definition of natural means that the cleansing agents used in the formulation of our bases are gentle on the hair, scalp, and skin. Conventional synthetic shampoos are more likely to expose the hair and the skin to harsh chemical ingredients that can potentially have harmful long-term effects, including skin irritation, dryness, a reduction in the size or deterioration of the hair follicles, premature graying, and even hair loss. Natural shampoos can be used without the concern of these potential side effects.

While many shampoos and conditioners that claim to be natural may still contain botanical materials that can potentially have harsh effects on some skin types.

  • Aqua = Water
  • Sodium Cocoamphoacetate = a mild surfactant, foam booster/stabilizer, and conditioner derived from Coconut Oil
  • Glycerine = a transparent, colorless, and unscented viscous liquid derived from the oils of plants such as Coconut, Palm, or Soy. This ingredient cleanses, moisturizes, and soothes the skin.
  • Lauryl Glucoside = a surfactant composed of Coconut/Palm Oil and Corn Glucose. This ingredient promotes easy cleaning and rinsing.
  • Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate = an Amino Acid surfactant, cleansing agent, and foaming agent obtained from Coconut Oil and fermented sugar.
  • Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate = derived from sugar. This surfactant functions as a stabilizing and emulsifying agent.
  • Coco Glucoside = a foaming, cleansing, conditioning, and thickening agent designed for sensitive skin
  • Glyceryl Oleate = a result of the esterification of Glycerin and Oleic Acid; Oleic Acid occurs naturally in oils such as Olive Oil. This ingredient functions as an emulsifier and a conditioning agent.
  • Propanediol = naturally derived from corn. This hydrating ingredient helps to improve the skin’s absorption of ingredients while leaving a smoothing effect on the skin and promoting a dewy look.
  • Dicaprylyl Ether = derived from a fatty acid that occurs naturally in Coconut and Palm Kernel oils. This emollient functions as a skin conditioner.
  • Decyl glucoside = a gentle surfactant derived from plants. This environmentally-friendly ingredient functions as a cleansing agent that is suitable for sensitive skin types, including baby skin.
  • Sodium Levulinate = a plant-derived sodium salt that is obtained from Levulinic Acid found in GMO-free corn. This ingredient functions as a skin conditioning agent as well as a preservative.
  • Potassium Sorbate = a gentle preservative that serves as a substitute for parabens. This ingredient helps to inhibit or slow the growth of harmful bacteria that can spoil the quality and effectiveness of a product.
  • Citric Acid = an organic acid that is naturally occurring in Citrus fruits. This ingredient helps to reduce the pH level of a product. It may also help to improve the function of a preservative.
  • Cetearyl Glucoside = a surfactant and emulsifier that is obtained from Coconut as well as GMO-free corn. It helps to prevent moisture loss from the skin and hair, and it contributes a velvety, non-greasy sensation.
  • Cetearyl Alcohol = a combination of vegetable-based Cetyl and Stearyl alcohols. This ingredient is an emulsifier, thickener, and foam-enhancing agent that also has smoothing and stabilizing effects on a formulation.
  • Glyceryl Stearate = a wax-like fatty acid that is derived from vegetable oil, Soy Oil, or Palm Kernel Oil and that is also naturally occurring in the human body. This ingredient is used in formulations for its emulsifying properties.
  • Butyrospermum Parkii Butter = also known as Shea Butter, this creamy vegetable fat is derived from the kernels of the Shea tree’s fruits. This ingredient has exceptional moisturizing and softening properties.
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride = an oily liquid derived from Coconut Oil and Glycerin. This ingredient is a solvent, an emollient, and it helps to promote the even dispersal of non-soluble liquids and powders in a formulation. It also helps prolong a product’s shelf life and contributes a silky texture.
  • Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil = also called Argan Oil, this hydrating, conditioning, soothing, and softening agent is derived from the kernels of the Argan Tree.
  • Xanthan Gum = a polysaccharide derived from fermented sugar. This ingredient functions as a thickener and stabilizer.



Although conventional shampoos undeniably clean the hair, they are known to cleanse sometimes to the point of eliminating the hair’s and the scalp’s vital natural oils, causing them to dry out, leading to itchiness. Also, those with skin sensitivities or easily irritated skin may find that synthetic shampoos aggravate these conditions. When hair is introduced to the chemical-free ingredients in natural shampoos, although it may feel, unlike the way conventional shampoos cause it to feel as the hair continues to hold onto its natural oils, with regular use natural shampoos can help the hair to feel softer and smoother while enhancing its natural luster.


The most noticeable difference one can see when beginning to use a natural shampoo is that it will not produce as much lather as a conventional shampoo, due to the absence of synthetic foaming agents. This is not an indication that the hair is not being thoroughly cleansed, rather it indicates that the hair’s natural oils are not being washed out. It is recommended that hair be washed twice when using a natural shampoo, as the second wash will produce slightly more lather. This is because there is less buildup – dirt, oil, dry skin – to eliminate in the second wash. Furthermore, when the strands hold more water in the second wash, it increases the shampoo’s ability to produce more lather.


Both highly acidic and highly alkaline products can be extremely damaging to the hair cuticle. For this reason, it is important to use a pH-balanced shampoo that is neither too alkaline nor too acidic. NDA’s natural shampoo base is formulated with a pH range of 4.5-5.5.


NDA’s natural shampoo and natural conditioner bases are fully formulated and can be used unscented. Alternatively, Fragrance Oils or Essential Oils can be added to suit individual preferences.


Natural ingredients in hair products can gently yet effectively help to impart vitamins, minerals, oils, and botanical extracts to the scalp and the hair follicles. They can also gently stimulate the growth of new hair, help hair retain its natural moisture, and enhance the overall texture and appearance of the hair. The most common natural hair care oils that are known to be rich in Vitamin content include Almond, Ginseng, Jojoba, Lavender, Lemongrass, and Prickly Pear oils. These ingredients are also known to emit pleasant natural scents.


