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How to Make Your Own CBD Topicals (An Essential Guide)

woman applying homemade hand cream

CBD can provide numerous benefits and is available for consumption in many forms, such as smoking or vaping, edibles, or topicals.

CBD topicals such as salves, lotions, and creams are an easy solution to treat pain, inflammation, and hypersensitivity, they have numerous benefits for facial care, and you can even make your own!

This article will give you all the information you need to make several different types of these topicals at home.

CBD Lotion

There are multiple ways to make CBD lotions, however, the key ingredient is water, which makes up 75% of the solution. This makes CBD lotions some of the easiest topicals to absorb into the skin and an excellent option for those who do not suffer from dry skin and wish to have a less greasy finish.

A CBD lotion generally requires four main ingredients: water, CBD oil, an oil base, and an emulsifying agent.

The type of oil and emulsifying agent you use will have an effect on the end product.

Lightweight oils have a smaller molecular structure than their heavier counterparts and absorb more readily into the skin rather than sitting on top.

A heavier base such as coconut oil will result in a heavier lotion. Likewise, using a lighter oil such as sunflower or almond oil will result in a lighter lotion.

The most easily accessible and effective at-home emulsifying agent is wax. This can include beeswax, candelilla wax, or rice bran wax. Other possible emulsifiers are honey, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, gelatin, salt, or baking soda.

This recipe uses beeswax. If using a different agent, you may want to experiment with different amounts in order to perfect the recipe.

You can also add essential oils of choice to your lotion for a pleasant aroma or other benefits.



  • ¼ cup oil base of your choosing
  • Up to ¾ cup of water
  • ¾ oz of beeswax (emulsifier)
  • 1 fl oz (30ml) CBD oil (this can be adjusted for the strength of lotion you desire— however, you may wish to adjust the amount of oil base added accordingly to ensure a balanced product)
  • 1-3 drops of essential oil (optional)



  1. Slowly melt the beeswax into your oil base on the stovetop, mixing well using a bain-marie, double boiler, or substitute using a food-grade metal or glass bowl placed over a pot of water.
  2. Add CBD oil and stir.
  3. Remove from heat. If using an essential oil, stir in now.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool moderately and, stirring continuously, add the water bit by bit until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Store the lotion in a container with a sealable lid and apply to skin as necessary.

This recipe details how to make lotion with ready-made CBD oil. However, it is possible to make it with hemp flower. To achieve this, either make your own CBD oil and add it to the recipe as you would the pre-made or decarboxylate the flower and add it in place of the CBD oil.

To decarboxylate the flower, you will need to pull apart your flower, using your hands or a grinder, and bake it on a baking sheet at 220 degrees Fahrenheit (104℃) for 30 minutes.

If using your own oil or flower, you may need to cook your lotion for longer (30-40 minutes) before removing from the heat.

CBD Cream

CBD cream uses the exact same ingredients and recipe as CBD lotion. However, the ratio of the oil base and water are added at an adjusted ratio in order to create a different texture for the topical.

This is a more suitable product if you suffer from dry skin, as the higher oil ratio provides a more moisturizing effect than lotion.

See the above recipe and adjust the ingredients as follows:

  • ¾ cup oil base of your choosing
  • ¼ cup of water
  • ¾ oz of beeswax (emulsifier)
  • 1 fl oz (30ml) CBD oil (this can be adjusted for the strength of lotion you desire, however you may wish to adjust the amount of oil base added accordingly to ensure a balanced product)
  • 1-3 drops of essential oil (optional)

CBD Salve

A salve is the easiest type of CBD topical to make as it completely negates water and has only three ingredients. This results in a topical that is much thicker and sometimes greasier than the previously listed options and is, therefore, more appropriate for smaller areas rather than applying extensively. All options for the types of oil and emulsifiers discussed earlier can be used for the salve. This recipe uses coconut oil, and you can also use decarboxylated hemp flower or homemade CBD-infused oil in this recipe to achieve the same effect.

Salve ingredients:

  • 1 cup oil base (coconut oil or likewise)
  • 1 oz wax emulsifier
  • 1 fl oz (30ml) CBD oil (pre-made or homemade)
  • 1-3 drops Essential Oil (optional)

The salve uses the same recipe as the other two topicals but leaves out step 4 as no water is required. It is important to note that your salve will get very thick as it cools, so transferring it to your desired sealable container before it sets is essential.

Other ingredients can be added to these topical lotions in order to provide more benefits. For instance, if you were to add frozen berries—such as raspberries—to your beeswax and oil as you melt it, you could create a tinted lip balm. On a similar note, adding a teaspoon of honey, vanilla, cocoa powder, or another natural flavoring to the balm will result in flavored lip balm.

There is promising research into CBD as a relief for arthritis. One way to accentuate this effect is to add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to your balm for a warming effect. However, be cautious not to get this near your eyes.

All of these products should last up to a year and should be stored in a cool and dark place in order to prevent sunlight from breaking down the cannabinoids present in the product.