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"Make your own lotions"




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Making Herbal Face Creams and Body Butters

   By Sherry A Barker of Sherry’s Creations,

Basically making Creams for Face and Body follows the same principals as described in the previous article  about Making Lotions. 

A Cream is an “emulsion” of a water base and an oil base by use of an “emulsifier agent” to bind the two bases so they will not separate.  The basic difference between a cream and a lotion is the amount/use of various oils and water base percentages to formulate a cream. 

Creams are thicker than lotions, may have various uses and often one uses more varied oils/butters, depending upon the desired effect upon the skin.

In a Cream formulation, the water-base percentage is about 60-75 % and the oil-base is about 20-30 % of the total, with the other percentages being the emulsifier agent, preservatives and additives for a total of 100 % .

Basically My theory is that there are Two types of creams.  One generally thinks of creams as a night cream, a day cream, a baby cream, a foot cream, a face cream, etc, but I suggest that there are two types of creams that cover all aspects of skin care use regardless of age, sex, or skin type.

Two Types of Creams

1.  The first Type of Cream, a  Barrier Cream, that locks moisture in the skin over a period of time, such as a “protective cream, a healing cream, a night cream, a cleansing cream, a sun screen cream”, and should be used for short periods of times Only, then washed and rinsed off so the Skin Can Breathe again. 

      Note: Our bodies emit toxins through the skin daily, therefore the skin Must be able to “breathe” and not obstructed by means of a barrier cream for any length of time.

2. The second type of cream , Daily Moisturizer Cream, is one that also acts as a daily moisturizer for your skin but will sink into the epidermis  quickly - like a lotion. 

      This type of cream allows the skin the breathe while drawing moisture to the skin so it does not become de-hydrated during the daytime.  This cream functions as good foundation under make-up, a daily moisturizer after your bath, a facial day cream, or a spot cream for dry skin areas,

       Important Note:

One thing I would like to stress is my belief that NO Essential or Fragrance Oil should ever be used when making any Baby/Children’s products because these potent oils [with low molecular weight] can and will enter the bloodstream for a short period of time, and an infant or young child can NOT tolerate the EO or FO, as an adult, therefore, use herbal infusions ONLY when making products for babies and children.

Emulsifiers for the two types of creams.

For a All Natural Cream of the First type, one can use a Beeswax/borax combo as the emulsifier along with lecithin for a second emulsifier to bind the water and oil bases together. 

This type of cream is classified as a Water-in-Oil [W/O] type of emulsion. The water in the cream is suspended in the oil base.

For the Second type of cream, one can use E-wax NF as the Emulsifier with or without the extra lecithin as a second emulsifier, since E-wax is a self emulsifier, the lecithin is not really necessary although I do use it since it is also so beneficial to your skin. Or you can still use the beeswax/borax combination by using a 70-75 % water base for the cream. 

This type of cream is classified as an Oil-in-Water [O/W] type of Emulsion.  The oil in the cream is suspended in the water base.

Choosing your ingredients:

Knowing the characteristics and properties of various oils, butters, and other common cream ingredients will help you decide what types of ingredients and in what percentages to incorporate into the cream based upon the type of cream you wish to create.

It is important to Study properties of oils, butters, vitamins, additives, herbs, and botanical and what benefits they will impart into your cream.

You might want to prepare a check list for yourself before you create a cream for a particular purpose by asking these questions:

1.  Who will be using this cream,---skin type [dry-normal-oily], age, sex?

2.  What will be the purpose of this cream–cleansing, protection, Moisturizer, day, night, etc?

3.  Do I want to duplicate another recipe or formula or create my own formula?

4.  What additives shall I use–vitamins, minerals, colorants, EO or FO, etc?

5.  Shall I use a preservative, or will this be for a short shelf life?

6.  What type of container shall I use–jar, tube, fancy?

There are other considerations if your going to sell your cream to the public, but that is not within the scope of this article.

Equipment you will need

          Same as in previous article on making lotions.  Be sure to use Digital Scales for accurate measurements since most formulations may be in tenths of ounces or grams.

General Directions for Creams

1.  Heat Part A to 170 F degrees and hold for 15 min. 

2.  Heat Part B C to 170 F degrees and hold for 15 min.

     This will destroy any bacteria that may be present in these bases.

