Formulated with natural, non-toxic ingredients and infused with essential oils, this natural homemade hand cream moisturises and revitalizes tough, dried out hands. The non-greasy DIY hand lotion absorbs quickly and locks moisture in the skin, making your hands feel silky smooth and healthy.
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An easy homemade hand cream recipe for all skin types
My friend Katy is a nurse and always keeps asking about a DIY hand cream for nurses and the best lotion for frequently washed hands. This easy homemade hand cream is lightweight, absorbent and not greasy. You can apply the DIY hand cream often throughout the day. I always carry a small container my purse and use a little whenever my hands feel dry.
This DIY beauty recipe includes free printable labels that you can download at the end of the post.
What does a hand cream do?
What are the benefits of hand cream? We use our hands every day to perform countless tasks, and our hands are regularly exposed to water, sun, and other environmental influences. Soap and detergents dry out the skin further. Dryness can lead to inflamed, bleeding skin, cracked fingers and knuckles.
A hand lotion is essential for healthy hands. Apply hand cream helps to:
- nourish and moisture the hands
- restore the skin’s natural lipid levels
- treat dry hands by providing hydration
- improve skin health
What ingredients do I need to make DIY organic hand cream at home?
I believe that it’s important to know the ingredients used to formulate homemade skincare products from scratch and learn how they work. The recipe is easy to prepare and only made with natural ingredients, free of synthetic fragrances and preservatives. To ensure this DIY hand lotion is non-greasy, I only chose materials that are absorbed quickly into the skin.
As a natural humectant, beeswax attracts and retains water from the air into the upper layer of the skin. Not only provides beeswax with a long-lasting moisturizing effect, but it also helps to make homemade lotion less greasy.
As a side note, I used white beeswax in this recipe. Yellow golden wax works just as fine, the hand cream will only look more cream-coloured rather than white.
To make homemade hand cream without beeswax, use the same amount of candelilla wax instead. This plant-based wax is a vegan alternative for beeswax and perfect to make DIY vegan lotion.
Jojoba oil, a liquid wax very similar to human sebum, creates a lipid film on the skin and locks moisture, making your hands soft and supple. Hypoallergenic jojoba oil fights the signs of skin ageing and has excellent anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
For hand cream with coconut oil, substitute jojoba oil with an equal amount of fractionated coconut oil.
Non-oily babassu oil is mostly made up of saturated fatty acids and gives this organic hand moisturizer strong hydrating properties. The babassu oil I used was liquid, but the hand lotion recipe can also be prepared with oil that is solid at room temperature.
Homemade hand cream with olive oil can be made by switching babassu oil for olive oil.
Mango butter has regenerating, healing and lipid-replenishing qualities. Mango butter softens the skin and gives the hand lotion a creamy and smooth texture.
To make hand cream with shea butter, simply replace the mango butter in this recipe with shea butter.
I love making homemade hand lotion with glycerin. Vegetable glycerin, an essential ingredients for any hand repair cream DIY, can draw and lock moisture from the air and helps to keep that moisture in the skin. It mimics the skin’s natural moisturizing factor and makes your hands feel soft and smooth.
This homemade hand cream recipe is made with water, and a preservative has to be used to avoid the growth of mould and bacteria. Optiphen Plus is a liquid, natural and paraben-free preservative and guarantees that our homemade hand cream is perfectly safe.
What are the best essential oils for hands?
Essential oils can further boost the skincare effects of this easy homemade hand cream recipe. I use essential oils in nearly all of my natural DIY skincare recipes. EOs can tackle many skin issues and are excellent additions to homemade organic skincare products.
The best essential oils for hands
Here are five of the best essential oils for hand cream:
German chamomile essential oil
Gentle German chamomile is a wonderful essential oil for skin repair and to stimulate the production of collagen. German chamomile is very soothing, anti-inflammatory and can penetrate the deeper levels of the skin to provide healing.
If you’re suffering from eczema or very irritated, itchy skin, make the hand cream solely with chamomile essential oil.
Sweet orange essential oil
I admit that I added sweet orange essential oil because I love the fresh citrus smell it gives the hand cream. Aside from its energizing fragrance, orange oil is also a powerful anti-oxidant, known to improve the appearance of the skin, have toning qualities and relieve inflammation.
Frankincense essential oil
If you want to keep your hands young and free from the signs of ageing, hydrating frankincense essential oil is a must. This EO is packed with fatty acids that nourish the skin and anti-oxidants that fight free radicals and protect the collagen and elastin cells.
Rosemary essential oil
Rosemary essential oil’s pain-relieving properties can help to soothe dry hands, cracked knuckles and joint pain. It may also increase circulation and provide your skin with important trace elements and vitamins.
Safety note: Rosemary oil contains camphor, which is perfectly safe for adults. But I recommend to omit it if you plan to use this hand cream for kids under 7.
Carrot seed essential oil
Carrot seed essential oil strengthens the skin’s elasticity and helps to rejuvenate the cells. The carotenoids in this moisture-rich oil are said to lighten dark spots and protect against the damage of photoaging and sun exposure.
Other essentials oils
Other essential oils that can help to care for the skin of your hands are and lavender (hydrating, anti-inflammatory), tea tree (antiseptic, antibacterial), and blue tansy (pain relief, wound healing).
Unscented hand cream
In case you prefer an unscented hand cream without essential oils, it’s completely fine to prepare the hand cream recipe without essential oils. The oils and glycerin are enough to give your hands plenty of hydration.
How do you make homemade hand cream at home?
Are you ready to whip up a batch of chemical-free hand cream for dry hands? Here are my best tips to make on how to make natural homemade hand cream from scratch:
Use a laser thermometer
The hand cream consists of an oil phase and a water phase, and both phases should have the same temperature when they are combined. A laser thermometer is very coinvent to take the temperature.
