Homemade Glycerin Lotion Recipe for Face & Body

If you’re trying to avoid harmful chemicals in your beauty products, this homemade glycerin lotion recipe is the solution to many of your problems! Glycerin is an all-natural moisturizer for all skin types, making it the perfect ingredient for this homemade lotion recipe.

Homemade Glycerin Lotion Recipe

Homemade Glycerin Lotion Recipe

Reading the ingredient list on a bottle of commercial lotion is scary! Our skin is our largest organ, and it deserves as much care as anything else. Actually, many studies suggest it needs even more attention than some of our other body systems.

Our digestive system can at least partially break down chemicals and toxins that we ingest orally. But substances that enter through our skin enter directly into our bloodstream.

This means it’s super important to make sure that everything we put on our body is as safe, healthy and beneficial as what we put in our body.

What’s In Face and Body Lotion?

But when it comes to skin and beauty products, most of what you’re going to find on store shelves contain harmful additives and preservatives. These include parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrances, to name a few.

In fact, even seemingly harmless ingredients can cause problems. For example, you’ll probably notice that water (aqua) is one of the number one ingredients in most conventional face and body lotions.

Seems harmless, doesn’t it?

But the presence of water means that there are likely preservatives added in order to keep the lotion from growing mold.

So, what’s the solution to ridding your skin and beauty products of harmful ingredients? Make your own glycerin lotion!

What is Glycerin?

Glycerin is an organic compound derived from plants and animals.

Animal glycerin comes from animal fats (like lard and tallow) and is typically used in bar soaps. Vegetable glycerin is made from vegetable oils like soy, palm, coconut and corn oils and is typically used in liquid cleansers and lotions like the glycerin lotion recipe I’m about to share with you.

Benefits of Glycerin:

  • It’s an extremely effective skin moisturizer
  • Helps combat both dry and oily skin
  • Helps fight wrinkles and fine lines
  • Is suitable for sensitive skin
  • All-natural product free from harsh, synthetic chemicals

Glycerin is a humectant, which means it’s very effective at drawing in, retaining and preserving moisture. It’s also an emollient, which means it provides a protective, moisturizing layer on the skin.

The combination of these two things makes glycerin an extremely effective skin moisturizer.

Glycerin also has a naturally long shelf life, which means you don’t need to add preservatives. And it doesn’t oxidize easily (which means exposure to air and light will not damage it).

DIY Glycerin Lotion Recipe

It takes just minutes to learn how to make homemade lotion and this glycerin lotion recipe has just four ingredients. It will moisturize and soothe even the driest winter skin, and a little bit goes a very long way!

You can even customize it with your favorite essential oils. Some good essential oils for skincare include lavender (soothing), frankincense (healing and restorative), and chamomile (calming).

This lotion is even suitable for babies! My daughter has a patch of eczema on her cheek, and this lotion is the only thing that helps it. I love knowing exactly what I’m putting on my baby’s delicate skin.

How to Make Homemade Lotion

Homemade Glycerin Lotion Recipe

(Makes 30 ounces)

* It’s important to use distilled water instead of regular tap water in this recipe because distilled water is less likely to mold and more likely to give your lotion a longer shelf-life.

Keep this lotion in the refrigerator when it’s really warm to keep the coconut oil from liquifying and to help prevent possible mold and degradation.

How to Make Homemade Lotion

  1. Combine the coconut oil and the emulsifying wax in a double boiler on the stove (or in a microwave-safe bowl if you prefer) and heat until melted.How to Make Homemade Lotion
  2. Add the distilled water, glycerin, and essential oils if using. Stir thoroughly.
  3. Pour into the desired jar(s) or bottle(s). (I divide mine up into a few 4-ounce mason jars, then store the rest in a bigger jar in the cool, dry place.)
  4. Use daily in place of store-bought lotion to help moisturize dry skin!

If you like this Homemade Glycerin Lotion Recipe, you’ll love these:

Looking for more super easy homemade beauty products? Check out our Coconut Oil Lotion and find a bunch more DIY Health and Beauty Projects here on Little House Living!

If you’re looking for a wonderful source for oils, I highly recommend Rocky Mountain Oils. After careful consideration of all the companies selling essential oils, I’m happy to share that Rocky Mountain Oils has become my main source of oils for many different reasons.

Did you know how to make homemade lotion before today? What else would you like to learn how to make at home? Let me know in the comments below!

Merissa Bio

This Homemade Glycerin Lotion Recipe was originally published on Little House Living in March 2013. It has been updated as of February 2019.

