Introduction: Easy DIY Night Cream

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So at my age, dealing with both a minor skin condition and the natural processes of aging, I'm finding it helpful to use a moisturizing cream or lotion on my face, hands, legs and feet in the evening. After trying a variety of different types of lotions over the last year or so, I finally discovered that the ones that work best for me are - expensive. This puzzled me because the ones that worked best seemed to have the least ingredients, and the most simple ones.

Eucerin Original Healing Soothing Repair Cream, for instance, which works really well for me, costs something like $15 for a 16 ounce jar of the stuff. It has exactly 7 ingredients in it, at least five of which I'm fairly familiar: Water, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone. The last two are antibiotic, biocide preservatives. The first few ingredients are the moisturizers.

And as a matter of fact, that particular combination of ingredients that help keep the skin moist: water, petrolatum, mineral oil, wax (the ceresin) and lanolin, seemed to be the common denominators in most of the lotions that worked well for me. The other ingredients that were common to most of the other lotions I used were glycerin and different kinds of seed oils, like in my very favorite lotion, Seed Body Cream.

I browsed Instructables to see if I could find anything akin to what I was considering, and came across Craftknowitall'sHow to Make a Fragrant Hand Lotion for Valentine's Day , which was pretty close. But I didn't want to deal with the mixer, an element of the process that I could eliminate easily enough by just making up small batches of my night cream as desired.

So what follows is a short hand version of a customized night cream, using the easily available components of my favorite lotions. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and seems to be working quite nicely, for a fraction of the cost of the pricey off the shelf stuff.

Step 1: Ingredients

You'll need:

  • small container - I used a 4 ounce storage container with a lid
  • Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly - $2
  • A & D cream - this version is about 50% petroleum jelly and 15.5% lanolin - $6
  • Coconut Oil - $3
  • Glycerin - $2
  • fragrance, or your favorite off the shelf lotion - price varies

Total for ingredients about $15 - but I only used a little bit of each item. I estimate my 4 ounces of homemade lotion cost less than a dollar.

Useful note, with respect to the choice and value of the ingredients: As Nel137 pointed out in the comments, "petroleum jelly & mineral oil are not moisturizers. They only form a protective barrier that prevents moisture from escaping the skin. The coconut oil will moisturize, so the combination works."

Indeed it does... read on!

Step 2: Create Lotion Base

For my version, I started with three tablespoons of petroleum jelly in the container.

Step 3: Add A&D Cream/ Lanolin

I couldn't locate the pure lanolin this time around, but you can find it in the baby aisle in the big box stores. Because this version didn't have as much lanolin as I really wanted, I used two tablespoons of the cream. But I'd probably just use one of the pure lanolin.

Step 4: Add Glycerin

I used 6 drops of gylcerin for my little 4 ounce mixture of homemade lotion. That was admittedly a by-guess and by -gosh decision, based on a little reading over at It's All in My Hands, which recommended a minimum 1.5% gylcerin in a mixture, for creams for oily skin; "2-3.5% is for normal to dry skin; 4-5% is for body lotions." Given that I'm using this primarily as a night cream for hands and face, and the type of skin I'm guessing I have, 6 drops - about 1/4 teaspoon - seemed about right.

(For a really interesting read on gylcerin, check out "What is Glycerin?" at Pioneer Thinking.)

Step 5: Add Coconut Oil

I added about a tablespoon of Coconut oil.

Step 6: Add Fragrance or a Dab of Your Favorite Cream

I really love my Seed Body Cream, but use it sparing because of the cost. I've found that a small amount added to my DIY Night Cream adds that nice lavender fragrance I like, and also improves the color of my homemade cream.

Step 7: Mix Thoroughly

Mix the whole concoction well with your fingers (and then apply to your skin!) or a spoon, and you'll have this nice, buttery emollient. It feels a little greasy going on but absorbs nicely and doesn't leave any greasy or sticky residue on the skin. It's great for face, hands, legs, and feet. And at about 25 cents an ounce, you can use it pretty generously!

Step 8: Store and Go!

Cap your lotion in your little container and now you've got a nice sized, easy to use, super affordable and effective DIY Night Cream .

Love to see more variations on this!

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