Are your hands dry, cracked and in need of replenishment? If so, I’ve got an easy (but oh so creamy) DIY hand lotion for you! This recipe is an actual lotion-it contains water-based ingredients that emulsify with carrier oils. The finished product is a light and creamy hand lotion that will nourish and relieve whatever ails your hands! This recipe keeps it simple yet is effective and will quench cracked, dry hands, naturally. Read on for my super easy hand lotion recipe!
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Using all natural ingredients, my DIY hand cream recipe is actually pretty easy to make and you’ll love the creamy consistency of the final product. It contains olive oil because it is so nourishing for the skin not to mention you probably have some in your cabinet as we speak! I added Vitamin E oil for added nourishment and even a bit of anti aging! Emulsifying wax is a must so that the water and oils will mix into a cream.
Is Making Lotion Right For You?
DIY lotions are one of my favorite things to do. Sure, body butter and lotion bars are great and quite a bit easier but they just don’t have the excitement a homemade lotion does. There’s just something about creating a light, fluffy cream.
I will tell you this, if you don’t have the DIY skincare bug-meaning, you don’t get excited about creating fresh, new, natural products with your own hands in your own kitchen, then stick to a basic DIY lip balm recipe.
You can use this simple balm recipe to relieve dry skin on your face, hands, feet and everywhere else in between! It’s easy to make and requires only 2 ingredients, a carrier oil and a small amount of beeswax. You can even wash your face with it and smooth it on and leave it for 15 minutes for a super moisturizing mask!
BUT-if you are like me and get giddy creating skincare, then you’ve got to venture into the world of lotion making! While it’s not my most used DIY product, it is my most loved!
Related Post: Get my favorite diy body cream recipe!
I’ve done A LOT of experimenting and wasted A LOT of good product. I’ve tried so many other blog’s recipes and even brushed up on my chemistry (my worst subject) just to get the perfect consistency that will work for the hands.
I had originally posted this same DIY hand lotion recipe but with way more emulsifying wax. I have since done research on emulsifying wax and there was just way too much in the previous recipe. Emulsifying wax has very little benefit for the skin. It mainly binds water and oil. So, I would rather use as little as possible to still get the binding action.
This DIY hand lotion is very nourishing for the hands. Olive oil is very moisturizing, and contains vitamin A and antioxidants. Lavender soothes, heals and moisturizes while being antiviral and antibacterial. Vitamin E is optional but it is very nourishing as well as a natural preservative. Feel free to mix different essential oils into your cream! I add lavender to mine because I love the smell of olive oil mixed with lavender-simply heaven!
More Creamy Lotion Recipes:
- Almond Cocoa Body Lotion
- Rosehip Cypress Facial Cream
- Firming Eye Cream
- Hyaluronic Acid Anti Aging Cream
- Dry Skin Moisturizer
Before you start the process of making lotion, you might want to check out my step by step guide on how to make lotion. My guide will give you a picture tutorial on exactly how to make creamy, fluffy lotion! I really try to make it straight forward and super simple.
What You’ll Need to Make DIY Hand Lotion
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 tsp. NeoDefend (find it HERE)
- 2 TBSP Emulsifying Wax (find it HERE)
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil (find it HERE)
- 1 tsp Vitamin E Oil (find it HERE) *optional*
- 20 drops Lavender Essential Oil (find it HERE)
- Immersion Blender (like THIS one)
- Thermometer (like THIS one)
- 2 medium sized pots
- 2 glass pyrex measuring cups (like THESE)
- Spoons for stirring
- Glass jars or bottles for lotion storage.
- Possibly a funnel depending on which container you choose.
Check THESE jars out and THESE pumps.
DIY Hand Lotion
Are your hands dry, cracked and in need of replenishment? If so, I've got an easy (but oh so creamy) DIY hand lotion for you! This recipe is an actual lotion-it contains water-based ingredients that emulsify with carrier oils. The finished product is a light and creamy hand lotion that will nourish and relieve whatever ails your hands! This recipe keeps it simple yet is effective and will quench cracked, dry hands, naturally. Read on for my super easy hand lotion recipe!
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 tsp. NeoDefend
- 2 TBSP Emulsifying Wax
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Vitamin E Oil *optional*
- 20 drops Lavender Essential Oil
- Immersion Blender
- 2 medium sized pots
- 2 glass pyrex measuring cups
- Spoons for stirring
- Glass jars or bottles for lotion storage.
