Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Handmade Mother's Day Gifts - Affordable, Natural DIY Hand Cream, Moisturising Body Lotion and Hand Lotion Bars

Make your own personalised blend of luscious natural hand creams and lotions for Mother's Day - and make a simple treat for yourself and friends too.  

Mother's Day is this Sunday in Australia - here are some superb gifts to make.
Making creams and lotions at home is relatively new for me and I just love it - how simple they are to make, how affordable they are, how fabulous they feel, how you can take charge of what you put on your skin, and that these are almost good enough to eat! I wish you could smell too them from where you are.

Until recently I didn’t realise I was capable of making such beautiful creams, lotions and salves using ingredients already in my kitchen and garden. I’ve been really enjoying experimenting with adding a variety of herbs directly from the garden too - aloe vera, comfrey, lemon myrtle, calendula, and more…

I don’t typically buy or use many beauty products because I react to the ingredients and scents in many products, but I do like to use a good night moisturiser and some after-gardening hand cream - and the recipes below are just great. Buying organic products for sensitive skins can become quite expensive,  so it is liberating to be able to create my own personalised blends with the various thickness I like to use.

Over the past few days, I have been having a wonderful time showing people how to create their own blends of creams and lotions in a series of workshops at the Planting Festival at Woodford. The sessions were overflowing - women, men and children. I also led workshops about how to make beeswax cloths, and a children’s eco-art session.

Here are some basic recipes I use to make hand cream, a soothing skin lotion and a solid lotion bar.

The ingredients I use are typically found in my pantry and garden. They are affordable and contain no chemicals, preservatives or synthetic scents. Perfect for anybody, but particularly great for those with sensitive skin and children too.


This lusciously smooth cream just melts into your skin and makes it feel super hydrated.


  • 15 grams Aloe Vera gel (peeled)
  • 100 mL water
  • 120 mL oil (olive oil, grapeseed oil)
  • 15 grams beeswax (grated)


  • 1 tbsp cocoa butter
  • 1 tsp jojoba oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey


  • Wide mouth jar (approx 600 -750 mL)
  • Saucepan
  • Stick blender
  • Food processor (small bowl)
  • Little jars or tins 


  1. Place the beeswax and oil in a wide-mouth jar and sit in a pot of water.
  2. Heat the water and gently simmer until the beeswax has melted and combined with the oil. If using cocoa butter, add into this mix and melt too.
  3. Take off the heat and allow to cool almost to room temperature (just starting to solidify on the edge, but still soft in the middle.)
  4. While the beeswax/oil mix is cooling, blend the aloe vera and water together in a small food processor. 
  5. (Variation: instead of aloe vera water, you can use plain water, lemon myrtle tea, rose water etc - it’s up to your imagination really)
  6. As soon as you notice the beeswax mix is cool enough, place the stick blender in the jar and blend thoroughly.
  7. While the blender is still on, slowly add the aloe/water mix - bit by bit. 
  8. Almost magically, it will turn into cream (the oil and water will emulsify).
  9. Transfer into jars and seal well.
  10. Because this recipe contains water and no preservatives, it is less shelf-stable. It should last a month so make it in small batches.


I harvest a big leaf of aloe vera and stand it up in a jar for a little while to drain out the yellow liquid (can even do this overnight). This liquid is the plant’s latex which can cause skin irritations. Also, as I chop the leaf, I wash off any extra yellow liquid leaving just the soothing gel like substance we are looking for.


Here is a recipe for a convenient non-messy solid bar of skin softening hands - but also elbows and heels. These lotion bars stay solid at room temperature, but soften beautifully when you rub them on your skin. The could last for 12 months, but probably won't have the chance too - they are so nice to use.


  • 125gms coconut oil  
  • 125gms cocoa butter
  • 125 gms beeswax


  • 10 drops Vitamin E oil
  • 10 drops essential oils


  • Wide mouth jar (approx 500 -650 mls)
  • Saucepan
  • Moulds


  1. Combine all ingredients (except Vit E and essential oils if using) in a jar and place in a small saucepan of water.
  2. Gently heat the water and stir ingredients constantly until they are melted together.
  3. Remove from heat and add the essential oils and stir gently in.
  4. Carefully pour the liquid into moulds or whatever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden in - silicone cupcake forms, paper cupcake forms…
  5. Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of moulds.


This is a nourishing and rich lotion - great for your hands, feet and body. It is such a rich blend and will last a long time.  If you use comfrey infused oil in place of the olive oil, it becomes a wonderful healing lotion - good for minor cuts and scrapes, bruises, dry skin, joint and muscle pain and even arthritis.


  • 125 mL olive oil
  • 65 gms coconut oil
  • 65 gms beeswax (grated)


  • 10 drops Vitamin E oil
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Butter 
  • 10 drops essential oils, vanilla extract, honey, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference

  • Medium Jar (approx 500 -650 mls)
  • Saucepan
  • Jars or tins

  1. Combine oils and beeswax in a glass jar (and cocoa butter if desired)
  2. Place the jar in a saucepan of water and gently heat and stir until melted. 
  3. Take off heat and add vitamin E and essential oils.
  4. When all ingredients are completely melted, pour into little jars or tins. (It will not pump well)

This lotion has a longer shelf life than some homemade lotion recipes since all ingredients are shelf stable and water has not been added. It is recommended that you use this within 6 months.

Enjoy, experiment, and create lots of wonderful gifts to share.

1 comment:

  1. I have made your hand lotion bars (from another post you did with the recipe) and kept meaning to write and say thank you! They are just fantastic, so easy to make and very moisturizing. I have made them for all my friends & family and they love them too! My sister saves all the little leftover bits, warms them through again and pours the mix into an old lip balm stick ~ she says it's the best lip balm she's ever used! ☺