This is an easy homemade lotion with coconut oil perfect for beginner DIY-ers. And when I say easy, I do in fact mean easy. I do not do DIYs very often (like ever, really) but with all this time social distancing, I have a bit of extra time on my hands and I’m getting started with DIY recipes. So I promise you that this vegan lotion recipe is a lot of fun without requiring too many ingredients or challenging steps!
This homemade lotion only uses coconut oil, almond, avocado, or jojoba oil, shea butter, corn starch, and (optional) essential oil — that’s it! Many of these ingredients can be found in bulk stores, so if you have access to bulk stores, you may be able to make this a zero waste lotion recipe.
When I was first looking up DIY lotion recipes, I kept finding many recipes that called for beeswax but I was determined to create a homemade lotion without beeswax for both cost reasons and also out of increasing concern about the industrial bee industry.
I also tried to stick to (relatively) affordable ingredients for this vegan lotion, though I wouldn’t call the ingredients “cheap”. However, the only ingredients I had to buy specifically for this recipe that I didn’t have on hand were the avocado oil and shea butter, which I do plan on using for future DIYs. To save some money on the ingredients, you could try substituting olive oil for avocado oil. (I’m going to try this next time to see how it holds up!)
Supplies and Ingredients for Homemade Lotion
Ingredients (*the following includes affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase through one of these links)
- 1/2 cup of shea butter
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil
- 1/4 cup of another oil (I used avocado oil. You can also use almond, jojoba, or even olive oil)
- 3 tablespoons of non-GMO corn starch or arrowroot powder
- OPTIONAL: 2 tablespoons of distilled water (must be distilled, if you don’t have distilled water, omit this ingredient)
- OPTIONAL: 10 drops of essential oil (I used lavender essential oil)
- Pot for boiling and spoon for light stirring
- Measuring utensils
- Container for lotion (glass is preferred, but I didn’t have a glass container the right size, so I just had to use a plastic container)
How to Make Homemade Lotion
As I mentioned this is a very simple vegan homemade lotion that doesn’t require very many steps. Here’s an overview and you can scroll through this post for more details and photos.
- Combine coconut oil, avocado oil, and shea butter into a pot
- Put the pot of ingredients on the stovetop until mixture is liquified
- Add the essential oils and put the mixture into the fridge until it’s solidified
- Combine corn starch, water, and mix
- Put the lotion into containers
1. First, combine coconut oil, avocado oil, and shea butter into a pot
For this step, you can either measure out exact quantities or measure in “parts”. This homemade lotion recipe uses 1/2 cup of shea butter, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of avocado oil (or another oil) but you could also do a smaller or larger batch of lotion keeping with the 2:1:1 ratio for the shea butter, coconut oil, and second oil.
For the second oil, some potential options are avocado oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil. Each has its own benefits, but I chose avocado oil because it was the one that was available at my local health food, reasonably priced (compared to almond and jojoba), and contains many nutrients that nourish the skin.
2. Put the pot of ingredients on the stovetop until mixture is liquified
It should just take a few minutes for the coconut oil to liquify, depending on your stovetop. Here’s a look at what the mixture should look like when you’re done!
3. Add essential oils and put the mixture in the fridge
Once the mixture is liquified, let it cool a bit and put it into a bowl. Put 10 drops of essential oil in. I used lavender essential oil because it’s what I already had on hand! You can also do more or less than 10 drops depending on how strong of a scent you’d like your lotion to have. Then, put the bowl in your fridge for an hour until it hardens.
4. Add corn starch, water, and mix it up!
Here is where you add in the two tablespoons of water and three tablespoons of non-GMO cornstarch. If you prefer to not use cornstarch, you can also use arrowroot powder as a replacement. This is not a completely necessary ingredient, so you can still make this lotion if you don’t have it, but I do highly recommend it, as it makes the lotion less greasy!
5. That’s it! Now just put the lotion into a container
See, I told you it was a simple lotion recipe! Now you just have to transition the thickened mixture to a container or containers. Glass is nice, though I’m all about using up what you’ve got — so if you only have plastic containers, that works as well!
I used a Tupperware container for the majority of the lotion and then I put the remainder in three travel-sized containers. I shared two of the containers and kept one small container of lotion for myself to take with me in my purse or to just have by me by my sink, desk, etc.