It looks like the homemade hand cream wins today for my Recipe Weekend project, mainly because I’m still in the land of avocado and bananas with my baby (for which I don’t need a recipe), and my hands still feel the toll of last night’s culinary creations. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you are undoubtedly not alone; for more on this, and what inspired the red-hot debate on the topic for this recipe weekend, check out this blog post. In short, I was trying to decide whether to explore the world of solid foods today or the world of homemade cosmetics to cure my case of dishpan hands — clearly, beauty won over function.
Or did it? Honestly, I call this hand cream, but feel free to get creative and use it for rashes, small wounds, hand and foot massage, even Summer after-sun care. Did I say foot massage? I (and now you!) can use it to pamper baby’s tush as well – it’s a beautiful diaper rash cream. The high aloe vera content not only keeps this cream light and soothing, it also makes this made-in-the -shade as a great post-sun cream. Coconut oil, even by itself may be the best lotion I’ve ever tried, and its antifungal and antibacterial properties imbue this cream with great rash, irritation, and cradle cap potential. The chamomile and calendula soothe skin inflammation; as far as I’m concerned, calendula is the gold standard in healing skin conditions. Lavender imbues it’s antiseptic and calming properties, and the almond oil base is full of vitamin e, a real skin healer with a smooth texture and gentle nature for sensitive skin. Plus, since over 60 percent of everything we apply to the skin gets absorbed into the body, I love that I could -theoretically – eat it. My son asked me that. Feel free. But I don’t recommend it.
This is a jane-of-all-trades kind of cream.
Jane-of-All-Trades Silky Hand Cream
- 1/2 C. sweet almond oil
- 1/2 C. coconut oil
- 1/4 C. dried chamomile flowers
- 1/8 C. dried calendula flowers
- 1/8 C. dried lavender flowers (optional)
- 1 oz beeswax
- 1 C. aloe vera gel
- 15 drops lavender essential oil (again optional, feel free to substitute with 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oils)
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil
- 1 tsp vitamin e oil or wheat germ oil (skin nourishing and act as preservatives)
Step by Step Direcitons —>
#1. Melt the almond oil and coconut oil on low heat in a double boiler, until coconut oil liquifies completely.
#2. Add the dried chamomile, calendula and lavender flowers. Stir on low heat for 30 minutes.
#3. Remove the oil from heat and strain out oil from herbs, leaving you with a transparent yellow oil. I use a piece of cheesecloth placed over a strainer, and strain the oil into a sterile glass measuring cup or bowl. (I sterilize all jars and bowls I intend to use prior to using, in case I decide to use this on rashes or irritated skin — either boil everything in big stewpot for 10 minutes, or put it in dishwasher on sterilize/high heat setting.)
#4. Pour the chamomile-calendula-lavender oil back into a rinsed double boiler (I like to take the little bits out of the double boiler before re-using, so I get a really clean-textured end product.) Add the beeswax and melt it into the oil on low heat.
#5. Let oil and beeswax mixture cool to room temperature. You can pour it into a blender for this step. (Want to cheat? Put it in the freezer for a few minutes, as long as your bowl is not too hot to the touch – or not glass – but whatever you do, don’t skip this step. When the impatience monster rears its head in me, I get a more cottage-cheesy consistency to my lotion – the watery parts of the lotion separate.)
#6. While the oils cool, in a separate bowl, whisk together the aloe vera gel, vitamin e and the essential oils of your choice.
#7. Pour the aloe-vitamin e-essential oil gradually into the cooled oil/beeswax. Blend the aloe vera mix and the cooled oils together by adding the aloe mix slowly to blender, or use a handheld immersion blender and add aloe in small increments until completely combined.
#8. Place in jars of choice, on hands, next to diaper changing station, into gift bags for friends and, if you don’t go through lotion quickly, in the refrigerator. I keep mine in amber or cobalt jars to preserve the integrity of the essential oils as best I can. It makes about 16-20 ounces or so, and will last at least 6 weeks refrigerated.
Final note on preparation: homemade oils may separate if they get warm, so if you want to keep it well-mixed, keep it in a cool place. If it does separate, mix again and cool.