January 13, 2021 4 min read

Quick Guide To Working With Bases

At Essentially Natural, one of our most popular ranges of products are the ready to use bases. We have face wash base, shampoo and conditioner bases, cream and lotion bases, castile soap bases and others. The beauty of bases is that they are already made up and all you have to do is customise them for your needs (or you can use them plain if you prefer). Please note that the bases are not concentrates to be diluted; they are simply bases which can hold other ingredients and be customised.

Customising bases is a wonderfully easy introduction to DIY-ing and formulating without getting too technical for those who find making a product from scratch a bit daunting! Let’s get started.

How Much Extra Ingredients Can I Add?

The rule of thumb when adding in extra ingredients to the bases is to not exceed 10% of the amount of base, or it may destabilise. So if you have 100ml of base then you can add up to 10ml of extras, for example. You are free to distribute this 10% amongst all the ingredients you choose.

What Extra Ingredients Can Be Added To The Bases?

You can make uniquely customised products by adding in any number of extra ingredients of your choice (keeping to the 10% rule of course) to the bases. Here are some popular additions:

Essential oils - pick your favourite scent!

Carrier oils - make your product more nourishing and moisturising by adding in some extra carrier oil.

Water based liquid -hydrosolsaloe vera gel, or a botanical infusion.

Exfoliants - turn your plain body wash into an exfoliating body wash.

Add in actives. These can really give your base some X-factor. Try adding ingredients such as Vitamin E oil for an extra nourishing body lotion; panthenolwheat protein and keratin for a rich hair shampoo or conditioner; hyaluronic acid or Coenzyme Q10 for a high end facial product; the list goes on.

Colourants - add a touch of colour.

Disinfectants - you can even make a sanitising hand wash by adding in some alcohol to your castile soap. 

Others: lanolin to make a rich barrier cream; activated charcoal face wash or body wash; clays to cleanse.

How To Incorporate The Extras Into The Base

It’s easy, just stir them right in! Measure out your extra ingredients and use a spoon or whisk to lightly but fully incorporate everything into the base. If you are adding a butter you will need to melt it first before stirring in.

Do You Need To Add Extra Preservative?

The bases already contain a preservative but if you are adding in additional water based substances, eg. aloe vera gel or hydrosol, then you will need to add extra preservative to make up for this and keep the formula balanced. Add in 1% preservative of the new total volume of base + extras. So if you have 100ml base + 10ml extras, then use 1% of 110ml = 1.1ml preservative.

If you are only adding anhydrous ingredients then adding in extra preservative is not necessary.

How Will The Addition Of Extras Affect The Base?

Performance and aesthetics-wise, extra ingredients will only enhance the base. However do keep in mind that adding any liquid substances will probably make the base a little more ‘runny’. 10% isn’t too much, but castile soap for instance is already a liquid soap so adding any more liquid may make it quite runny. Viscosity does not affect the efficacy however - your soap will still function just fine at its job.

Part 2: Fun Things You Can Make

While you can obviously use the bases as their original function intended, did you know you can also use them to make other products? Here are some fun DIY hacks using the bases.

Ultra Moisturising Body Wash 

If you don’t want to formulate a body wash from scratch but you also want to do something different, then this is for you: the easiest DIY body wash that is ultra moisturising because it's made from body lotion! I’ve been using this in the shower for the past few months and my skin is loving it. It’s like a cleanser and moisturiser 2-in1. 

50% cream or lotion base

50% lauryl glucoside

1% Geogard 221

Extras: apricot kernel scrubessential oils, etc

Simply blend all ingredients together and then decant into a pump bottle.

Face Mask 

A variety of wonderful face masks can be made by blending the cream/lotion bases with clay. You can make these masks as simple or as fancy as you like, to achieve different results. Here is an example of an exfoliating and brightening mask with vitamin C and other great extras.

100g cream or lotion base

15g green clay

50g kaolin clay

1g papaya extract -learn how to make it here

8g  ascorbic acid vitamin C powder

2g Vitamin E oil

1g D-Panthenol (Vitamin B5)

6g glycerine or glycerite of choice

A few drops grapefruit essential oil

Mix everything together and store in a well sealed jar. To use, paint it over your face, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Leave on for about 7 minutes then rinse off and apply moisturiser.

Hair Mask

You can also make a great hair mask or hair creme by using the cream base and adding in extra conditioning ingredients.

100g cream or lotion base

5g  mango butter

Optional but nice to include, otherwise use what you have on hand: 1g keratin, 1g marine collagen, 1g panthenol

Rosemary essential oil or other essential oil of your choice

Optional: you can also add in some horsetail or marshmallow extract if you have (learn how to make them here)

Melt the mango butter before gently whisking it into the cream. Add in all the other ingredients, combining well. To use, coat and comb through damp hair and leave in for 30 minutes, up to overnight.

Happy making!

6 Responses


July 26, 2021

Hi Zaitoon, welcome to the fun world of DIY! Yes, you can use as is, or customise it by adding in some extras such as oils, essential oils etc


July 26, 2021

Hi Cornelia, you can try adding a little more than 10%. Experiment and see how it turns out! :)

Zaitoon Ebrahim
Zaitoon Ebrahim

July 26, 2021

If I wanted to use one of your premixed base as face cream instead of a mask, do I just add an essential oil and carrier oil? Very new to this
Would like to start making my own face cream


July 26, 2021

I understand the rule of thumb is add 10 % to base… i have a question, if i use your cream base with beeswax, what is potentially the max amount of shea and or mango buttter that i can add? Is it still 10 % or am i able to safely add more due to the fact that it comes premixed with beeswax? I am looking to stretch my body and face butter blend with your base…
Any advice please?


January 29, 2021

Hi Nadia, ah no I’m so sorry to hear that it went off. This usually only happens if there isn’t enough preservative used. How much Geogard did you use?


January 29, 2021

Please help. I made an exfoliating face wash using your base wash with a 10% combination of rosehip wax, rosehip oil, aloe vera gel and geogard. My batch started rotting after a month. I’m wondering if it is the rosehip wax that caused this. I really thought this was a brilliant recipe at first and would like to correct it somehow.

Will appreciate your advice.

Thank you

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.