Nourishing Rose Hand Cream {2 Versions}

Recently, a nurse I know asked if I could make her a hand cream. Because she has to wash her hands so frequently, they’d gotten really dry and cracked.

She requested a rose or honeysuckle fragrance, but since it’s hard to naturally capture the scent of honeysuckle, I went with rose.

Below are two versions of the cream that I made for her.

nourishing rose hand cream

Version one is lighter and soaks in more quickly, while version two contains the addition of beeswax and is slightly heavier.

If you’re not a fan of rose, don’t worry, I received a similar request for a hand cream for a male nurse who didn’t want a “pretty” or strong scent, so created THIS RECIPE featuring grapefruit & sweet orange essential oils.

Ingredients for Nourishing Rose Hand Cream


Below is a little breakdown of the featured ingredients I used and why I chose them.

Rose hydrosol – I used this lovely hydrosol from Mountain Rose Herbs to provide a bit of scent along with its skin soothing and calming properties.

Rosehip seed oilThis oil sinks in quickly and is helpful to regenerate, soften and protect skin.

Apricot kernel oil – I chose this oil because it’s light, absorbs quickly and has nourishing emollient properties; it also has a wonderful scent. You could also use sweet almond oil in its place, or if allergic to nuts, you could try sunflower instead.

Kokum butterThis hard butter is great for cracked dry skin; it can be interchanged with cocoa butter if you don’t have access. (Be aware that an allergy to cocoa butter can manifest as chapped red skin, so if your cream makes your hands worse or not improved, try another butter instead.)

Alkanet root powder – I use just a tiny sprinkle, added while the oils/wax combo was melting, to give a pinker tint to the lotion.

Vegetable emulsifying wax NF – This is needed to make sure the water and oils stay blended together. I always use the kind from Mountain Rose Herbs; if you use other brands of e-wax be aware that you might have to tinker with the amount a bit.

Beeswax – Only found in the second version, it gives more occlusive properties to the night cream so it stays on your skin longer.

Preservative – If this were for my personal use, I’d use 4 grams of nature-derived Leucidal SF Complete, but since it’s imperative these creams stay free of microbes (because of the nurse’s handling of critically ill and immune compromised individuals), I used 0.5 gram of Liquid Germall Plus.

Essential oils – I chose rose absolute, for the fragrance, sweet orange essential oil, for its ability to cheer and uplift, plus lavender, for its multitude of skin benefits and calming nature. (As a related note, HERE is a really interesting study about lavender + orange essential oil and improved mood.)

Add a Pinch of Alkanet Powder to Lightly Color Nourishing Rose Hand Cream


You’ll need a scale to make these hand creams. I use a little Jennings pocket scale that I bought from LotionCrafter – besides lotion/cream making, it’s also perfect for weighing essential oils for soap!

Nourishing Rose Hand Cream – Version One

This version is lighter and absorbs in easily.

  • 20 grams rose hydrosol (or more distilled water)
  • 45 grams distilled water
  • 10 grams apricot kernel oil
  • 7 grams rosehip seed oil
  • 10 grams kokum (or cocoa) butter
  • 7 grams emulsifying wax NF
  • tiny pinch of alkanet root powder (optional for color)
  • preservative of choice
  • 20 drops rose absolute
  • 4 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil

Nourishing Rose Hand Cream – Version Two

This cream is a bit richer and stays on your skin for a minute before absorbing in.

  • 30 grams distilled water
  • 20 grams rose hydrosol
  • 10 grams liquid aloe (or more distilled water)
  • 8 grams apricot kernel oil
  • 7 grams rosehip seed oil
  • 15 grams cocoa (or kokum) butter
  • 7.5 grams emulsifying wax NF
  • 2 grams beeswax
  • tiny pinch of alkanet root powder (optional for color)
  • preservative of choice
  • 10 drops rose absolute
  • 10 drops geranium essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
This nourishing rose hand cream recipe absorbs quickly into your skin without leaving a greasy feel and is perfect for those with extra dry skin.

Directions to Make

Weigh out the hydrosol and water (along with the aloe, if making version 2) in a heatproof container. I like to use small jelly/canning jars.

Weigh out the oils, butters and wax(es) in a separate heatproof container. If using, add a teeny pinch of alkanet powder for color.

Place the two containers down into a saucepan containing an inch or so of water, forming a double boiler of sorts. Turn the burner to medium low and heat until the butter and wax is fully melted. (This takes about 15 to 20 minutes for me, your time may vary.)

