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DIY Nourishing Sweet Orange Vanilla Hand Cream Recipe

DIY sweet orange vanilla hand cream

I’m not sure about you, but my hands get super dry during winter, so I am always on the lookout for a hand cream that would nourish my hands and give them some much-needed hydration. This recipe is simple enough and easy to make! Oh, and did I mention how amazing it smells? 

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Why Do You Need Sweet Orange Vanilla Hand Cream?

Our hands are among the hardest working parts of our bodies. We use them to grab, touch, hold, clean and scrub a lot, which can strip moisture from the skin. Therefore, it is vital to protect them from dryness by regularly applying hand cream. Warming and uplifting, sweet orange hand cream is a silky moisturiser that helps soften and moisten overly dry skin and soothe rough spots, keeping your skin supple. 

How Does It Work

A good moisturiser is a mixture of hydrating, humectant, emollient and occlusive ingredients that work together to replenish and lock in moisture while keeping your skin smooth, supple and soft. The sweet orange hand cream includes:

– water that plumps up the skin and keeps it hydrated.

– glycerin, a humectant, attracts moisture to the skin smooths and softens it.

– shea butter, vanilla-infused peach kernel oil, and squalane are emollients that soften the skin.

 beeswax and berry wax (our occlusives) act as a barrier helping to lock the moisture in and preventing moisture loss.

– a combination of sweet orange and Amyris sandalwood essential oil creates a warming, uplifting and energising aroma.

Combining these ingredients makes this hand cream helpful in restoring moisture to the skin and keeping it healthy.

How to Apply Sweet Orange Hand Cream

Squeeze a small amount onto your palms and massage it into your hands in circular motions concentrating on dry spots. Massaging hand cream into your skin for a few minutes will allow it to absorb readily for immediate comfort. Apply in the morning, before going to bed and also right after a hand wash. 

What Will You Need

Before you begin preparing your hand cream, you will need to prepare vanilla infused oil and annatto seeds infused oil. 

For vanilla infused oil, I found sun infusion to work the best. I used only one bean pod, and the oil has a beautiful deep vanilla scent. You’ll find the recipe here.  

I used heat infusion for annatto seeds infused oil, which took only an hour or so. The result was a gorgeous orange-tinted oil. To prepare:

  1. Add one teaspoon of annatto seeds into a 100ml heat resistant glass jar and cover with sunflower oil.
  2. Put the glass jar into a hot water bath and hold on low heat for about an hour.
  3. Set aside.
  4. When the oil has cooled, strain out the seeds. Take care not to overheat the oil to avoid degrading it.

DIY Nourishing Sweet Orange Vanilla Hand Cream Recipe

DIY Nourishing Sweet Orange Vanilla Hand Cream Recipe

Recipe by Kay GuptaDifficulty: Intermediate Formulator


Prep time




Total time





Sweet Orange Vanilla Hand Cream is a nourishing and lightly scented hand cream that is a perfect companion for your hands in the cold seasons.



  • Prepare a hot water bath by bringing 2-3 cm of water to a simmer over medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
  • Weigh beeswax, shea butter, vanilla and annatto seeds infused oil and olivem 1000 (phase A ingredients) in a heatproof glass beaker, and place it into the hot water bath.
  • Weigh distilled water in another glass beaker and place it into the hot water bath.
  • Mix xanthan gum and glycerine in a third beaker and set aside.
  • Once the oil phase in the first beaker and the water phase in the second beaker reach 70°C, slowly pour the oil phase into the water phase, stirring continually. Add glycerin and xanthan gum mix. Keep going until the emulsion cools down.
  • When under 40°C, add vitamin E, essential oils and squalane (phase C ingredients).
  • Check the pH is between 4.5 to 5.5. If it’s over 5.5 or below 4.5, adjust before moving to step 8. You can check it by diluting 10% of the emulsion in distilled water (10% emulsion/90% distilled water). Suppose the pH of the emulsion is over 6. In that case, you can lower it using a drop or two of citric acid solution( 10% citric acid to 90% distilled water). Subsequently, you can increase pH by adding a drop or two sodium bicarbonate solutions (10% sodium bicarbonate to 90% distilled water).
  • Add the Preservative Eco and recheck the ph. Adjust if needed, just like described in step 7.
  • Transfer lotion into a lotion dispenser, date, label, and allow it to set. The emulsion will thicken overnight.

Skin Patch Test

  • Always do a skin patch test first if you intend to incorporate sweet orange hand cream into your skincare. Although it may be well-tolerated by most, some people may be sensitive or even allergic to the ingredients included in it. Apply a small amount of the product onto a clear patch of skin, somewhere you can leave it alone for 24-48 hours (like the inner wrist). If your skin turns red, itchy, or you experience any irritations, discontinue using the product.


high-precision scale

glass stirrer

glass beakers

milk frother

paper ph strips


lotion dispenser 

Shelf Life and Storage

Emulsions, just like most skincare products, will eventually expire. You can expect hand cream to last anywhere between 6 months to a year; yet, it’s hard to determine shelf life without further tests. The formula includes preservatives to prevent microbial growth, yet, our kitchens are not sterile. If you notice any change in smell, colour, or texture, dispose of it and whip up a new batch. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. 


Please remember that swapping the ingredients in the formula will alter the final product. Consider how the ingredient you wish to switch will affect the final product’s scent, consistency, or absorbency when making changes. 

Beeswax helps thicken the formula and add a frame to the hand cream. However, suppose you prefer not to use it. In that case, you could try replacing beeswax with candelilla wax.

Shea Butter, high in vitamins and fatty acids, is easy to spread, moisturising butter used in skin care for centuries. Adding it to the formula helps prevent moisture loss and prevents skin from premature ageing. You could substitute it for murumuru butter, a beautiful amazonian butter that can help to regenerate your hands. 

Infused oil: Vanilla infused peach kernel oil adds depth to the formula. You could replace it with peach kernel oil and vanilla oleoresinAnnatto seeds infused oil adds a beautiful orange shade to the emulsion. You can skip it, though, and use sunflower oil instead. 

Olivem1000, Glycerine, Xanthan gum: I don’t recommend omitting or swapping any of these ingredients in this formula. 

Essential oils: Before swapping sweet orange and sandalwood essential oil, learn more about them by visiting https://ifrafragrance.org. Some oils can cause sensitisation. 


How can I make my hand cream less greasy?

You can make hand cream lighter by cutting down the amount of shea butter by half and using less vanilla-infused apricot kernel oil. You will need to adjust the amount of emulsifier and water. If you are looking for a light emulsion, take a look at the sweet orange ginger body lotion recipe. It’s light and absorbs very quickly. 

How does this hand cream differ from commercial products?

Sweet orange hand cream is created with natural ingredients like beeswax, shea butter and peach kernel oil packed with vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. In addition, they are gentle on the skin, affordable and accessible. Plus, making your products also allows you to control what goes in and is fun. 

Are you looking for more ways to add sweet orange to your skincare? Check out the recipes below!

DIY Orange Blossom Ginger Face Toner Recipe

DIY Sweet Orange Facial Cleansing Oil Recipe

DIY Sweet Orange Face Balm Recipe

DIY Sweet Orange Ginger Body Lotion Recipe

DIY Sweet Orange Peppermint Foot Scrub Bar Recipe

DIY Refreshing Sweet Orange Kaolin Deodorant Recipe

Nourishing DIY Orange Peppermint Foot Cream For Dry Feet

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