Basic Cream & Lotion Recipe

I'm an experimenter by nature, so I've given you my guideline for making a wonderful cream. If you prefer a concrete recipe, my favorite is Rosemary Gladstar's Perfect Cream from her book Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health.

Basic ingredients:

1 1/8 cup oil

1 cup water

1/2 cup shaved beeswax (I like pastilles. If you are using a block of beeswax, freeze it for easier shaving!)

10-30 drops essential oils


  • A medium to large bowl and a heavy, fine whisk OR a blender
  • A double boiler (or two pots which stack)*

These are your basic ingredients and tools. The fun comes from choosing amongst various types of water, oil, and essential oil.

Water – For your water component you can use plain water, hydrosol, or you can make an herbal tea, for instance chamomile or rose. You may also want to use aloe vera juice, flower essences, and/or vitamin E in your water part (yes, vitamin E is an oil but you are going to heat your other oils and you don't want to heat the E).

Oil – You can choose liquid oils such as olive, almond, or jojoba. You may also choose from solid oils such as coconut or shea butter. Feel free to mix and match!

I like to mix solid oils (like coconut and coca butter) with liquid oils (like rose hips seed and jojoba) for my oil part.

Essential oils are added both for scent and for their healing properties. Tea tree and lemon are drying and antiseptic, lavender is soothing, rose and rose geranium are wonderful for mature skin, sage is good for troubled skin. If you are going to blend essential oils, hold all the bottles up to your nose and make sure that you like the way the smells blend before adding it to your cream! Mix your blend of oils together, shake 100 times, and add the blended essenital oils to your water part.

Okay, now that we have chosen our ingredients, let's begin!

  1. Prepare your water component adding essential oils.
  2. Over low heat, melt beeswax into oil.
  3. Let water and oil both cool to room temperature. The oil will start to congeal.
  4. Put water into your mixing bowl or blender.
  5. Pour the oil and beewax into the bowl or blender. If you are doing this by hand, grab your whisk, and beat like mad!!! OR pour oil and beeswax into the blender and whirr away until the blender makes slight choking noises.
  6. Put cream in clean jars and store in a cool place (in the fridge is fine)

If your cream is grainy this means that everything was not at room temperature or, if you used shea butter, that it crystalized. To keep this from happening stir the shea butter and beeswax constantly as they cool.

Because these creams are made from natural ingredients they are fragile and have a short shelf life. Make small amounts and use generously!

*Once you melt your oil in a pot, it will never come 100% clean again so choose a pot that you are ready to retire. The pot should be made of stainless steel, glass, or enamel. When you are ready to clean your pot, put dish soap in and rub around BEFORE adding water. This will get most of the wax and oil out.

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