Rose Hand Cream Recipe with Honey and Rosewater
Make this rich and moisturizing handmade rose hand cream recipe using wild rose petals and raw honey. Includes step-by-step instructions and guidance on lotion ingredients
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Making lotion and skincare can seem a little daunting. What is it made of anyway? Each formulation is different but at the heart of all lotion recipes is water, oil, and an ingredient that will bind them together — to emulsify them. This wild rose hand cream recipe is no different, though the water is replaced by rosewater. The final product is a rich cream that you can use to condition and moisturize your hands or body.
gives a brief introduction to the key ingredients. It’s a relatively simple process that involves mixing rose petal-infused water with oils and other ingredients including an emulsifier. It’s a floral-scented moisturizing cream that can be stored in a pot or jar for up to 18 months. Once opened, you should use it within six months.
Rose Water Infusion
Rosewater is a wonderful ingredient to use in your handmade creams since it smells beautiful and is sensitive enough for most skin types. Using it on your skin will help soothe inflammation and even skin tone.
You can purchase true distilled Rose Water in health food stores and some supermarkets as it’s used in cooking. One of my favorite food recipes that uses it is Turkish delight! If you have access to rose petals, you can also make a version of it yourself using this infusion method. If using fresh, I would recommend that you use old-fashioned, apothecary, or wild roses.
Rose Hand Cream Ingredients
You’ll need quite a few other base ingredients to make your own cream which will include your emulsifying agents, oils and butters, humectants (moisture adding/trapping element), thickeners, and a preservative.
If you choose not to use a preservative in your cream please note that your final product must be kept refrigerated and should be used within a week. Any product that contains water is a place where bacteria and fungus can grow and they’ll be present even if you can’t see the contamination.
Lotion Ingredients and What They Do
The preservative I use in this recipe is Geogard Ultra, a broad-spectrum agent used in natural and organic creams. You can use it or another broad-spectrum preservative. The thickener is xanthan gum, a product of sugar fermentation used in the food industry. If you’d like a thinner cream, leave xanthan gum out of this recipe.
Sodium lactate is a natural alpha-hydroxy that is also produced through the fermentation of sugar. It provides a smooth and slick texture and extra moisture, but again, is optional.
Emulsifying wax is the ingredient that will marry all the ingredients used to make the cream. On the molecular level, this brittle and waxy substance attracts water to itself on one end and oil on the other. If you do not use an appropriate emulsifier, then your cream will eventually separate back into water and oil.
Using Honey in Creams
The humectant I’ve chosen for this recipe is pure honey – from my own bees, of course! If you don’t produce your own, you can easily purchase a pot from a local health food store or beekeeping association.
Humectants work to draw water from the surrounding air, helping to keep your skin naturally moisturized. A little bit goes a long way, though, so be careful not to go overboard with this ingredient – too much and your cream will feel sticky. For even more uses for honey, head over here.
Rich and Protective Oils
The oils chosen for this recipe are protective, moisturizing, and easily absorbed by the skin. Shea butter is rich and creamy, and rice bran will seep in to help keep your hands feeling soft and smooth. The rosehip seed oil that you add in the cooling phase is a delicate oil that nourishes your skin. It’s also used in anti-aging formulas.
More Rose Recipes
- Rose Petal Facial Mist Recipe
- Homemade Rose Facial Soap Recipe
- Make Rose Water Facial Toner
- Picking and Drying Rose Hips for Tea
Rose Hand Cream Recipe with Honey and Rosewater
- Digital Kitchen Scale (able to measure down to 0.01 g)
- Large saucepan
- Small glass jar (100ml)
Homemade Rosewater (optional step)
- 2.37 fl. oz Rosewater 70 ml
- 1/4 tsp Honey 2 g
- 1/2 tsp Sodium lactate 2 g
- 0.35 oz Emulsifying wax NF 10 g
- 0.35 oz Ricebran oil 10 g
- 0.18 g Shea butter 5 g
- 1/16 tsp Xanthan gum
- 0.18 oz Rosehip seed oil 5 g
- Broad Spectrum Preservative*
- 2 tsp Rosewater
- 20 drops Vitamin e oil Optional
- 5-10 drops Rose Absolute Alternatives: rose otto or rose-geranium essential oils
Make the Rosewater
- True rosewater is the byproduct of rose essential oil distillation. You can either purchase it to use in this recipe or make a simple rose-infusion. The process is over here and usually results in a pink liquid. True rosewater is clear.
Prepare the Oil & Water Phases
- Sterilize all of your equipment by running it through the dishwasher. Wash your hands thoroughly, and consider wearing disposable gloves while making rose hand cream.
- Measure the ingredients of the oil phase into one heat-proof glass jar. Stir well to incorporate the xanthan gum.
- Measure the water phase ingredients in a second jar. Next, place both the jars in a large saucepan that has a folded kitchen towel or washcloth at the bottom. This is to keep the direct heat of the pan from cracking the glass jars.
- Fill the pan with an inch of water. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep the jars in the hot water until the oil phase is completely melted and the contents of both jars are about 165°F (75°C). Take the jars out, and place them on a kitchen towel on the counter.
