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Part 3. How to Make Your Own Home-Made Natural Skin Care Products - Skin Creams and Gels

by Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic

Making your own skin creams is simple, fun and cost effective. The beauty of making your own products is in knowing exactly what ingredients are being used and in being able to use only pure, natural ingredients combined in recipes that address your skin type and/or skin problem. For example, if there is an ingredient you are allergic to you can simply leave it out or replace it with something else. There are a few simple rules that must be followed but beyond these there are endless possibilities for inventing and making your own creams for different purposes, for yourself, family or clients.

A cream consists of an emulsion (a mixing) of oil and water. In order to mix oil and water, you will need an Emulsifier, a medium that enables normally non-mixable ingredients to mix together. Aromantic's VE and MF emulsifiers are completely safe and to prove this they can even be eaten as they are used as vegan ingredients in ice cream in Scandinavia.

You will need the following equipment: stainless steel saucepans, oven-proof or stainless steel bowls, spatula, whisk, measuring jug, measuring spoons and a thermometer (for up to 100°C). You will also need scales but if you don't have any you can use the conversion table to find out what quantities to use instead of weights. It is important to be as accurate as possible with the weighing and/or measuring of ingredients. It is also important to be particularly careful with hygiene when using water in products.

Conversion Table for Ingredients in Creams

Shea Butter 1 gm = 1.5 ml
Cetylalcohol 1 gm = 3 ml
MF Emulsifier 1 gm = 2.5 ml (approx.)
VE Emulsifier 1 gm = 2 ml
Essential Oil 0.5 ml = 15 drops (approx.)

Method for Making Creams

1. Heat the Fat Stage in a double boiler (a saucepan immersed in a larger saucepan of water) until all the ingredients have melted and the temperature has risen to 75-80°C.

2. At the same time, heat the Water Stage in another saucepan to the same temperature.

3. Add the Fat Stage to the Water Stage pouring slowly in a thin, steady stream while beating the mixture all the time.

4. Keep the Cream mixture warm (keep the water in the bottom pan of the double boiler hot) and beat from side to side in the bottom of the saucepan for a further 5-10 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture away from the sides of the pan.

5. Allow the Cream to cool stirring all the time. It is important to touch the bottom of the pan as you stir so as not to introduce air into the Cream. You can speed this up by immersing the pan into a large pan of COLD water.

6. Starting at 35-40°C certain active ingredients are added for example vitamin E. Add the thicker ingredients first (Third Stage).

7. Continue stirring until the mixture has cooled to 25°C then thoroughly mix in the Essential oils.

8. Pour into jars and label accordingly.

Cream recipes can be adapted in a variety of ways, for instance with the addition of hydrolats or tinctures. However the amount of spring water used at the water stage must be reduced accordingly. Tinctures however should only be added at the end when the temperature will not damage their properties. Infused oils such as Calendula can be added at the fat stage instead of, or as a proportion of, the vegetable oils. By adding different essential oils you not only change the aroma of your cream but also the therapeutic action. The latter allows you to make creams for very specific purposes.


Cleanser Cream

Fat Stage (75-80°C)

8 ml Castor Oil
8 ml Jojoba or Almond Oil
2 gm Cetylalcohol
1 gm Cocoa Butter
3 gm VE Emulsifier

Water Stage (75-80°C):

5 gm MF Emulsifier
57 ml Spring Water
5 ml Glycerin
10 drops Paraben

Third Stage (35-40°C):

10 ml Beta
1 ml Alpha
1 ml E-Vitamin Oil


20 drops Essential Oil

Castor oil is good for cleansing and is used specifically because it is not quickly absorbed by the skin. Castor oil attracts and draws the dirt to itself so both oil and dirt can then be removed with damp cotton wool.

Dry Skin Cream

Fat Stage (75-80°C):

4 gm Cocoa Butter
6 ml Olive Oil
14 ml Almond Oil
6 ml Thistle Oil
4 gm Cetylalcohol
5 gm VE Emulsifier

Water Stage (75-80°C):

9 gm MF Emulsifier
100 ml Spring Water
8 ml Glycerin
20 drops Paraben

Third Stage (35-40°C):

1 ml Vitamin E
40 ml Aloe Vera Gel


20 drops Essential Oils


Gels are made from water and a thickening agent. They are usually either clear or semi-opaque. A gel is used in products where it is desirable to have little or no fat. They are best mixed using a water-based medium. However, if a small amount of fat is required, vegetable oil may be added up to 5%. Gels are able to carry an essential oil content of up to a maximum of 5%. Too much of either of these ingredients can result in either ingredient spreading itself unevenly through the product (the thicker the Gel is the more vegetable or essential oil it will be able to carry). The thickening agent used in Gels can either be wholly synthetic, such as a polymer or wholly natural, such as a polysaccharide.