Natural shampoos and conditioners are often enriched with pure and nourishing moisturizers, including gels, oils, and butters that may be obtained from leaves, nuts, seeds, or kernels. Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, and butters such as Cocoa are among the popular moisturizers that are found in natural shampoos and conditioners.


The hair benefits of using natural shampoos and conditioners also extend to the health of the environment, as ecologically-friendly ingredients replace the harsh synthetic chemicals, which pollute sewer systems and rivers, poison aquatic species and micro-organisms, and ultimately harm or destroy the ecosystem. Natural, biodegradable shampoos and conditioners simply disintegrate into non-toxic constituents that do not pollute or cause damage to ecosystems.


The pure ingredients in natural shampoos and conditioners contribute to the hypo-allergenic compositions and make these products suitable for all skin types, including sensitive or allergy-prone types. Their softer natural fragrances also make natural shampoos and conditioners gentler on the senses, benefitting those with smell sensitivities.


Natural shampoos and conditioners are suitable for all hair types and are ideal options for those with dyed or permed hair, as they clean without stripping hair color and texture, thus helping to extend the freshness of the color and the style.


There is a wide variety of natural hair care products that are tailored to individual skin and hair needs, offering a range of benefits that target particular areas of concern for unique hair qualities. Natural shampoos and conditioners are available for those who struggle with conditions such as dandruff and dryness as well as hair types ranging from normal to oily hair.


Natural shampoos and conditioners are applied in the same manner as conventional varieties. While conventional products offer the option of repeating the cleansing process, this step is highly recommended for natural products. This is because the first wash removes the surface buildup of synthetic ingredients and impurities such as pollution, excess natural oil, and styling products, while the second wash cleans, brings out the shine, and enhances the texture.


When beginning to use natural shampoos and conditioners, the hair’s transition period of adjustment from synthetic to natural can take a few days, a couple of weeks or a couple of months before the hair no longer feels more greasy, waxy, tacky, or weighty than it did when using conventional shampoos. This is the body’s over-production of natural oils as it aims to compensate for the natural oils that were stripped when previously using conventional synthetic shampoos, which often leave behind residue. This period of adjustment varies for each individual user. To reduce this discomfort, it helps to rinse the hair thoroughly to prevent natural shampoo residue from causing the hair to feel weighed down. This feeling is likely to go away once the scalp is purged of all synthetic ingredient buildup and after it adjusts to the new natural product, which will leave the hair with balanced moisture as well as a healthier, shinier, more voluminous appearance. With continued use of natural shampoos, the scalp is reputed to produce less oil, as the absence of synthetic cleaning agents prevents the scalp from drying out. When the scalp no longer produces excess oil to compensate for the dryness, this is when natural shampoo users can begin to go longer periods without washing the hair. For some, this can range from days to weeks.

During the adjustment period, it can be tempting to return to conventional shampoos; however, there are natural methods that can help to not only suppress this urge but to also promote and preserve the hair’s nourishment, natural luster, and overall health:

  • Diluting Apple Cider Vinegar in a spray bottle of water creates a natural hairspray that can be sprayed onto cleaned hair then rinsed out with cool water; afterward, the hair can be left to air dry
  • Brushing the hair thoroughly from root to tip will help to evenly distribute the hair’s natural oils
  • If it is necessary to use a conditioner, use a natural conditioner; avoid mixing natural products with synthetic ones


If Essential Oils are used to customize a natural shampoo or conditioner, it is important to note that, Essential Oils are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these oils for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Essential Oils without the medical advice of a physician, as they may have effects on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. These oils should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are especially recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or allergies, hormone-related ailments, or epilepsy. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using any Essential Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Essential Oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Essential Oils include redness, rash, hives, burning, bleeding disorders, decreased speed of healing, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.


The following report contains updates on the current trends in production and availability of the most in-demand Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, and Raw Materials sourced from around the globe.

Peppermint and Spearmint Oil

In India, Peppermint and Spearmint are harvested between May and July. The Mentha piperita crop yield is projected to be lower than that of the previous year while the yields for Mentha arvensis and Mentha spicata are higher. The demand for these crops is constantly increasing and, since last year, the demand has increased by approximately 10-25%. The current market conditions are good. The Mentha piperita prices are expected to increase, whereas the Mentha arvensis and Mentha spicata prices can potentially decrease.

Clary Sage Oil

In France, Clary Sage is harvested from the end of June to the beginning of July. Thus far, the weather conditions have been favorable; hence, the next harvest is expected to have a promising yield. This expectation is further augmented by the significant development that has taken place on plantations, which may also help to encourage a larger harvest than the previous one. The current demand for Clary Sage has weakened, and this year, stock will be carried over. Prices are expected to decline.

Coffee Oil

In Brazil, Coffee beans are harvested between June and August. The coffee crop grows every two years; one year might produce a higher volume than the other, and 2018 was the full crop year. Coffee is a highly demanding and expensive crop with prices that vary according to commodity exchange. Due to the drought in 2018, the 2019 harvest is expected by some to be low; however, some farmers expect a good crop. For the purposes of oil extraction, it is not recommended to use Coffee from old harvests; rather it is suggested that Coco Coffee – that is coffee stored in its shell – be used, as it retains moisture as well as properties that are comparable to that of the fresh seed.

Brazil still carries 2018 stock. The sales increased by approximately 12% from the previous year. As a result, Coffee prices are lower this year, reaching 15% for grains of lower quality. Although 2019 is not a full crop year, the harvest is projected to be favorable. The latest estimate of the increase in demand is that Coffee consumption will grow by 2.8% in 2019. The Brazilian market has remained problematic, as offers are much less than those anticipated by the producers. There is good demand for much of the current crop, particularly for good quality Arabica – the prices of which are close to those offered for the Coffees meant for export.


“Imagine the security of knowing you’re applying healthy substances onto your skin.

Imagine the pleasure of a soft, smooth and youthful skin.

Imagine the satisfaction of making your own cosmetics.”

