Navigation for Summer Nights

Homemade skincare

Sally Hornsey shares recipes for cheap, additive-free skincare

The principles and practice of making homemade skin care products with Sally Hornsey.

Rose and frankincense deep moisture

For the perfect anti-aging cream I have teamed up avocado with evening primrose oil.  I've also included vitamin E so that this cream will help fade age spots, reduce sun damage and scarring. The avocado and evening primrose oils target wrinkles and encourage the growth of new skin. 

The delightfully aromatic blend of frankincense and rose ensure that this moisturising cream hydrates and softens whilst boosting the effectiveness of the skin cell regeneration from the base oils.  This is an absolutely fabulous cream.


  • 15g avocado oil
  • 10g evening primrose oil
  • 1g vitamin E oil
  • 15g emulsifying wax NF
  • 40g rose water
  • 20g spring water
  • 1g preservative
  • 4 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 3 drops rose essential oil


Place the oils and the emulsifying wax in a heatproof jug or bowl and stand the jug / bowl in a pan of simmering water, stirring gently every so often to help the wax melt.

Place the waters and preservative (if using) in a heatproof jug or bowl and stand this in a pan of simmering water too.  You want to heat the waters up, but do not allow them to boil. 

Once the emulsifying wax has melted remove both heatproof containers from the heat.   Pour warmed waters into the oils and stir gently for at least three minutes.

Leave the mixture to stand for one minute and then stir again for one minute.  Repeat this process a few times whilst the mixture cools down. 

If the mixture starts to separate, stir a little more briskly to incorporate the oils and waters.  If this fails and the mixture still separates, put the heatproof container back into the simmering water and stir until the mixture blends together again.  Remove from the heat and stir gently but continuously until the mixture cools down (repeat if the mixture separates again).  If it continues to separate, add another 1 or 2g emulsifying wax and melt the wax into the mixture. 

As the mixture cools, it will become slightly thicker. Add the preservative and drops of essential oil once it has started to thicken and continue mixing to ensure all the ingredients have mixed together.

Place the moisturiser into your container.  Label the container so you can identify the contents.

Directions for use

Scoop a little moisturiser onto your clean fingers and place a little blob of moisturiser on each of your cheek bones, your chin, nose and forehead.  Gently extend the little blobs so that the entire face is covered by gently massaging the cream into your skin.

Shelf life

12 months

Absolute treat facial serum

Once you've used the serum and experienced argan oil, you'll probably find yourself justifying the cost of these ingredients quite happily.  These two ingredients (squalane and argan) deserve to have rose essential oil included with them to make this an absolute treat.


  • 45g olive squalane
  • 5g argan oil
  • 2 drops rose essential oil


Mix the ingredients together and pour into a bottle.  Label so that you can identify the contents.

A pump bottle is ideal as this will help dispense only a small amount of serum at a time.  Serums can also be packaged in bottles that have a dripper or pipette type dispenser to control that amount of serum dispensed.

Directions for use

Due to the different weights of the individual liquids, you may find that there is some separation as the serum is left to stand.  Shake the bottle before use to mix the liquids.

Place a pea sized amount of serum on your hands and dot the serum onto cheek bones, chin, nose and forehead.  Gently massage the serum into the skin.  Apply moisturiser on top of the serum.

Shelf life

18 months

As the serums do not contain any water, they do not require a preservative.

Very gentle cleansing balm

A cleansing balm is an extremely effective and gentle way of removing all traces of grime, dirt and makeup from your face.

If you wish to make this into a slightly more robust exfoliating treatment, then use a muslin cloth to massage the balm into your face - and then again to remove traces of the balm.


  • 15g jojoba oil
  • 20g peach kernel oil
  • 15g shea butter
  • 5g cocoa butter
  • 2g beeswax
  • 15g sucragel
  • 8 drops sandalwood essential oil
  • 4 drops carrot seed essential oil


Place the butters, wax and jojoba and peach kernel oils in a heatproof jug and heat until melted.  Add the sucragel and whisk for two minutes.

Add the essential oils and then whisk again for a further two minutes.  Place the whipped balm into a container and label.

Directions for use

Place a little of the cleansing balm onto your cheeks and massage onto the face.  Use warm water to rinse off.

Shelf life

18 months

Milk and honey face ambrosia

Using a deep cleanse clay face mask will help draw out dirt and grime from the top layers of the epidermis.  Face masks can also help stimulate the blood circulation and nourish your skin with extra vitamins and minerals.

A face mask will also help shed dead skin cells and unblock pores.  This in turn will help your cleansing, toning and moisturising products work more effectively.  A face mask can give you an immediate beauty boost and make your skin look instantly radiant, glowing and healthy. 

Some face masks may also contain ingredients that will help to feed and nourish your skin.   Ingredients that may be added include dairy powders (for softening the skin), fruit powders (for natural fruit acids and vitamins), seaweed (for trace elements and minerals) and oils (for nourishing and maintaining levels of moisture). 

Honey is a natural humectant meaning that it attracts moisture from the air and locks it onto its surface.  This will ensure that your honey mask will be hydrating as well as deep cleansing.  Honey will also soften and nourish your skin.

The essential oils have been selected for their ability to improve collagen formation and skin elasticity and also because they work well with the honey to produce a sweet aromatic ambrosia.


  • 25g white clay
  • 5g milk powder (full fat or semi-skimmed)
  • 5g honey powder or 5g runny honey
  • 30g spring water
  • 0.5g preservative (optional)
  • 3 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 3 drops neroli essential oil
  • 1 drop ylang ylang


Place the water and preservative (if using) into a bowl.  Sprinkle the clay, milk powder and honey powder (runny honey) on to the water and leave to settle.  Do not stir for at least two minutes while the water absorbs some of the powders. 

After two minutes, when you can see that the powders have started to be absorbed into the water, stir gently until thoroughly mixed, stirring and squashing any clumps of powder that may have formed.  Add the essential oils and stir again.

You may find that the consistency of your face mask is too runny and thin, or too thick and stiff.  Each clay absorbs water and the different colour clays have different abilities to absorb.  To adjust the consistency to suit, add more water or more clay a little at a time until you have reached your desired consistency. 

The consistency you are looking for is similar to a glossy butter frosting on a cake - thick enough to stand up and hold its shape, but soft enough to be able to spread across your face easily without dripping off.

Place your face mask in a container or bag and label so that you can identify the contents.

Directions for use

Thoroughly cleanse your face to remove all traces of makeup.  Tie your hair back and away from your face.

Using a brush or very clean fingers, apply a layer of mask onto your face using avoiding the eye area.  Moisturise your lips with a little lip balm before applying the mask around the mouth area as this will help prevent getting the mask on your lips which doesn't taste nice and may dry your lips. 

Leave the mask on until it sets hard.  How long this takes depends on how thick a layer you applied and how moist your face is, but allow 15-20 minutes.

To remove, stretch your mouth open very wide before removing the mask as this will help remove dead skin cells.  Grimace, make on 'O' shape with your mouth, pretend to yawn and generally contort your face into shapes.  Once the mask has loosened a little from the skin either wash off, or gently rub the mask in small circular movements to loosen it further and then wash the traces of mask off.

Always apply a moisturiser after you have used a face mask and drink a glass of water.

Depending on your skin type and the style of face mask you are using, a face mask treatment should be limited to once a week, sometimes less depending on your skin type.  Dry, mature and sensitive skins require a more gentle face mask than combination, normal and problem skins.