Homemade Organic Lotion – A Recipe & Free Printable

Here is a recipe for a organic, all-natural, non-toxic lotion and body butter that you’re sure to love! It’s easy to make and even give as a gift.

Homemade Organic Body Butter and Lotion Recipe

A few months ago, I wrote about a body butter I had made from a recipe I had found at another site. And while I have really liked the way it turned out, it just wasn’t perfect and once it ran out a few weeks ago, I revamped the recipe and made it my own.

I’m much happier with this recipe because of the rich, creamy consistency – it’s more like the consistency of commercial hand cream whereas the old recipe was very oily and I couldn’t use my phone, open doors or even write after using it! The other recipe is excellent for using on legs and arms, especially after showering and shaving. But this new recipe is my all-time fav for hand lotion – and once again, it’s all-natural, pure, organic ingredients so there’s no worries about what I’m putting on the largest organ of my body!

The recipe and Free Printable Label:


Click on the picture to download the free label.

Yield – about 16 oz.

  • 1 cup shea butter (Buy at Mountain Rose Herbs and Amazon) OR [cocoa if you have a nut allergy
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (Buy at Tropical Traditions (hand made!))
  • 1/2 cup almond oil (Buy at Mountain Rose Herbs and Amazon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons beeswax (where to buy)
  • Optional: (a thickening agent) 1 tablespoon non-nano zinc oxide (where to buy)* OR arrowroot powder or cornstarch – neither of these are as thick as zinc oxide, but they do work!
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerine (where to buy) or pure aloe vera gel (optional for added skin protection)
  • Optional – 10 drops of lavender essential oil or Gentle Baby (a blended oil of Geranium, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Rosewood, Roman Chamomile, Rose, Lemon, Palmarosa, and Coriander) (where to buy high quality essential oils)  or other essential oil of choice for fragrance

(For a picture tutorial, go to the other recipe). In a double boiler, melt the shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil and beeswax together. Once it turns to a liquid, let it cool in the fridge for about an hour. Then, spoon into a mixer (like Kitchenaid, or use a hand mixer) and pour in the zinc oxide and vegetable glycerin. Whip for about 5 minutes to get it nice and fluffy, like whipped cream.

*A note about zinc oxide  – this is the only ingredient that isn’t raw and totally natural. It is mined and then synthetically processed. It is used in cosmetics to thicken creams, create a barrier for the skin, and to make sun screen because it is insoluble in water. It can be optional, but the cream won’t be as thick and creamy without it.

Homemade Organic Body Butter and Lotion
How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life
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About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. Very cool! I love all of your homemade creams/lotions! The labels are super cute, too!
    Thanks for sharing at my Super Link Party! 🙂

  2. This looks like such a great recipe.

    Mrs. Delightful

  3. Hello! Linking up from Fantabulous Friday! This is such a great idea, thanks for sharing! Now following you on Facebook – I’m trying to get to 100 ‘likes’ today – will you please visit me? https://www.facebook.com/pages/Juggling-Act/473100216038799

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love no additives. I sell my lotions and am told I need preservatives . I use vitamin e but need to use a paraben like phenonip. In my batch I use .05 makes 4 8oz bottles. Chime in ladies if you know a way around it. I love your recipe. My dad has really bad skin due to diabetes. I will gift him a batch with out preserves 😉 thank you!

  5. Thanks Sara I will check it out I am
    New to selling, but I am not a fan of preservatives which is why I started making products. There is way to much unknown in all that let’s say junk. I am making some for my dad tomorrow appreciate the comment. I tried to leave my name but kept getting kicked back. Thanks again Cindee @LCCindee on twitter

  6. I’m totally going to try this one! I also made a body butter a few months back, and it’s just too darn oily to be able to use on the area I need it most – the eczema on my fingers. Your new recipe looks very cream-like, so I’m very excited about it! Pinning 🙂

    • Thanks Sarah! It is much creamier than the other recipe I tried. The beeswax and zinc oxide are the secret ingredients. Still has some oil in it, but I like it that way.

  7. I don’t have almond oil. Can I use olive oil instead?

  8. Is the zinc oxide safe? I’ve seen some comments saying it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause cancer. Would this body butter be too oily or watery without it?

    • Hello! I found the article to which you are referring (http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2010/s2830477.htm) and it is very interesting – it says that the zinc does get into the bloodstream with sunscreens that have 20 percent zinc oxide in them, but it’s a small amount and it’s not harmful unless the use and frequency of use is a lot over a long period of time. But, when it comes to this lotion, there is such a little amount of zinc oxide in it that if you omitted it, it won’t hardly make a difference. Just add a little more beeswax to thicken it, as that is the key thickening ingredient.