– Jan Benham


We have been primping, perfuming, and decorating our bodies since the beginning of time to enhance our attractiveness and magnetism. While we’ve given up practices like face masks made of crocodile manure and lead paint for whitening the skin, natural skin care has always had an enduring attraction. Since Cleopatra’s time, botanical extracts have remained the most important resource for healing and beautifying in the natural world.

Adding botanical extracts such as essential oils in the correct amount to your own handmade creams and lotions allow for customization of your products, contributing to both psychological and physiological well-being.



The advantage of homemade natural moisturizers is that they can be customized by the producer by using specific ingredients for their inherent properties. Homemade moisturizers that are made with all natural ingredients are full of skin-nourishing minerals and vitamins. Their natural benefits include the ability to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin, the ability to restore damaged skin cells, and the ability to prevent future damage caused by harsh environmental factors by creating protective temporary barriers on skin. Producing homemade moisturizers has the added advantage of being eco-friendly, as the use of natural products means that chemicals are neither being used on the skin nor polluting the atmosphere. Because products can be stored in reusable containers and can be custom labeled for each new product after being sterilized, there is less waste from the disposal of packaging.

There is a large variety of moisturizers, the most popular being face creams, body lotions, body butters, and face milk. They can all be easily produced at home with a few simple natural ingredients that basically need to be melted together and cooled before they are stored in their containers for later use. Creams and lotions are comprised of three things: 1) a “base” or “carrier” oil, which will be a healing and nourishing oil of personal preference, 2) water that is purified of toxins and pollutants, also known as distilled water, although pure floral waters or other water-based liquids may also be used, and 3) an emulsifier (usually a wax, although it can also be a combination of other natural ingredients that provide emulsifying properties once they are combined).

Emulsifiers are the binding agents that keep the water and the oil joined together in a moisturizer because these two components will not combine otherwise; they are a necessary component for creating the fixed and lasting emulsion of oil and water.

Most commercial body butters are actually dense creams that have more wax content in them. A lotion is simply a diluted cream, and milk is a diluted lotion. Each product is slightly more diluted than the one before: BUTTER (thick, heavy, oily) → CREAM (thinner than butter and usually whipped) → LOTION (thinnest, lightweight) → MILK (more liquid than lotion but richer).


There are two types of emulsions although both types contain the same ingredients – oil and water. They are Oil-in-Water Emulsions and Water-in-Oil Emulsions.

Oil-in-Water moisturizers are those with more water than oil. These are also referred to as water-based products. The oil or fat droplets simply disperse in the layer of water. These emulsions are used more in moisturizing products (e.g. body lotions and day creams.

Water-in-Oil moisturizers are usually oil-based products used for a fatty feel (e.g night creams and sunscreen and makeup). In this emulsion, water droplets are suspended in the oil layer. This type is the ideal base for dry or sensitive skin, as it is milder and leaves the skin’s lipid bilayer undamaged.


A carrier oil will be the main, “base,” ingredient in a moisturizer recipe. The ideal carrier oil is one that is healing, nourishing, rejuvenating, and protecting. Popular choices for oils include Olive and Jojoba. Oils are safe to use, they are effective, and they are free from the chemicals found in commercial moisturizers. They can be custom-picked for their particular skin benefits and to match certain skin types.

Waxes are the most commonly used emulsifier. Emulsifying waxes are derived from plant-based fatty alcohols. Waxes also thicken a cream – without a wax, creams would have the runny consistency of a salad dressing. The molecular makeup of an emulsifying wax attracts oil particles and absorbs water particles. Because the oil remains mixed in with the water, the wax helps the oil penetrate the skin and replace lost moisture. In the process of producing a homemade moisturizer, the emulsification occurs after the heated oil phase, the heated water phase, and the cooldown phase has been completed.


  • BEESWAX is not an emulsifier on its own. Beeswax and Borax in combination make a natural emulsifying system, but their consistency will not have the same high quality that emulsifiers made with Cetearyl Alcohols can offer. A very small amount of Borax is required, but using beeswax without it can make a cream or lotion fail. An emulsion can be created with a combination of natural ingredients. These ingredients must always be combined in order to have an emulsifying effect, unlike wax, which works all on its own. A good starting combination for a natural emulsifier is Beeswax, Liquid Lecithin, and Borax. Here is a simple formula for a basic natural emulsion recipe: 80% Beeswax, 10% Borax, and 10% Liquid Lecithin.
  • EMULSIFYING WAX NF (INCI NAME: CETEARYL ALCOHOL (AND) POLYSORBATE 60) can be used to create thin or thick emulsions, depending on the concentration used. The typical usage rates are 3-6% of the total recipe weight. The advantage of using this emulsifying wax for cosmetic preparations is that it does not leave a residue on the skin. It has excellent stability and will not cause the ingredients in a product to separate.
  • (INCI NAME): CETEARYL ALCOHOL is a fatty alcohol that is a combination of Cetyl and Stearyl alcohols. It is known to be a skin softener and conditioner, lending emollience to a moisturizer. The typical usage rates are 1-25% of the total recipe weight. It can be used as a thickener and stabilizer as well. Using 1% will thicken a product to the consistency of a light lotion. For the rich consistency of hand cream, a maximum amount of 25% is suggested. It can be used as a co-emulsifier if used at concentrations of 2% or less.
  • (INCI NAME): CETEARETH-20 can be used on its own or it can be combined with other emulsifiers such as Glyceryl Stearate. It gives a silky, shiny feeling to the finished product. The typical usage rates are 1-6% of the total recipe weight. The maximum usage level recommended is 30%.
  • (INCI NAME): GLYCERYL STEARATE  is both an emulsifier and a stabilizer for emulsions, the latter being a chemical that inhibits emulsions from separating. It helps reduce the surface tension of the substances that are to be emulsified. It works as a lubricant giving skin the appearance of being soft and smooth by forming a barrier on the skin’s surface, thereby slowing the rate of water loss. Usually, it is used in combination with another emulsifier such as Polysorbate 20 or Ceteareth-20. The typical usage rates are 1 – 5% of the total recipe weight.
  • (INCI NAME): CETEARYL ALCOHOL/CETEARETH-20 is not a wax but rather a waxy pellet that is used in lotions. It is especially beneficial for lotions that are intended to be thick and waxy such as those for the tougher skin of elbows and feet. The typical usage rates are 2% or 6% of the total recipe weight. It can also be combined with emulsifying wax.