- Possibly a funnel depending on which container you choose.
- Fill a medium sized pot 1/2 way full with water.
- Place a glass pyrex measuring cup with a spout in the pot.
- Turn stove top on medium heat and melt emulsifying wax and olive oil.
- In another "double boiler" (medium sized pot, 1/2 way full of water with a glass measuring cup placed in the pot) heat your water and neodefend.
- Once the emulsifying wax is melted and once neodefend has dissolved, you must get your oil mixture and water mixture to be around the same temp before mixing-This is imperative or your water and oil will not bind.
**As a rule of thumb, both mixtures need to be about the same temperature when combined. This temperature is typically around 130-160 degrees.**
- When you've got both mixtures at the proper temps, remove from heat and add your water into your oil!
- Take a immersion blender and mix your water/oil mixture for about 1 minute. Let stand for 15 minutes then mix for about 30 seconds again. Once you notice that the water isn’t separating at the bottom of your bowl after not mixing for a few minutes, you are done mixing. I would say this process should take about 1 hour. You can't mix it too much so don't worry about messing it up. You can also mix a day or even a week later if your lotion separates.
- Once your mixture is no longer hot, add your essential oils and vitamin E, mix one more time, then pour into containers.
- Let containers set for 24 hours. Your cream will thicken in this time.
In lotion making there are 2 phases that are on your stove top at the same time. Once these 2 phases are at a certain temperature, you will add them together, mix them and watch the magic!
*See post for substitutions.
Do You Have to Use Olive Oil?
Yes! Other oils that are great for dry skin are avocado oil, sweet almond oil, macadamia nut oil, rosehip oil etc. Coconut oil isn’t the best choice because it isn’t very moisturizing.
Depending on how dry your hands are, you may want to add a butter like shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter to up the moisturizing potential. You can do this by keeping the proportions the same. For example, this recipe calls for 1/4 cup of olive oil. There are 4 tablespoons in 1/4 cup so you could do 2 tbsp. of olive oil and 2 tbsp. of shea butter. This would be a highly emollient hand cream and would be perfect for VERY dry skin.
Is Vitamin E & Essential Oils Necessary?
The short answer is No. You don’t have to add these ingredients in order to make lotion. If it is your first time making lotion and feel overwhelmed with the cost of ingredients, skip these two. You will still have a lovely cream that will be effective without them.
I add vitamin E because it is great for the health of the skin. Hands tend to get a lot of damage and can age more quickly than the rest of our body. Adding this powerful antioxidant can not only help nourish the skin, it can help the actual appearance of the hands. Plus, it also prolongs the shelf life of your cream!
Essential oils also prolong the shelf life and they give your cream a scent. They have also been known to reduce redness and puffiness, speed up healing, rev up blood flow and depending on what essential oil you choose, you can see anti aging action as well! I chose lavender because it is calming and healing. I typically use this hand cream at night to help unwind!
What is the Shelf Life of Homemade Hand Cream?
The shelf life is about 2 months as long as you use the preservative, Neodefend. Since this recipe makes 12 ounces, I like to store most of it in the fridge and keep the rest on my bedside table. That way the shelf life is even more extended. Grapefruit seed extract or citric acid won’t be efficient enough preservatives for a lotion recipe.
If you’d like, this recipe can be cut down into small batches by either cutting the recipe in half or as mentioned above, storing half in the fridge.
Also, do not store your lotion in direct sunlight. This can degrade your DIY much faster.
Make sure your container is airtight.
DIY Hand Lotion Recipe Notes:
- Distilled water must be used in order to keep your cream fresh longer. Tap water won’t cut it.
- I have included a preservative with this recipe. NeoDefend is considered certified organic and non-GMO. It is antioxidant and very gentle to the skin. Those of you weary of using a preservative must remember that it only makes up .75-1% of your product. You can read more about and purchase NeoDefend HERE.
