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How To Make Moisturizing Hand and Body Lotions and Cleansing Creams

Updated on March 20, 2016
Coconut oil
Coconut oil | Source

Hand and body lotions and cleansing creams are amazingly easy to make at home!

Your homemade creams and lotions can be used just like commercial hand lotions and “body butters.” The only difference is that they will be made with high-quality nourishing and beneficial oils, instead of the cheap mineral oil used in most commercial products. Plus your homemade product will be free of harmful chemicals and additives.

It’s actually cheaper to make a high-quality product yourself than to buy a low-quality commercial product that may contain harmful chemicals.

The same homemade cream you use as a hand and body lotion can also be used as a facial cleansing cream.

Creams and lotions that are used on the skin primarily for cleansing and moisturizing are basically emulsions, which include both oil and water (and maybe other ingredients), along with an emulsifying agent that keeps the oil and water combined.

Water is an important ingredient in moisturizing and cleansing creams. For cleansing, the water portion removes water-soluble dirt from the skin, while the oil component removes oil-soluble impurities.

While an application of oil alone will help the skin retain moisture, if a product that includes both oil and water is used, additional moisture is applied to the skin, and the oil component holds it there for long-lasting moisturizing.

Olive oil
Olive oil | Source
Almond blossoms--Van Gogh
Almond blossoms--Van Gogh | Source
Shea butter
Shea butter | Source


You can choose oils that are particularly suited to you skin type, too:

Almond Oil: According 16th Century herbalist, John Gerard, “The oil of Almonds makes smooth the hands and face of delicate persons, and cleanseth the skin from all spots and pimples.” Almond oil is excellent for acne, in that it is a very fine and penetrating lubricant, good for deep cleaning the skin. It was once used by watch-makers to lubricate the innards of delicate machinery. It is thought to reduce scarring and has been used to treat psoriasis and eczema.

Olive Oil: This is healing and nourishing, and its nourishing properties are absorbed well through the skin. Olive oil will heal some skin conditions.

Coconut Oil: Antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial. Especially good for dry or aging skin and helps some skin diseases.

Cocoa Butter: Anti-aging; contains Vitamin E and antioxidants.

Shea Butter: Stimulates collagen production, and hence is anti-aging; contains Vitamin E and antioxidants; natural sun screen, antiviral, helps eczema and psoriasis. Often recommended for aging skin.

You homemade cleansing and moisturizing creams and lotions can be fragrance-free, or you can add your own favorite fragrances by adding a few drops of essential oils.

Here’s how to make it:


1/2 cup fat or oil (coconut, almond, cocoa butter,

shea butter, olive oil, or a combination)

½ cup water

2 tablespoons liquid lecithin

½ teaspoon borax

A few drops essential oil (or leave unscented)


Warm the fat/oil and lecithin very gently until fat has melted (if necessary) and lecithin is dissolved. If you are using an oil that is liquid at room temperature, do not heat at all.

Mix warm water or warm water or flower-water with borax to dissolve. When both mixtures have cooled, combine the water mixture with the fat/oil mixture a little at a time.

Both water and oil should be room temperature, or no warmer than lukewarm.

Beat with an electric mixer until you’ve achieved a nice emulsion. The final consistency of the product depends on whether the oil used is liquid or solid at room temperature. Add essential oil (fragrance), if you are using it. To help preserve the mixture, mix in the contents of one 400 IU Vitamin E capsule.

The mixture will thicken as it cools.

This recipe makes about six ounces and will keep for about two months. It’s best to keep this product refrigerated. Use it lavishly!

Want to make a skin cream that is especially soothing for dry itchy winter skin? This basic recipe can be varied by making it with an oil that has been infused with herbs. For skin that is dry and itchy, especially in winter, using an oil infused with calendula flowers would be a good variation, to provide extra soothing and healing.

To make an infused oil of calendula flowers, put the fresh or dried flowers in an oven-proof dish and add oil to cover. Heat in a 115°-200° oven until the herbs become crisp. Strain off the oil and use it in the above recipe to prepare your skin cream.


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    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      The mixture of oil, water, and lecithin turns to a cream very quickly with an electric mixer. You just need a jar or bottle to put it in. Other hand-crafted toiletries (soap, shampoo, hand and body wash) are fun too! I need to put up some of my new recipes!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Wow, a lot of effort but is certainly worth it! Thanks for sharing this, passing around.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Coconut oil seems to have many health benfits, both internally and externally. I've recently started making soap with coconut oil--which has turned out to be easy and fun, with lots of creative possibilities.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      This does not sound too difficult at all. It seems I am hearing more and more about the benefits of coconuts lately also. Thanks for your very useful tips.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I prefer coconut oil for almost everything. It's fairly inexpensive, readily available, smells good, is good to cook with, and is both healing and moisturizing when applied to the skin. It also makes great homemae soap!

      What I would use for oily skin is diluted apple cider vinegar (about half water), applied like a toner with cotton balls. It is one of the finest products for dissolving grease and oil from anything. We used to clean CDs with it--and now sometimes DVDs. It is also very soothing and healing to the skin, but it's best to dilute it so it doesn't sting damaged skin or irritate your eyes.

    • Torrs13 profile image

      Tori Canonge 3 years ago from California

      Wonderful idea! I keep telling myself that I need to start making my own products at home because it's safer and cheaper. My hands get dry randomly but my face is always oily... Any recommendations for which oil would be the best option for me to use in the recipe?

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      I love this idea. This is so useful, because the commercial creams are loaded with man made chemicals.