This is how to make a homemade emulsion cream

I guess you would certainly like to try making creams of the same type that are sold in stores. Industrial creams are usually emulsions meaning they are mixtures of water and oil. You can easily prepare an emulsion yourself. After all, it is very simple and quick to prepare. After reading this article, you will no longer buy ready-made industrial creams from anywhere. It’s so convenient to make them yourself. Making emulsion cream is easy and fun.

Photo Dana Tentis Pixabay

Making emulsion cream at home is reasonable

Many industrial creams contain countless raw materials which effects on the skin and the environment are not exactly certain. Nowadays, most creams also contain microplastics. The use of plastic should be avoided as much as possible. The plastic contained in cosmetics is transported into waterways and through food chain into fish and other organisms.

Certified natural cosmetics like ECOCERT and COSMOS -certified products do not contain any plastic at all. The other ingredients of natural cosmetics have also been chosen very carefully. Natural cosmetics only contain ingredients that are as natural and harmless to the environment as possible.

You can hardly find simple basic creams in the natural cosmetics series. That’s why I always prepare the base creams myself. They are easy and inexpensive to make.

Even though this blog is dedicated to the raw materials of home cosmetics, it is still appropriate to summarize a few basic manufacturing methods. Emulsion preparation is one of them and perhaps the most feared. However, there’s no need to panic about making an emulsion. It is very easy and understandable process as long as you learn a few basics things.

Herbal oil

Why is the preparation of an emulsion feared?

The most decisive moment in emulsion production is the emulsification process itself. In the emulsification process, water-based ingredients are emulsified into oil-based ingredients so that they no longer separate into their own phases. How emulsification is done depends on the emulsifier, the substance that unites the water molecules to the oil molecules. Beginners should stick to a familiar and safe emulsifier such as Olivem 1000.

What could go wrong in emulsification process?

1. The emulsion breaks down

There are many different reasons for the breakdown of an emulsion. The emulsion can break down if you haven’t heated both phases to 70 degrees. The emulsion breaks down if you put too much essential oil into it. Many emulsifiers are also affected by clay, magnesium and various salts. The emulsion can also break down if it is mixed too much, too vigorously or too little. Each emulsifier has its own quirks, others require high-speed, strong mixing. This time we are dealing with an emulsifier that only needs moderate mixing.

2. The emulsion never solidifies

It may be that the cream base looks very liquid when it is still hot. After cooling down, the cream solidifies well. It can easily become too solid. If you think the emulsion is too liquid, reduce the amount of water phase but keep the oil phase and the amount of emulsifier unchanged..

3. The emulsion have to be mixed an hour before it solidifies

That’s how I’ve been taught long time ago. In practice, the familiar Olivem 1000 and emulsifiers comparable to it are easy and do not require a long mixing time. Of course, there are different emulsifiers, with which working is different from the Olivem 1000 emulsifier.

4. A lot of pots, bowls and measuring devices are needed

A few tools are needed to prepare the emulsion. The tools are simple and quite easy to obtain. You can use the same tools for years. I think the most important thing to get is a precision scale. You have to weigh such small quantities that it would not be possible with a normal scale. A thermometer is also a must, because you need to know exactly when the temperature of the phases are suitable.

5. A certain temperature is needed before an emulsion can form

The temperature needs to be so high that the emulsifier and all the waxy ingredients dissolve. This usually happens at 60-70 degrees Celsius. The actual emulsification only takes place when both phases have reached a temperature of over 70 degrees Celsius.

6. The production of emulsion cream requires a lot of special equipment

The same equipment as for the preparation of waterless salves is sufficient to make an emulsion cream.

What equipment do I need to make the emulsion cream?

You will be fine with a few simple tools. You don’t need any additional equipment at this stage, apart from the hotplate. As I told you, the same tools are also used to make water less salves and lip balms.

Equipment list for the preparation of cream

  • Flat-bottomed, shallow pot
  • Small heat- and boiling-resistant containers or glass beakers for the water phase and the oil phase
  • Glass stirring rods or a small mini whisks
  • Precision scale, 0.01-gram accuracy that weighs at least 500 grams
  • Thermometer
  • Small rubber/silicone spatula
  • Small, clean glass jars for packaging creams. You can also pack creams in cleaned baby food jars or other used glass jars. You can also buy new nice lotion jars online if you want.
  • Labels for jars

The supplies list is easy, isn’t it.

In general, almost everything you need is easily found in your own home. I recommend getting a good scale. Measuring small quantities is otherwise impossible. A suitable precision scale weighs up to at least 500 grams with an accuracy of 0.01 grams.

Store all the tools used in the production of cosmetics in their own, covered box. They should not be used for food preparation or any other purposes for hygiene reasons.

This is how a homemade emulsion cream is created; the basic raw materials of emulsion cream

This time we make a very basic version of the emulsion cream. I really want you to learn the secrets of making an emulsion at once. You can later familiarize yourself with the different raw materials that can be found on this blog and elsewhere on the internet.

Herbal lotion

What raw materials are needed to make emulsion cream?

Only a few ingredients are needed to make a simple emulsion cream. When practicing making an emulsion, always choose simple ingredients. If the emulsion fails, as it sometimes does, it is not a big loss. Spoiled emulsion is often impossible to repair and must be thrown away. Fixing is easy in water less creams.

