Non-Greasy Hand & Body Cream

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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.

jar of hand & body cream

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)

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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.

Formula Notes

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.

mason jars with lids

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.

white transparent pump bottle

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.

Preservative Notes

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.

More Homemade Personal Care Products You’ll Love

Homemade Shea Butter Lotion – non-greasy and great for all skin types including aging skin and acne-prone
Homemade Lip Scrub – so healthy you can literally eat it!
Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse – makes your hair super healthy!
DIY Sugar Scrub – get spa results without the spa prices
Black Cumin Face Oil Blend – get amazing skin without paying a hefty price

homemade hand cream in glass jar with essential oil bottle
tub of cream and small amber bottle

Nourishing Hand and Body Cream

5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

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.

Two great options are Beautycounter and Oliveda.

I personally love and trust Beautycounter for so many reasons. They test all of their products and are completely transparent.

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

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534 Comments

  1. I am a total novice here, and I haven’t read all of the comments, but I have read that rosemary essential oil is a natural preservative. Using this might extend the shelf life of the lotion.
    Also, might one be able to preserve the consistency with a small am out of bees wax added to the butters during the heating process?

    1. Yes, it might but I have talked w/ an expert in DIY skincare and she told me that the amt of essential oils needed to properly preserve a formula would not be safe for putting on the skin in this amount. Hope that helps.

  2. Hi, do you have alternative ingredients to make it more watery?
    I can’t use cream on my skin. Everything are lotion, gel or liquid.
    My skin lack of water not oil, the doctor said. Even in this humid tropical country.
    If you said it’s solid in room temperature, that’s definitely a no no
    thanks

    1. If you need to hydrate your skin, how much water you drink each day. To calculate how much water you should drink for basic hydration you should multiply your weight in pounds by 1/2 ounces. That will give you the number of ounces of water you should drink daily for basic hydration. If you live in a hot climate or exercise you will need more than that.

      Hope that helps!

  3. hey all, i loved this recipe i used raw shea butter fresh from Ghana when i went on some cause work. when i didi this it was a very lotiony texture som i put it in a small bottle i used for an old moisturizer. you should try tea tree oil. it has a beautiful scent. i dont have anymore jojoba oil so can i use extra virgin olive oil instead

      1. Youmentioned in your update “Otherwise, leave the aloe vera out of the recipe or substitute with a liquid fat.”
        The question is asking what kind of liquid fat you are talking about, and I am wondering the same. Thank you

        1. maybe u should try olive oil but virgin, thatb is more fresh and nourishing. and i put aloe vera gel. it was 7 quid fro holan and barretts

  4. Can you specify exactly what kind of cocoa and shea butter. (There are so many choices…raw, unrefined, organic, cream, bars, wafers, etc.) thanks!!

    1. Shape doesn’t matter. Chunks are cheaper. I typically go for unrefined as typically they use chemicals to do that but not always. Organic or not is your choice.

  5. All of these handmade lotions are so greasy, I suspect it’s all the butters and oils. I read that arrowroot powder will solve that but that didn’t work. Any other ideas??

  6. An easy way to solidify is to melt some beeswax shavings to the hot mixture. I usually buy a bar of beeswax from my health food store and grate it on a cheese grater. A couple of spoonfuls (grated) is all you need unless you are making a big batch. If you skip the aloe and add vitamin E it should last at least a month.

  7. Hi hunny. Question about the essential oils for health reasons. Can I use one or two what you have suggested. Or do I have to use every one of the essential oils you lusted.???

  8. Like others, I’m wondering about the preservative. What could we use to make this? Without it, it sounds like this is a useless recipe, because who uses up a hand lotion within a 24-hour period? Would really like more information on that. Would keeping it in the fridge prolong it’s shelf life, do you think? As for making it for gifts? Uum, don’t see how you could really do THAT tho if if requires a preservative. I do thank you for all your articles though, your diligence, and research. I do regularly read your website and have also changed to using many RMO oils instead of YL. Didn’t want you to think all I’m offering here is criticism. :>)

    1. Hi there. Keeping something in the fridge definitely extends its shelf life. I just went back and added more information about the preservative and the shelf life to the post. It’s a very sticky situation and it’s something that a lot of DIYers aren’t paying attention to. It’s something I’ve been learning about recently and doing a lot of research about and wanted to alert my readers to.

      I hope that helps. Thanks for reading!

      1. All the aloe veras that are out there (ot almost all) have a small percentage of preservatives. Would thay suffice in keeping the lotion safe for too long ?

        1. I don’t think so since you are adding in so many things. But maybe that would take care of the aloe portion! I’m not an expert so please err on the side of caution. I have a skincare expert friend who is always warning me about being ultra careful w/ DIY stuff!

  9. I guess I am a little confused, is this really just a lotion that you need to use in 24 hours? I noticed it said it’s great to make for gifts and to stock up on. Maybe I’m just not reading it correctly

    1. Yes, this is confusing to me as well. I wrote the post a long time ago and have been looking at the need for preservatives so I am revisiting this issue. You could leave out the aloe and the have a much more stable mix of ingredients. I hope that helps.

    2. Yes you have to use this lotion in 24 hours but if you want to make the lotion have more shelf life add vitamin E and dont use aloe vera juice as it contains water making it have moulds and be bad later.

      1. Hi .
        I’ m confused as well .. I have been making and using my coconut oil, mixed with almond or apricot oil or olive or all 3, and a few drops of all my fav. essential oils and have applied this to my body after bathing each day. I made it about 6 months ago because I make up about 2 cups. I do not see any mold or any thing else , I keep it right in the bathroom .
        I don’t understand what the problem is since coconut and oils keep at room temps all the time , so why can’t you mix them and keep them for indefinite periods of time.
        I will continue to just do this .!

    1. I’m currently talking w/ someone about preservative options. It’s apparently fairly complicated. I hope to have more info in the future.

    2. You can use opitphen or phenonip both in brambleberry.com and it has the usage ratios on her site. For about 24 oz of lotion you will use .2 oz of preservative

  10. I accidentally grabbed Aloe Vera *GEL* instead of the juice.
    Ack! Can I use that or should I go back to exchange?
    Thanks for sharing

  11. Hello! I would just like to ask for some photos of the procedure. I tried doing it but the cream won’t solidify. Thank you. I need this for my project.

    1. Hi there. I’m sorry but I don’t have time right now to do this. Did you read some of the comments about others that wouldn’t solidify?

      1. After every processes, you it in the fridge to cool and be solid. Then you bring it out after 1hour and give it a nice wisk or stair. I got this idea from another post thanks.

  12. I have just started making my own products, could you tell me about the warning? why must it be used within 24 hours? Thank you

    1. I am doing more research into DIY products that have water / aloe as a base and they are prone to bacterial and mold contamination. So I will be writing more about this soon. Hope that helps. DIY might not be the best choice after all – but it’s an option. We have to look at preservative options.

      1. Why not leave the aloe out? I mean if it can cause contamination. Why would someone want to use it up in 24 hours? The rest of the ingredients will last much longer then. That’s what makes sense to me. Just saying. Thank you

        1. I completely agree with you. That was a very recent addition to this post b/c of things I am learning about DIY recipes. I’ll be writing more later. Thanks!