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107 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed that distilled water is called for here and in other recipes for body products such as soap. Do you know why? What will happen if I use tap water?

    1. Distilled water is free of bacteria and minerals that could interfere with the shelf life of a homemade product that does not have preservatives. You technically can use tap water, but I would boil it first to ensure it is sterile.

      1. also tap water contains all sorts of icky add ins like Chlorine and other chemicals that alter the pH of the water and change how it behaves when mixed with other things- so it may really ruin your lotion. Even bottled water contains all these contaminants. Go to any bottled water brand’s website and look at their water report- you will be shocked. While distilled water is literally just H2o. This is why it behaves differently when poured.

      2. Melissa,

        It seems like you have some great diy tips. I am not partial to coconut oil, what can I use instead to make my own lotion?

    2. I sandwich both hot & cold waterlines with ceramic magnets negative charges using a quality hiking compass until I get a hold of neodymium. It is makes the water cleaner from MANY impurities that was discussed in your comment & replies. I never specifically tested it, but the smell & taste of chlorine left from my virginia apartment in 15 days with ceramic magnets. Neodymium is far stronger though. It is not a true filter, but loosens things up. Nonferrous metals would still get through, but have a different state due to magnetism. Since the ceramics are much weaker you could double or triple the magnets on each side to get better results faster. You could also just gradually do whatever you afford with this. My folks do not like magnets on the waterline, but they do like the flavor changes & they are not even on city water.

      1. Where do you get these magnets? I’d love to know more! I live in the country & we’ve had so much fracking, who knows what’s in our water. We also have a lot of sulphur in our water too, that I believe they use bleach to fix, so the water doesn’t smell like sulfur. Thanks so much for the info.

    3. I made a similar recipe, not as much emulsifying wax, but it curdled! The oil and wax hardened on top and glycerin and rosewater separated to the bottom. what did I do wrong??!

      1. I did exactly this and left it for a day whilst I thought what to do. Then I thought, what the heck, and stuck it all in the magimix. I gave it a good couple of minutes, and it came out perfectly whipped and smooth. Problem solved!

  2. You can also make it easier by just using the Coconut Oil as your lotion/moisturizer. I have very dry skin and use exclusively Coconut Oil as my moisturizer all over my body. Not only does it moisturize but I have noticed a decrease in my fine lines and elasticity of my skin. Just remember that a little goes a LONG way!!

    1. Sometimes I use just coconut oil, too! It really is amazing. It can be a little oily for me, though, so I like to have it lotion form as well. Also, I find that combining it with the wax helps to lock in the moisture.

    2. The only time I use just the oil is right after I step out of the shower. Otherwise it tends to not have enough water in it to moisturize. :S

    3. I use almond oil and extra virgin olive oil and add 1 tsp of beeswax
      I heat it using a small pan or bowl inside a saucepan of water until the beeswax melts. It’s not my recipe it’s my girlfriend’s. You can add whichever oil you like it your olive oil has to get solid when I refrigerate it. It’s stored in the fridge

  3. Can you use beeswax for this? I have all the ingredients at hand, except I have beeswax, which I use successfully in other recipes. Thanks!

    1. Beeswax isn’t an emulsifier, so no, it wouldn’t work 🙁 E-wax is the only way to go.

      Also, be sure to use a preservative such as Phenonip, Germaben, or Optiphen. Non-preserved lotions can grow yeast and mold in just days, if not hours (even if kept in the fridge)

      1. You could also use a natural preservative like vitamin e oil. I use that in most of my homemade health and beauty goods to get them to last longer 🙂

        1. beeswax is not an emulsifier.It will just be greasy but is good for rich hand lotion and lip balm and lotion bars.If you want a Real lotion like you buy at a store than e wax is the way to go! I just made my own lotion and it looks like I bought it from a shop! I’m impressed!Emulsifier changes everything!?

      2. If all the tools and jars used are sterile, and the lotion is kept in a cool climate or in the fridge, then it will not mold that quickly. Dipping dirty or wet hands into the jar or using non-sterile equipment will cause it to spoil, though. My lotion keeps for months with no preservative, though I do add lavender essential oil which could help hinder spoilage.

        1. it depends on the preservative. whichever one you buy will tell you the percentage/ratio for any recipe. For instance, I believe Germaben II is .5 – 1%

    2. katydidsoaps is correct, it needs to be emulsifying wax. Beeswax is a thickener, and though it might hold the lotion together for a little while, it will eventually separate.