  9. Can you suggest anything to substitute for the coconut oil? I may have a skin allergy to coconut and/or coconut-derived products (which happen to be in hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, anti-itch cream, baby shampoo, lotion, you name it!) which is the main reason why I’m trying to go natural and reduce the number of complicated ingredients in all my products. I just tried the baking soda and ACV shampoo/conditioner- felt great and so gentle. I have been battling an outbreak of eczema due to this allergy (which I still haven’t figured out :/ ), so I was so relieved when the “shampoo” didn’t make my hands sting. My hair felt soft as well. Hope it works! I’m also excited to try the body scrub and ACV anti-itch solution, but unfortunately, can’t risk anything with the castile soap. thanks for your blog and looking forward to learning more about the benefits of natural living!

    • Hi Michelle! I do think you need to replace it with a thick oil, because coconut oil hardens at room temperature. So, try adding either more shea butter or more beeswax, then a little more of the sweet almond oil (or other carrier oil like sunflower, olive, etc.). I’d have to experiment with it to give you exact measurements, but shea butter and coconut oil are pretty comparable, so try substituting with it first. If it’s too hard, then add a little liquid oil.

      • Thanks, Sara! I will try the shea butter. I’m excited to try the lip balm making too. I’ve been lotion-less for a while now, not good in winter time, so I hope this will work out.

    • Michelle:

      You should use a good quality probiotic. Many allergies and auto immune problems are caused by messed up gut flora. 70% of your immune system is in your gut. Probiotics may help with your allergy issues.

  10. Hi Sara,
    I am in Australia and found your blog whilst googling looking for natural skin care.
    I enjoy your recipes, thank you.
    I have just ditched my shampoo (9 days ago) for baking soda shampoo and ACV conditioner. The first 5 days my hair and and scalp felt great, but now my hair is a bit oily and scalp a bit itchy. However I have recently been suffering from shocking scalp itchiness that was unbearable. What I am experiencing now is no where near what it has been for the last 6 months or so. I am going to perservere in the hope that I can reduce the baking soda and ACV to once a week (I am on every other day at moment) and be “poo free.”
    I also made the deoderant with baking soda, arrowroot flour, coconut oil etc and it is so far great and I have not had smelly pits. Admittedly I have been on annual leave from work and mostly at home with air conditioning on (as been quite warm to hot here in Australia) so the true test will be when back at work and outside in the heat. It is the only natural formula that has ever worked for me. So I am very pleased.
    I made the body butter too. I did not have any zinc oxide, and have found it has been nice and buttery. I let it sit on the kitchen bench over night after making, and it was more of a thinner, moisturiser thickness in the morning. I gave it a stir and then a few hours later it was buttery. I love it. I use at night after my shower because I find it does take a while to absorb so a bit oily to put clothes on straight away.
    I am also using the baking soda body scrub for my face and body. My skin itchiness has settled right down. I feel so clean and refreshed after using it. And my crusty elbows and knees are on the improve!!
    I am now using Jojoba oil on my face at night. My skin is 39 now, and prone to acne so i will give this a go and see how my face responds. Only been on this for a few days. Just a few drops goes a long way. In the morning I use a cotton ball and some witch hazel to cleanse.
    So far, so good.
    I have been interested in natural living for a long while and bit by bit I am changing my ways.
    It is very satisfying and fun.
    Thank you, and good luck with bub # 3 in February.

    I will continue to read your blog with interest.

    • Wow, you are on a roll, Samantha! Best of luck in all your natural living endeavors and let me know if you ever have questions!

    • Samantha,
      Use caution with ‘baking soda’ as much of the store bought stuff has an aluminum fines ingredient to keep it from caulking, which is very toxic.
      Instead purchase a bulk bag of bi-carbonate of soda which is the real thing. It is excellent as a hair wash, toothpaste, deodorant, skin scrub and much more. Its key is that it is more alkaline and will alter the ph of acidic body parts making them far less susceptible to the ‘pong’ zone, itchy scalp and its the most wonderful thing for teeth. You can even make a great cream from it. Whenever you get ANY problem just think about acid/alkaline and how you can restore that balance, internally or externally. Its all about balance!