Prepare the oil phase
To avoid destroying any nutrients, melt the ingredients in a low heat water bath. To set up a water bath, fill a pot one-third with water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and place a heat-proof bowl on top of the pot.
You can use both a stainless-steel or glass bowl. The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Use oven gloves or a kitchen towel when handling the bowl as it can become quite hot.
Make the water phase and preserve the hand cream
To make the water phase, bring water to a rolling boil. You can use tap water in this recipe, distilled water can also be used but isn’t necessary. Measure 1/4 cup / 60 ml of the boiling water and let cool to 113°F / 45°C. Then add the Optiphen Plus.
Whipped DIY hand moisturizer
Whipping is necessary to combine the oil and water phases, and I like to use a handheld immersion blender with a balloon whisk for this task. Slowly pour the warm water to the warm oils while mixing on the lowest setting.
Chill the mixture
After mixing for 1 to 2 minutes, the mixture will begin to look opaque. Now it’s time to put the hand cream into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, just so the oils can start to solidify.
Beat the hand cream fluffy
After 10 minutes, add the essential oils and continue to whip the mixture at the highest speed for 10 minutes. The hand cream should look white and fluffy and feel soft and creamy.
How do you apply hand cream?
To moisturize your hands, apply a small amount of cream on the back of your hand. Use the backs of both hands to spread the cream. Rub all over your hands in large circular motions. Get between your fingers and on your nails and knuckles. Massage until no hand cream remains.
Instead of using your fingertips, it’s more hygienic to use a small spatula or wooden craft stick to take out cream from the jar.
I also recommend to follow up with this DIY cuticle and nail oil.
Storage and shelf life of homemade hand cream
You can store the homemade hand cream at room temperature for up to 3 months. It’s best to keep the hand cream away from direct sunlight, heat and moisture.
The best hand creams to buy
Are you short on time and need to know: What is the best hand cream? While I try to make most of my skincare products at home, I use hand cream so frequently that I can’t always go down the DIY route and simply buy hand cream. Here are my favourite hand lotions and hand repair creams:
- L’Occitane Lavender Hand Cream
- Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
- Burt’s Bee Ultimate Care Hand Cream
- O’KeeffeS Working Hands Hand Cream
- Salcoll Collagen Anti-Aging Hypoallergenic Hand Cream
Thanks for the recipe! I had problems with the oil mixture & water separating after freezing when I started to whisk it again in step 6. Is there something I did wrong?
Hi Alison! I’m sorry you have an issue. The oil and water phases separating indicates that they weren’t properly combined before freezing. However, there is a way you can still salvage the batch you made. This is what you do:
1) Add the separated hand cream into a heat-resistant container and warm in a water bath until everything is melted. The oil and water phase will completely split, which is fine.
2) Once everything is liquid, take the mixture out of the water bath and mix with a blende or milk frother for at least 5 to 10 minutes to form an emulsion.
3) Then freeze for a few minutes and whip again.
I hope this helps and please let me know in case you have any follow-up questions!
Hi, I was looking at making the hand cream. I thought that with a preservative the cream would last longer than a 3 month shelf life.
Hi Tracy! With a preservative, the hand cream will be good for 3 to 4 months. The shelf life might be even longer but without testing in a lab, it’s impossible to say how long. You can, of course, continue using your hand cream after the 4-month mark as long as you don’t notice a change in smell or texture. I hope this helps and happy making!
Hi, I really appreciate your recipe. Please can someone make this and sell to friends and family. And how many months can this keep for.
Thank you! The shelf life is 3 month. I suppose you can sell it to your friends and family. Happy making!
Love this! What would a suitable alternative be to the babassu oil and optiphen plus? (Hard to get where I live)
Thank you so much, Clair! You can sub the babassu oil 1 to 1 for for mango butter, cupuacu butter, acai butter, shea butter, and coconut oil. If using coconut oil the hand cream will be a little oilier but effective nonetheless.
Leucidal Liquid is a good alternative for Optiphen Plus and I believe it more widely available. Leucidal SF or Leucidal Complete are also options.
I hope this helps and happy making!
Can I use vitamin E instead of Optiphen Plus? If yes, what cantity should I add to this quantity of cream?
Thank you for your answer
Hi Elena! Unfortunately, you can’t swap Optiphen Plus with vitamin E. The hand cream contains water so we have to add a preservative (Optiphen Plus) as the product might spoil without it. If you have vitamin E, feel free to add up to 50 drops. It will make the hand cream even better. Happy making and please let me know in case you have another question!
would love to download your labels
Hi, Julie. You can download the label here.
Wow, I love the texture of this DIY hand cream. It looks so light and fluffy! Such a lovely combination of oils and butters, too. I love jojoba and babassu, but I definitely need to add mango butter to my list.
Many thanks, Kyla! I wanted a cream that feels nourishing and lightweight at the same time. I have been using mango butter for a while and love the soft texture it gives to lotions and creams.
I can’t wait to try this! I love the EO blend that you used.
Thanks so much, Cari!
Hi I can’t seem to find the labels to download?
Hi Karen, sorry about that. You can download the label here.
Can I use emulsifying wax instead of bees wax?
Hi Tena. Yes, you can. Emulsifying wax will work even better than beeswax.
Great recipe. I love the eo blend you chose. Can’t wait to try it.
Thank you, Rebecca! This blend also smells wonderful.
Gurrrrl, finally!!! Thanks for posting the recipe, my hands need this – desperately. Please tell me you still have a jar left lol.
Can I use myrrh instead of frankincense? I think we talked about about it before, but I’m not sure. xx
I’m glad you like the recipe. You can use myrrh essential oil, but you should avoid direct sunlight because myrrh can be slightly photo-toxic. xx