  • NATURAL VS. SYNTHETIC EMULSIFIERS: Even the most “natural” emulsifiers need to be extracted, separated, and processed out of plant oils and fats until they become the emulsifiers that are commonly used.
  • CERTIFIED VS. NOT CERTIFIED: A supplier should be able to clarify whether or not an emulsifier is organically certified for those that are strict on using only certified products. Not all “natural” emulsifiers are going to be certified, as there are high costs to become certified.
  • GLOBAL STATUS: Criteria to consider may include the status of the emulsifier being vegan, halal or kosher.
  • SUSTAINABILITY: Some DIY cosmetic producers insist on using only fair, sustainable, non-bioengineered oils for emulsifiers such as palm oil or palm oil derivatives. There are varying levels of sustainability and emulsifiers that are palm-derived do not always carry the name “palm.” Some of the examples of plant/palm-derived ingredients include Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Palm Kernel, Olive, Sunflower, high- and mid-oleic Sunflower, Peanut, and Coconut oils.
  • HLB: HLB stands for “Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance.” There is a belief that emulsifiers that are water-soluble (higher HLB value) are best suited for oil-in-water emulsifications and those that are oil-soluble (lower HLB value) are best suited for water in oil emulsification.
  • OPTIMUM OIL PHASE CONCENTRATIONS:  The performance of the emulsifier is affected by the amount of oil used in the products, so it is important to know in which particular oil phase the emulsifier would work best.
  • VISCOSITY RANGE: The type of emulsifier used can adjust the viscosity of the product. The emulsifier selected should suit the desired viscosity range, whether it is that of a body milk moisturizer or that of a thick night cream.
  • REQUIREMENT OF A STABILIZER/CO-EMULSIFIER: Co-emulsifiers are emulsifiers that are not meant to emulsify on their own and are instead used to enhance the activity of an existing emulsifier. Some emulsifiers might require the addition of a stabilizer or co-emulsifier for increased product viscosity and stability. The requirements of the formula should be considered before adding a co-emulsifier. To illustrate, if an emulsifier works only with a synthetic stabilizer, it should not then be used in an organic or natural formula.
  • BEST WORKING PH RANGE: Emulsifiers have ideal pH ranges at which they work best. Departing from this range may cause changes in the texture, appearance, viscosity or stability of the product. It is even more vital to consider the pH range when creating the product’s preservative. To illustrate, if using a weak acidic preservative that works most efficiently at a pH that is lower than the pH at which the emulsifier works, then either the preservative or the emulsifier needs to be changed.
  • ALCOHOL TOLERANCE: Due to their binding and emollient properties and their ability to alter the consistency of liquid products, fatty alcohols that protect and soften the skin are often incorporated in emulsions and are then referred to as “co-emulsifiers,” because they are meant to support the other “main” emulsifier. Alcohol has the power to weaken many emulsions, however. Suppliers can provide more information regarding the alcohol tolerance of a product if alcohols are going to be applied to emulsions.
  • OIL PHASE CHARACTER: It is imperative that the chosen emulsifier suits the ingredients in the moisturizer. Sometimes the oils used will be plant oils, waxes, and butters and at other times they might be fractionated oils, fatty alcohols or monoesters rather than triglycerides (fats and oils.
  • COLD VS. HOT PROCESS: The most commonly used emulsifiers come in the forms of pellets, flakes or powders that need to be melted with the oil or water phases. This can be a disadvantage if heat-sensitive ingredients are also being used, but should be used if ingredients do need to be melted. Liquid emulsifiers are available that allow for a cold blending technique.
  • SHEAR TOLERANCE: Some emulsifiers require a homogenizer, which is a mixer that produces fine particles and droplet sizes, as well as a “high shear” – the rate at which fluid moves between two parallel plates, one being stationary and the other moving at a constant speed. Some emulsifiers cannot withstand high shear and would be destabilized by a homogenizer.
  • APPLICATION DOSAGE: The emulsifier is generally added at approximately 20% of the oil phase, though some work best at lower or higher concentrations. The concentration can be reduced with the addition of co-emulsifiers or stabilizing agents.


Additives are optional ingredients that may be added to a product for their healing or preventative properties or for the ways in which they boost the qualities of the product itself. Some additives for moisturizers provide extra hydration, boost the hardness or softness of the product, improve its appearance, reduce/prevent/stop skin irritation, and/or promote the growth of healthy cells. Most additives are included in the mixture of ingredients during or after the melting stage of the production process. Regardless of which additives are selected, they should all comply with Health Canada and FDA regulations and be certified for cosmetic use to ensure that they will be safe on skin.

Thickeners can be natural, synthetic, or semi-synthetic and they are derived from various sources including natural sources. The most versatile thickeners are those that are synthetic. They provide stability and better performance of cosmetic products by enhancing the consistency, volume, and viscosity. Some thickeners allow water to remain on the skin and thus offer a moisturizing property. They are composed of varying molecular structures including polysaccharides, proteins, alcohols, silicones or waxes.


For those that prefer their moisturizer to have a thicker, richer texture than oils have to offer, butters are an ideal option, as they have more saturated fatty acids and higher melting points. Some are preferred for their antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids, which work to diminish signs of aging and other skin issues. Other butters are preferred for their ability to protect skin from UV damage or from coarse, cracked skin.

