Do you want to start crafting your own DIY acne fighting moisturizer?
If so, the benefits are plentiful:
- You can pick and choose ingredients and tailor it specifically to your own skin type
- You only use the highest quality ingredients; no nasty harmful or pore clogging ingredients that you almost always find in formulated products (even so called “natural” ones)
- It’s fun and easy, and while it’s more of an investment up front for ingredients, it will save you money if you stick with it
Before sharing with you my own moisturizer recipe, I realized that I needed to explain the basic game of making your own lotions or moisturizers.
So let’s dive in!
The Oil Phase and the Water Phase
The bread and butter of making your own moisturizer is that you want one part of it to be oil based, and one part of it to be water based.
If you start reading about DIY cosmetics, you may hear this referred to as “the oil phase” and the “water phase”.
Two reasons for this:
One is that like I mentioned in the ‘How to Moisturize Properly‘ article, you want to hydrate your skin with water, and have the oil lock it into your skin. Otherwise water will just evaporate and take more with it, making your skin more dehydrated.
The second reason is if you are going to be adding additional ingredients to your moisturizer.
Some ingredients will only dissolve in water (called ‘water soluble’).
Others will only dissolve in oil (called ‘oil soluble’).
So it’s best to have both, so that you can add whatever your heart desires!
For your “water phase”, you can just use distilled water, but I personally like to use a very high quality aloe vera gel. Aloe vera gel is almost entirely water.
One reason I like using aloe better is just because it has added benefit over water in that it’s a little thicker, and that it has very soothing properties for the skin. It helps with acne scars and redness, and calming breakouts.
The other reason is because if you buy aloe vera gel, it already has a very light preservative system in it.
Not like I’m super into the idea of preservatives, but I have learned that it is kind of a necessary evil… read on…
Preservatives & Antioxidants
Okay, so, oil on its own does not grow bacteria in it.
But once you add something watery to your mixture, after a while it can grow harmful bacteria. And you don’t really want a bacterial infection on your face.
So that’s why you kind of need the preservatives.
That is unless you want to make very small batches and always keep your mixture in the fridge… however, I find that too limiting because it means you can’t take your moisturizer overnight anywhere.
As I mentioned, I like using aloe gel as my water phase because it already has some preservatives in it.
It’s important to find a good quality that only has minimal ones though… your average aloe gel from the drug store is not natural at all is not going to cut it.
The one I’ve been using lately and quite like is by Green Leaf Naturals.
It is 99.75% organic aloe vera with a very small amount of citric acid, ascorbic acid, potassium sorbate, and xanthan gum.
While these aren’t necessarily beneficial ingredients, as far as I know they aren’t harmful. They will form such a tiny amount of the overall mixture (less than 0.13%), so I don’t think it’s that big a deal.
So anyway – I have to admit, I haven’t done much research on what’s the best and easiest preservative system to use if you are using distilled water, or say aloe vera straight from the leaf.
So…. sorry ’bout that. You’ll have to figure that one out on your own!
As for oils, they won’t grow bacteria, but they can “oxidize”. Which basically just means they go off, and are no longer good for the skin.
Some oils oxidize a lot easier than others. For example – hemp seed oil and grape seed oil are pretty delicate and can easily be degraded by light, heat, etc.
Ones like argan oil and jojoba oil are much more stable.
To extend the shelf life of your carrier oils and protect them from oxidation damage, particularly if you are using a delicate oil in your moisturizer, you may want to add an antioxidant to your mixture.
No matter if you use an added antioxidant or not, oils (and therefore your finished DIY moisturizer) should ideally be kept in a dark glass container away from light or extreme heat in order to keep ’em good for as long as possible.
Oil & Water Don’t Mix: Emulsifiers
So you may know from science class, or simply good ol’ life experience, that oil and water don’t really mix.
If you try to mix them together at high speeds, it can sometimes look like they are mixed, but eventually they will separate and the oil will float to the top.
If you want to truly mix your “water phase” and your “oil phase” so that they don’t separate, you have to add something called an emulsifier to your mix.
However, there are very, very few natural emulsifiers, and even the natural ones seem like a pointless and potentially iffy addition.
Maybe there is some cosmetic chemistry that I’m missing here, but I think the only reason to emulsify everything is just for looks and ‘prettiness’ of the product.
I don’t think that it brings the effectiveness of the concoction down if you don’t use an emulsifier, and I’d rather not add unnecessary things that could potentially cause an adverse skin reaction.
I instead prefer to give my DIY moisturizer a quick shake every time I use it, just to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly dispersed before applying it.
Calculating Your Recipe
Next thing you need to know about DIY’ing your own moisturizers is how to calculate your recipe.
For each ingredient you’re using you want to get a basic idea of how much of it you’re supposed to use for skin care and then go from there.
For example, you don’t want essential oils to be more than about 2% of your overall mixture because they are very, very powerful and more is not necessarily merrier.
So figure that out for each ingredient.
Second, decide on how much you want to make. I recommend making small batches to begin with (like one fluid ounce) and keeping it in a dark glass dropper bottle for every day use.
Making small batches means that if you don’t like a certain ingredient you used, you only wasted a small amount of ingredients.
Anyway – start by saying that the mixture = 100%
In this case, you’ve decided you want to make 1 fluid oz. of moisturizer, so 100% is equal to 1 fluid ounce.
So you could say that your mixture could be comprised of 49% carrier oil of choice, 49% aloe vera gel, and 2% essential oils of choice. That equals 100%.
Then you want to figure out what each percentage translates to in terms of actual measurements.
1 fluid ounce equals about 30 millilitres. And there are 20 drops in a millilitre.
So 49% of 30 millilitres = 14.7 mL. Which equals about 3 teaspoons.
And 2% of 30 millilitres = 0.6 mL. Which is equal to about 12 drops.
So your recipe would then be 3 teaspoons of carrier oil, 3 teaspoons of aloe vera, and 12 drops of essential oils.
Yes, it does take a little bit of simple math to make up your own recipe, but it’s not so bad! It’s kind of fun! And google has instant conversion charts built right in now, making this easier than ever.