Water phase

You can only use distilled water, water purified by reverse osmosis equipment or boiled tap water for the simple water phase. I usually use reverse osmosis purified water because I happen to have a reverse osmosis device available. Another very good option is to use boiled tap water. I personally always use it when I can’t get purified water.

After gaining experience, you can use hydrolate for the water phase.

Oil phase

You can use the oil of your choice for the oil phase. However, I recommend starting with a cheaper oil. For example, sunflower oil is very good and suitable for most people’s skin. The incredibly good properties of sunflower oil have been reported on my blog before. Another good oil is safflower oil. In the past, you could get safflower oil from stores, but nowadays you also have to order it online. Safflower oil absorbs well into the skin and is a very neutral and well-tolerated oil.

As an oil, you can also use herbal oil prepared to base oil. You can also replace a small part of the oil with herbal oil. After gaining experience, you can try different oils and vegetable butters in your emulsions.


In this post, I will not dig deeper into the mysterious world of emulsifiers. I will give you only one proven emulsifier that keeps you going, namely OliveM 1000 (Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate).

Olivem 1000 is a very balanced emulsifier. It is suitable for most creams. As the name suggests, OliveM 1000 is made from olive oil. It is skin-friendly and also very nature-friendly. It is also PEG-free and has an Ecocert -certificate. Olivem 1000 meets the requirements of natural cosmetics.

Olivem 1000 is very easy to use. It is sold as small waxy chips that are melted into oil in a water bath.


Emulsion cream always contains water. In products containing water, a preservative is mandatory. If you don’t want to use a preservative at all, the product will only last a few days in the refrigerator. Preservatives can be avoided by making only water less products. Check the dosage of your chosen preservative on the package. Usually, the preservative is dosed at 1-2%.

I have often used Geogard 221 preservative, which is a natural cosmetic-grade, safe and effective preservative. Another favourite of mine is Preservative Eco.

Lotion in pump bottle

Preparation of emulsion cream; basic recipe

Here is a basic recipe for making emulsion cream. Feel free to switch between different oils as long as they are liquid. You can use either distilled or boiled water. Care must be taken when using essential oils. They should not be added to the product in large quantities, as they can break the structure of the emulsion in some cases. Facial products should contain maximum of 1% essential oils.

You need these

  • 100 gr water
  • 20 gr sunflower oil
  • 5 gr Olivem 1000 emulsifier
  • 1 gr Geogard 221 preservative (or similar)

Emulsion cream manufacturing process

Now let’s try how the preparation of emulsion cream goes. Collect all the necessary materials and accessories on the (kitchen) table. Make sure all equipment are clean. Spray another layer of 70% alcohol on the surface of the tools to eliminate microbes.

Place the pot on the hotplate and put just enough water in it so that your small vessels stay upright.

  • Measure water into the first bowl
  • Measure oil and emulsifier into another bowl
  • Place the bowls into the pot and turn the plate on
  • Mix the phases from time to time to see how the melting progresses
  • Do not let the water in the pot boil
  • Once the emulsifier has melted into the oil, start measuring temperatures. Both phases should be 70 degrees or slightly more. It’s hard to get both at exactly 70 degrees at the same time. However, the temperature must not fall below 70 degrees. Otherwise, emulsification does not occur or occurs incompletely.
  • When the correct temperatures have been reached, pour the water phase into the oil phase while stirring gently.
  • Lift the bowl out of the pot and keep on gentle mixing until the temperature of the emulsion is below 40 degrees.
  • Now add the preservative and mix the emulsion thoroughly

Using a spatula, pour the cream into small glass jars and label them. Write the name of the cream, all the ingredients and the date when made on the label. I myself have sometimes left creams without a label. It’s really hard to remember afterwards what a jar contains and when it was made without a label. If you make a lot of different creams, a labeling is an absolute must.

The cream can be stored at room temperature for about 6 months. The cream’s shelf life depends very much on the level of hygiene. Your cream may well last longer or shorter. A lot depends on how many microbes are in the cream. Therefore, always dispense the cream with a spatula, never with your fingers. Do not store the cream exposed to sunlight.

Now you have a simple, finished emulsion cream

Photo Jukka Niittymaa Pxabay

You can use the cream as it is. This simple emulsion cream is suitable for all skin types. It is suitable for children and even babies if you haven’t added any essential oils to it.

This basic cream is suitable for the whole body, including the face and around the eyes. You don’t necessarily need to add any active ingredients to it. By varying and mixing different oil qualities, you can tune the product following your own taste.

If you change the oil to herbal oil, you will also get the active ingredients contained in the herbs. Calendula oil or carrot oil are herbal oils worth trying.

Are you excited to try the cream?  Please share your experience!

4 answers

  1. Hi
    Can you recommend a online shop where I can buy Olivem 1000 emulsifier with good quality?


    1. Hi Natalya!
      Olivem 1000 is a very common product that can be bought in many countries? Which country do you live in?
      Brgds Outi

  2. You need these

    100 gr water
    20 gr sunflower oil
    5 gr Olivem 1000 emulsifier
    25 gr Geogard 221 preservative (or similar)

    Is there a mistake about the Geogard?

    1. Hi Helmut Abele!
      Thank you for your comment!
      I’m sorry for the mistake. I have made a correction to the instructions.
      Regard’s Outi

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