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Hand Balm Recipe: an easy DIY & great gift

This moisturizing Hand Balm Recipe is easy to make, can be scented with your favorite fragrance, and makes useful and inexpensive gifts.

If you work with your hands, either gardening, crafting or cooking, they can often be dry and need a little attention. I know mine do! If you’ve ever watched any of my knit videos or seen stills of my hands in action, you know that they…well…they look a little rough.

I look at my friends with lovely painted nails and nice cuticles and just fold my hands behind my back. In all honesty, I could take better care of them. I could go get manicures and all that stuff, but the truth is that I just can’t be bothered. I would make time for a massage every single day, but taking the time to get a manicure is sooooo low on my list.

All that to say, my hands are often a hot mess!

Enter this Moisturizing Hand Balm Recipe; I keep a tin of it on my desk and in my knit bag. It is a hard balm, as opposed to a soft/goopy balm. You need to rub your fingers over it to get some of it, which is what I wanted. It is not an all-over-hand lotion, it is more for dry spots on your fingers, knuckles, and around your nails.

For my knitting friends…I’ve added tins of this hand balm to my list of Gifts for Knitters.

In researching and formulating this hand balm recipe, I wanted something that would not be greasy and that would absorb quickly. This was important as I wanted to be able to use it and continue knitting.

There are a variety of hand balm recipes floating around the internet, but I customized this one to meet my needs. I give tips in the recipe below if you want one that would be more moisturizing.

What Do You Need to Make this Moisturizing Hand Balm Recipe?

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These may not be items you commonly have lying about your home. Other than the essential oils, I had to purchase them. With what I purchased, including the tins, I made 12 containers of the hand balm recipe, with cocoa butter and beeswax leftover for other gifts like this Heel Balm, which uses the same ingredients! The final cost of each tin of hand balm is $4.50…not too bad for gifts! If you have any of these items at home, you could drive the cost down further.

Beeswax pellets and cocoa butter.

Beeswax Pellets I purchased these yellow ones, but there are also white pellets. Beeswax is occlusive, which means that it creates a protective layer on the skin, sealing in moisture. It is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, both beneficial to the skin.

Cocoa Butter I purchased mine here. Cocoa butter is moisture-rich, containing a high amount of fatty acids. Fatty acids help to hydrate the skin. The fat in cocoa butter creates a protective barrier that holds in moisture and prevents your skin from drying. You can see why Cocoa Butter makes a great ingredient for a moisturizing lotion or balm. Cocoa butter is harder than other butters, like shea butter or mango butter. I chose it for that property…this is a hard balm as opposed to a goopy balm.

Grapeseed Oil Talk about a skincare powerhouse! Grapeseed Oil is packed with antioxidants (like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E), fatty acids (like linolenic acid), and amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for building collagen. The elements in linoleic acid help stimulate cell turnover to smooth fine lines and rough texture. You can use other oils (like Apricot Kernel, Coconut, Almond, Jojoba, Safflower, Olive, Avocado), but I like Grapeseed as it has a fast absorption rate, meaning that it will not feel too oily on your skin.

In general, Grapeseed, Apricot Kernel & Safflower Oil will be less oily. Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oils, and Almond Oil will leave your skin slightly oily, and Macadamia and Avocado oil will take a while to absorb.

Vitamin E acts as a ‘preservative’ in that it prevents the oxidation of oils.

Essential Oils Use your favorite! I happen to have rosemary and lavender on hand, so that’s what I used. I’d like to experiment with other fragrances down the road.

As I mentioned, this is a firm balm as opposed to a goopy lotion. It provides just the right amount of moisturizing to my fingers, knuckles, and around my nails. If you wanted it to be softer, you could substitute mango or shea butter for cocoa butter.

Tin of hand balm

Make it yours!

I encourage you to use this Hand Balm recipe as a jumping-off point and experiment with formulating your own recipe. The process is very forgiving. While I was figuring out exactly what I wanted, I re-melted my balm several times, tweaking the recipe until I got what I wanted.

This recipe will make one 2-ounce tin. It is easily multiplied, but I encourage you to start with one tin to make sure you like the glide and moisturizing level.

Beeswax pellets in a glass jar and tins of hand balm.

Make sure to nab some labels!

You can access the labels for your tins of Hand Balm in the Benefits Library, but I’ll be glad to send them to you as well. If you would like for them to appear automagically in your email inbox, click the button below. You will receive an email with access to all of the labels indicated below.

