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How to Make Non-Greasy DIY Lotion

How to Make Non-Greasy DIY Lotion

Beauty

Last Updated on September 11, 2020

This is a really easy DIY. I mean, I consider most of my DIY’s to be pretty easy.

No one has time for hours of crafting elaborate, hard to manage recipes. 

My favorite DIY up until now was probably my chapstick recipe. But, I think this new lotion might have taken the cake. Granted this lotion is a riff on that recipe. All roads lead to Rome.

how to make non-greasy lotion from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #lotion #DIY #skincare #simple #sustainable

This homemade lotion is really light. It easily absorbs into my skin, unlike my Christmas body butter experiment…. I made my body butter using a combo of several types of butters like shea, cocoa, and coconut oil. I whipped all those rich ingredients together into a delicious body butter that looked and smelled like vanilla frosting.

Unfortunately, it was thick and greasy which I didn’t mind so much in the winter, but in the summer it just sat on my skin and got all over my clothes. Thankfully, this light recipe is coming to the rescue!

Because no one has time to feel greasy! Different oils absorb into our skin at different speeds. Something like safflower oil absorbs pretty quickly where coconut oil absorbs slowly.

This is one of the reasons I’ve taken coconut oil out of most of my DIYs. If you’re running into the same issue and looking for a way to use up all of that coconut oil you have on hand, check out my recipe for soap! I’ve been turning lots of my leftover oils into soap because when the oils are no longer in their fatty forms, they create an amazing lather! So, sudsy.

body butter vs. lotion

Boby butter is typically made of just oils and butters. Lotion is typically made with water. Homemade versions of lotion will need to be emulsified and kept in the fridge to prevent spoilage. Body butter has a much longer shelf life. 

Body butters and lotions both present two very different types of moisturization.

Body butters create a barrier on the skin that seal in moisture and provide lubrication.

Lotion, however, preserves the moisture already in the skin. They have little oil and don’t provide lubrication. 

I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t that make a butter better?

Well, it depends on your skin type. If you have oily skin a butter is better for you, and if you have dry skin a lotion is better.

Dry skin doesn’t need more oils, it needs more moisture. Which may be explaining a lot of my problems with the body butter.

I don’t have oily skin, it’s pretty dry – especially on my face. Bonus points: I never have to worry about shine. 

Non-Greasy Lotion

  • 2 Tablespoons of Grated Beeswax
  • 1/2 Cup of Sweet Almond Oil*
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vitamin E Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Butter
  • 3/4 Cup of Water

*You can sub the almond oil for olive oil. They have similar absorption rates. I just bought almond oil at Rainbow Grocery in bulk and I am so excited to use it!! I have also linked to a vitamin e oil that comes in glass. But, I recommend that you look at your natural health store first. 

You can read more about what I bought in bulk at Rainbow here. 

Melt your beeswax, almond oil, and cocoa butter in a double broiler. Once they’ve melted add the vitamin e, a natural preservative and excellent for nourishing skin. 

In the base of a blender add your water. Once my roses are in bloom, I think I will use rose water next time. Once the water is blending slowly stream in your oils. You’re creating an emulsion. 

Do it VERY SLOWLY. You will see it form into a thick and creamy consistency. Pour it into a spare pump bottle or into a mason jar. 

Keep it in the fridge next to your mouthwash and face scrub. What do you use on your skin? Do you prefer butter or lotion? 

129 Comments
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    1. You could sub a different type of wax like candelilla or possibly soy? I can’t attest for their attributes though. Beeswax helps with absorption which is why it’s in the recipe. It will still be less greasy than body butter but you could double the cocoa butter?

  1. Thank you for the recipe! I’m excited to try this one as I have only made body butters in the past and found them to be too greasy. One question. Can you use avocado oil instead of olive or almond?

  2. Thanks for the response about using avocado oil. One more substitution question. I have Shea butter currently but no cocoa butter. Do you think it’s okay to use Shea butter instead of cocoa?

  3. I just made this and love it! It works way better for me than body butter (nothing against the butter!). I chucked out my Cetaphil and finally have all natural recipes for my entire morning routine. I am wondering if some scent could be added without changing what is so perfect about this lotion. Maybe some vanilla? Or essential oils? Have you played around with it like this at all?

