Homemade Hand Cream

homemade hand cream recipe south africaI once heard that, “You can always tell the true age of a woman by looking at her hands”. Hmm…I don’t think our secret should be given away that easily ladies. For the most part, many of us enjoy working in the garden, or have to keep our homes clean with a good dose of elbow (and wrist) grease. Heck, every winter my hands must look ten years older! So I’ve devised a plan – or should I say, a hand cream recipe that works just as hard as our work-weary hands. Applying this cream regularly will ensure that you’ll keep ’em guessing for longer.

The skin on the hands is hard to keep moisturised, because it is thin and has relatively few oil glands. Therefore, it is important to use a cream that readily absorbs into the skin. Many products contain alcohol for this very purpose – to make creams with a lighter texture which absorbs quickly. However, if you’ve read my quick facts, you’ll know why I don’t recommend applying alcohol topically to the skin every day. Instead, this recipe uses glycerin and aloe vera gel to lighten the cream to a texture that is easily absorbed. 


Lasted me about: 2 weeks (using every day)ingredients and costs to make natural homemade hand cream

Estimated shelf life: 1 year (stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight).

Remember: Most of these ingredients have a long shelf life and are common in natural recipes, so you will be left with ingredients for more recipes too.

*Costs accurate at time of writing this blog post. Costs based on the best available prices I’ve personally found.


  • Cost: Adding aloe vera gel makes this hand cream a bit more costly than my other standard cream recipes, which only require a nourishing oil and beeswax. 


  • Texture: this recipe has more of that “cream” texture you’re used to with store-bought products. It’s light, quickly absorbed and doesn’t leave an oily residue.

INGREDIENT BENEFITSingredients for natural diy hand cream recipe

  • Sweet Almond Oil:  One of the best oils for dry hands and it is more easily absorbed than thicker oils like olive oil etc. It is also less greasy. It is rich in essential nutrients and healing vitamins including vitamin E and A. It helps rejuvenate dry, lined hands and brittle fingernails (buy here).
  • Vitamin E: An antioxidant that protects the skin from further sun damage and helps to decrease the signs of lines and wrinkles.
  • Glycerin: Treats and prevents dry, rough skin. It is an emollient i.e. It will soften skin and draw moisture to it. (buy here)
  • Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe moisturizes the skin without giving it a greasy feel. It contains antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin’s natural firmness and keep the skin hydrated. (buy here)
  • Beeswax: Creates a protective barrier over the skin, and acts as an emulsifier to incorporate all the ingredients in the recipe. (buy here).
  • Best essential oils for dry and neglected hands: Rose, Geranium, Patcholi, Lemon, Sandalwood, Carrot or Carrot Seed. Carrot Seed has a high natural SPF, so including this essential oil will protect your hands from the sun too (buy here).

I managed to find sweet almond oil, vitamin E, glycerin and aloe vera gel all at Dischem. Plus they sell essential oils too. Not sure where to find other ingredients? My shopping guide may help you.

Homemade Hand Cream Recipe
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  1. 1 Tablespoon Sweet Almond oil
  2. 1 Teaspoon Beeswax
  3. 1 Teaspoon Vitamin E
  4. 1 Teaspoon Glycerin
  5. 1 Teaspoon Aloe Vera Gel
  6. 20 - 40 drops Essential oils (depending on how strong you'd like the scent)
  1. Makes about 40ml. Perfect handbag size.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the beeswax with a teaspoon of the sweet almond oil.
  3. Once the beeswax has melted, add the remaining sweet almond oil.
  4. Add the vitamin E, glycerin and aloe vera gel. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Transfer the mixture into your container, and add your essential oils.
  6. Mix well, and continue mixing until the mixture cools completely (should take about 10-15 minutes). This step is important, because the continuous mixing allows for the aloe vera gel and glycerin to fully incorporate into the oils without separating.
  7. Once cool, let it set in the fridge for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from fridge and store away from direct sunlight for up to one year.
  1. Sweet almond oil -> Jojoba, Grapeseed, Coconut or Olive oil. But I do think sweet almond oil is best.
Essential oils for dry hands
  1. Rose, geranium, lemon, sandalwood, carrot seed, patcholi.
  2. Choose one, or make your own combination.
Natural Nerd http://naturalnerd.co.za/
If you are pregnant or new to using essential oils, please read how to use them safely.

Which natural remedies keep your hands soft? Please share in the comments below.

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12 thoughts on “Homemade Hand Cream

  1. Corinne says:


    Thank you finally found a hand lotion that is not too greesy as I am addicted to hand lotion but also need to do stuff without sticky hands.

    The recipe worked well but I did do a double dose for my little pots.

    Take care

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Corinne. Thank you for your positive comment. I am delighted to hear that you’ve tried my recipe, and that you are pleased with the result 🙂 It’s always wonderful to hear feedback from those who’ve attempted my recipes. I hope it continues to work well for you…as it does for me. Thanks again and take care.

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hello, and thank you for your comment. Hmmm…I’m sorry to say that I don’t think Vitamin E powder will work in this hand cream recipe, unfortunately. The powder would somehow need to dissolve, and I don’t think it will dissolve in oil or aloe vera. But you can try and see if it will dissolve. It may work for other water-based recipes like a toner or shampoo etc. I’ve personally never tried using the powder and I’ve never heard of anyone else using it either. But try it in a water-based recipe. First try to dissolve the powder in warm distilled water, and then add the solution to your water-based recipe. If you try it, please let me know if it works.

  2. Pauline says:

    I tried this recipe and I love it. The texture is great. It does leave your hands a little bit greasy, but not nearly as much as the other recipes I’ve tried so far. I added 1 drop of geranium, 3 of lemon and 6 of patchouli and the smell is great as well.

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hello Pauline. Thank you for your positive feedback. It’s wonderful to hear from others who have made the recipe. I’m so happy that the cream works for you. I agree, it’s not completely grease-free, but it is better than a completely oil-based recipe. If you would prefer a grease-free hand cream, then I recommend using only aloe vera gel, then add vitamin e oil and your essential oils. Thank you for sharing your essential oil combination too – I’ll give it a try 🙂 Take care.

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Karin. Sorry about the broken link – Dischem has stopped stocking this online. I will update the link. But to answer your question, I still use Bettaway‘s “Betta Aloe Gel” (75ml) – I am still able to find it at a physical Dischem store, even though it’s no longer on their website. However, I see that Wellness Warehouse also sells it online. Give that a try. Otherwise, try contacting Bettaway directly and ask where their nearest stockist to you is. Honestly, every other aloe vera gel is so misleading, so be careful – they have so many chemical additives despite having “pure” on their label. Bettaway is the only brand that really only contains 100% aloe vera gel. I hope that helps.

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Peggy.

      I mix mine with a spoon. I also have a tiny whisk that I sometimes use. I don’t think it’s necessary to use a blender. I hope that helps.

      All the best,

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Mandy. Yes, this hand cream has a light gel-like texture, so it should work in a squeezable or pump bottle. The pump bottle should have a wide enough pipe though, like your standard cream pump bottles. Not one of those pump bottles with a thin/narrow pipe that is used for liquids like body spray etc. I hope this helps.

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