I made an assortment of labels for different Hand Balms. But let me know if you’d like some other labels. I’m planning a Gardener’s Hand Balm Recipe for the Spring/Summer. I actually found Tomato Leaf essential oil! I love that smell.

Rosemary Moisturizing Balm

Lavender Moisturizing Balm

Rosemary and Lavender Moisturizing Balm

Moisturizing Hand Balm with a spot in the middle for you to fill in the scent

Knitter’s Moisturizing Hand Balm.

Moisturizing Hand Balm

Moisturizing Hand Balm soothes rough spots on your fingers, knuckles and anywhere else!
4.36 from 45 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Active Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course Bath + Body
Cuisine Handmade
Yield 1 tin


  • 19 g white cocoa butter
  • 19 g beeswax pellets
  • 22 g grapeseed oil
  • 2 vitamin e capsules
  • 20 drops essential oils
  • Tin or jar with a lid


  • Pour water into the pot of a double boiler. (see note below if you don’t have a double boiler) and heat at medium/medium-high.
  • Place the bowl from your double-boiler on a scale and set the scale to zero/tare.
  • Add 19 g cocoa butter
  • Add 19 g beeswax, total grams should be 38 g
  • Put double boiler bowl into pot, over the simmering water. The cocoa butter and beeswax should melt in about 5 minutes.
  • Turn the stove off and add 22 g of grapeseed oil and squeeze 2 vitamin E capsules into the melted oil. Stir to combine. Add 20 drops of essential oils to your melted oil. You can use 20 of one oil or mix them up. Twenty drops is what I like, but feel free to add more or less to suit you.
  • Stir well and then remove from the heat. Wipe the bottom of the pan to remove any moisture. I set the bowl on a folded dishtowel to make sure it is dry. You don’t want any drops of water in your balm, it will leave a hole.
  • Using a potholder, pour the melted oils into your metal container. I put my container on a trivet on my counters just to protect my counters.
  • Let the balm sit undisturbed for about 20-30 minutes until solid. Screw the lid on and apply a label!


No Double Boiler? All you need is a pot and a heat-proof bowl. Technically, I don't have a double boiler either, but I do have a metal bowl that fits well with a pot. Your bowl should rest on top of the pot and not fall in, so it should be bigger than the pot.
In the perfect world, select a wide pot because it has more surface area which will ensure even melting.
For a softer balm, you could substitute mango or shea butter for cocoa butter.
Keyword hand balm, moisturizing balm, skin balm
Tried this? Love it? Let us know how it was!

Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this Hand Balm Recipe in the future.

Tins of hand balm.

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Signature of Lynn

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  1. Good morning Lynn! I love the hand balm recipe and am going to put in on my list of crafts to make. Can you also put it on your lips?


    1. Hi Penny,

      Oh yay! I hope it helps. I’ve never lived in such dry climates, but I still struggle. I can only imagine how much more difficult it is in WY. I’m working on my heel balm now, that’s an area that has always plagued me!

      Have a great weekend.



  2. Can you omit the essential oil entirely, or would you need to change the weight of anything? (I have hyper sensitive skin and always use unscented products–plus, as gifts, unscented would work for everyone.) Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi, thank you for the recipe! I have used this balm on my hands for a month now and it really does work wonders. I have a question about the shelf life though. Does it expire along with the first oil reaching its expiration date or could it go bad sooner? 🙂 Thanks in advance!

    1. Good Morning Lauren,

      What a great question! I need to include this information in the post. I have had mine for over a year and it smells, feels and moisturizes the same that it did a year ago. I have a very sensitive nose, anything rancid would set it off, and there is no smell or change in texture. I did a deeper dive and discovered that beeswax has an almost indefinite shelf life. Cocoa butter seems best used within two years. Straight Grapeseed oil is best used within one year, however, the whole reason that Vitamin E is added to the hand balm recipe is to extend the shelf life of the ingredients, like grapeseed oil. So, all that to say, I’m confident it has at least a one year shelf life, but most likely longer.

  4. 2 stars
    I tried this recipe and it looks and smells amazing but when I went to dip my fingers in it was WAY too firm. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to get any. Nonetheless this gave me a starting point and I am now tweaking my own recipe! I’m having so much fun and I want to thank you for posting such an easy to read; easy to follow recipe!

    1. Hi Camara,

      As mentioned in the post, it is a firm balm, not as much for dipping as it is for rubbing. If you wanted it to be softer, you could substitute mango or shea butter for cocoa butter. Happy experimenting.

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