Butters can be heated and added to other types of moisturizers during their liquid phases. When incorporating a butter into a lotion, such as to create a “Shea Butter Lotion” for example, the amount to add will vary for each recipe. The recommended ratio is 75% solid to 25% liquid oil. Although the body butter can be used as soon as the base ingredients are blended together, the mixture will be too dense and tough to spread over the skin at this stage. When whipped, however, the air that is incorporated into the mixture creates a lighter consistency that makes the application much easier. This also means less butter is needed at the time of each application, which in turn extends the life of the product.

Preservatives are natural or synthetic ingredients with anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties that are added to personal care products to keep them fresh and to protect both the product and the user from the negative effects of harmful bacteria. Preservatives are only needed in products that contain water. They work by preventing spores from germinating and producing more microorganisms and by deactivating cells by disrupting their cell membranes. Many store-bought moisturizers contain preservatives that can be harmful to skin whereas producing homemade moisturizers allows for the use of natural preservatives that can help minimize negative skin reactions.

Homemade natural products can also be made without preservatives; however, they will not last as long as commercial moisturizers. There are a couple of solutions to this issue, including the option of creating products in small batches that will be used within a short time period, adding ingredients with antimicrobial properties, or creating anhydrous products, which are products that do not contain water, as introducing water to cosmetic containers is the leading cause for the development of harmful bacteria, mold, yeast, and fungi. This includes ingredients that contain water such as hydrosols/floral water, Aloe Vera, or goat’s milk to name a few popular choices. Any water used should ideally be distilled and boiled before having anything added to it, but generally the less water in the product, the longer it will last. Glass containers are highly recommended for storage, as they can be reused and they eliminate the risk of products being tainted by the harmful chemicals that are commonly found in plastic containers. Product contamination can typically be prevented or slowed down by also using dispensing bottles instead of open mouth jars because the bacteria from fingers can be introduced to the product.

To extend the longevity of a moisturizer, an anti-oxidant is needed, as it will reduce the rate of oxidation. This is a chemical process during which natural ingredients are degraded or damaged due to exposure to oxygen. An oxidized product will develop brown or black spots. An antioxidant can be added directly to oils or added to the oil phase of the moisturizer formula. Naturally preserving additives that are anti-oxidants include Geranium Essential Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Green Tea Extract, among many others.

To help preserve the moisturizer, an anti-microbial is needed, as it will work to destroy bacteria and other unwanted micro-organisms. Naturally preserving additives that fight bacteria, mold and fungus include Vitamin E oils, Tea Tree Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Green Tea, Aloe Vera or honey.

There are ingredients that boost the capabilities of preservatives but there are also those that interfere with or completely inactivate them. Some of the ingredients that might interfere with them include pigments like ultramarine blue and thickeners like cellulose derivatives and guar gum.


1. Which ingredients are being used? Are they oil-soluble or water-soluble?

2. What will the product’s final pH be?

3. Is it non-sensitizing? In other words, does it have any tendencies to cause allergies or sensitivities?

4. Is it long lasting? Will it continue to work under both normal conditions and less favorable conditions?

5. Does it take rapid action to quickly re-sterilize the product, if it should become contaminated?

6. Is the preservative non-toxic and non-irritating?

7. Is it compatible with all the ingredients in the formula?

8. Does it remain stable under heat? Does it undergo disintegration during storage?
Floral waters are a byproduct of the essential oil production process. They have similar properties to essential oils but are gentler on the skin and are thus safer to use on the face than essential oils. Floral waters contain therapeutic properties that would not be found in the essential oils of the same floral matter. Popular floral waters used in cosmetics include Rose Water, Lavender Water, and Orange Blossom (neroli) Water.

Aromatic oils such as synthetic fragrance oils or essential oils can be added to a moisturizer formula for a pleasant scent with therapeutic properties that benefit the user both physically and mentally. The essential oil of choice should be one that would not cause an allergic reaction to the user. The percentage of essential oil to a cream or lotion should never exceed 2%.  Both types of oils can be easily added to a moisturizer emulsion once it has been melted and removed from heat. They should be mixed in thoroughly. The final moisturizer product should be kept in a closed container in a cool area. To prevent any unexpected allergic reactions, a skin patch test is highly recommended.

Moisturizers can be colored with the use of any water- or oil-based colorants. The following colorants are typically used in moisturizers: LabColours, Micas, Oxides & Ultramarines, Jojoba Wax Beads, Natural Tinting Herbs, and D&C and FD&C Dyes.

  • D&C (Drugs & Cosmetics) Dyes
    These are colorants that the FDA and Health Canada have allowed for use in externally applied drugs and cosmetics. FD&C (Food, Drugs & Cosmetics) Dyes are certified color additives for use in foods in the United States. In North America, these are now referred to by their Color Index (CI) names rather than their former “FD&C” names.

    Some ingredients such as fragrance oils can discolor moisturizers. Usually, the product takes on the same hue or leaves a tint that is the same as the fragrance oil. A fragrance oil such as vanilla would possibly turn the product brown, but if the color is undesirable then it can be prevented with the use of a vanilla stabilizer. Another instance of discoloration, such as when a white moisturizer turns pink or develops green flecks, indicates a contaminated product that needs to be disposed of immediately.

