Caring for Your Skin: Homemade Hand Lotion

As a general rule, I don’t like processed food. Granted, I still enjoy certain food items that are pre-made and come in a package, but I try to eat as much of the food where its origin is not a mystery. I also try not to eat something where I cannot pronounce or understand the items on the ingredient list. I love beautiful, natural produces grown from the ground up with time, love and care.

The same philosophy goes for cosmetic items. I really believe that our skin is as important as our internal organs and it should be nurtured the same way we do hearts and lungs. Afterall, skin is the largest organ in our body!  The stuff that goes on our skin should also be natural and free of harsh chemicals.

I started making homemade cosmetic products in the kitchen like soaps and scrubs initially out of curiosity without really thinking about the benefits, but the more I make and use these made-from-scratch products, the more I appreciate how friendly they are to us and the environment. These soaps and other products eliminate the need for containers altogether (I simply reuse the leftover bottles and jars I have sitting around in my kitchen) thus reducing the amount of trash I accumulate every day. And because most of the ingredients used are natural and often edible, I feel comfortable knowing that they are safer when they return to the mother nature, compared to other synthetic and often poisonous chemicals.

My newest wonderful find is the recipe for homemade hand lotion from A Sonoma Garden, an organic gardening blog written beautifully by Kendra. I have been eying this recipe for some time now and I thought now would be a perfect time to try it out. While I don’t use lotion regularly, I thought having one handy to calm my sun-kissed skin would be perfect since summer is right around the corner.

You can find the recipe and the instruction here but I thought I would post it here, and add some comments.

Homemade Hand Lotion
Adapted from A Sonoma Garden
The original name of this is “Handmade Hand Lotion” but I changed it to “homemade.” I just love the word “homemade,” don’t ask me why!

1 – 1/4 cup  boiling hot water
1/4 cup emulsifying wax
1/4 cup olive oil
Essential oils of your choice

Note: After several attempts, I realized that I prefer a slightly smoother texture, so I decided to add extra 1/4 cup of hot water.  The end result is equally luscious lotion that glides easier on skin.  By adding extra hot water, the consistency is smooth enough that you can pour it in a bottle, instead of a jar.  So if you like a smoother consistency, increase the hot water to a total 1-1/2 cups.  When the mixture cools slightly, use the funnel and pour the lotion into a bottle.  It makes enough for one 8 oz and one 4 oz plastic bottles.  The rest of the instruction remains the same.

Melt the emulsifying wax and olive oil together in a microwave for about 2 minutes until every bit of the wax liquefies. Note: I tried both microwave and double boiler methods and found the microwave to be much easier. I purchased the wax from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Add essential oils of your choice.  Note: I used the mixture of lavender, orange, lemon, bergamot, and tangerine and I loved the fresh, sweet citrus-y scent of the finished product (perfect for summer). I think I put in about 50 drops of essential oils total. I wanted mine to be pretty richly scented so I put in a little more drops than the original recipe.

Once everything is mixed well, add the hot water. The second you add the hot water, the mixture will become milky white. Keep mixing for about a minute, and pour everything into a clean jar.  Let it cool before use. Note: I used the lovely Bonne Mamman jar for mine.

Okay, here’s where it gets a little tricky. The original instruction says that you let the lotion cool overnight and it’ll be ready in the morning. Unfortunately, that was not the case for mine. The oil and water separated in the jar, so the top part had a lotion with the consistency of a very thick body butter and the bottom had a very watery lotion, like below.

Thick consistency on top … baaaad!

What I ended up doing is mixing the lotion again with a spoon to break down the thick top layer and put it back in the microwave for about 2 minutes to melt the lotion again. Once everything is re-liquefies, mix every minute or so, until the lotion sets.

Airy and silky soft … good!

After you do this, your lotion should be perfect, with a silky consistency of a creamy yogurt or a luscious pudding.

I LOVE this lotion. The ingredients are very inexpensive and there is something so empowering about knowing exactly what went inside the product (it’s just wax, olive oil, water and essential oils … wow). The lotion will leave your skin incredibly soft (and not at all greasy) and even though this says hand lotion, you can use it all over like a regular body lotion. I hope you will try it! I know you’ll love it as much as I do!


16 thoughts on “Caring for Your Skin: Homemade Hand Lotion

  1. Hi Saori! I think you’re really going to love this lotion. The one I made smells like the one you like from Victoria’s Secret and it goes on your skin like smooth silk! I can’t wait to bring you some this weekend. What’s your favorite essential oils? I will definitely make some for Yumi and Cynthia to try too!


  2. I love your lotion! My skin is sensitive & dry but it totally took care of it even after being in the sun, swimming etc. I love the citrus scent you custom made for me. The texture is smooth, consistency is rich, thick & just right! I can feel the wholesome goodness rather than store bought water down feel. Great job getting the perfect formula. I’m so loving it!!! Will never buy lotion again! (Seriously, it’s better than the Body Works, Victoria’s Secret ones I’ve been using for decades!) XO

  3. I’ve never tried making my own cosmetics before. this one is going to be my first. I was looking for something very easy with ingredients, and “easy” to my pocket 😉
    I just ordered a few essential oils and emuslifying wax from Mountain Rose Herbs. When they arrive I’ll try this recipe. I’m so excited ! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Hi Ewa! Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m so glad that you’re going to make your own lotion! Please let me know how it comes out! I too love that it’s “easy” on my wallet … and don’t you love that you know exactly what went into the lotion? Enjoy and I would love to hear how everything goes!


  5. Hirono, it came out gorgeous. Very creamy, with so beautiful scent. I used grapefruit, sweet orange, eucalyptus lemon essential oils. All together around 35 drops. I LOVE IT!
    My skin is so soft, and the lotion is so refreshing. AMAZING.

    Thank you once again.

  6. Hi Ewa! I’m so glad to hear that your lotion came out gorgeous! YAY! Isn’t it true that once you use the homemade version, you can never go back to the manufactured ones? I love the combination of the essential oils you used. I can just smell the wonderful scent of citrus and eucalyptus! Yummy!

    Please keep in touch and let me know about your future DIY endeavors! 🙂


  7. Hirono, I’ve got one question…
    Where do you keep the lotion. Can you keep it in the bathroom? or it’s better if it stays (for example) in the fridge?
    I keep it in the fridge, and when I put it on my skin is sooo cold. lol
    but the coldness adds to the refreshing scent of the lotion. and I think I like it even better 😉

  8. Hi Ewa!

    I keep my lotion in a cool place, in my bedroom. I’ve put it in my bathroom cabinet once and it molded in about two months, probably because of the moisture from the steam. I tried putting it in a fridge but the lotion got too thick and yes, too cold! I think I would continue to put in a fridge if I put the lotion in a jar but I’ve been putting it in a little plastic squeeze bottle so it won’t come out if it’s too thick … LOL.

    So now, I keep it in my bedroom where it’s relatively cooler, with no direct sunlight. It feels like it lasts longer here, although the shelf life is still about three months!


  9. thanks, Hirono !

    mine lotion got very thick too.
    I keep it in a glass jar, so it’s easy to use.
    I really like it cold, so I think I’ll keep doing it… lol


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