Natural polysaccharides are extracted from plants or algae and are to be found in large quantities in the following:

* Carageen which is extracted from the seaweed Carageen

* Alginates that are extracted from Pectin (extracted from citrus peel)

* Cellulose Gum which is extracted from wood fibre

* Xanthan Gum which is grown from bacteria

Which of these you use is a matter of how the Gel feels when applied to the skin, and then how it feels when its moisture has evaporated. In addition to this, different thickening agents are used to carry different raw ingredients. These thickening agents also have a certain effect on the skin; they retain moisture, protect the skin and can also be used as an astringent. The skin does not absorb them.

We prefer to use Xanthan Gum (Xanthomonas compestris) because it is used in medical and cosmetic products, but any of the other thickening agents may be substituted. You will need to find out the right quantities to use for each through your own process of trial and error (for example, you will need more Cellulose Gum than Xanthan Gum to make a gel of the same consistency). If you are just using Xanthan Gum, water and essential oils in a concentration of 4-5% you will not need to add any preservative. However if you intend to add anything else, a preservative should be used to be on the safe side.

Method for Making Gels

1. Heat the water to blood temperature (at which point the Xanthan Gum will melt more easily)

2. Add the Xanthan Gum and beat vigorously. Try to touch the bottom of the pan with your whisk to avoid the introduction of air bubbles.

3. Add the remaining ingredients

NB. When making Haemorrhoid or Foot Gels, add the Allantoin / Carbamide before adding the Xanthan Gum.

Tip: If your Gel goes lumpy put it through a food processor or use a hand blender.


Aloe Gel

89 ml Spring Water
1 gm (or 2ml) Xanthan Gum
10 ml Aloe Vera concentrate
8 drops Paraben

Strong Muscle Gel

92 ml Spring Water
1 gm (or 2 ml) Xanthan Gum
2 ml Glycerin
5 ml White Crystal

Tea Tree Gel

83 ml Spring Water
1 gm (or 2 ml) Xanthan Gum
4 drops Paraben
10 ml Aloe Vera concentrate
2 ml D-Panthenol 75%
3 ml Tea Tree Essential Oil
1 ml Lavender Essential Oil

After Sun Gel

81 ml Spring Water
1 gm (or 2ml) Xanthan Gum
10 drops Paraben
5 ml St. John's Wort Oil
2 ml Sorbitol
10 ml Aloe Vera concentrate
20 drops Lavender Essential Oil
5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Hemorrhoid Gel

88 ml String Water or Hamamelis Water
0.5 gm Allantoin
1 gm (or 2ml) Xanthan Gum
6 droops Paraben
20 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
20 drops Cypress Essential Oil

Foot Gel

88 ml String Water
2 gm Carbamide
1 gm (or 2ml) Xanthan Gum
6 ml Glycerin
2 ml Lactic Acid
40 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
10 drops Sage Essential Oil

Cellulite Gel

97 ml Spring Water
1 gm (or 2 ml) Xanthan Gum
4 drops Paraben
30 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
5 drops Sweet Fennel Essential Oil
35 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
10 drops Juniper Berry Essential Oil

Scrubbing Gel

97 ml Spring Water
1 gm (or 2ml) Xanthan Gum
10 droops Paraben
3 gm Ground Apricot Kernel
10 drops Cypress Essential Oil
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
10 drops Spearmint Essential Oil

Rosemary Gel

94 ml Spring Water
1 gm (or 2ml) Xanthan Gum
2 ml Glycerin
4 drops Paraben
2 ml Rosemary Essential Oil
1 ml Lavender Essential Oil

It is useful to write down all your recipes, including the ones which are not so successful, along with the date, a batch number and the intended purpose of the product. With all this information you should be able to work out the reason for any problems you may have and more importantly will be able to reproduce your successes.

The main thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy yourself!

Article reprinted with permission from http://www.aromantic.com
© Copyright Aromantic 2002-2004

About the Author:

Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic specialises in empowering people of
all levels in making their own highly effective natural skin care
products. Through his website customers are able to access many
free resources as well as being able to order all the raw
materials, equipment and know-how required to make aromatherapy
products, creams, shampoos, soaps and cosmetics.

Visit Kolbjørn's Natural Skin Care web site at:

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