    These are potent synthetic dyes that are available in water-soluble or oil-dispersible varieties. When added to a formulation, they produce bold, vibrant colors but their intensity can be adjusted by incorporating them drop by drop until the desired shade is achieved. These dyes can also be mixed to create new colors.  The disadvantage of these dyes is that they bleed, so if a body butter is made in colored layers, after a few days the colors will leak into the layers and blend together. The dyes also have a tendency to fade with time, most likely over the course of a few months, but this will not be an issue with products that are meant to last for a time much shorter than that.
    These dry powder ingredients produce vivid, dense matte colors. They are not soluble in water but easily disperse in oil, so they must only be added to the oil phases of moisturizer recipes.  After being combined with oil, they can be introduced into an extensive assortment of formulations.
    These are colorants made by crushing natural minerals into a fine powder to add shimmer to moisturizers. Micas are often combined with various synthetic dyes, Oxides, Ultramarines, and natural colorants to create more colors and shades. They are not suited to every recipe, as they come in a wide range of formulations. It is important to check a Mica safety guide and the supplier notes about each one to ensure the correct type is chosen for a recipe to prevent any possible reactions.
    Made from Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil and D&C Dyes, these colorants are meant to be melted before being added to oil- or wax-based cosmetic formulas such as recipes for body butters, balms, and body oils, to name a few.
    These powdered herb colorants can add color to lotions or body oils, but although they retain color in containers, there is a chance they will fade over time. The best way to add them to a moisturizer formula is to infuse one of the liquid phases with the chosen herb before the liquids are mixed into an emulsion. If a herb needs to be strained from a warmed oil, a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer can be used. The recommended ratio for usage is 2 tbsp (30 g or 1 oz) of powder per 1 cup (340 g or 12 oz) of oil.


When creating DIY products, it is imperative to prevent the transmission of infection. This can be done by ensuring proper hand washing. It is important to use sterile gloves and a hair net to provide the necessary protection.

Sterilize everything with which the lotion or cream will come into contact; have a spray bottle of alcohol ready with clean sterile jars and towels at hand.

To create a lotion or cream, two ‘phases’ must be produced: an oil phase and a water phase. They both need to be heated to kill any microbial visitors.

All your oils and waxes – including your emulsifying wax – and butters will go into the oil phase and may be taken off the heat as soon as the wax is melted.

All your waters (distilled, or up to 40% floral waters or aloe or witch hazel with distilled water) will be heated just until light steam wafts from the surface and tiny bubbles form on the bottom of the pot. Borax, if you are using it, will be dissolved in your water phase.

Tinctures, actives, essential oils and preservatives will be added after the cream has begun to emulsify.


  1. Use two pitchers to pour both phases back and forth until they are emulsified and cooled, then pour into sterile containers; this is the traditional method, used since the Middle Ages.
  2. Whip the water phase with a stick blender while pouring a thin stream of the oil phase in, and after all, is blended, continue to whip for another five minutes before pouring into sterile containers.
  3. Put ice in one bowl, and place the second bowl on top – stainless steel bowls of the same size are excellent for this. Begin pouring both phases in while whipping with a whisk; this will cool the cream as it emulsifies, and you will feel this happening as the whisk hits the bottom of the bowl. When it is all emulsified and cold, pour into sterile containers. 

Pour your cream just before it arrives at the thickness you want because as it cools, it will get a bit thicker. Caution: if it is just right in your emulsion for a lotion, and you want to put it into a lotion bottle, you will have to add more sterile water phase now, or it will be too thick to travel up the length of the pump.



  • A double boiler (or a pot filled with boiling water and a heat-resistant glass bowl that can be placed over the pot)
  • A stainless-steel saucepan
  • A measuring jug – 1 L (approx. 34 oz) size preferred
  • A stirring spoon
  • Measuring spoons i.e., teaspoon (5 ml or 0.16 oz), dessertspoon (10 ml or 0.33 oz), and tablespoon (15 ml or 0.50 oz)
  • A scale that has both imperial and metric measurements
  • Empty glass jars and bottles for a finished product
  • Label (to keep the final products organized)


* Ingredients are measured by weight, in grams, for accuracy


  • 28 g (approx. 1 oz)/4 dessertspoons lanette wax (emulsifier)
  • 60 g (approx. 2 oz)/6 dessertspoons Jojoba Oil


  • 200 g (approx. 7 oz) distilled water
  • 50 g (approx. 2 oz) Rose Water


  • 1.23 g (¼ tsp) Grapefruit Seed Extract


  • 12 drops Lavender
  • 8 drops Geranium
  • 7 drops Palmarosa


  1. Sterilize all utensils, product containers, and workshop surfaces. Wipe utensils and wipe down surfaces with alcohol.
  2. In a heat-resistant bowl (or in a double boiler), melt the emulsifying wax and oils.
  3. In another saucepan, heat the liquid ingredients (Rosewater and distilled water) until they have reached boiling point.
  4. When the waxes and oils have completely melted, and the water is gently boiling…
  5. Slowly, add the waters to the melted wax and oils, stirring constantly until all water has been added.
  6. Remove the double boiler from the heat source. Continue stirring until the mixture has completely cooled.
  7. Add grapefruit seed extract, plus any essential oils, nutrients, and goodies.
  8. Pour into sterilized jars and bottles.
  9. Label.



  • 120 g (1/2 cup or 4 oz) Almond Oil or Jojoba Oil (or any other liquid oil)
  • 60 g (1/4 cup or 2 oz) Coconut Oil
  • 60 g (1/4 cup or 2 oz) Beeswax/Emulsifying Wax
  • 5 g (1 tsp) Vitamin E Oil (optional)
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) Shea Butter/Cocoa Butter (optional)
  • Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other preferred natural extracts (optional) (see the recipe for the ratio)
  • 237 g (8 oz) mason jar or tin


  1. Combine Almond Oil/ Jojoba Oil (or any other liquid oil), Coconut Oil and Beeswax/ Emulsifying Wax in a double boiler or a glass bowl on top. If using Shea/Cocoa butter, add it as well.
  2. As the water heats, stir the ingredients occasionally as they melt so that they are fully incorporated.
  3. When all ingredients are completely melted, add Vitamin E Oil (if using) and any essential oils or scents like Vanilla. A 2% dilution of essential oils is the ideal amount to add to a lotion. To make a 2% dilution, add 12 drops of essential oil to every 30 ml (each fl. oz.)
  4. Pour mixture into the 237 g (8 oz) mason jar/tin. The viscosity of this product will not pump well through a lotion dispenser.
  5. Use the final product within 6 months in the same manner as a regular lotion. 



