Aromatics Wellness Blog

Keep hands clean & healthy with essential oil hand care

Frequent hand washing can dry out your skin. Use essential oil hand care to make your own soap and keep your hands moisturized!

Finding balance between clean hands and happy skin

Nearly two months into 2022, the pandemic is still going strong. Washing our hands is still one of the most effective ways we have to combat COVID 19, as well as viruses like colds and the flu. The CDC recommends washing your hands often to avoid spreading germs.

But all that hand washing can be rough on your skin.

Soap tends to be very drying. And if you’re also using alcohol-based hand sanitizers between hand washings, your skin will get even more dried out. Add that to the cold, dry winter weather a lot of people are experiencing, and you’ve got a recipe for seriously irritated, dried out, cracked, painful hands.

Essential oil hand care helps keep your hands moisturized, even if you’re washing them often—and we hope you are! In this article, we’ll share some tips, tricks, and recipes for skin-saving, all-natural hand care.

Castile soap

One way to practice hand care is to use all-natural, gentle castile soap to wash your hands.

Castile soap is a natural soap made from vegetable oils. It’s non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe for babies and animals.

Castile Soap

Castile soap is incredibly versatile! You can use it for a wide variety of natural cleaning products, including shower gels, baby washes, fruit and veggie rinses, and more. It works well alone and in homemade recipes.

SHOP CASTILE SOAP

If you’re concerned that castile soap isn’t antibacterial, rest assured that it’s just as effective at cleaning your hands! The CDC says:

“Studies have not found any added health benefit from using antibacterial soap, other than for professionals in healthcare settings. In 2016, FDA banned over-the-counter sale of antibacterial soaps that contain certain ingredients because these soaps are no better than plain soap at preventing people from getting sick and their ingredients may not be safe for long-term, daily use.”

Try making castile soap the bedrock of your hand-washing routine! Fill a few foaming soap dispensers for your kitchen and bathroom sinks, and consider carrying a travel-sized foam soap dispenser in your purse or bag so you don’t have to use those harsh, industrial-style soaps found in many public restrooms.

Add moisturizing carriers to your hand soap

Adding different carrier oils to castile soap can help you tailor your formula to be more moisturizing and nourishing. Carriers are skin nourishing products often used to dilute essential oils. You really can choose any liquid carrier you like and add a splash to your homemade foam soap, but we’ll share a few suggestions so you can get an idea of what’s possible!

The amount of carrier you add to the castile soap is all up to you. You’re not making a therapeutic blend, so your measurements don’t have to be precise. In a soap bottle that holds 8 fl oz (240 ml), you can add as little as 1 tablespoon of carrier . . . or as much as 1 fl oz! It’s all about what you like! (We’ve got some recipe ideas to get you started below.)

Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)

jojoba oil

On a chemical level, jojoba oil closely resembles the natural oil produced by human skin (called “sebum”). That makes jojoba an excellent moisturizer! (It’s also one of the reasons jojoba is the #1 favorite carrier of our founders here at Aromatics!)

Jojoba brings a rich, luxurious feel to your foam hand soaps! And it leaves your hands feeling silky smooth.

SHOP JOJOBA OIL

Aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)

aloe vera gel

There’s a good reason aloe vera gel is so renowned for skin care! It contains polysaccharides, vitamins A, E, and C, and enzymes that help calm irritation. It’s a gold-standard classic for hand care (and skin care in general)!

Adding aloe vera gel to your castile soap gives it a nourishing effect that helps calm inflamed, irritated skin.

SHOP ALOE VERA GEL

Vegetable glycerin (Zea mays)

vegetable glycerin

Want hand soap that’s more hydrating? Vegetable glycerin is your new best friend! It’s a natural sugar alcohol that comes from plants (ours is made from certified organic corn). It’s also a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture and can help your skin retain it.

A splash of vegetable glycerin in your homemade soap creates a super-hydrating blend that washes hands clean without drying them out.

SHOP VEGETABLE GLYCERIN

Add essential oils to your soap!

Castile soap will do the heavy lifting of cleaning your hands and getting rid of germs. Carriers can moisturize your skin. And adding essential oils lets you customize your hand soap even more!

You can choose essential oils purely because you love the way they smell!