    1. Yay! I’m so glad you like it. If you wanted to add some eo I would add it in with the oils when they aren’t on the heat so it fully emulsifies with the water. I really want to do this recipe with rose water. I bet that would smell delicious. 🙂

  4. I just made this and I’m in love! You saved me from being a greasy goblin (the butters were a little much), but I have since repurposed my butter into a fabulous sugar scrub. I’m so happy, thank you! <3

  5. Is it okay for us to store in cool ventilated area instead of the fridge??Is it fine??or will it spoil??and what is the shelf life of it??

  6. What is the benefit of water in this lotion recipe? Maybe in the hot weather it woukd be nice to apply cold lotion but in the cold winter here in Alberta, I want to be warm. I’ve found quite a few recipes with the exact same ingredients minus the water. So why the water?

      1. Oh ok. There’s many different recipes that state it’s a lotion but don’t have water in them. Makes it a bit confusing. I made the lotion and I love that it’s not greasy.

    1. It’s difficult to ascertain what went wrong where without knowing what you did. Was the water in the base of your blender before you added the oil? Was the blender on when you started streaming? Were you streaming it very slowly?

  7. Thanks so much for this recipe Kathryn. I’ve been hunting for a recipe like this for ages! Can’t wait to try it!

    1. If you have arms of steel. I tried making an emulsion once by hand it took around 20 minutes. You have to stream that oil in suuuuuper slow. See if you can grab a friends to pour like one drop at a time and make sure the ingredients are the same temperature to prevent it from breaking.

  8. Even if you use distilled or sterile water, without a preservative your lotion will begin to grow microbes within 24 hours. They will be multiplying long before you see or smell a problem. You either have to make a small amount that will be used within 3-4 days and keep in the fridge or use a preservative.
    PS – Vitamin E, essential oils, and grapefruit seed extract are not preservatives. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which will help with the shelf life of the oils only, some essential oils are antibacterial or antifungal alone or mixed in carrier oil, but in a product with water, everything goes by the shelf life of your weakest link. A safe amount of Essential oils (1% is 6-9 drops per ounce) won’t protect your product.
    Hope this helps

  9. Article regarding the use of cream or lotion.
    The first question I ask is: Are you using a lotion or a cream?

    The difference between the two comes down to the water content. Creams and lotions are mixtures of oil and water. It is the oil component that is most important for your dry skin.

    Lotions are droplets of oil mixed in water. They have a high water and low oil content. As such they are easy to spread on dry skin. However, the water is not well absorbed and quickly evaporates, which actually dries your skin further.

    In contrast, creams are droplets of water mixed in oil. They have a high oil and low water content. They are more difficult to smear on dry skin but apply easily to moist skin. Therefore, they are best used immediately after your shower or bath when your skin has soaked up the water like a sponge. Applying cream then creates a layer of oil that locks the moisture in your skin. The water does not evaporate, and your skin stays hydrated.

    This is why in the wintertime I advise patients to use only creams. In the warm, humid summer, lotions are actually better.

  10. I used palm shortening instead of cocoa butter and it turned out great! Also, for a nice scent, I added 3 drops of lavender, 3 drops of lemon and 1 drop of rosemary essential oil (make sure you add those in with the oils while they’re melting). Great recipe!

    Btw, I only made 1/2 a recipe, which is plenty to last me a while!

  11. Palm shortening should be avoided. The high demand is causing destruction to our rainforests. It’s really really bad guys. My friend lives in Borneo and he tells me first hand of of the devestation that is occurring over there. Think twice before supporting products that have its ingredient within them… that means,………. No oreos! Noooooooo 😉

  12. Will I be able to clean the blender out completely to use for food again? I really want to make this but can’t afford to lose my blender so want to check first.

  13. I would have to disagree with using vitamin E as a preservative. It isn’t. It’s an anti-oxidant, meaning it will slow down the oil to turn rancid. You need to use a full spectrum preservative to prevent mold, fungus and bacteria growing into any skincare recipe that incorporates water. My credibility is I am an Esthetician that makes and sells skincare. There is danger having a skincare product that isn’t properly protected. In the beginning of the deterioration of the product with out a proper preservative, you will not see the nasties forming. When you do, it is too late. At that point it will do harm to your skin, especially if you have a compromised skin. I just don’t want to see your reader’s trying this recipe and getting skin issues or even worse, MRSA.

    1. I saw another commenter in this thread mention the same thing. Any suggestions for a full spectrum preservative that could be used instead? And where to buy?