  • 75 g (1/2 cup or 4 oz) Shea Butter
  • 75 g (1/2 cup or 4 oz) Cocoa Butter or Mango Butter
  • 120 g (1/2 cup or 4 oz) Coconut Oil
  • 120 g (1/2 cup or 4 oz) light oil (such as Almond, Jojoba, or Olive Oil)
  • 10-30 drops of preferred Essential Oils (Optional)
  • 455 g (16 oz) mason/glass jar


  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the essential oils) in a double boiler or glass bowl.
  2. Stir them constantly over medium heat until all the ingredients are melted.
  3. Once melted, remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. If including essential oils in the formula, add them now.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool in the fridge for 1 hour or until it begins to harden but still remains somewhat soft.
  5. Using a hand mixer, whip the mixture for 10 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Refrigerate the whipped mixture for 10-15 minutes to set.
  7. Store the final product in a 455 g (16 oz) glass jar with a lid.
  8. Use the butter in the same manner as a regular lotion or body butter.
  9. The butter may soften at room temperature in which case it may be stored in the fridge, but it will remain whipped at a temperature lower than 24 áµ’C (75 áµ’F).



  • 60 g (2 oz) Beeswax/emulsifying wax
  • 15 g (1/2 oz) Cocoa Butter
  • 45 g (1 ½ oz) Palm Kernel Oil
  • 235 g (8 oz) Coconut Oil
  • 120 g (8 tbsp or 4 oz) Almond Oil
  • 235 g (8 oz) Goat’s Milk
  • 355 g (12 oz) distilled water
  • 15 g (1 tbsp or 0.5 oz) Germaben II


  1. Mix together the Beeswax/emulsifying wax, Cocoa Butter, Palm Kernel Oil, Coconut Oil, and Almond oil in a glass bowl.
  2. Microwave or heat the mixture over the stove until melted.
  3. Whisk in the water and Goat’s Milk until the whole emulsion cools. When first mixing the oils and liquids together, the milk may have a strange appearance and it may seem to be curdling, but continuous mixing will help it turn to lotion.
  4. Add the Germaben II to the mixture once it has become lotion. If the lotion is too thick, add more water to thin it out. Re-heating the lotion and mixing again helps it stay emulsified.
  5. If the lotion starts to separate, add more emulsifying wax.
  6. Store the final product inside a 1 L (1000 g or 34 oz) glass jar in the fridge.


Pay close attention when heating any mixtures that include oil, as the oil can rapidly overheat. This is especially true for small amounts of oil, which can overheat in seconds. Never leave oil unattended on the stove. If called away from the stove, be sure to remove the pan from the heat.

Avoid overheating the oils. The wax and oil mixtures simply need to be melted, not boiled.

Keep young children and pets out of the way.

After each use, clean all equipment in boiling water, rinse well, and dry. It is best to use these utensils only for making cosmetics and to avoid preparing or storing food in them due to the possibility of cross-contamination.


    • Botanical extracts have remained the most important resource for healing and beautifying in the natural world.
    • Homemade moisturizers that are made with all natural ingredients are full of skin-nourishing minerals and vitamins.
    • There are only 3 required ingredients for making DIY natural moisturizers: a Carrier Oil, Water, and an Emulsifier.
    • Optional additives can further enrich a natural homemade moisturizer with ingredients such as Thickeners, Butters, Preservatives, Colourants, Aromatic Oils, and Floral Waters.
  • In order to prevent contamination when developing moisturizers, it is important to sterilize everything with which the moisturizer will come into contact.

Top 10 Best-Selling Fragrance Oils of 2019


Fragrance Oils are the scented oils that are created to be added to products such as scented candles, household cleaners, room sprays, air fresheners, and vaporizers in order to give them pleasant, distinctive aromas or to enable them to diffuse pleasant aromas. Fragrance Oils that are body-safe can also be added to cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, and other products that make contact with the skin and hair.

Virtually all fragrances, natural or manmade, in an environment can be imitated in a laboratory, and there are limitless variations of oil groupings that can synthetically produce each of these countless scents. Fragrance Oils may be composed of one to two Essential Oils while others may have many more, and although combining the same combination of oils will repeatedly produce the same scent, simply adjusting the percentage of each oil could alter the final scent considerably, creating one that is completely original compared to previous iterations.


In a careful process, fragrance designers develop each Fragrance Oil by selecting the Essential Oils or other aromatic chemical compounds that blend well together and then by determining the ideal amount of each oil for the particular theme that is intended to be captured for the resultant blend. To illustrate, for a scent inspired by the feeling of spending a sunny summer day at the beach, the ideal aromatic compounds would likely have light, refreshing, and uplifting qualities.

Some of the ingredients – both artificial and naturally-derived – that commonly go into the production of Fragrance Oils include Absolutes, Alcohols, Aldehydes, Carrier Oils, Essential Oils, Esters, and Resins. Though some Fragrance Oils might not necessarily be entirely natural or volatile, they can still have the ability to uphold the same quality as Essential Oils and can sometimes exude stronger longer-lasting aromas. Fragrance Oils can be either 100% synthetic or they can be comprised of up to 80% Essential Oils.


Although the term Fragrance Oil is sometimes understood to be a substitute for the term Essential Oil, there are several differences between these two distinctly different types of oils even if they can both be applied similarly:

Natural and pure Sometimes manufactured with natural aromatic components and other times manufactured with chemical components (not entirely pure)
Derived from various plant parts, including roots, leaves, herbs, grass, flowers, and resins Could be composed of either several natural oils or of artificial/synthetic aromatic compounds
Retains the authentic essence/aroma and beneficial properties of the plant Replicates Essential Oil scents; numerous scents are combined to produce a new, unique scent
Examples of Essential Oils: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Eucalyptus Examples of Fragrance Oils: Pumpkin Patch, Christmas Eve, Bubble Gum, Sun and Sand, Dragon’s Blood
Traditionally used in aromatherapy for therapeutic properties Not commonly used in aromatherapy, due to the absence of therapeutic properties
Reputed to have various health benefits Not known to have any health benefits
Can be used in scented candles, household cleaners, room sprays, air fresheners, vaporizers, cosmetics, detergents, perfumes, soaps, etc. Can be used in scented candles, household cleaners, room sprays, air fresheners, vaporizers, cosmetics, detergents, perfumes, soaps, etc.
Pricing depends on the source botanical as well as the extraction method Compared to Essential Oils, pricing is typically less expensive
Quality, scent, appearance, and potency of the oil depends on the quality of growing conditions of the crop from which it is derived; inconsistencies are possible from batch to batch Quality, scent, appearance, and potency of oil remain consistent