Or you can add oils that help purify your skin and soothe irritation. They’ll lend their support to your homemade soap, but remember that soap is a wash-off product. It’s not the best way to apply essential oils if you want their skin-nourishing benefits. In this case, their aromas are going to do most of the work.

If you really want to support your irritated hands with essential oils, we suggest applying the oils in a moisturizing blend AFTER washing your hands. We’ll talk more about that in a minute! First, let’s touch on a few popular oils for foam soaps.

Rhododendron oil (Rhododendron anthopogon)

rhododendron oil

This sweet, floral oil distilled from plants in the mountains of Nepal has a soft, grounding presence. Its aroma is complex, with gentle herbal notes. Along with soothing stress, rhododendron oil is often used to purify skin for a radiant, calm complexion.

SHOP RHODODENDRON OIL

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

tea tree oil

When most people think of natural cleaning with essential oils, tea tree is one of the first to pop into their minds! It’s powerfully effective at purifying both surfaces and skin, without causing irritation. And its fresh, crisp, medicinal aroma makes everything smell squeaky clean!

SHOP TEA TREE OIL

Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia)

lavender oil

Lavender’s gorgeous floral aroma is almost universally loved! It’s also excellent for calming anxious feelings. And research shows it’s one of the most effective oils to soothe irritated, damaged skin. Lavender is a perfect choice for essential oil hand care!

SHOP LAVENDER OIL

Orange (sweet) oil (Citrus sinensis)

orange sweet oil

Add orange (sweet) to your foam soap, and every time you wash your hands you’ll get a refreshing burst of that warm, sunny scent! Its aroma alone is enough to boost most people’s moods. It’s also often used in natural cleaning recipes for its purifying effects.

SHOP ORANGE (SWEET)

Norway pine oil (Pinus resinosa)

norway pine oil

Calling to mind the deep pine forests of Canada, this conifer oil’s scent revitalizes a tired spirit. It’s invigorating and comforting! Like other conifer oils, Norway pine is also popular for safeguarding immune strength during cold season.

SHOP NORWAY PINE

DIY Essential oil hand soap recipes

Essential oil hand care: moisturize!

Now that you’ve washed your hands with your natural, biodegradable, organic foam soap, there’s still one more step to keeping your hands healthy!

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

Choose a natural lotion, carrier oil (or blend of oils), or butter that works for your hands. As a general rule, lotion absorbs more quickly, which means it won’t get on your clothes or the surfaces you touch. But it also means you might have to use it more often.

A hand oil offers more long-lasting moisture, but depending on the carrier oils in your hand oil, it can leave your hands feeling a little greasy, and it might get on clothes or upholstery. The same goes for ultra-rich body butters or thick salves, which linger for the longest time on your skin. They’re ideal if your hands are extra dry and cracked.

Whatever moisturizer works best for you, this is definitely a chance to use essential oils for hand care! A moisturizer gives the oils the chance to absorb into your skin, so you’ll experience their therapeutic benefits. The oils we shared above are great choices! They can help purify your hands while supporting your skin’s natural repair process. You can also follow these simple DIY recipes.

Essential oil hand moisturizer recipes

Keep learning!
Discover facts about a new essential oil every week—including its researched properties, main components, how to use it, where it’s made, and DIY recipes—when you join our email newsletter. You’ll also get exclusive savings!
REFERENCES

Altaei, D.T. (2012) Topical lavender oil for the treatment of recurrent apthous ulceration. American Journal of Dentistry 25, 1, 39-43.

Astani, A., Reichling, J. and Schnitzler, P. (2010) Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytotherapy Research 24, 5, 673-679.

Lang, G. and Buchbauer, G. (2012) A review on recent research results (2008-2010) on essential oils as antimicrobials and antifungals. A review. Flavour and Fragrance Journal 27, 13-39.

Perry, N. and Perry, E. (2006) Aromatherapy in the management of psychiatric disorders: clinical and neuropharmacological perspectives. CNS Drugs 20, 4, 257-280.

Satou T, Kasuya H, Maeda K, Koike K. (2014) Daily inhalation of α-pinene in mice: effects on behavior and organ accumulation. Phytotherapy Research. 2014 Sep;28(9):1284-7. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5105. PMID: 25340185.

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