Rich in antioxidants and all kinds of fresh and citrussy, this face cream is rather brilliant for summer. It’s got a thick, almost balm-like consistency, but it spreads over the skin beautifully in a thin, fast-absorbing layer that you wouldn’t typically expect from a thicker cream. Thanks to some awesome added goodies like vitamin B3 and green tea extract it helps even out your complexion, reduce redness and sebum production, and reduce irritation as well as delivering a serious hydrating punch. It’s pretty rad, and it smells great to boot.

I’ve included a couple of my favourite skin goodies in the water part of this cream, including one new (to the blog) one. Vegetable glycerin and silk work to keep the skin hydrated, while allantoin helps protect the skin. For something new and wonderful: niacinamide, or vitamin B3. I’ve been using niacinamide on my face for a couple months now, and the difference it makes is astonishing. I find I get fewer blemishes, and when I do they are smaller, and heal faster. Niacinamide is pretty groovy stuff. It also helps reduce trans-dermal water loss (aka keeps your skin hydrated better), reduces sebum protection, shrinks pores, and is basically all around amazing.

Green tea (part 1) of this lotion comes from some green tea botanical extract. Green tea botanical extract is rich in antioxidants, and brings both anti-inflammatory and anti-redness goodness to our face cream (score!). Mine is powdered, but if you have liquid extract, feel free to use that as well. While you could use steeped green tea in place of water instead of using green tea extract, please don’t. Brewed green tea will oxidize and won’t offer most of the benefits we’re trying to get from the green tea after about 8 hours, and using brewed green tea creates a concoction that is extremely difficult to properly preserve, especially in our less-than-sterile home kitchens. So, basically, you’re not getting the benefits of including tea, and you’re creating a concoction that is going to be a delicious bacterial buffet.

The oil blend is a balanced mix of silky, light camellia seed oil, and richly hydrating shea butter. Camellia seed oil is doubly appropriate for this recipe as its pressed from the seeds of the tea plant, making this 2x the green tea lotion. Neat, no? If you don’t have camellia seed oil I’d recommend replacing it with another fast-absorbing carrier oil like grapeseed, hazelnut, or apricot kernel. Thanks to the light liquid carrier oil we can include some rich shea butter without worrying about it being too heavy, but if you want an even lighter cream, feel free to use mango butter instead of shea.

In continuation of the green tea theme, the essential oil blend stars tea-like palmarosa and citrussy litsea cubeba. A hint of sweet geranium and spicy frankincense round it out. I really love how this blend turned out; the tea and fruit really come through, but there’s something deeper going on that makes this cream smell rather high-end and quite special.

Green Tea Face Cream

72g | 2.54oz distilled water
5g | 0.18oz niacinamide (USA | Canada)
2g | 0.07oz vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
2g | 0.07oz hydrolyzed silk (USA / Canada) (wondering about substitutions?)
1g | 0.03oz allantoin (USA / Canada)

10g | 0.35oz camellia seed oil
5g | 0.18oz unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5g | 0.18oz BTMS-50 or Emulsifying Wax NF (USA / Canada / AU)
3g | 0.1oz cetyl alcohol (USA / Canada)

5 drops palmarosa essential oil
5 drops litsea cubeba essential oil
2 drops geranium essential oil
2 drops frankincense essential oil

1g |0.03oz green tea extract (USA / Canada)
1g |0.03oz panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 0.017oz Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 0.017oz Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada) (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at recommended usage rate [why?])

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.

Weigh the water, niacinamide, allantoin, glycerin, and silk into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Cover that measuring cup with some foil, and place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through. Weigh the camellia seed oil, shea butter, cetyl alcohol, and BTMS-50 into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup and place that measuring cup in the water bath as well.

Heat both parts through for twenty minutes; this ensures the oil part is thoroughly melted, and helps the niacinamide, allantoin, and silk fully dissolve in the water part.

After twenty minutes, pour the water part into the oil part. Remove the measuring cup with the two parts from the water bath and set it on a dishtowel to insulate it from the counter top. Using an immersion blender (or a high powered buzzy milk frother—mine does 15,000 RPM), blend the solution together, in bursts to prevent the lotion from leaping out of the measuring cup. After a minute or two of blending, leave it to cool for ten minutes before returning to blend it some more.

Do that a few more times until the cream is only a bit warmer than room temperature, and then stir in the green tea extract, vitamin E, panthenol, liquid germall plus, and essential oils by hand. Transfer the cream into a 120mL/4oz plastic pump-top bottle or jar (I used this one).

To use, smooth a small amount of green tea face cream over just-washed skin. Enjoy!

This lotion has a pH of approximately 5.5 (using pH strips, hence the “approximately”!)

Shelf Life & Storage

Because this cream contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.

I do not recommend scaling this recipe up as 100g is quite a lot of face cream! After three weeks of 2–3x daily use I’ve barely made a dent in mine.