heads up!

DIY Natural Facial Cleanser

Making your own natural skincare products is easier than you think. My name is Gemma, founder of natural skincare brand Cocotu Apothecary, and over the coming months I will be sharing a series of step by step guides on how to make my most effective recipes that will leave your skin glowing and treat all your senses.

First up is a tried and tested recipe for a simple honey cleanser that you can personalise to your skin type using my essential oil guide.

Purifying Honey Cleanser


a small bowl (here I’ve used a teacup)

a spoon to stir

a jar or bottle to store your cleanser in (preferably glass)


• 1 part* honey

• 1 part* vegetable glycerine

• 1 part* base oil (choose best oil for your skin type from the list below)

• 3-5 drops of essential oil (choose best oil for your skin type from the list below)

(*for a small quantity that will stay fresh I recommend approx. 20 grams of each ingredient, depending on the size of your jar)


Step one: Mix together the honey and vegetable glycerine thoroughly in a small bowl or container.

Step two: Add the base oil and stir in well. Choose your base oil from the following;

oily skin: sunflower, grapeseed oil or hazelnut oil

dry or mature skin: avocado, argan oil or macadamia nut oil

sensitive, normal or combination skin: sweet almond oil

Step three: Add 3-5 drops of essential oil. Either keep it simple with one essential oil, or mix two or even three together (no more than three!) to create the perfect blend for your skin. Keep smelling and add a few more drops if you like a stronger scent, but go slowly. Choose scents that please you and that match your skin. The following guide will help you choose the best essential oils for your skin;

oily skin: tea tree, ylang yang, neroli, bergamot

dry or mature skin: frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood, rose

normal or combination skin: geranium, ylang yang, neroli

sensitive or troubled skin: lavender, geranium, chamomile, frankincense

Step four: to use, rub onto damp skin with fingertips and ideally wash off with a cotton wash cloth that has been held under hot water and wrung out. The steam from the cloth will help draw out impurities. Use every evening. Can be used in the mornings too if you have oily skin.

So there you have it! A simple, purifying daily cleanser made from simple, affordable ingredients brought to life with essential oils. Your cleanser will keep for many weeks, as long as you are careful not to contaminate it with water. I recommend using a spoon to scoop out your cleanser, and make it in small batches.

​​About Cocotu:

My journey into natural skincare began when I became a mother at the age of 20, back in 1995. Almost as soon as she was born, I was encouraged to use Baby Oil on my daughter, which is made from a petroleum based mineral oil. I definitely did not want to put a petrol derivative on my baby’s skin, but found it surprisingly hard to find products that were truly 100% natural. So I began making products myself, using only raw, natural ingredients such as sweet almond oil, coconut oil and beeswax. Two more children later, and with my interest in natural wellbeing growing, I decided to train as an aromatherapist to learn more about the power of essential oils to heal the skin and balance the mind.

I continued making products from my kitchen, but with demand growing it was time to take my hobby to the next level. I started my skincare range Cocotu Apothecary in 2012. Production hasn't changed, I make everything by hand in small fresh batches from my Berlin studio. I use no preservatives, emulsifiers, colourings or synthetic perfumes and I do not bulk my products out with water. With Cocotu all you get are products which have 7 or less natural ingredients, each carefully chosen for their powerful impact on your skin.

I love to share my knowledge with others, and so running workshops has been a natural progression. I teach simple recipes for DIY skin care and provide lots of information on ingredients and their benefits. The workshops also allow me to guide my clients through the process of making products that are perfectly in tune with their skin.


Upcoming Skincare Workshops and Events

Natural Skincare Routine Workshop

Want to learn how to make a simple and personalised 4 step skincare routine using natural

ingredients? Join me for a two hour workshop packed with information and skills. Make and take home 4 products that cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturise your skin.

Tuesday 1st November, 7-9pm

Studio Cocotu, Habsburgerstrasse 7, 10781 Berlin

Winter Lips and Hands Workshop

Do you suffer from dry, chapped lips and hands during the harsh Berlin winter? Come along to this two hour ‘make and take’ workshop where you will learn to make a lip scrub, lip mask and deeply moisturising lip balm along with a healing balm for dry chapped hands.

Thursday 17th November, 7-9pm

Studio Cocotu, Habsburgerstrasse 7, 10781 Berlin

Christmas sale with drinks and free mini facial!

The perfect opportunity to do some Christmas shopping without all the stress! Come and try, smell and ask questions about the Cocotu range, have a glass of wine and enjoy a free mini facial!* Find a section of xmas gifts to suit every budget.

Thursday 1st December, 7-9pm

Studio Cocotu, Habsburgerstrasse 7, 10781 Berlin

*Numbers for the free facial are limited so come early to secure your beauty treat!

Natural Christmas Gift Making Workshop

Hand made christmas gifts are always special and memorable. Learn to make 100% natural bath melts, bath salts, message oil and scented soy candle. Have fun experimenting with ways to package and label your products.

Thursday 8th December, 7-9pm

Studio Cocotu, Habsburgerstrasse 7, 10781 Berlin

text and photos: Gemma Hannah, Cocotu