A Cream for Dry Hands

Here in Central Illinois, it feels like winter has finally settled in for the season. It was about a week ago that we had freezing rain coupled with our first blanketing of snow. With the change of seasons comes the seasonal affliction of dry, chapped hands, which has been exacerbated by the extra hand washing during the pandemic. To combat the chapping of my hands, I have turned to making a small batch of hand cream that will moisturize and heal them.

I took inspiration from Ruth Goodman, one of my absolute favorite domestic historians, when she was partaking in The Victorian Farm series. (If you haven’t seen any of the farm series’ that she is a part of, please take the time to do so. They are absolutely fascinating and filled with a wealth of knowledge of daily life in different eras.)

In the third episode of The Victorian Farm, Ruth makes a hand cream for her chapped hands and a lip balm (with a hint of color for some undercover cosmetics). Her recipe calls for lard, honey, oatmeal, egg yolks, and rose water to be mixed thoroughly and stored in a jar. Note that she did not give any measurements or her source for the recipe within that video.

At this moment, I do not have all of those listed ingredients to make a batch for myself, however, I was able to create a hand cream using ingredients that I do have in my small apothecary cabinet. Thus, I am able to abide by a Victorian moral code of economy by using what I already have!

To determine the measurements of ingredients, I used a basic recipe guide for making body butter (I followed this recipe when I was pregnant to make a jar of body butter for stretch marks and dry skin). I will provide both the basic body butter recipe and the hand cream recipe I concocted in the kitchen.

A Basic Body Butter Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup base butter
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1-3 tsp of an extra

Options

  • Base Butter: shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter
  • Oil: coconut oil, almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, apricot oil
  • Extras: aloe vera, beeswax, vitamin E oil, vegetable glycerin, essential oils, rose seed hip oil

With this basic body butter recipe, you can mix and match your ingredients in each category based upon how the properties of the ingredients address your needs. Please note, this list of potential ingredients, it is not a complete list of all of the available options. This is just a short list of items that you may already have on hand or can easily acquire.

To Make Hand Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shea butter
  • 2 Tbsp jojoba oil
  • 2 Tbsp apricot oil
  • 6 drops Vitamin E oil
  • 15-20 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal

Equipment

  • Double boiler (or a glass jar and a saucepan)
  • Measuring equipment (measuring cups, tablespoons, etc.)
  • Spoon to stir
  • Blender and/or mortar and pestle
  • Immersion blender
  • Container for final product
  1. Begin by using a blender to grind up the oatmeal. I blended for a few seconds then transferred the oats to a mortar and pestle to grind the oats further. Once you have the oats ground to your desired fineness, set them aside.
  2. Melt the shea butter in the double boiler on the stove over low heat until the butter has melted. If you do not have a double boiler, simply use a a sauce pan filled with a few inches of water and place a glass jar in the water. Use the glass jar to combine the ingredients in.
  3. Once melted, remove the shea butter from the stove. Add in the jojoba oil, apricot oil, Vitamin E oil, essential oil, and ground oatmeal. Stir the mixture until it is well combined. I used an immersion blender for a few seconds to really ensure a good mixing.
  4. Pour into your container of choice. I was able to make an 8 fluid ounce mixture and divide it up evenly between two 4 ounce jars. Leave to cool and solidify.
  5. Once your hand cream has solidified, stir the mixture in the jar to help distribute the oats that have settled to the bottom throughout the hand cream.

To Use Hand Cream

Dab a small amount of hand cream on your hands and rub in as you would normally do. I intend to use this as a night time hand cream to be applied before bed (hence a reason for the calming lavender essential oil).


A note on the ingredients I chose.

I am used a blend of two oils (jojoba and apricot) in this mixture because they are both very moisturizing for the skin. Benefits of vitamin E oil include moisturizing, wound healing, and reducing skin itching. I chose lavender essential oils because I enjoy the calming scent and it soothes dry skin. And finally, the addition of oatmeal to the hand cream. Oats are a mucilaginous herb, which creates a barrier to help lock in moisture. In this hand cream, the oats are ground into a course flour and provide a gentle exfoliation of the skin.

Also, note that you can substitute any of the ingredients I used for the hand cream with any listed above in the Basic Body Butter based upon your own preferences and supplies on hand.


I hope, dear reader, you find this easy hand cream recipe to be of great use during this wintery season. I would love to know of your own results and your own combinations for this hand cream!

-Bethany


Disclaimer: If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website or in any linked materials.

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