  11. Hi Sara,
    I have a question about your lotion/body butter. I had foot surgery in December and was looking for an all natural lotion to use especially while it is healing. I loved your recipe, and actually love the aroma, even without adding the oil. I didn’t use the zinc oxide because of wanting to go totally natural. As you suggesed, I used a little extra beeswax when making it to make up for not using zinc oxide.
    I have been using it, but it’s quite oily. It’s creamy in the jar, but when it hits my skin, it becomes oily. It’s working very well, so I still use it and just put a sock over my foot, but I’d love to be able to use it on my hands, etc.
    Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks so much,

    • Hi Becky! I really haven’t found a way to make it less oily. It’s just something I’ve gotten used to. And I do use it on my hands all the time, but what I do is use a very little bit and rub it in for a minute or so, and then I’m able to touch things after that. Hope that helps!

      • Hi
        I am about to try your recipe, it sounds great! I have, in the past, used cornstarch to make these types of creams/butters less greasy but still silky feeling. I don’t have the amount that I used, but appx. a tbsp should help.
        Thanks for the recipe!

        • Hi Leah! Yes, cornstarch will be fine, too. Cornstarch and arrowroot work pretty much the same BUT they are not nearly as thick as zinc oxide is. If you really want a thicker cream, zinc oxide is best, in my opinion, since I’ve made it both ways many times.

    • I find that if my hands are just slightly wet/damp the lot ion absorbs faster and is not as oily. Not sure why but I’m not complaining! I also find that I can use a smaller amount to get a very good result this way.

  12. I love this stuff, thanks so much for the recipe! I made up a batch last week & it’s been an absolute godsend for my super dry skin, it was getting pretty reptilian but it’s so much softer now. I’ve also been using it as a cleanser & a night cream. I substituted the shea butter for cocoa butter as that was what i had in, & I left out the zinc oxide as I could only get it online. I also added some honey & an essential oil blend including lavender, patchouli, benzoin, lemon, sweet orange & rosewood, & it smells utterly divine! Utterly glorious stuff, thanks again!

  13. Hi Sara
    I stumbled upon your site while trying to look for home made lotion recipes. We have started going natural starting with food and exploring into other walks of life. I am so very happy that i stumbled across your site and reading through all the natural stuff. Just had a quick question with the Shea butter used for this lotion – Do I get unrefined shea butter or the refined one? I went to Amazon.com and upon reading some of the negative reviews for the product (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YBW5T0?_encoding=UTF8&camp=15041&creative=373501&linkCode=as3&tag=mymemeli-20 – that was the one which came up from your link) , all of them mention about the bad odor. I am not sure if the product itself was rancid or if there really is a bad odor associated with shea butter. any suggestions in this regard?

    • Hi there! The unrefined shea butter is the best one – it contains the most nutrients and goodies. The one I buy (the link you mentioned) doesn’t stink at all – it smells like shea butter which is a nutty, natural smell. Doesn’t smell weird to me anyway, but I am used to natural products.

  14. Is it possible to use regular glycerin in this recipe, or is it necessary to use vegetable? I have regular glycerin on hand for use in a homemade body wash & was curious if I could use it in this one as well?
    Amy recently posted..Eating WellMy Profile

    • Yes, absolutely! Use what you’ve got. It’s not as natural as vegetable glycerin, but will still work.

      • Thanks so much for the quick response! My week has been hectic so I have not had time to try your recipe out yet. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this is “the one” 🙂 I have tried a few and I just havent’ found one that I love yet. All have been more oily than I’m used to but that sounds like the norm when you go natural…
        Amy recently posted..I just want to burn the sun with youMy Profile

        • Hi Amy! Yes, it’s true. Natural lotions are going to be more oily because they are made of oils and not synthetic ingredients. It does take some getting used to, but these lotions are so much healthier and I’ve found, are much better!

          • I know, I know…ANOTHER question?? 😉 I bought some zinc oxide to use in this recipe (cosmetic grade) but then I started reading about non-nano zinc oxide? Did you use non-nano or just normal zinc oxide? I’m still so new to all this. I don’t want to use anything that is damaging since it defeats the purpose of making organic things!

  15. With the zinc oxide, does this lotion have any sunscreen abilities? I want to make some sunscreen for the summer, but I just made a batch of this (which I love) and wondered if it will do double duty. If not, would you recommend upping the zinc oxide amount to give some sun protection? Thanks.

    • Yes, absolutely! For some weird reason, I left that out in the post. I believe 1 tbsp. of zinc oxide is 5 spf, but don’t hold me to that. I need to do a little more research. I’ll be adding a recipe for sunscreen soon!