  14. I just tried this today- and I had a heck of a time getting the water to combine with the oils! I don’t have a blender, but followed the instructions with a hand mixer. I did some research and saw that beeswax can typically cause this problem and that emulsifying wax is better… buuuuut that CAN be petroleum based right?? Is this the reason why the pouring happens very, very slowly? I also used shea butter (saw the other comments) and jojoba instead of sweet almond so basically changed the whole recipe. Oh geez.

    1. It will take much longer and you’d have to stream the oils much slower to form a proper emulsion with a hand mixer vs a high-speed blender. Also, I can’t really comment for the oils you used since I haven’t tried it with either. Shea is much softer than cocoa butter if you used the same ration of shea to jojoba you probably would have had a very tough time.

  15. Hi, I want to try this recipe, just a little bit lost here..

    Melt your beeswax, almond oil, and cocoa butter in a double broiler. Once they’ve melted add the vitamin e, a natural preservative and excellent for nourishing skin.

    ———do you move this mix to blender?? and then add water and continue the steps

    Thanks a lot.

  16. Second time making this first time not so good but still loved it! Second time worked wonderful! Now do you have a trick as to getting it all out of the blender i to squeeze bottles with small 1/2 -1in opening?

  17. hi there i tried this recipe and the water separated. i was wondering if it makes a difference if i streamed or just dumped the water in ?

    1. Warm the water same temp as oil and use distilled water (no bacteria) I put half of my product in the fridge and leave half out so it’s not cold

  18. My son is allergic to nuts i see the substitute by using olive oil is there another sub in addition to the olive oil cant use coconut or almomd oil thanks

  19. You can use emulsifying wax as a preservative & it helps combine oil & water based products. Amazon has Millard Non -GMO Emulsifying Wax Pastilles – NF 8oz. derived from vegetable oils for $9.99.

  20. I read thru this blog. Does anyone have a problem with putting a cold out of the refrigerator lotion onto their skin. BRRRRR… Are there other options for preservatives.

  21. Just tried this receipt, I had no problems with the emulsification process, it whipped up nice however its very greasy. I’m not a fan.

  22. Hola. la mezcla se nos separo. pusimos el agua en la base de la licuadora, funcionando. agregamos de a poco la mezcla de los ingredientes grasos calientes. La duda es SI EL AGUA SE USA FRIA O CALIENTE? QUE TIPO DE AGUA, MINERAL, DESTILADA, DE LA RED DE AGUA? PREGUNTO PORQUE SI EL AGUA ES FRIA Y LE PONEMOS LOS ELEMENTOS GRASOS CALIENTES, SE SOLIDIFICA RAPIDAMENTE.
    Para lavar los elementos, como la licuadora, usamos jabon para platos y agua muy caliente, y todos los elementos de cocina quedan muy grasosos.

  23. Just tried this recipe and it came out extremely runny, how can I thicken it up and where did I go wrong? Help!

    1. I did use immersion blender. I tried level 2 at first but the water and oil didnt emulsify. Then I tried to accelerate it little by little until level 10. It turned out really perfect ?

  24. I just use coconut oil. Even on my face. It work really well, takes some time to absorb but I don’t mind.

  25. I always learn something interesting in your posts! I had no idea that lotions were better for dry skin! I made your lotion with some orange flower water I had hanging around ( and didn’t know what to use it for) the rose water gave me the idea! Thanks again!?

  26. Excellent article, it was nice to discover the different between using shaved butters over that of coconut oils, I haven’t always been a fan of the greasy aftermath of using lotions. Where do you get your butters by the way, I found some here: https://www.naturesgardencandles.com/lotion-supplies, but was wondering if you have a place where you get yours.

  27. I have read in several places that the potential for bacteria growth is what concerns people the most with these homemade lotions. could you please let us know what is the shelf life of your lotion? has it ver grown bacteria? If so after how long? THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES!

  28. Hi. Love your page. Above you note double broiler. I think you mean double boiler. Thanks for the recipe! May try it after I’ve found a good blender!

  29. Hi. I just discovered this blog and love it. I want to make this lotion, but with my arthritis I don’t want to grate the beeswax or cocoa butter. Could you tell me how many grams of beeswax and cocoa butter to use? I can use the kitchen scale and then melt it without grating it. Thank you!

