Home Made Hand Cream

Well, I’ve finished and published my latest romance novel, Seeing Red by Alex Beecroft. Now I’m plotting Murder of a Starship Captain, the third in the Dancing Detective novels.

But while I do that, I have got into permaculture and the attempt to live in a more eco-friendly way. Specifically, I’m trying to reduce my reliance on single-use plastics.

When I first thought about this, I thought it would involve buying unwrapped vegetables, and that would be about it. But of course all our self-care products come in plastic containers too. I needed to find alternatives to plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner etc, and plastic tubes of hand cream.

Looking for hand cream that was not packaged in plastic led me to this Badger Healing Balm

It has comments saying how great it is, and reading the ingredients reveals that it’s a simple enough balm made of oil and wax just like the ones I was taught to make when I was learning herbalism. I figured I could do that myself!

So I did.

Because my dry skin is mostly caused by menopause, I chose an active ingredient which is supposed to counter the effects of menopause – Wild Yam. And I added some lavender essential oil just to make it smell nice. I poured it into a mini Kilner jar I found at the charity shop and let it set.

Result – a very solid balm which takes a while to sink in, but has restored my hands softness, and smoothed and healed the skin to a degree I wouldn’t have believed. FAR better than any other hand cream I’ve used before.

I was hoping for something that would do, but this is superior to anything I’ve bought in the shops. Worth the effort.

How to make Wild Yam Hand Cream

You will need:

  • Wild Yam
  • Some kind of vegetable oil. Obviously something like almond or olive would be nicest, but I’m a cheapskate and used sunflower.
  • Beeswax
  • (Optional) Essential oil for perfume – I used lavender, but you should just use whatever you like the smell of, providing it’s safe for putting on skin.
  • An airtight jar to put it in.


Half fill your jar with wild yam root. Pour in oil to the top and seal. Put your sealed jar in a slow cooker with a tile or other heat-proof mat underneath it and fill the slow cooker with water to the neck of the jar.

Cook the yam-and-oil mix on low for three days, topping up the water when it needs it. (You could do this on the stove top too, but the slow cooker makes it much easier.)

Strain off and keep the oil. Discard the root.

Now use the oil to make cream:

For every 4-5 parts oil add 1 part beeswax. (1tsp wax to 25mls of oil.) Melt together in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.

While the mixture is still liquid, add 12 drops of essential oil (increase or decrease to your taste.)

While you’re doing that, boil the air-tight jar in a separate pan for at least 10 minutes.

Pour wax-and-oil mix back into the sterilized air-tight container, seal and let cool. It’s ready for use 🙂

I’m so pleased with this, I just had to share it. I hope you like it too!


  1. Sounds good! I’m not up to making my own, but I buy a solid organic (vegan, not that I am) handcream from Heavenly Organics – http://www.heavenly-organics.com. £6 (I think) for a solid lump in a tin, about the same for two refills (packed in recycled packaging!). Cocoa butter, shea butter, orange essential oil and lime oil in the one I buy (Orange and Lime Solid Hand Lotion). Easy to apply, sinks in well, and smells good; I have a tin in the knitting bag, one by the sofa.

    1. That does sound lovely 🙂 Unfortunately (or perhaps not) when I got my ingredients for this one they came in big packets, so I have a lot to use up. It’s probably going to be a year before I have to start thinking of buying anything else 🙂 But I dare say if I run out and can’t face three days of boiling, I might treat myself to an alternative now and again. Thanks!

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