  4. Where is the best place to get these ingredients? I have psoriasis and want to give this a try soon! 🙂

    Thank you.

    1. I really like Wholesalesuppliesplus.com. They have great prices on bulk products, and free shipping on orders over $30. Amazon is awesome, too.

  5. I made a lotion that called for glycerine and I found that the lotion felt sticky on my hands. Anyone else experience this with glyverine? I haven’t tried this recipe yet, and am hesitant because of the glycerine.

    1. I can’t speak for other lotions, but I do know that this one can feel sticky only if you use too much. It is very potent, so just a tiny dab is enough and should not feel sticky, especially if you use it on damp hands (which is the ideal way to use lotion anyway). You can always scale the recipe back by half, that way you won’t be wasting too much if you don’t like it! (2.25 oz coconut oil, .75 oz emulsifying wax, 8 oz water, 4 oz glycerin) 🙂

  6. This is Amazing!! I can’t wait to try this recipe! & I’m glad you cleared up that you have to use Distilled or Purified water, & also about the Beeswax, very important!! Thankyou! Also, I wanted to know, where do you get your Essential! oils from? Thanks again

    1. Thank you, I hope you like it! I buy my essential oils mostly from Amazon, but also Mountain Rose Herb(really good organic oils) and WholesaleSuppliesPlus.com. I compare prices between the three and go with the best deal.

      1. I found some “essential oils” sold on Amazon are not pure EOs but rather a few drops of EO in an ounce of carrier oil. Shame on them for labelling as pure EO. Just read the fine print. Mountain Rose is high quality, usually or g panic.

  7. This is really great! I have a lot of allergies so I need to try this. Would love you to link it up on Wednesday at my place. Hope to see you there! Family Home and Life

    1. I have a few questions. I’ve used your recipe and the ingredients did not come together. Very watery and sticky.
      1. Is it possible to use maybe 1-2 ounces of glycerin as opposed to the 4 oz and still have protection?
      2. Why didn’t my ingredients come together? Why the separation?

  8. Thanks for sharing this homemade lotion recipe. I love making homemade skin care products to avoid harsh chemical in commercially made products. ;o)

  9. This is a great recipe. I have been looking for lotion recipe for a while. I just pinned this. We have a link party called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop and would love to have you share this and any other posts with everyone. It runs from Tuesday night through midnight Sunday. We also have a $50.00 Visa Gift Card Giveaway. Here is the link to the party.
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2013/03/wednesdays-adorned-from-above-blog-hop_26.html
    We hope to see you there.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  10. I have never heard of making your own lotion before. I’ve been in a soap making class, but never lotion. I really love this idea. It’s so rewarding to make your own stuff!! I know our readers would love to see this, too! Our Weekly All Things Thursday Link Up party is going on now at allthingswithpurpose.com, and we would LOVE for you to join us 🙂 Hope to see you soon!!

  11. Hi Amanda,
    I can’t wait to try this lotion, just love homemade lotions and creams. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  12. Well, after doing a little more research, I guess all or most (haven’t found one that says it doesn’t) emulsifying waxes contain polysorbates and even the possibilities of other ‘nasties.’ I’m kinda bummed. Not sure if this is a route I want to travel when I’ve stayed so far away from anything carcinogenic in my bath and body products. Please delete the above comment tho’ and this one as well so as to not cause confusion. This is another of those things we each have to figure out for ourselves… I like your blog very much and will have to wander around and do some reading! Thank you!

  13. I was looking into making a caffeine lotion… What do you think the result would be if I used coffee/espresso instead of part of the water in this recipe?

    1. That is really interesting! I have never tried anything like before, so I’m not sure. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, though. Maybe try making half a batch first to see how it turns out.

  14. I have been making my own organic lotion for quite sometime now, as well as shampoo, deodorant, lip balm etc… Most recently a few people have wanted to carry some of my products in their stores. My concern is the shelf life of these products being as there are no preservatives. Do you have any recommendations?

    1. Ooh, that’s tough. Products that contain water are more likely to go bad quickly, especially in warm weather or with less than ideal conditions (multiple people sticking dirty hands into a container of lotion). I personally have had my preservative-free lotion, which IS made with water, last a month or more at room temperature, longer in the winter. My lip balm lasts many months without going bad, and it does not contain water. So I suppose it depends on the composition of your products, and if they could possibly be stored in refrigeration at the store. When in doubt, make the expiration date on the products earlier rather later. Good luck!

