Department store cosmetics counters are so alluring. Our senses are assaulted by lovely scents, savvy clerks wielding samples and photos of beguiling models with perfect skin.  It is tempting — and easy — to drop $50 on a one-ounce pot of high-end face cream.

Save some money and your skin, and make your own face cream from just a few simple ingredients:

You Need

Nut Butter: Shea, cocoa and coconut butters make up the majority of the face cream’s volume and texture. The saturated fats in the butter moisturize skin and keep it supple. Pick up shea, mango and cocoa butter for under $1.00 an ounce at health food stores. Grocery retailers like Whole Foods also carry nut butters, but the price is closer to $4.00 per ounce.

Carrier oil: Apricot, jojoba, mango and other fruits and nuts provide oils that hydrate and nourish skin. Spend about $2.00 per ounce for most carrier oils.

Beeswax: Beeswax is added to face cream to help maintain its consistency. Once applied to the face, it helps seal in the skin's moisture and protects it from the elements. Pick up this ingredient for the best price at a farmer’s market for $2.00 – $3.00 an ounce or buy blocks from a big online retailer like Amazon.

Grapefruit Seed Extract: Citrus seed extract is often used as an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent in many creams and lotions. Also, the vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, preserving the cream. There is quite a range in price. Here is a variety from Amazon.

Essential Oils (optional): Think of essential oils from geranium, orange, sandalwood, etc. to scent to your face cream. But they are not necessary, and you can choose to make your face cream completely fragrance-free. Prices range from under $1.00 an ounce up to $19.00 an ounce.

How to

Here’s a basic recipe to make face cream and the respective price of each ingredient:

  • 2.5 ounces nut butter ($2.50 total)
  • 2.5 ounces carrier oil ($1.50 on average)
  • 0.5 ounces beeswax (shavings or pellets) ($ 0.50 cents)
  • 30 drops grapefruit seed extract (roughly ¼ teaspoon or $0.15 cents)
  • 3.5 ounces distilled water (free!)
  • 25 drops essential oil(s) (about one-fifth teaspoon or $0.63 cents)


  • 2 quart capacity saucepan
  • 1.5 cup capacity mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon and/or blender
  • 8 ounce glass storage jar with lid


  1.  Using hot water, completely wash your tools and storage jar to prevent bacterial contamination.
  2. Fill the saucepan half full with warm water and place the mixing bowl on top of it to work as double boiler.
  3. In bowl, combine the nut butter, oil and beeswax. Stir constantly for 20 minutes until fully melted and blended. A blender will cut the time in half.
  4. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let the cream cool. Once cooled, add the distilled water and mix thoroughly with a mixing spoon for another 20 minutes until all the water has been blended in. Using a mixer, this process takes about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the grapefruit seed extract and mix thoroughly
  6. Add no more than 25 drops of essential oil. Mix thoroughly.
  7. Scoop the finished cream into the 8 ounce glass jar and seal the jar. Store the cream in the refrigerator for up to four months.

The recipe makes about 8 ounces for about $4.15 (without essential oil). That’s about 80 percent savings from a $50 department store brand!

 This has been a guest post by Halina from Madison, WI
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