Non-Greasy Hand & Body Cream
If you're looking for a homemade lotion or hand cream that will nourish your skin, look no further. This recipe is super nourishing, super versatile and super simple. And I've updated it with essential oils suitable for your skin's needs.
I love making as many of my personal care items in order to cut down on toxins in our home and on our bodies.
I've made Eye Makeup Remover, Alcohol-Free Hairspray, Sugar Scrub, Nourishing Lip Scrub, Hair Rinse, Homemade Body Wash, and more. I've been looking for homemade lotion recipe that works for a long time, and I finally have it.
I've bought so many lotions and creams in my life, but have really wanted to go to making homemade lotion myself.
I have this ridiculous bent towards DIY stuff.
I can't stand forking out a ton of money for something when I can make it for a fraction of the cost myself.
Now, that doesn't mean that I am opposed to buying high quality things.
In fact, I've been using a pretty pricey hand and body cream for the past 6 months that I really love, but I've been hoping to have a DIY version for my home that I could also recommend to all of you.
I asked all of my great readers the other day for recipes for DIY lotions and one reader had a recipe that really appealed to me. So I tried it, and--we have a real winner!
This homemade lotion is:
- non greasy
- super easy to make (no fancy tools--just melt, stir and pour)
- smells great
- has flexible ingredients (so you can pretty much use what you have on hand)
Why Hard Lotions Didn't Work for Me
It's a cross between a smooth lotion and a hard lotion. Are you familiar with those hard lotion bars that are all the rage now on the internet?
While I love the concept, I have found that the hard lotion bars are a little tough for me to use.
Mostly, I think it's because I'm a little too impatient to wait for the bar to soften. Does anyone else get frustrated with this?
I find myself trying to rub the hard lotion into my skin before it's had time to soften and as I watch my skin pulling and stretching, I think, "That can't be too good for my skin, can it?"
And frankly, it doesn't feel too good to be pushing and pulling.
So, for right now, I am using the hard lotion bars that I have for lip balm. They work pretty well for that, and I don't think my lips are getting too stretched out :-).
Anyhow, this lotion is solid at room temp (maybe I should call it "Nourishing Not-So-Hard-Lotion"), but it isn't super hard and softens up really quickly in your hands, even in our pretty chilly home. Our home is heated only to about 60 in the winter.
See what I mean about frugal? Every time I think about moving the thermostat up, I think about the 2-3% of my heating bill that I've heard you save for each degree you lower your thermostat.
Let's just say we all like long underwear around here :-).
Just yesterday, I used my Homemade Sugar Scrub and followed it with this Hand Cream and my hands felt super soft and revitalized last night. The moisture left from the scrub and rinsing it off is sealed into your skin by this hand cream.
A very frugal way to treat yourself, or someone you love.
This recipe is easily adaptable by adjusting the essential oils that you use. Here are some ideas....
Essential Oils for Different Skin Issues
This lotion recipe uses essential oils. While they aren't necessary, adding them can turn your lotion from being simply moisturizing to something that really addresses what is going on with your skin.
- Dry or aging skin? Try rose & geranium
- Need to be energized and refreshed? Try lavender, lemon, and grapefruit
- Troubled skin like psoriasis or eczema? Try helichrysum, frankincense, lavender, sandalwood, chamomile, rose or jasmine
- Want to avoid Stretch Marks? Try helichrysum, lavender, patchouli, neroli, rose, & geranium
UPDATE 12/16: I have been doing a lot of research into DIY personal care products and have found that there are some concerns with them. Unless you are going to add a broad spectrum preservative to this lotion, please plan to use this within 3 days and store it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, leave the aloe vera out of the recipe or substitute with a liquid fat. The consistency of the resulting product will differ but the shelf life will increase.
1. For essential oils, use whatever you like with the suggestions above being good for different issues. I used orange, which was really heavenly smelling, especially combined with the fragrance of the coconut oil. Somehow I felt like a creamsicle :-). I guess if I used the cocoa butter I would smell like chocolate covered candied orange peel (I'm working on a recipe for that), or something like that. Lavender would be very soothing as well.
2. I love how versatile this recipe is. I used extra coconut oil and shea butter since I was out of cocoa butter and it still turned out great.
3. This makes a small amount--just enough for one of these small canning jars like these.
4. Please note that some (including me) who have made this have had issues with it not solidifying. I suspect it has to do with the type of shea butter used. I think if you use a raw shea butter, the resulting product is liquidy.
Of course, you can make more to stock up, or for gifts.
Some people mentioned in the comments that their lotion didn't solidify. I'm guessing that is due to different temperatures or perhaps that quality of the ingredients used.
Even if yours is liquidy, you can still use it. In fact, one idea is to put it in a pump bottle. Some upscale lotions are like this including one I am trying out right now.
This bottle would be just perfect for that:
Two nights ago, I put a little warm water on my arms, legs, hands, feet, and elbows, and smoothed this lotion all over before going to bed.
This morning, my skin is obviously nourished and much happier.
