If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told to wash my hands lately, I would be a very wealthy woman. More people are upping up their handwashing game now that the CDC and health officials have emphasized that regular hand washing is imperative to helping curb the spread of COVID-19. Ironically, by over-washing our skin, we can develop dry cracks in the skin, giving bacteria an entry point into our bodies.
Why is handwashing so harsh on our skin? The outermost layer of our skin is composed of oils and wax, and it acts as both a shield from the outside and a guard that maintains natural moisture levels. This natural barrier is broken down by the suds created by soap while washing hands. When the skin loses moisture, this can lead to dryness, redness, itching, flaking, discomfort, and in severe cases, cracks in the skin. Those with preexisting dermatologic conditions like eczema can experience worsening symptoms.
Many commercial sanitizers and soaps contain alcohol, harsh surfactants, and fragrances that can over-dry and irritate skin. These chemical ingredients are not necessary to get clean hands, so why not save your skin (and money) by making your own natural moisturizing hand soap. Here are a few recipes to try, depending on your preferred type of hand soap – we’ve covered liquid soap, foaming soap and bar soap. There’s also a lotion bar which you might find helpful for extra chapped hands.
These soap recipes are great for beginners since they use pre-made soap bases. If you want to make soap from scratch, you could try taking an online soap-making class or purchase a book, as the process is much more involved and uses extensive equipment and harder-to-find ingredients.
Easy Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap
You will love this super easy and moisturizing liquid hand soap – you’ll never want to go back to your store-bought brand.
- 3/4 cup purified water (boil tap water and let cool before using, or use distilled or filtered water)
- 3/4 cup unscented liquid castile soap
- 1 Tbsp vitamin E oil or vegetable glycerin
- 1 Tbsp almond oil or jojoba oil
- 1 Tbsp witch hazel, optional
- 10-15 drops essential oils of choice
- Combine all ingredients in a glass jar that has a soap dispenser lid (or re-use an empty soap dispenser). Start with the water, then the soap, and finally the oils. Put the lid on and give the bottle a good shake.
- Shake before each use, and use like any hand soap by squirting a small amount onto hands, scrubbing, and rinsing with water.
DIY Foaming Moisturizing Soap
If you prefer a foaming soap, use the following ratios to make a moisturizing natural soap that will pump effectively. Note that this recipe is written without specific quantities, as quantities will depend on the size of your chosen container.
- 20% air – this allows the bottle to pump effectively
- 20% unscented natural liquid castile soap
- 55% distilled or filtered water
- 10-20 drops essential oil of your choice
- 1 teaspoon carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, or grapeseed oil
- Prepare your container. Purchase a foaming pump bottle online, or re-use one you’ve purchased previously.
- Pour all of the liquid ingredients into the dispenser and mix well.
- Top with the pump, and screw it on tightly. Shake to combine ingredients. Note: Because there are no chemical emulsifiers in this recipe, the oils will rise to the top. For best results, shake the container before each use.
Easy Moisturizing Bar Soap
This moisturizing soap recipe is an easy soap that you can make to soothe dry and sensitive skin. With only six ingredients, it is very beginner-friendly and incredibly simple to make in about 10 to 15 minutes.
Goat milk soap base is great for dry, sensitive skin and eczema. Goat milk contains many minerals and vitamins and is very nourishing for the skin. Adding extra oils into the readymade soap base makes the homemade soap rich and hydrating. We recommend hemp seed oil as it is rich in fatty acids and leaves the skin hydrated all day long. Finally, we chose to add manuka essential oil as it restores moisture in the skin and has antibacterial properties. If you don’t like the scent of manuka essential oil, add in some lavender or rose geranium essential oil or other essential oils of your choice.
- 19 oz goat milk melt-and-pour soap base
- 2 Tbsp hemp seed oil
- 2 vitamin E capsules
- 30 drops manuka essential oil
- Cut the soap base into small cubes, approximately 1 inch across.
- Add the soap cubes into a microwave-safe jug or container. Something with a spout is best because we have to pour the soap into a mold later on.
- Melt the soap in a microwave set to medium power in 1-minute intervals. Take the soap out of the microwave after each interval and stir. Melt-and-pour soap can burn, so melting in short bursts and stirring helps to avoid this.
- Once the soap is completely melted, add the hemp seed oil and essential oil. Cut open 2 vitamin E capsules and squeeze the liquid into the soap base. Give the soap a stir to combine the ingredients.
- Next, pour the soap into your chosen mold. The easiest option is a silicone muffin tray, or a regular muffin tray with paper liners.
- Put the molds in the refrigerator for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the soap feels hard and solid. Pop out the soap and enjoy your homemade product.
Hand-Saving Shea Butter Lotion Bar
As a companion to your homemade moisturizing soap, why not create an easy lotion bar? This lotion is solid at room temperature and looks like a bar of soap. When rubbed on the skin, a tiny amount melts and is transferred to the skin, leaving a thin, highly moisturizing layer. You can make it into a bar by pouring into silicone baking molds, or in an emptied and cleaned deodorant container for easy application. The lotion ‘stick’ option is also easy to bring along for travel or in your bag for daily use.
- 2 Tbsp raw organic shea butter
- 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
- 2 tsp olive oil or castor oil
- 2 tsp beeswax
- 20+ drops essential oil of your choice, optional
- Slowly melt all ingredients, except essential oils, in a double boiler or sturdy glass bowl over a small pan of boiling water.
- Remove from heat and add essential oils.
- Pour into a silicone mold, paper-lined muffin tray, or cleaned-out deodorant tube.
- Let cool for several hours or overnight. Place in the fridge to speed the cooling process.
- Place a lotion bar next to the hand soap by each sink in your home, and use each time immediately after handwashing to prevent painful dry skin.
When you start using natural products with nourishing oils and without chemical perfumes, your skin will thank you. For extra moisture, you can use your lotion bar before bed and wear gloves while you sleep to increase absorption. Also, consider using a humidifier at night, as raising the humidity level in a room can help dry skin.