Make This: Your Own Hand Cream, Part 2

If you end up making more than you can use (and you will, even I do) this also makes a kick arse present.
Publish date:
September 14, 2014
hand cream, cosmetics, weekend, make this, toiletries, lotions

Welcome back! Here’s where we get right into the sticky, gooey heart of the process -- making your cream. This is the recipe I worked from, so it’s slightly different to the one from Point of Interest that I based it off.

As my Great Guru of Cosmetic Science, Michelle from Lab Muffin helped me convert the percentages listed in the original recipe to weights and volume measurements, taking into account the different density of the various oils and butters. This version of the recipe makes approximately 100 mL (about four fluid ounces) of cream, and you’ll need a bit of equipment as well as all your ingredients.


  • Two pots and hotplates to put them on
  • A small, accurate scale -- it does need to be able to measure parts of a gram, but not to a millionth or anything super fancy.
  • Measuring spoons
  • Assorted plastic beakers, preferably with measurements on the side
  • At least one oral syringe, a couple if you can -- you can get these at most chemists.
  • A milk thermometer -- again, two are better if you can.
  • A stick blender -- it’s possible to do this with a whisk, but good lord why would you do that to your wrists?


Water Phase

  • 60 mL water
  • 2 mL glycerin

Oil Phase

  • 8 mL fractionated coconut oil
  • 4 mL rosehip oil
  • 4 mL macadamia oil
  • 5.5 g shea butter
  • 5.5 g mango butter
  • 6 g e-wax
  • 3 g stearic acid

Cool Down Phase

  • 0.5 mL Optiphen ND
  • 1 mL fragrance

Now, the actual process takes a bit of juggling, so if you can get an extra pair of hands in the kitchen, awesome. If not, make sure you have everything laid out before you start.

You’ll be “cooking” up two parts of the formula, then mixing them together, and they both need to be heated gently and evenly.

If you happen to have two double boilers, super -- this will be a piece of cake. Just measure everything out as detailed below and pop them in your double boilers.

If you’re like me and you DON’T have two double boilers, you’ll need two pots and two containers for holding your ingredients big enough to sit in them without falling in. If you have measuring jugs, these are awesome for this since you can hold on to them.

Get your two pots set up about half full of water, and let them heat up until they’re nice and bubbly while you measure everything else out into your two jugs/bowls.

Into one jug or bowl, measure out all your Oil Phase ingredients. All the butters, oils, e-wax, and stearic acid go into this container.

Use the oral syringe for your oils -- trying to measure 2 mL in teaspoons or whatever is a NIGHTMARE, but a little syringe will suck just the right amount out of the bottle no problem.

The syringe is no good for butters, so dig those out with your measuring spoons and be sure to weigh them as accurately as you can before adding them in. E-wax usually comes as itty bitty little nuggets, so it can be a little tricky to weigh out absolutely accurately -- it’s no big deal if you’re a tiny bit under or over, just get as close as you can.

Once your oils and butters are all cosy in their jug or bowl, measure out your Water Phase ingredients -- 65-70 mL of water and a dash of glycerin. No, that’s not a typo; do be sure to put more water into the container than you’ll actually need at the end -- evaporation means you can lose a chunk of water while you’re heating it, and if you don’t allow for it your ratios will be all off.

Pop your bowls/jugs into the bubbling pans of water and hold them there, until the contents of both bowls are 70°C.

You can keep track of the temperature by popping your milk thermometer on the side of the container -- now you see why having two is better. If you only have one, be sure to wipe it off well before moving it from one container to the other.

The oil phase will (should) all melt together as it heats up -- don’t fret if the little chunks of e-wax take a little longer to melt than the rest of it. They will eventually vanish, and you’ll end up with a jug of hot, smooth oil.

When the contents of both containers get to 70°C, measure out your water again so you’ve got exactly 62 mL, then CAREFULLY add it to your oil phase container. I emphasize carefully because I’ve managed to spill an entire batch over my stove top at this stage and it just really really sucks.

So, don’t do that.

It’ll look like milky water at this point, so don’t fret, it’s supposed to look like that.

The next part is kind of fun -- jam your stick blender into the mixture and just blend the CRAP out that stuff for at least three minutes. Just PULVERIZE it.

If you’ve only got a whisk, well, do your best. You’re going to have to put your whole back into it for at least 10 minutes.

Keep an eye on the temperature with your trusty milk thermometer while you’re pulverizing or whisking -- once the mixture gets to 45°C, it’s time to pause for a moment to add your preservative and fragrance.

Then just get right back to pulverizing it again. You’ll notice as it cools it very rapidly gets quite thick and creamy -- or, rather, it SHOULD. If it still looks like milky water once it’s cooled down, something’s gone awry and it probably won’t set properly.

But if it starts to look a bit like a really smooth cake batter, with little pillowy peaks in it, congratulations!

At this stage you can go ahead and spoon it into whatever container you want to keep it in. Because I’m a snob, I like to get little cosmetic jars from the same places I get my ingredients.

But any sealable jar will do -- heck, pop it in a jam jar if that’s what you’ve got. I’d advise letting it set in the jar for a couple of hours before you go poking at it, but after that I like to give it a good stir or a few firm-but-careful slams on the table to pop all the itty bitty bubbles that come to the surface after the pulverizing process.

And there you have it! If you end up making more than you can use (and you will, even I do) this also makes a kick arse present.

How'd the process go for you? Do you have any questions? Ask them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.