Homemade scrubs and creams for hard working hands

If you’re anything like us, your hands will be suffering at this time of year. Cold weather, housework, chemical cleaning products and cooking can all take their toll, resulting in anything from dry skin to painful cracks on finger ends.

The good news is that you can make your own pampering, chemical-free hand products at home – and you’ll probably have a lot of the ingredients already in your kitchen cupboard. Here’s what to do!

Hand soak

The simple hand soak is great for gardeners, and help soften skin ready for exfoliating. Use it once a week, ideally before the hand scrub.

  • 500ml warm water
  • 250ml apple cider vinegar
  • 25ml olive oil
  • A few drops of your favourite essential oil

Mix everything together, and sit with your hands immersed for ten minutes. Dry your hands on kitchen paper, then apply hand scrub.

Hand scrub

Coarse sea salt makes a brilliant, natural exfoliator

Coarse sea salt makes a brilliant, natural exfoliator

Step one is to exfoliate and remove traces of dry and hard skin. Make your own handscrub as follows:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (to soften and moisturise)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (to moisturise and bind the mixture)
  • 1 good tablespoon runny honey (for its antibacterial properties)
  • small handful coarse sea salt (both salt and sugar are great exfoliators and also have mildly antiseptic properties)
  • small handful granulated sugar
  • juice and zest of half a lemon (lemon juice helps remove strong kitchen odours such as onion and garlic from your hands, and helps the scrub smell fresh)

Put everything in a large bowl, and mix it together until full combined. Put it all in a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid. To use, put around half a teaspoon of the mixture on your hands and rub them together, not forgetting the heels of your hands, between your fingers and around your nails. Rinse your hands with warm water, and dry them (don’t use soap!) The rest of the mixture will keep for several weeks. Once you’ve been using this scrub for a while, you may find you don’t need to apply hand cream afterwards. Use once or twice a week for best results.

Hand balm

Personalise your hand balm by adding your own favourite essential oil - orange, rose, lavender and sage all work well. 

Personalise your hand balm by adding your own favourite essential oil – orange, rose, lavender and sage all work well. 

If your hands are really in a bad way, this intensive balm will get you back on track. Apply sparingly to affected areas – it also makes a nice lip balm.
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 100ml sweet almond or grapeseed oil (available from healthfood shops)
  • 1 good tablespoon coconut oil
  • 25g beeswax (available online or at farmers’ markets)
  • 150ml strongly brewed chamomile tea
  • 8 to 12 drops of essential oil of your choice, for scenting (lavender, etc)

Put the oils except the essential oils in a saucepan, and finely grate the beeswax and add it in. Heat the mixture over a very low heat, stirring all the time, until it dissolves and mixes properly. In the meantime, put the tea in a large bowl. Pour the oil mixture on, and add the essential oils. Use an electric or hand blender to mix everything together thoroughly – this could take several minutes. Once combined, spoon the mixture into small clean jars.

To really treat your hands, apply a thin layer of balm just before going to bed and sleep wearing cotton gloves. If you have dry, flaky nails then add a few drops of vitamin E oil to the basic mix, as well. Prevention is better than cure, so look after your hands little and often and wear gloves to do any nasty household jobs.



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