  15. Thank you for the nice recipe – I am testing out various things and make my own facial moisturizers and lotions, but I have really dry skin and I love coconut oil so it’ll be interesting to make a cream that is this simple – I plan to drop glycerin down to 10% from 20% and see if that makes a less sticky lotion to begin with.

    Just a note to those worrying about e-wax. I am a chemist by education, and E-wax can describe several different things, but e-wax NF normally contains Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PEG-150 Stearate and Steareth-20, or some similar combo thereof. None of these have been implicated in anything remotely carcinogenic, and all of these are typically vegetable-oil derived (vegetable oil hydrogenates and the like). Please don’t worry about it, and ignore the sources which spread panic for no good reason. Not everything with a ‘chemical’ sounding name is bad – all the natural oils can be written in scary-sounding ways, but calling it ‘caprylic triglyceride’ or some such doesn’t make coconut oil any less wonderful for you!

  16. I love your site!! But reading through the natural lotion ingrdiedie is glyceri eand that is on my allergy doctors list of top ten offenders. Is there a substitute?

  17. I made this a while ago and it only solidified halfway through. I put it in the fridge and still did not solidify. I followed the instructions exactly so I am not sure what I could be doing wrong. Would it be okay to use less water?

  18. I just made the lotion and it was my first time making anything home made besides food. I feel like I did it wrong. I put it in little containers but the oil and water and separating. Is this supposed to happen? When it hardens up from the refrigerator am I supposed to mix it again? Please help!! I dont want the money I spent on supplies to go to waste :/

    1. Try heating it up again. Sometimes the temperature isn’t quite right and just needs heated up again to mix completely. You can even add a little more e wax if you’d like to be sure.

  19. Can you use this lotion all over body & face or is it just intended for hands? (If not do you have a recipe for a better body lotion &/or facial lotion?) Also, do you need to store this lotion in a glass container or will plastic do? Lastly, what is the best way to sterilize the implements needed to prepare lotion? Thank you! 🙂

    1. You can use this lotion over your body. Either plastic or glass should be fine, just make sure it’s stored in a cool dark place. You can simply wash any tools in warm soapy water in advance.

  20. Homemade lotion (or any product that contains water) will start to grow bacteria within a day, even if refrigerated. The problem is, most people think their lotion is fine because they cannot SEE the nasties. They’re microscopic. Also, tap water has bacteria in it so please do not use it to make lotion. Distilled water is only $1 for a gallon at the store. Vitamin E is not a presevative! What it does is extends the shelf life of your oils (just oils) in your recipe. Also, if your vitamin E is not a brown color, it’s mixed with another oil. Pure vit E is brown. I own a business making bath, body & skincare products – I studied for years before opening. I hope this was helpful. Have a wonderful day 🙂

  21. I have made body butters before and no problem , but I choose this to be my first lotion and it didn’t come out right. I checked four times to make sure I used everything called for and only the top formed a creamy form. all the rest stayed liquid it sat over night and still didn’t come out a creamy lotion. Is there something I can do so all of my money isn’t waisted.??????? I hope you can help.
    Thank You.

  22. My final lotion separated like Candy and Ashley’s – liquid and cream separation. What do I need to do to blend the layers? I really want it to work. Help please.

        1. Merissa,
          I put all in a bowl, melted it all a bit, with the water in it, then mix it all with a hand mixer. All blended together. However, it turned out more like a butter. I was hoping to make a more liquidy cream. Whatever suggestions you have to make the cream more like a lotion rather than a cream is welcomed.

  23. Patchouli EO is excellent for helping heal psoriasis. I also like to infuse my oil with calendula petals for additional healing properties. Shea butter can crystallize – a friend told me once the melted butters & oils reach 170 degrees, leave it on the heat for 20 minutes. No more problems with crystals. Keep in mind peppermint EO can be a skin irritant, so use with care in delicate areas.

  24. Is there a special type of pot/pan I should use when making this kind of stuff? What do you prefer? Thank you!

    1. You can use any type of pan but I do prefer to use a pan that I use just for lotions/soaps/etc. (I just picked up an old stainless steel pan from the thrift store for that purpose.)

  25. i too love making home made every thing …. You with a farm would be so good to have goats For your lotions or soaps I make it all let me know if you would like my recipe, I too have a life like yours and am looking for an RV only difference is Iam a senior. Lol
    Nice to meet you . Maybe you could give me tips on how to write a book for my recipes ? Lynn

  26. You said the recipe is measured by volume, but that doesn’t seem like much wax. Should the wax be measured by weight?
    Thanks, Jim

  27. Can you adjust the coconut oil to glycerin ratio a bit? You have 4.5/8 ounces for oil/glycerin. Could you do more like a 6/6 ratio?

