The list of possible ingredients is virtually endless, but at their most basic level homemade moisturizers consist of water and oils. "All moisturizers -- unless they are strictly oil-based -- contain a single base oil or blend of base oils, such as almond, grapeseed, coconut, olive, jojoba, sunflower, hazelnut, rosehip seed, apricot kernel or sesame," says Tourles. "This is combined with water-based ingredients such as purified water, herbal hydrosols, herbal extracts or aloe vera."
Other add-ons to explore include butters (cocoa, shea, kokum or mango), which provide heavier coverage for very dry skin, and vegetable glycerin, which lightly moisturizes, Tourles says. Beeswax, soybean lecithin or vegetable emulsifying wax can work to bind the cream together, while vitamin E oil, essential oils, grapefruit seed extract and rosemary antioxidant extract can act as natural preservatives, she notes.
Given the plethora of options, your first trip to your local health food store might be overwhelming. To get started, Miles recommends a few dependable basics:
- Jojoba oil, which is easy to find and appropriate for all skin types
- Macadamia nut oil for dry and aging skin
- Sandalwood essential oil for all skin types and as a preservative
- Hazelnut oil to balance the sebum in very dry skin
- Coconut oil, which penetrates quickly and provides a small amount of sun protection
- Vitamin E for its skin-helping benefits and to extend the moisturizer's shelf life
- Rose water or lavender water in addition to or to replace regular water
- Mango butter, shea butter or cocoa butter for ultra-dry skin
- Grapefruit seed extract, which may have some preservative power and also works to maintain or draw in moisture