Similar to their Essential Oil counterparts, Fragrance Oils contribute pleasant scents to products and often conjure positive memories or trigger positive associations with their scents. Furthermore, they capture unique as well as everyday scents that cannot be found in nature. Through a blend of various aromatic compounds, they are able to synthesize scents that are human-made, such as the aromas of foods, both the naturally aromatic foods as well as the odorless ones. Unlike Essential Oils, only Fragrance Oils can offer the scents of an ocean breeze, baby powder, tomatoes, mountain rain, or clean laundry.


1. Coconut Paradise Fragrance Oil: The crisp, refreshing aroma of this oil is reminiscent of the tropics, summer, and youth. Creamy top notes of Coconut blend intricately with the scents of Peaches, Vanilla, and base notes of rich butter.

2. Amber Romance Type Fragrance Oil: This warm, sensual, haunting aroma exudes nuances of Vanilla, Sandalwood, Patchouli, and Blackberry, which blend with Musk at the base for a rounded, romantic scent.

3. French Lavender Fragrance Oil: This scent is reminiscent of a lovely, fragrant bouquet of Lavender flowers picked fresh from the French countryside. Its floral and herbaceous qualities combined with its balsamic, woody undertone are reputed to produce a peaceful, soothing, and grounding effect.

4. Tahitian Vanilla Fragrance Oil: The warm quality of this multifaceted and exotic fragrance gives it a mysterious, sultry, and seductive element. Its luxurious, creamy nuances are trailed by a hint of heavenly tropical flowers.

5. Lavender Fragrance Oil: This sweet-smelling scent is reminiscent of a walk in a Lavender field. Base notes of soft, mild French Lavender give this oil a soothing quality. This scent is often considered to be classic and timeless.

6. Ruby Grapefruit Fragrance Oil: The juicy quality of this scent is mouth-wateringly refreshing. With top notes of Pink Grapefruit, Lemon, and Lime that melds into notes of Gardenia, Lilac, powder, and Vanilla, this scent is light as well as playful.

7. Coconut Cream Fragrance Oil: Delicious, sweet, and creamy, this fragrance exudes buttery top notes with nuances of sweet burnt sugar, Cinnamon, and Peach at its heart. Base notes of Coconut, Vanilla, and powder give it an exotic quality.

8. French Vanilla Fragrance Oil: This sweet, creamy fragrance has buttery top notes with nuances of Coconut and heart notes of sweet, burnt Coconut. Base notes of Vanilla and powder help to round it out.

9. Japanese Cherry Blossom Fragrance Oil: The light, sweet, and refreshing scent of this oil is reminiscent of spring air. Fused with top notes of Asian Pears, Rose, Mimosa petals, and Fuji Apples, it is further enhanced with seductive notes of Jasmine and Peony, which accentuate the floral notes. A combination of Vanilla, Musk, and creamy Sandalwood base notes help to round out this fragrance.

10. Vanilla Fragrance Oil: The classic, rich, creamy Vanilla scent of this oil is associated with calmness, warmth, softness, and purity. Vanilla scents are often reminiscent of desserts and positive memories linked to holidays.


  • Create a scented candle
  • Create a unique perfume/cologne
  • Create a natural room spray/air freshener by diluting the Fragrance Oil in a spray bottle of water
  • Give a new scent to or refresh the scent of old potpourri, car air fresheners, artificial plants, real live odorless flowers, and fabrics with stale odors
  • Soak a cotton ball and leave it to lightly diffuse in areas that can benefit from freshening, such as behind garbage bins, under car seats, and inside gym bags, purses, or shoes
  • Dab a small amount on letters, gift wrapping, or wooden jewelry to add a romantic touch
  • Dab a small amount on wooden or fabric furniture
  • Diffuse during spiritual practices, such as meditation or prayer
  • Pour some down a foul-smelling drain and allow it to sit overnight
  • Create scented soaps (use only skin-safe FOs)
  • Create scented massage oils (use only skin-safe FOs)
  • Add to a regular, unscented lotion (use only skin-safe FOs)
  • Create a unique personal roll-on scent (use only skin-safe FOs)
  • Create a comforting scented bath (use only skin-safe FOs)
  • Add it to the wash during the rinse cycle (use only skin-safe FOs)

For more information about using Fragrance Oils to make scented candles, check out the How to Make Candles article.


Because Fragrance Oils are highly flammable and thus pose a safety hazard when heated without dilution, it is highly recommended that the intended use be matched to an IFRA product type/category. For this, page 23 of the IFRA Information Booklet can be a helpful resource. Once the category for the intended use has been determined, it is advisable to check the particular Fragrance Oil’s maximum dilution rate as well as the product’s flash point.


It is imperative to ensure that Fragrance Oils are skin-safe before they are incorporated into recipes for cosmetic products. For more information about adding Fragrance Oils to moisturizers, check out the post titled How to Make a Natural Moisturizer.


Fragrance Oils are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these oils for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Fragrance Oils without the medical advice of a physician, as they may have effects on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. These oils should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are especially recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or allergies, hormone-related ailments, or epilepsy. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using any Fragrance Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Fragrance Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Fragrance Oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Fragrance Oils, especially with long-term exposure and improper handling, include difficulty breathing, coughing, nausea, cramps, vomiting, headache, rashes, itching, chafing, a burning sensation on the skin or in the stomach, cancer, lung and/or heart disease, and brain damage. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.