  16. Courtney says:

    Can you find vegetable glycerin at the drug store? which section would it be in? my beeswax and shea butter are arriving today, I’m so excited to make this!

    • Hi Courtney! I’ve never looked in a drug store for vegetable glycerin – they do have regular glycerin and I believe it’s in the first aid aisle. However, it is an optional ingredient to add extra moisture and skin protection. It is not necessary, so if you have some oil (even olive oil will work) to add a dab to it, that’ll do the trick. That way, you can go ahead and make it today!

  17. does it make your hair tangly?
    bryanna p. recently posted..Green & Non-Toxic Carpet Cleaning from All-Star ChemDryMy Profile

  18. Ok I’ve been making this since you posted it. Just recently got some zinc oxide for a new deodorant recipe so I used it in my last batch of lotion and I have to say it makes all the difference! Super creamy and smooth!

  19. Thank you very much for this recipe as I have been searching for a long time for a natural way to moisturize my hands. However, I was wondering whether there is a natural way to make a lotion have sunscreen abilities, that is, not needing to use zinc oxide. Also, if so, whether this natural sunscreen ingredient will protect against UVA and UVB rays.

    • Zinc oxide is fairly natural, between it and titanium dioxide, those are the only two effective “natural” sunscreens. In fact, they are the recommended non-chemical ingredients suggested by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) in their skin deep database. Getting the non-nano particle one will ensure it is not absorbed into your skin. I do have a recipe for sunscreen here on the blog if you are interested!

  20. Hi. I love your natural beauty stuff. One question… Can this recipe also be used in your hair? I noticed that you used the other one in your hair but there is no mention of this one for hair.

    • Hi Effie! I wouldn’t use this one in my hair, well, on second thought, I’d probably try it. I would think the zinc oxide might be really sticky and not work well with hair. That’s why the other recipe would work okay with hair, because there’s no zinc oxide. So, if you decide to try it, let me know how it works out! 🙂

  21. Can you use Cocoa butter instead of Shea butter? Is one better than the other or are they equally good?

  22. I’m glad to see you mentioned a stink free Shea butter. My first batch of the body butter was awesome and no stink as I used the NOW stuff but I tried to go cheaper an bought some off amazon without reading the reviews and now I have the stinkiest lotion ever. Ugh. I guess I will just toss it or try to pawn it off on someone who won’t care. Haha.

  23. In using aloe vera gel from option 1, wouldn’t it be better to let ingredients cool at room temp so there won’t be a problem with sparating?

  24. I am making this right now and thought it would be nice to have a vanilla scent. Would it be okay to put some homemade vanilla extract in?

    • That’s a great idea! Only issue I see is that vanilla extract has the alcohol content in it and could be drying to your skin. The best option would be vanilla essential oil, but no so convenient if you don’t have it on hand. It’s not going to ruin the lotion or anything, though.

  25. Thanks for all of these recipes! I just tried this lotion, but it came out on the watery side. I used about 1-2 T of arrowroot, but still… Any suggestions to salvage it? I also used cocoa butter, which has a much stronger aroma than I bargained for. Any idea for essential oils to counter it? I’m hoping to make it work! Thanks, Sara!

    • Hey Jamie! It shouldn’t be watery, but it does congeal after several hours. It’s at it’s most watery state right after you make it. It is essential that you do all the step – leaving out the refrigeration part, for instance, makes it separate. And yes, there are lots of EO’s you could add – just stay away from citrus ones as they are can attract the sun and cause sunburn and ones like cinnamon and clove are not recommended for skin application. I’d go with lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot, and other pretty flowery scents. 🙂

      • Thanks, Sara. I followed all the steps, so maybe I just needed to be patient and wait for the “congeal” stage. a reformed beauty junkie after quitting cold turkey (you should have seen the pile of cosmetics) and I’m trying to add back natural products. My dry winter hands can’t take it anymore, so I’m very determined to make this work! I’ve also used your recipes for your cleaning products and got rid of all of my commercial cleaners! I look forward to trying your other beauty recipes. Love your site!

  26. Kathy Stevenson says:

    I have made the a couple of times. It comes out a little different each time. I love it. This is the only cream I use any more. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  27. Marianne says:

    I have very dry skin and I’ve been using just coconut oil on my face but it does not seem to help at all. I really liked the store-bought stuff I was using but stopped due to the chemicals, price and animal-testing. I thought this might work better than plain coconut oil, but I find it very, very greasy and it does not seem to absorb like coconut oil. (I do not like walking around with a shiny face lol). It does much better on the arms & legs, and really softens up the feet. I just wish I could find something that I could make for my face that works as well the store-bought cream I was using.