    What about a little less water to make it thicker? Maybe even a little less water? Maybe 12 ounces?

  28. Thank you so much for this great recipe! I am looking forward to making my own lotion, it is something that I have put off for a while and just done body butters but I would like something that is less thick and heavy! I was a little concerned about the emulsifying wax and glycerin being “natural” enough to meet my small body care companies needs. After reading this (all your links are to great brands) and doing a little more research I feel a great deal better and will try this recipe soon! Thanks for such a great blog, I can’t wait to read more.

  29. This lotion turned out well, though I did need to increase the amount of emulsifying wax and oil. My main concern is that I just started reading about the risks of homemade lotion made with water if one doesn’t use a preservative. (And those preservatives aren’t easy to come by; you have to buy them from a specialty store.) A website said that homemade lotions only last 3 days out of the fridge and 1 week in the fridge.

    I halved this recipe and it still turned out to be a huge amount, way more than I can use in a short time. So I wasted a ton of nice ingredients to make a vast amount of lotion that I can’t possibly use in a week.

    Any suggestions to preserve shelf life? I’m scared to use it after a while and thinking I should stick to cosmetics without water from now on.

    My suggestion is to cut this recipe way down, making just a tiny quantity at a time.

  30. Please please please use a preservative if you make anything with water in it. As someone already said, you may not SEE the nasties, but germs and bacteria WILL grow within 3 days un-refrigerated. There are plenty of plant based preservatives out there and many are around 1% volume of the whole recipe so calls for very little. Please don’t get a rash or negative reaction from a bacteria-filled lotion. Either make body butters with no lotion or use a preservative (and vitamin E is NOT a suitable preservative)

  31. I recently bought a product named “Glycerine and Rose water lotion”, and I was told I could mix it with my body cream for better outcome. I just wanna know if its safe and advisable to do it.

  32. I use glycerin in my toner and love it so I thought I’d try this lotion. I realized halfway through making it just how much 30 oz is. Way more than I needed! Then I realized that all I had was a big watery mess. I let it sit in the fridge – still liquid. I put it in the freezer, then blended (as other recipes I found called to do) – still liquid. I played around with the proportions of ingredients and I’m still stumped. I will say, even as a watery mess, it feels nice on the skin. However, it’s not a functional lotion for me. I’d love any suggestions on how to fix the lotion. As someone else stated, I’d prefer to not waste the ingredients I’ve used. Regardless of how it turned out, thanks for sharing this recipe! I enjoy experimenting with new products.

  33. Hello, can you use another oil besides coconut oil? I love apricot oil because it is light but feels good on my skin.

  34. Hi – A local pharmaceutical company in Grand Junction, CO produced a skin lotion for 60 years +/- until quitting business in 1993. I bought a supply as they were closing out, and am about to finish the last bottle. The ingredients listed were …”Glycerin and camphor. Low isopropyl alcohol and ammonia water content. No artificial ingredients.” Three generations of my family used the product, and never had a problem with separation or bacteria, including my last (26 year old) bottle. No ingredient proportions were stated, but I’m wondering whether the isopropyl alcohol and ammonia water (whatever that is) would have acted as preservatives. If so, would there be any way to identify the proportions?

  35. I have a recipe for glycerin moisturizer that uses a small amount of vodka as the emulsifier. I have had no problems with this formula. Would it work with this lotion and if so, how much should be used?

  36. Be sure to make a small tester batch before doing as I did as I found this recipe to make a very sticky lotion. So sticky that I can’t use it. I am trying to figure out which ingredient made it so sticky, maybe the glycerin. I tried to dilute the stickiness by adding more coconut oil but it will need a lot more. I decided to use this as a base for future batches of lotion by adding 1/4 this recipe to 3/4 coconut oil, I hope this saves my investment on all the wonderful and expensive ingredients. Any tips would be helpful. Thank you.

  37. This lotion separated and started very runny. Are you supposed to whip it after mixing the ingredients together? Did I not make it hot enough?

  38. Recipe did not work. I used beeswax as an emulsifier. I found this information on the web when searching for a substitute for the emulsifier. Was tis information right or wrong?

  39. This curdles every time and does not blend together… I’ve tried the recommendations below and followed the instructions. What ami doing wrong? It’s fine until the water is added