Make your own hand lotion: a silky smooth lotion bar for those who love gardening with bare hands.

I love gardening with bare hands  – feeling the soil and sensing it’s moisture, being able to gently handle seedlings and seeds, rubbing herbs with in my fingers to release the scent.
Gardening is a sensory delight. I’ve tried gloves of all sorts, but always end up bare-handed, and usually bare-footed again in the garden.  I just feel so much more connected.
But I have to admit, my hands do get sore sometimes. To help prevent my hands from getting sore and to rehydrate them afterward, I have made this lotion to use before and after doing a big gardening session.
Morag’s Natural Moisturising Lotion
  • 50 grams coconut oil (I use organic cold pressed fair trade)
  • 50 grams beeswax (I use a local organic beeswax)
  • 50 grams cocoa butter (similarly, I use an organic fair trade product)
  • 15 drops essential oil (in the latest version, I used an organic mandarin oil with a few drops of peppermint)


  1. Melt the oil, wax and butter together in a bowl over boiling water.
  2. Stir gently until melted and mixed.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the essential oil.
  4. Pour into forms
  5. Allow to set (5-10 minutes)
  6. Remove from forms and store.


These are shelf-stable. I am storing mine in a container on the bathroom shelf to use after I wash my hands.
Just a little is all you need. As you begin to rub it into your skin it melts and is absorbed.
I used an old ceramic bowl to melt the butter, oil and wax over boiling water.


Pour and allow to set before removing mould and storing.
Today I was having fun today experimenting with various forms to make little samples – little paper cups, big paper cups, waxed paper in mini-muffin pan. They all worked wonderfully.
These paper cups make excellent forms for the lotion. The little rounds pop out and if handle carefully, the cups can be reused over and over.
More than just a hand lotion, these are great as an all-over body moisturising butter. Excellent too for rough elbows, knees and feet.
I am constantly fossicking around in the garden – tending, planting, harvesting, playing…. I don’t mind the dirt under my fingernails, and the short gardeners nails, but when I get cuts or skin cracks they hurt. These little bars of soothing lotion are super at preventing this.


13 Responses

  1. Meg Hopeful
    Meg Hopeful at |

    I am a no gloves, no boots kind of girl too…well, no boots until I stood on a snake a while ago giving it, and myself, a rather big fright! (Thankfully, harmless but still I have been remembering my gumboots of late:) I get cracked skin around my heels so I'm hoping these will help moisturise the skin and stop that happening. Thanks for the recipe and idea of storing them next to sink in bathroom as that would help me remember to use them. Meg:)

  2. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Thanks Robyn. Looking forward to reading your stories soon too.

  3. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Hi Meg, I stepped on a snake too last week. Poor thing! It was a very odd feeling – squishy, cold, writhing…I jumped so high. I wasn't out gardening though – I was out doing an after-dinner full moon paper aeroplane extravaganza with the kids. I keep my eye out during the day – and do a bit of stomping in the food forest so they can feel my vibration and disappear before I get there.

  4. Robyn at Chevallum
    Robyn at Chevallum at |

    Thanks Morag, I'm loving your short stories and practical ideas. They are thoughtful and achievable. Cheers. Robyn

  5. Dreams
    Dreams at |

    Great to hear of such a simple recipe! Have you by any chance done any experimenting with using locally produced oils instead of the coconut and cocoa? I love the idea but I'm trying to live locally – maybe olive oil?

  6. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Great question – and I love what you are doing aiming to live as locally as possible! Yes you can do it (leaving out the butter), but it becomes more of a salve/balm. I have tried with good quality local olive oil, and also macadamia and avocado oils which are local for me too. The proportion of oil to beeswax is also higher than in the recipe above – 10:1 for a soft balm and 4:1 for a stiffer blend. I typically use this mix when I am making comfrey or calendula infused healing salves.

  7. Lisa Michelle
    Lisa Michelle at |

    Oh WoW! I bet that mandarin oil smells heavenly!
    Do they need to be kept in the fridge or in a jar in case they melt, or does the beeswax hold them together in the hot weather?

    Where do you get organic essential oils?
    I used to shop at Perfect Potion years ago here in Brisbane but not sure they're organic

  8. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Hi Lisa, You can leave them on the shelf. This amount of beeswax holds them together in the hot weather (well and truly tested here this week!).Pretty sure Perfect Potion has organic essential oils – love the scent of that place as you walk in. I get my oils from the Maple Street Coop in Maleny. There are some Australian places you can find organic oils online if you google

  9. localgreen
    localgreen at |

    Awesome! I'll have to give it a try 🙂

  10. localgreen
    localgreen at |

    Aweseome, thanks! I'll have to give it a try 🙂

  11. samia hussain
    samia hussain at |

    nice post

  12. Donna Kalch
    Donna Kalch at |

    I think you could also use this as a face cleanser & moisturiser too as I make a similar one. The only problem, I would have to sub the coconut oil as strangely I come out in a pimply rash when I use it on my face or body. Very sad as I use it in foods and cooking as much as poss 🙁

  13. iqra
    iqra at |

    nice post