There were other recipes that readers shared that I thought sounded great, so I am going to be working on more lotions in the future, hopefully my next one will be one that is liquid at room temp.
In the meantime, enjoy this treat for your skin.
Where to Buy Ingredients
For essential oils, I recommend checking out the company I recommend in my Best Essential Oils Series.
Since this lotion has aloe vera in it, you will need a preservative to keep it from spoiling.
I recommend Germall Plus at a concentration level of 0.5% to avoid using parabens.
Alternatively, you could omit the aloe vera. The resulting cream will be a bit different, but then bacterial growth isn't likely due to no presence of water or aloe.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (I also really like Nutiva organic)
- 1/8 cup shea butter
- 1/8 cup cocoa butter (See notes for alternatives)
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice
- 1 tablespoon liquid oil of choice (like sweet almond, jojoba, etc.)
- 5-10 drops essential oils (optional. Read Which Essential Oils Company is Best? to see why I recommend this company.)
- Preservative - highly recommended
- Cute container for storing. I like glass jars like this one
- See notes for ideas according to skin type (above)
- Heat the shea butter, coconut oil, and cocoa butter over low heat until melted.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the aloe vera juice, liquid oil, and essential oils and stir to combine well.
- Store in container of your choice. I used small canning jars.
Not Wanting To DIY?
If you aren't really in the mood to make your own lotion, or just are out of time, you can buy clean lotions too. I'm really careful to avoid using anything with artificial fragrances.
I personally love and trust Beautycounter for so many reasons. They test all of their products and are completely transparent.
This Body Lotion is my favorite and this one softens the skin without the stickiness.
You can read more about what makes Beautycounter special here. Just so you know, I'm super picky about things like honesty and transparency, and this company totally makes the grade for me.
Do you have a favorite homemade lotion recipe to share?
Photo credits – Naomi Huzovicova
What type of/brands of broad spectrum preservative do you recommend for your DIY Hand Cream, please?
Not sure I would/could use up this recipe in 3 days. ?
So sorry it took forever to get back to you! The preservative information is in the post and I'll put it in the recipe card as well! Thanks for your patience!
I followed this recipe for the hand cream for dry skin, but have clearly done something wrong as mine won't set unless put in the fridge, left out it is very runny. I only used a bit when I had it in the fridge but it was very oily. Can you please tell me what I could have done wrong? Thank you
Hi there - I'm so sorry! Did you follow the directions exactly? I actually haven't made this is a very long time but I'll do my best to help!
Yes I did follow the instructions as laid out in the recipe. Should I have either whipped/beaten the ingredients at the end? Maybe I should have put beeswax? It is summer here in Aus so I would imagine that would have some affect over how solid it would be too.
What's the temperature there? I'm so sorry!
How much preservative (vegetable glycerin) should I put?
Hi there. I don't think glycerin would function as a great preservative here.
What type of liquid fat would you suggest in place of aloe juice? I find coconut oil greasy, I personally wouldn’t want to add more and ruin clothing.
Hmmm....that's a good question. Fractionated coconut oil doesn't stain. However, I would think most any lotion could stain clothing.
This sounds so amazing and I want to try it out!
I was a bit confused about the storage time! If I leave the aloe oil out then it will last longer? Or how can I make it so it last longer then 3 days and not have to put it in a fridge?
Hi there. Sorry for the delay. It's aloe vera not oil--is that what you meant?
What’s the difference in aloe Vera juice and aloe Vera gel
I’ve never heard of the juice
Typically gel is for topical and juice is for internal but not exclusively. The gel comes from when you split the leaf in half and the juice is just under the the green skin of the leaf. Hope that helps! We love the juice for digestive health. Trader Joe's has a great value on this.
Thank you for the recipe. I just have one question, for how many days can we store this lotion? Thank you in advance.
Hi there. It really depends on the ingredients that you use--if you use the aloe or not, as well as sterile quality of the ingredients. Hope that helps!
If I use aloe vera gel from market, in that case how many days can I store it?
Aloe vera is very vulnerable to bacteria growth so same precautions. I will try to have another cream without that issue!
I used apricot oil, shea butter, beeswax, vegetable glycerin, aloe, arrowroot powder, and essential oils and the lotion still feels too greasy. I've tried less of one thing more of another ect but can't seem to capture the right feel. Its plenty creamy but still a little greasy.
Hmmm..that's quite a bit different than the formula I posted. I'm not sure what to say! How greasy is it?
If you're still concerned about the lotion not solidifying, you could add a little beeswax, + that helps to seal moisture in, great to apply right after you use your sugar scrub.
Bethany, how much beeswax would you add to this recipe please.
Hi. You have an easy recipe but no I cant use all your ingredients have a bad allergy to ingredients and all of them in your cream will give me allergy pimples. Any other with not these ingredients plus garlic, honey and any comedogenic acne ingredients with a rating 3 up please I don't want them on my skin anymore.
Hi there. Sorry that this won't work for you--are you saying that every ingredient is a problem for you?