Rose & Macadamia Hand Cream

Rose & Vanilla is my latest obsession. This recipe is an inevitable consequence of that obsession. But the title says “Macadamia” not “Vanilla”? Yes, well the cream contains mostly rose water and macadamia oil, but I’ve used rose and vanilla as the essential oil blend. Having just discovered a local macadamia farm that sells affordable cold-pressed oil – I’ll be going nuts with macadamia for a bit. Especially since learning that macadamia oil is the secret to smooth, silky skin. This hand cream is best for dry winter hands. It’s thick and super hydrating. If you’ve never made a cream emulsion before, please refer to my basic lotion recipe for step-by-step photos.

Recipe variations

If you do substitute, I cannot guarantee that your version will have the same texture, colour or scent as my recipe, since each ingredient brings different properties to creams. You will have an entirely different product. You may substitute the macadamia oil in this recipe with another lightweight oil, as long as you use the exact same weight. The best substitute would be another nut (i.e. sweet almond oil), otherwise grapeseed oil or sunflower oil. You can also use guar gum instead of xanthan gum. You can use distilled water instead of the rose water. You can use another hydrolysed protein like rice or silk protein. I don’t recommend substituting the cetostearyl alcohol – you could technically use more beewax, but the cream will likely be thicker, greasier and it will not glide as smoothly.

Note on preservatives:
When I make this recipe, I use the preservative Geogard Ultra. You may use any cosmetic preservative you wish, but you must adjust the recipe accordingly. Remember that each preservative has its own directions for use, so simply adjust the instructions in this recipe about when to add the preservative, and how much of it to use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Also ensure that your preservative is effective with this product’s pH range.


Cost Price: R 113 per 200g excluding essential oils (in 2022, based on the best retail prices I’ve found).
Lasted me about:
 1 month using morning & night on my hands and face.
Estimated shelf life: 3 months if you include the preservative, use sterilised containers, and store away from direct sunlight. Without the preservative, this lotion only has a shelf life of 1 day. Please note that adding ingredients like vitamin E oil and anti-bacterial essential oils will not effectively preserve your product.


Contains more luxury ingredients than a basic cream, which means that you have to buy more stuff. However, if you’re a regular DIYer, you will be able to use cetearyl alcohol and hydrolysed wheat protein in many other recipes (eg. lotion bars, shampoo, conditioner, whipped butters, scrubs etc.). These ingredients have broad applications and are not specialised to this recipe (or to creams only). Even if you just keep making this recipe, it’s worth it.


  • Makes your skin feel silky soft.
  • Suitable as an all-over body cream in winter.
  • Smells divine.
  • Makes a great gift for mom and gran.


  • Rose water: is a by-product of producing rose essential oil. It is high in Vitamin A & C, and antioxidants. It has anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. (Buy here)
  • Macadamia oil: is very high in vitamin E, palmitic, palmitoleic acid and oleic acid – key ingredients for supple, soft & regenerated skin. The effective amount of soothing phytosterols makes macadamia oil ideal for sensitive skin. (Buy here)
  • Vegetable glycerine: moisturises the skin and retains moisture in the skin by acting as a protective barrier that locks in moisture. It is also necessary to hydrate the xanthan gum in the recipe to prevent clumps from forming. (Buy here )
  • Hydrolysed wheat protein: is also known as phytokeratine. It helps skin retain its moisture, and is high in amino acids. It also minimises pores, smoothes, softens and firms the skin. Avoid this ingredient if you have celiac disease. (Buy here)
  • Xanthan gum: stabalizes the lotion so that it does not separate or curdle in heat. Xanthan gum is a sugar derived from either corn, soy or wheat. (Buy here)
  • Bees wax: Creates a protective barrier over the skin. (Buy here)
  • Ceto Stearyl Alcohol: is a blend of cetyl and stearyl alcohol. It is a plant-based fatty alcohol used to thicken & stabilise moisturisers without the heaviness of a wax. It gives products a smooth and velvety slide without feeling greasy. (Buy Here)
  • Vitamin E oil: An antioxidant that improves the shelf life of oils, and it protects the skin from further sun damage, treats damaged skin, and it helps decrease the signs of lines and wrinkles. (Buy Here)
  • Eco E-wax: is a vegetable-based emulsifying wax which allows water and oil to combine without separating. It is also known as Glycerol Monostearate SE, and is ECOCERT and SOIL association approved for use in natural and organic products. (Buy here)
  • Geogard Ultra: is a synthetic preservative composed of gluconolactone and, the organic acid, sodium benzoate in powder form. It is ECOCERT, NATRUE and SOIL association approved for use in natural and organic products. (Buy here)

Need help finding these, or other ingredients? My shopping guide may help you.


If you don’t want to make it yourself, then you can buy The Victorian Garden Double Rose & Pelargonium Hand Cream. I have not used this product myself, but it contains the key ingredients of my recipe (i.e. macadamia oil, rose, cetearyl alcohol, bees wax etc.), and there are a ton of positive customer reviews. One thing I know for sure is that The Victorian Garden always wins with fragrance. The products that I have used always smell divine.

Do you think that this is a luxurious hand cream? If you’ve tried it, please share your feedback in the comments below.


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