The need for a Homemade Moisturizer
I recently moved and my hands are a wreck.
I’ve tried to keep them clean and neat, but most days I’m digging in the dirt for a living on my herb farm. I have nicks, cuts, scrapes, dirt under my finger nails, and they are dry and scaly. I’ve tried moisturizers, but many of them contain mineral oil, a petroleum byproduct, which just sits on top of the skin. I needed a homemade moisturizer that goes deeper and adds more moisture.
So maybe you’ve been cleaning the house for guests, cooking, or wrapping presents all week, and your hands show it. This process for repairing your hands is just what you need.
Start with a clean slate
Before you can get started on repairing problems, you need to clean up. First, wash all visible dirt from your hands. Don’t forget the wrists, and even part way up your arm. I’ve missed spots on my inner forearm because I thought “I just can’t be that dirty!”, but I was. Once you get all the dirt off, use a homemade hand scrub on the areas. A really simple, natural scrub is made with brown sugar and a bit of oil. You can use any type of liquid oil. I use grapeseed because it’s very close to your skin’s own natural oils. If you want to use coconut oil, just melt it a bit before mixing with the sugar. (Find organic carrier oils here.)
Use a tablespoon of brown sugar with a few drops of oil. You can also add a bit of essential oil that has some acidity. Grapefruit or orange essential oil are good choices. The acidity will break down any grease on your hands without drying them out. (Find 100% pure essential oils here.)
Take this mixture and rub it all over your hands. Keep scrubbing for about a minute or maybe more, depending on how rough your hands are. Rinse them off and you’re ready for the next step.
Pretreat your hands
When I use this scrub, I feel I’m going to lose moisture just by drying my hands. I blot them damp-dry with a towel and apply a few drops of oil. It can be the same oil you used for the scrub, or something different. It’s important to apply the oil while your skin is still damp to seal the moisture in. If your hands don’t tend to feel dry, you can skip the oil and go on to the next step.
Draw moisture in
In order for your hands to remain soft and not get dried out, you’ll need to draw moisture to your hands. You can use aloe vera gel or liquid vegetable glycerin. Both are humectants, which draw moisture in from the air and attach it to whatever it is on, in this case, your hands. I mix up this solution:
Humectant Hand Solution
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel or liquid vegetable glycerin (find natural aloe gel here or organic vegetable glycerin here)
- 1 tablespoon water
- a few drops of essential oil, lavender is a good choice here (find 100% pure lavender essential oil here)
Mix all of these together and apply a few drops to your hands and rub in. Don’t worry about the thin layer of oil that you may have used earlier. This will soak in past the oil. It may seem sticky at first, but it will dry. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more water. You can store the rest in the refrigerator for a few days in a covered container.
Now you need to seal the moisture in with the next step.
Seal moisture in
Now that you have your hands softened and used a moisturizer that will attract moisture to your hands, you need to seal the moisture in. An easy way to do this is to make a balm of beeswax and coconut oil. The coconut oil lubricates the beeswax and the beeswax seals the moisture in.
Natural Hand Repair Balm
- 1 part beeswax, pastilles or grated (find pastilles here or beeswax blocks here)
- 1 part coconut oil (find unrefined coconut oil here)
If using blocks of beeswax, grate the beeswax. Melt equal parts of oil and wax in a double boiler over medium heat. (Note: With small amounts it’s easier not to use a microwave as the containers can get very hot and hard to handle. If you are making a larger batch, you can use a microwave safe dish in the microwave.) When it is all melted, pour it into a wide mouth jar and let cool.
When it’s completely cooled, you should be able to scoop a bit out and apply it to your hands. Some waxes are harder than others, and your finished product may be too solid. If this happens, just remelt the balm and add a bit more coconut oil.
You’ll want to do this up to twice a week, but no more. If you do it more often, you could irritate your skin and make the dryness worse.
Have you used a healing balm for your work-weary hands?