We were lucky enough to join the first ‘crafting cosmetics in the kitchen’ workshop, hosted by The Cosmetics Chef, at Miele in Joburg. Here, we learned how to make body lotion, shower gel and a deep cleansing face mask. It’s incredible how easy it is to make cosmetics yourself if you have the guidance and a recipe from an expert like Conny Oberrauter, The Cosmetics Chef. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, so you know you’re in good hands!

While we were beavering away in the Miele kitchen, we shot a quick video, to show you how simple it really is to make body lotion. Click play!





25g Beautymulse*
25g Cocoa Butter
5 drops Essential Oil**
1 tsp Preserver*
15g Avocado Oil
15g Shea Butter
170g Water

*The Beautymulse and preserver are both available for purchase on The Cosmetics Chef website. The Beautymulse is an organic emulsifier to help you create more sophisticated cosmetic products and the paraben free preserver helps to ensure that no baddies, like bacteria, grow in your body lotion.

**You can make a bespoke body lotion by choosing your own essential oil. See the separate section below on the benefits of different essential oils and choose the one that’s right for you.



Two glass beakers or other containers that can be heated up. We used two 400ml beakers.
Kitchen scale
Stick blender
Pump bottle or jar for the cream


To Make

Measure and add the Beautymulse, avocado oil, shea butter and cocoa butter together in a glass beaker (or another container that can be heated) and set aside.

Add the water to a separate beaker.

Heat the contents of both beakers to 70-75 degrees C (checking with the thermometer) on a stove top, while stirring.

Then slowly add the “oil” to the water.

Blend the mixture together (we used a stick blender) for about a minute at a low speed. This ensures that the oils are emulsified with the water.

Cool the mixture to 40 degrees C. To speed up the process you can put the beaker in a bowl of cold water.

Add the preserver and the essential oil and stir by hand.

Pour your cream into a reusable pump bottle or jar.



make body lotion

1. Soil Avocado Carrier Oil, R129 BUY

2. Nautica Unrefined Shea Butter, R150 BUY

3. The Cosmetics Chef Preserver (paraben free) 50ml, R30 BUY

4. The Cosmetics Chef Beautymulse 100g, R75 BUY

5. Superfoods Raw Organic Cacao Butter, R189 BUY

6. Soil Lavender Essential Oil 10ml, R85 BUY  Or look at other essential oils here.


make body lotion

1. Duralex Lys Carré Round Stackable Bowl (17cm), R89 BUY

2. Crafty Cultures Glass Thermometer, R156 BUY

3. LASA Stainless Steel Digital Kitchen Food Scale, R170 BUY

4. KitchenCraft Natural Elements Smoky Glass Storage Jar, R85 BUY

5. Mellerware Robot 400 INox Stick Blender, R659 BUY


(RELATED POST: How to make a Detox Mustard Bath Soak)



We spoke to Conny about different essential oils, their benefits and how they are made. We discuss a few below. She has a more complete list in her book, or simply sign up to her newsletter and get an essential oils directory for free!


Benefits of essentials oils

Here are a few of my favourite essential oils. Choose your perfect one when you make body lotion. 

Bergamot – used in the treatment of depression, stress, tension, fear, psoriasis, eczema and general convalescence.

Frankincense – reduces oily skin, rejuvenates mature and aging skin, helps wounds heal.

Grapefruit – improves muscle fatigue and stiffness. Helps stimulate the lymphatic system thereby clearing the body of toxins. Can help clear congested, oily skin and acne. Can promote hair growth in haircare.

Lavender – calms, soothes, balances skin, tones, revitalises and reduces inflammation.

Mandarin – relieves stress, increases circulation and helps treat stretch marks and fluid retention.

Neroli – relaxes and calms the nervous system, regenerates and rejuvenates skin.

Patchouli – helps tissue regenerate which helps stimulate the growth of new skin cells. Promotes wound healing and helps prevent scarring. Heals rough, cracked and dehydrated skin.

Sandalwood – relieves dehydrated skin, moisturises and hydrates (a great one for the boys because it’s less “floral” smelling).


How essential oils are made

Ever wonder why a small bottle of essential oil is so darn expensive? And why they all seem to have different prices?

Conny says that varying amounts of oil is produced by different plants. Generally, the oil is extracted via hydrodistillation (using water and steam) or expression. It also depends on which part of the plant is used e.g. stems, leaves, fruit or flowers.

Flower petals have a very low amount of oil versus the leaves of the plant. If you rub lavender leaves between your hands you soon smell the oil, but you don’t get quite as much scent when you rub rose petals between your hands.

These oils take a massive amount of time and technique to accumulate. Here are a few examples of the inputs for essential oils:

Lavender Oil – 1.5 kg of lavender flowers is required to produce 15ml of oil

Peppermint Oil – 3.9 kg of leaves is required to produce 15ml of oil

Lemon Oil – 50 lemons are required to produce 15ml of oil

Tea Tree Oil– 12.5 kg of leaves is required to produce 15ml of oil

Rose Oil – 50kg of rose petals (more than 30,000 roses!) is required to produce just 5ml of oil.

It’s quite staggering when one looks at these numbers. Essential oils really are a precious essence. Which one is your favourite?


Here’s a great little kit with five oils and oil blends that you can use in different products you make. For more recipes you can buy The Cosmetics Chef book. In this essential oils kit, there are oils that are relaxing, oils that are antiseptic and oils that help with clarity and focus.

Organico Essential Oils Home Kit (five oils), R450 BUY


Conny will be running more workshops in the future, so keep an eye on the Equilibrio and The Cosmetics Chef websites for announcements. Or drop Conny an email at [email protected] to get more information.

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(RELATED POSTS: The Cosmetics Chef – make your own cosmetics also look at The Top 10 Beauty Trends for 2018)

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