- Emulsifying wax is an absolute must. Beeswax won’t work. Unfortunately I have only used emulsifying wax from Mountain Rose Herbs-I can not guarantee your lotion if you don’t use that exact wax. Emulsifying wax is the pivotal ingredient that has to be right or you will possibly waste your money and time. MRH can take a little longer to ship (1-2 weeks) but their products are so worth the wait. While you are there, I recommend grabbing their super cheap but NON GMO aloe vera. It’s wonderful. It is watery which makes it the perfect additive in toners. Plus, it can be added in your water phase of other lotion recipes! I also can not find quality Vitamin E oil anywhere but there.
- Your cream should always be stored in a glass bottle or glass jar that is preferably dark glass. This will also keep your cream bacteria free longer. However, since this is a thick hand cream that I like to carry in my bag, I did buy THESE plastic squeeze bottle for easy transport.
- Pumpable lotion allows you to keep from depositing bacteria from your hands into your lotion. I bought THIS pump bottle for next to my bed. It can be a bit trickier getting the lotion into a pump bottle unless you pour it in before the lotion thickens. This is where the funnel comes in handy.
- Do not store in the fridge during those 24 hours that it is setting up. I made this mistake thinking I could speed up the process and it’s consistency was inconsistent! I ended up having to mix it with my hand mixer the next day and managed to salvage it but avoiding mixing was the whole point of this recipe!
- As for mixing, The best tool I have found is an immersion blender. I have not had luck with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer. Perhaps a blender would work but I don’t like using one because so much lotion is lost when you try to remove it from the blender.
How to Use Hand Lotion:
This is a bit of a no-brainer but I want to warn you that this homemade lotion recipe is potent so remember a little bit goes a long way. Plus, feel free to use this lotion anywhere you like. I call it a “hand lotion” because I added extra emulsifying wax which makes it thicker but that doesn’t limit it to just your hands!
There you have it, my easy DIY hand lotion recipe you should make pronto! It takes extra time and effort than a balm recipe but once you finish and your cream thickens, you will be so excited you make it and of course, so will your hands!
How long will this last? I am always scared to use water in the things that I make.
I would say around 3 mos. It is risky once you add water. The citric acid does help prolong the life. I prefer to put lotions in pumps because that will reduce the bacteria. NeoDefend is a certified organic, non GMO preservative that will work with the citric acid to help preserve your cream properly. I hate using a preservative but it only makes up 1% of the lotion, plus it’s better than smearing bacteria all over your skin!
how much citric acid do we need?
Ebony-You don’t need citric acid. It was part of the original recipe before I found out that citric acid is not a valid preservative.
There is some concern that Sodium Benzoate, one of the ingredients in NeoDefend, in combination with L-Ascorbic Acid in products can form Benzene, a known human carcinogen. The presence of ascorbic acid and benzoates alone does not lead to the formation of benzene. Certain additional conditions are required for trace levels of benzene to form, including heat, ultraviolet light and metallic ions in the mixture. Therefore, a product containing ascorbic acid and benzoates will not necessarily contain any detectable levels of benzene. The use of EDTA, which chelates metallic ions can therefore be of assistance in the inhibition of benzene formation. However, because of the potential to form benzene, we recommend that NeoDefend not be used combination with L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). I realize the comments I am referring to here are from 2013, however, I recently found this blog (2018), so I wanted to make sure that this information is available for any new readers who may be adding citric acid to products containing Neodefend. The following excerpt is taken from the article on LotionCrafter’s site regarding Neodefend:
“Citric Acid is not thought to induce significant benzene production in combination with Benzoic Acid, but some evidence suggests that in the presence of ascorbic acid and benzoic acid, citric acid may accelerate the production of benzene. Therefore, the use of NeoDefend and L-Ascorbic Acid and Citric Acid in the same cosmetic formulations should be avoided.”
The lotioncrafter website distinctly says NOT to use citric acid and NeoDefend together as it creates benzoic acid: a carcinogen.(cancer causing)
AND it should be mentioned here that you should NOT use any citrus essential oils as it will do the same.
Carol-This is very true-not sure what citric acid has to do with this recipe though. Perhaps 10 years ago when I first posted this recipe I was using citric acid as the preservative but quickly learned that that wasn’t right. I just rewrote this post so I’m not sure where the citric acid is being mentioned.
I make my own Colloidal Silver, would I be able to sub this for the distilled water? The silver should help with any bacteria if I an not mistaken.