  30. Hi.Kathryn,
    Love your blog I made this lotion and it came out wonderful I did use emulsifying wax instead of the beeswax because that was what I had at the time. I also added a 1 tsp preservative, 1 tsp lavender e.o I did not use the blender I use my hand mixer and whipped it for about 20 – 25 mins I got two 8 oz bottles it pumps out with a very nice consistency. I also made a version for my husband which I added 1 tsp bergamot oil and 1/2 tsp black tye fragrance

  31. Thanks for the nice recipe. Can you please suggest a broad spectrum preservative which is totally natural. I would not like to add leucidal or gamaben.

    1. Optiphen plus is about as natural as you get for a REAL broad spectrum preservative. Amazon has it.

    1. Hii i made with almond oil aloe gel glycerin n drops of apple cider vinegar. There is no growth or contamination at all. N very nice for normal combination n oily skin too. Worked well in humid condition as i live in south India.

  32. Unfortunately, ANY diy ‘lotion’ that contains water (that includes aloe vera), MUST contain a preservative, of even after 24 hours, mold and bacteria will start to grow. There is a lot of information available showing this. EVEN if it is refrigerated. Remember that most bacteria does NOT show – it will look and smell fine. Not a chance I want to take! Vitamin E is NOT an all spectrum preservative. It does NOT stop bacteria and mold from growing.

  33. This is a dangerous recipe. You are using water. Where is your preservative? You can make a person very sick with bacteria. I am not sure if you forgot to mention it. I hope you have insurance.

    1. Essential oils are anti bacterial and anti microbial. You could boil your water first, and she has suggested keeping it in the fridge. After all that if you are still wary of the safety, you can simply choose to not use it.

      1. Water breeds bacteria on its own. Sterilizing only helps prevent the person making it from adding bacteria. But the second that water based product is open and exposed to air, bacteria will start forming on its own. That’s why if someone is selling their lotion they have to have a preservative or really good insurance. Because people can get very sick from using cosmetic products that have no preservative and start a lawsuit. In which case they would win and you’d be paying their medical bills at the very least. All natural is great. But science invented preservatives and vaccinations for a reason. Before that you were lucky to live to see 30

  34. I also made little different but nothing happened, used aloe gel n only thing which i cared is always used dry hands n not same fingers n also maintained cleanliness

  35. I love your blog and how the lotion came out, however I spent over an hour trying to clean out my blender and sink afterwards. I used three different soaps and cleaning spray, destroyed a dish brush (it was impossible to get the chunks of lotion out of the bristles), ran my blender components through the dishwasher twice to try to get rid of the greasy film over everything, and finally resorted to using nasty toxic Ajax leftover from my pre-ZW days to get the greasy film off the rubber cover over my sink disposal. The amount of water and cleaning products I wasted trying to clean this mess up was not even remotely worth the final product 🙁 will never be making again and really wish you had warned ppl how hard this would be to clean up and that I wouldn’t be able to use my blender for 2 days while it was undergoing multiple cleanings.

    1. It’s not oils as they’re easy to remove it’s the beeswax. It’s wax so right there it tells u that it sticks. It’s easy to remove u just poor boiling water so it melts then tip it straight out and do It a few times. Use dishwashing liquid , bi carb etc

  36. I love this lotion!! I added 1/2 teaspoon of Phenonip to the water(distilled) before adding the oil. Phenonip is a natural preservative I bought on line. It states it is especially effective when used with any oil based products.

    1. Phenonip is NOT a natural preservative it is a combination of phenoxyethanol with various parabens. However, it is an effective broad-spectrum preservative so there is no need for a co-preservative – so to speak.

  37. Just some info on cleanup for a few people who had comments on how hard it was to remove oils from equipment. Baking soda removes oil and grease easily! Just put some in a sponge and wipe oils off, it absorbs the grease so you can easily clean with dishsoap afterwards. I’ve been making my own lotions and butters for years to avoid the chemicals, and my skin is never dry!

    1. It’s not oils as they’re easy to remove it’s the beeswax. It’s wax so right there it tells u that it sticks. It’s easy to remove u just poor boiling water so it melts then tip it straight out and do It a few times. Use dishwashing liquid , bi carb etc

    1. This is a recipe without preservatives . Vitamin E is amazing form your skin and an extra bonus also being able to preserve it

  38. Hi
    I made this lotion but after a few mins the water seems to separate. I did use a hand mixer as i dont have a blender. Could this be why?

