Hand cream of Dreams
What does it take to make the perfect hand cream?
That’s the question you ask when starting to formulate a new product. Of course, for everyone the answer may be different, but when I started to think about what a perfect hand cream should be like, the ideas started rolling.
Learn from experience
I’ve experienced a lot of hand creams in my time, so I know what does, and doesn’t work for me. From my twenties I’ve suffered with cold weather which would chap my hands and leave me with dry, cracked, even bleeding skin.
I am definitely a candidate for a very effective hand cream.
Tried and tested
Many hand creams have come under my scrutiny. From the stiff greases that need a firm hand to squeeze them from the tube, to the softly scented lotions that you can amply pump from the bottle and lavish on after each hand washing. Constantly seeking out stronger effects. Desperately eschewing the beautiful scents of more delicate creams, I needed the hard stuff. Constantly reapplying creams and slathering on balms, still my hands would be painfully sore.
So I know what I need when formulating a hand cream.
The perfect hand cream
My dream cream soothes and heals, it gets straight to work protecting skin from the elements and bringing back the softness. It slips on easily, spreading across my hand in flowing movements, and yet it’s totally controllable, I can keep it just where it’s needed.
And there’s another thing. I’m a busy person so I don’t want my hand cream stopping me in my tracks. I need to be able to apply and get on with life. So my hand cream needs to sink in fast and do its work without leaving a greasy residue on my hands.
A tall order.
Formulating the perfect hand cream
Vision set, I needed to go about finding the perfect ingredients in the perfect combination to make the perfect hand cream.
Where to start? …
Give it substance
As with many of my formulas I start with a beeswax base. I love beeswax as a natural by product of honey production. It has a wonderful, calming scent and it works incredibly well with the natural oils of our skin. Beeswax provides a solid base for a cream as well as forming part the the protective seal that means a hand cream can provide a great barrier to the elements.
Make it creamy
Along with the beeswax I needed a butter – the great mid-point between wax and oil. I’ll always look for the ingredients that grow closest to home, which is tricky with butters as many come from tropical grown plants such as cocoa. My solution is walnut butter which, when refined, is smooth and softening. Walnut is easily absorbed by our skin, and it has a slightly dry feel which is good for minimising the oiliness of hand cream. It’s reputed to help with circulation (which I really appreciate as a Reynaud’s sufferer) and it is good against wrinkles. As our hands are one of the first places to give away our age, it makes sense to look after them and keep them looking as young and supple as we can.
Choose oils with care
The best natural formulas typically include plant seed oils. By their nature oils are going to be greasy so I’m cautious not to create a slippy cream that would show up with tell-tales signs on everything I touch. But have no fear. There are so many plant seed oils to select from, so we can restrict to those that will sink in without leaving a greasy residue.
My favourite oil for this?
Broccoli seed oil. Fast becoming its own little star in the skincare world. It is light and not greasy so easily absorbed and an excellent moisturiser. Makes me wonder why it’s been overlooked as a hand cream ingredient for so long.
Another great oil which you will find in many other hand creams is Hemp Seed Oil. I’ve also included this as it’s another very dry oil which is easily absorbed. Great at helping skin hold onto moisture, so minimising dry skin and helping restore damaged skin.
So can a really great hand cream smell great too?
There are two ways I introduce wonderful herbal fragrances into my hand cream. Through infusions and using essential oils.
The infusion captures summer in a spoon. It’s made by infusing a pocket of herbs in hot water. Into the pocket are packed the essence of a summer hedgerow: chamomile, elderflower, marshmallow and lime flower. Dried and tucked into a little muslin square these look simple and innocent, but pop them in a pan of hot water and their aroma will scent the room. All you need is a tablespoon of this fragrant liquid to blend with the oils and waxes to lighten your hand cream.
As the cream is blended and cooling, it’s time to add the essential oils. To create the ‘Summer Garden’ feeling, there’s an enchanting blend of patchouli, lavender and lemon. It’s a combination that appeals to many, gently floral and remarkably unisex.
Now, you may think of patchouli as the popular scent of the 1960s but did you know it was also a favourite scent in the 1860’s? Then it had a significant purpose. At the time soft muslins were favoured for making the elegant empire-line dresses. When these were sent from India, they were impregnated with patchouli as evidence of their guaranteed source. So patchouli became highly fashionable, along with those beautiful dresses.
There’s another bonus ingredient in Summer Garden Hand Cream, one that you’d typically find in an expensive face cream. You see, I believe in putting all the best ingredients into a hand cream. If our hands are a give-away sign of our age, lets use the tricks we have for face and neck creams in our hand cream too.
So, the magic ingredient … hyaluronic acid. This is a natural constituent of our skin, helping keep it dewy soft. Incorporating it in a hand cream is another aid against those signs of ageing.
How often should we use hand cream?
Filled with natural ingredients, you can use this hand cream as often as you feel you need it. Classically hand cream should be applied each time you wash your hands. So have a pot ‘handy’ in a bag, drawer or by the sink.
The big surprise …
For me the big surprise has been how little I need to use my wonderful hand cream. Since I’ve been working with natural oils I’ve found my dry, sore, bleeding hands are a thing of the past. If you’re suffering, I can totally recommend finding a hand cream based on plant seed oils and natural butters and waxes. Why not try Summer Garden Hand Cream and find out for yourself.