Homemade Shea Butter Cream Facial Moisturizer

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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!

Homemade Shea Butter Cream Facial Moisturizer

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.

Shea Butter Moisturizer

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.

Shea Butter Moisturizer

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.

Shea Butter Moisturizer

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.

Shea Butter Moisturizer

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…

Shea Butter Moisturizer

Shea Butter:

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.

Homemade Shea Butter Cream Facial Moisturizer
5 from 3 votes
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Shea Butter Cream Facial Moisturizer

A simple two-ingredient shea butter cream facial moisturizer. Use this as a day or night facial cream after cleansing the skin. 

Course DIY
Cuisine Body
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 ounces
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. 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. 

  2. 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). 

  3. 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). 

  4. Once the mixture is thick and creamy (it shouldn't be hard, just more solid), remove the jar from the fridge. Stir. 

  5. 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. 

To Use:

  1. 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. 

Recipe Notes

*I've used Better Shea Butter (linked above), Plant Therapy (available in refined and unrefined/"crude"), and Alaffia brands with good success. Most health food stores sell 100% shea butter, too. 

**Another option may be to use one of Plant Therapy's blended carrier oils. I haven't tried any of the other blends besides the Clear Complex Blend. 

Shea Butter Moisturizer

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72 Comments

  1. says: Mary

    Hi! I’ve been switching my skincare and the oil moisturizer feels great but within a few hours, my skin feels tight again. Do you have any suggestions of an ingredient to add to help with barrier repair or to help seal in the moisture? Thank you!

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Mary, I think shea butter should definitely help with that. You could try it on its own before adding any oil to it, just to make sure it provides the barrier moisture needed.

      1. says: Lauren

        5 stars
        Hey! I have recently purchased some unrefined shea butter and some roshehip seed oil. Will this conbinaton work also?

    2. says: DavetteB

      You could need a more moisturizing oil like almond or avocado; grapeseed and hemp are kind of dry.` A calendula infused oil would be excellent.
      Also, try layering: use plain organic aloe on your skin first, let dry, then use the facial butter. HTH

  2. says: Mabelee

    I’m a big fan of you, I’ve been trying some of your home cleaners and love them and now giving a try of body care, so far I’m happy with the results except for this recipe, I’m not sure if it’s the shea butter, the oil or both, anyway the smell is not very nice I’m not sure if I can stand it other than that thank you for your inspiration with the products.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Thank you, Mabelee! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog and recipes. This is the moisturizer I use on a daily basis–both at night and in the evening. The scent is probably coming from the shea butter, especially if it’s unrefined. You could try adding an essential oil to help the scent.

    2. says: Desmonda

      Shea butter has a better smell if you add scented oils. I use it on my skin and add Caribbean scents they smell amazing.

  3. says: usha

    5 stars
    I made this shea butter facial cream and i’m loving it. I added few drops of essential oil blend for face to reduce the strong smell of unrefined shea butter. Thank you for this wonderful recipe

      1. says: Deborah

        Frankincense and Myrrh are good essential oil choices for your skin.

        I’ve been making most of my beauty product for a while now. I also make non petroleum jelly. I really don’t want petroleum products on or in me.

  4. says: Kayleigh

    Hi there. I’ve been experimenting with homemade face creams for the last few years and I’m not really liking them because they have such thick oils and it just sits on my face and doesn’t absorb in right away. Do you have any suggestions for a more light weight face cream that will provide the moisture I need and soak in right away? I saw your Aloe oil summer one, but I need just a little bit thicker than that for winter time. I live in Canada. Thanks.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Shyella, Since there isn’t water in this formula, a preservative isn’t needed. You could add vitamin E oil (roughly 1/2 tsp) to this product to keep the oil from going rancid.

  5. says: Kristen

    Thank you for your recipes! I am enjoying your blog! This is the first time i have tried using shea butter. I followed this recipe, but the final product is pretty solid. Could i re-melt it and add in more of the carrier oil? Would that help? Did i not mix enough, or at the wrong state in solidifying? Or is this just how shea butter is?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Kristen, It should be thick, but not hard. Shea butter isn’t really hard, but it is thick. It could also be the environment is making the product harder (cold). Is the moisturizer at room temperature? You could try stirring in more oil–no need to remelt.

  6. says: Kristen Doig

    I found rubbing it in my palms a bit before i put it on my face helps a lot….i think what also throws me off with this batch is the carrot seed oil smell. Lavendar didnt quite cover it. Guess i just need to keep tweaking! Thanks!

  7. says: Siam

    Hi Kristin,
    Thank you for this simple recipe and i love simplicity!
    Can I know is the mixture will turn watery after stored at room temperature?
    Thanks, have a good day!

  8. says: Cindy Collins

    Why not just use pure Shea butter on the face? Is it too hard? New to natural products so sorry if these question should are dumb.

  9. says: aimi

    Hi there. To make the shea butter less thick should i add more carrier oil. More than the stated 23gm.
    I plan to add drops of lavender, rose geranium and frenkinsence e.o to the recipe.

  10. says: Krista & Nathan

    Hey Kristin! We’re looking to start using this as a body-moisturizer after we get out of the shower. Last time Nathan used a soap with shea butter in it, it seemed his back broke out. That was many years ago though when he was young, so perhaps we could try using shea butter again. However, if shea butter does prove problematic, would it be possible to use mango butter instead of shea butter in this recipe? Thanks so much Kristin!

      1. says: Krista & Nathan

        Awesome! Thanks Kristin, would it be beneficial to add some Tamanu oil to this? Tamanu oil seems to agree with his skin well, and might help with the breakouts on his back/shoulders/chest. Thank you in advance!!

  11. says: Nathan & Krista

    Awesome! Thanks Kristin, would it be beneficial to add some Tamanu oil to this? Tamanu oil seems to agree with his skin well, and might help with the breakouts on his back/shoulders/chest. Thank you in advance!!

  12. says: Lisa Wine

    I have noticed when you melt the butters whether it is shea cocoa mango after cooling I would,add maybe some coconut or some kind of emollient oil and finally some drops of essential oil after solidifying a bit I would whip it up with a mixture the problem was although it smelled good and would melt right into my skin it seemed to be greasy which was quite disappointing. How do you make a butter that isn’t so greasy

  13. says: Nicole Peplow

    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

  14. says: Kim

    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.

    Thank you!

  15. says: Shannon

    5 stars
    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

  16. says: Erin

    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!!

  17. says: Christine

    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!

    1. says: Chardea Singer

      Christine,

      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.

      LS Team

  18. says: Skeezix

    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.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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 :).

  19. says: nathania

    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).
    thank you

  20. says: Julie-Anne

    Hi Kristen, I was wondering which of your recipes will get rid of upper lip lines which I developed when I had covid .

  21. says: Sayantani Mitra

    Hello Kristin!

    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!

    Regards,
    S. Mitra

  22. says: Barbara

    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?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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!

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