Pour the hot liquid and oils into a clean jar and stir, stir, stir. (I use a fork.) Stir frequently until the lotion starts to thicken as it cools. To speed things up, you can set the jar down into a bowl of ice water while stirring.

Once cool enough for your preservative, stir it in, then add the essential oils and mix well.

If using Leucidal SF Complete, use 4 grams. If using Liquid Germall Plus, use 0.5 g. If you have another preservative you want to use, check with the vendor you purchase it from & they should have usage rates available. Also, LotionCrafter keeps the usage rates listed on their site for reference.

Pour into containers or jars. I got the little tube containers shown in the photo above from LotionCrafter and the amber glass jars from Specialty Bottle.

Shelf life will depend on how it’s stored and the type of preservative used. If you use a nature derived one (I like Leucidal SF Complete) you will probably get a 1 to 3 months shelf life; more traditional preservatives (like the Liquid Germall Plus I used for this cream) will stay fresh for much longer. If you don’t want to use a preservative, then refrigerate your cream and use it up within a week or so. (Related: HERE is a blog post detailing the results of an experiment I did with some nature derived preservatives. Look for updated tests and information in 2018!)




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Body Butter Ipad
This DIY nourishing rose hand cream recipe is perfect for those with dry chapped hands. Its light texture absorbs readily into your skin, leaving it softer and smoother.
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  1. Thank you so much for the lovely and informative posts. Can you please share how much “preservative of choice” the Leucidal SL Complete or Liquid Germall Plus you use in your recipes for the rose or grapefruit / sweet orange hand creams?

    1. Hi Patti! Thanks for asking! I put the amount in the ingredient breakdown, but forgot to put it in the actual directions. Sorry about that – I’ll go in and fix that up! :)
      I’d use 4 grams of nature-derived Leucidal SF Complete, or 0.5 gram of Liquid Germall Plus.

  2. My dearest friend, i wanted to thank you for your really searched suspensions.But Ι but I would like to ask you a question with no ill intention, about the orange essential oil which use to your cream. Isn’t it phototoxic? I mean that doesn’t create spots when we use it with sun?
    Thank you so much and i’m waiting your answer with impatience.

    Merry Christmans!

    1. Hi Irene, That’s a great question! I meant to address that in the post & forgot; thanks for the reminder!
      Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) is a form of orange not considered phototoxic and grapefruit essential oil can be used with proper dilution.
      Here’s an excellent article with information, charts and proper dilution rates you might enjoy reading:
      I hope you have a Merry Christmas too! :)

  3. Thank you Jan for the lovely recipes.I’ll be getting these supplies soon to make the rose hand cream.They sound so wonderful and my desperately dry hands will thank you more so. Have a wonderful and Merry Christmas. Smiles from TN.

  4. Hello Jan, I really started enjoying your website a few days ago. You have covered everything I have had taken interested in recently. Thank you so much for sharing wonderful knowledge here. Here’s my question on emulsifier. Can Shea butter act as emulsifier? I had purchased Stearyl alcohol as emulsifier but have not been able to get a cream texture like ones in your picture. Have you experimented with these two ingredients before?

    1. Hi Mia! So glad to hear you’re enjoying the website! :) Shea butter won’t act as an emulsifier, though if used in high enough amount it could thicken a cream more. I haven’t used stearyl alcohol alone before, but from what I understand, it’s used more as a thickener, or in conjunction with another ingredient to make a complete emulsifier. For this recipe, you’ll definitely want to get a complete emulsifying wax so it won’t separate and you’ll get a nice creamy texture.

    1. Hi Claudia! The “NF” means that the emulsifying wax was made with a set list of National Formulary standards. So if you see one type of emulsifying wax NF, then you know another brand that’s also described as emulsifying wax NF *should* work in a similar manner. However, there will be variations from brand to brand; some work better than others! I like the emulsifying wax from Mountain Rose Herbs because it always works very consistently for me.

  5. Thank you for the wonderful recipe. After cooling, my lotion felt a little “grainy”, I used the Kokum Butter. Is this normal? Otherwise absolutely love the scent with the EO blend.

    1. Hi Camille! Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), sometimes called Egyptian geranium, essential oil has a rosy scent that can be used in place of rose absolute. Since rose is so expensive, I use only geranium instead in rose-themed soap recipes. It works great!

  6. Hi, your recipe sounds delicious and I look forward to making up a batch, or 10. What is the yield for this recipe? 2 Cups maybe? Thanks

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