E45 Cream Substitute

E45 Cream Substitute 

While I mostly use my own skincare products, I’m not above trying some of the traditional bestsellers on the market (for research purposes of course, wink wink). Having very dry skin, I find E45 cream to be incredibly effective. 

While E45 cream is primarily composed of petroleum derivatives, there is no doubt that it does work exceptionally well. Funnily enough, it only works because it seals and protects the skin barrier well, not because of any fancy active ingredient. Petroleum is without doubt a great skin emollient despite its rather icky origins; and protecting the skin barrier and preventing transepidermal water loss is the key to treating dry skin and eczema.

I set myself the task of creating a natural version of E45 cream and this led me down quite the rabbit hole in my lab.

At first I was dead set on creating a vegan dupe. I work almost exclusively with vegan ingredients so of course I set to work with what I had on hand. A week, countless trials and a whole bunch of ingredients later, I still wasn’t able to achieve the perfect natural E45 cream dupe. I had the consistency and texture down, and the skin feel was nearly there except for an annoying draginess from thickeners which I couldn’t seem to get rid of without losing the consistency.

Finally I gave in and decided to rather make a non-vegan version using lanolin. Lanolin is the grease found on sheep’s wool and is a by-product of the wool industry, and it is the closest natural alternative to petroleum/vaseline. It has incredible moisturising and barrier-protecting qualities and is commonly found in creams for eczema and dry skin. Coming from sheep’s wool it’s just unfortunately not vegan, so if you are vegan then please skip the rest of this blog.

The lanolin was a game changer. It worked very well in place of the petroleum, and I’m pretty pleased with the final product. I’ve been trialing it out for the past 10 days and it has definitely made a difference for my dry skin. This new moisturiser will be my new go-to for the winter months.

I included some protective Vitamin E and bisabolol in the formula, but free free to substitute for other nice ingredients such as Co enzyme Q10, Vitamin A, or other oils. You could also add in some water based ingredients, just take from the water amount to make room for them in the formula.

Lanolin-based E45 Cream Dupe

Heated oil phase 1

3%  Emulsifier HP30

5%  cetearyl alcohol

22%  oil

1%  Vit E

Oil phase 2

7.5%  lanolin

Heated water phase

60% water, heated

Cool down phase

0.5%  bisabolol

1%  Geogard 221


Stick blender



pH strips or digital pH meter

In one beaker, measure out the heated oil phase 1 ingredients and melt through. Remove from the heat and stir in the lanolin.

Make sure the oil phase and water phase are at similar temperatures (around 75 degrees), then add the oil phase into the water phase and homogenise with a stick/soup blender for a minute or two until the emulsion has formed. Stir by hand until it cools down below 40 degrees, then add the cool down phase ingredients and stir well to incorporate.

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Hi Noluthando, there is oil in it already. You can try substitute some of the oil for shea butter and maybe reduce the cetearyl alcohol a bit


Hi , I will definetly try this. Would it be possible to add an oil/butter into this? I was thinking Shea butter


Yes i can try that the next time i make it. Thank you very much.


Hi Ruanda, I’m glad you liked it :)
The only way to reduce the soaping is to use esters or more silicones in place of the oil amount


Hallo Juliette. I made your E45 cream and it came out great! I just have one problem when i applied it. There is a lot of soaping. I used about 2% Cyclomethicone but it’s still there. Any advice on that please?