3.  Using a spatula transfer part B/C into a Tall Stainless steel mixing bowl.

4.  Slowly pour part A into Part B/C, stick blending all the time, until cream has thickened.

5.  Check Temperature and cool mixture to 120 F degrees.

6.  Add Part D .  Add Germall onto mixture and blend

7.  Add Part E and continue stick blending until thick and creamy

8.  Spoon or pour into jars or tubes.  Cover with sterile or clean cloth to cool to room temperature before capping to ensure no moisture forms under the cap

NOTE:  If you have a Portable pH meter, you can test the pH any cream or lotion and adjust the acidity level with the use of a tiny bit of Citric Acid so the pH is 6 to 6.5 which is about the pH level of adult skin.

Note: Using Sherry’s Cream-Lotion Spreadsheet you can easily calculate %, ounces and grams, and increase or decrease or change ingredients as desired.

Formulating a Face Cream

1.  A Basic Night Cream     Yield 16 oz of cream

          For a night cream you would choose the barrier type of cream that locks in moisture while you sleep, to be washed off in the morning and then apply a light Day Moisturizing Cream [see below]

Part A

Water base  -- Total Percentage = 55%

Calendula/Jasmine Tea  Herbal Water   43%   =  0.43  = 6.88 oz  = 195.048 gr

Aloe Juice                                          10 %   =  0 .10 =  0.16 oz = 45.36  gr

Vegetable Glycerin                              2 %   =  0.02 =  0.32 oz = 9.072 gr

Part B

Oil base  –- Total Percentage =  32 %

avocado oil                                13 %      = 0.13  =  2.08 oz = 58.968 gr               

castor oil or meadow form oil    5 %       = 0.05  =  0.8 oz = 22.68 gr       

 wheat germ oil                          6 %       = 0.06  =  0.96 oz = 27.216 gr         

cocoa or Shea butter                 8 %       = 0.08 = 1.28 oz = 36.288 gr

Part C

Emulsifier  –- Total Percentage =  9 %       –- this amount makes a thick cream

beeswax                          7.8 %           =  0.078  = 1.248 oz = 35.380 gr

borax                             .02 %           = .002 = 0.0328 oz = 0.9072 gr

soy lecithin                      1 %              = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr

Part D


Germall Plus Liquid      0. 1 %-0.5%            usage rate

Part E

Additives –- Percentage = up to 3 %

Brewers Yeast          1 %                     = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr       

Carrot Powder          1 %                     = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr

Trophenol T-50        1 %                        = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr


Note:  Total Percentage = 100 %   total oz = 16 oz

Notes:   Why I chose these ingredients:

Calendula is an excellent healing herb for the skin, castor or meadow form oil helps prevent TEWL [trans-epidermal water loss], aloe heals and restores skin health, and the other oils and butters are rich moisturizing ingredients.  Trophenol T-50 should be added as an antioxidant for the oils to prevent rancidity.  Vegetable glycerin is a humecant to draw moisture from the air to the skin.  Germall Plus powder is a synthetic preservative  without parabens and least likely to cause adverse reactions. Brewer’s yeast is high in Vit B, Carrot Powder is high in Vit A, which are essential for skin health.


You could substitute most any heavier type oil such as a nut oil and also vary the herbal infusion of your choice.  You can add EO if you wish at up to 1% of above formula and of course keeping the same percentages of water and oil bases.

You can add stiffness to your cream by adding 1 % palm stearic acid to the oil base, decreasing the oil amount by 1 % as well.  If using the liquid Germall Plus as a preservative, I suggest adding the palm stearic acid to the oil base.

2. Basic Day Cream for daily Moisturizer – Face or Body Cream

          Notice how the percentages and ingredients change for a lighter base.

Part A

Water base  -- Total Percentage = 68%


Calendula/Jasmin Tea  Herbal Water   58%   =  0.58  = 9.28 oz  = 263.088 gr

Aloe Juice                                          5 %    =  0 .05 = .0.8 oz = 22.68  gr

Vegetable Glycerin                              5 %   =  0.05 =  0.8 oz = 22.68 gr

Part B

Oil base  –- Total Percentage = 20 %        

avocado oil                                10 %      = 0.10  = 1.6 oz = 45.36 gr               

castor oil or meadow form oil    4 %       = 0.04  =  0.64 oz = 18.144 gr       

wheat germ oil                           2 %       = 0.02  =  0.32 oz = 9.072 gr         

cocoa or Shea butter                 4 %       = 0.04  =  0.64 oz = 18.144 gr

Part C                  

Emulsifier  –- Total Percentage = 8%       –- this amount makes a thick cream

E-wax NF                                 8%        = 0 .09  = 1.28 oz = 36.288 gr

          Note:  Use only 7 % E-wax  if cream is too thick and increase water % by 1 %

Part D

Preservatives    [if needed for long term storage or resale]

Germall Plus liquid                   0.1-0.5 %    

Part E

Additives –- Percentage = up to 3 %

Brewers Yeast          1 %                     = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr       

Carrot Powder          1 %                     = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr

Trophenol T-50        1 %                               = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr       

Total percentage = 100  Total ounces = 16

Basic Body Cream

       A Body Cream is basically used for a daily moisturizer . In this formulation

I use Rose and oatmeal and rooibos  herbal water or just rose hydrosol as my water in the water-base for a soothing base. Note that the water base is increased, the oil base decreased to allow this cream to sink into the skin quickly, just as a lotion would do.