- Next, pour the water phase into the oil-phase jar. You'll see it immediately turn an opaque milky color. Gently stir with a spoon for several minutes, then let it cool for ten minutes. Leave the spoon inside the jar since you'll need to return five minutes later to give it another stir. At this point the cream will be liquidy, so don't panic if it's not thick.
- Cool the hand cream to 120°F (49°C). As it cools, it will thicken up slightly. Return every twenty minutes or so to gently stir.
- When the rose hand cream has cooled, stir in the cooling phase ingredients. If the preservative you're using is powdered, mix it with the rose water before stirring it into the cream.
Testing the pH
- Now we need to test for pH. Stir a half teaspoon of rose hand cream in 1-2 tsp distilled water. Dip one of your pH papers into liquid and then compare the color to the ones on the pack. Lotion and skin creams need to match the pH of your skin, or they can be irritating and affect the effectiveness of preservatives. If the pH is between 4.5-5.5, you're spot on. You can make the hand cream more acidic (lower the pH) by adding tiny amounts of lactic acid or citric acid dissolved in a small amount of warm, distilled water. Make it more alkaline (increase the pH) with triethanolamine or by dissolving a small amount of L-Arginine or bicarbonate (baking soda) in water and adding it. Pass it through the sieve and into the lotion. Take the pH reading again and adjust again if needed.
- Using a rubber spatula, spoon the rose hand cream into a sterile container and seal. You can begin using it immediately but it will continue thickening up over the next few days.
I’m excited to try this recipe…it looks so decadent! What would you suggest as a replacement for xanthan gum? Could I use a small amount of stearic acid in the heated phase to thicken it? If so, how much would you suggest?
Thanks for the wonderful recipes and all your hard work! I appreciate it so much!
Hi Lisa and you could leave xanthan gum out if you wish. It’s a thickener, and without it the cream will just have a runnier consistency (like lotion). Yes, you could add other thickeners in if you wish, including stearic acid, carnauba wax, beeswax, and guar gum.
Where did you purchase your aqua glass cream container?
Thank you :) I’s a vintage piece — a friend gave it to me after finding it in a second hand shop.
Thank you for sharing your instructions and recipe.
I just came across your Wild Rose and Honey hand cream. I would like to make a larger amount than what the recipe is. I would like to convert to a larger batch but I am having a hard time. Do you by chance have percentages for each ingredient in the recipe. That would make it easier to convert for me.
are there variations to this cream? For example, how would I make a lemon cream, or raspberry cream.
If you decided to use lotion base, how would you make this?
this cream better for oily skin?
this cream used better for oily skin?
This sounds amazing and sooo giftable! I would love to link to your how-to if you didn't mind.
Hi, I'm going to try and make your hand cream but was wondering if it was possible to use beeswax instead of emulsifying wax and if so, how much beeswax to use?
Hi I enjoyed reading the posting, I like making my own cosmetics too and I would love to try this one. I can get a hold of most of ingredients here. The problem however, is that I can't find Geoguard Ultra and Sodium Lactate. I have found one website where they sell Geoguard Ultra but they sell it by pounds ( I don't need that much!) and its too expensive. Where did you buy them?
You can use another preservative instead of Geogard Ultra if you can't find it. Another alternative would be to combine Potassium Sorbate with benzyl alcohol and phenoxyethoanol – speak to your local supplier of beauty products for more information on what they offer and advise. Also, Sodium Lactate is an extra humicant (honey is also) and you can omit it if you choose.
Hi! i really hope i can find all the ingredients here in Argentina, ive never made lotions, (just played around with butters and oils) What would be a good natural preservative to make it last?
Hi Olenka – I've been using Geogard Ultra, which is a preservative approved for 'natural' and organic skincare but you'll have a wide choice of preservatives out there that you can use. What I'd recommend is getting in touch with a local distributor of ingredients for creams and lotions and discuss your options.
Gonna do it!
Have fun Sheryl :)
i've been thinking about starting to make my own soap and bath bombs, but now i want to make this too!
i was wondering, for how long can you use this cream? i mean how long till it starts going bad?
thank you so much!
Hi JayC :) The cream will be good for a year if you use preservatives. If no preservatives are used, you should refrigerate it and use within two weeks.
Love this Tanya! I'm new to your page but in the short time I've enjoyed your blog, I have learned so much! And plan to keep coming back for more! IVe made a few things so far but cream is something I have started working on …I also signed up for some work/shop/courses at the Montreal Botanical Gardens …I really look forward too them! They start this week, Sept 13th :-) ….
Sounds like it will be a fun course! Good to hear from you Moon and hope to see you on Lovely Greens again :)
And another amazing tutorial from Tanya! I am going to have to try this.
Have fun Leigh :)
You amaze me with the neat things you come up with! I like your mason jars, I hope you can find lids in the UK, they are getting expensive here so I use the reusable ones from Tattler (an online company).
I ordered some Tattler lids but have yet to try them out…I'm saving them for bottling tomatoes!
I can almost smell that hand cream from here Tanya.
Awesome…I was waiting for this post…can't wait to make it!
Have fun EJ and let me know how it goes :)
Beautiful post and I bet that cream smells amazing!! :)
It does smell gorgeous…rose & ylang ylang :)