DIY Brightening Mint Ice Cream

Beauty | 3.3.2015 | Katja Kokko


It’s finally time for another DIY recipe. Despite the absence of DIY posts as of late, my little cosmetics lab in Punavuori has been buzzing with activity. Not all of the recipes will feature on the blog, but are in fact part of a project you’ll be hearing about later – newsletter subscribers being among the first to know.

I think a lot of people might be curious about making their own moisturizer, as it’s a bit more complicated than oil mixtures, powder masks, or body scrubs are. And while it’s not rocket-science either, the emulsifier that the recipe calls for can take a bit more than a trip to your local health food store; I suggest shopping online, at Aroma Zone for example – it’s my favorite, and you get a free French lesson while you’re at it.

I wanted to create a potent moisturizer for blemished and dull skin, and I don’t mind patting myself on the back – I did good.


Making DIY cosmetics has made me think about how many functionally unnecessary ingredients cosmetics (even natural ones) contain. All you need for a moisturizer, really, is water/liquid, oil/fat, an emulsifier, and possibly some preservatives. That’s all. And yet the cosmetics industry uses numerous consistency regulators, because consumers like their moisturizers to be smooth and satiny; I myself love technically advanced products, up to a point. Industrial production is different from kitchen chemistry, of course, and has to take into consideration things that us DIYers don’t. It’s not so black-and-white, in other words. But still, making your own moisturizer is incredibly fascinating, and makes you think about what the essential ingredients for authentically beautiful skin actually are. I like being able to combine different types of products – homemade cosmetics and technically advanced cosmetics, made by someone else – in my skin care routines.


There is no purified water in this moisturizer, and the liquids come from floral waters and a bit of glycerin, instead. The oil phase contains organic cold-pressed vegetable oils and an emulsifier. The active ingredients are plant extracts. Essential oils provide potency, aromatherapy, and scent, while vitamin E works as a preservative, in addition to the essential oils themselves. Although essential oils, vitamin E, dark glass, and refrigeration prolong shelf-life, I am planning on purchasing a better preservative, so I can ensure the products last long without attracting harmful microbes.

The emulsifier I’ve used is a natural product called Olivem 1000, and is made from cetearyl olivate and sorbitan olivate. It gave the moisturizer a perfect, light but very hydrating, consistency. The cream gives the skin a lovely finish, which is neither too matte nor too oily. All of this without thickeners or superfluous consistency regulators (though a richer moisturizer would require a thickener). This product doesn’t sit on top of the skin, but gives a perfect base on which to apply your makeup. If I were to create my own skin care range, I would not use a single unnecessary filler, or purified water, in my products. This is why May Lindstrom’s and Tata Harper’s products have endeared themselves to me; they represent authentically effective cosmetics.


The recipe makes approximately 100 ml of moisturizer, but I recommend inviting a few friends over and cooking up a larger batch, as working with larger quantities of the stuff is a lot more fun.

Brightening Mint Ice Cream

Oil Phase

5 ml apricot kernel oil (softens, smoothens, brightens, regulates sebum production, great for oily/combination skin)

10 ml jojoba oil (softens, balances, smoothens, great for oily/combination skin)

3 g Olivem 1000 emulsifier (makes oil and water mix together)

Water Phase

30 ml mint water (hydrates, minimizes pores, regulates sebum production, purifies, prevents infection)

20 ml sage water (hydrates, minimizes pores, regulates sebum production, purifies)

20 ml witch hazel water (hydrates, minimizes pores, regulates sebum production, soothes)

2.5 ml glycerin (hydrates)

Cooling Phase

5 ml willow extract (purifies, brightens, minimizes pores, mildly exfoliating due to salicylic acid)

2 ml AHA-acid (minimizes pores, brightens, exfoliates, purifies, balances the hydrolipidic film)

10 ml cucumber extract (soothes, hydrates, refreshes)

20 drops vitamin E (antioxidant, preservative)

(12 drops preservative for extra preservation)

10 drops peppermint oil (antibacterial, prevents infection, purifies, cools, fresh scent)

5 drops clary sage oil (balances sebum production, purifies, prevents infection)

5 drops rosemary oil (antibacterial, prevents infection, purifies, fresh scent)

1 drop blue tansy oil (soothes infections, blue color from azulene, lovely scent, dye)

1/8 tsp spirulina (a tiny pinch, gives the moisturizer a minty green color)


A small measuring cup

Food scales

Two pans

Two mixing bowls

A thermometer

A milk frother

A small sieve (a tea sieve will do)

A spoon

An airtight jar or pump-bottle of dark glass


  1. Oil phase: place a small bowl in a water bath, measure the oils and the emulsifier into the bowl and heat until the ingredients are mixed and the oil’s temperature is around 167-176°F or 75-80°C. Remove the bowl from the water bath.
  2. Water phase: heat the flower waters and glycerin in a water bath until their temperature is around 167-176°F or 75-80°C.
  3. Slowly pour the oil phase into the water phase in a thin ribbon while stirring the mixture with a spoon. Continue stirring for two minutes with the bowl in the water bath. Stir for another five minutes, using the milk frother.
  4. Remove the bowl from the bath and keep stirring with the frother until the mixture begins to thicken. When the mixture is too thick for the frother, let it cool in room temperature (don’t try to make it cool down faster).
  5. Once the mixture is cool, add extracts, vitamin E, and essential oils. Pour the mixture into a dark glass bottle or jar, and keep refrigerated. The moisturizer will keep for approximately two months.

Happy DIY-ing!


Laboratoire du Haut-Ségala’s cold-pressed vegetable oils and witch hazel water gifted by Natural Goods Company

Photos Katja Kokko

Translation Katja Nikula

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