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
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 in this recipe is Geogard Ultra, a broad-spectrum agent used in natural and organic creams and the thickener is xanthan gum, a product of sugar fermentation and used in the food industry. If you’d like a thinner cream, you can 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.
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)
- Fresh or dried rose petals
- Distilled water
- 0.18 oz Rosehip seed oil 5 g
- 1/2 tsp Geogard Ultra* (Gluconolactone & Sodium Benzoate & Calcium Gluconate) 1.5 g
- 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.
- While the hand cream is cooling, mix the Geogard Ultra and rosewater together. It helps to warm the rosewater a little, so you could place it in a ramekin and warm it in the pan of hot water.
- When the rose hand cream has cooled, stir in the cooling phase ingredients.
- If you make this hand cream without a preservative, it will last up to one week in the refrigerator. After that time, invisible bacteria and fungi will begin colonizing it and it will probably not be something you want to put on your face. Microbes love a water-based environment!To preserve it for longer, you will need to add a broad-spectrum preservative. While there are optional ingredients in the cooling phase the Geogard Ultra, or another true preservative is not one of them. Many other broad-spectrum preservatives need adding at precise amounts and temperatures. If you choose another type, please refer to the manufacturer's instructions.
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 effectivity 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) up 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.