    1. I had a similar problem – it seemed great for a day and then suddenly turned spongey and the water all kinda squeezed out. it went very stiff in the fridge as well – is that normal?

      1. From what i’m learning this is quite common with beeswax. Articles suggest using emulsifying wax (vegetable based). Perhaps the successful makers have used a softer beeswax, mine is a very hard block.

  39. It looks like you forgot to add emulsifying wax nf to your blog here. Isn’t that needed to keep the water and oils from separating? Or do you blend with each use? I’m confused.

  40. I made this using emulsifying wax instead of beeswax, worked a treat. Cleaned everything afterwards by scraping with a spatula and boiled water blended in the blender then cleaned as normal.

    Thank you for the recipe, it was like magic!

  41. I love all your tips!! I had just one question regarding this DIY lotion recipe- is there an alternative plant-based wax I can use?

  42. Hi. What kind of water do you add to this recipe? As there is bacteria in tap water. What is the shelf life also? Thanks

    1. Hi Sophie! Use distilled water (or rose water, neroli water, aloe gel) instead of tapwater, never use tapwater for lotions or creams. Shelf life perhaps 3 months or less. You can use a preservative for water based lotions like optiphen ND, that way you don’t need to keep it in the fridge either.

  43. I made a batch. I do like the feel and results on my skin but I wouldn’t say this is non greasy. I’m covered in a film by the time I’m done applying. I was worried keeping it in the frig would be a barrier to using, cold lotion after bathing? But it warms immediately as I rub it in so the cold lotion hasn’t been uncomfortable or shocking. I recommend folks give it a try. Happy to have made this but I may not do it again because it ended up being a hassle to make (grating, double boiling, blending and then my lotion separated in the frig into water and solids I assume because I didn’t mix it properly) and clean (ugh the wax on everything).

  44. Nice Blog. A natural olive oil face cream that provides your skin with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Use it daily for a soft, elastic, and glowing skin. The beauty benefits of the olive oil and the organic shea butter will leave your skin feeling clean and soft. Great for dry skin. Order Now!

  45. I have several problems with this "recipe", sadly.
    First of all, beeswax is not an emulsifier, it cannot create a stable emulsion, so this lotion will split 100%. To make a stable emuslion you will need emulsifiers, like a complete emulsifying wax.
    Also, vitamin E is NOT a preservative! Jeeze, please stop spreading false information! This is dangerous! Vitamin E will do NOTHING to prevent microbial growth! Zero, zilch, nothing whatsoever! Vitamin E can help prolong the shelf-life of an oil or butter because it is an antioxidant and will prevent oils from going rancid for some time. It cannot be used as a preservative. You need to use a broad-spectrum preservative, if your formula contains any amount of water!
    If you want to make cosmetics at home, please!!!, do so safely! Please educate yourself!
    Preservatives aren’t evil, you don’t have to use parabens, there are several organic-skincare-certified alternatives you can get.
    If you absolutely must make things that contain water without using proper preservation, treat them like you would treat food, say mayonnaise. How long would you store and use homemade mayo? Definitely no more than a week – if kept cool, right? So, treat your unpreserved cosmetics the same.
    I know this is an old blog entry, but please consider adding notes to this, telling people not to recreate this recipe the way it is written, but with proper changes, like using a complete emulsifying wax and proper preservation.

    1. I read an article just after, and it mentioned Leucidal Liquid SF for preservation (what do you use or recommend???) and what are examples of emulsifying waxes?

  46. I have been trying to make a face lotion that is light for day time (I do like my greasy thick lotions for at night) however I have not been able to create a day lotion that absorbs quickly for the day time, I feel as though I am following your instructions above as I have ready this similar technique quite often, is there something I may be adding such as, jojoba oil, or primrose oil, or even maybe not enough water ( I use hydrosol) that makes it so greasy? Thank!

  47. I just bought a big bottle of glycerin. I thought I could use it as lotion but it is much too thick. I had to wash my hands. It did leave them soft and smooth. How can I add it to lotion? I thought it would be like using Corn Huskers lotion. Do you know how to make that? Thank you.

  48. I’m just learning, please could you describe the process of steaming in the oils??? Exactly how do you, steam the oil??? Then mix in with other ingredients after??? Please breakdown this process! Thank you!