Fats and oils are used to keep the skin supple and prevent moisture evaporation. Many oils and waxes can be used neat such as coconut oil.
Or they can be mixed with water as a cream or lotion.
They can be harvested from plants and animals.
Read more about fatty acids HERE

The oils used in creams/balms are usually vegetable derived though I suppose you could use lard if you wished (!)

Types Of Oil, Wax Or Butter
They come in a variety of forms under the following headings – but it is a rough guide only.
Liquid Oil – never solidifies
Solid Oil – firm when cool but has very low melting point so sometimes it may be counted as an oil i.e. Coconut oil
Butters – a solid oil. Has a high melting point. Rather confusing. Milk butter for example acts more like a solid oil, while Cocoa butter is more like a wax.
Waxes – very hard-of a candle (wax), like consistency. Bees wax for example.

Which One?

There are hundreds of vegetable oils. Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you.
You don’t need that many. I can make everything I need with a few oils. I have listed them in order of hardness. However some liquid oils can be more oily than solid oils. Castor oil (liquid) is the thickest oil i know and can only be used mixed with others where’s coconut oil (semi solid) is very light

Almond oil a lighter oil. Can be bought in big supermarkets, Asian shops and online
Rapeseed oil – a lighter oil with quite a strong scent but U.K. sourced. Read More
Olive oil – a richer oil can sometimes be bought on tap in the U.K. Used for cooking and more
Castor oil – a very thick oil – add it to lip balm. Can often be bought in chemists.
Coconut oil– a semi solid light oil which has a very low melting point. Use neat as for everything from hair care to make up removal or add to creams and balms. Can also be used for cooking. Read more 
Shea butter – a rich creamy butter with a surprisingly low melting point. Good for making cream and lotions. There’s an  introduction to shea butter here
Cocoa butter – a hard wax which has a high melting point. Use neat as a lip balm or add to creams and balms.
Bees wax – a very hard oil wax has a very high melting point add to creams and balms to make them firmer.

Using Them Neat
Many oils and waxes can be used neat.For example I use
Coconut oil for moisturising, removing eye makeup, cleansing and massage:
Cocoa Butter or bees wax – instant lip balm, deep mousturising treatment for nails:
Shea Butter deep moisturising, barrier cream.

Combining Oils & Waxes
Sometimes a wax is just too hard and an oil too liquid. Oils and waxes can be combined to create a more usable product. Examples would be combining a hard wax like cocoa butter with a softer oil like coconut. these are my favourites:
Body Butter
Lip Balm

Cream & Lotions

But still there are times when oils are are just too… oily. In this case you need to dilute them using water. As Water and oil don’t mix you will also need to add an emulsifier. The end result is cream or lotion.
To make cream you will need the following
Fatty acids of your choice- oil, butters & waxes.
Emulsifiers: Water and fat do not naturally mix, you need to use an emulsifier.
Pots to put your cream in.

Active Ingredients
The cream or oil can be used as a carrier medium for active ingredients such as…
Suntan Lotion– add Microfine Titanium Dioxide OR Zinc Oxide to make a suntan lotion
Self Tan– Add DHA to make a fake bake that really works .
Magic, age defying, cellulite busting potions- scour the internet for all the gubbins, the AHAs, enzymes and crushed pearls that are supposed to grant instant beauty and add them too. I can’t promise results, but it’s fun experimenting.


Here are some cream and lotion recipes

Once you have made your creams and balms you will need to store them. You can find a range of pots, bottles and closures here.


For the last 5 years now I have been I have been using home-made cream on face and body with no side effects. The plastic pots from the original kit have been reused a number of times. In fact they are still in use. They are great for traveling.


Check here or visit individual posts for purchase details.

Some of the above will come plastic packaged. As I get huge amounts  out of one small bag of ingredients so I consider it a worthwhile compromise. It still represents a huge decrease in plastic consumption.

Making Other Personal Care Products Hairspray featured

Its quicker then  trying to choose between a hundred different shampoos and it’s really simple, fun to do, so much cheaper  and  I get to control what goes on my  body, where it comes from and what environmental impact it has.

Lots more info here on making your own personal care products

5 thoughts on “Oils, lotions & creams Index

  1. Hi – yes it seems to be working – I have posted more info – I hope you find it useful xpam

  2. Thanks for dropping by and the recipie. Sounds good. I actually store my home made cream in glass jars with metal lids which I of course refill and reuse. And yes the raw ingredients often come in plastic bags but they are polythene bags so easily recycled. Also one bag of ingredients makes loads of lotion so the plastic rubbish created in marginal compared to what would result if I bought that lotion ready made and packaged

  3. Hi,

    I would be interested in the recipe you used for the sunblock, especially if it worked!

    Would you mind sending it to me?

  4. What if you make solid lotions? Then you don’t need any plastic to store your finished product and no chemicals.

    I know of one company that sells them – Chagrin Valley Soap. I have used their products and I am happy with them. I have also tried making my own and I am very happy with the results. I did it very simply and am probably going to research more on what other oils would be helpful.

    I took 2 oz each of illipe tree butter, avocado butter and cocoa butter. I melted them together using a double boiler. I then poured them into little yogurt containers and allowed them to completely cool. They are solid at room temperature but melt against your skin. The raw ingredients come in plastic bags or containers but you can buy it in bulk (at least you can here in the US) so I think you go through less plastic.

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