Part A

Water base  -- Total Percentage = 72%


Rose/Oatmeal/Rooibos-Tea Water      62%   =  0.62  = 9.92 oz  = 281.232 gr

   Or Rose Hydrosol

Aloe juice                                           5 %    =  0 .05 =  0.8 oz = 22.68  gr

Vegetable Glycerin                              5 %   =  0.05 =  0.8 oz = 22.68 gr

Part B

Oil base  –- Total Percentage = 17 %       

grape seed oil                            10 %        = 0.10  = 1.6 oz = 45.36 gr               

jojoba                                       2 %         = 0.02  =  0.32 oz = 9.072 gr       

rose hip oil                                          2 %         = 0.02  =  0.32 oz = 9.072 gr         

cocoa or Shea butter                 3 %         = 0.04  =  0.48 oz = 13.608 gr


Part C

Emulsifier  –- Total Percentage =  7%       –- this amount makes a thick cream

E-wax NF                                 7%        = 0 .07  = 1.12 oz = 31.752 gr

          Note:  Use only 7 % E-wax  if cream is too thick and increase water % by 1 %

Part D

Preservatives  –- Percentage = .01 %   

Germall Plus liquid       0.1% -0.5% usage rate

Part E

Additives –- Percentage = up to 3 %

Brewers Yeast          1 %                     = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr       

Carrot Powder          1 %                     = 0.01 = 0.16 oz = 4.536 gr

Trophenol T-50       .05 %                   = 0.005 = 0.08 oz = 2.268 gr

Rose EO or FO        .05 %                   = 0.005 = 0.08 oz = 2.268 gr

Total percentage = 100 total ounces = 16

Notes: For a body cream a “lighter” oil is used that absorbs quickly,  a higher percentage of water, a lower percentage of emulsifier for a light thin cream that will spread easily and absorb into skin quickly.

One can substitute any Light oil, such as fractionate coconut oil for the grape seed oil.  One can also substitute any herbal water and EO or FO in this formula for a fragrant lotion that lingers with you all day.

For a stiffer body cream you can add .05 % kaolin clay as an additive, mixing your EO into the clay before adding to the cream and decrease the water base by .05 5 so as to keep the total percentage at 100 %.

Body Butter

Basically body butters are not really creams since there is NO water base ingredient in the formulation and therefore no emulsion. Add T-50 to your oils for an antioxidant to prevent rancidity.  Since there is no water base, no preservative is necessary.

You can combine any oil/or oil combinations,  you desire with any butter you desire and whip it with a stick blender until smooth and creamy.  Body butters are often used for areas of dry skin such as elbows, knees, feet, hands, etc.

A little bit of Beeswax will stiffen the body butter but the butter will Not penetrate the epidermis as well, and might be better used as a Night body butter to be washed off in the morning.

Directions for Body Butter:

1.  Melt butter in glass dish in microwave and cool to room temperature, but does not reach a solid state again.

2.  Using stick blender, slowly pour room temperature oil into butter and blend until thick and creamy.

3. Pour into a jar and cool before capping so no moisture forms under cap. Store in cool dry place.

Basic Body Butter           yield 2 oz

1 oz or 50 % Shea or cocoa butter [or other butter of choice]

1 oz or 50 % fractionate coconut oil or grape seed oil [ or other oil of choice]

   To which 1 % of T -50 has been added to the oil used.

Variation Night-time Body Butter

45 % butter

5% beeswax or soy wax

50 % oil of choice –nut oils are heavier oils for night time use


Extra Note: Don’t forget that Men, children, babies and the elderly also need a daily Moisturizer, and one can easily adjust the above formulations to meet their specific needs by variations of herbal waters and oils, and EO used.

Vegans can use Soy wax instead of Beeswax in any cream formulation.

 By Sherry A Barker o

Copyright Notice:  copyright to Sherry A Barker,  January 2007, all rights reserved

 YOU can now purchase Sherry's spreadsheets and e-books on-line at



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