  28. Hello! I’ll admit, I did not read all of the above responses, so please excuse me if this question has already been asked.
    Can I use grape seed oil in place of the almond oil?
    Thanks! 🙂

  29. hi, is this safe on children? My 3 year old son suffers severly from exzema and i have been trying everything. I never thought about taking out dairy which i would like to try but in the mean time I want to try this lotion. thank you

    • Absolutely! It is very safe, much safer than ones with chemicals like fragrances, parabens, and other preservatives in it. Also check out my DIY Miracle Oil as I’ve had more success with that than anything. And I’ve shared all about my struggle with eczema here on the blog, and maybe it would help you, too! Eczema is no fun, but there are natural solutions! It is most definitely a diet-related issue. Dairy, eggs, gluten, and sugar can all contribute.

  30. This sounds like a fun project to try some time soon. I’ve just been hopping around the blog and enjoying it.
    One thing though, I am allergic to nuts and I am sensitive to coconut. That looks to be most of this recipe. Any suggestions?

  31. Hi Sara,

    I just wanted to let you know that the links for the almond oil and zinc oxide don’t seem to be working for me, but I do appreciate the care you put into researching good sources for these items, as I’m sure other people do too. It also makes it easier to get into making your own health and beauty products. 🙂 Thanks!

  32. So is it the zinc oxide, beeswax and/or cornstarch that helps to make it not oily? The recipe I used was 1/4c. cocoa butter, 1/4 c shea butter, 1/4 c. coconut oil, 2 tb. vitamin e oil, 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract…it smells awesome but the second it hits my hand it turns to oil. Could I just add 1 tb of cornstarch and that would help or do i have to add zinc oxide, beeswax and cornstarch?

    • The beeswax helps a good bit, Erin, and so does the zinc oxide. But honestly, it’ll be oily no matter what. That is how natural lotions feel. You have to use a ton of synthetic stuff to make it like cream and not oil. So, the best way is to get used to the new, natural texture and you will get used to it!

  33. I’ve made your previous recipe for whipped body butter (like the one from rawmazing) and loved it, but was curious about trying this one. I’m confused though, why does the other recipe make 32 oz and this one only make 16oz? The basic main ingredients are the same, I thought.

  34. I increased the beeswax and deleted the zinc oxide as I was making this for my babies who are cloth diapered. Works wonderfully though!

  35. Kathy Stevenson says:

    I am still using this basic recipe and have for years. Thanks for this great recipe. I’m thinking of using a little candelilla wax mixed with the bees wax to maybe make it a little harder for the summer. Also a little more zinc oxide. What do you think. Again, thanks for this recipe!

    • YEs, I think that would work, though both of those things are going to harden it more, so you’d probably need to add a tablespoon or so of carrier oil (like the sweet almond oil).

  36. Hi Sara! Thank you SO much for this versatile recipe! I’ve been using an all-natural recipe that is very oily, for over a year and I’ve had the same problems you have with oily lotions. I’m super excited to try the cocoa butter and cornstarch version of your recipe! Thanks again!
    “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”-Romans 6:23

  37. I love what vegetable glycerine does for a product – however I thought in order to benefit skin that it needs to be in a formula containing water – not just oils. It needs the water or it actually pulls the water from the skin?

  38. Hello Sara! I just tried your recipe for lotion using the zinc oxide; it didn’t thicken so I added an extra 1/2 TB. Is it possible the zinc lost its thickening strength? Is that too much zinc?

    I am making it for my family, including my gbabies who have challenges with eczema.

    Thank you for your response!

    D Rich!

    • Hi D Rich! No, that’s not too much more to add. How did it turn out?

      • More solid than creamy…seems it sets up more as it sets 😉 So I will make according to your measurements next time and see if letting it set for a few minutes allows it to thicken up a bit…I was waiting for it to do that while mixing so with adding the extra it caused it to be pretty solid a few minutes after!

  39. Adriana Sims says:

    Hi Sara, this lotion sounds really good, I was wondering it can be use on my face before to put any makeup?, I’m making your loose powder makeup recipe also. P.s. My skin face is oily and with tendency to acne also I have a brown spots any recipe for that?. Thanks😊 Adri.

    • Hi Adri! I wouldn’t recommend this lotion for your face, then. It’s very oily and greasy until the skin absorbs it. If your skin were dry, I’d say yes. But in your case, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d instead do the oil cleansing method and moisturize your face with oil! I have a tutorial on that here.

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