot leftover of each individual ingredient. How should I store them? Thank you.
Hey Diane, All the ingredients will keep well at room temperature, away from sunlight. So a linen closet, etc. is best for storage. There should also be an expiration date on each bottle, which will give you a good idea for how long the oils/shea butter last.
I am making this as I write you. But can you wear this under makeup during the day. I’ve found that my makeup can melt away with oils. I guess I’ll give It a try. But do you have a specific recipe for daytime makeup users? Thanks,
Hey Heidi, You can. I personally wear an oil for my day moisturizer, then use a tinted “foundation” SPF and some powder (Ilia brand and 100% Pure are my go-to brands for that). I would recommend letting the moisturizer sink in a bit, massaging in it well, and using a very small amount (since a little goes a long way). Let me know how it works for you!
Hi Kristin! Is it possible to mix various butters together? I also plan to add a pre-made skin serum containing various essential oils into the mix. How many additional drops would you recommend for this recipe? Would the addition of oils make the mix too runny or should I substitute some of the carrier oil? Do you have any favorite anti-aging serums you could share with you readers?
Hey Barbara, You can use various butters mixed together. I would use that oil as the carrier oil as it sounds like it’s a carrier oil essentially, not an essential oil. I love the serums by Laurel Skincare!
I would like to thank you for the work you are doing! The moisturizers I’ve tried so far have proved disappointing. I want to use a homemade one this time and see how it works.
I was wondering if I could add argan, jojoba and rosehip oils to Shea Butter; and use it as a day & night cream! I have combination-oily and sensitive skin. Will the mixture work for me? If so, in what ratio should I add the ingredients?
Please feel free to suggest changes!
Hey, You can add those oils. I would try to sub them in for the oil called for in this recipe.
Hi Kristen, I was wondering which of your recipes will get rid of upper lip lines which I developed when I had covid .
Hey Julie-Anne, I’m not sure about that, but I love shea butter for and vitamin E oil for scars.
hello, how long does handmade moisturiser cream last? without preservatives? I made the recipes like you with a bit improvisation, I added beeswax and a mix of Career oil (coconut, olive, grapeseed, almond ) with essential oil geranium, frankincense, peppermint, and German chamomile).
About 6 months. No preservative is needed since there’s no water in the recipe.
Are vitamin E or C oils too heavy to add to this?
You could add vitamin E.
If you have oily, acne prone skin like I do, you don’t want to be putting various oils on your face. That includes coconut oil and various carrier oils. Many, if not most, are highly comedogenic, which means they can clog your pores and produce acne.
Raw shea butter that hasn’t been dolled up with other ingredients is great for oily skin. It has a zero comedogenic factor. I use it all the time. It does not clog my pores. It leaves my skin moist and smooth to the touch but not at all greasy.
The main problem with shea butter is that it’s naturally somewhat crumbly. Yes, you can easily melt it by simply blowing right into the container with your hair dryer. But you might also be changing the molecular structure by doing so, thereby making it more prone to clog your pores. I recommend just lightly rubbing it–as is–onto clean skin with your fingertips and then brushing any remaining crumbs off into the sink with a dry towel.
As a side note, you cannot “nourish” your skin externally. Any nourishing comes from a healthful, junkfood-free diet.
Hey Skeezix, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you find what you’re looking for. One thing, you CAN nourish your skin externally. Your skin is your largest organ, pair nourishing skincare ingredients and a healthful diet (rich in healthy fats, real food, fermented foods), quality sleep, good gut health, and movement, and your skin will certainly be nourished on the inside and out. It’s also a myth that you shouldn’t use any oils on oily skin. Using oil (as you mentioned, the right kind of oils for your skin) can actually reduce excess oil production on the skin and heal acne as oil-free products will dry out skin and make acne and such conditions worse. Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think :).
Hi Kristin, I really enjoy reading your blog and it inspired me to make my own moisturiser. I’m new to natural skincare and made my first batch of this moisturiser (shea butter and jojoba oil) and your shea body butter (shea butter, mango butter, argan and jojoba oil). I’ve been using them for about a week now and it looks like they dry my skin (both face and body) out. I never had problems with dry skin before. In fact, I used to have combination-oily skin. Do you think my skin needs to get used to the new moisturiser or could you recommend changing ingredients? I was thinking trying aloe vera for hydration, what do you think? Thank you!
Thank you so much, so glad you’re enjoying the blog. One solution may be to apply the moisturizers freshly out of the shower, while you still have moisture on your skin from the shower. You could also add some aloe, but it won’t mix with the butter and oil since it’s like water and water and oil don’t mix. You could apply aloe first and then the moisturizer.
Kristin, I LOVE this moisturizer recipe. It’s so simple, and my first batch lasted a long time considering I use it on my face and upper body every single day. I never used any oil voluntarily on my face until I tried this, and it has been life-changing! My skin has never felt so good, and I like that it gives me a bit of sheen – since I wear very minimal makeup, it suits me perfectly. I’ll be making more and giving them as gifts for Christmas. Thank you so much for this!!
I’ve been using shaw butter as a body moisturizer for years, and straight argon oil on my face, due to my psoriasis I can use over the counter creams. Would your shae butter/grape seed oil mixture work well with added aloe, for night cream,I’ve heard it’s a good anti aging blend
Hey Shannon, That would be lovely. When you add aloe to oils and butters, you need to use an emulsifier to keep things blended together.
great thank you what emulsifier would you use
I’ve had good success with beeswax in this recipe: https://livesimply.me/smooth-homemade-lotion/. Just make sure the aloe vera has a preservative in it.
HI there. I have a big tub of shea butter. Is the shea butter 1/4 cup in melted form? I am wondering because I would like to make several containers of this and it would be much faster if I just melted the entire container and divy out the shea butter in the containers.
Hey Kim, It’s 1/4 cup solid, but it should be equal to 1/4 cup melted I believe as well.
Hey, I’ve recently started making homemade skin care, and I made this moisture today, is it meant to be really greasy on the face? I’ve had it on an hour now and my face looks like lard ? I just had to wash my face it was that oily, feels amazing, but would be too oily to then put foundation on top 🙁 any advice, could I have gone wrong where? Xxx
Hey Nicole, A little bit goes a very long way. Which carrier oil did you use? That will also effect how it feels on the skin–some oils are heavier than others.
I would love a reply to my question.
Lisa M. Wine
Just answered, was on a plane traveling.