Jana, this comment slipped through the cracks-I just saw it! I’m afraid I have no history with colloidal silver but it stands to reason it would be a great substitute! When mixing oil and water, anything you can do to preserve and kill bacteria that isn’t a chemical is a good thing! If you try it, check back in and let me know how it goes!! Thanks!
I absolutely luv, luv, luv your page….
But, it is so difficult to read your words …. o.O
Pam, thanks for letting me know-I am in the process of re-doing some things with the blog. A different font will be an easy fix!
Thanks for visiting my blog!
Awesome, now I can read all your fabulous stuff <3 ...
Thanks Pam!! It is much easier to read!!
Can I use beeswax instead of emulsifying wax?
Gaby-Unfortunately I can not make beeswax work-I continue to experiment hoping I can figure a recipe out where I can omit emulsifying wax. With beeswax your mixture will seperate. Thanks for visiting!
Jenni, is there any way (you’re probably working on one, I bet), when combing water & oils, we don’t have to use these ingredients: Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PEG-150 Stearate & Steareth-20..?
thx & much peace,
Pam-I’m not sure what you mean-I never use those ingredients. I have had great results from Citric Acid for preservation and emulsifying wax gives a great texture. The ingredients you mentioned aren’t necessary at all! Hope this helped!
Love love love your blogs and posts..
please keep doing what you’re doing! !
Thanks so much Dawn!
Love the recipe… and all your recipes. Now I just need to break down and get some emulsifying wax.
What kind of container are you using to mix it in? Mason Jar? Can it go into a pump?
Emily-To mix it I keep it in the pyrex glass bowl it melted in. I just add the water mixture to the oil mixture. You can put it in any container you like once it’s mixed. I like pumps because it keeps bacteria out! Thanks!
How much citric acid do you use? It dies not say on your recipe?
Charlotte-I have omitted citric acid. I have added Neodefend which is a preservative. Citric acid only lowers pH while neodefend helps preserve as well as lowers pH. It is the safest preservative and also certified organic. My previous recipe that included citric acid made a cream that had a pH of around 3 which is a bit too low for a moisturizer. Thanks!
Thank you, I will give it a try. I have Leucidal so will try with that.
this hand lotion recipe talks about citric acid but it does not list how much to use? can you clarify that for me thank you
Sarina-I used to use citric acid in this recipe but no longer do. It was a typo I had missed! Thanks!
Good job dear. Since I can’t find Neodefend in my country, can’t I use citric acid or is there any other option and what quantity? Thanks for the good work.
Stella-The problem with using citric acid as a preservative in a cream is that it lowers the pH too low for the cream to be moisturizing. In fact, the lower the pH and you could have an exfoliator rather then a cream. There is nothing special about neodefend except that it’s a more natural preservative. Maybe you could find a different preservative that is formaldehyde free and derived from more natural ingredients.
How do you know how long NeoDefend works? Or what the actual expiration date will be when it is used in lotion? I emailed the company that makes NeoDefend but haven’t heard back yet. I didn’t know if there was any scientific data to show how long a product will last with it….or if 3 months is just a guess. Thanks so much for any feedback!
Sandra-I actually think it’s more like 6 mos. if you use the suggested amount in your lotion but I like to stay on the safe and fresh side and usually only make enough to last me a couple months. Did you contact Lotion Crafter? They are awesome at responding-I bet you hear back soon!
If I want to make a lotion using neodefend or optiphem plus how do I calculaye exactly how much to use in my recipe?? Having trouble with the percentages since you don’t have percentages listed in recipes
Simone-I just use 1% of the whole product. So if a lotion is going to make 8 ounces then I would use .08 ounces of preservative. Then I go to google to find how to convert .08 ounces to teaspoons.
For the hand lotion, using the NeoDefend…how long will my lotion last in an airtight jar?
Ali-will you be using a pump or dipping your fingers in? I believe it will last 3 mos. It’s so much safer if you can put it in a pump. If you are making a large batch and putting some in an air tight jar to use later I would suggest storing it in the fridge-you will get an even longer shelf life that way!
I absolutely love this hand lotion recipe!!! The scent of lavender has always been one of my favorite. I am going to try making this over the weekend. Besides hand lotion, I want to make a face lotion too. What natural oil do you recommend for skin tightening or anti-ageing? https://sowourplanet.com/7-essential-oils-for-tightening-skin/
Really appreciate your sharing in advance.